* Today in Black History – June 2 *
1863 – Harriet Tubman leads a group of Union troops into
1875 – James A. Healy is consecrated in a cathedral in Portland,
Maine, becoming the first African American Roman Catholic
bishop (Diocese of Maine).
1899 – African Americans observe a day of fasting called by the
National Afro-American Council to protest lynchings and
1907 – Dorothy West is born in Boston, Massachusettts. She will
become a writer at age of seven when the Boston Globe
publishes her short story, “Promise and Fulfillment.” She
will become a leading writer during the Harlem Renaissance
and will also become a performer, working as a cast member
of the play, “Porgy.” She will found two literary journals,
“Challenge,” and “New Challenge.” She will move to Martha’s
Vineyard in 1945 and will live there for the remainder of
her life, while producing the works “Living Is Easy,” “The
Wedding,” and more than sixty short stories. She will join
the ancestors in Boston, Massachusetts on August 16, 1998.
1911 – Claudio Brindis de Salas joins the ancestors in Buenos
Aires, Argentina at the age of 58. He was an Afro-Cuban
violinist and composer renown worldwide as a virtuoso. He
had been referred to as “The Black Paganini” and “The King
of the the Octaves.”
1943 – The 99th Pursuit Squadron (Tuskegee Airmen), the first
African American Army Air Corps unit, flies its first
combat mission in the Mediterranean, strafing enemy
positions on the Italian island of Pantelleria.
1951 – Kenneth I. Chenault is born in Mineola (Long Island), New
York. He will become an attorney and join American Express
in 1981, where he will become president of the company’s
Consumer Card and Financial Services Group in 1989 and one
of the highest-ranking African Americans in corporate
1951 – Sergeant Cornelius H. Charlton, a member of Company C, 24th
Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, is mortally
wounded during the Korean War while his platoon was
attacking heavily defended hostile positions on commanding
ground. After his platoon 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. He will be posthumously awarded the
Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery on March 19, 1952.
1953 – Cornel West is born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He will grow up in
Sacramento, California and be influenced by the Black
Panther Party and the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr.
and Malcolm X. He will graduate from Harvard University
magna cum laude in 1973, and will receive his M.A. and
Ph.D. from Princeton University. After teaching at Yale
Divinity School, Union Theological Seminary and Princeton,
he will join the faculty of Harvard University in 1994.
Considered a leading African American intellectual, he will
be the author of thirteen books, including the two-volume
“Beyond Eurocentrism and Multiculturalism” (Common Courage
Press, 1993), “Breaking Bread” (South End Press, 1991),
“Race Matters” (Beacon Press, 1993), “Keeping Faith”
(Routledge, 1993), “Jews and Blacks Let the Healing Begin”
(Putnam Books, 1995), co-authored with Michael Lerner, and
“Restoring Hope: Conversations on the Future of Black
America” (Beacon Press, October 1997). Besides his numerous
publications, he will be a well-respected and highly
popular lecturer. His speaking style, formed by his roots
in the Baptist Church, will provide a blend of drama,
knowledge, and inspiration.
1967 – The first of three days of race riots occurs in the Roxbury
section of Boston, Massachusetts. Dozens are injured and
more are arrested after welfare mothers barricade themselves
in protest against welfare policies.
1985 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar becomes the all-time leading point scorer
in the National Basketball Association playoffs. He rings
up a total of 4,458 points, smashing the previous record
held by Jerry West, also of the Los Angeles Lakers.
1993 – South Africa’s Supreme Court upholds Winnie Mandela’s
conviction for kidnapping four young blacks, but said she
would not have to serve her five-year prison term.
1999 – South Africans go to the polls in their second post-apartheid
election, giving the African National Congress a decisive
victory. Retiring President Nelson Mandela is succeeded by
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.