Don’t Get Spooked by the Mafia. It’s Italian Heritage Month!

Feature, Heritage Months, Italian-American Heritage Month

Happy Italian Heritage Month! Yep, October is a month to slow things down and before gobbling up that Halloween candy, or the turkey next month, you can dig in and enjoy some good Italian food… and try not to get spooked by the mafia.

Italian heritage month is formally known as National Italian American Heritage Month. It was created by George. H. W. Bush in 1989. George H. W. Bush to honor the achievements and contributions of Italian immigrants.

A fast fact about Italian Americans: The greatest surge of Italian immigrants was between 1880 and 1914 with over four million Italians emigrating to America.

Hispanic Heritage Month

Feature, Heritage Months, Hispanic History Month, News

In America, we celebrate the history and achievements of those from Central and South America who have contributed to the American culture. It begins on September 15, which is significant because it is Independence Day for five Latin American countries. The five countries associated are Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. This day allowed them to shape not only their own culture but our American culture in many ways.

Hispanic culture has influenced America in many different ways from entertainment to food and business. One area they have heavily influenced in the United States is the performing arts. Some of the most famous musical artists are Hispanic singers who are nationally and internationally known for their culture of music. Americans use sounds of Hispanic music such as the famous Drake and Justin Beiber (recent American citizen).

The Hispanic culture has even influenced America with its  food. People visit Mexican food restaurants such as Taco Bell and Chipotle and even cook dishes at their own homes such as tacos, burritos, and homemade salsa. These foods have become a normal part of American cuisine.

These are just some of the things about the Hispanic culture that shows how much they have done for American culture. Celebrate this month with by enjoying the cultures of Hispanic heritage. 

Keanu Reeves

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, Feature, Heritage Months

Keanu Reeves was born in 1964 and is a Canadian actor, director, producer and musician. He was born in Beirut, Lebanon. Reeves is part Hawaiian and Chinese (father’s family). He also has English, Irish, and Portuguese descent. Keanu started his acting career at the age of 9 when he appeared in Damn Yankees. At 15, he played Mercutio in the play Romeo and Juliet. When he was 17, he dropped out of high school, obtained a green card, and went to live with his dad in Los Angeles.
His first hit major success in the late 80’s with films like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) along with it’s sequel Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991). Keanu Reeves big break out film was Speed (1994). In 1999, Reeves struck gold again with The Matrix. He is a motorcyclist and co-founded Arch Motorcycles, which builds and sells custom motorcycles.

So yeah, Keanu Reeves is a pretty interesting guy. He is the type of guy you wouldn’t want to mess with too. He’s so cool that if you say Keanu super fast: it sounds like canoe. And don’t mess with his dog, because he’s also John Wick!

Dwayne Johnson

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, Feature, Heritage Months

Since it is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a few of us at LNN figured it was only right to honor one of the most prolific figures in Pacific American history, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.  Dwayne Johnson was born on May 2, 1972 in Hayward, California to Ata Johnson and Rocky Johnson. He spent his early years of his life moving all around the world. He briefly lived in New Zealand with his mother’s family. He eventually moved back to the United States where he attended Sheperd Glen Elementary School and Hamden Middle School in Hamden, Connecticut. Later , he attended President William McKinley High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, Glencliff High School in Nashville Tennessee, and McGavock High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. While in high school, Johnson was a standout football player racking up offers from Division I colleges. Ultimately, he decided to commit to the University of Miami Florida. He played defensive tackle in college and was part of the 1991 Miami National Championship team. However, due to multiple injuries throughout his career, he was replaced by future NFL Hall of Famer Warren Sapp. In 1995, Johnson graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of General Studies in criminology and physiology. He had a brief stint with Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League, however that only lasted about two months before being cut by the team. After he realized that football was not the path for him, he decided to set foot into professional wrestling. He managed to get veteran wrestler Pat Patterson to schedule him a few tryout matches for the WWF in 1996. After that, it was history, Dwayne Johnson ended up being one of the most famous wrestlers of all time. Now, this may not even be his biggest trademark, his acting is what most people know him for. His first appearance on television was in 1999 when he and his father starred on an episode of That 70’s Show. After that his acting career skyrocketed with roles in movies such as Hercules, Fast and Furious, Moana, and much much more. I believe that it is safe to say that Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is one of the most influential figures for not only Pacific Americans but for everyone.
After he realized that football was not the path for him, he decided to set foot into professional wrestling. He managed to get veteran wrestler Pat Patterson to schedule him a few tryout matches for the WWF in 1996. After that, it was history, Dwayne Johnson ended up being one of the most famous wrestlers of all time. Now, this may not even be his biggest trademark, his acting is what most people know him for. His first appearance on television was in 1999 when he and his father starred on an episode of That 70’s Show. After that his acting career skyrocketed with roles in movies such as Hercules, Fast and Furious, Moana, and much much more. I believe that it is safe to say that Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is one of the most influential figures for not only Pacific Americans but for everyone.

