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All content by Wingspan Staff
Known as one of the most influential singers and rappers of her generation, Lauryn Hill was born on May 25, 1975, in East Orange, New Jersey. After having her first child with Rohan Marley in 1997, Hill produced her first solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

Lauryn Hill

February 28, 2021
Alicia Garza is a queer social justice activist who co-founded the Black Lives Matter Global Network alongside Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi. Garza is also the principal of the Black Futures Lab.

Alicia Garza

February 28, 2021
Known as the Queen of Neo-Soul, Erica Abi Wright, known professionally as Erykah Badu was born on Feb. 26, 1971 in Dallas, TX. Badu is known for her music’s mix of modern soul, R&B, hip-hop, pop, African music, and more.

Erykah Badu

February 28, 2021
Barbara Smith is a Black lesbian feminist and socialist. Since the early 1970s, Smith has been active as an author, scholar, activist, and leader of the Black feminist thought. In 1974, she co-founded the Combahee River Collective, a Black lesbian feminist socialist organization that argued that both feminism led by white women and the Civil Rights movement were not addressing the needs of Black women, particularly Black lesbian women. 

Barbara Smith

February 28, 2021
Lucy Hicks Anderson was a Black transgender pioneer, American socialite, chef, and prohibition-era entrepreneur. From a young age, Anderson knew she identified as a girl and insisted on wearing dresses and going by the name Lucy. Before the term “transgender” was coined, Lucy was taken to a local physcian by her mother and the physician suggested that Lucy be brought up as a girl and she was.

Lucy Hicks Anderson

February 28, 2021
Jean-Michel Basquiat was an artist who blended social commentary, expressive graffiti designs, oil and acrylic paintings, memorable poetry, and much more, and would go on to become one of the most influential contemporary artists of all time. A common and well-known motif of Basquiat’s is a crown, which he used in his works to celebrate Black people as royalty, kings, and saints. Many of his works also criticize the systems of racism, colonialism, and capitalism. 

Jean-Michel Basquiat

February 28, 2021
Every day for Black History Month, Wingspan will be publishing profiles on prominent Black historical figures, leaders, and revolutionaries.

Black History Month

February 28, 2021
Born Malcolm Little in  1925, Malcolm X, also known as el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, was a Black Muslim minister and human rights activist, known for his efforts in the civil rights movement of the 60s.

Malcolm X

February 27, 2021
Born a slave in 1797, Sojourner Truth was an abolitionist, activist, and intersectional feminist.

Sojourner Truth

February 27, 2021
Born in September of 1941, in Chicago, Illinois, George  Jackson was an activist, author, and communist.

George Jackson

February 27, 2021
Born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1939, Colvin was one of the pioneers of the civil rights movements of the 60s. Though she has often been left out of stories mentioning the fight for desegregation, Colvin’s court case, and her subsequent work for the N.A.A.C.P., had an undeniable impact on the civil rights movement.

Claudette Colvin

February 27, 2021
Author, activist, and educator Patrisse Cullors has dedicated her life to fight for the end of violence against Black people in America and empower communities. She is one of the co creators of Black Lives Matter and has developed programs to unite the Black community throughout her life. Along with her activism, she also as a professor at Prescott College where developed the Social and Environmental Arts Practice MFA program.

Patrisse Cullors

February 25, 2021
Opal Tometi is a human rights activist who has been fighting for justice since her early years. From being one of the three creators of the Black Lives Matter movement to creating an electronic hub to unite the Black community, Tometi is a force of nature with her voice and continues to fight for equality today.

Opal Tometi

February 23, 2021
17 year old Isra Hirsi, the daughter of Congresswoman Illhan Omar, is an environmental activist who focuses on the need for the climate movement to make more room for Black Muslim youth leaders, as well as acknowledge the various intersections that contribute to climate change, such as the impact of capitalism, white supremacy, and colonialism on the climate. “Creating more space for those with marginalized identities in the climate space is necessary for inclusive solutions,” Hirsi said in Vox.

