May 24 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – May 24 *

1854 – Anthony Burns, celebrated fugitive slave, is arrested by United States
Deputy Marshals in Boston, Massachusetts.

1861 – Major General Benjamin F. Butler declare slaves “contraband of war.”

1864 – Two regiments, the First and Tenth U.S. Colored Troops, repulse an
attack by rebel General Fitzhugh Lee. Also participating in battle
at Wilson’s Wharf Landing, on the bank of the James River, were a
small detachment of white Union troops and a battery of light

1881 – Paul Quinn College is chartered in the State of Texas. The college,
founded in 1872, had moved from its original site in Austin to Waco in

1918 – Coleman Alexander Young is born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He will fight
as a bombardier-navigator with the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II
and will settle in Detroit and work as an auto worker after the war.
In 1948, he will become the first African American elected to the
Wayne County Council of the AFL-CIO. He will found the National Negro
Labor Council in 1951. Walter Reuther and other white leaders of the
labor movement will refer to the NNLC as a tool of the Soviet Union
and cause Young to be called to testify before the House Committee on
Un-American Activities in 1952. He will reach the pinnacle of his
political career when, as a state senator, he is elected the first
African American mayor of the city of Detroit, Michigan in 1973. He
will revitalize Detroit, integrate the police and fire departments,
and will significantly increase the number of city contracts with
minority businesses. He will be elected mayor for an unprecedented
five terms. He will step down as mayor in 1993 at the age of 75. He
will join the ancestors on November 29, 1997, succumbing to
respiratory failure.

1937 – Archie Shepp is born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He will become a
renowned avant-garde jazz saxophonist and play with a variety of jazz
greats including John Coltrane, Bobby Hutcherson, and Donald Cherry.
He also will be a composer of jazz instrumental compositions and the
play “Lady Day: A Musical Tragedy.” He will use free jazz as a vehicle
for political expression and will be an important factor in the growing
acceptance of African American identity. He will become an Associate
Professor at the University of Massachusetts but will continue his
concert career at the same time, working mostly in Europe. He will be a
seminal figure in the development of the New Music and influence many
saxophonists of the avant-garde.

1944 – Patricia Louise Holt is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She will be
better known as Patti LaBelle, organizer and lead singer of Patti LaBelle
and the Bluebells in 1960. In the 1970’s, she will reconfigure the group
and later reteam with Nona Hendryx and Sara Dash as LaBelle. In 1976,
LaBelle will pursue a solo career, gain even more critical and popular
acclaim, and win a 1992 Grammy.

1951 – Racial segregation in Washington, DC, restaurants is ruled illegal by the
Municipal Court of Appeals.

1954 – Peter Marshall Murray is installed as president of the New York County
Medical Society. He is the first African American physician to head an
AMA affiliate.

1961 – Twenty-seven Freedom Riders are arrested in Jackson, Mississippi.

1963 – The Organization of African Unity is founded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

1974 – Edward “Duke” Ellington joins the ancestors in New York City at the age
of 75. For nearly half a century, Duke Ellington led the premier American
big-band, and is considered by many sources to be the greatest composer
in the history of jazz.

1983 – Jesse L. Jackson becomes the first African American to address a joint
session of a state legislature in the 20th century, when he talks to the
Alabama legislature.

1984 – Ralph Sampson of the Houston Rockets becomes the first unanimous choice
for NBA Rookie of the Year since Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabar) of
the Los Angeles Lakers in 1970.

1991 – Hal McRae is named manager of the Kansas City Royals. He will become one
of two African American managers serving in major league baseball.

1993 – The African nation of Eritrea gains independence from Ethiopia.

2000 – Isiah Thomas and Bob McAdoo are elected to be enshrined in the 2000 class
of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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


May 23 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – May 23 *

1844 – Charles Edmund Nash is born in Opelousas, Louisiana. He will become
the first African American representative to the U.S. House of
Representatives from the State of Louisiana.

1878 – Attorney John Henry Smyth is named minister to Liberia. He will
serve from 1878 to 1881 and again as minister from 1882 to 1885.

1900 – Civil War hero, Sergeant William H. Carney of the 54th Massachusetts
Colored Infantry, becomes the first African American Congressional
Medal of Honor winner. He will be cited almost 37 years after the
Battle of Fort Wagner, where he carried the colors and led the
charge after the original standard-bearer was shot.

