Happy Black History Month!
Did you know that many famous black icons are Aquarians?
Aquarius people are born between January 21st and February 19th and are Air signs. Air signs are analytical, objective creative, and clever. Aquarius is ruled by the planet Uranus, which rules disruption, change, and unconventionality. They are assertive, they make up their mind and stick to it. Innovative and unique, they are humanitarians with a deep sense of justice and fairness. “They will not compromise their ideals, morals, or need for freedom for anyone else”.
Here are some black figures throughout history who just so happen to be Aquarians.
- Born Feb. 4, 1913
- Was a leader in the civil rights movement. Arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama, on Dec. 5th, 1955. Her actions led to the organized Montgomery Bus Boycott, led by Martin Luther King Jr. The bus boycott lasted until bus segregation was made unconstitutional, more than a year later.
Rosa Parks' mugshot after being arrested for not giving up her seat on a bus to a white man
- Became chapter secretary of the Montgomery NAACP in the 1940s.
- In 1987, she co-founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development, to serve Detroit’s youth.
- In 1999, Parks was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor the United States bestows on a civilian.
With Bill Clinton after being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
12th St. in Detroit, Michigan was renamed Rosa Parks Blvd.
- When she died at age 92 on October 24, 2005, she became the first woman in the nation’s history to lie in honor at the U.S. Capitol.
Harriet Tubman's young portrait
- An escaped slave turned abolitionist who led countless others to freedom via the underground railroad.
- Born March, 1822
- Tubman helped the northern states Union Army during the Civil War by working as a nurse, cook, and spy. She was the first woman to lead an armed crusade. She guided the Combahee River Raid, which freed more than 700 slaves in South Carolina.
- The U.S. Treasury stated that Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. In 2019, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, delayed the process until 2026, but in 2020 Biden has called to speed up the process.
A concept design for the Harriet Tubman $20 bill
- “Between 1850 and 1860, Tubman made 19 trips from the South to the North following the network known as the Underground Railroad. She guided more than 300 people, including her parents and several siblings, from slavery to freedom, earning the nickname “Moses” for her leadership”.
Harriet Tubman Memorial Statue features the faces of slaves she freed, coming out of roots
- The abolitionist and former slave, Frederick Douglas’s house, was a stop for Tubman and her friends in the underground railroad.
In 1978 Cicely Tyson played her in the film, A Woman Called Moses. The film Harriet, released in 2019, tells her life story as a fearless war commander and abolitionist.
- Like Harriet Tubman, Douglas was also an escaped slave. He went on to become an abolitionist, writer, and activist.
- While his birthdate is unknown, he chose to celebrate on Feb. 14th, Valentines Day.
- After learning the alphabet from a plantation owner’s wife, he taught himself how to read and write as a child. He then taught other slaves using the Bible.
- After his marriage in 1838, his family moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts where he attended Abolitionist meetings where he heard the writings of abolitionist and journalist William Lloyd Garrison. Garrison inspired Douglas to share his story.
- Douglas wrote several autobiographies including, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom, and Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.
- In 1847 he published an abolitionist newsletter, The North Star. During this time he became an advocate for women’s rights and later included it in his newsletter. He was the only African American who attended the Seneca Falls Convention, a women’s activist convention, in New York in 1848.
- In 1852, he delivered another of his more famous speeches, one that later came to be called “What to a slave is the 4th of July?”
“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: … your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; … [they] are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.”
- He criticized Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 because it didn’t give freed slaves the right to vote, despite their help in the Civil War.
- In 1888, he became the first African American to receive a vote for President of the United States, during the Republican National Convention. Ultimately, Benjamin Harrison received the party nomination.
- The first Black Major League Baseball player for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
- Born on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia.
- Robinson attended UCLA and was the first student to win varsity letters in 4 sports.
- From 1942 - 1944 he was a second Lieutenant in the U.S. army.
- Like Rosa Parks, he was arrested for refusing to give up his seat on a bus in 1944, in Fort Hood, Texas. Because of his reputation, the charges were acquitted.
- While playing baseball on the all black teams, he was scouted by Branch Rickey, president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and chosen to integrate the team. After a successful year, he officially joined the team. Robinson played his first game at Ebbets Field for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.
