July 28 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – July 28 *

1802 – Alexandre Dumas is born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie in
Villers-Cotterêts, Aisne, near Paris, France, the grandson
of the Marquis Antoine-Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie.
While his grandfather serves the government of France as
General Commissaire in the Artillery in the colony of
Santo Domingo, (today’s Dominican Republic but at the time
a part of Haiti), he marries Marie-Céssette Dumas, a Black
slave. In 1762, she gives birth to a son, Thomas-Alexandre,
and she joins the ancestors soon thereafter. When the
Marquis and his young son return to Normandy, it is at a
time when slavery still exists, and the boy will suffer as
a result of being half Black. In 1786, Thomas-Alexandre
joins the French army, but to protect the aristocratic
family’s reputation, he enlists using his mother’s maiden
name. Following the Revolution in France, the Marquis loses
his estates but his mulatto son, Thomas-Alexandre Dumas,
distinguishes himself as a capable and daring soldier in
Napoleon Bonaparte’s army, rising through the ranks to
become a General by the age of 31. Thomas Alexandre Dumas
will marry Marie Labouret Dumas, a French woman and
Alexandre Dumas is born from this union. He will become an
acclaimed author of the French classics “The Three
Musketeers”, “The Count of Monte Cristo”, “The Man in the
Iron Mask”, “The Corsican Brothers,” “Twenty Years After,”
“The Vicomte de Bragelonne,” “The Regent’s Daughter,”
“Queen Margot,” “Marie Antoinette,” “The Black Tulip,”
“The Nutcracker,” and “La Dame de Montsoreau.” Despite his
success and aristocratic connections, his being of mixed-
blood will impact on him all of his life. In 1843, he will
write a short story that addresses some of the issues of
race and the effects of colonialism. Nevertheless, inbred
racist attitudes will impact his rightful position in
France’s history long after he joins the ancestors on
December 5, 1870. Buried in the place where he was born,
he will remain in the cemetery at Villers-Cotterêts until
November 30, 2002. Under orders of the French President,
Jacques Chirac, his body will be exhumed and in a
televised ceremony, his new coffin, draped in a blue-
velvet cloth and flanked by four men costumed as the
Musketeers: Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D’Artagnan, will
be transported in a solemn procession to the Panthéon of
Paris, the great mausoleum where French luminaries are
interred. In his speech, President Chirac will say: “With
you, we were D’Artagnan, Monte Cristo or Balsamo, riding
along the roads of France, touring battlefields, visiting
palaces and castles — with you, we dream.” In an
interview following the ceremony, President Chirac will
acknowledge the racism that had existed, saying that a
wrong is now righted with Alexandre Dumas enshrined
alongside fellow authors Victor Hugo and Voltaire.

1866 – Congress passes a law that African American regiments
should be part of the regular army, which results in the
organization of the 9th and 10th Cavalry.

1868 – The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,
guaranteeing due process of law, is declared in effect.
which grants citizenship for African Americans and
provides for federal intervention when state governments
are accused of violating an individual’s constitutional
rights.

1903 – Maggie Lena Walker founds and becomes the first president
of the Saint Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond,
Virginia. She will be elected at age seventeen to office
in the Independent Order of St. Luke, a Black burial
society. On this date, she will found the Saint Luke
Penny Savings Bank and becomes the first female bank
president in America. St. Luke Penny Savings Bank is
still in operation today as the Consolidated Bank and
Trust Company, the nation’s oldest continuously existing
African American bank.

1914 – Woodrow Wilson Woolwine Strode is born in Los Angeles,
California. An athlete turned actor, Strode will become a
top-notch decathlete and a football star at UCLA, breaking
the color barrier at the same time as Kenney Washington.
He will meet his wife, an Hawaiian princess and stand-in
for the swim sequences for Hedy Lamarr. Woody will play
for the Cleveland Rams prior to their move to Los Angeles.
He will become part of Hollywood lore after meeting
director John Ford and becoming a part of the Ford
“family”, appearing in almost a dozen Ford westerns.
Strode will also play the powerful gladiator who does
battle with Kirk Douglas in “Spartacus.” He will also be
a professional wrestler, wrestling the likes of Gorgeous
George. Woody will live in a modest home overlooking
Glendora and the San Gabriel Valley, east of Los Angeles
about 25 miles. He will join the ancestors on December 31,
1994.

1915 – United States forces invade Haiti and the country becomes
a defacto protectorate. U.S. troops will remain there
until 1924.

1917 – Led by W.E.B. Dubois and James Weldon Johnson, over 10,000
African Americans march down Fifth Avenue in New York City
to the sound of muffled drums in silent protest of
lynchings and other racial indignities that are rampant in
the United States.

1949 – Vida Blue is born in Mansfield, Louisiana. He will become a
Major League Baseball left-handed starting pitcher. In his
17-year career, he will play for the Oakland Athletics,
San Francisco Giants, and Kansas City Royals. He will have
a 24-8 record in 1971, striking out 301 batters, and will
win both the Cy Young and American League MVP awards. He
will be the starting pitcher for the American League in
the 1971 All-Star Game, and for the National League in the
1978 All-Star Game. He will win 20 games in 1973 as he
leads the A’s to the World Championship. He will win 22
games in 1975. In 1978, he will win 18 games as he leads
the Giants to 83 wins as they battle all year for the
National League West Division which is won that year by
the Los Angeles Dodgers. His great year is rewarded as he
won the Sporting News National League Pitcher Of The Year.
He will also make a name and career after baseball for
himself in the San Francisco Bay Area by donating his time
to many charitable causes, mostly promoting baseball in
the inner city.

1977 – Roy Wilkins turns over NAACP leadership to Benjamin L Hooks.

1985 – Lou Brock is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame at
Cooperstown, New York.

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.

July 27 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – July 27 *

1816 – “Negro Fort”, a former British fort built during the War of
1812 in Spanish-held Florida, is attacked by U.S. troops.
This battle will help to precipitate the First Seminole War.
The British will evacuate Florida in the spring of 1815,
leaving the well-constructed and fully-armed fort on the
Apalachicola River in the hands of their allies, about 300
fugitive slaves, including members of the disbanded Corps
of Colonial Marines, and 30 Seminole and Choctaw Indians.
News of “Negro Fort” (as it will come to be called) will
attract as many as 800 fugitive slaves, from as far away
as Tennessee and the Mississippi Territory, to seek refuge
at the fort. They will eventually settle in the surrounding
area. Under the command of a Black man named Garson and a
Choctaw chief (whose name is unknown), the inhabitants of
“Negro Fort” will launch raids across the Georgia border.
In March of 1816, under mounting pressure from Georgia
slaveholders, General Andrew Jackson will petition the
Spanish Governor of Florida to destroy the settlement. At
the same time, he will instruct Major General Edmund P.
Gaines, commander of U.S. military forces “in the Creek
nation,” to destroy the fort and “restore the stolen
negroes and property to their rightful owners.” On this
date, following a series of skirmishes in which they will
be routed by “Negro Fort” defenders, the American forces
and their 500 Lower Creek allies will launch an all-out
attack under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Duncan
Clinch, with support from a naval convoy commanded by
Sailing Master Jairus Loomis. A plaque will mark the
location of the fort’s powder magazine. The two sides will
exchange cannon fire, but the shots of the inexperienced
Black gunners will fail to hit their targets. A cannon
ball from the American forces will enter the opening to
the fort’s powder magazine, igniting an explosion that
will destroy the fort and kill all but 30 of 300 occupants.
Garson and the Choctaw chief, among the few who will
survive the carnage, are handed over to the Creeks, who
will shoot Garson and scalp the chief. Other survivors will
be returned to slavery. The U.S. Army will build
Fort Gadsden on this site in 1818 and occupy it until 1821,
when Spain cedes Florida to the United States. Fort Gadsden
is a National Historic Landmark, maintained by the National
Park Service, located six miles southwest of Sumatra,
Florida and is National Register Number: 72000318.