Isra Hirsi

February 15, 2021
Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams

February 13, 2021
Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde

February 12, 2021
Afeni Shakur was a socialist, revolutionary thinker, and activist who fought for Black liberation and was a prominent member of the Black Panther Party, as well as the mother to rapper and actor Tupac. Writing for the Black Panther Party’s newsletter, Panther Post, Shakur also headed a successful campaign that led the FBI to believe the party was fading, led a section of the Harlem chapter, as well as worked as a mentor to new members.

Afeni Shakur

February 11, 2021
The first Black woman scientist to be employed at NASA, engineer Mary Jackson became an inspiration for many.

Mary Jackson

February 10, 2021
Growing up in a segregated Birmingham, in a part of town referred to as “Dynamite Hill” in reference to the numerous attacks committed by the Klu Klux Klan, much of Davis’s childhood was plagued by the horrors of racism and bigotry. Her activism started at a young age.

Angela Davis

February 9, 2021
Eunince Kathleen Waymon, known professionally as Nina Simone, was a socialist, Black nationalist, revolutionary, civil rights activist, singer, songwriter, musician, and more, whose art spanned the musical genres and styles of pop, classical, blues, jazz, folk, gospel, and R&B. “It was always Marx, Lenin, and revolution - real girls talk,” Nina Simone said in her autobiography, I Put a Spell on You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone. 

Nina Simone

February 8, 2021
Born on December 19, 1924, in East Harlem, Cicely Tyson was a legendary actress who broke multiple glass ceilings for Black women in Hollywood.

Cicely Tyson

February 8, 2021
Shirley Chisholm was a trailblazing American politician as the first Black woman ever elected to the U.S. Congress and the first Black person to seek a major party’s nomination for the U.S. presidency when she ran for the Democratic Party nomination in 1972. Learn more about Chisholm in her books Unbought and Unbossed and The Good Fight and the 2004 documentary Chisholm ‘72 directed by Shola Lynch.

Shirley Chisholm

February 6, 2021
Fred Hampton was a Black revolutionary socialist and activist who served as the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party and deputy chairman of the national Black Panther Party. He was a leading force in the fight for Black liberation, advocating for an international proletarian revolution against capitalism, imperialism, fascism, colonialism, and white supremacy by all means necessary. You can jail revolutionaries, but you can’t jail the revolution, Hampton said in You Cant Jail a Revolution speech at a Black Panther rally.

Fred Hampton

February 5, 2021
Ida Bell Wells-Barnett was a Black journalist who is most known for her investigations into the violent lynching of Black people by white people through her journalism and was actively involved in the civil rights and suffrage movements. In 2020, Wells-Barnett received a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for “her outstanding and couregous reporting on the horrific and vicious violence against African Americand during the era of lynching.”

Ida B. Wells

February 4, 2021
Chairman of the Cambridge Non-Violent Action Committee Gloria Richardson marches for equal rights for Black people in America. In the 1960s, the Cambridge Movement fueled the fight against injustices and discrimination.

Gloria Richardson

February 3, 2021
Marsha Pay It No Mind Johnson was a Black gay liberation activist who pioneered the movement for LGBTQ+ human rights. As long as gay people dont have their rights all across America, theres no reason for celebration, Johnson said.

Marsha P. Johnson

February 2, 2021
A communist, Black nationalist, journalist, community leader, feminist and more, read about political activist Claudia Jones in the first installment of Wingspans daily reports highlighting Black historical figures and their impact on the world.

Claudia Jones

February 1, 2021
Wingspan 2018-19 seniors pose for a picture  outside of the Wingspan classroom. A few seniors will give their final goodbye as they reflect on their years in the program and their journey through high school.

A final farewell

May 30, 2019

Shattered Dreams

March 23, 2018

Homecoming 2017

September 21, 2017
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Wingspan Staff