May 15 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – May 15 *

1795 – John Morront, the first African American missionary to work
with Indians, is ordained as a Methodist minister in
London, England.

1802 – Jean Ignace joins the ancestors in Baimbridge, Guadeloupe.
He dies in the revolt against the Napoleonic troops sent to
the Caribbean island to reimpose slavery.

1891 – The British Central African Protectorate (now Malawi) is

1918 – In a World War I incident that will later be known as “The
Battle of Henry Johnson,” the African American attacks
advancing Germans, frees sentry Needham Roberts, and forces
the retreat of the enemy troops. Johnson and Roberts will
be awarded the Croix de Guerre, France’s highest military
award. They are the first Americans ever to win the award.

1923 – “The Chip Woman’s Fortune” by Willis Richardson opens at the
Frazee Theatre on Broadway. The play, staged by the
Ethiopian Art Theatre of Chicago, is the first dramatic work
by an African American playwright to be presented on

1934 – Alvin Francis Poussaint is born in the village of East Harlem
in New York City. After being educated at Columbia College,
Cornell University Medical School, and the University of
California’s Neuropsychiatric Institute, he will become a
psychiatrist and educator specializing in African American
psychological and social issues. He will begin his career
teaching at Tufts Medical School and Harvard Medical School.
He will then join Operation Push. He will be a consultant
for the television series, “The Cosby Show” and “A Different
World, hired to ensure that the story lines present positive
images of African Americans. He will later become Associate
Dean and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School

1938 – Diane Nash is born in Chicago, Illinois. She will become an
civil rights activist and one of the founders of the Student
Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960. She will be part
of the first group of civil rights activists who will refuse
to pay bail for protesting under the “Jail, No Bail”
strategy employed in the South. She will later marry fellow
civil rights activist James Bevel and take his last name as
her middle name. She and her husband will receive the Rosa
Parks award from the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference in 1965.

1942 – The 93rd Infantry is activated at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. It
is the first African American division formed during World
War II and is assigned to combat duty in the South Pacific.

1946 – Camilla Williams appears in the title role of Madama
Butterfly with the New York City Opera. She is the first
African American female concert singer to sign a contract
with a major American opera company.

1953 – Former Heavyweight Champion, Jersey Joe Walcott, is knocked
out by Rocky Marciano at Chicago Stadium at two minutes, 25
seconds of the first round.

1970 – Two African American students (Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and
James Earl Green) at Jackson State University in
Mississippi are killed when police open fire during student

1983 – James VanDerZee joins the ancestors in Washington, DC at the
age of 96. He had been a prominent photographer who
recorded and contributed to the Harlem Renaissance. Over
his long career, which extended into his 90s, he captured
the images of many famous African Americans.

1992 – Mary M. Monteith (later Simpkins) joins the ancestors in
Columbia, South Carolina. She was a civil right activist
who had been a state secretary of the NAACP and
instrumental in the fight to desegregate South Carolina
public schools.

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


May 14 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – May 14 *

1867 – A riot occurs in Mobile, Alabama, after an African American
mass meeting. One African American and one white are

1885 – Erskine Henderson wins the Kentucky Derby riding Joe Cotton.
The horse’s trainer is another African-American, Alex

1897 – Sidney Joseph Bechet is born in New Orleans, Louisiana. A
member of both Duke Ellington’s and Noble Sissle’s
orchestras, Bechet moved to France and there achieved the
greatest success of his career. He had been the greatest
jazz soloist of the 1920s along with Louis Armstrong. He
will join the ancestors on May 14, 1959.

1898 – Arthur James ‘Zutty’ Singleton is born in Bunkie, Louisiana.
He will become a percussion musician and bandleader. He
will start as a drummer at the age of 15 and will work in
a variety of bands until he forms his own in 1920. He will
eventually make his way to Chicago and will become part of
the “Chicago School of Jazz.” He will be primarily
remembered for introducing sock cymbals and wire brushes
as percussion accessories. These innovations will place
him in demand as an accompanist for jazz greats like Louis
Armstrong, Fats Waller, Dizzy Gillespie, Jelly Roll Morton,
and Charlie Parker. He will perform primarily in New York
City from 1953 until 1970. He will join the ancestors on
July 14, 1975.

1906 – Ngwazi Hastings Kamuzu Banda is born near Kasungu, British
Central African Protectorate. Even though his official
birthdate is cited as 1906, many sources show his birth
date as 1898. He will become Malawi’s first prime minister
after independence in 1963. In 1966, he will elected
Malawi’s president in 1966. He will lead Malawi until
1994. He will join the ancestors in Johannesburg, South
Africa on November 25, 1997.

1913 – Clara Stanton Jones is born in St. Louis, Missouri. She
will become the first African American director of the
Detroit Public Library and the first African American
president of the American Library Association. She will
join the ancestors on September 30, 2012.