1880 – Inventor, Alexander P. Ashbourne, is awarded a patent for
refining coconut oil.

1919 – Chicago race riots kill 23 African Americans, 15 whites, and
injure more than 500, despite the warnings of Ida B.
Wells-Barnett to city officials to improve conditions for
African Americans in the city.

1937 – Woodie King, Jr. is born in Baldwin Springs, Alabama. He
will attend high school in Detroit and go on to attend
Leman College in New York and earn his M.F.A. from Brooklyn
College. In 1965, he will join Mobilization for Youth,
where he will spend the next five years working as the
cultural director. In 1970, he will found the New Federal
Theatre and the National Black Touring Circuit in New York
City, where he will be producing director. He will produce
shows both on and off Broadway, and will directed
performances across the country in venues like the New York
Shakespeare Festival, Cleveland Playhouse, Center Stage of
Baltimore and the Pittsburgh Public Theatre. His work will
earn him numerous nominations and awards, including a 1988
NAACP Image Award for his direction of “Checkmates”
(featuring Denzel Washington and 1993 Audelco Awards for
Best Director and Best Play for his production of “Robert
Johnson: Trick The Devil.” He will also receive an Obie
Award for Sustained Achievement. He will have an honorary
doctorate in humane letters conferred by Wayne State
University and a doctorate of fine arts by the College of
Wooster. In addition to his directing and producing of
theater, he will find time to write extensively about it.
He will contribute to numerous magazines, such as “Black
World,” “Variety” and “The Tulane Drama Review,” and will
also write a number of books.

1950 – Albert L. Hinton joins the ancestors, becoming the first
African American reporter to lose his life in a theater of
military operation, when an Army transport plane carrying
him crashes into the Sea of Japan while enroute to Korea.

1962 – Martin Luther King, Jr., is jailed in Albany, Georgia for
participating in a civil rights demonstration.

1967 – In the wake of urban rioting, President Johnson appoints
the Kerner Commission to assess the causes of the violence,
the same day Black militant H. Rap Brown said in Washington
that violence was “as American as cherry pie.”

1968 – A racially motivated disturbance occurs in Gary, Indiana.

1984 – Reverend C.L. Franklin joins the ancestors in Detroit,
Michigan, after a long coma sustained after being shot by
a burglar in his home. He was the founder of the New
Bethel Baptist Church, where his radio sermons drew a
nationwide audience and where the singing career of his
daughter, Aretha, began.

1999 – Harry “Sweets” Edison, a master of the jazz trumpet who was
a mainstay of the Count Basie band, joins the ancestors in
Columbus, Ohio at the age of 83. In a career spanning more
than 60 years, Edison had that rarest of qualities, an
utterly individual style. Although his sound was not
especially unique, his articulation, his ability to invest
each note with a driving sense of swing, was completely
his own. It didn’t matter whether he was playing with
Basie, with Frank Sinatra or Oscar Peterson, or on any of
his innumerable recording sessions; his solos, stamped with
his singular phrasing, always popped out of the mix.

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.

July 26 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – July 26 *

1847 – Twenty-five years after the first free African Americans
arrive at the colony of Cape Mesurado, the commonwealth
of Liberia declares itself an independent republic.
Joseph Jenkins Roberts, a Virginia native, becomes its
first president.

1865 – Catholic priest Patrick Francis Healy passes his final
Ph.D. examinations in philosophy at the University of
Louvrain in Belgium. He becomes the first African
American to earn a Ph.D.

1916 – Spottiswood W. Robinson is born in Richmond, Virginia.
He will pursue a distinguished career in law, in private
practice, as a representative of the NAACP Legal Defense
Fund, dean of the Howard University Law School, and as a
member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In 1966,
he will be named a U.S. Circuit Judge of the DC Circuit
by President Lyndon B. Johnson, marking the beginning of
a successful judicial career.

1918 – Two days after she moves into a predominantly, though not
exclusively, white Philadelphia neighborhood, an African
American woman’s house is stoned. The incident will set
off four days of riots in which one African American and
three whites are killed.

1926 – The Spingarn Medal is awarded to Carter G. Woodson for
“ten years of devoted service in collecting and
publishing the records of the Negro in America.”

1948 – President Harry S Truman issues Executive Order 9981,
directing “equality of treatment and opportunity for all
personnel without regard to race, color, religion or
national origin” in federal employment and the armed
forces.

1948 – Bob Howard becomes the first African American host of a
network show – CBS’ “The Bob Howard Show.”

1951 – The Army announces that it is disbanding the 24th Infantry
Regiment, its last and oldest all African American
regiment, in order to integrate all White and African
American troops in the Korean War zone.

1998 – Larry Doby, the first African American in major league
baseball’s American League, and Joe Rogan, a player in
the Negro Leagues, are inducted into Baseball’s Hall of
Fame.

2009 – Rickey Henderson, age 50 and Jim Rice, age 56, are inducted
into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Henderson lead the American League in steals 12 times and
holds the record for steals with 1,406, runs scored with
2,295, unintentional walks with 2,129, and homers leading
off a game with 81. He also set the modern major league
record for stolen bases with 130. Rice batted .298 with
382 home runs and 1,451 RBI from 1974 to 1989. He drove
in 100 or more runs eight times, batted over .300 seven
times, and topped 200 hits four times. Rice is also the
only player in major league history with at least 35 homers
and 200 hits in three consecutive seasons (1977-79).

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.

July 25 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – July 25 *

1916 – Garrett T. Morgan, inventor of the gas mask, rescues six
persons from a gas-filled tunnel, five miles from shore
under Lake Erie, in Cleveland, Ohio.

1918 – A race riot occurs in Chester, Pennsylvania. Three
African Americans and 2 whites are killed.

1921 – Liberty Life Insurance Company is founded by Frank L.
Gillespie. After a 1926 merger with Supreme Life and
Casualty of Columbus, Ohio, and Northeastern Life of
Newark, New Jersey, the resulting company will be called
Supreme Life Insurance Company and be, at one time, one
of the largest African American insurance companies in
the nation.

1930 – Nineteen-year-old Josh Gibson is called out of the stands
to substitute for the regular catcher for the Pittsburgh
Homestead Grays, one of the best-known all-Negro
professional baseball teams. Gibson will go on to play
15 years with a variety of teams in the Negro leagues.
His lifetime batting average, .423, will earn him
election to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

1941 – Nathaniel “Nate” Thurmond is born in Akron, Ohio. He will
become an all-star college basketball player and Hall of
Fame NBA player. Agile and deceptively strong, he will
hone his talents at Bowling Green State University, where
he will average 17.8 ppg and 17.0 rpg and be selected an
All-America his senior year. In 1963, he will be drafted
third in the NBA draft by the San Francisco Warriors and
will play the forward position because Wilt Chamberlain
is the Warriors’ pivot man. When San Francisco trades
Chamberlain to Philadelphia in 1965, he will return to his
natural position and develop into one of the NBA’s truly
dominant centers. He will log 14 NBA seasons with San
Francisco, Golden State, Chicago and Cleveland. He will be
selected to play in seven All-Star Games and be named NBA
All-Defensive First Team twice and Second Team three times.
He will first make NBA history when he grabs 18 rebounds in
one quarter against the Baltimore Bullets in 1965. Then on
opening night in 1974, he will make history again as the
first player to ever record a quadruple double-double
figures in four categories in one game (22 points, 14
rebounds, 13 assists and 12 blocked shots). When he retires,
he will have scored 14,437 points and grabbed 14,464
rebounds (sixth all-time), both 15.0 per game averages. He
will be enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame on July 1,
1985.