1910 – Benjamin Sherman “Scatman” Crothers is born in Terre Haute, Indiana.
He will become an entertainer and will appear in, or use his voice
in over 52 films. A noted character actor, he will best known
for his role in the TV series, “Chico and The Man.” Some of his
best remembered films will be “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,”
“The Shining,” “Lady Sings the Blues,” and “Roots.” He will also
make numerous guest appearances on a variety of television programs.
He will join the ancestors on November 22, 1986.

1920 – The Methodist Episcopal Church conference, meeting in Des Moines,
Iowa, elects two African American bishops, Matthew W. Clair of
Washington, DC, and Robert E. Jones of New Orleans, Louisiana.

1921 – “Shuffle Along,” the first of a popular series of musicals featuring
all African American casts, opens at the 63rd Street Music Hall in
New York City. The musical is written by Noble Sissle and Eubie
Blake and features Florence Mills and a young Josephine Baker in the
chorus. William Grant Still and Hall Johnson play in the orchestra.

1941 – Joe Louis defends his heavyweight boxing title for the 17th successful
time, as Buddy Baer is disqualified at the beginning of the seventh
round. Baer’s manager refused to leave the ring when the round was
ready to begin.

1954 – “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler is born in Newark, New Jersey. He will
become the World Middleweight Champion in 1980. Hagler will make 12
successful title defenses. Among his victims will be Vito Antuofermo,
Mustafa Hamsho, Roberto Duran, Juan Roldan, John “The Beast” Mugabi,
and Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns. His thrilling three-round shootout with
Hearns will be regarded as one of the best fights of all-time. His
last fight will be in 1987 when Sugar Ray Leonard comes out of
retirement and wins an exciting, but controversial 12-round split
decision for the WBC middleweight title. Hagler will retire after
Leonard does not give him a rematch. He will end his career with 62
wins, 3 losses, and 2 draws. He will be elected to the International
Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.

1961 – Twenty-seven Freedom Riders are arrested in Jackson, Mississippi.

1975 – Loretta Mary Aiken, better known by her stage name of Jackie “Moms”
Mabley, joins the ancestors in White Plains, New York at the age of
81. Best known as a comedienne, she began her career as a singer at
the age of 14 and traveled the vaudeville circuit, appearing in
theaters and nightclubs. Making her comedy recording debut in 1960,
Mabley appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show as well as in movie roles.

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

May 22 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – May 22 *

1848 – Slavery is abolished on the French island of Martinique.
Abolition will create a shortage of labor in Martinique given
many former slaves preferred not to work in the sugar cane
plantations. To solve the problem, indentured servants will
be brought from China and India.

1863 – The War Department establishes the Bureau of Colored Troops and
launches an aggressive campaign for the recruitment of African
American soldiers.

1940 – Bernard Shaw is born in Chicago, Illinois. He will become a
journalist and the principal Washington anchor for Cable News
Network, where he will be widely respected for his coverage of
world summit meetings, the historic student demonstrations in
Beijing, Presidential primaries and elections, and the Gulf

1941 – Paul Winfield is born in Los Angeles, California. He will
become an actor and will star in the movies “Tyson,” “Breathing
Lessons,” “Carbon Copy,” “Cliffhanger,” “Dennis the Menace,”
“Presumed Innocent,” “Sounder,” “The Terminator,” and “Star
Trek 2.” He will join the ancestors on March 7, 2004 after
succumbing to a heart attack.

1948 – Harlem Renaissance poet and author Claude McKay joins the
ancestors in Chicago, Illinois at the age of 58. His novel
“Home to Harlem” (1928) became the first best-seller written
by an American of African descent.

1959 – Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. becomes the first African American major
general in the U.S. Air Force. In doing so, he improves upon
the accomplishment of his father, Davis Sr., who was the first
African American general in the U.S. Army.

1961 – The Attorney General orders two hundred additional U.S. Marshals
to Montgomery, Alabama. This is in addition to the four
hundred U.S. marshals already dispatched to Montgomery to keep
order in the Freedom Rider controversy.

1961 – Ernie K-Doe, Ernest Kador Jr., joins the growing list of “One
Hit Wonders” — recording artists who had only one hit. The
song, “Mother-In-Law”, is Ernie’s one hit — and a number one
tune on the nation’s pop music charts.

1966 – Bill Cosby, star of “I Spy,” receives an Emmy for best actor in
a dramatic series, the first African American in the category.
He will earn more than four Emmys.

1967 – Langston Hughes, noted poet, joins the ancestors in New York
City. He was the author of the poetry collections “The Weary
Blues,” “Not Without Laughter,” “The Way of White Folks,” the
autobiographies “The Big Sea” and “I Wonder as I Wander, and
plays and newspaper series. Hughes’s ashes will be buried at
the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.