Jason Momoa

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, Heritage Months

It is Asian- Pacific- American Heritage Month! You might know Jason Momoa from his recent movie Aquaman, as well as other films like Justice League, Superman vs Batman, or Frontier. He also stars in TV shows such as Game of Thrones, Stargate Atlantis, and Red Road.
Jason Momoa was born on August 1, 1979, in Nanakuli, Honolulu, Hawaii, but was raised in Norwalk, Iowa, by his mother, who is of German, Irish, and Native American descent, and his father, a Native Hawaiian.

Jason Momoa went to college after high school and majored in marine biology before switching to wildlife biology. Later, fashion designers Eric Chandler and Takeo Kobayashi encouraged his modeling career. At the age of 19, Jason Momoa worked at a part-time job in a surf shop before he was cast in a action, drama series Baywatch Hawaii. Later in June of 2014, he was reported to have been cast as Aquaman. He first made his appearance as Aquaman in the superhero movie Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, after he played the leading role in 2017 ensemble the film Justice League. Then, he started his solo film Aquaman later released in 2018, and received a role in the new movie The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part. Jason Momoa still acts and was recently cast as Duncan Idaho in the upcoming film Dune. Congrats Jason Momoa!

Helen Keller

Feature, Heritage Months, Women’s History Month

article by Chloe’ Foster

Helen Adams Keller was the first deaf-blind person to earn her Bachelor of Arts degree. She was born June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Her parents were Kate Adams Keller and Colonel Arthur Keller. Helen’s father was a captain for the Confederate army during the Civil War. They lost most of their wealth in the civil war and lived modestly. After the war, her father edited the local newspaper and he was appointed a marshal in North Alabama.

At the age of 19 months, Helen became deaf and blind as a result of an unknown illness. Helen Keller suffered from a fever and was left deaf, blind, and unable to speak. The doctors had no means of of naming or even describing what was happening to young Helen. There is speculation that she had something related to Scarlet Disease or meningitis. Anne Sullivan helped Helen Keller speak at the age of ten years old.

Young Helen with Anne.

Anne Sullivan was the person who assisted Helen in achieving her college degree. Anne stood by her starting when Helen Keller was only seven years old. Anne was only fourteen years older than Helen Keller. Anne’s biggest goal for Helen was love and obedience. Anne did achieve that and so much more with Helen. Because they were so close, there was accusations that Helen Keller was plagiarizing Anne Sullivan. Many people, including Mark Twain, wrote a letter to Helen Keller saying she was plagiarizing.

The story of Anne and Helen’s friendship has inspired millions. And Helen Keller’s struggles and accomplishments reach out far beyond inspiring women. Helen continues to inspire people with disabilities with her life’s example and writings.

Susan B. Anthony and the Early Women’s Movement

Feature, Heritage Months, Women’s History Month

article by Jessica Raborn

Women’s History Month starts March 1st and goes to the end of March. In 1987 March became the official month. However, before that President Jimmy Carter said that the week of March 8 would be National Women’s History Week. March is a month to remember all of the contributions that women have made for the United States. Susan B Anthony plays a major role in Women’s History Month.

Susan B Anthony was born February 15, 1820, and she died March 13, 1906. She grew up with a life centered around her schooling. By the time she was three, she could read and write. She is best known for her work with women’s suffrage in the United States. Her work started after meeting Amelia Bloomer, who pushed her further into women’s rights. Through her friendship with Bloomer, she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton, another major figure in the women’s movement. Susan was even president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. By doing all of this, she helped to pave the way for the Nineteenth Amendment, which provided women the right to vote. However, her work didn’t stop there.