1943 – The U.S. Navy launches the “Leonard Roy Harmon’ in Quincy,
Massachusetts, the nation’s first warship named for an
African American. Harmon, a messman, was posthumously
awarded the Navy Cross for heroism.

1954 – Walter Jerry Payton is born in Columbia, Mississippi. He
will be the Chicago Bears’ first-round draft choice and the
fourth player selected in the 1975 National Football League
Draft and will develop into a superstar of unusual
dimensions during his 13-season NFL tenure from 1975 to
1987, all of which he will spend with the Chicago Bears.
The 5-10, 200-pound running back who will rush for 3,563
yards in four seasons at Jackson State University will go
on to dominate the rushing section of the NFL record book
during and long after his career will end. The records he
will hold at the time of his retirement include 16,726
total yards, 10 seasons with 1,000 or more yards rushing,
275 yards rushing in one game against the Minnesota Vikings
(1977), 77 games with more than 100 yards rushing, and 110
rushing touchdowns. He will have 4,368 combined net
attempts and account for 21,803 combined net yards. He will
also score an impressive 750 points on 125 touchdowns. He
will win the NFC rushing title five straight years from
1976 to 1980. He will also lead the NFC with 96 points in
1977 and win the NFL kickoff return championship in his
rookie 1975 campaign. He will be named both All-Pro and
All-NFC seven times and play in nine Pro Bowl games. He
will be selected as the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1977
and 1985, the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 1977 and
1985 and the NFC Most Valuable Player in 1977. An amazing
runner, he will rush for more than 1,000 yards 10 of his
13 seasons. His best season will come in 1977, when he runs
for 1,852 yards, third best in history at that time. His
492 career pass receptions for 4,538 yards and 15
touchdowns will contribute to his exceptional combined net
yard totals. Extremely durable, he will miss one game in
his rookie campaign and then play in 186 consecutive games.
He will be a major factor in the Chicago Bear’s Super Bowl
XX win. He will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of
Fame on July 31, 1993. He will join the ancestors on
November 1, 1999 after succumbing to cancer.

1964 – A racially motivated disturbance begins in Rochester, New
York. Subsequent to this civil unrest, the major employers
in the metropolitan area (Kodak, Xerox, Sybron, and Bausch
& Lomb) show marked improvements in their hiring of
African Americans.

1966 – Constance B. Motley becomes the first African American
woman to be appointed a federal judge.

1972 – The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, where African Americans
were used as guinea pigs in syphilis experiments for 40
years, is admitted to by U.S. government health officials.

1981 – Walter Payton signs a contract to play with the Chicago
Bears of the NFL on his 27th birthday. The famed running
back will earn almost $2 million over his three years.
‘Sweetness’, as he is nicknamed (because of his
disposition), becomes the highest paid player in the
National Football League at the time.

1990 – “Black Enterprise” publisher Earl G. Graves and Los Angeles
Lakers star Magic Johnson become the largest minority-
controlled franchise in the country when they sign a $ 60
million agreement to purchase Pepsi-Cola of Washington, DC.

1991 – Dennis Hightower is promoted to president of Disney Consumer
Products-Europe/Middle East. Hightower will have operating
responsibility for all book and magazine publishing,
merchandise licensing, children’s records and music, film
promotion and television sponsorship and will manage the
company’s eight subsidiaries and six offices in Europe and
the Middle East.

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.

July 24 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – July 24 *

1651 – Anthony Johnson, a free African American, receives a grant
of 250 acres in Virginia.

1807 – Ira Frederick Aldridge is born in New York City. He will
become an American stage actor making his career largely
on the London stage. He will be the only actor of African
American descent among the 33 actors of the English stage
with bronze plaques at the Shakespeare Memorial Theater at
Stratford-upon-Avon. As a youth, he will attend the African
Free School in New York City. His early “education” in
theater will include viewing plays from the high balcony of
the Park Theatre, New York’s leading theater of the time.
His first professional acting experience will be in the
early 1820s with the company associated with the African
Grove, where he will debut as Rolla in Pizzaro. He will go
on to play Shakespeare’s Romeo and later become a rather
famous Hamlet. Confronted with the persistent disparagement
and harassment that Black actors had to endure in the
antebellum United States, he will emigrate to England, where
he will become a dresser to the British actor Henry Wallack.
When he starts appearing on the stage at the Royalty Theater,
he will be just called a gentleman of color. But when he
moves over to the Royal Coburg, he will be advertised in the
first playbill as the American Tragedian from the African
Theater New York City. The 2nd playbill refers to him as
‘The African Tragedian.’ He will perform scenes from Othello
that will stun reviewers. One critic will write, “In Othello
(Aldridge) delivers the most difficult passages with a degree
of correctness that surprises the beholder.” He will
gradually progress to increasingly larger roles. By 1825, he
will have top billing at London’s Coburg Theatre as Oronoko
in “A Slave’s Revenge,” soon to be followed by the role of
Gambia in “The Slave” and the title role of Shakespeare’s
“Othello.” He will also play major roles in plays such as
“The Castle” Spectre” and “The Padlock” and will play
several roles of specifically white characters, including
Captain Dirk Hatteraick and Bertram in Rev. R. C. Maturin’s
“Bertram,” the title role in Shakespeare’s “Richard III,”
and Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice.” He will first tour
to continental Europe in 1852, with successes in Germany
(where he will be presented to the Duchess Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
and perform for Frederick William IV of Prussia) and in
Budapest. An 1858 tour will take him to Serbia and to
Imperial Russia, where he becomes acquainted with Leo
Tolstoy. He will master enough Russian to perform roles in
that language. After advancing in years, he will play (in
England) the title role of King Lear for the first time. He
will apply for British citizenship in 1863. He will spend
most of his final years in Russia and continental Europe,
interspersed with occasional visits to England. A planned
return to the post-Civil-War United States will be prevented
when he joins the ancestors on August 7, 1867 while visiting
Lódz, Poland. His remains will be buried in the city’s
Evangelical Cemetery. Twenty three years will pass before a
proper tombstone is erected. His grave will be tended by the
Society of Polish Artists of Film and Theatre.

1893 – Charles Spurgeon Johnson is born in Bristol, Virginia. He
will attend Wayland Academy and receive his undergraduate
degree from Virginia Union University. He will complete the
doctoral degree in Sociology in 1917 at the University of
Chicago. While a student in Chicago, he will assume
responsibility as director of research and investigation for
the Chicago Urban League. During World War I, he will enlist
in the army and serve in France. He will return to Chicago
after the war, one week before the race riot of 1919. He
will complete a study and analysis of the race riot and
present a plan to study its causes. The governor will accept
his plan and appoint him as associate executive secretary of
Chicago’s Commission on Race Relations. The commission will
publish a report entitled, “The Negro in Chicago.” In 1921,
he will become the director of research for the National
Urban League in New York, where he will found and edit
“Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life,” a periodical
designed to stimulate pride in past racial achievements and
to show there was hope for the Black future. He will come to
Fisk University in 1927 to head the department of social
research, which will be established by a gift from
the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial. As head, he will
create a first-class department and receive large grants
from foundations. He will devote his life, research,
writing, and teaching to explaining Blacks to whites, whites
to Blacks, southerners to northerners, and urban and rural
dwellers to one another. His scholarly ability will be
recognized by awards and appointments, including the 1930
William E. Harmon Gold Medal for distinguished achievement
among Blacks in the field of science and service on the
National Housing Commission under President Herbert Hoover
and on the U. S. Committee on Farm Tenancy under President
Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1934, he will be elected the
first Black trustee of the Julius Rosenwald Fund and become
the first Black accorded the honor of being elected
vice-president in 1937 of the American Sociological Society.
He will help Fisk become a center for research in race
relations. When the university creates the Institute of
Race Relations in 1944, he will be chosen to head the unit.
He will gather distinguished scholars at Fisk, including E.
Franklin Frazier, Horace Mann Bond, Bertram Doyle, Paul K.
Edwards, and Robert E. Park. In October 1946, the board of
trustees will choose him as the university’s first Black
president. Their selection will be inspired by his
capabilities, not his race. Under his presidency, the
university will enlarge its student body and the endowment.
He will join the ancestors in 1956. He will live long enough
to celebrate the landmark Supreme Court decision, Brown v.
Board of Education, which will declare racial segregation in
the public schools unconstitutional. He played a key role in
the effort to implement the decision the face of “massive
resistance.” His work and that of his peers helped pave the
way for the civil rights legislation of the Sixties.