1970 – Naomi Campbell is born in London, England. She will be
discovered in a shopping mall when she is 15 years old. She
will become a super model and will open a chain of “Fashion
Cafe'” establishments along with models Claudia Schiffer, Elle
MacPherson, and Christy Turlington.

1994 – A worldwide trade embargo against Haiti, led by the United
States, goes into effect to punish Haiti’s military rulers for
not reinstating the country’s ousted elected leader,
Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

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

May 21 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – May 21 *

1833 – Oberlin College is founded in Ohio “to train teachers and other
Christian leaders for the boundless most desolate fields in the
West.” After almost going bankrupt in 1835, Oberlin will become
one of the first colleges in the United States to admit African
Americans. Arthur and Lewis Tappan, wealthy New York merchants
and abolitionists, will insist that Oberlin admit students
regardless of their color, as a condition of their financial
support. As a result of this decision, by 1900, nearly half of
all the African American college graduates in the United States
— 128 to be exact — will be graduated from Oberlin.

1862 – Mary Jane Patterson becomes the first African American woman to
earn an B.A degree from the four-year gentleman’s course at
Oberlin College in Ohio.

1904 – Thomas “Fats” Waller, is born in New York City. He will become a
celebrated jazz pianist, organist, and composer. Early in the
1920s, Waller will become the protege of the famous pianist James
P. Johnson and later will accompany such important vocalists as
Florence Mills and Bessie Smith. His hundreds of recordings,
including some early piano rolls, encompass ragtime, boogie
woogie, dixieland, and swing, although in his hands these styles
are deftly recomposed into a unique Waller sound that will
influence most of the jazz pianists of the following generation.
His appearances on radio and in several motion pictures (notably
“Stormy Weather,” 1943) will bring Waller’s talents to a wide
audience. A major jazz creator, he will write complete scores
for such all-African-American shows as “Keep Shufflin'” (1928)
and “Hot Chocolates” (1929) as well as many single pieces,
especially the now-classic “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Ain’t
Misbehavin’,” and “Black and Blue.” He will join the ancestors on
December 15, 1943.

1921 – Christopher Perry, who founded the Philadelphia Tribune in 1884,
joins the ancestors in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the age of

1934 – Robert ‘Bob’ Northern is born in Kinston, North Carolina. He will
become a jazz musician, known professionally as “Brother Ah”. His
specialty will be the French horn. He will be raised in the Bronx,
New York City. He will study at the Manhattan School of Music, the
Vienna State Academy in the 1950s and is a graduate of Howard
University. He will be best known as a session musician, working
extensively in the 1950s and 1960s with Donald Byrd, John Coltrane,
Gil Evans, Sun Ra, McCoy Tyner, Roland Kirk and the Jazz Composers
Orchestra. He will also work with Don Cherry, Thelonious Monk,
Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Eric Dolphy, Charlie
Haden, and John Lewis. He will live in New York City from 1963 to
1971, and after a period of increasing interest in non-Western
music, will visit and study in Africa (Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania)
during seven consecutive summers (1972-1977). In the 1970s he will
release several albums as a bandleader. His 1974 release, “Sound
Awareness” will feature Max Roach and M’Boom. These albums will be
reissued on CD on the IKEF Records label in the 2000s. His
classical performances will include the New York Metropolitan Opera
(stage band); the Symphony of the Air; Radio City Music Hall
Orchestra; symphony orchestras in Vienna, Austria, West Germany and
Broadway Theatre orchestras in New York City. In addition to horn
playing, he will also branch into percussion and flute performance
later in his career. He will establish The World Community School
of Music, Inc. in 1992 and offer instrumental and vocal music
classes to students of all ages from “3 to 93”. As a lecturer and
instructor he will teach at the Levine School of Music, Sewell
Music Conservatory, District of Columbia Public and private schools,
as well as lectures at Howard University, University of the District
of Columbia, University of Maryland, Smithsonian Institution and
the Kennedy Center. He will also teach at Brown University (9 years),
Dartmouth College (3 years), Talledega College, the New York City
Public Schools, and the African Learning Center in Washington, DC
and privately. He will also establish the “World Music Ensemble,”
a group which explores African, Japanese, Spanish, East Indian,
Native American and American musical traditions and “The Sounds of
Awareness Ensemble” which explores the sounds of nature and music.
The World Music Ensemble will release its first compact disc
entitled “Celebration” in 1993. As Brother Ah, he will host a weekly
jazz oriented radio program, “The Jazz Collectors,” on station WPFW
in Washington, DC. His web site is

