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ADLA | 2023 Black History Month Study Materials Week 2

Feb 06, 2023

African Descent Lutheran Association Presents:
Black History Month Study Resources for 2023

Teach and urge these duties. Whoever teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that is in accordance with godliness, is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words. From these come envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among those who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. (1 Timothy 6:3-5)



Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere, especially in education.

Recent attempts have been made to eliminate Black American history from schools. Some believe Black history is irrelevant to American history. These efforts have banned certain books and discussions about Black history in classrooms. The extent to which this has been done threatens recent empowerment efforts to advance studies related to Black history.

Eliminating Black history from the consciousness of our minds, banning books, and making it unlawful to teach the truth undermines efforts to continue the legacy of maintaining an important part of American history for future generations. Black History is interwoven into the history of American History. Neither can exist without the other.

Education is the key to remembering the impact of Black History from the 1400s. This requires making certain the legacy is not lost – but remembered. Ensuring Black history is never forgotten requires vigilance and a commitment to keeping our history alive. All efforts should be explored to maintain what we know for sure while uncovering information yet to be discovered.

In 1925 Carter G. Woodson, a noted African American historian, scholar, educator, and publisher, created what was known as “Negro History Week” to ensure Black history was not lost. It became a month-long celebration in 1976. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln. Though the month of February has been designated to celebrate Black History, Black engagement in American culture should be documented throughout the year and does not even begin to educate society on Black influence with its full impact.

We hope this information will encourage further discussions to explore some of the forthcoming information and a desire to learn more. Each week will highlight different areas that have enhanced our lives.


Part A—Department of Defense


During the American Revolution, African American men, both enslaved and free, served in the Continental Army. Black soldiers served in mostly integrated units at that time. The First Rhode Island Regiment is the most famous regiment that included African Americans during the American Revolution. Though there was controversy, in the end, 144 African Americans enlisted in the First Rhode Island Regiment out of 225 members.

The Civil War – By the end of the Civil War, roughly 179,000 men (10 percent of the Union Army) served as soldiers in the US army. Nineteen thousand served in the Navy. Black soldiers served in artillery and infantry and performed all non-combat support functions that sustain an army.

During World War I, the 369th  Infantry Regiment, known as the Harlem Hellfighters,” served on the front lines for 191 days. This was longer than any other American unit.

  • Colin Luther Powell: Retired four-star general and the first Black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was appointed in 2001 under the administration of former President George W. Bush.

  • Damian Williams: The first Black United States Attorney to hold the position in the 234-year history of the Southern District of New York, which is the Federal District court of New York State.

Part B—Black in the Judicial System


  • Macon Bolling Allen (1816—1894): Judge, Lawyer

    Macon Bolling Allen is thought to be the first licensed and practicing African American lawyer to argue before a jury and the first African American Justice of the Peace. He passed the Bar exam in 1844.

  • Charlotte E. Ray (1850—1911): Civil Rights Activist, Lawyer

    Charlotte E. Ray participated in the women’s suffrage movement and joined the National Association of Colored Women. A graduate of Howard University School of Law, Ray became the first Black American female lawyer in the United States, the first woman admitted to the District of Columbia Bar, and the first woman admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia.

  • Thurgood Marshall (1908—1993): Supreme Court Justice, Civil Rights Activists, Lawyer

    Thurgood Marshall was instrumental in ending legal segregation and became the first African American justice in the US Supreme Court. Justice Marshall founded the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and served as the executive.

  • The Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray (1910—1985): Lawyer, Scholar, Activist, Poet, and Episcopal Priest.

    In 1977, The Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray became the first Black woman ordained in the Episcopal Church. Murray was the first African American to receive a Doctor of Juridical Science degree from Yale Law School after being denied admission from Harvard Law School due to her gender.

    In 2017, Yale University opened the Pauli Murray College, honoring her for her incredible contribution to education and our society.

  • Eric H. Holder Jr. (1951—present): Lawyer

    Holder served as the 82nd US Attorney General from 2009-2015 under the administration of former President Barack Obama. He is the first African American United States Attorney General.

  • Loretta E. Lynch (1959—present): Lawyer

    Lynch served as the 83rd US Attorney General from 2015-2017 under the administration of former President Barack Obama. 

  • Jeh C. Johnson (1957- present): Lawyer

    Johnson was the United States Secretary of Homeland Security from 2013 to 2017, the third largest Department of the United States Government with 229,000 employees. From 2009 to 2012, he was the general counsel of the Department of Defense during the first years of the Obama administration.

  • Eric H. Holder Jr. (1951—present): Lawyer

    Holder served as the 82nd US Attorney General from 2009-2015 under the administration of former President Barack Obama. He is the first African American United States Attorney General.

  • Barack H. Obama (1961—present): Attorney, Politician, Activist, US President

    Barack Obama is an American retired politician who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, Obama is the first African-American president of the United States. He previously served as a U.S. senator from Illinois from 2005 to 2008 and as an Illinois state senator from 1997 to 2004, and he previously worked as a civil rights lawyer before entering politics. In 2009, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

  • Ketanji Brown Jackson (1970- present): Scholar, Attorney, Politician, Activist, US Supreme Court Justice

    Ketanji Brown Jackson is the First Black Woman Supreme Court Justice. Jackson was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Joe Biden on February 25, 2022, confirmed by the United States Senate on April 7, and sworn into office on June 30. She was previously a United States circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 2021 to 2022. Jackson attended Harvard University for college and law school—where she graduated both with honors—and served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review. She served as a district judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia from 2013 to 2021. Jackson was also vice chair of the United States Sentencing Commission from 2010 to 2014. Since 2016, she has been a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers.

    Jackson succeeded Justice Breyer (with whom she served a clerkship at the start of her career) upon his retirement from the court on June 30, 2022. She is also the first former federal public defender to serve on the Supreme Court.

Check back here every week in February for new discussion topics. To read Week I click HERE.