Black History Month Spotlight: Dr. Dre And James Forten!

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.


Rapper, producer, and entrepreneur Dr. Dre pioneered the West Coast rap sound, which melded the funk of '70s acts Parliament and Zapp with rap. A DJ in local dance clubs, Dre first recorded with World Class Wrecking Cru at age 17 but became a hip-hop icon with NWA, which ushered in the era of gangsta rap. NWA's 1988 Straight Outta Compton revolutionized hip-hop and stirred controversy with hardcore lyrics about South Central. Dre produced solo CDs for NWA's Eazy E before leaving the group in 1990 to form Death Row Records. He hit it big with the Deep Cover soundtrack featuring newcomer Snoop Dogg. Death Row became a powerhouse as Dre produced his multi-platinum solo disk The Chronic, Snoop's 1994 debut Doggystyle, 2Pac's 1995 "California Love," and churned out soundtracks and hits for Michel'le, Nate Dogg, Warren G, and others. Tired of partner Suge Knight's tactics, Dre left Death Row and formed Aftermath in 1996. He has discovered and molded the careers of artists like Eminem, Xzibit, 50 Cent, The Game and Kendrick Lamar. In 2014, Dr. Dre became the richest man in hip-hop after Apple acquired the rights to Beats Electronics for $3 billion back in May. As part of the acquisition, Dre and Iovine also became key executives in Apple's music divisions. According to Forbes, Dre is now worth $790 million.


  • Born Andre Young on February 18, 1965 in Los Angeles, California
  • Reconciled with fellow rapper/actor Ice Cube in 1993; Ice Cube left N.W.A. in 1990 after a dispute with manager Jerry Heller and Eazy-E.
  • His stepbrother, Warren G, played a demo tape of Snoop Doggy Dogg at a party, which prompted Dre to record the title theme for the film Deep Cover in 1992, which appeared during the end credits.
  • First hip-hop artist to commercialize gangsta-rap music with the album The Chronic in 1992.
  • Assaulted TV hostess Dee Barnes of Pump It Up in retaliation to her interviewing Ice Cube, where he made a derogatory comment against N.W.A. (at the time, the album Efil4zaggin debuted at Number One in 1991.
  • In 2001, he became the first hip-hop producer to win a Grammy for Producer Of The Year.
  • Won an MTV VMA (music video award) in 1995 for the hit single "Keep Their Heads Ringin." The music video starred Chris Tucker, who steals and pilots a Boeing 747.
  • Is a fan of Liverpool football club
  • Son, Andre Romelle Young, Jr. died on August 23, 2008 at their Woodland Hills,CA home.
  • Married to Nicole Threatt since May 1996.
  • Dre has been working on his final album Detox since 2000

  • On black women: "Black women are the strongest most hardworking people on earth."
  • On ideas: "When the ideas are coming, I don't stop until the ideas stop because that train doesn't come along all the time."
  • On his fears: "The only two things that scare me are God and the IRS."
  • On Beats: "Everything in my life has been about sound and making music, so Beats represents just that - the improvement of sound and the dedication to everything I've been doing from the day I started."
  • On music: "I always loved the way music made me feel. I did sports at school and all, but when I got home, it was just music. Everybody in my neighborhood loved music. I could jump the back fence and be in the park where there were ghetto blasters everywhere."

    Dr. Dre announces billionaire status:

  • Tyrese: "The Forbes list just changed. It came out like two weeks ago. They need to update the Forbes list. Sh*t just changed." Dr. Dre: "In a big way. Understand that. First billionaire in hip-hop, right here from the motherf*cking West Coast." Tyrese: "Oh! Oh!Oh sh*t!"

    In 1834, Henry McNeal Turner was born on what is now Hannah Circuit, near Newberry, which was then in Abbeville County, South Carolina. Young Turner was "bound out" to the hardest king of labor in the cotton fields and the blacksmith's trade in Abbeville until his "manhood" at age 12. He received the degree of L.L. D from the University of Pennsylvania in 1872. He served as Vice-president of the African Colonization Society in 1877. He founded the Southern Christian Recorder and the Women's Home and Foreign Missionary Society. He is credited with bringing the South African Conference into the Connection. In addition to being an author and orator, Henry McNeal Turner also served as a member of the Georgia Legislature. In 1865, John Sweat Rock (1825-1866), a noted Boston lawyer, became in 1865 the first African-American to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and the first Black person to speak before the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1865, The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery, was adopted by the 38th Congress. Ratification was completed December 6, 1865. In 1870, Jonathan Jasper Wright is elected to the South Carolina Supreme Court. He is the first African American to hold a major judicial position. In 1871, Jefferson Long of Georgia became the first Black to make an official speech in the House of Representatives. He opposed leniency to former Confederates. In 1902, One of the most famous poets, Langston Hughes was born. He died on May 22nd, 1967. In 1926, What is now known as Black History Month, was first celebrated on this date as Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson. It became a month long celebration in 1976. In 1960, Four students form North Carolina A&T College started Sit-in movement at Greensboro, N.C., five-and-dime store. By February 10 movement had spread to fifteen Southern cities in five states. In 1965, More than seven hundred demonstrators, including Martin Luther King Jr., arrested in Selma. In 1965, Ruby Dee was the first African American actress to play a major role at the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford Conn. In 1974, Good Times premieres on CBS. In 1978, The first stamp of the U.S. Postal Service's Black Heritage USA series honors Harriet Tubman, famed abolitionist and "conductor" on the Underground Railroad. In 1990, Ida Wells, a black reformer who compiled records on lynching, is the subject of a United States Postal Service stamp. In 1997, BET Holdings and Encore Media Corp. launch BET Movie/Starz the first 24 hour Black Movie channel. (source:


  • What Supreme Court decision decreed that public schools should be integrated?
  • A) Plessy v. Ferguson

    B) Brown v. Board of Education

    C) Gideon v. Wainwright

    The answer is B: Brown v. Board of Education.

    (source: USA Today)


  • Amistad: On July 2, 1839, 53 African slaves on board the Amistad revolted against their captors, killing all but the ship's navigator, who sailed them to Long Island, N.Y., instead of their intended destination, Africa. Joseph Cinque was the group's leader. The slaves aboard the Amistad became unwitting symbols for the antislavery movement in pre-Civil War United States. After several trials in which local and federal courts argued that the slaves were taken as kidnap victims rather than merchandise, the slaves were acquitted. The former slaves aboard the Spanish vessel Amistad secured passage home to Africa with the help of sympathetic missionary societies in 1842.

  • Inventor James Forten was born in 1766 in Philadelphia. At an early age, he gained the nautical experience that would one day earn him fame and fortune. His inventive sail-handling devices and excellent service helped him amass more than $100,000 by the early 1830's, around $1.5 million in today's money. He put his wealth and fame to work in his lifelong crusade: to abolish slavery. He often purchased slaves freedom, opened his Philadelphia home as an Underground Railroad depot and established a school for black children.
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