Better late than never, I suppose.
Just like last year, I am sorry this article came out at on the last day of Black History Month. In either case, I had a poll up in early January where I asked what you all wanted to see. 60% voted for intellectuals/academics, so like last year’s post, I will examine 10 individuals in this category before the Civil Right Movement, however, and I also included educators.
In my previous Black History Month article, I examined the natal charts of the people I investigated to see if there was a correlation between their astrology and what they wrote. For intellectuals and academics, I don’t think, or I could not think of, any particular astrological placements that would correlate to these professions. Of course, air, Mercury, Jupiter, and the Moon all make sense, but for some reason I find these placements a little too general. Because of that, I thought I should look at their Life Paths instead. Similar to the lunar nodes, it gives immense insight into what their soul’s purpose in that incarnation was. But what I ended up doing, however, was looking at both the entire birth chart and the Life Path number lol.
Fannie C. Williams
Born into a family of seven in Biloxi, Mississippi on March 23, 1882, Fannie C. Williams was a renowned educator of New Orleans fame. She first made her way to the “Creole City” to attend high school. She later graduated from the College Prep and Normal Departments of Straight University (now Dillard University) in 1904.
After obtaining her degrees, she spent the next four years teaching in the gulf coast of Mississippi. But New Orleans was calling her, and in 1908 she returned to the city to teach at Fisk Elementary School. Her work and reputation proceeded her, so much so that Hattie V. Feger, the principal at Miro School (renamed Valencia C. Jones Elementary in 1917), requested that Williams transfer to her school in 1912.
Williams took the job and by 1917 she continued to impress her colleagues to the point where they appointed her as interim principal while Feger was on leave studying at the University of Cincinnati. This didn’t last long, however, as Williams decided to pursue a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Pedagogy in Michigan the following year.
She returned to New Orleans in 1920, and in 1921 Williams became the principal of Valencia. Under her command, she made sure to provide the young children of Valencia with a very holistic education. For instance, she started a health program in 1929 that celebrated the health activities the student body made during the year. She also tried to motivate students to eat healthier by encouraging them to drink milk instead of pop and eat hot lunches. Williams was also able to convince two local dentists to provide free dental care to the school. This eventually expanded to include nurses and doctors to provide free care as well. This program ultimately resulted in May 1st (or the first Monday of October) being crowned Child Health Day where health professionals would come to most American public schools and provide services free of charge.
Williams also encouraged her students to be involved in their local communities, having them bring baskets of flowers to the elderly and sick, for example.
In the early 1930s during the Great Depression, Williams opened a nursery school and kindergarten at Valencia. This was apparently the first black school in New Orleans to provide such services.
Into the 1940s, getting quality testing for her students was Williams’s next goal. She initiated the Parents Study Group with the help of Family Services to do just this. Again, she seemed to be the first in the state to do this, and long before state testing became a thing, even in New Orleans.
Health and testing weren’t the only things Williams was concerned about either. Somehow, someway, she was able to fund field trips to the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), Baton Rouge to visit the state capital, Audubon Park, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I just want to remind people that this was during Jim Crow times. So, she was doing God’s work to allow a bunch of black children to travel safely in the South.
But Williams kept pushing the bar. She and many others were instrumental into getting black girls into the Girl Scouts. This proved successful as Troop 99 of Jones School became the first black troop in New Orleans.
The student body wasn’t Williams’s only focus during the three decades she reigned as Valencia’s principal. Between 1931 to 1939, she was also the principal of the Valena C. Jones Normal School which certified black teachers to work in New Orleans public schools. Although the normal school sought to train people to become teachers, Williams often encouraged the pupils there to achieve higher aspirations, such as seeking principal and other administrative positions. And many of the individuals who went to Valena before the program was discontinued did just that. One teacher moved to Oakland, California and became the first black principal of a senior high school, for instance.
The 1937 Valena C. Jones Normal School senior class
Outside of her work as a principal, Williams was very active in her community. She was the organizer, charter member, and first president of the Board of Management of the African American Branch of the New Orleans YWCA; served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Orleans Neighborhood Center; the Family Service Society; the Girl Scouts; the American Red Cross; Community Chest, a child development center; and Flint-Goodridge Hospital. She was also a member of the advisory committee for the Department of Public Welfare. For over 50 years Williams was also a member of the Central Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ in New Orleans. Within the church, she served for many years as superintendent of the church school, the president, as well as a life deaconess. And she continued to work in many more organizations surrounding education and teaching up until her death.
When Williams finally retired from Valencia in 1954, her life did not slow down. She worked as a private tutor teaching disabled children, illiterate adults, and Latines how to read English. She also volunteered in an adult education program sponsored by the Council of Jewish Women. She additionally traveled throughout the U.S. (yes, even when Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement was going on and after that period), Mexico, and Europe.
Because of her accomplishments, Williams of course received numerous awards. She was so popular and well-known even by white people that she participated in three White House Conferences—the Conference on Child Health and Protection called by President Hoover; a conference on Housing called by President Roosevelt; and the Mid-Century Conference held by President Truman. Distinguished individuals such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary McLeod Bethune even accepted her invitations to visit Valena.
Finally, on June 12, 1980, Williams died at the age of 98. Between 1987 – 1989, the 120,000 sq. ft. facility known as Fannie C. Williams Middle School was constructed in her honor. Dillard University also honored her by opening the Fannie C. Williams Hall in 1946.
I find it so fascinating that so many free programs at public schools all seem to have come from the mind and initiative of a black person, whether it was free healthcare as pioneered by Williams herself or just free (and reduced) lunches by the Black Panther Party. Any time a black person did something to help their community, it became adopted countrywide and has helped so many children, especially poor ones. And yet I doubt the average person knows it. That’s so sad but unsurprising since a black person spearheaded it.
In any case, Williams’s natal chart makes so much sense! As an Aries Sun, she was the first to do something, whether that was for black people in general or for black people in New Orleans, specifically, doesn’t matter. Aries people are the ones to begin something that is very new and different that is then carried on and maintained by other people. We see this in how Williams encouraged young teachers to strive towards more ambitious goals in their educational pursuits, creating new firsts in other parts of the country. This “new” and first energy can also come from her retrograde Virgo Uranus, which trined almost all of her Taurus planets by degree, where she had 4ish (her Moon could have been in Gemini) planets and Chiron there.
The nurturing energy she exuded was due to her Cancer Mars. Although uncomfortable and in fall in Cancer (and squared her Aries Sun and Venus), Mars in Cancer fights on behalf of family or those the individual deems as family. The sources I read on said that Williams lived alone, so it is not wild to assume that she saw her students and colleagues as her family. I have to wonder if her Mars was in the 3rd of 6th house or was the lord of these houses because she put a lot of energy into her community and job, respectively.
But even if this wasn’t so, Williams being a 9 Life Path can also explain this energy. 9 is the last single digit number. As such it is about endings, but it is more so about being a humanitarian. 9 is one of the spiritual numbers (the others being 7 and 11). People with these Life Paths are extremely philanthropic and humble as a result. And we do see that very visibly in Williams’s long life. From educating and nurturing students and aspiring teachers to being a part of numerous organizations that centered around education and progress more holistically speaking, I do think Williams did what she soul set out to do in that incarnation.
Amistad Research Center. (n.d.). NOLA4Women: Fannie C. Williams and New Orleans Education. Retrieved from https://www.amistadresearchcenter.org/single-post/2017/02/20/NOLA4Women-Fannie-C-Williams-and-New-Orleans-Education
Fannie C. Williams Charter School. (n.d.). The Legacy of Fannie C. Williams Lives On. Retrieved from https://fcwcs.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Warrior-News-March-2016-Vol-9-No.6-3.pdf
Fannie C. Williams Charter School. (n.d.). Who was Fannie C. Williams? Retrieved from https://fcwcs.org/about-fcw-charter/who-was-fannie-c-williams/
Galatowitsch, Diane. (n.d.). Williams, Fannie C. (1882-1980). Retrieved from http://amistadresearchcenter.tulane.edu/archon/?p=creators/creator&id=402
Hallie Quinn Brown
Born on March 10, 1849 (or 1850) in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania to freed slaves Frances Jane Scroggins and Thomas Arthur Brown, Hallie Quinn Brown was the fifth of six children. In 1864, because of her mother’s poor health, Brown’s family moved from Pittsburg to Ontario, Canada in 1864, not returning to the U.S. until 1870, settling in Wilberforce, Ohio.
Brown was sent off to Wilberforce College where she obtained a B.S. in 1873. It was here where Brown learned how to be an orator. She took this newfound skill and traveled to Mississippi where she became a teacher at plantation schools. Like many black educators of her time, she focused much of her effort into instilling literacy in black children, especially those who were denied this basic skill due to slavery.
Brown at Wilberforce
In 1875, Brown moved to Columbia, South Carolina where she worked briefly as an instructor in the city’s public schools before becoming a faculty member at Allen University. From 1875 to 1885 Brown taught at the university before becoming dean between 1885 to 1887.
While working at Allen, Brown took summer courses at American Chautauqua Lecture School, which had a “notable literary and scientific circle.” There she was influenced by Professor Roberston of the Boston School of Oratory. His summer course, “The Art of Speech and Oratory,” greatly reignited Brown’s love from the public spoken word, because after she graduated from the institution in 1886, she became an elocution instructor a few years after she was appointed as the principal of Tuskegee Institutes in Alabama from 1892 – 1893 under Booker T. Washington, and returned to Dayton, Ohio to teach in public schools.
In 1894, Brown began traveling as a lecturer and public speaker. Her orating reputation was already building while at Allen, where she spoke about such contemporary issues as temperance, women’s suffrage, and civil rights. She was so masterful at her craft that she was able to speak before Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901; Queen of Great Britain 1837 – 1901), at the 1895 Convention of the World’s Women Christian Temperance Union in London, and the 1899 International Congress of Women as a representative of the United States.
Brown dramatically entertained her audience when giving speeches
In addition to orating, Brown also penned many a collection of poems and short stories which all tackled the importance of social change, history, and education. I will list some of her bibliography below:
Bits and Odds: A Choice Selection of Recitation (1880)
Elocution and Physical Culture (1910)
First Lessons in Public Speaking (unpublished manuscript, 1920)
“Lizette, The Beautiful: A True Story of Slavery” (1924)
Our Women, Past, Present, and Future (1925)
Tales My Father Told (1925)
Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinction (1926)
Pen Pictures of Pioneers of Wilberforce (1937)
Her work for women’s suffrage is also notable. In 1893, Brown founded the Colored Women’s League of Washington, D.C which eventually merged with the National Association of Colored Women that same year. She became the 7th National President from 1920 to 1924 and acted as its honorary president until her death in 1949. (She was also the president of the Ohio State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs between 1905 and 1912.) While she was president, Brown made it her mission to maintain Fredrick Douglass’s house as a memorial in D.C. (He funded her second trip to Europe where she fundraised money to build the Frederick Douglass Memorial Library; she maintained a long and strong relationship with his family even after his death.) Brown also founded the Hallie Q. Brown Scholarship Fund (which is still running!) for the education of women.
