In time for Black History Month, the New York Times is recognizing the remarkable black figures whose deaths had previously gone unrecorded in its pages. In an expansion of its “Overlooked” project, which debuted on International Women’s Day last year with a dozen overdue obituaries of accomplished women, the Times online and in a special print section in its Sunday edition has recognized13 accomplished black individuals, including including jazz and ragtime master Scott Joplin, filmmaker Oscar Micheaux, scientist Granville T. Woods, also known as the “Black Edison,” “gender-bending” blues singer Gladys Bentley and Major Taylor, the first black man to win a cycling world championship (and who was also the subject of Hennessy’s Super Bowl spot this year).
According to “Overlooked” editor Amisha Padnani, when the initiative began with women last year, it featured a dozen obituaries and about 50 more have been added since. The Times will continue to add more biographies on black individuals throughout Black History Month and beyond.
The New York Times created the special issue in partnership with its “Past Tense” team, which is dedicated to digging through the New York Times’ archive to bring to life compelling stories from the past.