Pittsburgh-born actress Marpessa Dawn of “Black Orpheus” fame, in 1959 issues of EBONY magazine.

Pittsburgh-born actress Marpessa Dawn of “Black Orpheus” fame, in 1959 issues of EBONY magazine.

Beauty contestants backstage at a pageant sponsored by the Shriners in Harlem, 1951. Photo: Burt Glinn/Magnum Photos.

Beauty contestants backstage at a pageant sponsored by the Shriners in Harlem, 1951. Photo: Burt Glinn/Magnum Photos.

Willa Brown Chappell (1906-1992) was a pioneering aviator who co-founded the National Airmen’s Association of America, an organization whose mission was to get African Americans into the United States Air Force. Inspired by Bessie Coleman, Chappell (then known as Willa Beatrice Brown) started taking flying lessons in 1934 at Chicago’s Aeronautical University. She earned her pilot’s license in 1937, making her the first African-American woman to be licensed to fly in the United States. In 1940, she and her first husband, Lieutenant Cornelius R. Coffey started the Coffey School of Aeronautics, where some of the approximately 200 pilots who trained there eventually became “Tuskegee Airmen.” Born in Glasgow, Kentucky on January 22, 1906, she died on July 18, 1992 at the age of 86. Photo: Kentucky.gov

Hazel Scott (with Paul Robeson in the background) performing at a dinner in Brooklyn in honor of Hugh Mulzac, the first African American captain in the U.S. Navy to command an integrated crew during World War II. Photo: Joseph Schwartz/Corbis.

 A “Double V” campaign celebration in 1942 on 119th Street, between Lenox and 7th (now Malcolm X Blvd and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd) in Harlem. The Double V campaign was started in 1942, just as World War II began, by the Pittsburgh Courier, an historic African-American newspaper. “Double V” stood for “Victory Abroad and Victory at Home” and the purpose was to call continued attention to the legal injustices and segregation that Blacks dealt with as American citizens on American soil and as soldiers abroad within the (segregated) armed forces. To appreciate the role of the Pittsburgh Courier in this campaign, keep in mind that white newspapers did not cover Blacks unless there was a crime involved or, of course, if the Black in question was an athlete or an entertainer. White newspapers did not cover our births, deaths, weddings or any other slice of life-type activity that we did just like everyone else. That is why, in part, Ebony magazine was born. And they certainly did not report on racial discrimination (especially within the military where Black newspapers were banned from its libraries during the Double V Campaign) the way the Black press did.

Lena Horne with a group of Tuskegee Airmen on January 1, 1945. There are countless photos of Ms. Horne visiting Tuskegee Airmen and other military personnel to show her support for their service. She also showed her support for them by refusing to perform for segregated military audiences during World War II. Photo: Associated Press.

Janice Marie Johnson (bass) and Hazel Payne (guitar) in an outtake from the cover shoot for their 1978 album, “A Taste of Honey” which contained their biggest hit, “Boogie Oogie Oogie.” As the story goes, they were onstage at a military base and the audience was kind of hostile to them. I think it was Hazel Payne who scolded the audience and said (essentially) “You are NOT too cool to boogie!” Janice Marie Johnson put pen to paper (and annihilated that bassline) and the rest is history. Photo: Getty.