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Black History Month

madam c.j. walker


Madam C.J. Walker was born on on December 23, 1867 In Delta, Louisiana and was an entrepreneur, philanthropist and political social activist. She made history as the first female millionaire in the United States of America. Her company, Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing, was extremely successful. In 1905, she began creating a line of hair-care products for African American women. These products included shampoos and other products designed to stimulate healthy hair. In 1910, she built a factory, hair salon and beauty school in order to train her employees. The majority of her company’s employees were women. Madam C. J. Walker helped raise funds for organizations and schools including the YMCA, Tuskegee Institute and Bethune-Cookman University. She further utilized her influence to lecture on political, economic, and social issues at many conventions sponsored by powerful African American institutions. Madam C. J. Walker proved that hard work and determination can make a positive impact in the lives of others.

ruby bridges


Ruby Nell Bridges Hall was born on September 8, 1954 in Tylertown, Mississippi. Her family moved to New Orleans, Louisiana where she would soon become an important part of our nation’s history. In 1960, she attended a segregated elementary school and was advised that her test scores qualified her  for a seat at the all-white William Frantz Elementary School. Ms. Bridges and her mother had to be escorted to the school by federal marshals due to the large crowds of angry protesters who were in opposition to an African American student enrolling at the school.  During the 2017-2018 school year, Mrs. Carlino’s 5th grade students at Martin Elementary School learned about Ruby Bridges, and advocated for our district to adopt a “Ruby Bridges Day” to honor Ms. Bridges and her work as a Civil Rights Leader. The students gathered over 1,000 signatures from students, parents and community members, and presented their proposal to our SSFUSD Board of Trustees, who in turn passed a resolution approving November 14th as Ruby Bridges Day across our district. The San Mateo County Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools approved the adoption of Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day in San Mateo County, to be honored annually on November 14 at the request of our students. We are proud to honor Ms. Bridges!

aisha bowe


Aisha Bowe is an aerospace engineer who also serves as the CEO of STEMBoard. Ms. Bowie attended the University of Michigan where she completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. Her interest in aerospace engineering stems from her interest in science fiction. Her professional preparation includes her early work as an intern in the Ames Research Center in 2008 where she later joined as a Mission Engineer. Ms. Bowe worked in the Flight Trajectory Dynamics & Controls Branch of the Aviation Systems Division. Her passion for her work at NASA encouraged her to serve as a liaison to the Mathematics, Engineering , Science Achievement (MESA) Program. Ms. Bowe has been recognized with several awards such as the National Society of Black Engineers 21st Century Trailblazers Award (2012), NASA’s Engineering Honor Award (2012), Silicon Valley’s National Coalition of 100 Black Women’s Women in Technology of the Year Award (2014), and  the US Women’s Chamber of Commerce “Emerging Star” Award (2015). 

Frank robinson


Mr. Frank Robinson was born on August 31, 1935 in Beaumont, Texas. Mr. Robinson and his family left Texas and arrived in Alameda, California and later West Oakland. He attended McClymonds High School where he played basketball with Bill Russell. Mr. Robinson was an outfielder and manager with the Major League Baseball (MLB). He played for five different teams from 1956 to 1976. His phenomenal athletic skills contributed to him becoming the only player to be named the Most Valuable Player of both the National and American League. In 1975, Mr. Robinson continued to make history by becoming the first African American manager in major league history. He managed the Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, Montreal Expos/Washington and Bay Area’s own San Francisco Giants! In 1982, Mr. Robinson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a Baltimore Oriole. We lost Mr. Robinson on February 7, 2019 but his legacy of excellence will continue to be respected and admired.

ryan coogler


Ryan Kyle Coogler was born May 23, 1986 in Oakland, California and is a successful film director, producer and screenwriter. In 2013, his first feature film Fruitvale Station was recognized with an award at the Sundance Film Festival. His film Creed was the seventh film in the Rocky series. In 2018, his Marvel film Black Panther impressed audiences and broke numerous box office records becoming the highest grossing film produced by an African American director. Mr. Coogler graduated from California State University, Sacramento and attended the University of California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts, where he made a series of short films. He is also a social activist who founded the Blackout For Human Rights Campaign, which was established in order to address racial and human rights violations happening throughout the United States. Mr. Coogler is a true artist who has used his talents to promote films that captivate, enlighten, and inspire audiences!

haben girma


Haben Girma was born on July 29, 1988 in Oakland, California. She was born deafblind and made history as the first deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School. Ms. Girma is the daughter of an Ethiopian father and Eritrean mother. She has an older brother who was also born deafblind. Ms. Girma graduated magna cum laude from Lewis & Clark College, and later earned her J.D. degree from Harvard University. She became a lawyer in order to increase access to books and other digital information resources for persons with disabilities. Her advocacy efforts have been recognized through awards, public speaking engagements, and other honors. In 2013, she was recognized by the Obama administration as a  Champion of Change. Forbes recognized her in 2016 as one of their Forbes 30 Under 30, Law and Policy honorees. Ms. Girma has dedicated her life and career to bringing awareness to the power and strength of those with disabilities. Ms. Girma is a Bay Area Native who is making a positive impact on the lives of others around the world!

mayor michael tubbs


Michael Derrick Tubbs was born on August 2, 1990 in South Stockton, California. Despite growing up in poverty and facing many challenges in his youth, he was still able to achieve great success. In 2007, he won an essay contest sponsored by Alice Walker. His essay, which focused on overcoming the mistakes made by his parents, was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle. Mayor Tubbs earned both a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Studies in Races and Ethnicity and a Master of Arts in Policy, Leadership and Organization Studies from Stanford University. While attending Stanford University, he served as President of the school’s NAACP chapter and participated as an intern at the White House. In 2016, at the age of 26, he made history becoming the youngest person to serve as mayor of the city of Stockton and its first African American mayor. Mayor Tubbs is an exceptional leader and a true example of how determination and commitment can overcome challenges and produce success. Today we celebrate the honorable Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton, California! 

James baldwin


James Arthur Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924 in New York City, New York and was a famous novelist, playwright, and social critic. He is best known for captivating works of written art such as Notes of a Native Son (1955), The Fire Next Time (1963), No Name in the Street (1972), The Devil Finds Work (1975), and Remember This House (Unfinished). Mr. Baldwin wrote about the challenges faced by African Americans as well as gay and bisexual men. He was a civil rights activist who was involved with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). At the time of his death, he started a manuscript titled Remember This House which reflects upon his personal recollections of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Audiences today continue to enjoy his work. The film If Beale Street Could Talk is inspired by his novel written in 1974. Mr. Baldwin’s legacy continues today.

Mayor London breed


London Nicole Breed was born on August 11, 1974 in San Francisco, California and currently serves as the 45th mayor of the City and County of San Francisco. She was raised by her grandmother who resided in the Plaza East public housing in the Western Addition neighborhood of San Francisco. Mayor Breed graduated from Galileo High School and later earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of San Francisco and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco. Mayor Breed made history in 2017 when she became the first African American woman to serve as the mayor of San Francisco following the untimely death of beloved mayor Ed Lee. Mayor Breed is a passionate leader who is proud to serve as leader of the community that she calls home!