1898 – Katherine Yarborough is born in Wilmington, North Carolina.
She will be educated in Wilmington’s Catholic schools and
will go to New York at age 13 to study music. During the
1920’s, she will study under the singing masters in Paris
and Milan and will debut in the role of Aida at the Puccini
Theatre in Milan, Italy in 1930 as Caterina Jarboro. She
will make her triumphant American debut in 1933 with the
Chicago Opera Company’s production of Aida at the Hippodrome
in New York City. Her distinguished career will include
appearances in Paris, Madrid, Vienna, Warsaw, Moscow and
many of the great opera houses throughout the world. On two
separate occasions, she will graciously perform before a
Wilmington audience at the Academy of Music (Thalian Hall)
in 1933 and at the Williston Industrial High School
Auditorium in 1951. She will be a special guest of honor at
the first St. Thomas Celebration of the Arts in 1982. She
will join the ancestors on August 23, 1986 in Manhattan at
the age of 88. She will be posthumously inducted into the
Arts Council of the Lower Cape Fear – Walk of Fame on
December 11, 1999.

1900 – A race riot occurs in New Orleans, Louisiana. Two white
policemen are killed.

1908 – Charles Melvin “Cootie” Williams is born in Mobile, Alabama.
He will become an American jazz and Rhythm and Blues
trumpeter. He will be known for his renditions of “Echoes
of Harlem,” “Concerto for Cootie,” and “Carelessly.” He
also will lead his own group, The Cootie Williams Sextet
and Orchestra, performing “Tess’ Torch Song” and “Cherry
Red Blues.” He will rise to prominence as a member of Duke
Ellington’s orchestra, with which he will perform from 1929
to 1940. He will also record his own sessions during this
time, both freelance and with other Ellington sidemen.
In 1940 he will join Benny Goodman’s orchestra and in 1941
will form his own orchestra. Over the years he will employ
Charlie Parker, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Bud Powell, Eddie
Vinson, and other important young players. He will begin to
play more Rhythm and Blues in the late 1940s. In the 1950s
he will tour with small groups and fall into obscurity. In
1962 he will rejoin Duke Ellington and stay with the
orchestra until 1974, after Ellington’s death. He will be
renown for his use of the plunger mute, and is reputed to
have inspired Wynton Marsalis’s use of it. He will join the
ancestors on September 15, 1985 in New York City.

1919 – A race riot occurs in Washington, DC. Six persons are
killed and one hundred are wounded.

1921 – Billy Taylor is born in Greenville, North Carolina. He will
become a jazz pianist. His recording career will span nearly
six decades. He will also compose over three hundred and
fifty songs, including “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To
Be Free,” as well as works for theatre, dance and symphony
orchestras. Playing the piano professionally since 1944, he
will get his start with Ben Webster’s Quartet on New York’s
famed 52nd Street. He will then serve as the house pianist
at Birdland, the legendary jazz club where he will perform
with such celebrated masters as Charlie Parker, Dizzy
Gillespie and Miles Davis. Since the 1950s, he will be
leading his own Trio, as well as performing with the most
influential jazz musicians of the twentieth century. He
will not only be an influential musician, but a highly
regarded teacher as well, receiving his Masters and
Doctorate in Music Education from the University of
Massachusetts at Amherst and serving as a Duke Ellington
Fellow at Yale University. He will also host and program
such radio stations as WLIB and WNEW in New York, and award
winning series for National Public Radio. In the early
1980s, Taylor became the arts correspondent for CBS Sunday
Morning. He will be one of only three jazz musicians
appointed to the National Council of the Arts, and also
serve as the Artistic Advisor for Jazz to the Kennedy
Center for the Performing Arts, where he will develop one
acclaimed concert series after another including the Louis
Armstrong Legacy series, and the annual Mary Lou Williams
Women in Jazz Festival. With over twenty three honorary
doctoral degrees, he will also be the recipient of two
Peabody Awards, an Emmy, a Grammy and a host of prestigious
and highly coveted prizes, such as the National Medal of
Arts, the Tiffany Award, a Lifetime achievement Award from
Downbeat Magazine, and, election to the Hall of Fame for
the International Association for Jazz Education.

1924 – Townsend “Sonny” Brewster, playwright and activist, is born.
He will compose many plays including “Amator, Amator,”
“Ananlas, Jr.,” “Andromeda,” “The Anonymous Lover,”
“Arrangement in Rose and Silver,” “Arthur Ashe and I,”
“Black-Belt Bertram,” “Chief Rathebe,” “Chocolat Volatil,”
“The Choreography of Love,” “The Cocktail Sip,” “The
Complete Works of Kalkbrenner,” “Ebur and Ebony,” “The
Ecologists,” “The Girl Beneath The Tulip Tree,”
“Hariequinades For Mourners,” “How The West Was Fun,”
“Idomeneus,” “The Jade Funerary Suit,” “Johnny Renaissance,”
“Lady Plum Blossom,” “Little Girl, Big Town,” “Look
Eastward,” “The Main-Chance Rag,” “Mascara and Confetti,”
“Mood Indigo,” “Mowgli,” “No Place For A Lady,” “O My
Pretty Quintroon,” “Oh, What a Beautiful City!,” “The Palm-
Leaf Boogie,” “Pinter’s Revue Sketches,” “Please Don’t Cry
and Say ‘No’,” “Praise Song,” “Rough and Ready,” “Sight
Unseen,” “Singapore Sling,” “Thirteen Ways of Looking at
Merle,” “Though It’s Been Said Many Times, Many Ways,” “A
Threnody for the Newly Born,” “To See the World in a Drop
of Brine,” “The Tower,” “Waiting for Godzilla,” “The
Washerwoman,” and “What Are Friends For?”

1929 – Cornelius H. Charlton, Korean War Hero, is born in East
Gulf, West Virginia. Sergeant Charlton will be killed in
action, from wounds received during his daring exploits,
on June 2, 1951 near Chipo-ri, Korea. He will be
posthumously awarded The Congressional Medal of Honor on
March 19, 1952. His Medal of Honor citation will read:
“Sgt. Charlton, a member of Company C, distinguished
himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and
beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. His
platoon was attacking heavily defended hostile positions
on commanding ground when the leader was wounded and
evacuated. Sgt. Charlton assumed command, rallied the men,
and spearheaded the assault against the hill. Personally
eliminating 2 hostile positions and killing 6 of the enemy
with his rifle fire and grenades, he continued up the
slope until the unit suffered heavy casualties and became
pinned down. Regrouping the men he led them forward only to
be again hurled back by a shower of grenades. Despite a
severe chest wound, Sgt. Charlton refused medical attention
and led a third daring charge which carried to the crest of
the ridge. Observing that the remaining emplacement which
had retarded the advance was situated on the reverse slope,
he charged it alone, was again hit by a grenade but raked
the position with a devastating fire which eliminated it
and routed the defenders. The wounds received during his
daring exploits resulted in his death but his indomitable
courage, superb leadership, and gallant self-sacrifice
reflect the highest credit upon himself the infantry, and
the military service.”