1943 – Tania J. Leon is born in Havana, Cuba. She will become a
pianist, composer, and orchestral conductor. Her music
style will encompass Afro-Cuban rhythm and elements of
jazz and gospel. She will emigrate to the United States
in 1967 and in 1969 will join the Dance Theater of Harlem
as a pianist. She will later become the artistic director
of the troupe. Some her compositions for the Dance
Theater of Harlem will include “Tones,” “Beloved,” and
“Dougla.” She will debut as a conductor in 1971 and
starting in 1980 when she leaves the Dance Theater of
Harlem, will serve as guest conductor and composer with
orchestras in the United States and Europe. In 1993, she
will become an advisor to the New York Philharmonic
conductor, Kurt Masur on contemporary music.

1959 – Soprano saxophonist Sidney Joseph Bechet joins the
ancestors in Paris, France on his sixty second birthday
after succumbing to cancer.

1961 – A bus, with the first group of Freedom Riders, is bombed
and burned by segregationists outside Anniston, Alabama.
The group is attacked in Anniston and Birmingham.

1963 – Twenty-year-old Arthur Ashe becomes the first African
American to make the U.S. Davis Cup tennis team.

1966 – Georgia Douglas Johnson joins the ancestors in Washington,
DC at the age of 88. She was a poet and playwright. While
she never lived in Harlem, she is associated with the
Harlem Renaissance because her home was a regular oasis
for many of the writers of that literary movement. Her
home hosted writer workshops and discussion groups while
also being a place of lodging for those writers when they
visited Washington, DC. Her own poetry and plays were
very popular with African American audiences during the

1969 – John B. McLendon becomes the first African American coach
in the ABA when he signs a two-year contract with the
Denver Nuggets.

1970 – Two students are killed by police officers in a major
racial disturbance at Jackson State University in
Jackson, Mississippi.

1986 – Reggie Jackson hits his 537th home run passing Mickey
Mantle into 6th place of all time home run hitters.

1989 – Kirby Puckett becomes the first professional baseball
player since 1948 to hit 6 consecutive doubles.

1995 – Myrlie Evers-Williams (widow of Medgar Evers) is sworn in
to head the NAACP, pledging to lead the civil rights group
away from its recent troubles and restore it as a
political and social force.

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

May 13 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – May 13 *

1865 – Two white regiments and an African American regiment, the
Sixty-second U.S. Colored Troops, fight in the last action
of the civil war at White’s Ranch, Texas.

1871 – Alcorn A&M College (now Alcorn A&M University) opens in
Lorman, Mississippi.

1888 – Princess Isabel of Brazil signs the “Lei Aurea” (Golden
Law) which abolishes slavery. Slavery is ended in part to
appease the efforts of abolitionists, but mostly because
it is less expensive for employers to hire wageworkers
than to keep slaves. Plantation owners oppose the law
because they are not compensated for releasing their
slaves. The passage of the law hastens the fall of the
Brazilian monarchy.

1891 – Isaac Murphy becomes the first jockey to win three Kentucky
Derbys as he wins the fabled race astride Kingman.
Kingman was trained by Dud Allen, an African American

1914 – Joseph Louis Barrow is born in Lexington, Alabama. He will
be better known as Joe Louis. “The Brown Bomber” will
hold the heavyweight crown from his 1937 title match with
James J. Braddock until his first retirement in 1949. In
his 71 professional fights, he will amass a record of 68
victories, 54 by knockouts. He will join the ancestors on
April 12, 1981.

1933 – John Junior “Johnny” Roseboro is born in Ashland, Ohio. He
will become a professional baseball player in 1957 and will
play as a catcher for the Dodgers from 1957-1967, Minnesota
Twins from 1968 to 1969, and the Washington Senators in
1970. He will join the ancestors on August 16, 2002.

1938 – Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra record the New Orleans’
jazz standard, “When The Saints Go Marching In”, on Decca
Records making it extremely popular.

1943 – Mary Wells is born in Detroit, Michigan. She will become a
singer for the Motown label and record the hits, “My Guy,”
“Two Lovers,” “You Beat Me to the Punch,” and “The One Who
Really Loves You.” She will join the ancestors on July 26,
1992 after succumbing to pneumonia and complications of
larynx cancer.

1949 – Franklin Ajaye is born in Brooklyn, New York. He will
become a comedy writer, comedian and actor. He will appear
in the movies “The Jazz Singer,” “Car Wash,” “Hysterical,”
“The Wrong Guys,” and “Jock Jokes.”

1950 – Steveland Judkins Morris is born in Saginaw, Michigan. As
12-year-old Little Stevie Wonder, he will become a singing
and musical sensation notable for “Fingertips, Part 2.”
Wonder will continue to record through-out adulthood, with
the albums “Talking Book,” “Songs in the Key of Life,” “The
Woman in Red,” and the soundtrack to the movie “Jungle
Fever.” Among other awards he will win more than 16 Grammys
and a 1984 best song Oscar for “I Just Called to Say I Love
You.” He will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of
Fame in 1989.