She was also an abolitionist and  helped with the anti-slavery movement. Early in the American Civil War, she was a member of the Women’s National Loyal League. She also helped with the American Equal Rights Association, promoting equality in society and the workplace. Additionally, she was also part of the National Labor Union and a publisher for the progressive magazine, The Revolution.

People, especially women, can see Susan’s work in their everyday lives. An example of this is the museum of her birthplace. Also, she is the first women ever minted onto United States currency. She also has her writings in  History of Women Suffrage. Susan B Anthony is remembered because of all of her work to help women and other oppressed minorities.   

Amelia Earhart’s Influence

Feature, Heritage Months, Women’s History Month

article by Mia Michel

Amelia Earhart is best known for attempting to be the first woman to fly around the world. She was also the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932, and the first woman to fly solo nonstop around the United States. On Amelia’s 1937 attempt around the world, she disappeared somewhere over the Pacific. Her wreck sight was never found, and she was declared lost at sea. Amelia’s disappearance is one of the best unsolved mysteries of the century.

Amelia Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas on July 24, 1897. Growing up she was an energetic, adventurous, and spirited child who was never really confined by the gender roles of society. She played basketball as a kid, climbed trees, took an auto repair course, and attended college for a short time. Amelia believed in doing what you want no matter what doubts and obstacles are in your way.

During World War One, she served as a Red Cross nurse’s aid in Canada. After the war, she enrolled the Columbia University in New York as a pre-med student. She first flew in an airplane in California in December 1920 with Frank Hawks.  After that initial flight, Amelia became obsessed with aviation. She started flying lessons with Neta Snook in January 1921, and later that year purchased a second hand Kinner Airster plane. Amelia set numerous aviation records in her time that inspired young women, but the best known attempt was her flight around the world. June 1, 1987, Amelia took off for an eastbound flight around the world accompanied by navigator Fred Noonan, this was her second attempt. Amelia Earhart and her navigator disappeared, July 2 was the last time they were seen alive.

One of the main questions is why? There are many theories but none have been proven so far. The most popular theory is that they simply ran out of gas and crashed, but others believe there is a more complicated answer. There were some artifacts found on an island a little off course that suggest Amelia and her navigator washed up on it as castaways. They could have survived days or even weeks, researchers have found a woman’s shoe from the 1930s, improvised tools, and bones that appear to be part of a human finger.

Amelia did not accomplish her goal, nevertheless, she inspired many young women not to be confined into society’s idea of how they are supposed to act and what goals they are supposed to set for themselves. Amelia’s actions encouraged many to not just dream, but take risks no matter the cost.

Rebecca Suger

Feature, Heritage Months, Women’s History Month

Rebecca Sugar, age 31, was born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland, in a Jewish family. She had a brother named Steven Sugar and a passion for animation and writing. But you might be wondering what’s so special about her. Well, with Women’s History Month coming up in March, I thought she was worthy to be written about, despite her not being one of the traditional women chosen for a topic such as this.

First, let’s talk about what counts as a woman worth honoring. I believe that a person is worth being written about when they’ve done something great. Obvious, right? But it also matters to me how they got to that great point. If they made decisions that helped them cheat their way to the top, I don’t think they’re worth writing about. The real role models are ones who work hard for what they want. Rebecca Sugar is absolutely worthy of writing about.  

Rebecca Sugar went to the school of Visual Arts in New York. Like I said before, she’s always had a passion for writing and art. I’m sure if you haven’t seen Adventure Time, you’ve probably at least heard of it, which is one of the shows that Rebecca helped animate and write (both songs and a few side episodes.) Not only that, but she also helped create storyboards for the first Hotel Transylvania. But this isn’t even the beginning of what she’s done, she was actually the first female to independently create a cartoon series, Steven Universe, which is still running today and recently just finished its 5th season. Steven Universe’s movie is going to come out around Fall, 2019. Rebecca Sugar also writes most of the songs for Steven Universe, and other songs outside of Steven Universe. One of her well-known songs is “Love Like You.”

