* Today in Black History – May 1 *
1863 – The Confederate congress passes a resolution which brands
African American troops and their officers criminals. The
resolution, in effect, dooms captured African American
soldiers to death or slavery.
1866 – White Democrats and police attack freedmen and their white
allies in Memphis, Tennessee. Forty-six African Americans
and two white liberals are killed. More than seventy are
wounded. Ninety homes, twelve schools and four churches
1867 – Reconstruction of the South begins with the registering of
African American and white voters in the South. Gen.
Philip H. Sheridan orders the registration to begin in
Louisiana on May 1 and to continue until June 30.
Registration will begin in Arkansas in May. Other states
follow in June and July. By the end of October, 1,363,000
citizens had registered in the South, including 700,000
African Americans. African American voters constitute a
majority in five states: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana,
Mississippi and South Carolina.
1884 – Moses Fleetwood Walker becomes the first African American
in the Major Leagues when he plays for the Toledo Blue
Stockings in the American Association. A catcher, he goes
0-for-3 in his debut, allowing 2 passed balls and
committing 4 errors, as his team bows to Louisville 5-1. He
will do better in 41 subsequent games before injuries force
Toledo to release him in late September. In July he will be
joined by his brother Welday, an outfielder. Racial bigotry
will prevent his return to major league ball. No other
African American player will appear in a major league
uniform until Jackie Robinson in 1947.
1901 – Sterling Allen Brown is born on the campus of Howard University
in Washington, DC. He will become a poet, literary critic,
editor of “The Negro in American Fiction” and “Negro Poetry
and Drama,” and the co-editor of the anthology, “The Negro
Caravan.” He will begin his teaching career with positions at
several universities, including Lincoln University and Fisk
University, before returning to Howard University in 1929. He
will be a professor there for forty years. His poetry will
use the south for its setting and show slave experiences of
the African American people. He will often imitate southern
African American speech using “variant spellings and
apostrophes to mark dropped consonants.” He will teach and
write about African American literature and folklore. He will
be a pioneer in the appreciation of this genre. He will have
an “active, imaginative mind” when writing and “have a natural
gift for dialogue, description and narration.” He will be
known for introducing his students to concepts popular in
jazz, which along with blues, spirituals and other forms of
black music will form an integral component of his poetry. In
addition to his career at Howard University, he will serve as
a visiting professor at Vassar College, New York University,
Atlanta University, and Yale University. Some of his notable
students will include Toni Morrison, Kwame Ture (Stokely
Carmichael), Kwame Nkrumah, Thomas Sowell, Ossie Davis, and
Amiri Baraka (aka LeRoi Jones). He will retire from his
faculty position at Howard in 1969 and devote full-time to
poetry. He will join the ancestors on January 13, 1989.
1941 – A. Philip Randolph issues a call for 100,000 African
Americans to march on Washington, DC, to protest armed
forces and defense industry discrimination. In response,
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who attempted to persuade
Randolph and others to cancel the demonstration, will issue
Executive Order 8802, to ban federal discrimination, before
Randolph finally yields.
1946 – Mrs. Emma Clarissa Clement is named “American Mother of the
Year” by the Golden Rule Foundation.
1948 – Glenn H. Taylor, U.S. Senator from Idaho and Vice-
presidential candidate of the Progressive party, is
arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, for trying to enter a
meeting through a door marked “for Negroes.”
1950 – Gwendolyn Brooks becomes the first African American to win a
Pulitzer Prize for her book of poetry “Annie Allen.”
1975 – A commemorative stamp of poet Paul Laurence Dunbar is issued
by the U.S. Postal Service as part of its American Arts
1981 – Dr. Clarence A. Bacote, historian and political scientist,
joins the ancestors in Atlanta, Georgia at the age of 75.
1990 – Robert Guillaume, former star of the Benson TV series,
premieres in the title role in “Phantom of the Opera” at
the Music Center in Los Angeles. Guillaume continues the
role that had been played to critical acclaim by the
English star, Michael Crawford.
1991 – Rickey Henderson steals his 939th base in the Oakland A’s
game against the New York Yankees, breaking Lou Brock’s
major league record.
1995 – Charges that Qubilah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X,
had plotted to murder Nation of Islam leader Louis
Farrakhan are dropped as jury selection for her trial is
about to begin in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
1998 – Eldridge Cleaver, the fiery Black Panther leader who later
renounced his past and became a Republican, joins the
ancestors in Pomona, California, at age 62.
1998 – Former Rwandan Prime Minister Jean Kambanda, pleads guilty
to charges stemming from the 1994 genocide of more than
2000 – Bobby Eggleston is sworn in as the new sheriff of Drew
County, Arkansas. He becomes the first African American
sheriff in Arkansas since Reconstruction.
2011 – “Obama Gets Osama”. President Barack Obama authorizes a
military special operations to capture the founder and
leader of terrorist organization al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden.
This operation resulted in his death and the removal of
his body from his sanctuary in Pakistan.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.