1961 – Dennis Rodman is born in Texas. He will become a
professional basketball player and will help two different
teams win multiple NBA championships.

1966 – Federal education funding is denied to 12 school districts
in the South because of violations of the 1964 Civil Rights

1971 – (James) Charles Evers becomes the first African American
mayor of Fayette, Mississippi.

1971 – Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, receives a gold record
for her version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, originally
a Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel tune.

1978 – Henry Rono of Kenya sets the record for the 3,000 meter
steeplechase (8:05.4). The record will stand for eleven

1979 – Max Robinson becomes the first African American network news
anchor when he anchors ABC’s World News Tonight.

1983 – Reggie Jackson becomes the first major leaguer to strike out
2,000 times.

1985 – Philadelphia Police bomb a house held by the group “Move”,
killing eleven persons. Ramona Africa and a 13-year-old
boy are the only people to escape the inferno that the
blast caused inside 6221 Osage Street. The heat from the
blast also ignites a fire that destroys 60 other homes and
leaves 250 people homeless, angry and heartbroken in a
working-class section of West Philadelphia.

1990 – George Stallings is ordained as the first bishop of the
newly established African American Catholic Church.
Stallings broke from the Roman Catholic Church in 1989,
citing the church’s failure to meet the needs of African
American Catholics.

1995 – Army Captain Lawrence Rockwood is convicted at his court-
martial in Fort Drum, New York, of conducting an
unauthorized investigation of reported human rights abuses
at a Haitian prison (the next day, Rockwood is dismissed
from the military, but receives no prison time).

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

May 12 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – May 12 *

1896 – Juan Morel Campos joins the ancestors in Ponce, Puerto
Rico. He was a musician and composer who was one of the
first to integrate Afro-Caribbean styles and folk rhythms
into the classical European musical model. He was
considered the father of the “danza.”

1898 – Louisiana adopts a new constitution with a “grandfather
clause” designed to eliminate African American voters.

1902 – Joe Gans (born Joseph Gaines) becomes the first native-
born African American to win a world boxing championship,
when he defeats Frank Erne in one round for the World
Lightweight Crown. He will be elected to the Boxing Hall
of Fame in 1954.

1910 – The Second NAACP conference opens in New York City. The
three day conference will create a permanent national
structure for the organization.

1916 – Albert L. Murray is born in Nokomis, Alabama. He will
become an author of several works of nonfiction, among
them the influential collection of essays, “The Omni
Americans: New Perspectives on Black Experience and
American Culture.” His other works will include “South
to a Very Old Place,” “The Hero and The Blues,” “Train
Whistle Guitar,” “The Spyglass Tree,” “Stomping The
Blues,” “Good Morning Blues,” and “The Blue Devils of

1926 – Paulette Poujol-Oriol is born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
She will become a well-known literary personality in
Haiti. She will be best known for her innovative creative
expression. Her works will include “Prayers for Two
Vanished Angels” and “The Crucible.” She will join the
ancestors on March 12, 2011, after succumbing to a
heart attack.

1926 – Mervyn Malcom Dymally is born in Cedros, Trinidad. He will
become the first African American elected as lieutenant
governor of California and will be elected to Congress in
1980, where he will serve for 12 years. He will join the
ancestors on October 7, 2012.

1929 – Samuel Daniel Shafiishuna Nujoma is born in Etunda, South
West Africa (now Namibia). He will become a nationalist
politician and the first president of Namibia. He will
remain in exile for thirty years from 1959 to 1989 when he
will return to Namibia and win a seat in the National
Assembly. He will vacate this seat in 1990 when he is elected the first
president of Namibia. He will serve in this office until

1933 – Henry Hugh Proctor joins the ancestors in Brooklyn, New
York at the age of 64. He had been the pastor of Nazarene
Congregational Church for thirteen years. Prior to coming
to New York, he had been pastor of the First Congregational
Church in Atlanta, Georgia for twenty four years, where he
had been instrumental in working with local whites in order
to reduce racial conflicts in the city.

1934 – Elechi Amadi is born in Aluu, Nigeria. He will become a
novelist whose works will illustrate the tradition and
inner feelings of traditional tribal life of his people.
He will be known for his works “The Concubine,” “Sunset
in Biafra: A Civil War Diary,” “The Great Ponds,” “The
Slave,” “Estrangement,” “Isiburu,” “Peppersoup,” “The
Road to Ibadan,” “Dancer of Johannesburg,” and “Ethics
in Nigerian Culture.” His writings reflect his
upbringing as a member of the Igbo ethnic group in

1951 – Former U.S. Congressman Oscar Stanton DePriest joins the
ancestors at the age of 80 in Chicago, Illinois. He had
been the first African American elected to the U.S.
Congress since Reconstruction and the first-ever African
American congressman from the North.

