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  • The Diversity Awareness Committee offers information on select events and resources related to issues of inequity, diversity and injustice in the greater Madison area to promote a culturally inclusive learning environment in PLATO. 
  • New recommendations will be added on an on-going basis. We welcome your suggestions - contact Committee Co-Chairs Kathy Michaelis (ksmichaelis@gmail.comor Mary Jo McSwain (mjmacwi@earthlink.net).
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DID YOU KNOW? Current feature

Articles, Movies, Videos

Recommended Books



Is our biweekly feature 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 here.

DID YOU KNOW? for May 10 - 23, 2022:  

Did You Know…Victor Jerome Glover (b: April 30, 1976) is a NASA astronaut from the class of 2013 and Pilot on the first operational flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon to the International Space Station (ISS). Glover is a commander in the U.S. Navy where he pilots an F/A-18, and is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School. 

He was a crew member of Expedition64 (ISS November 16, 2020 - May 2, 2021), serving as a station systems flight engineer and completing 3 space walks.

Glover has been selected to be part of NASA's Artemis program to fly to the lunar south pole, which is set to begin flights with un-crewed launches in 2022.

Learn more….


Click here for a review of recent DID YOU KNOW? articles.
Check back every 2 weeks for our next DID YOU KNOW? feature!

Articles, Movies & Videos


    Sidney Poitier (Feb. 6,1927 - Jan. 6, 2022), was a dominant male actor in American, if not world cinema in the 1950’s and 60’s. Many of his films have entered the canon of film history, including:

    • The Defiant Ones (1958) 
    • Lilies of the Field* (1963)
      *Poitier earned the Academy Award for Best Leading Actor for this work
    • A Patch of Blue (1965) 

    These titles aired on Turner Classic Movies and “Watch TCM” (TCM streaming platform) this spring. For those wanting more Poitier, try justwatch.org to identify where his films are available for streaming. And, of course, most of his films are available as DVD’s from the library.  

  • Women of the Movement - This 6-episode series is based on the true story of Mamie Till-Mobley, who in 1955 risked her life to find justice after her son Emmett was brutally murdered in the Jim Crow South. Unwilling to let Emmett's murder disappear from the headlines, Mamie chose to bear her pain on the world's stage, emerging as an activist for justice and igniting the civil rights movement as we know it today. View on:  https://abc.com/shows/women-of-the-movement(Also available on Hulu, YouTube TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Apple TV,  or possibly your cable provider’s On Demand service.)

  • "It’s easy to see why they consider books dangerous..." says 2004 Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Leonard Pitts Jr in his September 29, 2021 Opinion column He continues, Those who ban and burn books seek to ban and burn the courage it takes to grapple with that which might leave you challenged, unsettled or changed.”

    Banned Books Week 2021 was at the end of September. Pitts' column appeared in the Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Times, and other news outlets.

  • "Who's afraid of critical race theory? Not the students in my classes" An interesting article on the currently very hot topic of Critical Race Theory by Ohio University Associate Professor of Political Science Vincent Jungkunz (The Washington Post Opinion, June 23, 2021)

  • ARTICLE: Asian-Americans express their concerns about identity in this May 28, 2021 YES! magazine interview, "9 Artists Explore the Pride and Joys of Being Asian American and Pacific Islander" by Enkhbayar Munkh-Erdene.

  • Anti-Racism and Racial Justice
A collection of PBS programs focusing on Anti-racism and racial justice.  An amazing range of great content.

Be sure to explore PBS Wisconsin's new (2021) on-demand digital series, Why Race Matters as Host and Producer Angela Fitzgerald examines issues of importance affecting Wisconsin's Black communities.
Tim Wise, June 1, 2020, 8 minutes read via Medium
Emmanual Acho,  YouTube Series Started in June 2020, each runs 10-20 minutes

    THE TALK is a two-hour documentary about the increasingly necessary conversation taking place in homes and communities across the country between parents of color and their children, especially sons, about how to behave if they are ever stopped by the police.

    Aired: 02/20/17; Expires: 06/03/22 Rating: NR

    • A Case Study in White Allyship:  Seeing Our Schools Through the Eyes of Black Parents

      Black Like Me Podcast, S4 Ep. 87, March 31, 2020

      Dr. Alex Gee talks with three white parents of kids in a local Madison school who have been joining anti-racism efforts in reaction to an incident with a black child. Listen in to the revealing conversation with Kate Kaio, Jeremy Holiday, and Eli Steenlage as they navigate their own equity journey while trying to support the black family, the African-American community, and the school community.