1939 – Walter Jones Bellamy is born in New Bern, North Carolina.
After becoming an Olympic athlete and winning a gold medal
in 1960, he will become a professional basketball player.
He will be the NBA first overall draft pick in 1962. He
will be the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1962, and his 31.6
point per game average that season will be second all-time
for a rookie to Wilt Chamberlain’s 37.6. He will also grab
19.0 rebounds per game that year — third best all-time for
a rookie (to Chamberlain and Bill Russell). He will have a
stellar 14 year career in the NBA. Due to trade scheduling
skews during the 1968-69 season, he will set the still-
standing record for NBA games played in a single season
with 88. He will be elected to the Naismith Memorial
Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.

1954 – Mary Church Terrell, civil rights leader/educator and first
African American to serve on the District of Columbia
board of education, joins the ancestors at the age of 90
in Washington, DC.

1961 – Grace Ann Bumbry makes her debut in Richard Wagner’s
“Tannhauser” at the Bayreuth Festival in Bavaria.
Surrounded by controversy that saw the German press protest
the role of Venus being sung by an African American,
Bumbry’s performance dispels all doubts as she receives 42
curtain calls during a 30-minute ovation.

1963 – Karl “The Mailman” Malone is born in Bernice, Louisiana.
He will become a professional basketball player with the
Utah Jazz. He will be selected at least six times to the
All-NBA first team during his career. He will be nicknamed
in college as “The Mailman” for his consistency (“the
mailman always delivers”), and will be arguably the
greatest power forward ever in the NBA. He will spend his
first 18 seasons (1985–2003) as the star player for the
Utah Jazz. He will then play one season (2003-04) for the
Los Angeles Lakers before retiring from the game. He will
be famous for his extremely well-defined physique, which
resembled that of a bodybuilder. Along with Patrick Ewing,
Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, Dominique Wilkins, Elgin
Baylor, and his longtime Jazz teammate John Stockton, he
is considered to be one of the best players, perhaps even
the best, never to have won a championship ring. His
jersey will be retired on March 23, 2006, when the Jazz
host the Washington Wizards. He will also be honored with
the unveiling of a bronze statue outside the Delta Center
next to one of teammate John Stockton, and the renaming of
a portion of 100 South St. in Salt Lake City in his honor.
The intersection where the Stockton and Malone statues
stand is now the intersection of Stockton and Malone.

1964 – Barry Bonds is born in Riverside, California. He will
become a professional baseball player,playing left field
for the San Francisco Giants. He will be a six-time All-
Star, six-time Gold Glove winner, and three-time National
League Most Valuable Player. He will hold many Major
League Baseball records, including most home runs in a
single season (73) and is second on the all-time career
home runs list at 753, trailing only Hank Aaron’s career
total of 755. He will be generally thought of as being
one of the top 3 greatest hitters of all time along
with legends Ted Williams and Babe Ruth. He is also
considered by many to be one of the best all around
players in the history of baseball.

1965 – Kadeem Hardison is born in Brooklyn, New York. He will
become interested in acting in his early teens, and will
begin studying theater at New York’s Eubie Blake Theater.
One of his instructors will be Earle Hyman, who will
later portray Grandpa Huxtable on “The Cosby Show.” His
work with Hyman will help win the young actor a guest spot
on a 1984 episode of “The Cosby Show,” playing opposite
Lisa Bonet. The same year, He will make his big-screen
debut with a small role in the hip-hop musical “Beat
Street.” He will make a handful of appearances in movies
and television projects over the next two years, but his
debut appearance on “The Cosby Show” will earn him a
major dividend in 1987, when Denise Huxtable, Lisa
Bonet’s character on “The Cosby Show,” is spun-off into
her own series, “A Different World,” and he is cast as
fellow student Dwayne Wayne. While Bonet will leave the
show after its first season, he will remain in the cast
for its entire seven-season run, and direct several
during the show’s final two seasons. During his down time
from “A Different World,” he will continue to work in
motion pictures, with supporting roles in “I’m Gonna Git
You Sucka” and “School Daze” and a leading role in the
independent horror film “Def By Temptation.” After “A
Different World” goes off the air in 1993, he will
concentrate on film work, with roles ranging from the
horror/comedy “Vampire in Brooklyn” to the political
drama “Panther.” In 1997, he will take another stab at
series television on the short-lived sitcom “Between
Brothers,” and begin adding more TV guests spots to his
resumé, appearing on “Touched By an Angel,” “Just Shoot
Me,” and the revived “Fantasy Island,” while still
maintaining a busy schedule of film work.

1967 – Three days of racially motivated disturbances begin in
Cambridge, Maryland, the site of a 1963 confrontation
between civil rights demonstrators and white
segregationists.

1969 – Muhammad Ali’s conviction for refusing induction in U.S.
Army is upheld on appeal.

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.

July 23 African American Historical Events

Louis Tompkins Wright is born in LaGrange, Georgia. He
will graduate from Harvard Medical School in 1915, and
subsequently serve in World War I as an officer in the
United States Army Medical Corps. He will become the
first African American doctor to be appointed to the
staff of a New York City municipal hospital in 1919 when
he begins seeing patients at the Harlem Hospital out-
patient clinic. He will be, at one point, the only
African American member of the American College of
Surgeons. He will be a brilliant medical doctor and
specialist in fractures and head injuries and will make
strides in multiple directions in the field of medicine.
His greatest accomplishments will include the perfection
of an intradermal smallpox vaccination, the use of
Aureomycin for lymphogranuloma venereum (a viral venereal
disease), the treatment of humans with antibiotic
chlortetracycline, the invention of a brace to cushion
head and neck injuries, a blade plate for the treatment
of knee fractures, and drug therapy for cancer. From 1948
to 1952, he will have eighty-nine scientific publications
to his credit. With grants from the National Cancer
Institute and Damon Runyon Fund, he will found the Harlem
Hospital Cancer Research Foundation where he will deal
with the effectiveness of chemotherapeutic agents. He will
publish fifteen papers dealing with his investigation of
the effects of cancer-fighting drugs. Dr. Wright will also
be an active civil rights advocate and leading member of
the NAACP which will recognize him as a champion of human
rights with the Spingarn Medal in 1940. Harlem Hospital
will rename its library after him shortly before he joins
the ancestors in 1952 after succumbing to a heart attack.