1955 – Samuel (“Toothpick Sam”) Jones, of the Chicago Cubs,
becomes the first African American to pitch a major
league no-hitter, against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1958 – At a summit meeting of national African American leaders,
President Dwight D. Eisenhower is sharply criticized for
a speech which, in effect, urges them to “be patient” in
their demands for full civil and voting rights.

1967 – H. Rap Brown replaces Stokely Carmichael as chairman of
the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.

1969 – Kim Victoria Fields (later Freeman) is born in Los Angeles,
California. She will become an actress as a child,
starring in the sit-com, “The Facts of Life” (1979-1988).
She will continue her television career on the “Living
Single” show, which will premier in 1993.

1970 – Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs hits his 500th home run.

1970 – A racially motivated civil disturbance occurs in Augusta,
Georgia. Six African Americans are killed. Authorities
say five of the victims were shot by police.

1976 – Wynona Carr joins the ancestors. She had been a gospel
singer who was best known for her rendition of “The Ball
Game.” Her other recordings were “Each Day,” “Lord
Jesus,” “Dragnet for Jesus,” “Fifteen Rounds for Jesus,”
“Operator, Operator,” “Should I Ever Love Again,” and
“Our Father.”

1991 – Hampton University students stage a silent protest against
President George Bush’s commencement address to highlight
their opposition to his civil rights policies.

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

May 11 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – May 11 *

1885 – Joseph Nathan Oliver is born in Aben, Louisiana near
Donaldsville. He will become a professional musician after
learning his craft playing with local street musicians in
New Orleans. After playing in the band of Edward “Kid” Ory,
he will be dubbed “King” Oliver. After being recruited to
Chicago, Illinois to play in the band of Bill Johnson, King
Oliver will assume leadership of the Creole Jazz Band. He
will recruit some of best available jazz talent of the time
including Louis Armstrong. The Creole Jazz Band will disband
after the exit of Louis Armstrong. King Oliver will lead
various other bands until 1937 when he retires from music.
Due to severe gum problems, he will stop playing the cornet
in 1931. He will join the ancestors on April 10, 1938. King
Oliver will be considered one of the pioneering musicians in
New Orleans and Chicago style jazz.

1895 – William Grant Still is born in Woodville, Mississippi.
Considered one of the nation’s greatest composers, he will
begin his career by writing arrangements for W.C. Handy and
as musical director for Harry Pace’s Phonograph Corporation.
One of his most famous compositions, Afro-American Symphony,
will be the first symphonic work by an African American to
be performed by a major symphony orchestra, the Rochester
Philharmonic Symphony, in 1931. He will also be the first
African American to conduct a major U.S. symphony, the Los
Angeles Philharmonic, in 1936. He will create over 150
musical works including a series of five symphonies, four
ballets, and nine operas. Two of his best known compositions
will be “Afro-American Symphony” (1930) and “A Bayou Legend”
(1941). He will join the ancestors on December 3, 1978.

1899 – Clifton Reginald Wharton is born in Baltimore, Maryland. He
will receive his law degree in 1920 and his master’s of laws
degree both from the Boston University School of Law. He
will be the first African American to enter the Foreign
Service and the first African American to become the U.S.
ambassador to an European country. He will begin his career
in the Foreign Service in 1925. He will become the first
African American to pass the foriegn service’s written and
oral examinations. He will serve in a variety of diplomatic
positions in Liberia, Spain, Madagascar, Portugal, and
France before becoming minister to Romania in 1958 and the
Ambassador to Norway in 1961. He will be the first African
American to attain the rank of minister and ambassador
before retiring from the State Department in 1964. He will
join the ancestors on April 23, 1990 after succumbing to a
heart attack.

1930 – Lawson Edward Brathwaite is born in Bridgetown, Barbados. He
will become a poet, critic, historian and editor better
known as Edward Kamau Brathwaite. He will be considered by
most literary critics in the English speaking Caribbean to
be the most important West Indian Poet. He will be best
known for his works “Rights of Passage,” “Masks,” and
“Islands” which will later be combined in a trilogy “The
Arrivants.” His other works will be “Other Exiles,”
“Mother Poem, Sun Poem,” “X/Self,” “Middles Passages,” and
“Roots.” He will be the recipient of a Guggenheim
Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholarship, the Casa de las
Americas prize, and the Neustadt International Prize for
Literature. After teaching at the University of the West
Indies for twenty years, he will join the faculty of New
York University.

1933 – Louis Eugene Walcott is born in Roxbury, Massachusetts. In
1955 he will convert to Islam and join The Nation of Islam
after attending the Saviour’s Day Convention in Chicago,
Illinois. He will be known as Louis X and will later adopt
the name Louis Farrakhan. Within three months of joining
the Nation, he will have to choose between his life in show
business or life in the Nation of Islam. He chooses to
leave his life as an entertainer and dedicates his life to
the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. After moving
to Boston at the request of Malcolm X, he will rise to the
rank of Minister and will head the Boston Temple from 1956
until 1965 when he was asked by Elijah Muhammad to take over
Temple # 7 in New York City. After the death of Elijah
Muhammad and three years of subsequent changes in the Nation
from his teachings, Minister Farrakhan decided to return to
the teachings of Elijah Muhammad and since then, has
continued programs to uplift and reform Blacks. In 1995, he
will exhibit his influence as a Black leader when he
successfully organizes and speaks at the Million Man March
in Washington, DC.