Brown continued to educate and organize until she was finally laid to rest on September 16, 1949 in Cedarville, Ohio at age 100.
So, here we have another educator but unlike Williams, Brown went on to become an immensely popular and renowned orator that traveled across the country and Europe enamoring audiences with her command of the spoken word. Although her birth year is questionable, in both charts Brown would have had an Aquarius Mercury. I have seen many modern astrologers argue for Aquarius to be the exaltation of Mercury because Mercury tends to do exceptionally well in the sign. Numerous people point out that many a scientists and activists tend to have this placement, and in Brown’s case, it is no surprise that she became known for her speeches on societal issues that specifically plagued black people, even amongst black people such as sexism. Indeed, with an airy Mars as well, Brown put a lot of energy into communicating complex issues to masses of people, whether through talking or writing. If she had a Pisces Mercury, she may have gone on to be a renowned poet or storyteller instead.
However, with either a 9 (1850) or 8 (1849) Life Path, Brown was clearly destined for other things. If she had a 9 Life Path, it would make sense why her life centered around advocacy and education because, as was mentioned in Williams’s section, this number is about serving humanity and being very humble and philanthropic. The 8 is rather different on the surface as this number is all about business and power. 8 Life Path people are on a spiritual journey to reach the highest points of mastery on Earth. For most, this involves getting into the business realm and acquiring material things and political power. But the 8 is actually about balancing the material and spiritual. By mastering the physical, you are then able to go after the spiritual in a much stabler manner. In this way, it makes sense that Brown was able to monetize her orating skills and later translate them into the acquisition of power. In either case, Brown was an early figure in Black History that laid the groundwork for what was then the impending Civil Rights Movement before she passed.
Hallie Quinn Brown. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallie_Quinn_Brown
Hallie Q. Brown Community Center. (n.d.). About. Retrieved from http://www.hallieqbrown.org/site/index.php/about/
Jackson, Errin. (2007, Apr. 19). Hallie Quinn Brown (1850-1949). Retrieved from https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/brown-hallie-quinn-1850-1949/
Jackson. (2005, Dec. 9). Hallie Quinn Brown (1850–1949). Retrieved from https://us.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-assets/11830_book_item_11830.pdf
Regents of the University of Minnesota. (2009). Hallie Quinn Brown. Retrieved from https://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/handle/11299/166107/Brown,%20Hallie%20Quinn.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Fanny Jackson Coppin
Fanny Jackson Coppin was born on October 15, 1837 (or January 8, 1837 according to Wikipedia) in Washington, D.C. into slavery. Luckily, by age 12, an aunt purchased her freedom. Once free, Coppin was raised by another aunt in Newport, Rhode Island and had to work as a domestic, most notably for author George Henry Calvert, which interfered with her education. Nevertheless, Coppin was able to support herself and in 1860 she enrolled in Rhode Island State Normal School and then Oberlin College in Ohio, the first college in the U.S. to accepted both black and female students. At Oberlin, consequently, she was the first black person [woman] chosen to be a pupil-teacher or in the college’s preparatory department. She was also elected to the highly respected Young Ladies Literary Society and taught evening classes to freed slaves.
When she graduated in 1865, Coppin became a high school teacher at the Institute for Colored Youth (ICY) in Philadelphia where she taught Greek, Latin, and math. Barely a year later, she was appointed as the principal of the Ladies Department, and in the following year she became the principal of the entire institution, a position she held until 1906. She was the first black female principal there. She was also later promoted by the board of education to superintendent, making her the first black person in the U.S. to become one of a school district. At ICY, she was responsible for expanding the curriculum to include an Industrial Department and a Women’s Industrial Exchange to exhibit the mechanical and artistic works of young women. Coppin additionally founded a home for poor working women.
Coppin’s philanthropic work was seen elsewhere as she was an influential columnist that advocated for black people and women’s rights. She was also the first vice president to the National Association of Colored Women. In 1881, she married Rev. Levi Jenkins Coppin, a prominent minister in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, which caused her to get into missionary work once she retired from education in 1902. The couple went to Cape Town, South Africa and established Bethel Institute, a missionary school which emphasized self-help programs.
Coppin did not return to Philadelphia until almost a decade later due to declining health. She spent this time working on her autobiography, Reminiscences of School Life, and Hints on Teaching. It was published in 1913 before her death in the same year on January 21st. She was 73. In 1926, the High and Training School of Baltimore was renamed the Fanny Jackson Coppin Normal School in her honor. Today, it is called Coppin State College. Much earlier in 1899, the Fannie Jackson Coppin Club was established by members of the Beth Eden Baptist Church, making it the first black woman’s club in Oakland, California.
Because of Coppin’s uncertain birthday, it is hard to draw a lot of conclusions astrologically and numerologically. In both charts, Coppin could have had a Sagittarius Venus and Scorpio Saturn. Venus in Sagittarius can explain her love for education and advocating for human rights. Both were a burning passion for her like the other women on this list. Saturn in Scorpio can explain how she was able to sustain her fire over the course of her life, because while fire signs can accomplish a lot through sheer force, they tend to burn themselves out far too quickly. A sign like Scorpio knows how to better maintain this inferno as it is a water sign. Understanding emotions on their fundamental level is what all water signs are adept at. So, to be ruled by Mars, Scorpio is a very perceptive strategist when it comes to applying its emotional energy.
If born in October like most sources claim, then Coppin having an 8 Life Path can explain her steadfast nature as well. 8’s are all about administration and gaining power, as was previously mentioned. This can explain why Coppin like Brown was able to hold so many high ranking positions within the educational system. However, if born in January, she would have a 1 Life Path, which can also explain why Coppin was able to be the first of numerous things. Having a 1 Life Path meant that she was encouraged to be self-motivated and -interested. Because of this, many people with this Life Path tend to be pioneers or trailblazers very similarly to Aries. In either case, Coppin deserves her spot, nevertheless.
Boston University, School of Theology. (n.d.). Coppin, Fannie Marion Jackson (1837-1913). Retrieved from http://www.bu.edu/missiology/missionary-biography/c-d/coppin-fannie-marion-jackson-1837-1913/
Coppin Sate University. (n.d.). Fanny Jackson Coppin. Retrieved from https://www.coppin.edu/fannyjacksoncoppin
Fanny Jackson Coppin. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanny_Jackson_Coppin
Kentake, Meserette. (2015, Oct. 15). Fanny Jackson Coppin: The Matriarch of Coppin State University. Retrieved from https://kentakepage.com/fanny-jackson-coppin-the-matriarch-of-coppin-state-university/
Waggoner, Cassandra. (2007, Nov. 20). Fannie Jackson Coppin (1837-1913). Retrieved from https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/coppin-fannie-jackson-1837-1913/
Anna Julia Cooper
Born into slavery on August 10, 1858, Anna Julia Cooper was the daughter to a slave woman named Hannah Stanley Haywood and her white master, George Washington Haywood, one of the sons of North Carolina’s longest serving state treasurer John Haywood, who helped found the University of North Carolina, or his brother, Dr. Fabius Haywood. After the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, Cooper was freed. In 1867, two years after the war, she did what other recently freed slaves did—pursued her education by navigating through the Freedmen’s Bureau. Cooper found her way to St. Augustine’s Normal School where she was a top student, successfully petitioning to get into the school’s Greek and Latin courses.
Copper found love at St. Augustine, marrying George A.G. Cooper, a teacher of theology there in 1877. However, this love had to soon be laid to rest, as George died two years later. Recently widowed, Cooper decided to pursue a college degree. Like other women on this list, she attended Oberlin College in Ohio on a scholarship. She had to protest to get into the “Gentlemen’s classes,” but she overcame and earned her BA (1884) and MA (1888) in mathematics. She, along with Mary Church Terrell, were one of the first black women to earn a Master’s degree in the U.S.
Mary Church Terrell
After graduation, Cooper worked at Wilberforce University and Saint Augustine’s before moving to Washington, D.C. to teach at Washington Colored High School, or according to other sources, the very prestigious black M Street High School teaching math, science, and Latin. While there, she published her first book, A Voice from the South by a Black Woman of the South, in 1892. Many black feminist scholars contend that this was one of the first black feminist texts as Copper not only argued for equality when it came to black women’s education, but that black women and their efforts were necessary to uplift the entire black race. This book of essays gained Cooper national attention, which allowed her to travel across the country lecturing on civil and women’s rights.
A Voice From The South By a Black Woman of the South
Cooper’s feminist work did not stop there. The same year she published her first book, she formed the Colored Women’s League in Washington alongside other prominent black women such as Helen Appo Cook, Ida B. Wells, Charlotte Forten Grimké, Mary Jane Peterson, Mary Church Terrell, and Evelyn Shaw. Their goal was to promote racial progress, unity, and the best interests for the black community. A year later, she joined four other black women (Fannie Barrier Williams, Sarah Jane Woodson Early, and Hallie Quinn Brown) to deliver a speech titled “The Intellectual Progress of the Colored Women of the United States since the Emancipation Proclamation” at the World’s Congress of Representative Women in Chicago. In 1900, Cooper joined the executive committee of the first Pan-African Conference. She additionally created colored branches of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in D.C., as both barred black people entry, to support young black migrants who were from the South.
In 1901, Cooper became the principal at M Street and got herself into a bit of controversy. During this time, two schools of thought about how to advance black people were at war—the one espoused by W.E.B. Du Bois that stressed the importance of attaining an education and that of Booker T. Washington who argued for vocational skills and economic independence instead. Copper agreed with Du Bois which upset the white school board at D.C. because she focused on college preparation at M Street. Using white supremacy—trumped-up charges—the District of Columbia Board of Education refused to renew Cooper’s contract for the 1905–06 school year, forcing her to leave. This was no skin of Cooper’s nose, however, as she continued to be an educator at Lincoln University for four years. And ironically in 1910, she was rehired as a teacher at M Street, where she stayed until 1930.
In 1911, Cooper began studying part-time for a doctoral degree at Columbia University in New York City. This had to stop in 1915, however, as her brother passed away and she took time off to raise his five grandchildren. Finally returning to school in 1924, Cooper enrolled in the University of Paris in France. In 1925, she finally received her doctorate in philosophy. Her dissertation was on slavery, its English title, Slavery and the French Revolutionists, 1788–1805. She was 67 and the fourth black women to obtain a doctorate.
In 1930, Cooper retired from her teaching job at M Street to become the president of Frelinghuysen University. She worked there until it closed in 1950, also serving as the school’s registrar after it was reorganized into the Frelinghuysen Group of Schools for Colored People from 1940 onward.
Cooper finally died at age 105 on February 27, 1964. Her memorial was held in a chapel on the campus of Saint Augustine’s College, in Raleigh, North Carolina. She was buried alongside her husband at the City Cemetery in Raleigh.
