George Washington Williams (1849-1891)


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Dominique DawesDominique Dawes (1976 - Present) Download the PDF

The first African American to win an Olympic medal in Gymnastics, Dominique Dawes captured our hearts and imagination with her poise, athleticism and grace.  Her stunning performances at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, GA helped guide her team to an overall Gold medal and she brought home an individual Bronze medal in this sport.

Dawes was born in Silver Springs, MD on November 20, 1976.  She began taking gymnastics lessons at the age of six.  Her tremendous tumbling moves earned her a spot on the national Olympic team, the first African American to accomplish this feat.  She joined the US Olympic artistic gymnastics team in 1992, earning a bronze medal in Barcelona, Spain.  The first woman ever to win medals in all five gymnastics categories since 1969, she stunned the world at the National Championships in 1994.  She retired from gymnastics in 2000, served as president of the Women's Sports Foundation and as part of Michelle Obama's "Let's Move Active Schools" campaign. Dawes also became co-chair of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition in 2010.

Key Facts:

  • Entered the US Gymnastics’ Hall of Fame in 2005.
  • Had a one-time stint on Broadway as Patti Simcox in GREASE.
  • Provided TV coverage for 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.
  • Was the first U.S. gymnast to be a member of three separate medal-winning Olympic gymnastics’ teams.


[1] Dawes, Dominique,


George Washington WilliamsGeorge Washington Williams (1849-1891) Download the PDF

A 19TH century scholar, George Washington Williams was a Civil War Veteran best known for his work, History of the Negro Race in America, the first objective historical document of African American history.

He wrote the oral histories of African Americans, detailing their experiences during the time of the Civil War.

Williams was born in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania and lived there until 1864 when he left home to join the Union Army. Passionate about education, although uneducated when he began his military career, he served in the military at the age of 14 in the Civil War and in the Mexican war that overthrew Maximilian. After leaving the military, he attended the Newton Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, graduated, married and became the pastor of The Twelfth Baptist Church by the age of 25.

Key Facts:

  • Wrote as a columnist for the Cincinnati Commercial.
  • Founded The Commoner in 1875, a Boston newspaper.
  • Williams studied and became a lawyer.
  • Became the first Black member in the Massachusetts state legislature.
  • An avid researcher, his two-volume book, History of the Negro Race in America, was critically acclaimed noting the immense value of the work completed by Williams. He followed this work with A History of the Negro Troops.
  • He was commissioned by President Benjamin Harrison in 1890 to study the conditions in the Belgian Congo. He also worked to spark a movement that condemned the role of Belgium in the treatment of indigenous Africans in the colony although little came of this effort.
  • Williams moved to England to write a book about Africa but died after a brief illness in 1891.[1]


[1] Williams, George Washington,, Remembered and Reclaimed.
[2] George Washington Williams,