Free Library of Philadelphia
1.  Why is the 54th Massachusetts Regiment of the United States Army famous?
It was the first troop of free African Americans raised in the North during the Civil War. Many died at Fort Wagner, including their white commander, Robert Gould Shaw. Their saga is shown in the film "Glory."

Source: Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events, 2003, p.431, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 SM61b
2.  What and when is Kwanzaa?
Kwanzaa is an African American holiday based on an African harvest festival; it was developed by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966. Kwanzaa means "first fruits" in Swahili. It lasts for seven days, beginning on December 26th.

Source: Chase's Calendar of Events, 2006, p. 631, 394 C387ce
3.  Who was the first African American woman to serve in Congress?

The first African American woman elected to the House of Representatives was Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm. She was a New York City Democrat and was elected on November 5, 1968 from the 12th District in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. She was sworn in on January 3, 1969 and was reelected six times.

Source: Famous First Facts About American Politics, 2001, p.61, Steven Anzovin, 973 An99f

4.  Who was the first African American to serve in Congress?
Joseph Hayne Rainey, a Republican from Georgetown, S.C., was sworn into Congress on Dec. 12, 1870, when the House declared the seat of Benjamin F. Whittemore vacant. Rainey served ten years until March 3, 1879.

Source: Famous First Facts About American Politics, 2001, p.59, Steven Anzovin, 973 An99f
5.  Who invented the first automatic traffic light?

The first automatic traffic light was invented in 1923 by Garrett A. Morgan, an African American inventor in Cleveland, OH.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.283, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

6.  Who was the first African American woman astronaut?
Mae C. Jemison, from Chicago, IL, was the first African American woman astronaut. On September 12, 1992 she boarded the space shuttle Endeavor.

Source: Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events, 2003, p.621-622, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 SM61B