It would take much more than a month to recognize all the Black #vibrantpittsburghers but here are some to get you started and additional resources for deeper exploration.
(This list is not intended to be exhaustive and reflects those chosen to be amplified during Vibrant Pittsburgher’s recognition of Black History Month 2023.)
Benjamin Richards – Premier 18th Century #vibrantpittsburgh businessman and 1 of 4 Black #VibrantPittsburgher to sign the petition for the finding of Allegheny County
Billy Eckstine – Black crooner on par with Crosby and Como; Born in #vibrantpittsburgh
Virginia Proctor Powell Florence – Born in #vibrantpittsburgh, she became the first Black woman to earn a Library Science degree going on to work for the New York Public Library
Mayor Ed Gainey – First elected Black Mayor of #vibrantpittsburgh, Mayor Ed Gainey, assumed office in January 2022.
John Gibson – As a renowned power-hitter and catcher, he was the second Black baseball player inducted into the baseball hall of fame; Played for the Homestead Grays in #vibrantpittsburgh
Charles “Teenie” Harris – Nationally renowned and preeminent photographer for The Pittsburgh Courier, he amassed 70,000 images of Black life in #vibrantpittsburgh.
Ajax Jones – a Black #vibrantpittsburgher, briefly held mayoral responsibilities in 1901.
Jackie Ormes – Became the first Black female cartoonist to produce a nationally appearing comic strip with Torchy Brown; born in #vibrantpittsburgh and wrote for the Pittsburgh Courier
The Rev. LeRoy Patrick – As a forefront and distinguished #vibrantpittsburgh Civil Rights leader he became nationally known for his model of public pool integration.
John Batham Vashon – Prominent 19th-century #vibrantpittsburgh businessman opened Pittsburgh’s first bathhouse.
Mary Frances Vashon – Black female journalist writing in the 19th century for William Howard Day’s “The Alienated American” and Frederick Douglass’s “Frederick Douglass’ Paper” under the pen name Fanny Homewood
August Wilson – Profoundly influential, internationally praised, and pristinely honored, Wilson’s century cycle plays, mostly set in #vibrantpittsburgh, shed a newly defined light on the Black American experience.
PennLive – Notable African Americans in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Courier – Famous Black leaders from Pittsburgh and their contributions
Public Source: Black history, gold merit: Read the stories of 4 local Black pioneers
University of Pittsburgh, Archives -The African-American Community in Pittsburgh: A Brief History
Resources Outside the Region
History.com – 8 Black Inventors
Oprah Daily: African American Inventors
US Patent & Trademarks Office – Black Innovation and Entrepreneurship event series