By: RACHEL HEWS On April 12, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. was sent to a Birmingham, Alabama, jail, where he would spend the following eight days. The cause? Protesting without a permit. At the time, King had been leading the Civil Rights Movement for nearly a decade, with little progress to show. Congress passed the … Continue reading #InContext: Martin Luther King Jr.
By: LAUREN BALDWIN In 1947, at the age of 28, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball when he was signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers – 58 years after the League was founded. Baseball’s unwritten rules of segregation were to change forever when Robinson was signed. In the decade after World War … Continue reading #InContext: Jackie Robinson
BY: MEAGHAN NEWKIRK Helen Keller was born a normal, healthy baby girl, in Tuscumbia, Alabama, on June 27, 1880. Tragedy struck when, at 19 months old, she suffered a severe illness that left her both blind and deaf. As a young child, Helen learned to express basic commands, but over time she grew frustrated with … Continue reading #InContext: Helen Keller
By: JONATHAN ROBERTS Kenneth Kaunda was the first President of independent Zambia and is steadfast in his support for societal improvement in Africa. Kaunda was born in 1928 in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) to Church of Scotland missionaries and schoolteachers. His mother was the first African woman to teach in colonial Zambia. Kaunda followed in … Continue reading #InContext: Kenneth Kaunda
By: CORY SAGDUYU Ida B. Wells, an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement, devoted her life to shining light on the darkness of injustice. In 1862, Wells was born a slave in Holly Springs, Mississippi. The Emancipation Proclamation officially freed slaves in the South about six months later, and Wells devoted her life to … Continue reading #InContext: Ida B. Wells
By: CASSONDRA (Cj) MURPHY Spanning the time from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, Anna Julia Cooper’s life was defined by her tireless fight for freedom and equality. Cooper was born into slavery in North Carolina in 1858. Although not allowed to pursue educational opportunities until her ninth birthday — two years after … Continue reading #InContext: Anna Julia Cooper
By: EMILY SAUER In early 1957, Martin Luther King Jr. pitched an idea to publish his well-known sermons. Melvin Arnold, head of Harper & Brothers’ Religious Books Department, agreed to publish King’s book and repeatedly begged him for the manuscript for the next several years. But it was not until five years later that King … Continue reading #InContext: Martin Luther King Jr.
By: SARAH CRAMER Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. At a young age, Parks’ parents separated. She and her mother moved in with her mother’s parents, who were former slaves. From a young age, she witnessed her family serve as leading examples and strong advocates for human equality. In one … Continue reading #InContext: Rosa Parks
By: TAKIM WILLIAMS Over the course of her 86-year life, Maya Angelou was an accomplished singer, actor, dancer, poet, playwright, author, historian, and civil rights activist. President Barack Obama honored her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010 in celebration of each area of achievement, yet Angelou herself identified first and foremost as a … Continue reading #InContext: Maya Angelou