      Read the Cap Times Article, "Fragile Trust," about the family involved in the school incident.

    • Article from The 1619 Project, New York Times Magazine: What Does a Traffic Jam in Atlanta have to do with Racial Segregation?  Quite a Lot
    Caire lists over 100 reports and news articles about racial disparities in Madison dating back to 1931.  You don't have to read each news article - just the titles tell the story.
      • Movies with a racial equity themes

      Recommended Books

      Just as I Am: A Memoir

      (Harper Collins, 2021)
      by Cicely Tyson

      “Just as I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside…And here in my ninth decade, I am a woman who, at long last, has something meaningful to say.” 

      Cicely Tyson was an actress, lecturer, activist, and one of the most respected talents in American theater and film history. Her work garnered critical and commercial applause for more than 60 years. Her 2 Emmys for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman made her the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for Best Actress.

      In 2013, Ms. Tyson won the Tony Award for Best Actress for her performance in The Trip to Bountiful. A capstone achievement came in 2018, when she became the first Black woman to receive an honorary Oscar. Another highlight from her lengthy list of honors was being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016. 


      (Dutton, 2021)
      by Jason Mott

      bookcoverOne of Washington Post's 50 Notable Works of Fiction | One of Philadelphia Inquirer's Best Books of 2021 | One of Shelf Awareness's Top Ten Fiction Titles of the Year | One of TIME Magazine’s 100 Must-Read Books | One of NPR.org's "Books We Love" | EW’s "Guide to the Biggest and Buzziest Books of 2021" | One of the New York Public Library's Best Books for Adults |…………..[list of awards goes on and on!]

      "An astounding work of fiction from a New York Times bestselling author Jason Mott, always deeply honest, at times electrically funny, that goes to the heart of racism, police violence, and the hidden costs exacted upon Black Americans, and America as a whole."

      In Jason Mott’s Hell of a Book, a Black author sets out on a cross-country publicity tour to promote his bestselling novel. That storyline drives Hell of a Book and is the scaffolding of something much larger and urgent: since Mott’s novel also tells the story of Soot, a young Black boy living in a rural town in the recent past, and The Kid, a possibly imaginary child who appears to the author on his tour.

      As these characters’ stories build and build and converge, they astonish. For while this heartbreaking and magical book entertains and is at once about family, love of parents and children, art and money, it’s also about the nation’s reckoning with a tragic police shooting playing over and over again on the news. And with what it can mean to be Black in America.

      Who has been killed? Who is The Kid? Will the author finish his book tour, and what kind of world will he leave behind?  Unforgettably told, with characters who burn into your mind and an electrifying plot ideal for book club discussion, Hell of a Book is the novel Mott has been writing in his head for the last ten years. And in its final twists it truly becomes its title.

      Available at Madison Library – print and audio versions.


      (Crown Publishing; Oct. 2021) 

      by Jay Caspian Kang

      "A riveting blend of family history and original reportage by a conversation-starting writer for The New York Times Magazine that explores-and reimagines-Asian American identity in a Black and white world. In 1965, a new immigration law lifted a century of restrictions against Asian immigrants to the United States.

      Nobody, including the lawmakers who passed the bill, expected it to transform the country's demographics. But over the next four decades, millions arrived, including Jay Caspian Kang's parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. They came with almost no understanding of their new home, much less the history of "Asian America" that was supposed to define them.

      The Loneliest Americans is the unforgettable story of Kang and his family as they move from a housing project in Cambridge to an idyllic college town in the South and eventually to the West Coast. Their story unfolds against the backdrop of a rapidly expanding Asian America, as millions more immigrants, many of them working-class or undocumented, stream into the country.  [From book jacket]

      FORGOTTEN - The Untold Story of
      D-Day's Black Heroes, At Home And At War
      (Harper Collins 2015)

      by Linda Hervieux

      The injustices of 1940's Jim Crow America are brought to life in this extraordinary blend of military and social history--a story that pays tribute to the valor of an all-black battalion whose crucial contributors at D-Day have gone unrecognized to this day.

