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Past DID YOU KNOW... Postings

DID YOU KNOW? - a biweekly feature from PLATO's Diversity Awareness Committee highlighting the many contributions by non-mainstream individuals you might not have learned or read about. A brief fact will be posted in PLATO's Tuesday WEEKLY UPDATE email and more background on the individual and their accomplishments will be provided on the Social Justice webpage.

Past Did You Know? postings will be available on this archive page.

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  • April 16, 2024 10:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    DID YOU KNOW? for April 16 – 29, 2024 

    Nina Simone (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003) was born to black parents in North Carolina during the Jim Crow era. Simone was a piano prodigy who performed classical concerts by age 12 at which her parents were forced to sit in the rear of the theater to make space for white patrons. However, she refused to play until they were allowed to sit up front. Simone studied at Julliard School of Music and recorded the first of more than 40 albums in 1959. The Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and pianist was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. Simone was ranked No. 21 on Rolling Stones’ list of 200 Greatest Singers of All Time.

    Learn More about Nina Simone:
    Nina Simone on

  • April 02, 2024 9:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    DID YOU KNOW? for April 2 – 15, 2024 

    Amar Bose, born on November 2, 1929 as the son of Indian immigrant parents, became interested in technology at age 13 when he started repairing model trains to help support his family. Bose graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering in the early 1950’s and eventually developed Bose stereo speakers which are now considered the industry standard.  

    Learn more about Amar Bose:

  • March 18, 2024 3:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    DID YOU KNOW? for March 19 – April 1, 2024

    Did you know that one of the local community programs that PLATO's Education Fund supports is Literacy Network? PLATO's annual donation supports the program resources budget which includes textbooks for English language learning (ELL) and digital and online resources to enhance the ELL experience.

    Literacy Network provides free literacy and English language education to Dane County adults. Their English as a Second Language, basic literacy, citizenship, and GED/HSED programs help participants build skills to reach their personal goals. Following a record-breaking 2023 (with 1,445 students served!), 2024 marks another milestone: Literacy Network’s 50th anniversary! 

    Learn about volunteering, supporting, and more: And learn more about PLATO's Education Fund!

  • February 26, 2024 11:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    DID YOU KNOW? for February 27  – March 18, 2024 

    Did you know there is a Crash Course on Black History? This online course is taught by Clint Smith, author of How the Word is Passed, last year's UW Big Read book. There are 51 episodes. Check out the Crash Course Black American History Preview here – note that you will have to tolerate a couple ads at the beginning.

  • February 13, 2024 10:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    DID YOU KNOW? for February 12  – 26, 2024

    Dr. Philip Emeagwali, born in 1954 in Nigeria, invented the world's fastest computer which performs computations at 3.1 billion calculations per second. Also known as the “Bill Gates of Africa", Dr. Emeagwali applied principles of biomimicry to achieve this accomplishment – specifically studying the work habits of bees as they constructed honeycomb. In 1989, Dr. Emeagwali utilized 65,000 processors to build this computer!
    Learn more:
  • January 29, 2024 9:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    DID YOU KNOW? for January 30 – February 12, 2024 

    Maj. Gen. Marcia Anderson, U.S. Army Reserve, was the first African-American woman to achieve the rank of major general on October 1, 2011 at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Anderson had previously served as the clerk of Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Wisconsin, located in Madison, Wisconsin. She retired from the military in 2016 after 37 years of service.

    Learn more here: 

  • January 16, 2024 11:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    DID YOU KNOW? for January 16 – 29, 2024

    Lewis Latimer (1848-1928), the youngest son born to parents who had escaped from slavery just six years before his birth, was a talented African-American inventor. Latimer worked in Thomas Edison’s lab and designed several light bulb improvements. He also made significant inventions in the areas of air conditioning and railroad cars.

    Learn More:

  • January 02, 2024 11:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    DID YOU KNOW? for January 2 – 15, 2024  

    Sheila Crump Johnson (Born on January 25, 1949) is the first African-American woman to become a billionaire. In addition to co-founding Black Entertainment Television (BET) and serving as the Chief Executive Officer of Salamander Hotels and Resorts, Johnson is also the first African-American woman to be an owner or partner in three professional sports franchises: the Washington Capitals (NHL), the Washington Wizards (NBA), and the Washington Mystics (WNBA).

    Learn More:

  • December 12, 2023 10:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    DID YOU KNOW – December 12, 2023 – January 1, 2024

    Ynes Mexia (May 24, 1870 – July 12, 1938) was a Mexican-American botanical collector and explorer who collected 145,000 plant species – an incredible number – especially because she began collecting while in her mid-50’s! Mexia's discoveries continue to impact researchers today and her work can be viewed in many museums and universities.

    Learn more:
  • November 28, 2023 10:36 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    DID YOU KNOW? for November 28 – December 11, 2023 

    Granville T. Woods (April 23, 1856 – January 30, 1910), nicknamed "Black Edison”, was an inventor who held various engineering and industrial jobs before establishing an electric apparatus company. Woods registered more than 50 patents in his lifetime! He was best known for inventing the induction telegraph in 1887. 

    Learn more:

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