So overall, I’d say Rebecca Sugar has had an amazing life so far and still has a lot to come. She’s an amazing person and definitely one of my biggest inspirations. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend Steven Universe to anyone who’s interested in fun cartoons.

Making History

Feature, Heritage Months, Women’s History Month

article by Ashlyn Weatherly

January 28, 1986 was a day for the history books! Christa McAuliffe was a junior high school history teacher in Maryland, and the first American civilian selected to be launched into outer space. Although the spacecraft exploded merely 73 seconds after leaving the launchpad, Christa McAuliffe is still remembered today for her bravery and contribution to United States’ Research on Outer Space.


Christa was born on September 2, 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts. Christa was the oldest of five children. When she was five, her family moved to Framingham, Massachusetts. She was a very quiet child and she was also very adventurous. After graduating Marian High School in 1966, Christa was accepted into Framingham State College, where she studied history and education. After receiving her bachelors in 1970, she was soon married to Steve McAuliffe, who she met in high school. She soon began her career as an educator, as an American History and English junior high teacher in Maryland. However, six years later she had a son, Scott McAuliffe. Two years after having her son, she received her Masters degree from Bowie State College. Then she moved her family to New Hampshire where she accepted a position as a high school teacher. She later gave birth to her second child, Caroline. She was just a typical loving mother and good civilian.


Christa took great pride in space research. For example, in 1981 she and her students watched the first space shuttle orbit the earth. When president Ronald Reagan introduced the Teacher in Space Project, she took great interest. When NASA announced that there was a competition to decide who would be selected to be the lucky individual, Christa jumped at the opportunity. She was selected out of over 11,000 applicants. She embraced the opportunity in a heartbeat for she believed that her experience in space would help her students further understand the importance and significance of space travel. Although she was happy to be a part of the project, she struggled to leave her family for training.


The Challenger was scheduled to launch on January 22, however it was delayed for several different issues (a dust storm at the emergency landing area, inclement weather, door latch problem, etc). It officially left Earth’s surface on the twenty-eighth. Not only did her family and friends watch the ship launch into space, but school children all over the country sat in classrooms excitedly waiting for take off and to witness a teacher making history. Unfortunately, the shuttle exploded less than two minutes after take off, killing all seven passengers on board. The nation was left stunned and mourned the loss of the crew. NASA dedicated time to researching the cause of the explosion. After months of investigation, they determined that it was the right rocket booster responsible for the catastrophe. A gasket had failed, and affected the O-rings which caused a leak, igniting the fuel supply.


Christa McAuliffe left behind a legacy. After her death, she was awarded the the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. In addition, to receiving this medal, her hometown named a local planetarium in honor of her. Since then, an asteroid and crater on the moon have also been named in her honor. Firminham College also established a program, Christa Corrigan McAuliffe, to continue her legacy and support educational advancements. Christa McAuliffe’s story is a real story of BRAVERY!

Adrian Beltre

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months

article by Jack Markey

Adrian Beltre was born April 7, 1979 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Beltre’s uncle played briefly in the minor leagues for the St. Louis Cardinals. Adrian Beltre’s best two sports when he was young were Tennis and Basketball. It wasn’t until he was about 12 before he finally showed his skills in baseball.

Beltre attended school at Liceo Maximo Gomez High School. There he developed his game skills. When he was fifteen, he was already getting scouted by the pros. In 1994, he was signed by the Dodgers with a $23,000 bonus. In the league, someone has to be at least sixteen to be scouted, while Adrian Beltre was only fifteen when he was first signed. This drew a lot of attention, but Beltre was still signed.

He attended his first year in the minor leagues in 1996. He was apart of the Savannah Sand Gnats. Adrian Beltre was the youngest player on the team and worked incredibly hard on his skills in the game. In 1997, he played a full season for Vero Beach, a Florida League.

Over his first year in the major leagues, the Dodgers made many adjustments to Beltre’s stance and form at the plate and in the field. Adrian Beltre spent most of his first year on the bench and watching from the dugout. He finished his season with a batting average of .215. He had hit 7 homers and 22 RBI’s. He was almost traded to the Seattle Mariners in the offseason, but the trade was canceled.