      In the early hours of June 6, 1944, the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, a unit of African-American soldiers, landed on the beaches of France. Their orders were to man a curtain of armed balloons meant to deter enemy aircraft. One member of the 320th would be nominated for the Medal of Honor, an award he would never receive. The nation’s highest decoration was not given to black soldiers in World War II.

      Drawing on newly uncovered military records and dozens of original interviews with surviving members of the 320th and their families, Linda Hervieux tells the story of these heroic men charged with an extraordinary mission, whose contributions to one of the most celebrated events in modern history have been overlooked. Members of the 320th—Wilson Monk, a jack-of-all-trades from Atlantic City; Henry Parham, the son of sharecroppers from rural Virginia; William Dabney, an eager 17-year-old from Roanoke, Virginia; Samuel Mattison, a charming romantic from Columbus, Ohio—and thousands of other African Americans were sent abroad to fight for liberties denied them at home. In England and Europe, these soldiers discovered freedom they had not known in a homeland that treated them as second-class citizens—experiences they carried back to America, fueling the budding civil rights movement.

      In telling the story of the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, Hervieux offers a vivid account of the tension between racial politics and national service in wartime America, and a moving narrative of human bravery and perseverance in the face of injustice.

      Available through Madison Public Library

      Uncomfortable Conversations With A Black Man
      by Emmanual Acho

      book coverAn urgent primer on race and racism, from the host of the viral hit YouTube series, "Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man". Emmanual Acho as both video host and author takes on all the questions, large and small, insensitive and taboo, that many white Americans are afraid to ask - yet questions which all Americans need the answers to, now more than ever. 

      Former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho started his online video series to give white people a non-judgmental space to ask questions about race and racism.  "You cannot fix a problem you don't know you have" says Acho. “There is a fix,” he feels, “But in order to access it, we’re going to have to have some uncomfortable conversations.”

      The Sum of Us:  What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together
      by Heather McGhee

      A 2021 New York Times Bestseller and Amazon Editors' Pick: Best History 

      One of today's most insightful and influential thinkers offers a powerful exploration of inequality and the lesson that generations of Americans have failed to learn --racism has a cost for everyone-- not just for people of color.

      I 'm Still Here:
      Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

      by Austin Channing Brown

      In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value "diversity" in their mission statements, I'M STILL HERE is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America's social fabric--from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.

      I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness is a 2018 memoir by Austin Channing Brown. The book became a bestseller during the mid-2020 resurgence of national interest in racial injustice following the George Floyd protests.


      by Ibram X. Kendi, Published by One World, 2019

      Kendi is a on a mission to push those of us who believe we are not racists, who support ideas and policies affirming that the “the racial groups are equal in all their apparent differences—that there is nothing right or wrong with any racial group”. This is a 21st century manual of racial ethics.

      Kendi is also the author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, 2017.

      New York Times Bestseller

      Grand Avenue - A Novel in Stories

      by Greg Sarris

      Grand Avenue runs through the center of the Northern California town of Santa Rosa. One stretch of it is home not only to Pomo Indians making a life outside the reservation but also to Mexicans, blacks, and some Portuguese, all trying to find their way among the many obstacles in their turbulent world

      “Grand Avenue” by Greg Sarris - One of the very best works of fiction by and about Native Americans - A compelling sequence of interwoven stories about a Native American community - “a gritty, power-filled book, unsparing and unapologetic”.  1994, 244 pages

      The DID YOU KNOW? Archive
      a review of recent DID YOU KNOW? features

      DID YOU KNOW? - our biweekly feature 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 here.

      DID YOU KNOW? for April 26 - May 9, 2022:  

      Did You Know…Mae Carol Jemison is an American engineer, physician, and former NASA astronaut. In 1992 she became the first Black woman to travel into space when she served as a Mission Specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, spending more than a week orbiting the earth and fulfilling dreams that began when she watched Star Trek on television as a youngster.

      In October 1986, Jemison was 1 of 15 accepted from some 2,000 applicants to be an astronaut. Jemison completed her training as a Mission Specialist with NASA in 1988. She became an Astronaut Office Representative with the Kennedy Space Center, working to process space shuttles for launching and to verify shuttle software.