1963 – One day after Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth announces agreement
on a limited integration plan in Birmingham, Alabama, his
home is bombed and a civil disturbance ensues.

1965 – African Americans hold a mass meeting in Norfolk, Virginia
and demand equal rights and ballots.

1968 – Nine Caravans of poor people arrive in Washington, DC for
first phase of Poor People’s Campaign. Caravans started
from different sections of the country on May 2 and picked
up demonstrators along the way. In Washington,
demonstrators erect a camp called Resurrection City on a
sixteen-acre site near the Lincoln Monument.

1970 – Johnny Hodges joins the ancestors in New York City at the age
of 63. He had been a well known saxophone player and played
with the band of Duke Ellington for almost forty years. He
was Duke Ellington’s favorite soloist. Over his career, he
will be chosen as the best reed player by DownBeat Magazine
ten times.

1972 – The San Francisco Giants announce that they are trading
Willie Mays to the New York Mets.

1981 – Hoyt J. Fuller joins the ancestors in Atlanta at the age of
57. He was a literary critic and editor of “First World”
and “Black World” (formerly Negro Digest) magazines.

1981 – Robert Nesta ‘Bob’ Marley, Jamaican-born singer who
popularized reggae with his group The Wailers, joins the
ancestors after succumbing to cancer in a Miami hospital at
the age of 36. He will enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall
of Fame in 1994.

1981 – Ken Norton, former heavyweight boxing champion, is left on
the ropes and unconscious after 54 seconds of the first
round at Madison Square Garden in New York City, by Gerry

1986 – Frederick Douglass ‘Fritz’ Pollard joins the ancestors in
Silver Spring, Maryland at the age of 92. Pollard had been
the first African American to play in the Rose Bowl and the
second African American to be named All-American in college
football. After college he played professional football and
later became the coach of his team. When the league in
which he coached became the NFL in 1922, he became the
first African American coach in NFL history. No other
African American will coach in the NFL until the 1990s.

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

May 10 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – May 10 *

1652 – John Johnson, a free African American, is granted 550 acres
in Northampton County, Virginia, for importing eleven
persons to work as indentured servants.

1775 – Lemuel Haynes, Epheram Blackman, and Primas Black, in the
first aggressive action of American forces against the
British, help capture Fort Ticonderoga as members of
Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys.

1815 – Henry Walton Bibb is born a slave in Shelby County,
Kentucky. He will escape to Canada, return to get his
first wife, be recaptured in Cincinnati, escape again, be
recaptured again and sold into slavery in New Orleans. He
will be removed to Arkansas, where he will escape yet
again, this time for good in 1842. He will make his way
to Detroit, Michigan and will become an active
abolitionist. He will publish his autobiography, “Narrative
of The Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American
Slave” in 1849. This narrative of his life will be so
suspenseful that an investigation is conducted that will
substantiate Bibb’s account. In 1850, the U.S. Congress
will pass the Fugitive Slave Act which will force his
immigration to Canada with his second wife. In 1851, he
will found the “Voice of the Fugitive”, the first Black
newspaper in Canada. He will join the ancestors in 1854 at
the age of 39.

1837 – Pinckney Benton Steward (P.B.S.) Pinchback is born near
Macon, Georgia. During the Civil War, he will recruit and
command a company of the “Corps d’Afrique,” a calvary unit
from Louisiana. He will resign his commission in 1863 after
unsuccessful demands that African American officers and
enlisted men be treated the same as white military
personnel. In 1868, he will be elected to the Louisiana
legislature as a Senator. In 1871, he will be elected
President Pro Temp of the Louisiana Senate, and will become
Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana in 1872 after the death of
Oscar Dunn. He will serve briefly (two months) as the
appointed Governor. He will be elected to the U.S. Senate
in 1873, but never be seated by that body, due to supposed
election irregularities. After the end of Reconstruction
and his political career, Pinchback will use his resources
to work as an advocate for African Americans as Southern
Democrats endeavor to take away the civil rights gained by
Blacks after the Civil War. He will publish the newspaper
“The Louisianan,” using it as a venue to help influence
public opinion. He will also become the leader of the
precursor to the Associated Negro Press, the Convention of
Colored Newspaper Men. At the age of sixty, he will
relocate to Washington, DC where he will live until he
joins the ancestors in 1921.

1876 – The American Centennial Exposition opens in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. Included are works by four African American
artists, among them Edmonia Lewis’ “The Dying Cleopatra”
and Edward Bannister’s “Under the Oaks.” Bannister’s
painting will win the bronze medal, a distinct and
controversial achievement for the renowned painter.

