Posted in Black History

Four-star General Larry R. Ellis

Larry R. Ellis served as a general in the United States military from 1969 to 2004. Ellis was the highest-ranking officer of African ancestry in the U.S. Army as of his retirement in 2004 and was the fourth black individual to become a four-star general. 

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Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Regina Marcia Benjamin

Dr. Regina Marcia Benjamin, nominee by former President Barack Obama for Surgeon General of the United States. She is an accomplished physician whose professional and personal roots are planted deeply in rural America. Dr. Benjamin was nominated for the post by the President on July 13, 2009, and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 29, 2009.

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Rear Admiral Evelyn J. Fields

Through her work in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Evelyn J. Fields has broken barriers for women, African Americans, and African American women.  Born January 29, 1949, in Norfolk, Virginia, Fields attended Booker T. Washington High School and then graduated from Norfolk State College in 1971 with a mathematics degree.

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Brigadier General Julia Jeter Cleckley

Julia Jeter Cleckley was the first African American female General in the U.S. Army National Guard. Cleckley spent twenty-eight years in the active Army National Guard, rising in the ranks and breaking barriers. She was the first person of color in many positions throughout her career, including the first African American woman to be promoted to the rank of Colonel in the Army National Guard’s Active Reserve Program, and the first woman of color to be named Chief, Human Resource Officer for the Army National Guard.

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Major General Marcelite J. Harris

Major General Marcelite J. Harris of the U.S. Air Force was born on January 16, 1943, in Houston, Texas to Cecil O’Neal Jordan and Marcelite Terrill Jordan, Harris grew up in Houston and graduated from Kashmere High School in 1960 before enrolling at Spelman College where she earned a bachelors in speech in drama in 1964. She also holds a 1989 bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Maryland.

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First Woman/First Black Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders

Joycelyn Elders, the former United States Surgeon General was born Minnie Lee Jones in Schaal, Arkansas on August 13, 1933, to Curtis and Hailer Jones; she added the name Joycelyn when she was in college.

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3-star General Stayce D. Harris

Stayce D. Harris is the first African American woman to hold a three-star General rank, first Air Force Reservist to be promoted to the three-star rank other than the chief of the Air Force Reserve Command, and the first African American woman to serve as Inspector General of the Air Force, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force in Washington, D.C.

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16th Street Baptist Church Bombing (1963)

The 16th Street Baptist was a large and prominent church located downtown, just blocks from Birmingham’s commercial district and City Hall. Just before 11 o’clock on September 15, 1963, instead of rising to begin prayers, the congregation was knocked to the ground. As a bomb exploded under the steps of the church, they sought safety under the pews and shielded each other from falling debris.

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