1892 – Lij Tafari Makonnen is born in Ejarsa Goro, Ethiopia. When
Menilek II’s daughter becomes empress in 1917, Ras (Prince)
Tafari will be named regent and heir apparent to the throne.
In 1923 he will have a conspicuous success in the admission
of Ethiopia to the League of Nations. In the following year
he will visit Rome, Paris, and London, becoming the first
Ethiopian ruler ever to go abroad. In 1928 he will assume
the title of negus (“king”), and two years later, when
Zauditu joins the ancestors, he will be crowned emperor
(Nov. 2, 1930) and take the name of Haile Selassie I
(“Might of the Trinity”). In 1931 he will promulgate a new
constitution, which strictly limits the powers of
Parliament. From the late 1920s on, Haile Selassie in
effect will be the Ethiopian government, and, by
establishing provincial schools, strengthening the police
forces, and progressively outlawing feudal taxation, he
will seek to both help his people and increase the
authority of the central government. When Italy invades
Ethiopia in 1935, he will lead the resistance, but in May
1936 he will be forced into exile. He will appeal for help
from the League of Nations in a memorable speech that he
delivers to that body in Geneva on June 30, 1936. With the
advent of World War II, he will secure British assistance
in forming an army of Ethiopian exiles in the Sudan.
British and Ethiopian forces will invade Ethiopia in
January 1941 and recapture Addis Ababa several months
later. Although he will be reinstated as emperor, he will
have to recreate the authority he had previously exercised.
He will again implement social, economic, and educational
reforms in an attempt to modernize Ethiopian government
and society on a slow and gradual basis. The Ethiopian
government will continue to be largely the expression of
his personal authority. In 1955 he will grant a new
constitution giving him as much power as the previous one.
Overt opposition to his rule will surface in December 1960,
when a dissident wing of the army secures control of Addis
Ababa and is dislodged only after a sharp engagement with
loyalist elements. He will play a very important role in
the establishment of the Organization of African Unity in
1963. His rule in Ethiopia will continue until 1974, at
which time famine, worsening unemployment, and the
political stagnation of his government prompts segments of
the army to mutiny. They will depose him and establish a
provisional military government that espouses Marxist
ideologies. He will be kept under house arrest in his own
palace, where he will spend the remainder of his life.
Official sources at the time will attribute his death to
natural causes, but evidence will later emerge suggesting
that he had been strangled on the orders of the military
government. He will be regarded as the Messiah of the
African ace by the Rastafarian movement. He will join the
ancestors on August 26, 1975.

1900 – The Pan-African Congress meets in London, England. Among
the leaders of the Congress are H. Sylvester Williams, a
West Indian Lawyer with a London practice, W.E.B. Du Bois,
and Bishop Alexander Walters.

1920 – British East Africa is renamed Kenya.

1947 – Spencer Christian is born in Charles City, Virginia. He
will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English
and a minor in journalism from Hampton University. He will
teach English at the Stony Brook School in Long Island,
New York, for one year before launching his television
career. He will begin a broadcasting career in 1971 in
Richmond, Virginia, as a news reporter, covering state and
local politics, the public school system, and landmark
cases in the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He will
become a weathercaster in Baltimore, Maryland from 1975-
1977, where he will also host “Spencer’s World,” a weekly
half-hour talk show. He will go on to become weather
forecaster for “Good Morning America” for thirteen years
and sportscaster and weatherman for WABC-TV in New York
for nine years. He will then join the ABC7 News team in
San Francisco as weather anchor in 1999. He is the author
of a series of children’s books under the general heading
“Spencer Christian’s World of Wonders.” The first four
books are titled: “Can It Really Rain Frogs?,” “Shake,
Rattle, and Roll,” “What Makes the Grand Canyon Grand?,”
and “Is There a Dinosaur in Your Backyard?.” He will be
inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame in
April 1993, and named Virginian of the Year by the
Virginia Press Association in July, 1993.

1948 – Progressive party convention, meeting in Philadelphia,
nominates Henry Wallace for President. The New Party
makes a major effort to attract African Americans.
Approximately 150 African American delegates and
alternates attend the convention. The keynote speaker is
Charles P. Howard, and attorney, publisher and former
Republican from Des Moines, Iowa. Thirty-seven African
Americans will run for state and local offices on the
party ticket. Ten Blacks will run for Congress. The
party attracts few Black voters, but forces the
Democratic party to make serious gestures to hold the
African American vote.

1967 – Forty-three persons are killed in a racially motivated
disturbance in Detroit, Michigan. Federal troops are
called out for the first time since the Detroit riot of
1943, to quell the largest racial rebellion in a U.S.
city in the twentieth century. More than two thousand
persons are injured and some five thousand are arrested.
Police report 1,442 fires. Disturbances will spread to
other Michigan cities.

1968 – An alleged black radical ambush of a Cleveland police
detail sparks two days of disturbances that will result
in 11 deaths, including three policemen. The Ohio
National Guard will be mobilized to control the
situation.

1984 – Vanessa Williams, the first African American Miss America,
relinquishes her crown after publication of nude
photographs taken before her entry in the pageant.
Replacing her is Suzette Charles, first runner-up in the
contest.

1987 – Billy Williams is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame
in Cooperstown, New York.

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.

July 22 African American Historical Events

Inform* Today in Black History – July 22 *

1848 – Lester Walton is appointed minister to Liberia.

1861 – Abraham Lincoln reads the first draft of the Emancipation
Proclamation to his cabinet.

1933 – Caterina Jarboro becomes the first African American prima
donna of an United States opera company. She will
perform “Aida” with the Chicago Opera Company at the
Hippodrome in New York City. The New York Times music
editor will report: “The young soprano brought a vivid
dramatic sense that kept her impersonation vital without
overacting, and an Italian diction remarkably pure and
distinct.” Her fame, however, will be short­lived. Once
the American opera establishment realizes that she is not
Italian but African American, her career will come to an
end. The newly founded New York Metropolitan Opera
Association will refuse to accept her as a member.
Nonetheless, her contribution to opera will be powerful
and far­reaching.

1937 – Chuck Jackson is born in Latta, South Carolina. He will
be raised in Pittsburgh and will become a Rhythm & Blues
singer. He will be discovered when he opens for soul
legend Jackie Wilson at the Apollo Theater. He will sign a
recording contract with Scepter. His first single,”I Don’t
Want to Cry”, which he co-wrote, will be his first hit
(1961). The song will chart on both Rhythm & Blues and pop
charts. In 1962, His recording of “Any Day Now”, the Burt
Bacharach-Bob Hilliard classic, will become a huge hit. In
1967, he will move from Scepter to Motown Records, where
he will record a number of successful singles, including
“Are You Lonely for Me” and “Honey Come Back.”

1939 – Jane Matilda Bolin is appointed to the New York City Court
of Domestic Relations by Mayor Fiorello Laguardia, becoming
the first African American woman judge.

1939 – Quincy Thomas Troupe, Jr. is born in New York City. He will
become a poet, editor, journalist, and college professor.
He will grow up in East St. Louis, Illinois. He will attend
Grambling State University on a baseball scholarship and
will subsequently join the United States Army. In his free
time as a soldier, he will develop the passion for writing
that would define his career. Upon his return to civilian
life, he will move to Los Angeles, where he will encounter
the Watts Writers Workshop and begin working in a more
African American, jazz-based style. It will be on a tour
with the Watts group that he first begin his academic life.
In 1969, he will visit Ohio University with the poetry tour
and will soon be offered a position as writer-in-residence.
In 1971, he will move to Richmond College on Staten Island
in New York City, where he will be a lecturer. In 1976,
Richmond College will undergo a merger and become the
College of Staten Island of the City University of New York.
It will be during this transition, he will later reveal,
that he adjusts his curriculum vitae to include a
(fictitious) bachelor’s degree he claims to have earned in
1963 from Grambling. He will make the addition in order to
possibly attain tenure, which he likely could not have done
without an academic degree. This fiction will go
unchallenged for nearly three decades. The next few years
will see him become a celebrity in the academic world,
winning an American Book Award for 1989’s “Miles, the
Autobiography” (written with Miles Davis) and earning
numerous other accolades. In 1990, he will move to the
University of California, San Diego (UCSD) as a professor
of literature, where he will continue to gain acclaim. In
early 2002, he will be named California’s first Poet
Laureate, taking office on June 11, 2002. A background
check related to the new position will reveal that he had,
in fact, never possessed a degree from Grambling.
Confronted with the information, he will resign the post.
After UCSD considers suspending him without pay, he retires
from his academic position as well. His other notable works
include “James Baldwin: The Legacy” (1989) and “Miles and
Me: A Memoir of Miles Davis” (2000). He will also edit
“Giant Talk: An Anthology of Third World Writing” (1975)
and is a founding editor of “Confrontation: A Journal of
Third World Literature and American Rag.” He will teach
creative writing for the Watts Writers’ Movement from 1966
to 1968 and serve as director of the Malcolm X Center in
Los Angeles during the summers of 1969 and 1970. Among his
honors and awards will be fellowships from the National
Foundation for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the
Arts, and a grant from the New York State Council on the
Arts.

