* 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
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
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
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.