Adrian ended with a great second season with the Dodgers ending with a .275 batting average, 15 homers, and 67 RBI’s. In the offseason, there was a lot of suspicion on the signing of Adrian Beltre. There was a lot of controversy over the issue, but the Dodgers were just issued a fine and Beltre stayed. Unfortunately, in his 2001 season, he incurred an injury. He didn’t see the field until mid-May. With these health problems, he still had a decent year with a .265 batting average.

In his next few seasons, Adrian Beltre was not performing well.He was batting the worst on the starting roster. Over the next season, things began to change for him. He was at the plate with authority and hitting much better. He was finally a top hitter in the 2004 season and showed his true talent. He led the major league with 48 homers, a .334 batting average, and 121 RBI’s.

Over the upcoming off season, he was traded to the Mariners. He played a few seasons with the Mariners and became a free agent. He was then signed by the Boston Red Sox. Finally, he was traded to the Rangers where he spent the rest of his career and had solid seasons

His Airness!

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months

article by Jacob LeBlanc

In his prime, Michael Jordan was an influential role model for all young Americans. Michael Jordan is considered by many to be the best basketball player of all time (behind Kevin Durant). Michael Jordan’s skill influenced and inspired many young children to play basketball.  

MJ dominated the NBA from the mid-80s through the late-90s, he won the Most Valuable Player award five times and led the Chicago Bulls to six National Basketball Association championships.  Michael Jordan is still a major role model today and will continue to be talked about for decades. Michael Jordan changed the sport of basketball forever.

Michael Jordan’s partnership with Nike started a new wave of athletic merchandising. His fame propelled Nike to become one of the most famous athletic brands in the world. Jordan’s shoe brand is still popular today, and Nike is now the most famous athletic brand worldwide. Although Jordan was one of the greatest basketball players in the world, even he failed to make his high school basketball team as a sophomore.Feeling defeated, he didn’t give up. Michael Jordan kept practicing and made the team the next year. After high school, he went on to play basketball in college at the University of North Carolina. After college, as we all know, Michael Jordan was drafted by the Chicago Bulls and went on to win championships and earned multiple MVP awards throughout his career. In his time, Michael Jordan inspired many and changed the world. Now, Michael Jordan is a partial owner of the Charlotte Hornets and a business owner of the Jordan brand. Michael Jordan still influences children around the world who are aspiring to become basketball players.  

MLK & Malcom X: A Comparative Look

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months

article by Sophie Roussel

Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X. Two names, two very different people with the same goal in life. But their ways of achieving racial equality were contrasted. King believed in peaceful everything, peaceful protests, and not needing violence to achieve the African American goal of social equality. Malcolm on the other hand, had an immediate results mentality, by applying threats and violence to achieve his goal and wanting social change to occur fast.

In 1946, Malcolm Little, known as Malcolm X, was sentenced to ten years in jail and converted to the Nation of Islam. To most of society, he was perceived as full of hate and just wanted to cause problems within the communities. Yet to others, he was a redeemer who wanted the same end result as King. Malcom’s violent ways and threats were what he thought would get his results fast and it was the reason why he gained so many followers. His followers wanted equality, by any means. Malcolm presented the people with the promise of “transcending the streets,” the majority of his followers were African Americans who were not well off and looked to the streets for a home. He promised the people hope for a better future. But you can’t escape the inevitable. The same reasons he became such a successful leader among millions of African Americans were the same reasons he was assassinated February 21, 1965. Following his death, fifteen-hundred people attended his funeral in Harlem.

In 1954, Martin Luther King Jr. became a pastor in Montgomery, Alabama. Shortly afterward, he started the first nonviolent protest of contemporary times, boycotting the bus system which lasted 382 days and led to desegregation on buses. King had a larger, more diverse group of followers than Malcom X. In many of the photographs from his speeches, people of different colors unit around his promises of equality and peace. In an eleven year period, King traveled over ten million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times. After his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, he became not only a leader for African Americans but also a worldwide leader for racial justice. Even with all of these things going for him, some people hated him just as much as they hated Malcolm X. King and Malcolm frequently crossed each other’s paths during influential times, such as the passages of Civil Rights Acts in the 1960s.

On the evening of April 4,1968, King was shot from the balcony of his motel room.