1919 – A race riot occurs in Charleston, South Carolina. Two
African Americans are killed.

1935 – Larry Williams is born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He will
become a rhythm and blues singer and will be known for
his record hits “Short Fat Fannie,” “Bony Maronie,” and
“Dizzy Miss Lizzie.” He will join the ancestors on
January 7, 1980 after succumbing to a gunshot to the head.

1936 – Jayne Cortez is born in Fort Huachuca, Arizona. She will
grow up in the Watts section of Los Angeles, California
and will marry jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman in 1954.
After divorcing him in 1960, she will study drama and
poetry. She will become active in the civil rights
movement, registering African Americans to vote in
Mississippi as a worker for the Student Nonviolent
Coordinating Committee. She will then become a poet and
performance artist that will integrate the rhythms and
foundations of jazz into her written works. She will
found the Watts Repertory Theater and be its artistic
director from 1964 through 1970. She will establish Bola
Press in New York City in 1972 and will be a
writer-in-residence at Rutgers University from 1977 to
1983. She will be known for her collections of poetry
“Pisstained Stairs and Monkey Man’s Wares,” “Festivals
and Funerals,” “Coagulations: New and Selected Poems,”
and “Somewhere in Advance of Nowhere.” She will also be
known for her poetry reading recordings with jazz
musicians “There It Is,” “Maintain Control,” and “Taking
the Blues Back Home: Poetry and Music.”

1944 – Judith Jamison is born in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania. She
will begin her dancing career at the age of six. She
will complete her dance training at the Philadelphia
Dance Company (later the University of Arts). She will
make her debut with the Alvin Ailey American Dance
Theatre in Chicago, dancing in Talley Beaty’s Congo
Tango Palace. She will become the troupe’s premier dancer
in 1967 and will tour the world exhibiting her signature
dance “Cry.” She will win a Dance Magazine award for her
performances in 1972. She will leave the Ailey
troupe in 1980 to perform on Broadway and will choreograph
many of her own works such as “Divining,” Ancestral Rites”
and “Hymn.” She will form the twelve member group, The
Jamison Project, in 1987. After Alvin Ailey’s health
declines in 1988, she will rejoin the Ailey troupe as
artistic associate and will become artistic director upon
his death in 1989. She will continue the company’s
tradition of performing early works choreographed by
African Americans for many years.

1950 – Jackie Robinson appears on the cover of Life magazine. It
is the first time an African American has been featured on
the magazine’s cover in its 13-year history.

1951 – Z. Alexander Looby is the first African American elected to
the Nashville City Council.

1952 – Canada Lee joins the ancestors in England at the age of 45.
He had become an actor in 1933 after a professional boxing
match left him blind in one eye. He was able to be cast in
non-traditional roles for African Americans at a time when
most were cast in stereotypical parts. He was best known
for his portrayal of “Bigger Thomas” in the play “Native
Son” in 1940 and 1941. He was blacklisted by the House
Committee on Un-American Activities and the FBI for his
outspoken views on the stereotyping of African Americans
in Hollywood and Broadway.

1962 – Southern School News reports that 246,988 or 7.6 per cent of
the African American pupils in public schools in seventeen
Southern and Border States and the District of Columbia
attended integrated classes in 1962.

1963 – Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth announces agreement on a limited
integration plan which will end the Birmingham

1974 – “Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely” earns a gold record for the
group, The Main Ingredient. The trio began as the Poets
in 1964. Cuba Gooding is the lead singer. (Gooding’s
son, Cuba Jr., will star in the 1991 film “Boyz N The Hood”
and will win an Academy award for his role in the movie
“Jerry Maguire in 1997.) The Main Ingredient’s biggest
hit, “Everybody Plays The Fool,” will make it to number
three on the pop charts in 1972.

1986 – Navy Lt. Commander Donnie Cochran becomes the first African
American pilot to fly with the celebrated Blue Angels
precision aerial demonstration team.

1994 – Nelson Mandela is inaugurated as president of South Africa.
In an historic exchange of power, former political
prisoner Nelson Mandela becomes the first Black president
of South Africa. In his acceptance speech, he says, “We
enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in
which all South Africans, both black and white, will be
able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts–a
rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.”

1998 – Jose’ Francisco Pena Gomez joins the ancestors at the age
of 61 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic after succumbing
to pancreatic cancer. He had led a successful civil-
military revolt in 1965 which was curtailed by the
interference of United States Marines sent to the Dominican
Republic to put down the rebellion. He was later forced
into exile. He later returned to the Dominican Republic and
be heavily involved in politics as leader of the Partido
Revolucionario Dominicano. He ran for president
unsuccessfully three times.

