Black Facts for August 19th

1993 - Maynard, Robert C. (1937-1993)

Robert C. Maynard, the first African American editor and owner of a major daily newspaper in the United States, was known as a trailblazing journalist who led efforts to desegregate newsrooms and educate minority students to pursue careers in journalism.

Maynard was born in 1937 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York. He dropped out of high school when he was 16 to work as a freelance writer for newspapers including the black weekly, The New York Age. He landed his first journalism job in 1961, when he joined The York Gazette and Daily in York, Pennsylvania. Five years later, he received a prestigious Nieman fellowship to Harvard University then served as a national correspondent, ombudsman, and editorial writer for The Washington Post.

In 1979, Maynard became editor of The Oakland (California) Tribune, which had been called “the second worst newspaper in the United States.” But he quickly turned it around and purchased the paper in 1983, making him the first African American to own a major metropolitan newspaper. The Tribune subsequently won hundreds of awards, including a Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for its coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquake.

Maynard also received dozens of awards, including eight honorary doctorates and the Elijah Parish Lovejoy award, named for the abolitionist who was killed by a pro-slavery mob in Illinois in 1837.

Despite being a high school dropout, Maynard stressed the importance of education and advised young people to stay in school. In 1977, he and his wife, Nancy Maynard, founded the nonprofit Institute for Journalism Education in Berkeley, California, renamed the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education after his death. The institute has trained and placed “more nonwhite journalists than any other single institution in the country.”

Maynard, 56, died of cancer at his home in Oakland in 1993. He was posthumously awarded The Freedom Forum’s highest honor, the Freedom Spirit Award, and $100,000, which went to his family to help sustain his vision of

Sports Facts

1989 - Lil' Romeo

Percy Romeo Miller Jr, or more commonly referred to as Lil’ Romeo, is a celebrated American personality. Born on August 19, 1989 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Miller is the son of Hip Hop star Master P.  He is not only an outstanding singer and rapper, but has become a successful actor, basketball player and entrepreneur at the mere age of 25. While Miller has been affiliated with a host of signing records, most notably No Limit Records, The New No Limit and Guttar Music, he has consistently released popular albums since the early 2000s. What sets this great rapper apart from others in the field is the fact that he is the youngest musician to hold the #1 slot on the Billboard 200 list, a feat previously held by the Michael Jackson.

Belonging to a well-acknowledged family of rappers and musicians, Miller rose to prominence in the early 2000s when he signed with No Limit Records and released a single by the name of “My Baby”. Such was the reception of this single that he landed at #1 on the Billboard 200, while also subsequently achieving Platinum status. This single was part of Miller’s first album, Lil’ Romeo (2001). The album landed the No. 6 slot on the Billboard 200 as well as acquiring the No. 5 place on another rating list, the Top R&B &Hip-Hop Albums. Miller’s debut album also managed to sell more than 200,000 copies in the first few weeks, eventually gaining Gold status. After signing on with another record label called New No Limit, Miller set out to release another spectacularly received album in 2002, called Game Time. While not coming close to the sales made by the previous album, Game Time charted at no. 33 on the Billboard 200 and No. 10 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. It also featured two songs, “2-way” and “True Love”, the former charting at no. 66 and the latter taking no.16 on the Hot Singles list. The same year, he also began his own TV show called Romeo!, which successively aired for 3 seasons. In 2003, Miller made his acting debut with a role in Honey, a dance film with lead roles taken by

1791 - Benjamin Banneker’s Letter to Thomas Jefferson (1791)

Benjamin Banneker’s Letter to Thomas Jefferson,

August 19, 1791


I AM fully sensible of the greatness of that freedom, which I take with you on the present occasion; a liberty which seemed to me scarcely allowable, when I reflected on that distinguished and dignified station in which you stand, and the almost general prejudice and prepossession, which is so prevalent in the world against those of my complexion.

I suppose it is a truth too well attested to you, to need a proof here, that we are a race of beings, who have long labored under the abuse and censure of the world; that we have long been looked upon with an eye of contempt; and that we have long been considered rather as brutish than human, and scarcely capable of mental endowments.

Sir, I hope I may safely admit, in consequence of that report which hath reached me, that you are a man far less inflexible in sentiments of this nature, than many others; that you are measurably friendly, and well disposed towards us; and that you are willing and ready to lend your aid and assistance to our relief, from those many distresses, and numerous calamities, to which we are reduced. Now Sir, if this is founded in truth, I apprehend you will embrace every opportunity, to eradicate that train of absurd and false ideas and opinions, which so generally prevails with respect to us; and that your sentiments are concurrent with mine, which are, that one universal Father hath given being to us all; and that he hath not only made us all of one flesh, but that he hath also, without partiality, afforded us all the same sensations and endowed us all with the same faculties; and that however variable we may be in society or religion, however diversified in situation or color, we are all of the same family, and stand in the same relation to him.

Sir, if these are sentiments of which you are fully persuaded, I hope you cannot but acknowledge, that it is the indispensible duty of those, who maintain for themselves the rights of human nature, and who possess the

2013 - Mathieu, Gail Dennise (1951?- )

Gail Dennise Mathieu, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, was appointed United States Ambassador to Niger by President George W. Bush in 2002. She remained in Niamey, the capital until 2005.  In 2007 President Bush appointed her United States Ambassador to Namibia. Between these appointments she was Director of the Office of Technical Specialized Agencies in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs. She assumed her current position of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Island Affairs on August 19, 2013.

A native of New Jersey, Ambassador Mathieu grew up in multi-cultural neighborhoods in Newark and Westfield. These experiences inspired a life-long interest in foreign countries and languages, and an appreciation of diverse points of view. She graduated from Antioch College in 1973 with a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies then went on to obtain a Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers University School of Law in 1976. She also attended The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She was an assistant prosecutor for the city of Newark, New Jersey and is a member of the New Jersey and District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) bars. She married Erick Mathieu and they have one son.

Mathieu joined the Foreign Service in 1978 and began her diplomatic career. She served as Deputy Office Director of West African Affairs from 1997-1999, and as the Deputy Director Pacific Islands Affairs from 1995-1997. Previously, she served as the U.S. Observer to UNESCO.  Her overseas assignments have taken her to U.S. Embassies and Missions in Geneva, Switzerland, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Paris, France, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, and Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic. Just before her appointment as Ambassador to Niger, Mathieu was Deputy Chief of Mission in Accra, Ghana where she oversaw all aspects of Embassy operations.

Mathieu served in Niger during a severe drought. Even in “normal” times two-thirds of the population lived on less than one

Science Facts

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