- Named Rookie of the Year in 1947, National League MVP in 1949, and won the World Series in 1955.
- Helped establish the African American-owned Freedom Bank.
- In 1952, he publicly called out the New York Yankees as a racist organization for not having broken the color barrier five years after he began playing with the Dodgers.
- In 1962, Robinson was the first African American to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In honor of his legacy, in 1972 the Dodgers retired his jersey number of 42.
- After Robinson’s death in 1972, his wife Rachel established the Jackie Robinson Foundation dedicated to honoring his life and work. The foundation helps young people in need by providing scholarships and mentoring programs.
- In 1950 he starred in the film about his life, The Jackie Robinson Story (free on YouTube). In 2013, Chadwick Boseman played him in 42.
- Wrote The Color Purple (1982).
- Born February 9, 1944, in Eaton, Georgia.
- Graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1965, then moved to Mississippi where she was involved in the Civil Rights Movement, was a teacher, and began publishing short stories and essays.
- Walker has penned numerous novels and short stories. Some of her titles include, In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Woman (1973), which illustrates violence faced by women in the black community. Her novel Meridian (1976), depicts coming of age stories during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
- The Color Purple was written in 1982, through letters, tells the story of an African American woman between 1909 and 1947 in Georgia.
- The Color Purple won a Pulitzer Prize, was adapted into a Steven Spielberg film in 1985, and Oprah Winfrey and Quincy Jones produced a musical version in 2004.
Still from The Color Purple (1985)
The Color Purple musical adaptation
- Alice Walker focuses many of her novels on women's rights issues, female empowerment, and gender as a whole.
- Born February 1, 1902 in Joplin Missouri.
- After spending a year in Mexico then attending Columbia University, he later graduated from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.
- His first novel, Not Without Laughter won the Harmon Gold Medal for literature in 1930.
- From the 1920s through the 1960s, his writings tell black stories and culture through a personal lens, written for a black audience.
- Hughes was among the first to use jazz rhythms and dialect to illustrate the life of urban Black people in his work, what’s now known as jazz poetry. He also wrote a children's book called The First Book of Jazz (1955).
“But jazz to me is one of the inherent expressions of Negro life in America; the eternal tom-tom beating in the Negro soul—the tom-tom of revolt against weariness in a white world, a world of subway trains, and work, work, work; the tom-tom of joy and laughter, and pain swallowed in a smile.”
- From, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” (1962)
- Hughes was rumored to be gay. Unfortunately, due to the taboo surrounding homosexuality at the time, he was never out publicly. If the rumors are true, he serves as a pioneer for black LGBTQIA+ creatives.
- Hughes' home, on 20 East East 127th Street in Harlem, received New York City Landmark status in 1981. In his memory, East 127th Street has been renamed “Langston Hughes Place.”
Langston Hughes Place on E. 127th St.
- Grammy Award winning artist best known for her song, “At Last” (1960).
At Last Album Cover
- Jamesetta Hawkins was born January 25th, 1938, in Los Angeles, California.
- James got her start singing in the church choir. Later, at just 12 years old she was in a group called the Creolettes. They got the attention of Johnny Otis, who they started working under. The Creolettes became The Peaches and thus her stage name, Etta James (her first name shortened) was born. Not long after, James went solo. Their song “Roll With Me Henry”, a response to Hank Ballard’s “Work With Me Annie” was renamed “Wallflower” and became a hit in 1955.
- In her solo career she fused R&B with jazz, melded together with her signature vocals. Her first hit singles include, “All I Could Do Was Cry,” “My Dearest Darling,” and “Trust in Me”.
- After a rocky era in her personal life facing drug addiction and abusing partners, and fighting to get paid her royalties, her career had a resurgence in the late 1960s. James adopted a more grittier sound, debuting the hits, “I’d Rather Go Blind” and “Tell Mama”.
- In 1993 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A year later she recorded a tribute album to Billie Holiday called, Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday, which won James a Grammy.
- In 2008, Beyoncé played her in the film, Cadillac Records, and performed her single, “At Last”, and performed it for the Obamas at the Inaugural Ball in 2009.
Beyoncé playing Etta James in Cadillac Records
Do you know of any more iconic black Aquarians? If so, let us know in the comments!