This week, join us as we celebrate Journalists and Authors in Black History.
Stuart Orlando Scott (July 19, 1965 – January 4, 2015) was an American sportscaster and anchor on ESPN, most notably on SportsCenter. Well-known for his hip-hop style and use of catchphrases, Scott was also a regular for the network in its National Basketball Association and the National Football League coverage. He began his career with various local television stations before joining ESPN in 1993. Although there were already accomplished African-American sportscasters, his blending of hip hop with sportscasting was unique for television. By 2008, he was a staple in ESPN’s programming, and also began on ABC as lead host for their coverage of the NBA.
Festus Claudius “Claude” McKay (September 15, 1889 – May 22, 1948) was a Jamaican-American writer and poet, who was a seminal figure in the Harlem Renaissance. He wrote four novels and also authored collections of poetry, a collection of short stories, two autobiographical books, and a non-fiction, socio-historical treatise entitled Harlem: Negro Metropolis (1940). His 1922 poetry collection, Harlem Shadows, was among the first books published during the Harlem Renaissance. His Selected Poems was published posthumously, in 1953.
Lorraine Vivian Hansberry (May 19, 1930 – January 12, 1965) was an American playwright and writer. Hansberry inspired Nina Simone’s song “To Be Young, Gifted and Black.” She was the first black woman to write a play performed on Broadway. Her best known work, the play A Raisin in the Sun, highlights the lives of Black Americans living under racial segregation in Chicago. After she moved to New York City, Hansberry worked at the Pan-Africanist newspaper Freedom. Much of her work during this time concerned the African struggle for liberation and their impact on the world.
Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753 – December 5, 1784) was the first published African-American female poet. Born in West Africa, she was sold into slavery at the age of seven and transported to North America. She was purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write, and encouraged her poetry when they saw her talent. The publication of her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773) brought her fame both in England and the American colonies.
Ida Bell Wells-Barnett (July 16, 1862 – March 25, 1931), more commonly known as Ida B. Wells, was an African-American journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, sociologist, Georgist, and an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement. She documented lynching in the United States, showing that it was often used as a way to control or punish blacks who competed with whites, rather than being based on criminal acts by blacks, as was usually claimed by white mobs. She was active in women’s rights and the women’s suffrage movement, establishing several notable women’s organizations. Wells was a skilled and persuasive rhetorician and traveled internationally on lecture tours.