1941 – Ronald Isley is born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He will become a singer
and with his brothers O’Kelly, Rudolph and Vernon Isley will form
the group, The Isley Brothers. They will leave Cincinnati in
1956 and go to New York City to pursue their musical career.
Ronald and his brothers will obtain fame and success nationally
and internationally earning numerous platinum and gold albums
which contain such classic hits as “Shout,” “Twist and Shout,”
“It’s Your Thing,” “Who’s That Lady,” “Fight the Power,” “For the
Love of You,” “Harvest For The World,” “Live It Up,” “Footsteps
in the Dark,” “Work to Do,” “Don’t Say Good Night” and many

1955 – After being introduced to Leonard Chess, by bluesman Muddy Waters,
Chuck Berry goes into a recording session for Chess Records,
performing a restyled version of his song “Ida Red”. What comes
out of that hot session will be Ida Red’s new name and Chuck
Berry’s first hit, “Maybellene”. “Maybellene” will top the
Rhythm & Blues charts at #1, and the pop charts at #5.

1961 – Freedom Riders are attacked in Montgomery, Alabama. The third
city in which the CORE-sponsored group is attacked, the incident
prompts Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to send U.S. marshals
to keep the peace while Governor Patterson of Alabama declares
martial law and dispatches the National Guard to the troubled

1964 – Edler Garnet Hawkins is elected by the 176th General Assembly and
becomes the first African American moderator of the United
Presbyterian Church. Born in the Bronx, New York on June 13, 1908,
he received his bachelor’s degree in 1935 at Bloomfield College in
Bloomfield, New Jersey and his Bachelor of Divinity degree from
Union Theological Seminary in 1938. He built his church from
nine African American members to an integrated congregation of
more than 1,000. He also became the first moderator of the
Presbyterian Church to visit the Roman Catholic Pope. He will
join the ancestors on December 18, 1977.

1969 – Police and National Guardsmen fire on demonstrators at North
Carolina A&T College. One student is killed and five policemen
are injured.

1970 – The National Guard is mobilized to stop widespread demonstrations
and violence at Ohio State University. The interracial student
demonstrators demand an end to ROTC programs and greater
admissions for African-American students.

1971 – Riots in Chattanooga, Tennessee, result in one death and 400
arrests as National Guard troops are called to put down the
racially motivated disturbances.

1973 – The sensual, “Pillow Talk”, by Sylvia (Sylvia Vanderpool), earns a
gold record. The artist first recorded with Hot Lips Page for
Columbia Records back in 1950 and was known as Little Sylvia.
She was also half of the singing duo Mickey & Sylvia, who
recorded “Love Is Strange” in 1957. “Pillow Talk” is her only
solo major hit and will make it to number three on the pop music

1975 – Lowell W. Perry is confirmed as chairman of the Equal Opportunity
Commission (EEOC).

1985 – Marvin Gaye’s last album is released. “Dream of a Lifetime”
features songs that critics consider too offensive such as the
controversial, pop version of “The Lord’s Prayer”. Three of the
songs from the album are completed after Gaye’s joins the
ancestors. Marvin Gaye will be inducted into the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame in 1987.

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

May 20 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – May 20 *

1746 – Francois-Dominique Toussaint L’Ouverture is born into
slavery in Haiti. He will lead the revolution in his
country against French and English forces to free the
slaves. Although he will nominally rule in the name of
France, he will in actuality become political and
military dictator of the country. His success in freeing
the slaves in Haiti caused his name to become the biggest
influence in the slave cabins of the Americas. His name
will be whispered in Brazil, in the Caribbean, and the
United States. He will join the ancestors on April 7, 1803.

1868 – The Republican National Convention, meeting in Chicago,
nominates U.S. Grant for the presidency. The convention
marks the national debut of African American politicians.
P.B.S. Pinchback of Louisiana and James J. Harris were
delegates to the convention. Harris will be named to the
committee which informed Grant of his nomination. African
Americans also serve for the first time as presidential
electors. Robert Meacham will be a presidential elector
in Florida. The South Carolina electoral ticket will
include three African American Republican leaders, B.F.
Randolph, Stephen A. Swails, and Alonzo J. Ransier.

1951 – The New York branch of the NAACP honors Josephine Baker for
her work to combat racism. Baker, the American chanteuse
who was acclaimed in Europe, had led a personal crusade to
force integration of clubs where she appeared in Miami and
Las Vegas. She also campaigned against segregated railroad
facilities in Chicago and buses in Oakland.