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

May 9 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – May 9 *

1750 – The South Carolina Gazette reports that Caesar, a South
Carolina slave, has been granted his freedom and a life
time annuity in exchange for his cures for poison and
rattlesnake bite. Caesar and the famous James Derham of
New Orleans are two of the earliest known African American
medical practitioners.

1862 – General Hunter of the Union Army issues a proclamation
freeing the slaves of Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.
A displeased President Lincoln annuls this act. Lincoln
stated, “General Hunter is an honest man…He proclaimed
all men free within certain states. I repudiated the

1919 – James Reese Europe joins the ancestors after being stabbed
to death by a crazed band member (his drummer) after a
concert at Mechanics Hall in Boston. Europe was one of
the preeminent jazz bandleaders of the early 20th century,
beginning with his association with the team of J. Rosamond
Johnson and Bob Cole in The Shoo Fly Regiment in 1906.
Founder of the Clef Club, Europe joined the 15th, and
later, 369th Infantry Regiments. The military band he
formed during World War I was one of the most popular in
all of Europe.

1936 – After a eight month occupation, Italy annexes Abyssinia (now
Ethiopia). Italy’s dictator Benito Mussolini announces in
front of 400,000 people at the Piazza Venezia in Rome that,
by controlling Abyssinia, Eritrea, and Somaliland, Italy
now has its own Empire. This is the beginning of a five
year occupation, which will end in 1941.

1952 – Canada Lee joins the ancestors in New York at the age of 45.
A jockey and amateur boxer before turning to acting, Lee
achieved wide acclaim for his portrayal of Bigger Thomas
in the 1941 Broadway play “Native Son” and for the film,
“Cry the Beloved Country.”

1960 – Nigeria becomes a member of the British Commonwealth.

1974 – The House Judiciary Committee formally opens its impeachment
hearings against President Richard M. Nixon with
representatives John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Barbara
Jordan (D-Tex.) among members of the committee. Jordan, in
particular, distinguishes herself as an eloquent and
incisive contributor to the hearings process.

1977 – Mabel Murphy Smythe is confirmed as Ambassador to the
Republic of Cameroon.

1987 – Chief Obafemi Awolowo, leader of the banned Action Group and
leader of the Yorubas of western Nigeria and first premier
of the defunct Western Region, joins the ancestors at the
age of 78.

1987 – Eddie Murray, of the Baltimore Orioles, is the first
baseball player to hit home runs as a switch hitter in 2
consecutive games.

1994 – South Africa’s newly elected parliament chooses Nelson
Mandela to be the country’s first Black president.

1995 – Kinshasa, capital of Zaire, is placed under quarantine after
an outbreak of the Ebola virus.

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

May 8 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – May 8 *

1771 – Phillis Wheatley sails for England. Two years later, her
book of poetry, “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and
Moral,” will be published in London.

1858 – John Brown holds an antislavery convention, which is
attended by twelve whites and thirty-four African
Americans, in Chatham, Canada.

1858 – “The Escape,” first play by an African American, is
published by William Wells Brown.

1910 – Mary Elfrieda Scruggs is born in Atlanta, Georgia. She will
become a professional piano player at the age of 6 in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After marrying musician and band
leader, John Williams, she will perform as Mary Lou
Williams. She will become an accomplished arranger and
composer and be a music educator in her later years. In
1957, she will form Mary Records, becoming the first
woman to establish a record company. She will join the
ancestors in 1981 in Durham, North Carolina.

1911 – Robert Leroy Johnson is born in Hazlehurst, Mississippi. He
will become a legendary blues musician while remaining
relatively obscure during his short lifetime. Recordings of
Johnson, made by by Columbia Records between 1936 and 1937,
will be the foundation for his reputation after he joins
the ancestors in 1938. The songs he recorded will
influence the bluesmen of the 1960’s during the revival of
the blues. He will be inducted into the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame in 1986.

1915 – Henry McNeal Turner joins the ancestors in Windsor, Canada.
He was an influential minister in the AME Church and was
appointed the first African American chaplain in the U.S.

1917 – An African American, Jesse Washington, is burned alive in a
public square in Waco, Texas. Fifteen thousand will look
on in the incident known later as the “Waco Horror.”

1925 – A. Philip Randolph organizes the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car
Porters after failing to integrate the American Federation
of Labor.

1932 – Charles (Sonny) Liston is born in St. Frances County,
Arkansas. After spending time as juvenile delinquent, he
will be convicted of armed robbery in 1950 and sentenced to
prison. While in prison, he will develop an interest in
boxing. He will win the 1953 Golden Gloves championship,
after serving his sentence. He will become a professional
boxer and will win the World Heavyweight Boxing crown
in 1962 and defend it until he is defeated by Cassius Clay
(later named Muhammad Ali) in 1964. He will join the
ancestors on December 30, 1970 and be inducted into the
International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.