      Next, she was assigned to support a cooperative mission between the United States and Japan designed to conduct experiments in materials processing and the life sciences. In September 1992, STS-47 Spacelab J became the first successful joint U.S.-Japan space mission.

      After completing her NASA mission, she formed the Jemison Group to develop and market advanced technologies. (Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Mae Jemison". Encyclopedia Britannica)

      Learn more…


      DID YOU KNOW? for April 12 - 25, 2022:  

      Did You Know…Gladys Mae West is a “Hidden Figure behind your phone’s GPS.” West is an American mathematician known for her contributions to the mathematical modeling of the shape of the earth, and her work on the development of satellite geodesy models that were eventually incorporated into global positioning systems (GPS).

      As a studious Black girl in rural Virginia, West earned a scholarship to Virginia State College where she completed her first degree in math in 1952. She was eventually hired by the U.S. Naval Proving Ground where she combined information from Seasat and other satellites to refine an increasingly detailed and accurate mathematical model of the actual shape of the earth – called a “geoid.” This computational modeling would prove essential to modern GPS.

      GPS technology relies on mathematical models to accurately calculate the position of the receiver, a technology now embedded in a wide range of tracking and guidance devices.

      Gladys Mae West was inducted into the U.S. Air Force Hall of Fame in 2018 to honor her many contributions to science and technology.

      Learn more…

      Meet Dr. Gladys West by Lauren Mackenzie Reynolds in Massive Science, December 25, 2019


      "Gladys West, American Mathematician" in Britannica.com:  https://www.britannica.com/biography/Gladys-West

      DID YOU KNOW? for March 29 - April 11, 2022:  

      Did You Know…Phillis Wheatley Peters (also spelled Phyllis and Wheatly) was the first African-American author of a published book of poetry.

      At the age of 7 or 8 (in approx.1760) she was sold into slavery to the Wheatley family of Boston.  Young Phillis learned to read and write and began penning poetry. Seeing her talent, the Wheatley’s encouraged her work and in 1773 sent her to London where she connected with supportive patrons and publishers.

      The London publication of her “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral” on September 1,1773 brought Phillis recognition in England and the American colonies. Phillis was freed by the Wheatley family shortly after her book’s publication.

      Learn more…

      DID YOU KNOW? for March 15 - 28, 2022:  

      Did You Know… Ellen Eglin, born in Washington, D.C in 1849, worked as a government clerk, and for a while as a housekeeper. However she earned a place in history books as the inventor in of the clothes wringer, a laundry aid that used 2 rollers and a crank handle to squeeze out excess water and noticeably sped-up clothes washing and drying in the late 19th century.

      As a Black woman, Eglin couldn’t get a patent on her own in 1888, so she sold the rights to her invention to an agent for just $18, and made no further profit from her brainchild. In an 1891 interview Eglin indicated another reason she didn’t try for a patent on her invention, saying, “…if it was known that a negro woman patented the invention, white ladies would not buy the wringer.”

      Eglin’s wringer design was later manufactured and very successfully marketed for decades by the American Wringer Company.

      Learn more…


      DID YOU KNOW? for March 1 - 14, 2022:  

      Jessie Isabelle Price, was a veterinary microbiologist who studied and worked at the Cornell University Duck Research Laboratory where she identified the cause of the most common life-threatening disease in duck farming in the 1950’s.  She then developed preventive vaccines for this and several other avian diseases.

      Price, a black woman, was highly praised for her work in vaccine development which greatly aided commercial duck, turkey, and pigeon farming. She relocated to Madison, Wisconsin in 1977 to work as a research microbiologist at the National Wildlife Health Center, where she focused on diseases in waterfowl and environmental contaminants.

      Price was born in western Pennsylvania in 1930 and raised by her mother under difficult financial circumstances. They relocated to Ithaca, New York when Jessie was accepted at Cornell University, where she then earned her Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees.

      Price's professional accomplishments led to recognitions internationally and in the U.S.  She served leadership roles in the American Society for Microbiology and Graduate Women in Science.

      Learn more about Jessie Isabelle Price at...


      DID YOU KNOW? for February 15 - 28, 2022:  

      World War II Navajo code talker Thomas Begay was a teenager playing football near his high school in New Mexico when he heard news of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. As soon as he could, he went to a recruiting office to join the Marines. Because he was only 17 he had to go home and return with his mother to give permission for his enlistment. This was just the start of his lifelong commitment to public service.

