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Portraits of Black History Month

With so many faces and characters in the 1871 community, it's no wonder you'll never get the same answer twice to a question. For Black History Month, we spent some time with our members and asked them: What African American entrepreneur, innovator or inventor inspires you?

Our photographer Gregory Rothstein and Social Media Associate Lewis McKinney recorded their responses, and the result was a diverse and thoughtful set of answers. If you're not already following along, check our Instagram and Facebook for our month's worth of Black History Month conversations with members, and see their responses below.


#BlackHistoryMonth "Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856 - November 14, 1915) was an American educator, author, orator, and advisor to presidents of the United States. Between 1890 and 1915, Washington was the dominant leader in the African-American community. After being emancipated, he helped raise money to help educate the black youth all throughout the south. His work helped blacks achieve higher education as well as better understanding of the U.S. legal system. Washington’s contributions to African American advancement, such as his programs for rural extension work and his help in the development of the National Negro Business League, are numerous and so too are his accolades. He was the first African-American to be featured on a United States postal stamp in 1940, and on a coin--the Booker T. Washington" Veronica Rodriguez, 1871 Manager of Programming

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#blackhistorymonth: As an 8th grader, reading about black activists in the 1960's was fascinating to me. It wasn't until I saw how strongly black women could influence their communities that I realized just HOW fascinating. Angela Davis was a game changer. Her selfless desire to fight against social norms like the prison system, racism and gender norms has inspired thousands from all walks of life. Her free spirit and intuition encouraged me as a young black girl to educate myself, challenge others and change the world. She continues to teach us why black history is part of everyone's history. Labeling her as just an activist isn't enough--she's a hero. My hero." Khadijah McGill, Administrative Assistant at 1871.

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