1951 – Philip Bailey is born in Denver, Colorado. He will become a
Rhythm and Blues singer and will enjoy his first fame with
the group Earth, Wind and Fire, which he joins in 1972. He
will develop his unique four-octave voice into a trademark
sound and will be the hallmark of the group’s hits such as
“Reasons,” “Shining Star,” “All ‘N’ All,” and “After The
Love Has Gone.” In 1983, he will start his solo career and
will enjoy success in both Rhythm and Blues and Gospel
venues. On March 6, 2000 he will appear with Earth, Wind
and Fire when they are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall
of Fame.

1958 – President Eisenhower orders federalized National Guard
troops removed from Central High School in Little Rock,

1965 – The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians is
founded by Muhal Richard Abrams.

1967 – Muhammad Ali is indicted for refusing induction in the U.S.

2003 – Sam Lacy joins the ancestors at the age of 99, after
succumbing to esophageal disorder. He had been one of the
nation’s first African American sportswriters and was a
chronicler of sports integration.

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

May 7 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – May 7 *
1867 – African American demonstrators stage a ride-in to protest
segregation on New Orleans streetcars. Similar
demonstrations occur in Mobile, Alabama, and other cities.

1878 – J.R. Winters receives a patent for the fire escape ladder.

1884 – Henrietta Vinton Davis performs scenes from Shakespeare
with Powhatan Beaty at Ford’s Opera House in Washington,
DC, site of the assassination of President Abraham
Lincoln. Vinton’s career will span a total of 44 years
and will include her involvement with Marcus Garvey’s
UNIA, including a vice-presidency of Garvey’s Black Star

1885 – Dr. John E. W. Thompson, a graduate of the Yale University
Medical School, is named minister to Haiti.

1931 – Literary critic and editor Darwin Turner is born in
Cincinnati, Ohio. He will be admitted to the University of
Cincinnati at the age of 13. He will receive a bachelor’s
degree three years later, earn a master’s in English from
Cincinnati at the age of 18 and a doctorate from the
University of Chicago when he was 25. He will begin his
teaching career at Clark College in Atlanta in 1949. He will
teach at Morgan State College and Florida A&M University and
will be chairman of the English department at North Carolina
A&T College before joining the Iowa faculty in 1972. At the
time he joins the ancestors on February 11, 1991, he will be
the University of Iowa Foundation Distinguished Professor of
English. His major works will include “Black American
Literature: Essays, Poetry Fiction and Drama” (1969) and
“Voices from the Black Experience: African and Afro-American
Literature” (1972).

1939 – Jimmy Ruffin is born in Collinsville, Mississippi. The older
brother of the Temptations’ lead singer David Ruffin, he
will become a singer on the Motown label and will best
known for the hit “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.” He
will also record “Hold on to My Love,” “There Will Never be
Another You,” and “I’ll Say Forever My Love.”

1941 – “Natural Man,” a play by Theodore Browne, premieres in New
York City. It is a production of the American Negro
Theatre, founded by Abram Hill and Frederick O’Neal.

1945 – Baseball owner Branch Rickey announces the organization of
the United States Negro Baseball League, consisting of six

1946 – William Hastie is inaugurated as the first African American
governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

1959 – 93,103 fans pack the Los Angeles Coliseum for an exhibition
game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York
Yankees. It is “Roy Campanella Night.” The star catcher
for the Dodgers, paralyzed in an automobile accident, is
honored for his contributions to the team for many years.
“Campie” will continue to serve in various capacities with
the Dodger organization for many years.

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

May 6 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – May 6 *

1787 – Prince Hall forms African Lodge 459, the first African
American Masonic Lodge in the United States.

1794 – Haiti, under Toussaint L’Ouverture, revolts against France.

1812 – Martin R. Delany is born free in Charlestown, Virginia. He
will become the first African American field officer to
serve in the Civil War. He will also be a noted physician,
author, explorer, and a newspaper editor.

1930 – Noted actor Charles Gilpin joins the ancestors. The founder
and manager of the Lafayette Theatre Company, one of the
earliest African American stock companies in New York,
Gilpin achieved fame for his performance as Brutus Jones
in Eugene O’Neill’s play “The Emperor Jones.” In 1921, he
won the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal in recognition of his
theatrical career.

1931 – Willie Mays is born in Westfield, Alabama. He will become a
professional baseball player at the age of 16, for the
Birmingham Black Barons. After graduating from high school,
he will be signed by the New York Giants. His 7095 putouts
will be the all-time record for an outfielder. His career
batting average will be .302. For eight consecutive years,
he will drive in more than 100 runs a year, and his 660 home
runs will put him in third place for the all-time home run
record. He will win the Gold Glove Award 12 times. He will
be voted Most Valuable Player in the National League in
both 1954 and 1965. He will be inducted into the Baseball
Hall of Fame in 1979.

1960 – The Civil Rights Act of 1960 is signed by President
Eisenhower. The act acknowledges the federal government’s
responsibility in matters involving civil rights and
reverses its customary “hands-off” policy.

1967 – Four hundred students seize the administration building at
Cheyney State College.

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