1941 – George Clinton is born in Kannapolis, North Carolina. He
will grow up in Plainfield, New Jersey. In Plainfield, he
will run a barber salon, where he straightens hair, and
will soon formed a doo wop group, inspired by Frankie Lymon
& the Teenagers, called The Parliaments. The Parliaments
will eventually find success under the names Parliament and
Funkadelic in the seventies. Parliament Funkadelic will
record “Testify”, “Mothership Connection”, “First Thangs”,
“Up For The Down Stroke”, “Chocolate City”, “The Clones of
Dr. Funkenstein,” “Atomic Dog,” and many others. The
popularity of Clinton and his group will last over thirty
years. He will be widely considered one of the forefathers
of funk. Usually recording under the name George Clinton &
the P.Funk All-Stars, he will record several solo albums. In
1982, he will sign to Capitol Records as a solo artist and
as the P.Funk All-Stars, releasing Computer Games that same
year. “Loopzilla” hit the Top 20 R&B charts, followed by
“Atomic Dog,” which reached #1 R&B, but peaked at #101 on
the pop chart. In the next four years, he will release
three more studio albums (You Shouldn’t-Nuf Bit Fish, Some
of My Best Jokes Are Friends and R&B Skeletons in the
Closet) as well as a live album, Mothership Connection
(Live from the Summit, Houston, Texas) and charting three
singles in the R&B Top 30, “Nubian Nut,” “Last Dance,” and
“Do Fries Go with that Shake.” His popularity will wane in
the mid 1980s, but revive by the rise of rap music
(particularly, in the 1990s, G Funk), as many rappers cited
him as an influence and began sampling his songs. Alongside
James Brown, George Clinton will be considered to be one
of the most sampled musicians ever. In 1989, he will release
The Cinderella Theory on Paisley Park, Prince’s record
label. This will be followed by Hey Man, Smell My Finger.
He will then sign with Sony 550 and release T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M.
(The Awesome Power Of A Fully Operational Mothership) in
1996, having reunited with several old members of Parliament
and Funkadelic. He will be known for his flamboyant style.
In the 1990s, he will appear in films such as Graffiti
Bridge (1990), Good Burger (1997) and PCU (1994). He will
also appear as the voice of The Funktipus, the DJ of the
Bounce FM station in the 2004 video game, Grand Theft Auto:
San Andreas. Rapper Dr. Dre will sample most of his beats to
create his G-Funk music era.

1947 – Daniel Lebern “Danny” Glover is born in San Francisco,
California. He will become an actor and will star in the
“Lethal Weapon” movies, “Operation Dumbo Drop”, “Silverado”,
“Escape from Alcatraz”, “Chiefs”, “The Color Purple”,
“Angels in the Outfield”, and “Places in the Heart”. He will
serve as board chair of the TransAfrica Forum, “a non-profit
organization dedicated to educating the general public —
particularly African Americans — on the economic, political
and moral ramifications of U.S. foreign policy as it affects
Africa and the Diaspora in the Caribbean and Latin America.”
In March 1998, he will be appointed ambassador to the United
Nations Development Program. He will also serve on the
Advisory Council for TeleSUR, “Television of the South”, a
pan-Latin American television network based in Caracas,
Venezuela. It will begin broadcasting on July 24, 2005.
He is probably best known for his role as Los Angeles police
Sgt. Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon movie series, and
his role as the abusive husband to Whoopi Goldberg’s
character Celie in The Color Purple. Among many awards, he
will win five NAACP Image Awards, for his achievements as a
Black actor. He will join the ranks of actors, such as
Humphrey Bogart, Elliott Gould, and Robert Mitchum, who will
portray Raymond Chandler’s private eye detective Philip
Marlowe in the episode ‘Red Wind’ of the Showtime network’s
1995 series Fallen Angels. He will make his directorial
debut with the Showtime channel short film Override in 1994.

1961 – Milton A. Francis, the first African American specialist in
genitourinary diseases, joins the ancestors.

1963 – World Heavyweight Champion, Sonny Liston, hangs on to his
boxing title, by knocking out challenger, Floyd Patterson,
in the first round of a bout in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.

July 21 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – July 21 *

1864 – The New Orleans Tribune, first daily African American
newspaper, is published in English and French.

1896 – Mary Church Terrell organizes the National Association of
Colored Women in Washington, DC. The association is a
merger of the National Federation of Afro-American Women
and The Colored Women’s League. It is one of many
achievements for Terrell, which include being the first
African American woman to serve on a school’s board of
education, the first to hold membership in the American
Association of University Women, and at age 90, will lead
the desegregation of Washington, DC restaurants in 1953.

1934 – Edolphus Towns is born in Chadbourn, North Carolina. He
will graduate with a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina
A & T State University and a master’s degree in social
work from Adelphi University. He will become a longtime
local civic leader and congressman from New York’s 11th
District starting in 1983, and chairman of the
Congressional Black Caucus in 1990. He will have the
distinction of being the first African American to serve
as Deputy Brooklyn Borough President. Additionally, he and
his son, New York State Assemblyman Darryl Towns, will
become the first African American father/son tandem to
serve simultaneously in public office in New York State.
His varied professional background includes assignments as
an administrator at Beth Israel Medical Center, a
professor at New York’s Medgar Evers College and Fordham
University and a teacher in the New York City Public
School System. He is also a veteran of the United States
Army and an ordained Baptist minister.

1943 – Captain Charles B, Hall, of Brazil, Indiana, becomes the
first African American pilot in World War II to shoot down
a Nazi plane. He is a member of the 99th Fighter Squadron
which is part of the 33rd Fighter Group. During his eighth
mission, while escorting B-25 bombers over Italy, Captain
Hall spots two Focke-Wulf FW 190s. He fires a long burst
at one as it turns left. After several hits the aircraft
will crash into the ground.

1943 – “Stormy Weather” premieres in New York City with Lena
Horne, Bill Robinson, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, the
Nicholas Brothers, and Katherine Dunham. A week before
the premiere, Horne said of African American actors, “All
we ask is that the Negro be portrayed as a normal person.
A worker in a union meeting, a voter in the polls…or an
elected official. Perhaps I’m being naive. Perhaps these
things will never be straightened out on the screen itself,
but will have to wait until..[they’re] solved in real
life.”

1945 – Alton H. Maddox, Jr. is born. He will become a New York
African American civil rights activist and attorney. He
will be best known for his representation of Tawana
Brawley (a black teenager who accused a group of white men
of abducting and sexually molesting her in Dutchess
County). He will be disbarred following his involvement in
the Tawana Brawley alleged hoax in 1990.