Cooper, like the other women on this list, was not only an educator that was deeply committed to and instrumental in the education of black people, especially the poor and working class, but was also one of the more notable black women at the center of the suffragist movement and is a woman that many black feminist scholars of today celebrate and reference. This versatility can be seen in all of the Virgo placements Cooper had. This sign is mutable, therefore flexible, but also very intellectually inclined because it is governed by Mercury. Consequently, it is no surprise that she sided with W.E.B. Du Bois than Booker T. Washington because she herself had a deep desire for knowledge. She also had Jupiter in the mental Gemini as well, explaining that her philosophy in life or belief system likely revolved around gathering and sharing information, which directly translated to her lifelong career as a teacher.
Cooper never really changing careers can also be explained by her 4 Life Path. People with this Life Path are trying to build something that is firm and stable in their lives. They are learning about structure and limitations, after all. I find this a bit ironic as she seemed to have had Mars and Uranus in opposition, an aspect that speaks of erratic change through one’s actions. But besides the initial stint with the racist D.C. school board, her life seemed to be rather uncomplicated, at least from what all these sources have surmised of her life and condensed down. I am sure with her feminist work she was not always well received by the people around her or outside of her women’s groups she was a member of. But I could be wrong! In either case, for me personally, it was interesting to peek into her life as I read a bit of her feminist work in one of my college courses.
Anna J. Cooper. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_J._Cooper
Columbia University. (n.d.). Anna Julia Cooper. Retrieved from https://blackhistory.news.columbia.edu/people/anna-julia-cooper
Douglass Day. (n.d.). Cooper. Retrieved from https://douglassday.org/cooper/
Steptoe, Tyina. (2007, Jan. 29). Anna Julia Haywood Cooper (1858-1964). Retrieved from https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/cooper-anna-julia-haywood-1858-1964/
Wallach, J. (n.d.). Anna Julia Cooper. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Anna-Julia-Cooper
Sarah Jane Woodson Early
Sarah Jane Woodson Early was born free on November 15, 1825 in Chillicothe, Ohio to Jemima and Thomas Woodson as their youngest child. Her father helped create the all black farming community of Berlin Crossroads, Ohio, an important town along the Underground Railroad in Ohio, where Early grew up.
The Woodson family was deeply religious, as they founded the first black Methodist church west of the Allegheny Mountains. This commitment to the church and education led to Early by the age of 3 memorizing every hymn sung by her family and large parts of the Bible by 5. In 1839, Early joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) where he father and two older brothers were ministers of.
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, July 1829. Illustration by William Breton, Courtesy Library Company of Philadelphia.
But ministry was not in the cards for Early because in 1852 she and her sister Hannah enrolled in Oberlin College. She graduated in 1856 with a bachelor’s degree (in either law or classical studies), making her one of the first black women to obtain a college degree. During this time, she taught in black community schools in Ohio. In 1858 she was hired at Wilberforce University, the oldest private historically black college or university (HBCU) in the United States, which was in part founded by the AME (her brother, Rev. Lewis Woodson, was a trustee and founder of the college), to teach English and Latin. She was not given an official title of professor for some reason, however, but she was considered to be the first black woman college instructor/college faculty member. Early was also the first black person to teach at a HBCU and the only black woman to teach at a HBCU before the Civil War. However, Wilberforce had to close its doors during the war as the institution lost most of its nearly 200 subscription students at the beginning of the war because most were mixed race children from wealthy planters in the South who withdrew them at that time.
Wilberforce University, Xenia, Ohio. Public Domain via Library of Congress.
During this time, Early returned to teaching in black Ohio public schools around Xenia. She even became a principal from 1860 to 1861. When Wilberforce finally reopened, Early was welcomed back properly as a professor. After teaching there for some years, Early decided to leave in 1868 to teach at a school for black girls in Hillsborough, N.C., run by the Freedmen’s Bureau. This was the time that she met and married Rev. Jordan W. Early, a pioneer in the AME Church movement in the West and South.
The two moved to Tennessee where for the next 20 years, Early taught wherever her husband preached. Her resume included teaching in several community schools, serving as the principal in four cities and giving over 100 lectures in five states. In addition, she was the national superintendent of the black division of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Indeed, Early was a great orator in her own right, traveling and lecturing on temperance, black women’s role in racial uplift, and self-improvement during her tenure in the 1890s. In 1893, Early was named Representative Woman of the Year at the Chicago World’s Fair, where she was one of five black women (Fannie Barrier Williams, Anna Julia Cooper, Hallie Quinn Brown, and Fanny Jackson Coppin) invited to speak. Her speech was entitled “The Organized Efforts of the Colored Women of the South to Improve Their Condition.” In 1894, she chronicled her husband’s life and work in the biographic, Life and Labors of Rev. Jordan W. Early, One of the Pioneers of African Methodism in the West and South.
Life and Labors of Rev. Jordan W. Early, One of the Pioneers of African Methodism in the West and South
Finally, on August 15, 1907, Early died at age 82.
Early is like many of the other women on this list in that she was one of the very first black women to get a college degree and went on to dedicate her life to educating other black people while also advocating for women’s rights and/or temperance. With a Scorpio Sun and Sagittarius Mercury, it makes sense that Early would go down a more religious path, however, as she was born into a deeply spiritual family. Family is interesting to note because Early had a 6 Life Path.
To have this Life Path means that your family will play an integral role in your life in this incarnation as this number symbolizes family, love, duty, and responsibility. So, it is no surprise that in addition to teaching, Early followed her husband’s stead and accompanied him on his preaching journey. Early marrying a reverend can also show how her influential her own family was on her life as she got older. Although it was not unusual for black women of her time to marry religious men and speak on religious issues such as temperance, most of the other women on this list did not go down this path even with spiritual Life Paths like a 9. Perhaps having a Sagittarius North Node can explain this difference, but in either case, Early was one of the few black women who made history for her academic achievements and commitment to educating black youth across the country.
Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. (n.d.). Sarah Woodson Early. Retrieved from https://www.monticello.org/getting-word/people/sarah-woodson-early
Sarah Jane Early, Educator born. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://aaregistry.org/story/sarah-jane-early-fought-for-education-for-black-women/
Sarah Jane Woodson Early. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Jane_Woodson_Early
Sarah Jane Woodson Early. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.womenhistoryblog.com/2015/03/sarah-jane-woodson-early.html
Women of Oberlin College. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.womenhistoryblog.com/2014/10/women-of-oberlin-college.html
Young, Charlotte. (2013, Feb. 4). Black Women Pioneers: Sarah Jane Woodson Early Paves the Way for Black Educators. Retrieved from https://madamenoire.com/260874/black-women-pioneers-sarah-jane-woodson-early-paves-the-way-for-black-educators/
W.E.B. Du Bois
No list on black intellectuals, academics, and educators would be complete without W.E.B. Du Bois. Born William Edward Burghardt Du Bois on February 23, 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts to Mary Silvina Burghardt, a domestic worker, and Alfred Du Bois, a barber and itinerant laborer, Du Bois was reared by his mother after his father abandoned them when he was 2. In the small town of Great Barrington where there were barely any black people, Du Bois was treated fairly well for the times as he went to an integrated public school and supposedly had white friends. His mother unfortunately died very early in his life after she suffered from a stroke when he was 5. Despite these early hardships, Du Bois did very well academically. In fact, his white teachers even encouraged his scholarly interests. By the time it came for Du Bois to graduate from high school he had written numerous articles for the local newspapers such as the Springfield Republican, New York Globe, and Freeman and was crowned valedictorian.
Great Barrington High School, Class of 1884
In 1885, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee to attend Fisk University thanks to the money his church raised for him. While there, Du Bois became an editor for the Herald, the student magazine, and taught at rural schools during the summer to support himself. Some sources claim that being in the South and experiencing Jim Crow began to shape his racial beliefs.
Du Bois at Fisk University with three other classmates in 1888
In 1888, Du Bois enrolled in Harvard University as a junior, eventually receiving an advanced degree in history in 1890. In 1892, Du Bois received a fellowship from the John F. Slater Fund for the Education of Freedmen to attend the University of Berlin for graduate work. Although he had to return to the U.S. without a doctorate because he ran out of money, he eventually got his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1895, (he got his MA in 1891) making him the first black person to receive a Ph.D. from the institution. His doctoral thesis, The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America, 1638–1870, was published as No. 1 in the Harvard Historical Series.
Du Bois graduated from Harvard with his M.A. in 1891 (left) and with his Ph.D. in 1895 (the right shows his dissertation).
From 1896 to 1897 Du Bois took a position at the University of Pennsylvania as an assistant instructor in sociology, conducting a study on Philadelphia’s Seventh Ward. His findings were published in 1899 as The Philadelphia Negro. This sociological work on an urban community was new at the time, making Du Bois one of the field’s leading pioneers. As such, the work was so time consuming (Du Bois did extensive fieldwork that included conducting an estimate 835 hours of door-to-door interviews in 2,500 households) that he missed the birth of his first son in Great Barrington. Nevertheless, Du Bois’s analysis of and mapping out the Seventh Ward was invaluable. He concluded that the “the Negro problem looked at in one way is but the old world questions of ignorance, poverty, crime, and the dislike of the stranger.”
Du Bois’s sociological work continued into the late 1890s where he joined other fellow black intellectuals to create the American Negro Academy, an organization devoted to promoting black scholarly achievement. He also took a position at Atlanta University as a professor of history and economics, where he was an editor of the Atlanta University Studies (1898 – 1914). It was in Atlanta (1897 – 1910) and through the Atlanta University Studies where Du Bois became infamous for his intellectual posturing, writing essays such as “The Negro in Business (1899),” “The Negro Artisan (1902),” “The Negro Church (1903),” “Economic Cooperation among Negro Americans (1907),” and “The Negro American Family (1908).”
It was also in 1897 where the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics asked Du Bois to lead to several groundbreaking studies on black Southern households in Farmville, Virginia. His work was published as The Negroes of Farmville, Virginia: A Social Study. Du Bois did four more studies for the bureau, two in Alabama and two in Georgia as well. His findings showcased how slavery still had damaging repercussions for black people, especially in the South.
Du Bois’s work continued to change the face of sociology because during the time, the field did not make use of investigation and data analysis; it only existed in purely theoretical forms that perhaps more closely resembled philosophy than modern-day sociology with all of its extensive methodologies (e.g., quantitative, qualitative) and testing that we take for granted now.
Perhaps one of Du Bois’s most influential and widely known work, however, was his book of essays titled, The Souls of Black Folk (1903). This book sort of amasses all of his previous and current thoughts on what was called “The Negro Problem,” which in overly simplistic terms, is a question about what America should do with black people. White Europeans came over to “The New World” with us in chains and did not release us for centuries, only to follow up this supposed “freedom” with new chains in the form of Jim Crow, public execution in the form of police brutality, race riots, and lynching, and denying us basic rights white people had such as the right to vote, marry, hold property, etc. In this situation, what should be done with the black population?
The Souls of Black Folk
For intellectuals like Du Bois, the solution to “The Negro Problem” was for black people to gain an education. However, while he believed that, he also believed in a “talented tenth,” a term coined by white Northern liberals, specifically those in the American Baptist Home Mission Society, a Christian missionary, in 1896. In Du Bois’s interpretation and popularization of the term, only about 10% of black men will rise up to some sort of leadership capability through obtaining a higher education. Because of this, Du Bois argued that this elite class of black men should sacrifice their personal interests and instead pour all of their intellectual power into leading the black race into greatness.
