New Heights Virtual Program: Spotlighting African American History
Civil Rights: Martin Luther King, Jr. was a social activist and Baptist minister who played a key role in the American civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. King sought equality and human rights for African Americans, the economically disadvantaged and all victims of injustice through peaceful protest. He was the driving force behind watershed events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the 1963 March on Washington, which helped bring about such landmark legislation as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and is remembered each year on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a U.S. federal holiday since 1986.
Supreme Court Justice: Thurgood Marshall was the first African American ever appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. He was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson and served on the court from 1967 to 1991.
First Woman Representative: Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to the House of Representatives. She was elected in 1968 and represented the state of New York. She broke ground again four years later in 1962 when she was the first major party African American candidate and the first female candidate for President of the United States.
Self-Made Millionaire: Madam C.J. Walker was born on a cotton plantation in Louisiana and became wealthy after inventing a line of African American hair care products. She established Madame C.J. Walker Laboratories and was also known for her philanthropy.
Oscar Winner: In 1940, Hattie McDaniel was the first African American performer to win an Academy Award - the film industry's highest honor - for her portrayal of a loyal slave governess in Gone With the Wind.
First Senator: Hiram Rhodes Revels was the first African American ever elected to the U.S. Senate. He represented the state of Mississippi from February 1870 to March 1871.
Heavyweight Champ: Jack Jackson became the first African American man to hold the World Heavyweight Champion boxing title in 1908. He held onto the belt until 1915.
Eminent Scientist: George Washington Carver developed 300 derivative products from peanuts among them cheese, milk, coffee, flour, ink, dyes, plastics, wood stains, soap, linoleum, medicinal oils and cosmetics.
First Professional Black Baseball Player: On April 5, 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play Major League Baseball when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. He led the league in stolen bases that season and was named Rookie of the Year.
First Black President: In 2008, Barack Obama became the first Black president of the United States.
First Black Vice President: In 2021, Kamala Harris became the first woman of African or Asian descent to become vice president. Harris's mother immigrated to the United States from India and her father immigrated from Jamaica.
Dr. Ronald Erwin McNair was an American NASA astronaut and physicist. He was from Lake City, South Carolina. A graduate of North Carolina A&T University. He was a Member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. He died during the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger on mission STS-51-L, in which he was serving as one of three mission specialists in a crew of seven, and one of the first black Americans in space.
Dr. J.R. Green was the first Black American to serve as Principal of Central High school. He made tremendous strides as an academic administrator in Chesterfield County School District. He now serves as Superintendent of Fairfield county schools where he continues to make strides and is the State superintendent of the year and also serves on the state board of education. He is a native of South Carolina and he was recognized as 2020 outstanding black Alumnus of the University of South Carolina. He is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
Congressman James (Jim) Clyburn of Sumter South Carolina is the highest ranking Democrat in the United States House of Representatives. He is a graduate of the South Carolina State University. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. Congressman Clyburn along with the late Congressman John Lewis help to construct the new voting right laws that help minorities from being infringed upon.
Coach Bennie McMurray a native of Lancaster County is a Hall of Fame coach in the State of South Carolina and soon to be North Carolina. He coached Football as well as baseball. He has 3 football state championships and 7 baseball state championships.