Black History Month Spotlight: Cory Booker & Mary McCloud Bethune!

Black History Month: February 2019

To recall and celebrate the positive contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week beginning on Feb. 12, 1926. In 1976, as part of the nation's bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month.


Cory Booker is the first African-American U.S. Senator from New Jersey. He was the 36th Mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013. Prior to holding the position as the Mayor of Newark, Booker served on the Municipal Council of Newark for the Central Ward from 1998 to 2002. He announced his campaign to run for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2020 United States presidential election on the first day of Black History Month.


  • Born on April 27, 1969 in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Harrington Park, New Jersey.
  • Received his B.A. in Political Science and M.A in Sociology from Stanford University.
  • Earned his J.D. from Yale Law School.
  • Assumed office as Mayor of Newark on July 1, 2006.
  • Sworn into senate on October 31, 2013.
  • Founder of non-profit organization, Newark Now.
  • Announced his campaign run for president on February 1, 2019.



"Patriotism is love of country. But you can't love your country without loving your countrymen and countrywomen. We don't always have to agree, but we must empower each other, we must find the common ground, we must build bridges across our differences to pursue the common good."

"The greatest natural resource our country has is not oil. It's not gas. It's not coal. It's the genius of our children."

"You were not built for comfort and convenience. You were built to overcome."



  • In 1644, First Black legal protest in America pressed by eleven Blacks who petitioned for freedom in New Netherlands (New York). Council of New Netherlands freed the eleven petitioners because they had "served the Company seventeen or eighteen years" and had been "long since promised their freedom on the same footing as other free people in New Netherlands."
  • In 1961, Robert Weaver sworn in as administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency, highest federal post to date by a Black American.
  • In 1976, Clifford Alexander, Jr. is confirmed as the first African American Secretary of the Army. He will hold the position until the end of President Jimmy Carter's term.
  • In 1990, Nelson Mandela is released from prison.



This extraordinary female athlete made history when she became the first American woman to win three Olympic gold medals in track and field. She is:

A) Jackie Joyner-Kersee
B) Wilma Rudolph
C) Marion Jones

The answer is B) Wilma Rudolph.

Wilma Rudolph was the first African American woman runner to win three gold medals in the Olympic games. Her performance was all the more remarkable in light of the fact that she had double pneumonia and scarlet fever as a young child and could not walk without braces until age 11.

(Source: The African American Almanac)


Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955), the 17th child of former slaves, taught in a series of southern mission schools before settling in Florida to found the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls. From 1904 to 1942 and again from 1946 to 1947, she served as president of the institute, which, after merging with Cookman Institute, became Bethune-Cookman College. A leader in the American black community, she founded the National Council of Negro Women in 1935 and served as special adviser on minority affairs to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. At the 1945 conference that organized the United Nations, she was a consultant on interracial understanding.


Cory Booker announces 2020 presidential bid: