Black in the Day…An All American

October 31, 1893: On this date William H. Lewis became the first Black person to be named a collegiate All-American. He also had a life of many firsts. William Henry Lewis (November 28, 1868 – January 1, 1949) was a Black pioneer in athletics, law and politics. Born in Virginia to freedmen, he graduated from Amherst College in Massachusetts, where he also became one of the first Black college football players. After going to Harvard Law School and continuing to play football, Lewis was the first African American in the sport to be selected as an All-American. In 1903…

Black in the Day…One of the First To Refuse

October 21, 1955: On this date 18 year old Mary Louise Smith was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white passenger. Mary Louise Smith was born in Montgomery, Alabama into a Catholic family. She and all her siblings attended and graduated from St. Jude Educational Institute. She is still a member of St. Jude Church, where she was baptized. At the age of 18, on October 21, 1955, Smith was returning home on the Montgomery city bus, and was ordered to relinquish her seat…

Black in the Day…Black Capital

October 18, 1888:   On this date the first bank organized and operated by African Americans was Capital Savings Bank in Washington, D.C. Just four years after it opened, its deposits had grown to over $300,000. It opened shop at a time when the mere notion of offering financial services to the African American community was a novel idea. Capital Savings Bank provided the capital essential to the growth of black businesses, capital that white-owned banks were unwilling to lend. The community proudly deposited its money in Capital Savings Bank. The…