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HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE

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Peggy Llewellyn is the first black woman in the world to win a professional motorsports event. She finished in the 2007 Powerade Top Five standings where she recorded her post-career best time and speed. At 5-foot-2 and 115 pounds, the San Antonio native was introduced to two-wheel motorsports by her father, Eugene, who owns a cycle shop in her hometown. After family vacations where siblings raced against one another, she latched on to her brother’s pit crew in 1994. Shortly after, her father helped her build a custom bike - a GS1150  - for herself.
 
Only three weeks after practicing her riding skills on her new wheels, Llewellyn clocked in at 140 miles per hour. She had the goal of riding a prostock bike, which gets up to 150 miles per hour at half-track. It only took her a short time to accomplish that goal. While in training, Llewellyn found a mentor Stephanie Reaves, the first woman to sign up for mile-high nationals. But the big leagues had yet to see a woman of color on the track. Faced with the challenge of being dropped by teams for half a decade with no explanation, Llewellyn was determined to keep riding.

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In the early 1960s, two Chicago men by the names of Jeff Fort and Eugene Hairston, also known as Angel and The Black Prince respectively, began an organization called the Blackstone Rangers. They were originated at the St. Charles Institution for Troubled Youth in the Woodlawn area of south Chicago, with a group of kids ages 12 to 15 years old.

The upfront premise of The Blackstone Rangers was said to be civil rights and the protection of kids in the community from the other street gangs. By 1967, the group would expand their membership to other cities, including Cleveland, Ohio; Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Gary, Indiana, ballooning to over 5,000 members. However, it soon became evident that the organization had transformed into a powerful street gang itself.
 
The funding for the gang's activity was established in 1965 with the assistance of the Rev. John Fry, who helped the leaders obtain a charter from the state to create a group called The Grassroots Independent Voters of Illinois. It was under this new charter that the Rangers received a $1 million grant from the government, to create a jobs training program. But the money instead would fund criminal activity, including drug distribution.
 
A year after receiving the money, Blackstone founder Jeff Fort was arrested for mismanagement of government grants and later on drug charges, along with Eugene Hairston. Now known as the Black P. Stone Nation, they would eventually take on the face of a Muslim group called the El Rukn in the 1980s. Membership had grown to over 42,000 members and, at the time, became the largest gang in the country. Fort changed his name to Abdullah-Malik and was later charged with buying weapons to commit terrorism on behalf of Libya. He was sentenced to 80 years.

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Jarm Logue was a runaway slave from Tennessee who became a lead and well-known conductor of the Underground Railroad. Born to his white owner, David Logue, and his enslaved mother named Cherry, he stole his master’s horse at age 21 and escaped to Canada, where he would change his name to Jermain Wesley Loguen. After learning to read and write, Loguen became a minister of the A.M.E. Zion church in 1840. Once he settled in Syracuse, New York with his new family, he began serving many slaves in their anxious quest for freedom via the Underground Railroad.
 
Loguen would construct apartment-like buildings on his private property that would serve as lodging posts for his Underground depot. He filled his own basement with bunks and supplies for runaway slaves. He did so after lobbying with the Syracuse courts to make the city a liberal refuge for runaway slaves. In 1850, Loguen asked that Syracuse be among the states to ignore the Fugitive Slave Act – the same Act that would put him back in captivity. And it was agreed, in a decision of 395 to 96, that Syracuse disinherit the Fugitive Slave Act. But with all acts in history, there were some that didn’t react with the changing law.

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Barbara Clementine Harris made history in 1989 when she became the first woman bishop in the Worldwide Anglican Communion. She was consecrated Suffragan Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts on February 11, 1989. As the first woman bishop and an African-American, she received death threats and obscene messages. Though urged to wear a bullet-proof vest to her ordination, she refused. A contingent of the Boston police were assigned to her consecration. Her comment was merely, “I don’t take this in a personal way.”

Harris was born on June 12, 1930 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a youth, she attended Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church in Philadelphia and developed a strong relationship with her church and its vision. As a young African American woman, she was active in civil rights issues, participating in freedom rides, voter registration efforts, and marches in the 1960s, including the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, led by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Harris spent summer vacations registering black voters in Greensville, Mississippi. She dismissed the risks she took, saying only, “Everyone was in danger.”

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