Both of these men were influential leaders who brought about a change for racial inequality in our country. Their purposeful action and influence boosted change in America and put America farther along the road to racial equality.

G.O.A.T | Lebron James

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months

article byEmory Templet

Some people might say that Lebron James is the greatest basketball player to ever step on the hardwood. Others might disagree, saying names like Michael Jordan, or Wilt Chamberlain should claim the title of G.O.A.T. But right here, right now: Lebron James is the greatest player in the world. And his impact on society will forever be remembered as one of the most impacting African American athletes in society.

December 30, 1984, in the town of Akron Ohio, Lebron Raymone James was born to 16 year old Gloria James. Lebron’s father, Anthony McClelland, had an extensive criminal record and was never in his life. Growing up, Lebron did not have a lot because his family struggled financially. He used his athletic talents to get him places in his life.

So far in his career, Lebron has made it to the NBA finals nine times, wining three. He has won four regular season MVP awards and also three finals MVP awards. He has influenced both the NBA and the rest of the world with things such as hosting the ESPY awards, Saturday Night Live, and he appeared in the 2015 film Trainwreck.

June 26, 2003 is one of the most important days in Lebron James’s life. He was drafted into the NBA with the number one pick. As a Cleveland boy, it was especially special that he was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers. As soon as the season started, Lebron had an obvious impact. He brought that swagger to the team that they hadn’t had before. Just in his NBA debut, he had 25 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds. This dominance earned him Rookie of the Year, and an immediate star in America.

In 2018, Lebron James opened the I Promise school in Cleveland, Ohio. It is a school designed to cater to the needs of kids with struggling families. Lebron really desired to open this type of school to give back to Cleveland, and because he endured the same conditions growing up.

Overall, Lebron is a positive influence in our society in many different ways. He stars in movies, wins NBA championships, and starts schools. He is a great basketball player, and an even better social figure.

42

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months

article by Jason Kelly

Jackie Robinson was not only an extraordinarily good athlete, but also a great person. Jackie Robinson was a man that put everything on the table to help the future of sports. But twenty-eight years earlier a baby was born to Mallie and Jerry Robinson. He was the fifth and youngest kid. He spent his younger days in Pasadena, California after his dad abandoned his family. His mother took on sundry jobs to sustain her family.

Jackie Robinson went to college at University California Los Angeles where he lettered in four sports: football, basketball, track, and baseball. He left college early due to financial problems and moved to Honolulu, Hawaii. In Hawaii, he played semi-pro football for the Honolulu Bears.

Jackie Robinson started his baseball career in the Negro leagues, where there was no base salary and players were underpaid. While in the Negro league, he was noticed by Branch Rickey, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was signed by the Dodgers in 1946. He played in the minor leagues, where his opponents would cancel games because they didn’t want to play against an African American. That year Jackie led the Minor leagues in both batting average and fielding percentage.

Jackie Robinson joined the military in 1942, in a segregated cavalry unit in Kansas. He was transferred shortly after because he refused to give up his seat on the bus. He later was discharged due to false accusations by a prejudiced officer and jury that confirmed his removal from the military.

Jackie played his first Major league game in April 1947. This day was historic! It was the first time any player of color had ever stepped onto a professional baseball field. He faced much adversity throughout the season, but he persevered and became Rookie of The Year.

Oprah

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months, Women’s History Month

article by Gianni Taylor

About Oprah Winfrey

On January 29, 1954, Oprah Gail Winfrey was born to Vernita Lee and Vernon Winfrey in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Both of her parents were unmarried teens and shortly after her birth the two separated leaving Oprah to live with her grandmother. `

Early Life

The years that Oprah lived with her grandmother, she was taught how to recite Bible verses and even began reading at the age of two. At the age of six, she moved with her mother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she was abused and mistreated which led to her rebelling. Her mother sent her to Nashville, Tennessee where she began living with her father. While living with her father she felt like she was in a safer environment, but the bad habits that she picked up from living with her mother were hard to shake off.

