Dr. Bhagat Singh Thind was the first turbaned Sikh to serve in the U.S. military in 1917 during WWI. At the time of his enlistment, he was still an Indian citizen and was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant.
Patsy Takemoto Mink served in the US Congress from 1965-1988 and again from 1990-2002, where she represented Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District. The first woman of color elected to the US House of Representatives, she worked tirelessly for civil rights, women's rights, economic justice, civil liberties, peace, and the integrity of the democratic process. On November 24, 2014, she was awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nations' highest civilian honor.
Osborne Perry Anderson was one of the five African American men to accompany John Brown in the raid on the Federal Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia) in October 1859. Anderson was a free-born black abolitionist, born in West Fallow Field, Pennsylvania on July 27, 1830. Along with John Anthony Copeland Jr., another member of the Brown raiding party, Anderson attended Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. He later moved to Chatham, Canada, where he worked as a printer for Mary Ann Shadd‘s newspaper, the Provincial Freeman. In 1858 Anderson met John Brown and eventually became persuaded to join his band of men determined to attack Harpers Ferry.
Alice Augusta Ball was an African-American chemist who developed the first successful treatment for those suffering from Hansen’s disease (leprosy). Ball was also the very first African American and the very first woman to graduate with an M.S. degree in chemistry from the College of Hawaii (now known as the University of Hawaii). Tragically, Ball died at the young age of 24. During her brief lifetime, she did not get to see the full impact of her discovery. It was not until years after her death that Ball got the proper credit she deserved.
Crazy Horse (the translation of his Lakota name, Tasunke Witko), was a prominent leader in the Sioux resistance to white encroachment in the mineral-rich Black Hills. When Crazy Horse and his people refused to go on a reservation, troops attacked their camp on Powder River in March of 1876. Crazy Horse was victorious in that battle as well as in his encounter with Gen. George Crook on the Rosebud River. He joined Sitting Bull and Gall in defeating George Armstrong Custer at the battle of the Little Bighorn.
In 1942 black Marines were first enlisted but were placed on inactive status until the Marines could build a training-size unit in segregated facilities at Montford Point (thus were called the Montford Pointers), a training reservation at Marine Barracks, New River, NC (later named Camp Lejune). When training began for the first black contingent, the 51st Defense Battalion, Howard P. Perry was the first person to report on that day.
Perhaps the first Asian actress to appear in American cinema, lovers of silent cinema have forgotten the name Tsuru Aoki, whereas her husband, Sessue Hayakawa, remains a legend. Aoki’s film career, in fact, preceded her husband’s rise to fame in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Cheat (1915).
Born as a slave in 1849 on a plantation in Woodland, Alabama, Andrew Jackson Beard was a farmer, carpenter, blacksmith, railroad worker, businessman, and inventor. He was a self-educated farmer in Alabama when he thought up the idea of inventing the plow. In 1881, he patented one of his plows, which he sold for $4,000 three years later. In 1887, he invented another plow, sold it, and used the proceeds to finance a profitable real estate business and a taxi company. In 1892, he patented his rotary engine.
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.
Ynes Mexia is a Mexican-American social worker, botanical collector, and explorer. Her interest in botany developed in San Francisco, where she moved in 1908 and practiced as a social worker. She joined the Sierra Club and at the age of 51 enrolled as a special undergraduate student at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1925 she participated in a botanical expedition to Mexico sponsored by Stanford University. Once in Mexico, however, she decided she could accomplish more on her own; abandoning the group, she traveled the country for two years and collected more than 1,500 specimens, which she sent to the herbarium at Berkeley. Her success in Mexico assured her reputation.
Japanese-American biochemist, Jokichi Takamine, crystallized adrenalin, the first hormone to be isolated in the twentieth century, from the adrenal medulla, in the summer of 1900. This was the first pure hormone to be isolated from natural sources.
Yung Wing is the first-known Chinese student to graduate from an American university. He graduated from Yale in 1854, where he was a member of the choir, played football, was a member of the boat club and won academic prizes for English competitions.
By the time Europeans made contact with the Haudenosaunee/Iroquois, their Confederacy was long established, sophisticated political and social system that united the territories of six nations in a symbolic longhouse that stretched across what is now the state of New York.
Dr. Arun Manilal Gandhi is an Indian-American socio-political activist and the fifth grandson of Mohandas Gandhi through his second son Manilal. Although he has followed in the footsteps of his grandfather as an activist, he has eschewed the ascetic lifestyle of his grandfather.
Gloria Bird is a poet and scholar and member of the Spokane Tribe of Washington State. She is one of the founding members of the Northwest Native American Writers Association. Bird then attended Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR where she received her B.A. in English in 1990, moving on to the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ where she received her M.A. in English in 1992.
Tydings-McDuffie Act, also called Philippine Commonwealth and Independence Act, (1934), the U.S. statute that provided for Philippine independence, to take effect on July 4, 1946, after a 10-year transitional period of Commonwealth government. The Philippines was an American colony prior to the signing of the act.
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.
Due to the continued mistreatment of the slave populations in the South and the 1807 act to prohibit the importation of slaves to the U.S., starting in the post-Revolutionary era, many slaves began to escape by running to Spanish Florida, near the colony of St. Augustine.
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.