1961 – A mob attacks freedom riders in Montgomery, Alabama.
Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy dispatches four hundred
U.S. marshals to Montgomery to keep order in the freedom
rider controversy.

1964 – Buster Mathis defeats Joe Frazier to qualify for the U.S.
Olympic team.

1971 – A Pentagon report states that African Americans constituted
11 per cent of U.S. soldiers in Southeast Asia. The
report also states that 12.5 per cent of all soldiers
killed in Vietnam since 1961 were African American.

1985 – Larry Holmes retains the heavyweight boxing title of the
International Boxing Federation in Reno, Nevada — by
defeating Carl Wilson in 15 rounds. The fight marks the
first heavyweight title fight in Reno since Jack Johnson
and Jim Jeffries fought there in 1910.

2003 – Howard Sims, tap dancer, joins the ancestors at age 86. He
was known as “Sandman” and taught Gregory Hines, Ben Vereen
and others.

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

May 19 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – May 19 *

1881 – Blanche Kelso Bruce is appointed Register of the Treasury
by President Garfield.

1925 – Malcolm Little, later known as Malcolm X and El Hajj
Malik El-Shabazz, is born in Omaha, Nebraska. In prison,
he is introduced to the Nation of Islam and begins
studies that will lead him to become one of the most
militant and electrifying black leaders of the 1950s and
1960s. On many occasions, he would indicate that he was
not for civil rights, but human rights. When asked about
the Nation of Islam undermining the efforts of
integrationists by preaching racial separation, Malcolm’s
response was “It is not integration in America that
Negroes want, it is human dignity.” Malcolm X regularly
criticized civil rights leaders for advocating the
integration of African Americans into white society. He
believed that African Americans should be building Black
institutions and businesses and defending themselves
against racist violence based opposition from both
conservative and liberals. Until he joined the ancestors,
Malcolm X was a staunch believer in Black Nationalism,
Black Self-determination and Black Self-organization. He
will begin to lobby with the newly independent African
nations to protest in the United Nations about the
American abuse of their Black citizens human rights,
when he was assassinated on February 21, 1965. His story
will be immortalized in the book “Autobiography of
Malcolm X,” ghostwritten by Alex Haley.

1930 – Lorraine Hansberry is born in Chicago, Illinois. She will
become a noted playwright and will be best known for her
play, “A Raisin in the Sun.” On March 11, 1959, when it
opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theater, it will become the
first Broadway play written by an African American woman.
Her other works will include “The Sign in Sidney
Brustein’s Window,” “To Be Young, Gifted and Black:
Lorraine Hansberry in Her Own Words,” “Les Blancs,” and
“The Movement: Documentary of a Struggle for Equality.”
She will join the ancestors on January 12, 1965.

1952 – Grace Mendoza is born in Spanishtown, Jamaica. She will
move with her family to Syracuse, New York at the age of
12. She will become a performance artist known as Grace
Jones and a transatlantic model for the Ford and
Wilhemina agencies. She will later write music and
perform as a singer. Her releases will extend from 1977
through 1998. She also will succeed as a movie star
appearing in the movies “A View to a Kill,” “Conan the
Destroyer,” and “Deadly Vengeance.”

1965 – Patricia Harris is named U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg.
She is the first African American woman to become an
ambassador for the U.S.

1968 – Piano stylist and vocalist, Bobby Short, gains national
attention as he presents a concert with Mabel Mercer at
New York’s Town Hall. He will be a featured artist at
the intimate Hotel Carlisle from 1968 until the end of

1969 – Coleman Randolph Hawkins joins the ancestors in New York
City at the age of 65. He was responsible for the coming
of age of the tenor saxophone in jazz ensembles and
called the “father of the tenor saxophone.”

1973 – Stevie Wonder moves to the number one position on the
“Billboard” pop music chart with “You Are the Sunshine
of My Life”. It is the third number one song for Wonder,
following earlier successes with “Fingertips, Part 2” in
1963 and “Superstition” in 1973. He will have seven more
number one hits between 1973 and 1987: “You Haven’t Done
Nothin'”, “I Wish”, “Sir Duke”, “Ebony & Ivory” (with Paul
McCartney), “I Just Called to Say I Love You”, “Part-Time
Lover” and “That’s What Friends are for”.

1991 – Willy T. Ribbs becomes the first African American driver to
qualify for the Indianapolis 500. During the race, which
occurs the following week, Ribbs will be forced to drop
out due to engine failure.

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