      Begay, now in his late 90’s, is one of only 4 men still alive among the 400-plus Navajo code talkers from World War II. Over 3 dozen of this elite group were either wounded or killed during the war. Their war activities were considered classified and they were forbidden from speaking about them for almost 3 decades.

      Learn more about Thomas Begay’s life journey, including his time on Iwo Jima in World War II, his military service in the Korean War, and his decades of service with the Bureau of Indian Affairs at:  https://www.aarp.org/politics-society/history/info-2021/pearl-harbor-thomas-begay.html

      DID YOU KNOW? for February 1 - 13, 2022:  

      Did You Know...Dr. Charles E. Anderson was the first black man to receive a PhD in Meteorology (MIT, 1960) and first black man to earn tenure at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was a Dean at UW-Madison (in the 1970’s and 1980’s), pioneered research and work that involved minimizing contrails of high-altitude aircrafts, worked extensively as a leading expert on severe storms and tornadoes, and made discoveries in the meteorology of other planets.

      Dr. Anderson was not only a distinguished scientist and meteorologist, but also an African American Studies scholar and teacher, serving a Professor of Afro-American Studies for several years at UW-Madison.

      Learn more….

      After leaving UW-Madison in 1987, Dr. Anderson was a professor in the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC until he retired in 1990. He was a major contributor at NC State to a program focused on the forecasting of severe storms that received national recognition. Anderson's exemplary career as a scientist, leader, and mentor inspired the American Meteorological Society to establish an award named in his honor in 2000.

      For further reading about Charles E. Anderson:


      DID YOU KNOW? for January 18 - 31, 2022:  

      Did You Know…Zaila Avant-Garde, 14 years old, spelled “m-u-r-r-a-y-a”, a genus of tropical Asiatic and Australian trees, to clinch a victory at last year’s (2021) Scripps National Spelling Bee.  Avant-Garde is the first Black American champion in the competition’s 96 year history.  Spelling is not Avant-Garde’s only talent...

      Zaila also holds 3 Guinness World Records for basketball.  Her 2021 spelling  triumph marks the return of the annual Scripps National Spelling competition, which did not happen in 2020 due to the covid pandemic.

      Learn more….


      DID YOU KNOW? for January 4 - 17, 2022:  

      Did You Know…The inventor of the first home security system was Marie Van Brittan Brown, a black woman from New York.  She is also credited with the invention of the first closed circuit television.  The patent for the invention was filed in 1966 and it later influenced modern home security systems that are still used today. 

      Learn more….
      Marie Van Brittan Brown's invention was inspired by the security risk that her home faced in the neighborhood where she lived.  Marie Brown worked as a nurse and her husband, Albert Brown, worked as an electronics technician.  Her original invention was comprised of peepholes, a camera, monitors, and a two-way microphone.  The final element was an alarm button that could be pressed to contact the police immediately.  (Black Past, April 11, 2016)

      For further reading:

      DID YOU KNOW? for December 13 - 27, 2021:  

      Did You Know…Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink of Hawaii, was the first woman of color and the first Asian-American woman to serve in the U.S. Congress.  She was also the first Asian-American to run for President.

      Learn more….

      Mink is known for writing bills like Title IX (later named the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act), the Early Childhood Education Act, and Women’s Educational Equity Act.   Prior to her legislative experience, she faced discrimination in college, while applying to medical school and attempting to find employment after graduation from law school.  Starting her own firm, Mink became the first Japanese-American woman to practice law in Hawaii.  She successfully served on many committees while in Congress, including the Committee on Education and Labor, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, and the Budget Committee.

      For further reading about Patsy Mink:

      https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/patsy-mink and https://www.biography.com/political-figure/patsy-mink

      DID YOU KNOW? for November 30 - December 13, 2021:  

      DID YOU KNOW... An enslaved African man, Onesimus taught Cotton Mather how to inoculate against smallpox. The concept of immunization came to the American colonies via Africa. In the early 1700s, Puritan minister Cotton Mather learned from Onesimus, a man he enslaved, about a method long used in West Africa, where a weakened form of the disease would be intentionally applied to a cut.

