Recognizing key black figures

Selma director and executive producer Ava DuVernay

Director and screenwriter Ava DuVernay was the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe for her film “Selma.”

It’s Black History Month — an important time to honor key black figures of the past and present, especially those with whom you may be unfamiliar.

• Henry Sampson Jr. is an African American inventor most notable for his patent of the gamma-electric cell. It eventually became the basis for the cellphone technology we use every day.

• Matthew Baker emerged as the first major black comic book writer during the 1940s and 1950s. He created the popular “Phantom Lady” character sketch.

• Mae Jemison, a retired astronaut, became the first black woman to reach space in 1992.

• Ava DuVernay is an extremely successful director and screenwriter who rose to fame with her movie “Selma.” She was the first black female director to be up for a Golden Globe.

• Marley Dias started the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign to donate and circulate books with black girls as central characters. The 11-year-old is leading a revolution.


Bernie Williams

Bernie Williams is a junior majoring in English with a concentration in media, cultural and rhetoric studies. She hopes to practice and master an assortment of mediums, including screenwriting, writing for the New York Times, lifestyle blogging, fiction and radio broadcasting. Bernie has a passion for creating and sharing stories. The heightened diversity of the city atmosphere surrounding UIC is perfect for her. Bernie’s side hobbies are indulging in TV shows (specifically Scandal, Girls and Law and Order: SVU), interior design and Instagram. 

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