* Today in Black History – June 5 *
1783 – Oliver Cromwell, an African American soldier who served in
the Revolutionary War, receives an honorable discharge
signed by George Washington. Cromwell, who will claim to
have been with Washington when he crossed the Delaware and
in the battles of Yorktown, Princeton, and Monmouth, is
cited by Washington as having earned “the Badge of Merit
for six years’ faithful service.”
1872 – The Republican National Convention meets in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. The meeting marks the first significant
participation of African American delegates: Robert B.
Elliot (chair of the South Carolina delegation); Joseph
Rainey, and John R. Lynch of Mississippi, who each make
addresses to the convention.
1920 – Marion Motley is born in Leesburg, Georgia. He will become
a NFL running back and all-time AAFC rusher for the
Cleveland Browns, ending his career with the Pittsburgh
Steelers. He will enter the NFL in 1946, making him one
of only four African Americans to desegregate the NFL in
the modern era. One of the largest running backs of his
era, Motley will rush for 4,720 yards in his career and
average an astounding 5.7 yards per carry, the highest in
pro football history. He will also be selected to the first
Pro Bowl in 1951. He will be enshrined in the NFL Hall of
Fame in 1968. He will join the ancestors in Cleveland, Ohio
on June 27, 1999.
1940 – The American Negro Theatre is organized in Harlem by
Frederick O’Neal, Abram Hill, and members of the McClendon
Players. Among the plays it will produce is “Anna Lucasta”,
which will be presented on Broadway in 1944 and feature
Canada Lee, Ossie Davis, and Ruby Dee.
1952 – Jersey Joe Walcott defeats Ezzard Charles for the
heavyweight boxing title.
1956 – A three-judge federal court rules that racial segregation on
Montgomery city buses is unconstitutional, ending the
Montgomery bus boycott.
1959 – U.S. Supreme Court undermines the legal foundations of
segregation in three landmark cases, Sweatt v. Painter,
McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents and Henderson v. United
1969 – A race riot occurs in Hartford, Connecticut.
1973 – Doris A. Davis of Compton, California, becomes the first
African American female to govern a metropolitan city.
1973 – Cardiss R. Collins of Chicago, Illinois is elected to
Congress. She will succeed her late husband and spend over
twenty years in the U.S. House of Representatives.
1983 – Yannick Noah becomes the first Frenchman to win the French
Open since World War II.
1988 – Clarence M. Pendleton, Jr. joins the ancestors at the age of
58. He was the first African American chairman of the
United States Civil Rights Commission (1981-88). Following
President Ronald Reagan’s desires, he led the commission
toward a “color-blind” approach to matters of civil rights.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.