From September 1952 to May 1953, Captain Fernandez flew 124 combat missions in Korea. He was credited with downing 14.5 MiG 15 aircraft, becoming the number 2 ace of the Korean War.
Joshua Johnston was the first black portrait painter to win recognition in America. Born a slave, he lived and worked in Baltimore, Maryland.
Charlotte Hawkins Brown was educated in Massachusetts before returning to the South to teach African-American children. In 1902, she opened the Palmer Memorial Institute, named after a benefactor; it went on to become a famed 200-acre prep school offering black students rich course offerings.
Dolores Del Río was a Mexican star actress who is considered a pioneer and an iconic figure for bringing about the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. She is the first major Mexican actress to feature in Hollywood productions, thus, giving her that international appeal. She is one of the most famous women of the twentieth century and also one of the most beautiful faces to ever grace the silver screen.
David Nelson Crosthwaite Jr. studied mechanical engineering at Purdue University before taking a job with the C.A. Dunham Company (now Dunham-Bush, Inc.). At Dunham, Crosthwait conducted innovative research and designed the heating system for Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall. He held 119 patents—39 in the U.S. and 80 internationally—all in relation to heating, cooling, and temperature regulating technology.
The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was the most decorated unit of its size in the U.S. Army during World War II, with a roughly 4000-strong unit consisting of Japanese-Americans, mostly from Hawaii and some recruited from the internment camps where Japanese were incarcerated during the war.
Carmen Contreras-Bozak was the first Latina to serve in the U.S. Women's Army Corps (WAC) where she served as an interpreter and in numerous administrative positions.
Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton is among the best-remembered authors of nineteenth-century Mexican American literature. Fully bilingual, de Burton was the first female Mexican American to write novels in English: Who Would Have Thought It? and The Squatter and the Don.
Born to a French father and an African-American mother, Norbert Rillieux studied at Catholic schools in Louisiana before traveling to France to study at L'Ecole Centrale in Paris.
Sessue Hayakawa, whose given name was Kintaro Hayakawa, achieved fame and widespread recognition in the early decades of the U.S. film industry.
Angel Island Immigration Station, formally United States Immigration Station at Angel Island, the principal immigration facility on the West Coast of the United States from 1910 to 1940. It is located in the San Francisco Bay, near Alcatraz Island.
Dalip Singh Saund made history in 1956 when he became the first Asian elected to Congress. Born in India in 1899, Saund came to the United States in 1920 to study at the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a doctorate degree in mathematics. Despite being highly educated, Saund discovered that his career options were limited due to anti-immigrant feelings in the U.S. As a result, he worked in farming for the next 20 years. At the same time, Saund began fighting discriminatory laws against Indians. In 1949, he and other Indians finally earned the right to become U.S. citizens. In 1956, Saund left the fields of California for the halls of Congress.
Barbara Jordan spent a lifetime breaking racial and gender barriers. Most notably, she was the first African American US congresswoman to come from the deep South, the first female representative from Texas and the first African American woman elected to the Texas Senate. There had not been a black Texas state senator since 1883. A gifted orator, she famously delivered the keynote address at the 1976 Democratic National Convention -- the first black woman ever to do so.
In 1910, Fung Joe Guey, a young Chinese inventor, and aviator built a biplane that he kept aloft over Piedmont, CA for twenty minutes.
Lewis Howard Latimer learned mechanical drawing while working for a Boston patent attorney. He later invented an electric lamp and a carbon filament for light bulbs (patented 1881, 1882). Latimer was the only African-American member of Thomas Edison's engineering laboratory.
White employers benefited from racial tension, even creating conflicts between the Chinese and Mexicans workers. Disunity along racial lines made it more difficult for workers to organize, keeping the wages artificially low and rendering the workers powerless. When the government passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, the employers aggressively recruited Japanese workers to replace the dwindling Chinese workforce in hopes of maintaining schisms in the beet fields.
Frederick McKinley Jones was an inventor best known for the development of refrigeration equipment used to transport food and blood during WW II.
While teaching grammar school, Dolores Huerta noticed that many of her students showed up to class ill or malnourished. Her students’ strife inspired her to begin her lifelong crusade of correcting economic injustice.
Rita Moreno became the first Hispanic American (and the second person ever) to have won an Oscar, a Grammy, a Tony, and an Emmy. Her career has spanned over 70 years; among her notable acting work are supporting roles in the musical films The King and I and West Side Story.
In 2004 James "Bubba" Stewart became the first African American to dominate in motocross. He racked up a record-breaking eleven American Motorcyclist Association Amateur National titles and was named Rookie of the Year in his pro season debut in 2002.
Wing Foon Ong was the first Chinese-American, who was not born in the United States, to be elected to a state House of Representatives when in 1946, he ran for the Arizona House of Representatives and won.
In 1973, Native American actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather (also known as Marie Louise Cruz) refused Marlon Brando's Oscar in front of millions of viewers. On Brando's behalf, she used the opportunity to make a political statement decrying the stereotyping of Native Americans in movies and TV, and to support American Indian Movement activists at Wounded Knee, S.D. Some in the audience booed, but others found it inspiring even years after the event.
In 1891 Minnie M. Geddings Cox was the first black postmistress in the United States. President Benjamin Harris appointed her to the post and President McKinley reappointed her in 1897, and the appointment drew controversy from whites who wanted blacks removed from leadership positions. In 1902 she offered to resign; however, President Roosevelt refused her resignation.
Miné Okubo is well known for her representations of daily life and humanity. She is most famous for her drawings depicting Japanese and Japanese American internment during World War II.