Rise to Fame

Image accredited to Variety Magazine

In 1971, Oprah’s first job was at Nashville’s WVOL radio station, while she was still in high school, where she was read afternoon newscast live. In the same year she received the titles as Nashville’s Miss Fire Prevention and Miss Black Tennessee. Later that year she graduated high school with honors and was granted a full scholarship to Tennessee State University. She majored in Speech Communications and Performing arts. In 1973 Oprah starts to set records being the first African American TV correspondent in Nashville and the youngest co- anchor for WTVF-TV. Three years later in 1976, Oprah became co-anchor at WJZ-TV in Baltimore. In 1978, while still working as a co-anchor, she found a talent for hosting talk shows and became co-host of WJZ-TV’s “People Are Talking”. In order to host “A.M. Chicago,” Oprah moved to Chicago in 1984. A year later she started her acting career where she played Sofia in the movie The Color Purple. In 1986 Oprah’s own talk show “The Oprah Winfrey Show” was aired nationally. Two years later she also became the first African American Women in American to own her own studio which she name Harpo Studio. Following her first movie appearance, Oprah played in movies such as The Women of Brewster Place (1989), There are no children here (1993), Before Women had Wings (1997), and many more. In 2004, Oprah released her successful  magazine O, The Oprah. In 1998, she believed in making a difference in people’s live and she found Oprah’s Angel Network which was and still is a charity that raised more than $35 million to non- profit organizations around the world. The network also has provided scholarships and built schools while supporting women’s shelter, building homes, and even youth centers. Oprah was also an impact on child protection. In 1991 she pushed for the Child Protection Act, which set a national database of convicted child abusers, to get passed. This was such a big goal for her to reach that she even when as far as to create Oprah’s Child Predator Watch List where in only 48 hours she captured two alleged child molesters. Today Oprah is worth around 2.6 billion dollars making her the first African American women to become a billionaire. In 2005 Forbes Magazine ranked her as the most powerful celebrity in the world. She also has funded many organizations that are targeted to help improve women’s quality of life and to boost their confidence. Oprah is such a role model for African Americans, women, and girls all around the nation. She has shown that you can succeed in life if you continue to try. She is the change that the African American community and women needed. Oprah has been a light for the people who have been abused. Let’s take a stand with her in improving our nation and world!

“THE” Odell Beckham Junior

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months

article by Brennan Hunt

One of the greatest influencers of this generation, one of the most unique pro athletes to ever exist, a legend, in his own right. “THE” Odell Beckham Junior, a legend in the making. Who is this Odell Beckham that I talk about you ask? Odell is one of the best receivers in the NFL.. ever! All while representing our Louisiana State University, graduating from college–after a phenomenal college career–while playing with other legends, such as Jarvis Landry, Zach Mettenberger, Jeremy Hill, and The Honey badger: Tyrann Mathieu.  

Odell, was born in Baton Rouge Louisiana, and attended Isidore Newman High School, and lettermanned in football, basketball, and track. He played wide receiver, running back, quarterback, and cornerback for his high school, and went on to become one of the Legacies of Louisiana.

Odell has become one of the greatest influencers of this young generation from his fashion to his dancing to his hair. Everything he does is noticed and copied. From the moment he walked on the field, you could tell that he would be special and influence a lot of youth! Every time he scores a touchdown, there’s a new celebration that you can see everyone mimicking the next day. Whatever he was wearing before game, you can often see people wearing not long after.

Odell is an encouraging person and influencer. He is becoming one of the most recognized household names in the last few years.

Virgil Abloh

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months

Virgil Abloh was born on September 30th, 1980, to his Ghanaian immigrant parents and grew up in Rockford, Illinois. He was an only child and his mother was a seamstress, while his father was a manager for a paint company. Virgil attended Boylan Catholic High School, and graduated in 1998, he then went on to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which he graduated from in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. He then went on to get his Master of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2006.

Abloh’s first step into fashion was when he interned at Fendi in 2009, in the same class as the rapper Kanye West. He was placed in the company’s Rome office, where he offered his own taste to help design merch for Kanye, which he took up. Virgil then started his first individual brand named Pyrex. He started off by buying deadstock Ralph Lauren shirts that were discounted at $40 dollars, he then printed the words PYREX in all capitals on the shirt. He priced the shirts at a steep $500 dollar price tag, which he later stated was a sort of social experiment. He wanted to see the state of the consumer market, observing that people will pay a whole lot more for brands that are labeled as “designer” or premium. Abloh ended this project in December of 2013, replacing the former brand with his brand new idea OFF WHITE.

