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African American History and Women - Timeline 1950-1959

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• Gwendolyn Brooks became the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize (for Annie Allen)

• Althea Gibson became the first African American to play at Wimbledon

• Juanita Hall became the first African American to win a Tony Award, for playing Bloody Mary in South Pacific

• (January 16) Debbie Allen born (choreographer, actor, director, producer)

• (February 2) Natalie Cole born (singer; daughter of Nat King Cole)

• (July 15) Mary White Ovington died (social worker, reformer, NAACP founder)

• Linda Browns father sues the Topeka, Kansas, school board because she has to travel by bus to a school for African American children, when she could walk to the segregated school for white children only.  This becomes the Brown v. Board of Education landmark civil rights case.

(September) Autherine Juanita Lucy and Pollie Myers apply to the University of Alabama, and are accepted. Their acceptances were rescinded when the University discovered they were not white. They took the case to court, and it took three years to resolve the case.

• Norma Sklarek became the first African American woman licensed as an architect

• Dorothy Dandridge was the first African Amerian woman nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, for playing the lead role in Carmen Jones

• (January 29) Oprah Winfrey born (first African American woman billionaire, first African American woman to host a nationally syndicated talk show)

• (September 22) Shari Belafonte-Harper born (actress)

• (May 17) in Brown v. Board of Education, Supreme Court ordered schools desegregate with all deliberate speed -- finds separate but equal public facilities to be unconstitutional

• (July 24) Mary Church Terrell died (activist, clubwoman)

• (May 18) Mary McLeod Bethune died

• (July) Rosa Parks attended a workshop at the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee, learning effective tools for civil rights organizing

• (August 28) Emmett Till, 14 years old, is killed by a white mob in Mississippi, accused of whistling at a white woman

• (December 1) Rosa Parks

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