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Black History Makers

Published as part of the February 13, 2013 edition. Last updated February 19, 2013.

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Cartoonist Wardell "War" Brown recently completed his 365 Days of the Black Hero project in which he posted a cartoon portrait every day of the year throughout 2012.

"I wanted to show the depth, breadth and variety of black people's positive contributions to history, science, literature, sports, and pop culture,"stated Wardell on his blog at wardellb.wordpress.com. Visitors to his blog can view the entire project, which includes many heroic fictional characters as well as real life pioneers, with links to biographical information.

Brown is a freelance cartoonist and comic book artist working out of San Diego. Greatly influenced by 1960s advertising cartoons Brown's style has been called neo-retro, meaning a contemporary take of classic cartoons styles. Brown uses vector computer programs to create sharp graphics with vivid colors for use in print and web media.

Find more of his work at www.wardellbrown.com.


  1. Phillis Wheatley (May 8, 1753 ? December 5, 1784) was the first African-American poet and first African-American woman to publish a book.
  2. Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman (January 26, 1892 ? April 30, 1926) was an American civil aviator. She was the first female pilot of African American descent and the first person of African American descent to hold an international pilot license.
  3. Matthew Alexander Henson (August 8, 1866 ? March 9, 1955) was an African American explorer and associate of Robert Peary on various expeditions, the most famous being a 1909 expedition during which he may have been the first person to reach the Geographic North Pole.
  4. Bass Reeves (July 1838 ? January 12, 1910) was one of the first African Americans (possibly the first) to receive a commission as a deputy U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi River.
  5. The Reverend Dr. Anna Pauline (Pauli) Murray (November 20, 1910 ? July 1, 1985) was an American civil rights activist, women's rights activist, lawyer, and author. She was also the first black woman ordained as an Episcopalian priest.
  6. Ruby Nell Bridges Hall (born September 8, 1954) is known as the first black child to attend an allwhite elementary school in the South. 
  7. John Arthur ("Jack") Johnson (March 31, 1878 ? June 10, 1946), nicknamed the "Galveston Giant," was an American boxer. At the height of the Jim Crow era, Johnson became the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion (1908?1915).


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