If you were ever taught even an iota of black American history, you know this philosophy directly flew in the face of the more economic, self-determined yet conservative philosophy of Booker T. Washington who argued that economic independence will lead black people to true freedom. And what’s a bit funny, at least to me, about this feud is that it was actually not entirely fabricated by white people just to pit two prominent black figures against each other like they did and continue to do with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, for instance.
Du Bois and Washington
Yes, Du Bois and Washington had real beef. In 1903, Du Bois taught summer school at Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee University. This was the first time the two were finally face-to-face as Du Bois had a few opportunities to meet Washington earlier but didn’t. The first was when Du Bois was actually offered a teaching position at Tuskegee when he returned from Berlin from his graduate studies. But he turned it down to work at Wilberforce instead. Apparently, Washington still tried to reach out to Du Bois and sometimes under the alias, Albert Bushnell Hart, but nothing came into fruition until Du Bois himself finally came to Washington’s institution in the summer of 1903.
At first things were cordial. Du Bois, for instance, initially praised Washington’s “Atlanta Compromise,” a speech Washington gave at the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia, where he struck up a deal with prominent white Southern and Northern leaders in government that stated that black people in the South will continue to endure racial discrimination silently—including refraining from engaging in political and social activity (remember this was during Reconstruction where black people were gaining political positions in their local governments in the South)—as long as Southern white people promised to allow black people a basic education, some economic rights, and justice under the law. Northern white people also had to agree to fund charities to support Southern black schools. Like how many of these “agreements” went in the past, it wasn’t written down and more formally educated black people like Du Bois were deeply disturbed by this compromise.
Du Bois changed his attitude on Washington’s speech because he was deeply moved by the lynching of Sam Hose in 1899. Hose was first accused of killing his white employer Alfred Cranford after a heated argument. Knowing what happens to black people who get accused of anything, much less anything done to a white person, including self-defense (apparently Cranford was the one who threatened to kill Hose first and Hose acted in self-preservation), Hose fled town. But as a growing mob began to search for him over several days, white local newspapers painted Hose as a typical black beast who supposedly raped Cranford’s wife and infant child in front of Cranford. And just for extra measure, they said he had some advanced form of syphilis to really paint an image of an out-of-control black monster on the loose. Interestingly, Cranford’s wife denied these rape accusations but like how most lynching stories go, a white woman actually telling the truth meant nothing as Hose was eventually found, tortured, and of course, lynched.
When walking through Atlanta to discuss the lynching with newspaper editor Joel Chandler Harris, Du Bois encountered Hose’s burned knuckles in a storefront display. Seeing this shocked Du Bois. He knew then that trying to compromise or appeal to white people was simply not going to cut it if this is how they were acting. Black people had to demand their civil rights, not cower and beg for them while still experiencing such vicious violence as Hose did.
This is why Du Bois flipped on Washington, even going so far as to write directly to him in various essays. In his essay titled, “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others,” in his seminal book, The Soul of Black Folk, Du Bois writes at length,
Mr. Washington represents in Negro thought the old attitude of adjustment and submission; but adjustment at such a peculiar time as to make his programme unique. This is an age of unusual economic development, and Mr. Washington’s programme naturally takes an economic cast, becoming a gospel of Work and Money to such an extent as apparently almost completely to overshadow the higher aims of life. Moreover, this is an age when the more advanced races are coming in closer contact with the less developed races, and the race-feeling is therefore intensified; and Mr. Washington’s programme practically accepts the alleged inferiority of the Negro races. Again, in our own land, the reaction from the sentiment of war time has given impetus to race-prejudice against Negroes, and Mr. Washington withdraws many of the high demands of Negroes as men and American citizens. In other periods of intensified prejudice all the Negro’s tendency to self-assertion has been called forth; at this period a policy of submission is advocated. In the history of nearly all other races and peoples the doctrine preached at such crises has been that manly self-respect is worth more than lands and houses, and that a people who voluntarily surrender such respect, or cease striving for it, are not worth civilizing.
In answer to this, it has been claimed that the Negro can survive only through submission. Mr. Washington distinctly asks that black people give up, at least for the present, three things, —
First, political power,
Second, insistence on civil rights,
Third, higher education of Negro youth,
— and concentrate all their energies on industrial education, the accumulation of wealth, and the conciliation of the South. This policy has been courageously and insistently advocated for over fifteen years, and has been triumphant for perhaps ten years. As a result of this tender of the palm-branch, what has been the return? In these years there have occurred:
1. The disfranchisement of the Negro.
2. The legal creation of a distinct status of civil inferiority for the Negro.
3. The steady withdrawal of aid from institutions for the higher training of the Negro.
These movements are not, to be sure, direct results of Mr. Washington’s teachings; but his propaganda has, without a shadow of doubt, helped their speedier accomplishment. The question then comes: Is it possible, and probable, that nine millions of men can make effective progress in economic lines if they are deprived of political rights, made a servile caste, and allowed only the most meagre chance for developing their exceptional men? If history and reason give any distinct answer to these questions, it is an emphatic No. And Mr. Washington thus faces the triple paradox of his career:
1. He is striving nobly to make Negro artisans business men and property-owners; but it is utterly impossible, under modern competitive methods, for workingmen and property-owners to defend their rights and exist without the right of suffrage.
2. He insists on thrift and self-respect, but at the same time counsels a silent submission to civic inferiority such as is bound to sap the manhood of any race in the long run.
3. He advocates common-school and industrial training, and depreciates institutions of higher learning; but neither the Negro common-schools, nor Tuskegee itself, could remain open a day were it not for teachers trained in Negro colleges, or trained by their graduates.
Although scholars today contend that the friction between Du Bois and Washington was not as deep as we think that it was—in fact, much of this conflict was drummed up by their followers they claim, something that even Du Bois later remarks on towards the end of his life—their differences in ideologies during the early 1900s did cause a significant rift between the two. They tried to patch things up while Du Bois oversaw Tuskegee’s African American Council, but by 1904 Du Bois decided to join William Monroe Trotter and other Washington opponents to form the Niagara Movement, an organization that militantly advocated for full civil and political rights for black people. While somewhat successful as it provided an alternative vision to black people in how they could tackle white supremacy in the 20th century, the Niagara Movement ultimately failed due to a lack of funds and Washington’s opposition which proved to be fierce as he had many allies who went to bat for him both openly and silently. The group dissolved in 1909.
Also, in 1909, Du Bois traveled to New York to attend the National Negro Conference, which led to the birth of the National Negro Committee. Chaired by Oswald Villard, a white man, the committee was dedicated to campaigning for civil rights, equal voting rights, and equal educational opportunities. In the following spring in 1910, there was a second National Negro Conference, which resulted in the creation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). It was Du Bois who suggested that they use “colored” instead of “black” to include “dark skinned people everywhere.”
Du Bois left Atlanta University to serve as the NAACP’s officer and editor of the organization’s magazine, The Crisis. The Crisis was brought up numerous times in my previous black history month post as many Harlem writers published some of their short stories there. (Other black-led magazines were FIRE!! and The Brownies’ Book, the latter of which was co-created by Du Bois.) But under Du Bois, The Crisis was not just about art but politics. He published pieces on socialism, pieces that encouraged black people to vote Democratic as the Republican party (this was before the two flipped flopped on political issues by the way; black people in the past voted Republican because President Abraham Lincoln, who passed the Emancipation Proclamation that freed enslaved black people, was Republican) was showing their true colors, pieces endorsing women’s rights and the suffragist movement, and among other, more controversial things such as interracial marriage, anti-lynching, and World War I.
Despite the magazine’s success and far reach, apparently some leaders within the organization tried to oust Du Bois as some of the content he was publishing was divisive and the magazine was losing money. Nevertheless, he was able to keep his position and he even went on to publish his own creative work on the side, like his two novels The Quest of the Silver Fleece (1911) and Dark Princess: A Romance (1928); a book of essays and poetry called, Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil (1920); and two histories of black people titled, The Negro (1915) and The Gift of Black Folk: Negroes in the Making of America (1924).
During the early 1910s, Du Bois was also getting involved in the Pan-African movement, although he was not a fan of its prominent figure, Marcus Garvey. Into the 1920s and 30s, Du Bois was also attracted to communism as many other black intellectuals were at the time. This is where tensions between him and the NAACP grew, however, as Du Bois began to question the more legal route big organizations like the NAACP have historically taken to advance black people and solve the issue of “The Negro Problem.” Tensions got so high between Du Bois and his colleagues, especially between him and the executive director Walter White, that he resigned of his own accord in June 1934.
From 1934 to 1944 Du Bois was chairman of the department of sociology at Atlanta University. There, he continued to publish critical sociological/sociohistorical work. Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880 (1935), for instance, greatly detailed black life during Reconstruction. Black Folk, Then and Now (1939) is another book that also investigated black people’s lives, specifically the history of black people in Africa and in “the New World.” Color and Democracy: Colonies and Peace (1945) and The World and Africa: An Inquiry into the Part Which Africa Has Played in World History (1947) showcased Du Bois’s Pan-Africanist interests as these works discussed African history, culture, and their emancipation from European colonial rule.
Interestingly, in 1944, Du Bois returned to the NAACP as the director of the newly created special research department. Perhaps it was because the organization was changing up some of its tactics and programs that they welcomed Du Bois back despite still operating under his “enemy,” Walter White. They even allowed Du Bois to represent the organization at the first meeting of the United Nations the following year.
However, Du Bois’s continued and ever deepening flirtation with the far left, especially Marxism/communism when the Red Scare was in hyperdrive, once again put him at odds with the NAACP and White in particular. For example, Du Bois was an active supporter of the Progressive Party and Henry Wallace’s presidential bid. This put him in conflict with White and the NAACP board who were increasingly drawn towards the Harry S. Truman administration and fiercely opposed any other leftist associations. In 1948, Du Bois was pushed out altogether by the NAACP after it was apparently leaked to the New York Times that Du Bois was critical of the organization and its policies.
This did not stop an aging Du Bois, however, as he went deeper into his Pan-Africanist sentiments as he became co-chairman of the Council on African Affairs in 1948 and began writing regularly for the leftist weekly newspaper the National Guardian.
Du Bois also got involved in the anti-war movement during this time. He helped organize the Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace in March 1949, for instance, and was active in organizing its meetings in Paris and Mexico City later that year. He attended its Moscow conference that August. This group would eventually go on to create the Peace Information Center in 1950 where Du Bois was chosen to chair its Advisory Council. “The center endorsed and promoted the Stockholm Peace Appeal,” writes the Hutchins Center for African and African American research, “which called for banning atomic weapons, declaring their use a crime against humanity and demanding international controls.”
