Black History: Past, Present, and Future - We make the world more aware of, more connected to, and more invested in the African American and the African diaspora experience by creating opportunities for everyone to experience our history through culture, scholarship, technology, and research.
To ignite conversations around the African and African American experience that fill new books, films, minds, artistic expressions, music, podcasts, blogs, and social interaction across diverse populations. To rally against the dilution of our heritage and legacy that has been underrepresented in mainstream history, literature, and media. To ensure that libraries, museums, schools, and media that participate in institutionalized bias do not ignore Black lives, and to provide support for scholastic study at the college level.
To provide the world with a new way of looking at Black History. To help people see that Black History is not just a part of American history, it is American history. To recognize, amplify and honor the contributions of Black Americans, lest we fail to honor America at all.
Our Authors Study Club, Inc. (OASC)
A Branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Inc. (ASALH)
On September 9, 1915, Dr. Carter G. Woodson held a meeting in Chicago, Illinois with Alexander L. Jackson, Executive Secretary of the new Negro YMCA branch. In addition to Woodson and Jackson, three other men were present: George Cleveland Hall, W. B. Hartgrove, and J. E. Stamps. At this meeting, they formed the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASALH) and appointed Dr. Woodson, Executive Director, a post he held until his death on April 3, 1950. Today, this organization is known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Inc. (ASALH). Its headquarters is currently on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC.
In Los Angeles, a group of Terminal Annex postal workers brought their proposal to read the works of African American authors and learn the true history of Africans in the Americas to Mrs. Vassie Davis Wright, and Our Authors Study Club (OASC) was formed on February 14, 1945. Mrs. Wright recommended that the group affiliate itself with Dr. Woodson’s organization, and Dr. Carter G. Woodson, himself, chartered Our Authors Study Club as the Los Angeles Branch of ASALH in June 1945. OASC was incorporated as a California nonprofit organization in 1946.
Our Authors Study Club, Inc. (OASC) began citywide celebrations for what was Negro History Week in 1947. In 1950, Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron issued the first proclamation acknowledging Our Authors Study Club, Inc. as the primary sponsor of Negro History Week and invited citizens of Los Angeles to join the celebration. In 1959, while serving as General Chairperson for Negro History Week, the late Gilbert Lindsay moved the Opening Ceremony to City Hall steps where the celebration now takes place every year, weather permitting. In the year of the nation’s Bicentennial, 1976, the celebration was expanded to the entire month of February and is now known as African American Heritage Month.
OASC continues its original mission and now offers programs that include: a Reading Program for elementary school students; an Oratorical Contest for high school students; scholarships for deserving college students seeking a bachelor’s degree; and a fellowship for Ph.D. candidates researching African American history, literature, and/or culture. Additional activities include an annual Tour of African American Landmarks in Los Angeles, and the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Scholarship and Awards Luncheon where the accomplishments of extraordinary African Americans are recognized.
Our Authors Study Club, Inc. also supports the restoration of Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s home in Washington, DC, now declared a National Historic Site, and partners with community organizations including the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC) and the Sigma Sigma Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
Lura Daniels-Ball, President is no stranger to the OASC. She has been an avid supporter for more than 35 years. First as a corporate sponsor and Chair of the City-wide Black History month events, later as a member and volunteer. “I welcome this opportunity that has crossed my path. To renew the life and health of OASC from the inside out is a challenging road that lies ahead. But I am very excited. We have a great team, willing to bring our best game.” Stated Daniels-Ball. “Our programming this coming year will focus on our national theme, “Black Family Health and Wellness.” Daniels-Ball spent many years in Los Angeles and the Western Region as a corporate executive, mentoring, creating, developing, and funding opportunities for the African-American, Asian, and Women’s communities. She is an accomplished vocalist who received her musical train from UC Berkley as a child and BM Vocal Arts University of Southern California. Daniels-Ball recently launched a family-based benefit corporation Lura’s Kitchen. Makers of gourmet premium Cookie Mixes. www.luraskitchen.com
Dr. Toni-Mokjaetji Humber, Vice President is a native Angeleno who can trace her family heritage in Los Angeles to the early 1920s. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from California State University, Los Angeles, a Masters in Education from Loyola Marymount University, and her Doctorate in Sociolinguistics from Howard University. She is a professor in the Ethnic and Women’s Studies Department at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Her research interests focus on African and African American culture and history, Ebonics and its educational implications, ethnic studies, sociolinguistics, and inter-cultural communication. She strives to uncover truths dispel distorted images, perceptions, and notions about culturally diverse peoples, especially those of African descent.
Leona Haiba Payton-Franklin, the Secretary, is a Native of Los Angeles, California, holding a position with the Federal Government for 31 years. Haiba currently serves as an Administrative Assistant with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Mental Health Service. In addition, she is the Past President of the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) Los Angeles Chapter.
Paqueta Davis is a native of Los Angeles, Ca. who expressed her passion for helping young girls with a ten-year investment of time and resources by working at the DeliLu Achievement Home STRTP with adolescent girls ranging from ages 12 to 18. She is currently n the Board of Directors for Deliann-Lucile Corporation. Paqueta enjoys traveling and listening to jazz.