      Learn more…

      DID YOU KNOW? for November 16-29, 2021:  

      DID YOU KNOW... We’wha (a Zuni Two Spirit), a pottery and textile artist, was a Zuni cultural ambassador who took on both male and female tasks.  We'wha was also a spiritual leader who endeavored to preserve the history, traditions, and knowledge of the Zuni people.

      Learn more…

      Though born a male-bodied person, community members recognized that We’wha demonstrated traits associated with the Ihamana as early as age three or four.  In Zuni culture, Ihamana (now more often described with the pan-Indian term “Two Spirit”) were male-bodied individuals who took on social and ceremonial roles generally performed by women.  They usually, though not exclusively, wore women’s clothing and mostly took up labors associated with women.  Ihamana constituted a socially-recognized third gender role within the tribe and often held positions of honor in the community.  https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/wewha

      for November 2-15, 2021:  

      DID YOU KNOW... U.S. Patent # 473,653, issued on April 26,1892 to Sarah Boone, for the design of a tapered ironing board on a stand is still used today!

      Learn more…

      Sarah Boone was born into slavery and married a freedman at age 15.  When her family relocated to New Haven, Connecticut, she took up dressmaking as a profession.  In the course of her work, she noticed the difficulty of flattening out creases in the sleeves and bodies of women’s dresses. Ironing at the time was done on a wooden plank propped between chairs or on the kitchen table.

      Sarah developed a design of a tapered board on a stand.  By rotating the fabric around the board, one could completely smooth any portion of a dress. Read more about Sarah:  https://www.biography.com/inventor/sarah-boone and her design: https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/boone-sarah-1832-1904/

      DID YOU KNOW? for October 19 - November 1, 2021:  

      Did You Know...The winner of the 1980 Law and Economics Center Prize was a black man, Thomas Sowell, an economist and social theorist.  His  book, Knowledge and Decisions, was heralded as a "landmark work," selected for this prize "because of its cogent contribution to our understanding of the differences between the market process and the process of government."

      Learn more…

      In announcing the award, the Center acclaimed Sowell, whose "contribution to our understanding of the process of regulation alone would make the book important, but in reemphasizing the diversity and efficiency that the market makes possible, [his] work goes deeper and becomes even more significant."[44] Friedrich Hayek wrote: "In a wholly original manner [Sowell] succeeds in translating abstract and theoretical argument into highly concrete and realistic discussion of the central problems of contemporary economic policy."  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Sowell

      DID YOU KNOW? for October 5 - 19, 2021:  

      Did You Know...Maria Tallchief was the first Native American woman to break into ballet.  Elizabeth Marie Tallchief was born in 1925 in Oklahoma; her father was a member of the Osage Nation.  At 17, she moved to New York City to pursue her dreams of becoming a dancer.

      Learn more…

      Maria Tallchief went from dance company to dance company looking for work.  Many discriminated against her because of her Native American ancestry.  She was eventually selected as an understudy in the Ballet Russe, the premier Russian ballet company in the USA.  In 1942, when one of the lead ballerinas abruptly stepped down, Tallchief was called to stand in.  Her performance received positive reviews from top critics.  As her career began to take off, many tried to persuade her to change her last name so that dance companies would not discriminate against her.  She refused and continued to perform as Maria Tallchief.  In 1947, after marrying choreographer George Balanchine, she became the first prima ballerina of the New York City Ballet - a title that she would hold for the next 13 years.  She became the first American to dance with the Paris Opera Ballet and perform at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow.

      Prior to her death in 2013 Maria Tallchief received a Kennedy Center Honors, was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and was awarded the National Medal of Arts.

      For further reading: https://www.biography.com/performer/maria-tallchief

      DID YOU KNOW? for September 21 - October 4, 2021:  

      Did You Know... Special Olympics athlete Chris Nikic crossed the finish line to become the first person with Down Syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon.  Guinness World Records recognized Nikic's achievement after he finished a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-marathon run at the Ironman Florida competition in Panama City Beach in November 2020.

      Learn more…


      DID YOU KNOW? for September 7 - 20, 2021:  

      Did You Know...Yang See, who worked as the main liaison between the CIA and the Lao Royal Army during the secret Hmong Guerrilla war against North Vietnam, was the person most responsible for the US Government finally accepting the Hmong resettlement in the US.