Also, in 1950, Du Bois ran for the U.S. Senate on the American Labor party ticket in New York but ultimately lost. All of this mingling with communists and speaking out against war eventually led to him being tried for acting as an “agent of a foreign principal.” In other words, Du Bois was “a dirty commie” and the American government did not like that, which is a bit ironic because although Du Bois was very closely aligned with communist/Marxist thought and groups, he actually vehemently denied being a part of the party and had voiced his grievances with the ideology numerous times. But that did not matter as the U.S. government had been tracking Du Bois since way back in 1942 and yet stopped their investigation a year later. It was only when Du Bois became the chair of the Peace Information Center (PIC) did the government reopen their file on him. Nevertheless, Du Bois was thankfully acquitted of all charges in 1951. However, the government was petty and confiscated his passport for 8 years.
Part of the FBI’s report on Du Bois and his second wife Shirley Graham (left) and a newspaper article calling on the government to not throw him in jail (right)
After this ordeal, Du Bois continued to hang out with leftists, even marrying one, Shirley Graham, after his wife Nina died the year prior. When both of their passports were finally returned to them, the couple traveled to the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and China. While in Moscow, “Du Bois was warmly received by Nikita Khrushchev,” writes the Hutchins Center for African and African American research, “whom he strongly urged to promote the study of African civilization in Russia, a proposal that eventually led to the establishment in 1962 of the Institute for the Study of Africa. While there, he also received the Lenin Peace Prize.”
However, because of the on-going Cold War tensions, Du Bois could not travel as freely as much, especially to Europe. Because of this, Du Bois accepted an invitation in May 1961 from Kwame Nkrumah and the Ghana Academy of Sciences to move to Ghana and direct an “Encyclopedia Africana,” a project that Du Bois could not initially get off the ground in the past that would chronicle the black experience in Africa and the diaspora around the world, basically, a black Encyclopaedia Britannica.Before he left, however, Du Bois finally joined the Communist Party, arguing that it (or socialism according to some sources) was the only pathway for black liberation and world peace.
Du Bois and his wife with Kwame Nkrumah and his wife Fathia
From late 1961 to 1963 Du Bois lived in Accra, the Ghanaian capital, working on the encyclopedia. But he could not finish this long-held dream of his (in 1999 Henry Louis Gates and Anthony Appiah published, Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience, largely inspired by Du Bois) as he died on August 27, 1963 in Ghana, at age 95, on the eve of the civil rights march in Washington, D.C. He was given a state funeral. In 1985, another state ceremony honored Du Bois. With the ashes of his wife Shirley Graham Du Bois, who had died in 1977, his body was re-interred at their former home in Accra, which was dedicated as the W. E. B. Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan African Culture in his memory. Du Bois’s first wife Nina, their son Burghardt, and their daughter Yolande, who died in 1961, were buried in a cemetery in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
Aquarius is a sign astrologers consistently push as the “scholarly, scientific” type even when they use Uranus as its ruler. So, it is “interesting” that Du Bois was not an Aquarius but a Pisces Sun! In fact, he was a heavy Pisces stellium with his Sun, South Node, Moon (if he was born after noon), Jupiter, Mercury, and Chiron all in Pisces. His Mars was in the late degrees of Aquarius, while his Venus and Neptune were in Aries, his Saturn in Sagittarius, his Pluto in Taurus, and his retrograde Uranus in Cancer. Yes, by all accounts, such a scholarly and accomplished man as Du Bois being a Pisces is “odd.”
I guess one can make the argument that he was supposed to leave behind his Piscean ways as his North Node was in Virgo, but to have basically his entire chart in Pisces still calls into question how strictly we should adhere to astrological typecasting or placing so much emphasis on theory when empirically, we tend to get conflicting results at times.
We can debate, however, that with his Mars in Aquarius, Du Bois’s passions always lied within advancing black people, especially intellectually, only really conceding to how economic sovereignty was just as important as any other rights black people were advocating for towards the end of his life. But Pisces is the more emotional and spiritual driven sign regardless. Yes, as the last sign, it does cumulate all of the lessons of the prior signs, but Du Bois’s life seemed more characterized by his ideas and sociological work, things that are more Virgo or Mercury driven.
Again, though, he was a Virgo North Node. And while Pisces is stereotyped as the “hippie dippie” sign, it being Jupiter’s nocturnally ruled sign does indicate that the sign is very philosophical, suggesting that people under its influence will aptly be deep thinkers like Du Bois was. Indeed, Du Bois, despite all of his intellectual posturing and even ideological clashes with rivals and colleagues, had the markings of a nocturnal Jupiter—he was a dreamer because he had grand beliefs of what black people could achieve during his lifetime. Although Aquarius is sharp and analytical, only Pisces could have this faith that things could get better for black people at large, and only Pisces could have held this belief unwavering, especially in the face of continued abuse and oppression.
I think sometimes too many people harp on the fact that Mercury is in both detriment and fall in Pisces, always insinuating or flat out saying that people with this placement can only be creative types, poets and storytellers. Now, of course any sign is capable of anything, but I do find it interesting how certain signs are characterized both in and outside of professional astrological circles. Because even when we use more Hellenistic techniques, most of Du Bois Pisces planets would have faced some pretty nasty maltreatment from Saturn especially even while Jupiter bonified some of these same planets as well. I guess this just shows that astrology is extremely complicated.
What is not so complicated, in my opinion, is numerology. Du Bois had a 3 Life Path, meaning that in his incarnation, he was meant to express himself creatively, especially through the written and spoken word. Throughout his life he did just that, writing important sociological and historical work on black people in America, often being the first to do so in such a detailed manner. And although he did not see his black Encyclopaedia Britannica to fruition, his extensive bibliography might as well be its own black Encyclopedia.
The Study of the Negro Problems (1898)
The Philadelphia Negro (1899)
The Negro in Business (1899)
The Souls of Black Folk (1903)
“The Talented Tenth”, second chapter of The Negro Problem, a collection of articles by African Americans (September 1903)
Voice of the Negro II (September 1905)
John Brown: A Biography (1909)
Efforts for Social Betterment among Negro Americans (1909)
Atlanta University’s Studies of the Negro Problem (1897–1910)
The Negro (1915)
The Gift of Black Folk: The Negroes in the Making of America (1924)
Africa, Its Geography, People and Products (1930)
Africa: Its Place in Modern History (1930)
Black Reconstruction in America (1935)
What the Negro Has Done for the United States and Texas (1936)
Black Folk, Then and Now (1939)
Color and Democracy: Colonies and Peace (1945)
The Encyclopedia of the Negro (1946)
The World and Africa (1946)
The World and Africa, an Inquiry into the Part Which Africa Has Played in World History (1947)
Peace Is Dangerous (1951)
I Take My Stand for Peace (1951)
In Battle for Peace (1952)
Africa in Battle Against Colonialism, Racialism, Imperialism (1960)
Darkwater: Voices From Within the Veil (1920)
Dusk of Dawn: An Essay Toward an Autobiography of a Race Concept (1940)
The Autobiography of W. E. Burghardt Du Bois (1968)
The Quest of the Silver Fleece (1911)
Dark Princess: A Romance (1928)
The Black Flame Trilogy:
The Ordeal of Mansart (1957)
Mansart Builds a School (1959)
Worlds of Color (1961)
Blatty, David. (2015, Feb. 22). W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington Had Clashing Ideologies During the Civil Rights Movement. Retrieved from https://www.biography.com/news/web-dubois-vs-booker-t-washington
Biography.com Editors. (2014, Apr. 2). W.E.B. Du Bois Biography (1868–1963). Retrieved from https://www.biography.com/activist/web-du-bois
Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (n.d.). Talented Tenth. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Talented-Tenth
Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (n.d.). Atlanta Compromise. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/event/Atlanta-Compromise
History.com Editors. (2009, Oct. 27). W.E.B. Du Bois. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/w-e-b-du-bois
Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. (n.d.). W. E. B. Du Bois. Retrieved from https://hutchinscenter.fas.harvard.edu/web-dubois
NAACP. (n.d.). NAACP History: W.E.B. Dubois. Retrieved from https://www.naacp.org/naacp-history-w-e-b-dubois/
W. E. B. Du Bois. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._E._B._Du_Bois
Booker T. Washington
Born on April 5, 1856 into slavery on James Burroughs’s plantation near Hale’s Ford, Virginia, Booker Taliaferro was the son of a slave mother named Jane and an unknown white man because of Washington’s lighter skin. After the Civil War, a then 9-year-old Washington and all the other slaves of the Burrough family were freed. His mother relocated to Malden, West Virginia where Washington and his brother became salt packers. While there, Jane married another freed slave, Washington Ferguson.
Like the other individuals on this list, Washington had a burning passion to be educated but his stepfather refused to let him attend a local school, instead demanding that he work. Somehow the two struck a deal where Washington would work before and after school every day, however. A year later Washington switched industries (or took a second job), working in a coal mine while continuing to attend school from ages 10 to 12. In 1871, Washington gave up hard labor to be a live-in houseboy for Viola Ruffner, the wife of the coal mine owner Lewis Ruffner.
It was here that someone finally took an interest in Washington’s education—Viola. During the winter months she allowed him to go to school for an hour a day, which was very unusual because she was known to be strict with her servants. Despite this, it took one more year for a then 16-year-old Washington to finally get the support of his family to pursue his higher education at Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute.
At Hampton, Washington became close to the principal, Samuel Chapman Armstrong. As a son of white missionaries and a former commander for the black troops during the Civil War, Armstrong was sympathetic toward black people, believing that an education would uplift them and build their character and morality. It is perhaps because of these beliefs that Armstrong took pity on the penniless Washington who arrived on campus after walking 500 miles on foot, giving him a job as a janitor to help pay for his board and tuition. (Some sources say Washington had to convince the administers to allow him to work to support himself.) Armstrong also scouted a white benefactor to pay the rest of Washington’s tuition. (Or if we are going by the previous source, Armstrong offered him a scholarship upon seeing how hardworking Washington was.) Because of his kindness, Washington came to look at Armstrong as a father figure and mentor.
Samuel Chapman Armstrong
While Washington was primarily trained to be a teacher, he also studied the Bible and practiced oratory. Washington additionally learned about agriculture, good manners, and cleanliness. In 1875 he graduated with honors. Afterward, he returned to Malden, Virginia to teach at his old grade school before attending Wayland Seminary in Washington, D.C. It was at Wayland where Washington’s belief that an educational system that emphasized practical (i.e., industrial or vocational) skills and self-help would uplift the black race began to take shape.
Nevertheless, in 1879, he was chosen to speak at Hampton’s graduation ceremonies, where afterward General Armstrong offered Washington a teaching position at Hampton.
In 1880, a bill was passed by the Alabama State Legislature to establish a normal school for black people in Tuskegee, Alabama. A year later in 1881, Armstrong was asked to recommend a white student or teacher to take the position of principal but recommended Washington instead.
Interestingly, he was accepted. But upon arrival Washington quickly found out that there was no school to speak of in Tuskegee, just an old church where classes were running out of. For any other person, they likely would have turned around and head back home, but for Washington he was up for the challenge. He traveled far and wide trying to recruit teachers and raise money. Curiously, or not considering the times, he had to appeal to white people’s racism, proclaiming that the institution would not challenge white supremacy or pose any sort of economic competition to white people in the area. And Washington’s efforts paid off!
