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.
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.
María Irene Fornés is one of the most influential Latina playwrights in the United States. Her career spans over forty years of excellence as a playwright, director, and teacher from the 1960's to the early twenty-first century. She has written over forty plays and has received numerous awards.
Carlos Juan Finlay, a Cuban-American epidemiologist who discovered that yellow fever is transmitted from infected to healthy humans by a mosquito. Although he published experimental evidence of this discovery in 1886, his ideas were ignored for 20 years.
Because they were forbidden from owning land, intermarrying with Whites, owning homes, working in many occupations, getting an education, and living in certain parts of the city or entire cities, the Chinese basically had no other choice but to retreat into their own isolated communities as a matter of survival.
Cathay Williams was born to an enslaved mother and a free father in Independence, Missouri in 1844. During her adolescence, she worked as a house slave on the Johnson plantation on the outskirts of Jefferson City, Missouri. In 1861, Union forces occupied Jefferson City during the early stages of the Civil War. At this time, captured slaves were officially designated as contraband and were forced to serve in military support roles such as cooks, laundresses, or nurses. Before her voluntary enlistment, at just 17 years old, Williams served as an Army cook and a washerwoman. In this role, she accompanied the infantry all over the country. Williams served under the service of General Philip Sheridan and witnessed the Red River Campaign and the Battle of Pea Ridge.
Nancy Lopez was the most celebrated player in women's golf in the decade after her rookie year in 1978. She began playing golf as a young girl and was an accomplished amateur before starting her professional career while a sophomore at Tulsa University in Oklahoma. Lopez was named Player of the Year by the Ladies Professional Golf Association four times (1978-79, 1985 and 1988) and was inducted into the Hall of Fame when she was only 30 years old (1987). The greatest female golfer of her generation, she was also known for her cheerful persona on the course.
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.
A water feature found in the Maya city of Palenque, Mexico, is the earliest known example of engineered water pressure in the new world, according to a collaboration between two Penn State researchers, an archaeologist and a hydrologist.
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.
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.
José Mariano Hernández or Joseph Marion Hernández was an American politician, plantation owner, and soldier. He was the first delegate from the Florida Territory and the first Hispanic American to serve in the United States Congress.
In May 1968, the Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA) was first formed at the University of California at Berkeley. Graduate student Yuji Ichioka and his Emma Gee sought to create the campus’ first pan-Asian American political organization. They were the first group to call itself Asian-American, a term proposed by Ichioka. With its inception in the context of the African American Civil Rights Movement the Black Panther Party and the Vietnam War, AAPA reflected the struggle that Asian Americans faced in coming to terms with their identities as members of the United States.
George Henry White, lawyer, legislator, congressman, and racial spokesman was born near Rosindale in Bladen County North Carolina, the son of Wiley F. and Mary White. It is possible that he was born into slavery, although the evidence on this is contradictory. He did attend public schools in North Carolina and received training under D. P. Allen, president of the Whitten Normal School in Lumberton. In 1876 he was an assistant in charge of the exhibition mounted by the U.S. Coast Survey at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. After graduation from Howard University in 1877, he was principal of the Colored Grade School, the Presbyterian parochial school, and the State Normal School in New Bern. He studied law under Judge William J. Clarke and received a license to practice in North Carolina in 1879.
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.
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.