      Initially, the US took the position that the Hmong were “too uneducated/primitive” to be successfully assimilated into US culture, even though this belief was without merit.  This made it very difficult for the Hmong to “escape” the refugee camps they had fled to in Thailand.  Yang Lee, who was fluent in many languages, was successful in getting the State Department to change its misguided policy.

      Learn more…


      DID YOU KNOW? for August 24 - September 6, 2021:  

      Did You Know - Hamdi Ulukaya, born in Ilic, Turkey, is a businessman, activist and philanthropist who founded and owns the company Chobani, the #1 selling strained yogurt in the US. He was born to a dairy farming Kurdish family and immigrated to the US in 1994 to study English and take business courses.

      Learn more...

      Mr. Ulukaya is very serious about Kurdish rights and left Turkey due to the oppression of the Turkish state’s oppression of its Kurdish minority.

      In addition to founding Chobani, heis also the chairman and CEO. His net worth was almost $2.0 billion (2019). On 26 April 2016, Ulukaya announced to his employees that he would be giving them 10% of the shares in Chobani

      Visit Hamdi Ulukaya - Wikipedia for further reading.

      DID YOU KNOW? for August 10 - 23, 2021:  

      Did You Know ANNETTE FRANQUI, the new Board Chair of the AARP Board of Directors, is the first Hispanic to fill that role.

      Annette Franqui joined the AARP Board in 2014. As Board Chair she also Chairs the AARP Board Governance Committee and Compensation Committee

      Learn More...

      Annette Franqui is a founding partner of Forrestal Capital, a company that provides wealth management and direct equity investment advice to a select number of families in Latin America. A native of Puerto Rico, she is a senior financial services executive with prior CFO experience as well as 15 years on Wall Street with JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.

      For more about Annette Franqui, see:  https://www.aarp.org/about-aarp/board-of-directors/info-2016/annette-franqui.html

      DID YOU KNOW? for July 27 - August 9, 2021:  

      Mario Jose Molina-Pasquel Henriquez (known as Mario Molina), Mexican chemist, was the first Mexican-born scientist to receive a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995 for his role in discovering the threat to the Earth’s ozone layer from chlorofluorocarbon gases.

      Learn more….

      Dr. Molina held research and teaching positions at various renowned universities in the US and at the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom on August 8, 2013.  https://en.wikipedia.org (search for Mario Molina)

      DID YOU KNOW? for July 13 - 26, 2021:  

      Effie Waller Smith, a black woman with Wisconsin ties, was an early twentieth-century poet known for her books of poetry, Songs of the Months (1904), Rhymes from the Cumberland (1909), and Rosemary and Pansies (1909).

      Learn more…

      Effie has only recently been recognized as a poet who, not only revered her Appalachian home and its landscapes, but “pushed readers to reconsider and perhaps reject hierarchies of race, class, gender and place.” She expressed both feminist and environmental awareness and addresses both racism and classism as well.  

      DID YOU KNOW? for June 29 - July 12, 2021:  

      Marcellus Gilmore Edson, who patented peanut butter, (US Patent #306727) was an African-American chemist from Canada.  Edson developed the idea of peanut paste as a delicious and nutritious food for people who had difficulty chewing solid food, a common issue in those days.

      Read More

      Edson was awarded his patent in 1884.  His cooled product had "a consistency like that of butter, lard, or ointment" according to his patent application.  He included the mixing of sugar into the paste to harden its consistency.  The patent described a process of milling roasted peanuts until the peanuts reached "a fluid or semi-fluid state."

      Interested in more?
      Marcus Gilmore Edson 
      (Wikipedia bio):  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcellus_Gilmore_Edson and 
      Who invented peanut butter:

      DID YOU KNOW? for June 15 - 28, 2021:  

      The inventor of laser cataract surgery was Dr. Patricia Era Bath, a black American ophthalmologist and inventor. She holds patents in Japan, Canada and Europe.

      Read More

      Dr. Bath's invention was called the Laserphaco Probe (1986). “Harnessing laser technology, the device created a less painful and more precise treatment of cataracts.” Bath received a patent for the device in 1988, becoming the first African American female doctor to receive a patent for a medical purpose. In 1976, Bath co-founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, which established that "eyesight is a basic human right." She was also the first African-American woman to serve on staff as a surgeon at the UCLA Medical Center.

      Interested in more?   https://www.biography.com/scientist/patricia-bath

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