Ernestine J. Gordon graduated from Lincoln University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. She completed classes at UCLA and the University of San Diego in Education. She joined Our Authors Study Club in 2003, serving on various committees, and held elected offices (secretary, vice president, and president). Ernestine retired from Kaiser Permanente Medical Center as an Educator in the Health Education and Learning Department. The majority of her work experience has been with nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles (People Coordinated Services) and Kansas City, Missouri, as Executive Director. In addition, she is very active in her church, Lewis Metropolitan CME serving in local and regional positions. Ernestine loves helping others be the best they can be, as staff development and training is one of her many strengths.
Membership Chair Theresa Curtis, who has a sincere desire is to reflect the image of Christ in her daily walk. Theresa serves at her church in dual capacities as Superintendent of Sunday School and the Director of Christian Education. She is a Hospice Volunteer at Kaiser Permanent Medical Center, Downey, CA, where she provides office support for the Hospice Volunteer Department. Theresa retired from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services after 32 years of service.
Maude Johnson, is a vibrant and gregarious personality. Fully committed to the goals of OASC and everything positive. She has been a member of OASC for more than 15 years and leads the planning for the city-wide African American Heritage Month programming and the OASC Black History Tour of Los Angeles.
FOUNDER, OUR AUTHORS STUDY CLUB
LOS ANGELES BRANCH OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE
STUDY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN LIFE AND HISTORY, INC.
Mrs. Wright and a group of Terminal Annex Postal Employees founded Our Authors Study Club, Inc. on February 14, 1945, for the purpose of studying the biographies of African American authors, reading and reviewing their books, and learning the true history of African American people in the Diaspora. In June of 1945, Dr. Carter G. Woodson chartered the group to become members of his Association for the Study of African Life and History, Inc. Mrs. Wright also helped to establish lending libraries in the YMCA, YWCA, and at the Second Baptist Church’s Henderson Community Center. Other notable achievements included the first citywide celebration of Negro History Week in Los Angeles and initiating a Black History curriculum in the Los Angeles Unified School District Adult Schools.
Mrs. Wright was educated in the public schools of Denver, Colorado. She graduated from Western University in Kansas City, Kansas, and did her graduate work in Teaching at the University of Kansas. After moving to California, she attended the University of Southern California Extension and completed courses in Sociology and Business Administration. Mrs. Wright became well known for her abilities as an organizer, socialite, and civic worker.
Mrs. Wright was a real estate broker, community activist, a Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. member, and a very active member of Second Baptist Church. In addition, she was an organizing member of many community groups.
Mrs. Vassie D. Wright was born in Paola, Kansas on December 6, 1899, the daughter of Samuel Davis and Lula Ann (Pertilla) Davis. She died on March 20, 1983, in Los Angeles, California. On June 5, 1985, the Los Angeles Jefferson Branch Library was renamed the “Jefferson-Vassie D. Wright Memorial Library.” The library is located at 2211 West Jefferson Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, 90018.
FATHER OF BLACK HISTORY
FOUNDER OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE STUDY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN
LIFE AND HISTORY, INC
Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson was born on December 19, 1875, in New Canton, Buckingham County, Virginia. His parents were former slaves Anne Eliza (Riddle) and James Henry Woodson. He died suddenly on April 3, 1950. He was the second African American to receive a Ph.D. degree from Harvard University (Dr. W.E.B. DuBois was the first). Dr. Woodson and four supporters organized the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History on Thursday, September 9, 1915, in the Wabash Avenue YMCA office located on the south side of Chicago, Illinois.
His dream for ASALH was to archive sociological and historical data, publish books, promote the study of African American life and history, and encourage racial harmony through the organization and the work of clubs and schools. In 1916, ASALH published the first issue of the Journal of Negro History, an highly respected and scholarly digest that was followed in 1937 by the Negro History Bulletin, a widely circulated historically-oriented magazine. In 1920, Dr. Woodson founded the Associated Publishers, the for-profit arm of the Association. Associated Publishers is responsible for the publication and circulation of ASALH’s renowned African American History Month Kits. Additionally, Associated Publishers sells books and other literature authored by Dr. Woodson and other prominent scholars in the field of African American history.
In February 1926, Dr. Woodson announced the institution of Negro History Week, which coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. In 1976, the observance was expanded to “National African American History Month,” in honor of the nation’s bicentennial. Beginning in 1975, U.S. Presidents have paid tribute to the mission of the Association and urged all Americans to celebrate African American History Month. Since 1926, ASALH has established the national theme for the monthlong celebration of African American History Month. The Association maintains the Carter G. Woodson Home in Washington, D.C., where Woodson operated ASALH from 1923 until his death in 1950. The Woodson Home is a National Historic Landmark.The work of the organization has historically been to promote, research, preserve, interpret, and disseminate information about African American life, history, and culture to the global community. www.asalh.org