Feb: Celebrating Black History Month

Feb is devoted to honoring the important roles African-Americans have played in the history of the US. That's why Lincoln is proud to celebrate African American individuals and groups throughout Black History Month.

These lesser known facts were compiled by Lincoln's Afrikan Self-Care Committee. Our hope is to shine a light on the cultural pride and societal contributions of people of African descent in the US and beyond as a celebration of the Black community many Lincoln staff are a part of, and ALL Lincoln staff serve.


Wed | Feb 1 | The McClymonds Warriors

On December 19th, 2016, McClymonds High School competed for the CIF state championship crown in the 5-A finals against La Jolla-Country Day in Southern California and WON! It was not only a historic first for the West Oakland School but no other football team in the Oakland Athletic League had ever made it that far. GO WARRIORS!

Thur | Feb 2 | Allyson Felix


Native Californian and Olympian Allyson Felix is a four-time recipient of the Jesse Owens Award from USATF signifying the Athlete of the Year. She won the award for the first time in 2005, and then again in 2007, 2010 and 2012. She is only the second woman (after Marion Jones) to win the award three times. Felix also won the IAAF female athlete of the year in 2012. Felix is the only female track and field athlete to ever win six Olympic gold medals, and is tied with Jamaica’s Merlene Ottey as the most decorated female Olympian in track and field history, with a total of nine Olympic medals.

Fri | Feb 3 | Marc Hannah


In 1982, electrical engineer and computer graphics designer Marc Regis Hannah co-founded Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI) with Jim Clark and five others, a company that went on to be well-known for its computer graphics technology. In 1986, he was named the company’s principal scientist for the creation of computer programs like Personal IRIS, Indigo, Indigo2, and Indy graphics that were used to create effects for movies like Jurassic Park, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Hunt for Red October, and Field of Dreams. George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic used Silicon Graphics’ technology to create Terminator 2. Hannah’s programs have also been used to create television commercials and the opening introduction for Monday Night Football. In addition, the company’s technology was used in engineering, research, and for military applications. Hannah is a partial owner of Rondeau Bay, a construction company in Oakland, California.

Mon | Feb 6 | Mikaila Ulmer

When 12 year old Mikaila was just four, her family encouraged her to make a product for a Children's business competition (the Acton Children’s Business Fair) and Austin Lemonade Day. While she was planning her entry, two big events happened.  She was stung by a bee. Twice. Then her Great Granny Helen sent the family a 1940's cookbook, which included her special recipe for Flaxseed Lemonade.  Though Mikaila was scared by the bee stings she became fascinated with bees. She learned all about what they do for our ecosystem.  That's how Me & the Bees Lemonade was born.  Year-after-year, Mikaila, sells-out of her Me & the Bees Lemonade at youth entrepreneurial events while donating a percentage of the profits from the sale of her lemonade to local and international organizations fighting hard to save the honeybees. Today, the award-winning Me & the Bees Lemonade is buzzing off the shelves of Whole Foods Market and available at a growing number of restaurants, food trailers and natural food delivery companies. 

Tue | Feb 7 | Vivien Theodore Thomas

Vivien Theodore Thomas (August 29, 1910 – November 26, 1985) was an African-American surgical technician who developed the procedures used to treat ‘blue baby syndrome’ in the 1940s. He served as supervisor of the surgical laboratories at Johns Hopkins for 35 years. In 1976 Hopkins awarded him an honorary doctorate and named him an instructor of surgery for the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Without any education past high school, Thomas rose above poverty and racism to become a cardiac surgery pioneer and a teacher of operative techniques to many of the country's most prominent surgeons. Check out the film based on his life entitled Something the Lord Made which premiered on HBO in 2004.

Wed | Feb 8 | Alice Coachman


Alice Marie Coachman (November 9, 1923 – July 14, 2014) the first Black woman to win an Olympic gold medal in London in 1948. Her athletic career began in 1939  when she joined the Tuskegee Preparatory School at the age of 16 after being offered a scholarship. Coachman went on to graduate with a degree in dressmaking from Tuskegee in 1946. The following year she continued her studies at Albany State College, receiving a B.A. in home economics with a minor in science in 1949 and becoming a teacher. Coachman's athletic career ended when she was 24. She dedicated the rest of her life to education and to the Job Corps.

Thu | Feb 9 | Bryant Terry

Bryant Terry is an eco-chef, food justice activist, and author. He was a Food and Society Policy Fellow, a national program of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, from 2008 to 2010. Terry's writing and recipes have been featured in Gourmet, Food and Wine, The New York Times Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, Vibe, Domino, and Mothering. His most recent book is Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed, which was published in April 2014. Terry is a consultant for the Bioneers Conference. He is the Ambassador at Large of the People’s Grocery, and he consults for other not-for-profit organizations as well as corporations. He resides in Oakland with his wife and children.

