September 2: Romare Bearden, the African American painter, collage artist, cartoonist, set and costume designer, and more whose day job as a social worker both informed his unique and powerful works and makes his ability to produce them that much more impressive still.
September 3: A tie between two talented, unique, and pioneering American women and writers, Sarah Orne Jewett and Marguerite Higgins.
September 4: A tie between two hugely talented, impressive, innovative, and inspiring African Americans, Lewis Latimer and Richard Wright.
September 5: Amy Beach, the pianist and composer who is considered the first American woman to create large-scale artistic and symphonic music, and whose influence can still be felt in American music and culture.
September 6: Jane Addams!
September 7: Jacob Lawrence!
September 9: Otis Redding, who in his tragically short life created some of the most compelling and powerful American music of the century.
September 10: A tie between two iconoclastic, influential, and impressive 20th century American authors and voices, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) and Stephen Jay Gould.
September 11: Daniel Akaka, the soon-to-be-retired Hawaii Senator who is both the first Native Hawaiian Senator and the chamber’s only Chinese American, and whose life of public service exemplifies many of America’s highest ideals.
September 12: A tie between two ground-breaking, boundary-pushing, controversial and inspiring 20th century cultural icons, H.L. Mencken and Jesse Owens.
September 13: A tie between two turn of the 20th century pioneers in their respective fields, Walter Reed and Sherwood Anderson.
September 14: Margaret Sanger, the nurse, sex educator, and birth control activist whose founding of Planned Parenthood and radical views remain controversial to this day, but who unquestionably helped expand 20th century American women’s options and futures.
September 15: A tie between two American authors who couldn’t be more different in identity and style, but who both merit continued reading, James Fenimore Cooper and Claude McKay.
September 16: Francis Parkman, the pioneering historian who both catalogued and helped create and perpetuate many of America’s most significant stories, histories, and narratives.
A tie between two iconic and iconoclastic 20th century American authors, William Carlos Williams and Ken Kesey.
September 18: Clark Wissler, the pioneering psychologist and anthropologist whose scientific work with Native American cultures, support for his peers, and ideas of culture and personality paved the way for much future research and analysis.
September 19: Sarah Louise “Sadie” Delany, the legendary educator and Civil Rights pioneer, whose book Having Our Say (1993), co-authored with her sister Bessie, is one of America’s most unique and important autobiographies.
September 20: A tie between two 20th century figures who impacted American literature and society in profoundly different but equally significant ways, Upton Sinclair and Maxwell Perkins.
September 21: Edouard Glissant!
September 22: James Lawson, the minister, draft resister, and Civil Rights leader whose theories and practice of nonviolence connect traditions of faith and spirituality, social protest and activism, and many other American voices and ideals.
September 23: A tie between two very talented and very American musicians, songwriters, artists, and legends, Ray Charles and Bruce Springsteen.
September 24: A tie between three very different but all equally influential and impressive Americans, John Marshall, Francis Ellen Watkins Harper, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
September 26: A tie between two American folk heroes, one the source of founding myths and one who sought to create a new such mythos, Johnny Appleseed and Gloria Anzaldúa.
September 27: A tie between two fiery, controversial, and very inspiring American revolutionaries, Samuel Adams and David Walker.
September 28: A tie between two pioneering 20th century cultural and artistic legends whose careers and influences have been almost entirely opposed but equally significant, Ed Sullivan and John Sayles.
September 29: Mercator Cooper, the whaling captain who became known as the first American to formally take his ships to both Japan and the mainland of East Antarctica, and helped open up the world in the process.