OFF WHITE’s first introduction into the fashion world came in the form of a showing of their Spring/Summer 14 collection at the Paris Fashion Week in 2014. The brand’s motto is a saying from Abloh describing the brand in saying, “the gray area between black and white as the color off-white” The line that he presented at the show received nominations for LVMH Prize, which is an award given out for top designers under 40 that have released at least two collections of clothing.OFF WHITE’s popularity kept on rising and rising throughout the coming years up to 2017. In 2017, Abloh and his brand OFF WHITE were contacted by Nike to do a collaboration with clothing and shoes. The collection dropped in November of 2017, causing chaos throughout the internet, retailing at $190 dollars, to reselling for upwards of $2,000 dollars. After his success with his brand OFF WHITE, Virgil Abloh was offered the job title of artistic designer for the prolific and notorious brand Louis Vuitton.

Virgil Abloh is an icon for the African American community because he shows what you can do with hard work and a great work ethic. Abloh worked his way through college and all the way up to an internship with a heavily established brand, through which found a major connection to help boost his projects. Abloh is officially the first African American to be named artistic director in Louis Vuitton history, showing that with hard work you can achieve some of your biggest goals that you set for yourself.

The Story of Ruby Bridges

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months, Women’s History Month

article by Michael Burnett

In 1960, an African American attending school with white American children was unheard of, much less an African american girl, but Ruby Bridges did.

In 1954 the Supreme Court decided to allow whites and African Americans to attend school together. Ruby was six years old in 1960, her parents responded to a call from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and volunteered their child to participate in the integration of the New Orleans School system. She is remembered as the first African-American child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South. She went to William Frantz Elementary school. In her first year, many outraged white parents made her feel unwelcome by doing demeaning acts such as shouting racial slurs–one parent even held up a black doll in a coffin. Ruby was frightened by the way these people treated her, but she did not turn back. She spent her first day of school in the principal’s office because of all of the hatred directed toward her. Sadly, even most of the school staff rejected Ruby. Barbara Henry, a white teacher, was the only one willing to accept Ruby. For Ruby’s first year at the school, she had no other students in her class. Ruby had to eat lunch alone and only had the teacher to play with during recess.

Ruby graduated from a desegregated high school, and was later reunited with her first teacher, Henry, in the 1990s. The two did a serie of speaking engagements together. A lifelong activist for racial equality, in 1999, Ruby established The Ruby Bridges Foundation to promote tolerance and to foster change through education.

Ruby was and still is a role model for both women and all African Americans. She paved the way for both African American and white alike to have the same educational opportunities.

Ruby Bridges

The One, The Only, Michael Jackson!

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months

Michael Jackson needs no introduction, but for a grade he technically does. Michael Jackson’s story begins August 29, 1958. As a child, he was in a family band called the Jackson 5. They wrote songs such as their first release Ben. They grew into something international! And became the outlet for Michael Jackson to grow as a solo artist.

His first solo song “Got To Be There” set him on his way to becoming a legend! From songs like Man In The Mirror, Billie Jean, and Thriller. His music career blew up, making history for his authenticity.

One particular song that stands out They Don’t Care About Us wasn’t directed straight towards police brutality or racism. It was targeted towards the people with power and their effects on those who don’t have power. Yes, this included African American people who were victims of police brutality, but it also includes how politicians affect society and how, in general, any authority can be corrupt.

Another impactful song, Black or White speaks for itself. The song lets you know that no matter what the world says, YOUR SKIN DOESN’T DEFINE YOU!! And it shouldn’t alter what people think of you either. The way that Michael had that music video portrayed couldn’t have been any better. If you watch it yourself, it has a black baby and a white baby sitting next to each other, just enjoying each others company. Powerful!

So, when you think of the infamous late Michael Jackson, think of all the positivity he gave to the world through his music. The messages in his songs that most likely got someone through a bad day. Or even the songs you will have on replay at a party. His passion got out to the world, and he did all he could do in the short life that he lived.

R.I.P Michael Jackson