Fri | Feb 10 | Quvenzhané Wallis

Quvenzhané Wallis (born August 28, 2003) is a child actress known for her role as Hushpuppy in the drama film Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012). On January 10, 2013, at age nine, Wallis became the Academy Awards' youngest nominee for Best Actress and third youngest in all categories; she was just six during the movie’s filming. Wallis is the first African-American child actor to earn an Oscar nomination. She is also the first person born in the 21st century to receive an Academy Award nomination. In 2014, Wallis starred in the Annie remake, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical. She was also featured in Beyoncé's short film Lemonade, appearing in the music video "Formation" in 2016.

Mon | Feb 13 | Aviator Isaiah Cooper

On July 20, 2016, 16 year old Isaiah Cooper of Compton, California, became the youngest Black pilot in history to cross the continental U.S. in a single 8,000 mile trip that lasted nearly two weeks. Isaiah was accompanied by his flight instructor. Next, Cooper plans to become the youngest pilot to fly around the world. His GoFundMe page for the journey explains his motivation and passion for aviation, "I began attending an aviation youth program in Compton at Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum (TAM) when I was 5 years old. But as I got older, I began hanging with the wrong crowd, doing seriously self destructive things. Realizing that this was not how I wanted to live my life, I returned to TAM. My main goal is to become a productive young man with a future in aviation, and not a statistic."

The record for youngest pilot to fly around the world is currently held by Matt Guthmiller of South Dakota, who was 19-years-old when he flew around the globe. Cooper will be 18 when he embarks on the trip.

Tue | Feb 14 | Ruby Dee & Ossie Davis

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Power couple, Dee and Davis met in 1945 at an audition for a play and were immediately inseparable. Three years later, Ossie proposed via telegram and they were married in New Jersey later that year. During their parallel careers, the actors shared billing in 11 stage productions and 5 movies. As activists, the couple used their fame and platform to advance the civil rights movement. In 1999, the couple was arrested together while protesting the murder ofunarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo. They were friends and allies of both Dr. King and Malcom X, with Rudy Dee speaking at both men's funerals. In 1995 the pair were each awarded the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists and art patrons by the President.  Ossie passed away at 87 years old in 1995 and Ruby passed at her NY home in 2014 at the esteemed age of 91. The couple are survived by three children and seven grandchildren.

Wed | Feb 15 | Bibliophile Marley Dias

In fifth grade, 11 year old Marley Dias decided she had grown tired of reading books about "white boys and their dogs." Nothing against "Where the Red Fern Grows," she said, but surely there are books about black girls to which she could relate."My mom asked me, 'What are you going to do about it?'’ and I told her I was going to start a book drive."…"Whenever you see a character you identify with, you carry it with you and it inspires you," Marley said. "I want to introduce girls like me to books that will inspire them." After starting sixth grade in the fall of 2015, Marley decided the time had come to make her idea a reality. Marley launched #1000BlackGirlBooks to raise awareness of books featuring black girls and other people of color as protagonists. Marley launched the campaign through GrassROOTS Community Foundation, a nonprofit founded by her mother, Janice Johnson Dias, and Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter of the Grammy Award-winning hip hop band The Roots. "The interest and support has been incredible," Janice Johnson Dias said. "As a parent, it's been great to watch her step into the spotlight and articulate her goals."

Before the campaign, Marley's favorite book featuring a black main character was "Chains" by Laurie Halse Anderson, the story of a slave's fight for freedom during the American Revolution. Now, she has hundreds of titles from which to choose.

Thu | Feb 16 | Historian Ivan Van Sertima

Guyanese historian and author Ivan Van Sertima was born in Kitty Village, near Georgetown, Guyana, when Guyana was still a British colony; he retained his British citizenship throughout his life. He attended the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London and completed his undergraduate studies in African languages and literature at SOAS in 1969, where he graduated with honors. In 1970 Van Sertima immigrated to the United States, where he entered Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, for graduate work. He published They Came Before Columbus in 1976, as a Rutgers graduate student. The book outlines theAfrican origin of Mesoamerican culture in the Western Hemisphere. Van Sertima became Associate Professor of African Studies at Rutgers in the Department of Africana Studies in 1979. That same year, he founded the Journal of African Civilizations, which he exclusively edited and published for decades. On 7 July 1987, Van Sertima testified before a United States Congressional committee to oppose recognition of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's "discovery" of the Americas. He said, "You cannot really conceive of how insulting it is to Native Americans...to be told they were discovered".

Fri | Feb 17 | Teri L. Jackson

Superior Court Judge and USF Adjunct Professor Teri L. Jackson is the first African-American woman to serve as a superior court judge in San Francisco.  In 2008, she was selected by the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court to sit in Riverside County on a special Criminal Backlog Reduction Task Force, which resolved more than one thousand backlogged criminal cases in one year. She also served as an advisory member and then voting member of the Judicial Council. She received the Madam C.J. Walker Pioneer Award in 2008, recognition from the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. in 2007, and the A. Philip Randolph Institute Roseina Tucker Award in 2006. In 2016, Jackson was elected to serve as the Presiding Judge for San Francisco Superior Court beginning January 2017. Judge Jackson is also the court’s first female African American judge to serve as Presiding Judge.

