Frederick Douglass, who became a leading statesman and abolitionist of unsurpassed eloquence, was born into slavery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. (As was the case with many other slaves, Douglass grew up not knowing the exact date of his birth; ultimately, however, he chose February 14 as the date for celebrating his birthday each year.) By... Continue Reading →

Construction began on a tunnel for the Northern Pacific Railway in the Cascade Mountains of the Territory of Washington. (A little less than four years later, Washington became the 42nd state.) The site selected for the tunnel was just south of Stampede Pass. Work on the Stampede Tunnel commenced with the operation of hand drills... Continue Reading →

A shipyard owned and operated by African-Americans opened for business in Baltimore. A major force behind this new facility was Isaac Myers (1835-1891), who had been born in Baltimore. While Maryland was a slave state, Myers’ parents were free-born African-Americans. When he was 16, Myers began an apprenticeship as a caulker for ships coming into... Continue Reading →

Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr., a NASA astronaut, became the first African-American to walk in space. He accomplished this as a member of the six-person crew on STS-63, the first joint American-Russian space program mission and the 20th flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery. The mission lasted just over eight days, and on the sixth... Continue Reading →

A new station on the Green Line of the Chicago Transit Authority’s “L” (elevated) rapid transit system was opened for service at 5:00 a.m. The Cermak-McCormick Place station is located at Cermak Road and State Street in Chicago’s Near South Side neighborhood. The facility is within walking distance of McCormick Place, which is the largest... Continue Reading →

A World War II ship that played an important role in African-American history was decommissioned by the U.S. Navy. The submarine chaser USS PC-1264, which had been launched during the fall of 1943, was one of only two Navy ships during the war to have a predominantly African-American crew. (The other vessel with this distinction... Continue Reading →

The Sand Springs Railway in northeastern Oklahoma was incorporated. By that May, the railway formally began operations on 8.6 miles (13.8 kilometers) of track between the community of Sand Springs and the city of Tulsa. The major force behind the new railway was a Wisconsin-born businessman and philanthropist named Charles Page. He and his family... Continue Reading →

This post and others throughout African-American History Month will highlight notable African-Americans in transportation. African-American aviation pioneer James Herman Banning died during an air show at the U.S. Navy base in San Diego County, California. He was only 32. “The heroic young flyer was killed when a Travelair two-seater plane, in which he was a... Continue Reading →

Internationally renowned railroad executive Ralph Budd died in Santa Barbara, California, at the age of 82. His obituary in the New York Times noted, “Mr. Budd, a bulky, exuberant man who spent a half-century on railroading, approached the work with the drive of a locomotive churning through a tunnel.” Budd had been born on a... Continue Reading →

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