The school officially opened on July 4, 1881, but in a lowly shanty loaned by a black church. With money borrowed from Hampton Institute’s treasurer, however, Washington eventually purchased an abandoned 100-acre plantation on the outskirts of Tuskegee. There he enlisted the students to build up the rest of the university. Within a few years, the university had a classroom building, a dining hall, a girl’s dormitory, and a chapel.
The original Tuskegee buildings on the Miller plantation, 1882
Tuskegee had grown exponentially in size from the meager 37 students it started with in 1881 to an enrollment of more than 400 by 1888. Within its now 540 acres, the institution’s curriculum reflected Washington’s ideology of a practical education where what students learned they could relate to and translate into applicable skills outside of academia. That is why Tuskegee offered courses on carpentry, cabinetmaking, printing, shoemaking, and tin smithing. Boys also studied agriculture, while girls learned such domestic skills as cooking and sewing. A strong emphasis was placed on personal hygiene, manners, and character building as well as Washington made sure that his students followed a rigid schedule of study, work, and faith.
Tuskegee offered numerous courses in trade skills
Washington’s emphasis on building trade skills also deeply reflected his solution to “The Negro Problem.” He believed that “economic success for African Americans would take time, and that subordination to white people was a necessary evil until African Americans could prove they were worthy of full economic and political rights,” Biography.com writes. “[I]f African Americans worked hard and obtained financial independence and cultural advancement, they would eventually win acceptance and respect from the white community.”
Washington would later articulate this viewpoint in a speech at the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia, which would later be referenced as the “Atlanta Compromise.” He stated that black people, especially in the South, would accept segregation and the other trappings of white supremacy as long as white people in the South allowed black people to have economic freedom, equal educational opportunities, and justice within the courts. He also wanted white people in the North to fund black schools in the South.
The wisest of my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than artificial forcing. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than to spend a dollar in an opera house.Booker T. Washington in his “Atlanta Compromise”
This, of course, did not go over well with other black people, especially those in the North, including W.E.B. Du Bois which we previously covered. Interestingly, however, this soft approach to white supremacy that didn’t really challenge it perhaps led then President Theodore Roosevelt to invite Washington to the White House to dinner in 1901, making him the first black person to do so. This move was highly controversial for obvious reasons, though.
Nonetheless, Washington was able to get close to many a powerful and influential men such as Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, William Howard Taft, and William Henry Baldwin. This in turn allowed Washington to create economic opportunities for black people across America. For instance, Washington founded the National Negro Business League in 1900, whose mission was to do just that. A year later in 1901 it was formally incorporated in New York and eventually went on to have 320 chapters across the nation.
Booker T. Washington with Andrew Carnegie and other sponsors of Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, 1903. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (left) and the National Negro Business League (right)
It was through this baseline appeal to middle class, working class, and poor black people that allowed Washington to exert much influence wherever he went despite his Northern colleagues turning their noses up at him. Indeed, his connections to these wealthy (albeit surely racist) white people gave him the ability to tangibly help black folk in a way that intellectuals could not through their theory and publications. This schism between remaining segregated yet fairly autonomous versus integrated yet still unequal, especially along Southern and Northern lines, respectively, is a battle that still divides the black community to this very day, so it is not unusual that Washington actually garnered a lot of respect from the everyday black person who still overwhelmingly lived in the South. This is likely what killed Du Bois’s opposition to Washington with his Niagara Movement. Theory without clear cut application and tangible impact can sometimes alienate the base you are trying to appeal to. Likewise, having a very different upbringing and background from the people you are trying to help can also turn them off from you. (Du Bois was born free and had an extensive education and teaching career in prestigious Northern universities while Washington was born a slave and remained the head of Tuskegee, a black Southern institution, until his death.)
In either case, Washington spent his later years continuing to improve Tuskegee, often through his wealthy white connections. He also saw more political power as well as both President Roosevelt and William Howard Taft made him their racial advisor. What is interesting about this is that despite “cooning” for these powerful white people, for a lack of a better term, Washington actually secretly backed court cases that challenged segregation and wrote letters in code that condemned lynching. So, he wasn’t as “lost” as the Northern intellectuals thought he was—he was just playing the long game.
Although this did blow up in Washington’s face at times, as President Woodrow Wilson segregated the federal government in 1913, making Washington lose any political influence he had established and enjoyed a decade prior, even his opponents had to concede to the fact that he would not have been able to gain such political power in the first place if he had adopted their more radical stance on civil rights.
Nevertheless, Washington eventually died on November 14, 1915 in Tuskegee, Alabama at age 59. His funeral was held 3 days later in the Tuskegee Institute Chapel. 8,000 people were estimated to have attended. Washington was buried on campus in a brick tomb, made by students, on a hill commanding a view of the entire campus. The Tuskegee Institute at the time had over 1,500 students, a faculty of 200, and an endowment of nearly $2 million to continue to carry on its work. In 1922, the school erected a monument called Lifting the Veil in the middle of the campus in Washington’s honor.
Tuskegee in 1916
On April 7, 1940, Washington became the first black person to be depicted on a United States postage stamp. Two years later in 1942, the liberty ship Booker T. Washington was named in his honor, making it the first major oceangoing vessel to be named after a black person. The ship was christened by noted singer Marian Anderson. In 1946, Washington was honored again by being the first black person to be on the half dollar. It was called the Booker T. Washington Memorial Half Dollar, which was minted by the United States until 1951. Finally, on the 100th anniversary of Washington’s birth on April 5, 1965, the house where he was born in was designated as the Booker T. Washington National Monument.
Going from Du Bois to Washington, it is interesting to see that, while Du Bois made very important intellectual contributions to black history and sociological work, it seems as though Washington had a more impactful influence on the average black person, especially in the South. Indeed, having gone through the white curriculum system from pre-K to college, white institutions always placed more emphasis on Du Bois, often indirectly implying that his work was “more important” than Washington’s because it was scholarly. But in my very brief research on both, it seems as though Washington’s philosophies were not only more relatable to his fellow Southern kin, but more popular and readily embraced. Considering that black people primarily lived in the South until the Great Migration in the 1920s, I think knowing this is rather important as black people’s opinions seem to more align with his beliefs at the time. And as we saw, Washington was not some staunch yes man to white people.
Given the times, especially right after slavery, it made sense for Southern born and raised black people to have the mentality that he did—compromise now to live another day. If you were lucky enough to not only be born in the North but have some amicable relationships with white people your entire life until you finally journey down South to teach or obtain education, of course your worldview on white supremacy would be different as espoused by Du Bois. And this is something we still today where Northern black people have a rather different relationship with white people and white supremacy than Southern black people because in varying ways they did not always have to deal with intense, persistent violence from the white community. But I digress.
Washington was an Aries Sun, North Node, and possible Moon with numerous Pisces placements similar to Du Bois. What is interesting about all of this, at least to me, is that he had a retrograde Mars and South Node both in Libra. That signifies that in his incarnation he wasn’t “supposed” to compromise or agree with white people as often as he did. But having lived lives where the integrity and maintaining the peace of relationships was prioritized, it actually makes sense that Washington straddled this line between “accepting” white supremacy and directly challenging it. Having had prior experience with knowing how to form close, one-to-one relationships, Washington used that to his advantage to advance his personal agendas. And in many cases, it worked as Tuskegee went from being non-existent to a robust university that even then President William McKinley visited and praised in 1898. I have to wonder if Washington was a 12th house Mars or if Mars ruled or aspected the lord of the 12th house because this ability to work close to power while having slightly ulterior motives is very much 12th house energy in my opinion. It could have also been 8th house energy as well as that house deals with other people’s money and loans and such. All of this could have been his numerous Pisces placements too, as this sign can be deceptive and manipulative. Not to say that Washington was out here scamming, but he did seem to have this persuasive quality to him that allowed white people to feel easy around him and give him money. For many black people, that is still a skill they are unable to master or master well.
I find this fascinating on another level as well because most of his planets faced some nasty maltreatment from both Mars and Saturn, similar to Du Bois. So, this once again shows that astrology is rather complicated, although I will point out that Washington also had some good bonification going on too.
In either case, Washington was an 11 Life Path, the first master number Life Path on this list. To have this Life Path often means that the individual came down to Earth to advance people’s consciousness on a spiritual level. And while Du Bois was the one to write on the soul of black folk, it did seem like Washington was better at reaching and touching said soul of the black collective. Yes, although Washington was chastised and condemned by black Northern intellectuals, the general black public of the South seemed to have agreed with his philosophies more.
It is interesting that despite having such a spiritual Life Path, Washington took a more material approach to his mission and message to black people. Perhaps he had 4s or 8s in his numerological chart (he had both Pluto and Uranus in Taurus, suggesting that he was bringing about both slow and sudden [radical] change to the lives of black people, especially physically and materially) but in either case, Washington’s vision for what black people were capable of was clearly articulated to not only black people but white people. So, it seems that Washington was able to accomplish what his spirit had set out to do in his incarnation.
The Future of the American Negro (1899)
Up from Slavery (1901)
Character Building (1902)
Working with the Hands (1904)
Tuskegee & Its People (Ed.; 1905)
The Negro in the South (with W. E. B. Du Bois; 1907)
Frederick Douglass: A Biography (1907)
Booker T. Washington. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Booker_T._Washington
History.com Editors. (2009, Oct. 29). Booker T. Washington. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/booker-t-washington
Tuskegee University. (n.d.). Dr. Booker Taliaferro Washington. Retrieved from https://www.tuskegee.edu/discover-tu/tu-presidents/booker-t-washington
National Park Service. (n.d.). Booker T. Washington. Retrieved from https://www.nps.gov/thri/bookertwashington.htm
Blatty, David. (2015, Feb. 22). W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington Had Clashing Ideologies During the Civil Rights Movement. Retrieved from https://www.biography.com/news/web-dubois-vs-booker-t-washington
Brown, Angelique. (n.d.). Washington, Booker Taliaferro. Retrieved from https://socialwelfare.library.vcu.edu/programs/education/washington-booker-taliaferro/
The Biography.com website. (2014, Apr. 2). Booker T. Washington Biography. Retrieved from https://www.biography.com/activist/booker-t-washington
Charles S. Johnson
Born Charles Spurgeon Johnson in Bristol, Virginia on July 24, 1893, he was the son of freed parents who were well-educated. His father was a Baptist minister and his mother attended public school. Johnson himself attended a boarding school in Richmond, Virginia, then earned a B.A. in sociology from Virginia Union University. He then studied sociology with the noted sociologist Robert E. Park at the University of Chicago, Illinois, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1917 after a brief break due to his enlistment in the U.S. army during World War I.
From 1919 to 1921, Johnson worked for the Chicago Commission on Race Relations. In 1919, there was a string of intense race riots incited by white people that was sweeping across the nation, largely in response to the Great Migration of black people from the South to Northern cities. Later dubbed the Red Summer of 1919, Johnson was apparently a survivor of a race riot in Chicago that occurred on July 27th and lasted for 7 days. Reportedly, 23 black and 15 white people died. Through the recommendation of Chicago Urban League’s president Robert Park, Johnson was able to meet with Illinois’s Governor Frank Lowden to investigate the cause of the riot. Lowden accepted Johnson’s proposal and appointed him as the associate executive secretary of the Chicago Commission on Race Relations. With a panel of 6 black and white members and under the white secretary Graham Romeyn Taylor, the 700-page report was published in 1922 by the Chicago University Press as The Negro in Chicago: A Study of Race Relations and a Race Riot. Although one source I am referencing says that this study downplayed a lot of the racism involved and did not offer much in what could be done in public policy, many assert that The Negro in Chicago was very influential and critically acclaimed in scholarly journals. It was also one of many reports that were finally looking into these race riots that gripped the nation in 1919.
