The 100th Infantry Battalion initially made up almost entirely of Japanese Americans from Hawaii already in the army prior to World War II, represented the first group of Japanese Americans to see combat during World War II.
Many consider Isaac Murphy the greatest American jockey of all time. The son of a former slave, Murphy rose to prominence in a field that was dominated by African American jockeys at the time. Murphy set a standard that no other jockey has met.
Cultural diversity is one of the modern Labor Movement’s greatest strengths. Labor celebrates the richness of multiculturalism and recognizes that the united voice above all else is the fabric that holds this Movement together. But the Labor Movement has not always been a bastion of racial understanding. In 1903 in the beet fields of Oxnard, a battle came to a head, not only between the workers and the employer but between those wishing to create more diversity in Organized Labor and those wishing to protect the interest of the established unions.
By 1940, people of Mexican descent in the U.S. were twice as likely to have been born and raised in the States than not. Often the children of immigrants who had entered in previous decades, they strongly identified with the country of their birth. The result was massive Mexican American participation in World War II, the most recent estimate being that some 500,000 Mexican Americans served in the conflict.
Because white southern school boards routinely denied black taxpayers the funds necessary to construct black schools in the 1910's and 1920's African Americans pooled their limited resources and embarked on programs of school construction. Sharecroppers who had been born slaves donated their meager life saving so their grandchildren could have an education. Even people without children mortgaged their homes and lands to fund the schools. Occasionally assisted by funds from white philanthropists such as Julius Rosenwald or sympathetic white neighbors, the outside funding never exceeded 12 percent of overall building funds.
Dr. Patricia Bath became the first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology in 1973. Two years later, she became the first female faculty member in the Department of Ophthalmology at UCLA's Jules Stein Eye Institute.
Thelma Garcia Buchholdt was a Filipino American community activist, politician, historian, public speaker, cultural worker, and author. Buchholdt achieved a first as a Filipino American by being elected to the Alaska House of Representatives for four consecutive terms, from 1974 through 1982 which was a predominately white district. She was the author of the book Filipinos in Alaska: 1788-1958.
In 1905 Twenty-nine black intellectuals and activist from fourteen states met near Niagara Falls, New York to establish the Niagara Movement. Led By W.E.B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter, the organization encouraged blacks to press for immediate civil rights without compromise. In 1909 the movement merged with the NAACP.
Mary Winston Jackson was born on April 9, 1921, in Hampton, Virginia, the daughter of Ella and Frank Winston. She attended Hampton’s all-black schools and graduated with high honors from George P. Phenix Training School in 1937. Five years later, she earned dual bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physical science from Hampton Institute.
Bernice Bing, a native San Franciscan of Chinese heritage, received a National Scholastic Award to attend California College of Arts and Crafts, where she studied with Richard Diebenkorn, Saburo Hasegawa, and Nathan Oliveira. She transferred to the San Francisco Art Institute to work with Elmer Bischoff and Frank Lobdell, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree with honors. She continued her studies in the San Francisco Art Institute graduate program, and in 1961 earned a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degree.
In 1926 Dr. May Edward Chinn was the first African American woman to graduate from Bellvue Hospital Medical College. Chinn was also the first African American woman to intern at Harlem Hospital as well as the first African American to ride with the ambulance crew on emergency calls.
Information about the first Chinese immigrants to the United States is generally difficult to acquire, due to the scarcity and unpredictability of finding reliable records. Most sources agree, though, that the earliest woman of Chinese descent to have ever set foot in the United States was Afong Moy.
In 1885 Mary Fields also known as "Stagecoach Mary", was the first African-American woman star route mail carrier in the United States. Fields obtained the star route contract for the delivery of U.S. mail from Cascade, Montana to Saint Peter's Mission in 1885. She drove the route with horse and wagon, not a stagecoach, for two four-year contracts: from 1885 to 1889 and from 1889 to 1893.
Lone Wolf was a Kiowa Indian chief, living in the Indian Territory created by the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867. A provision in the treaty required that three-fourths of the adult males in each of the Kiowa, Apache, and Comanche tribes agree to subsequent changes to the terms of the treaty. In 1892, Congress attempted to alter the reservation lands granted to the tribes.
The first Asian immigrants to come to the United States in significant numbers were the Chinese in the middle of the 19th Century. The Chinese, primarily from Guangdong province were motivated by problems at home as well as opportunities abroad. At that time, China was rocked by a number of violent conflicts including the Red Turban uprisings (1854-64) and the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64) responsible for the death of at least twenty million Chinese. The Opium Wars of 1839-42 and 1856-60 against Great Britain also inflicted economic devastation. The Qing government of China, having lost to Britain in both conflicts, was forced to pay reparations. As a result, the Qing imposed high taxes on farmers, many of whom lost their lands because they could not sustain these payments. When the news of the 1848 discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill reached China, the dream of economic opportunity in California, popularly called Gam Saan or “Gold Mountain,” lured these…
Luis Alvarez was a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, probably most famous for the discovery of the iridium layer (subatomic particles) and his theory that the mass extinction of dinosaurs was caused by an asteroid or comet colliding with Earth. Besides doing the normal work you might expect of a physics professor, Alvarez took on more unusual projects, like making use of cosmic rays to search for hidden chambers in an Egyptian pyramid.
A ceramist and author of two best-selling autobiogrophies---Fifth Chinese Daughter and No Chinese Stranger, Jade Snow Wong was among the first Chinese-American artist to have her work shown in major American museums, while her books pioneered the rich tradition of memoir writing among Chinese-American women.
Antonio Moreno was born and raised in Spain. He moved to New York at an early age to pursue a career on stage. Moreno traveled to California and worked in bit parts in films until he was discovered by the film pioneer D.W. Griffith, who launched him on a screen career in 1914.
In 1935, in the middle of the Great Depression President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Administration created the Works Progress Administration Federal Theatre Project (FTP) as part of the New Deal economic recovery program. Negro units, also called The Negro Theatre Project (NTP), were set up in 23 cities throughout the United States. This short-lived (1935-1939) project provided much-needed employment and apprenticeships to hundreds of black actors, directors, theatre technicians, and playwrights. It was a major boost for African American theatre during the Depression era.
In 1890 Dr. Ida Gray Nelson Rollins became the first black woman to earn a doctor of dental surgery degree in the United States when she graduated from the University of Michigan. She opened her practice in Cincinnati, where she was able to serve all races, genders, and ages.