African American Firsts

Maggie L. Walker

1822 James Hall graduated from the Medical College of Maine, the first black to graduate from a U.S. medical college.

1837— Cheyney State Training School in Pennsylvania was the first black college established.

1843— Macon B. Allen of Maine was the first black lawyer.

1874— The first black to preside over the House of Representatives was Rep. Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina. Patrick Francis Healy was inaugurated president of Georgetown University, the oldest Catholic university in the U.S. Healy was the first African-American to head a predominantly white university.

1903— Maggie Lena Walker founded the Saint Luke Penny Savings Bank, becoming the first black woman to head a bank.

Often times during this month we focus on well known names in African-American History. This month through various posts I will highlight some of the unsung heroes in the lineage of Black people. This week I want to highlight those who lead the way for blacks to be educated in our country. Often times we only speak of those that fought in the Civil Rights Movement (such as the Little Rock 9). Those who are listed above are some of our predecessors who paved the way for achievement.

This is one area that we must press in the minds of our young people, that their success as black boys and girls reaches way beyond the 1960’s and the King Movement. Black people in our country have journeyed through the red tape of adversity from the time we were taken from Africa.

The power of these leaders in the history of African-Americans is that they didn’t need a ball or a microphone to be great. They used the most powerful tool God gave all of us, their mind. Sir Frances Bacon said it best,

“Knowledge is Power.” – Sir Frances Bacon

This is the key that I desire to give to all youth I work with no matter their race, cultural, or socio-economic background. ALL of them can and should succeed. Pass this key around and let’s grow together. Let’s Get It!


One thought on “African American Firsts

  1. Dear Pastor Banks,
    Thank You for mentioning my great-grandfather, the Hon. Joseph H. Rainey, who became our country’s first Black Congressman. As I was growing up, it was amazing that so few people knew about him and many of our trailblazers. They paved the way at great personal cost and danger to themselves. Their courage in the face of constant humiliation and threats should make our succesive achievements even more precious. With the advent of the internet and it’s global reach, little known facts are at everyone’s fingertips. Thank You for paying homage to these important ‘firsts’ in the history of our Nation.

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