The Negro in Chicago: A Study of Race Relations and a Race Riot
Moreover, in this study, Johnson created a new research technique he dubbed, “community self-survey of race relations,” which Britannica notes, “facilitated the gathering of sociological data and interpretations from both blacks and whites.” In other words, Johnson seemed to be one of the pioneers in qualitive research in sociology surrounding race, racism, and other race-related issues.
Due to the success of The Negro in Chicago, Johnson was appointed as the director of research and investigation at the National Urban League in New York City. While there, he established its journal Opportunity: a Journal of Negro Life in 1923 and became its chief editor. Like The Crisis, Opportunity was a place many well-known black artists and writers published their works such as Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Aaron Douglas, and Arnaud Bontemps.
Johnson was attracted to the arts and literature because like other black intellectuals at the time such as Du Bois, he believed that by showcasing black (Johnson was against mimicking white art) talent, sophistication, and intellectualism, black people as a whole could gain full citizenship in America, which included equal rights and protection. At the same time, however, Johnson wanted to create a space where black people could simply be as white people had cut off access to other areas of life and expression, especially when it came to voting and unions.
As a sociologist, Johnson had an invested interest in improving the self-esteem and self-image of black people, so he made sure to incentive Opportunity by providing annual prize awards for literature and throwing an elegant banquet dinner held at the Fifth Avenue Restaurant.
All of this costed money, however, money that was running thin by 1927. Yes, in 1927 the Opportunity’s benefactor, the Carnegie Corporation, cancelled the organization’s annual $8,000 grant that not only kept the journal running, but allowed Johnson to give out awards and fancy dinners each year. To make matter worse, Opportunity wasn’t selling as much either, despite being a popular publication that had an interracial audience.
In desperate need of money, Johnson pleaded to his friend Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears Roebuck (today known as just Sears). But even he wouldn’t throw money at this now dying publication. As a result, Johnson returned to the realm of academia.
In 1928 (or 1926 according to other sources) Johnson became the chair of the Department of Social Sciences at Fisk University, a position he held until 1941. At Frisk, he established the Department of Race Relations, the first “think tank” at a predominantly black institution. Under his helm, Johnson either wrote or directed numerous studies on how legal, economic, and social factors all combined to produce an oppressive racial structure, a line of thought that has permeated across black thought since slavery times to the present. His books, Shadow of the Plantation (1934) and Growing up in the Black Belt (1941), are now considered classical sociological texts on black rural Southern life. Other notable studies include The Negro in American Civilization (1930), The Collapse of the Cotton Tenancy: 1933-1935 (1935), The Negro College Graduate (1938),and Patterns of Segregation (1943).
Johnson in his study at Fisk University in 1955
Because of his expansive sociological work and contribution to sociology in general, Johnson received numerous awards, appointments, and more funding to do sociological work. For instance, in 1930 he was awarded with the William E. Harmon Gold Medal for distinguished achievement among African Americans in the field of science. A year later, he served on the National Housing Commission under Herbert Hoover and on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal agency, the Tennessee Valley Authority, along with being on an advisory board for the National Youth Administration three years later. In 1934, he was elected as the first black trustee of the Julius Rosenwald Fund and in 1937, he became the first black elected vice president of the American Sociological Society. From 1936 to 1937, Johnson was a consultant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding farm tenancy. Beginning in 1944, with the assistance of the Rosenwald Fund, Johnson led annual Race Relations Institutes at Fisk, which were attended by leaders from all over the country. These were extremely influential in the then developing Civil Rights movement. In October 1946, the board of trustees at Fisk elected Johnson as the university’s president, making him the first black president of the institution.
From 1946 to 1954, Johnson became increasingly involved in national and international political issues. For instance, in 1946, he was 1 of 20 American educators selected to advise on educational reform in then American-occupied Japan. He was also 1 of 10 United States delegates to The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (1946 – 1947), a member of the Fulbright Board of Foreign Scholarships (1947 – 1954), and a delegate to the Assembly of the World Council of Churches (1948). He also continued to advise American presidents on educational and civil rights issues, often acting as a consultant for several White House conferences.
This latter point is important because it was through Johnson’s work that many critical civil rights acts and bills were passed by the late 1960s. Johnson was a fierce and open opponent of segregation, and luckily, he was able to see the landmark Supreme Court decision on Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. However, on October 27, 1956, Johnson died suddenly of a heart attack while traveling by train from Nashville to New York. He was 63 years old.
Johnson’s contributions to sociology are fascinating to me as someone with one of their B.A.’s in sociology. Although he was of course barely mentioned in the many classes I took in the field, Johnson having his North Node in Aries meant that like Du Bois, he changed the face of the discipline through his methodologies and the subject matter of his studies. He was one of the pioneers in examining race, racism, and other race-related issues through both a sociological and psychological lens as Johnson was also deeply concerned about how white supremacy impacted the self-esteem of individual black people, which is why he pushed the arts so hard.
This preoccupation with the self and the state of the ego can also be the result of his small Leo stellium (Sun, Mars, Mercury, and Venus). Indeed, while Johnson did have some planets in air (Pluto, Neptune, and Saturn), he viewed blackness and whiteness holistically (Moon in Sagittarius), from both the macro- and microlevel. Because of this, his sociological work was extremely comprehensive and helped people advocate for civil rights.
Interestingly, Johnson was a 16/7 Life Path. If you any of you have read my Normani article, you known that this number is a karmic debt number. This number in particular signifies abusing love in a past life, indicating that the person likely cheated on a significant other. Many sources do not touch upon Johnson’s love life, however, only briefly mentioning that he married in 1920 before he moved to New York. Perhaps his relationships were not that important, especially in comparison to his legacy. This is fascinating in and of itself because it is not unusual for prominent black male figures in history to have a record of cheating or infidelity, sometimes even with white women which was highly taboo. But nothing really pops up for Johnson. So, it seems that he was able to overcome the negativity of this number and tap into the positive side of 7.
Although largely a spiritual number, the 7 is also a very scientific and philosophical number as well. People with these Life Paths are our researchers and teachers. They will likely spend most of their lives deep in study. They should not become shut-ins, however, because 7s are here to enlighten people very similarly to the 9 and 11. Indeed, 7 Life Path people should not lock themselves up in their ivory towers of academia and/or intellectualism, detached from the rest of the world and its problems.
Considering the breadth of Johnson’s life and his own activism, especially towards the end of his life, he clearly chose to step out of the tower and educate and aid the masses. He was one of the many black intellectuals who developed theory and bodies of work that helped and continues to help further develop black people’s understanding of themselves, especially within the context of the world they live in where white supremacy reigns.
The Negro in Chicago: A Study of Race Relations and a Race Riot (1922)
Ebony and Topaz (Ed.; 1928)
The Negro in American Civilization (1930)
Shadow of the Plantation (1934)
The Collapse of the Cotton Tenancy: 1933-1935 (1935)
The Negro College Graduate (1938)
Growing up in the Black Belt (1941)
Patterns of Segregation (1943)
Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (n.d.). Charles Spurgeon Johnson. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Charles-Spurgeon-Johnson
Charles S. Johnson. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_S._Johnson
Charles S. Johnson. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://omeka.wustl.edu/omeka/exhibits/show/fbeyes/johnsoncharles
Cohassey, John. (n.d.). Johnson, Charles S. 1893-1956. Retrieved February 24, 2021 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/johnson-charles-s-1893-1956
Howell, Sarah M. (2017, Oct. 8). Charles S. Johnson. Retrieved from https://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/entries/charles-s-johnson/
Library of Congress. (n.d.). Charles S. Johnson (1893-1956). Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/item/n50038921/charles-s-johnson-1893-1956/
Lindsay, Tony. (2013). The Harlem Renaissance, a Literary Movement of Purpose. Retrieved from http://www.timbooktu.com/lindsay/harlem.htm
Simba, Malik. (2009, Feb. 18) Charles S. Johnson (1893-1956). Retrieved from https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/johnson-charles-s-1893-1956/
Smith, Alonzo. (2007, Jan. 22) The Omaha Courthouse Lynching of 1919. Retrieved from https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/omaha-courthouse-lynching-1919/
Carter G. Woodson
Born on December 19, 1875 in New Canton, Virginia, Carter Godwin Woodson was the fourth child of freed slaves, Anna Eliza Riddle and James Woodson. Like many recently freed families, Woodson’s was poor. As a result, he had to forego obtaining a regular education in order to financially support his rather large family. Woodson did everything from helping out on the farm (his father was a sharecropper and carpenter) to being a manual laborer to working in coal mines. And even while he was doing all of this, he took the time out to teach himself.
Indeed, like many on this list, Woodson had a burning passion for education. Consequently, he followed one of his brothers to Huntington, West Virginia in hopes of attending Douglass High School at age 17. However, Woodson still needed to sustain himself financially, so he unfortunately had to work in the local coal mines, which prevented him from going to Douglass full-time. In 1895, Woodson was finally able to enter Douglass at age 20, where he received his diploma in less than two years.
From 1897 to 1900, Woodson began teaching in Winona, Fayette County. In 1900, he returned to Huntington to become the principal of Douglass. 3 years later, he received his Bachelor of Literature degree from Berea College in Kentucky. From 1903 to 1907, he worked in the Philippines under the auspices of the US War Department as a school supervisor. After this stay in the Philippines, Woodson later he traveled throughout Europe and Asia and briefly studied at the Sorbonne University in Paris. In 1908, he received his M.A. from the University of Chicago in history, Romance languages, and literature. In 1912, while teaching in Washington, D.C., he received his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University, making him the second black person to obtain their Ph.D. at the institution, the first being W.E.B. Du Bois, of course.
After earning his doctoral degree, Woodson continued teaching in public schools, as surprisingly, no university was willing to hire him. Later on, he became the principal of the all black Armstrong Manual Training School in Washington D.C, however. During this time, Woodson dedicated himself to black history.
In 1915, Woodson published his first book, The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861 and co-founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). The ASNLH (now known as Association for the Study of African American Life and History), was created in Chicago on September 9th with the expressed purpose of documenting and educating everyone on black history because Woodson believed it was distorted and actively ignored by white scholars in the field of history. And indeed, it was because despite being a dues-paying member of the American Historical Association (AHA), Woodson was not allowed to attend their conferences. If black people who were members of the organization were not permitted to sit in on meetings, then were they really willing to document black history?