1950 – The first victory of the Korean War is won by African
American troops of the 24th Infantry Regiment, who
recapture Yechon after waging a 16-hour battle. The North
Koreans will launch a surprise invasion of South Korea on
25 June 1950. U.S. Army divisions stationed in Japan are
rushed to the defense of South Korea. The 25th Division is
ordered to South Korea on 5 July 1950. By mid July the
Division is fully deployed and ready to engage North
Korean forces. On 20 July 1950 the 3rd Battalion 24th
Infantry conducts the first combat action of the Division
when it attacks and destroys a well-dug-in North Korean
force which had seized the critical road hub of Yechon.
The recapture of Yechon is considered the first sizable
American ground victory of the war.

1957 – Althea Gibson becomes the first African American woman to
win a major U.S. tennis title. She won the Women’s
National clay court singles competition.

1960 – The country of Katanga forms in Africa.

1962 – 160 civil right activists jailed after demonstration in
Albany, Georgia.

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.

July 20 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – July 20 *

1934 – Henry Dumas is born in Sweet Home, Arkansas. He will move
to the village of Harlem in New York City at the age of
ten. He will attend City College and then join the Air
Force. While in the Air Force he will spend a year on
the Arabian Peninsula, where he will develop an interest
in the Arabic language, mythology, and culture. He will
be active in civil rights and humanitarian activities,
including transporting food and clothing to protesters
living in Mississippi and Tennessee. In 1967, he will
work at Southern Illinois University as a teacher,
counselor, and director of language workshops in its
“Experiment in Higher Education” program. It is there
where he meets Eugene Redmond, a fellow teacher in that
program. He and Redmond will read their poetry at common
gatherings; Redmond especially remembers him reading “Our
King Is Dead,” his elegy for Martin Luther King, Jr. He
will also frequent the offices of the East St. Louis
Monitor, which Redmond edits. He will inspire interest
for his unique vision of black people in the diaspora.
In many ways he will become a cultural icon in African
American literary circles. He will claim Moms Mabley and
gospel music as particular influences upon him. He will
join the ancestors on May 23, 1968 at the age of 33 after
being mistakenly shot and killed by a New York City
Transit policeman. Over the course of the ten months that
he lives in East St. Louis, he and Redmond will forge the
collaborative relationship that would prove so fruitful
to his posthumous Career. His literary legacy is kept
alive almost single-handedly by Redmond. His first
collection of short fiction is entitled “Arks of Bones
and Other Stories” (edited by Redmond in 1974), which
includes nine stories and in which his largely mythic
vision of African American existence is apparent.
Redmond’s commitment to making his work readily available
to scholarly communities will continue in the publication
of “Goodbye, Sweetwater” (1988) and “Knees of a Natural
Man: The Selected Poetry of Henry Dumas” (1989). The
first volume contains eight of the stories that first
appeared in “Ark of Bones,” along with excerpts from
Dumas’s unfinished novel, “Jonoah and the Green Stone”
(1976), stories from “Rope of Wind” (1979), and three
selections from “Goodbye Sweetwater.” One of the stories
in the final section is “Rain God,” which develops the
African American folk belief that, when it is raining and
the sun is shining, the devil is beating his wife. Three
young black boys literally witness this phenomenon as
they are on their way home one rainy-sunny day. The
second volume contains previously published as well as
unpublished poems, including several poems with the title
“Kef” and an accompanying number, and “Saba,” with the
same pattern. Some of the poems in “Knees” had appeared
in “Play Ebony: Play Ivory” (1974), a collection of his
poetry, which Redmond will edit singly in 1974 and which
he co-edits in 1970. His poetry is inspired by African
American music, particularly blues and jazz (he studied
with Sun Ra), and he develops themes consistent with the
Black Aesthetic of the 1960s. His poetry also focuses,
in keeping with his fiction, on themes of nature and the
natural world.

1954 – Freeman Bosley, Jr., St. Louis’ first African American
mayor, is born in St. Louis, Missouri. He will attend
Saint Louis University and Saint Louis University Law
School. He will graduate from Saint Louis University in
1976 with two undergraduate degrees, a B.A. in Urban
Affairs and a B.A. in Political Science. He will receive
his Juris Doctorate from Saint Louis University Law
School in 1979. His public service career will begin
when he becomes the first African American St. Louis
Circuit Clerk for the 22nd Judicial Circuit – a position
he will hold for ten years. He will serve as the 3rd
Ward Democratic Committeeman, chairman of the St. Louis
City Democratic Central Association, and the first
African American chairman of the Democratic Party in St.
Louis City. After winning the April 6, 1993 election
with 66.5% of the vote, he will become the first African
American Mayor of St. Louis. He will oversee the battle
against the Flood of 1993, help to orchestrate the $70
million bailout of Trans World Airlines and help to move
the Los Angeles Rams football team to St. Louis from
Anaheim, California. He will be defeated in his bid for
re-election.

1967 – The first National Conference of Black Power opens in
Newark, New Jersey. The four-day meeting is attended
by 1,100 African Americans.

1967 – A night of racially motivated disturbances occurs in
Memphis, Tennessee.

1973 – The National Black Network begins operations. It is the
first African American owned and operated radio news
network.

1974 – Baseball great, Hank Aaron, breaks Ty Cobb’s record, as
he appears in game number 3,034 of his career. Aaron,
age 40, is playing in his 20th season of major-league
baseball.

1988 – In the most formidable attempt ever by an African
American to become President of the United States.
Jesse Jackson receives 1218 delegates votes of the
2,082 needed for the Democratic party’s nomination,
finishing second to Michael Dukakis. In his second bid
for the nomination, Jackson garners wide popular
support and captures 92% of African American and 12%
of white votes in primary elections and caucuses. The
previous night, Jackson electrifies the delegates with
a ringing speech encouraging them to “keep hope alive.”

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.

July 19 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – July 19 *

1848 – The first Women’s Rights Convention is held in Seneca Falls,
New York. The convention is supported by Frederick Douglass
of nearby Rochester, New York, who attends the meeting and
speaks in defense of its organizer, Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

1866 – Tennessee becomes the first state to ratify the 14th
Amendment, supposedly guaranteeing civil rights to all
United States citizens.

1867 – Congress passes the third Reconstruction Act over President
Andrew Johnson’s veto.

1913 – The Tri-State Dental Association is formed in Buckroe Beach
(now part of Hampton), Virginia. It will be the forerunner
to the National Dental Association, an organization
dedicated to developing a national forum for African
American dentists in the United States.

1925 – Josephine Baker, entertainer and singer, makes her Paris
debut.

1940 – Surgeon Louis T. Wright is presented the Spingarn Medal for
his “contribution to the healing of mankind and for his
courageous, uncompromising position, often in the face of
bitter attack.” Among Wright’s many accomplishments was
being the first African American surgeon to be admitted to
the staff of Harlem Hospital and chairmanship of the board
of directors of the NAACP, a position he will hold for 17
years.

1941 – The first Army flying school for African Americans is
dedicated in Tuskegee, Alabama.

1941 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt appoints a Fair Employment
Practices Committee which includes two African Americans,
Earl B. Dickerson, a Chicago attorney, and Milton P.
Webster, vice-president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car
Porters.

1966 – The Hough district of Cleveland, Ohio, experiences racially
motivated disturbances that result in the mobilization of
the National Guard by Governor James A. Rhodes, who
declares a state of emergency in the city.

1967 – A racially motivated disturbance occurs in Durham, North
Carolina. The governor calls out the National Guard to
quell the disturbance.

1973 – Willie Mays is named to the National League all star team
for the 24th time, tying Stan Musial for the record number
of appearances.

1979 – Patricia R. Harris is named Secretary of Health and Human
Services. It is her second Cabinet-level appointment.
She had been Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

1991 – The South African government acknowledges that it had been
giving money to the Inkatha Freedom Party, the main rival
of the African National Congress.

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry,