Other facts

Pontiac Black History 1825-1969

1820 - Federal Census of Oakland County listed family of Mr. John Wilson as the first black family in Oakland County.
1825Elizabeth Denison Forth, former slave, purchased land from Col. Stephen Mack, that is now bounded by Grandview on the north ; on the south by University Drive, on the west by Paddock Street and on the east by Montclair.
1861Newman African Methodist Episcopal Church founded as the first
black church.
1870 – Black voting with passage of the 15th Amendment.
1900 – Burton “China” Hughes played on Pontiac High School’s First Championship Football Team; graduated from Pontiac High.
1916 – Joseph Jones opened the first black dry-cleaning establishment in the basement of the Chapman Hotel.
1917 - Nellie Morton was the first black female to graduate from Pontiac High.
1920 - Dr. M.L. Spears came to Pontiac and was the first black physician.
1920 - The Pontiac branch of the NAACP was organized at the Newman A.M.E. Church with Reverend J.A. Charleston as the first black President.
1926 - Attorney Oliver Green served as our first black attorney in Pontiac.
1930 - Allen D. Noble and Edward Slater formed the Southwest Civic Community Center (it became the Urban League in 1949)
1939 - Allen D. Noble became the first black uniformed policeman. (There were two blacks hired before Noble, but they were not uniformed.)
1940 - Dr. Howard McNeill served as the first black City Commissioner.
1943 - Helen Hatchett held a non-medial job at the Riker Building as the first black Stenographer for the Oakland County Tuberculosis Society.
1944 - The Pontiac Challenger was established as the first black newspaper.
1946 - John F. Hatchett became the NAACP Youth Chapter President. He along with James McMillan and Henry Williams were able to open up bowling alleys, skating rinks and restaurants in Pontiac.
1947 - John F. Hatchett appointed as the first black lab assistant in the Chemistry Department at Pontiac High School, and was elected President of the Chemistry-Physics Club.
1947 - Bernice (Carpenter) Ferguson started the first Black Campfire Girls.
1957Rosemary Corr became the first black female supervisor at Pontiac General Hospital (currently known as North Oakland Medical Center).
1963Eleanor Mickens became the first black female Pontiac Police Officer
1963Elaine Eason transferred into the Medical Records Department at Pontiac General Hospital (currently known as North Oakland Medical Center) and became the first black female of that department.
1964 Hayes Jones won an Olympic Gold Medal in Tokyo for the 110 meter hurdles.
1965 – Harambee was formed to solve local problems in business and housing for blacks.
1966Elizabeth Ross became the first black dietitian at Clinton Valley.
1968Black Cultural Center was opened on Sanford Street.
1968 Newman Non-Profit Housing Board of Directors was formed.
1969Richard Craig was named the first black Personnel Director of the Pontiac School District.

Other Black History Facts


On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama became the first African American President of the United States of America http://www.biography.com/people/barack-obama-12782369

Marian Anderson was the first African American soloist in 1955 at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC. http://www.biography.com/people/marian-anderson-9184422

Harriet Tubman escaped slavery and led hundreds of other slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad. She also became a spy for the Union Army http://www.biography.com/people/harriet-tubman-9511430

William Christopher Handy became known as the "Father of the Blues". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._C._Handy

Phillis Wheatley is known as the first published African American poet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phillis_Wheatley 

Booker T. Washington was an African American educator who believed in uplifting yourself through education and economic advancement. http://www.bartleby.com/1004/

Lewis H. Latimer was the only African American member of Thomas A. Edison's team of scientists. He helped pave the way in the development of the electric light bulb. http://www.energyquest.ca.gov/scientists/latimer.html

Andrew J. Beard invented the rotary engine on July 5, 1892. http://blackinventor.com/andrew-beard/

Granville T. Woods invented the overhead conducting system  for the electric railway. http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blwoods.htm

Guion S. Bluford, Jr. was the first African American in space. http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/bluford-gs.html

Frederick D. Gregory was the first African American space shuttle commander. http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/gregory-fd.html

Bernard A. Harris, Jr. was the first African American to walk in space. http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/harris.html

Elijah McCoy invented an automatic oiling device that allowed machines to be lubricated while they were still in use. Some say that this is where the expression "the real McCoy" originated. http://www.biography.com/people/elijah-mccoy-9391300

Garrett Augustus Morgan invented the automatic traffic signal, as well as, the gas mask used by soldiers in World War I and by firemen in the early 1900's. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garrett_A._Morgan

Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Congress. http://www.biography.com/people/shirley-chisholm-9247015#personal-life-and-legacy

Maya Angelou is a world famous poet, historian, author, singer and civil rights activist. She is both a Grammy and Horatio Alger award winner. http://www.biography.com/people/maya-angelou-9185388

Sojourner Truth was a true force in the abolitionist movement, as well as, a preacher. She added the women's rights movement to her cause in 1859. http://www.biography.com/people/sojourner-truth-9511284

George Washington Carver discovered hundreds of new uses for crops such as the peanut. In addition, he developed methods of crop rotation that conserved nutrients in the soil. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa041897.htm

Jan Ernst Matzeliger invented a machine to make shoes that lasted in 1883. http://www.biography.com/people/jan-matzeliger-21317107#invention-of-the-lasting-machine

Crispus Attucks is remembered as one of the first men to lose his life for the cause of American independence at the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part2/2p24.html