The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861
As a black historian, history was immensely important to Woodson, and he argued it was not just the gathering of facts, but the interpretation of them. History also needed to go beyond just collecting military and political reports of people and nations and instead include some description of the social conditions surrounding the period being studied. Because of this belief, Woodson launched The Journal of Negro History, now The Journal of African American History, in 1916. This is one of the oldest scholarly journals in America. Two years later in 1918, Woodson published A Century of Negro Migration and became the principal of Armstrong Manual Training School in Washington, D.C.
During the 1920s, Woodson held other academic positions such as being the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and head of the graduate faculty at Howard University (1919 – 1920), and the dean at West Virginia State College (1920 – 1922). While at West Virginia State College, he founded and became president of the Associated Publishers Press, which was created to publish books on black life and culture because once again, white establishments were deeply disinterested in black history.
So dedicated was Woodson to documenting and teaching black people about their history that in 1926, he created Negro History Week, which occurred on the second week in February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12th) and Frederick Douglass (possibly February 14th). Negro History Week was of course the predecessor to Black History Month which didn’t come into being until 1976. We have The Black United Students and Black educators at Kent State University to thank for that as they were the ones who expanded Negro History Week to include the entire month of February back in 1970.
A flyer published in 1947 celebrating the legacy of Negro History Week
Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Woodson continued to write on black history, penning numerous essays that were published across various publications such as the New York Age, the Pittsburgh Courier, the Afro-American, and the Chicago Defender. His 1933 book, The Mis-Education of the Negro, was his most famous work and is considered to be his magnus opus. In it, he argued a common belief many black intellectuals still tend to hold and that is that white-dominated institutions like the educational system intentionally make black students feel left out of history as they refuse to critically engage with or outright teach anyone about our contributions to this country. Because of this, black students grow up feeling Othered and alienated from their own birthplace. This of course serves the agenda of white supremacy as it teaches black people to believe they are inferior and that they have no history to even speak of.
Because of these beliefs, Woodson created The Negro History Bulletin in 1937 which was mainly aimed at black children and schoolteachers. Teaching black people where they came from seemed to be the main goal Woodson wanted to achieve during his lifetime. This is likely why he also traveled throughout the country during the 1930s and 40s speaking at schools, Negro History Week events, and graduation ceremonies for many Historically Black Colleges.
Unfortunately, Woodson died suddenly from a heart attack on April 3, 1950. He was 74 and never married and had no children. He is buried at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery in Suitland, Maryland. Numerous places across the country have named schools, parks, and libraries in his honor.
Carter G. Woodson Memorial Park in Washington, D.C.
Considering that Woodson is the one we can thank for laying the foundation for Black History Month and is often called “The Father of Black History,” Woodson is a tremendous force in black history. Although other people on this list and not on this list have contributed to the documentation and dissemination of black history, Woodson stands out in that this is what he dedicated his entire life to doing. For other people, they went on to do other things, but for Woodson, he was persistent in this area and never veered away from it.
This makes sense considering his Aries North Node and equally fiery Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. With his Venus additionally in the conservative Capricorn, Woodson’s life centered around both the past and future. He did not want the past to be forgotten but to be learned from so that future black generations could remember where they came from and have something to be proud of. And now every February since 1976, we take time to do just this…although white institutions and corporations are still very inconsistent and often superficial in how they engage with this month. Regardless, Woodson was a trailblazer like the other people on this list because he the first person to go out of their way to create something new that we now tend to take for granted.
Like Charles S. Johnson, Woodson was a 7 Life Path but without the karmic debt attached. To refresh, these people often dedicate their lives to the collection and distribution of information. These are the scholarly types of folk who want to know things but not just anything. There is usually a tendency to specialize in a particular field. In Woodson’s case, it was black history or the now more broadly established ethnic studies discipline. For Johnson it was sociology with a focus on black people of course. So, I think Woodson went above and beyond when it came to his life’s mission in his incarnation. Without him, who knows if we would have gotten a Black History Month at all, or if we did, it would probably look very differently.
The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861 (1915)
A Century of Negro Migration (1918)
The Negro in Our History (1922; it is considered to be the first textbook of its kind)
Free Negro Owners of Slaves in the United States in 1830 together with Absentee Ownership of Slaves in the United States in 1830 (1924)
Free Negro Heads of Families in the United States in 1830 together with A Brief Treatment of The Free Negro (1925)
Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (n.d.). Carter G. Woodson. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Carter-G-Woodson
Biography.com Editors. (2014, Apr. 2). Carter G. Woodson Biography. Retrieved from https://www.biography.com/scholar/carter-g-woodson
Carter G. Woodson. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carter_G._Woodson
CNN Staff. (2007). Meet the man who created Black History Month. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/01/us/history-of-black-history-month-trnd/index.html
Dagbovie, Pero. (2007, Jan. 18). Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950). Retrieved from https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/woodson-carter-g-1875-1950/
NAACP History: Carter G. Woodson. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.naacp.org/naacp-history-carter-g-woodson/
The Mis-Education of the Negro. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mis-Education_of_the_Negro
Alain LeRoy Locke
Born Arthur LeRoy Locke in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 13, 1885 (or 1886), Locke was the only son to Pliny Ishmael and Mary Locke. The Locke family descended from prominent families of free black people. As such, Pliny and Mary themselves were middle class schoolteachers who were formally educated. Consequently, Locke was a gifted student himself, but he almost had to be as he was afflicted with rheumatic fever, which left him with permanent heart damage. This was during the same year he graduated from Philadelphia’s Central High School, where he was the second in his class in 1902. Locke then went on to attend the Philadelphia School of Pedagogy before enrolling at Harvard University. In 1907 he graduated with degrees in both literature and philosophy.
Although this was an incredible feat for the times, and additionally, Locke was the first black Rhodes Scholar, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and earned the prestigious Bowdoin Prize for an English essay, he was denied admission to several colleges at the University of Oxford because he was black. He finally entered Hertford College, where he studied literature, philosophy, Greek, and Latin from 1907 to 1910. Locke also studied philosophy at the University of Berlin in 1910 to 1911 as well.
Returning to the States in 1912, Locke began teaching English, philosophy, and education at Howard University as an assistant professor. In 1916, however, Locke returned to Harvard to pursue his Ph.D. in philosophy. His dissertation was titled, The Problem of Classification in the Theory of Value. After this, Locke returned to Howard and quickly ascended the ranks, becoming the chair of the Philosophy department in 1921, a position he held until his retirement in 1953.
Interestingly, Locke was briefly fired from Howard for trying to close the pay gap between black and white faculty in 1925. During this same year he published, The New Negro: An Interpretation, which was an expanded look into his piece, Harlem, Mecca of the New Negro, that was published in the March 1925 edition of the magazine, Survey Graphic.
The New Negro: An Interpretation
If any of you remember my previous Black History Month post, Locke’s name popped up frequently, and that is because he is considered to be the originator or anthologist of The New Negro Movement, now known as The Harlem Renaissance. What is interesting about Locke, however, is that his views either sharply or slightly (depending on the source) differed from his contemporaries in that he believed that, yes, a “talented tenth” should rise up to create black art, but he resisted the presumed elitist attitude that often comes with taking such a stance and he argued that black people should create art for themselves, not to sacrifice their talents to uplift the entirety of the black race.
In 1928, Locke was reinstated at Howard following the institution electing its first black president, Mordecai W. Johnson. As previously mentioned, Locke taught at Howard until he retired in 1953. In 1935, he seemingly returned to focusing on philosophy. Nevertheless, Locke continued to write on black history and interact with Harlem socialites and creatives. Some works include Four Negro Poets (1927), Frederick Douglass, a Biography of Anti-Slavery (1935), Negro Art—Past and Present (1936), and The Negro and His Music (1936). Moreover, he also reviewed numerous black work across periodicals such as Opportunity and Phylon.
The Negro and His Music
Locke finally moved to Harlem in 1953. There, he deepened his relationships with prominent figures like with Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Jean Toomer, Rudolph Fisher, and especially Zora Neale Hurston. However, this had to be cut short because barely a year later on June 9, 1954, he suffered and died from a heart attack. He was 68.
Surprising no one, Locke had a mini Virgo stellium, with his Sun, North Node, Mercury, Jupiter (1885) and/or Venus (1886) there. Although philosophy is what he was formally educated in and taught most of his life, literature and the other arts seemed to be where Locke gained his notoriety from, specifically reviewing and critiquing them. Virgo as a sign has been covered numerous times across my blog but to reiterate, this is the perhaps the most analytical and critical of the 12 Zodiac signs. This sign, as a result, tends to produce critics or appraisers in whatever field an individual goes into. For Locke, that just so happened to be art, specifically the art that was coming out of Harlem. And indeed, without him and Woodson, we may not have had such detailed anthologies to look back on because as was explained in my previous black history month post, many of the people who we consider to the prominent faces of the movement seemingly died in obscurity and also published across numerous literary magazines that went bankrupt or out of print. Therefore, it was important to have individuals like Locke (and Woodson) who kept personal records on the movement and tried to keep the movement alive as best they could.
Locke was either an 8 or 9 Life Path, numbers we have seen before. If an 8, this could explain why Locke didn’t fully jump into The New Negro Movement despite always being an active albeit sometimes peripheral force to it. Making sure his life was stable and financially secure was more important than chasing after creative impulses. And I am sure he liked philosophy as he not only got his Ph.D. in it but went on to write extensively in the field and teach it at the university level. This love of the discipline can be explained a bit more in a 9 Life Path as the 9 can get a little philosophical in how it serves humanity and tries to spread love and awareness. Nevertheless, Locke, like the other people on this list, have contributed a lot to the preservation and stimulation of black history.
Race Contacts and Interracial Relations: Lectures of the Theory and Practice of Race (1916)
The New Negro: An Interpretation (1925)
Harlem: Mecca of the New Negro (1925)
The New Negro: An Interpretation (1925)
Four Negro Poets (1927)
Plays of Negro Life: a Source-Book of Native American Drama (1927)
“Our Little Renaissance” (1927)
A Decade of Negro Self-Expression (1928)
“The Negro’s Contribution to American Art and Literature” (1928)
“A Note on African Art” (1924)
“The Negro in Art” (1931)
The Negro in America (1933)
Negro Art – Past and Present (1936)
The Negro and His Music (1936)
“The Negro’s Contribution to American Culture” (1939)
The Negro in Art: A Pictorial Record of the Negro Artist and of the Negro Theme in Art (1941)
When Peoples Meet: A Study of Race and Culture Contacts. (Ed. with Bernhard J. Stern; 1942)
Alain LeRoy Locke: The Father of the Harlem Renaissance. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.blackhistoryheroes.com/2014/11/alain-leroy-locke-father-of-harlem.html
Alain LeRoy Locke. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alain_LeRoy_Locke
Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (n.d.). Alain Locke. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Alain-Locke
Biography.com Editors. (2014, Apr. 1). Alain LeRoy Locke Biography. Retrieved from https://www.biography.com/scholar/alain-leroy-locke
Watson, Elwood. (2007, Jan.18) Alain Locke (1886-1954). Retrieved from https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/locke-alain-1886-1954/
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2012, Mar. 23). Alain LeRoy Locke. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/alain-locke/
So, that is the end of my article. I hope you all liked it and hopefully one day I will get these things out before the month is over!
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