Tue | Feb 21 | Professor Ronald Duncan

Born in Panama in 1937, Professor Ronald Duncan was boxing at the age of seven. Growing up in an area where all the elite forces of that nation were being taught Jungle Warfare, Professor Duncan learned at a very early age to read the signs of nature for directions in and out of the Jungle. It was the start of a long and very involved career in phases of the martial arts few ever dare to explore. Since those days, Professor Duncan earned a BlackBelt in Hakko Ryu Ju Jitsu, Dainippon 5Ju Jitsu, Nippon Sosusitti Ryu, Kin Dai Gakko, Kodokan Judo, Aikido, Aiki-jitsu, Kempo, Chi-chi-su, Kobujitsu, and Shinobino-jitsu (popularly known as Ninjitsu). His teachers were all legendary masters; Charlie Neal, Earnie Cates, Tatsuo Uzaki, and Donn Draeger.  Professor Duncan passed away in 2012. He is considered the Father of American Ninjitsu and the first Black American Ninja.

Wed | Feb 22 | El Coronel Amelio Robles Avila

Amelio Robles Avila was a colonel during the Mexican Revolution. He was born a woman with the name of Amelia Robles Ávila on November 3, 1889 in Xochipala, Guerrero. His father was named Casimiro Robles and his mother Josefa Ávila. His father was a wealthy farmer who owned 42 acres of land and owned a small Mezcal factory. Amelia and his siblings was raised in the Catholic religion. Amelia helped in forming part of the Society for Mary’s daughters. Amelio studied up until the fourth grade at the school for young ladies in Chilpancingo. From a young age Amelio showed an interest in activities that weren't the norm for women at his age, learning to ride and tame horses and handling weapons. Even before joining the army, he was treasurer in a Maderistas club in Xochipala, which was suspected to have been formally started after the fall of Porfirio Díaz. Toward the end of Robles's long life, he received various decorations acknowledging distinguished military service: a decoration as a veteran of the Mexican Revolution and the Legion of Honor of the Mexican Army. In 1973, Robles received the title of Mérito revolutionario.

Thu | Feb 23 | Dr. Jalaal Hayes

Dr. Jalaal Hayes made history in 2015 after becoming the youngest person to earn a Ph.D from Delaware State University at the age of 22. As the son of two librarians, the North Philadelphia native was probably expected to be an excellent student but has surpassed those expectations with his academic feats. Hayes successfully defended his dissertation titled, “Thermodynamic and Kinetic Studies of Alkali Metal Doped-Lithium Amide-Magnesium Hydride Hydrogen Storage System,” and received his doctorate degree in December 2015. Delaware State, a HBCU, began awarding doctorates in 2004. Today, Hayes teaches anatomy and physiology at the Universal Audenried Charter High School in Philadelphia.

Fri | Feb 24 | Janet Collins


Prima Ballerina Janet Collins was the first and only African American to become Prima Ballerina at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. That was over 60 years ago and she alone today still holds that accomplishment. Just as Jackie Robinson broke the color barriers of baseball, Janet Collins broke the toughest barrier in the all-white world of classical ballet. Yet she still remains virtually unknown. Janet Collins was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and at the age of four moved with her family to Los Angeles, California,[2] where Collins received her first dance training at a Catholic community center. She studied primarily with Carmelita Maracci, Lester Horton, and Adolph Bolm, who were among the few ballet teachers who accepted black students. At age 15, in 1932, she managed to gain entrance to an audition for The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, she enchanted the master Leonide Massine. He told her she can enter the company but only“…if you paint your face and body white.”  Janet refused. The years of segregation gave her many more obstacles, but with her unmatched talent, and love and support of her family and friends, Janet persevered.  It took dozens of years, but she finally reached her dream and the Metropolitan stage.

Tue | Feb 28 | Opal Tometi

New York-based Nigerian-American writer, strategist and community organizer, Opal Tometi is one of three co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement. She is the Executive Director at BAJI (Black Alliance for Just Immigration) which was founded in April 2006 to respond to anti-immigrant sentiment and repressive immigration bills under consideration by Congress. Tometi collaborates with staff and communities in Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York, Oakland, Washington D.C. and communities throughout the Southern states and her work has been published by The Huffington Post.

Prior to becoming Executive Director of BAJI, Opal worked as Co-Director and Communications Director. Her contributions include leading organizing efforts for the first ever Black-led rally for immigrant justice and the first Congressional briefing on Black immigrants in Washington DC. Tometi herself is the daughter of Nigerian immigrants and the oldest of three children.She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and a Masters of Arts degree in communication and advocacy from the University of Arizona. Opal is a former Case Manager for survivors of domestic violence and still provides community education on the issue.