June 8 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – June 8 *

1886 – The first Civil Rights Act is passed.

1892 – Homer Adolph Plessy, an African American shoemaker from New
Orleans, Louisiana, is arrested for sitting in a “whites
only” railroad car. Judge John Ferguson will find him
guilty of the crime of refusing to leave the white railroad
car. Plessy will appeal to the Supreme Courts of both
Louisiana and the United States, and both will uphold
Ferguson’s decision and the “separate but equal” doctrine
(Plessy vs. Ferguson).

1924 – George Kirby is born in Chicago, Illinois. He will become a
comedian and, impressionist and delight audiences for more
than 40 years. Kirby will begin his career in Chicago and
will go to Las Vegas in 1952 as part of the Count Basie
show, one of the first African American acts to play Vegas.
He will be best known for impressions of stars such as Jerry
Lewis, John Wayne and Walter Brennan, and for his dead-on
takes of women, notably Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald and
Sarah Vaughan. He will join the ancestors on September 20,

1928 – Edward Joseph Perkins is born in Sterlington, Louisiana. He
will become the first African American ambassador to South
Africa (1986-1989). A veteran foreign service professional,
he will serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Liberia
(1985 – 1986), Director of the Office of West African
Affairs in the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S.
Department of State (1983 – 1985), Deputy Chief of Mission
at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia (1981-1983),
Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in
Accra, Ghana (1978 – 1981), and ambassador to the United

1939 – Bernie Casey is born in Wyco, West Virginia. He will be the
first-round draft pick for the San Francisco 49ers and play
wide receiver. Before retiring from the NFL, he will also
play for the Los Angeles Rams and be named an NFL All-Pro
wide receiver. After the NFL, he will have his acting debut
in “Guns of the Magnificent Seven,” and have more than 40
roles to his credit, including Mr. Walter in “Once Upon A
Time…When We Were Colored,” Commander Hudson in the TV
series “Star Trek,” “Deep Space Nine” and Commander Harris
in “Under Siege.” He will have his directorial debut with
the film, “The Dinner (1997). He also will become an
accomplished artist with paintings part of permanent
collections at the California Museum of African American
Art and the Ankrum Gallery in Los Angeles. His works will
also appear in The Hirshorn Museum in Washington, DC, the
Lowe Gallery in Atlanta and the John Bolles Gallery in San
Francisco. He will earn a doctoral degree in humanities
from the Savannah College of Art and Design and serve as
chairman of its board of trustees.

1943 – Willie Davenport is born in Troy, Alabama. He will become a
star in track and field events, whose career will span five
Olympic Games from 1964 to 1980, during which he won a gold
and bronze medal. He will be one of only eight U.S. Olympic
athletes to have competed in both the summer and winter
games. Davenport will win the gold medal in the 110-meter
hurdles in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, and the bronze in
the same event in Montreal, Quebec in 1976. After four
Olympic appearances in the hurdles, Davenport will compete
as the first African American member of the U.S. four-man
bobsled team in 1980. Davenport will coach the 1993 and
1994 U.S. Army Track Team to victory in the Armed Forces
Track & Field Championships. He will be the head coach of
the United States Army Track & Field Team for the 1996
Olympics. He will join the ancestors on June 17, 2002.

1953 – The Supreme Court rules that District of Columbia restaurants
cannot refuse to serve African Africans.

1958 – Keenen Ivory Wayans is born in New York City. He will become
a comedian, actor, writer, director, and producer. He will
become best known for his television show, “In Living

1963 – Three bullets are fired into the Clarksdale, Mississippi home
of Dr. Aaron Henry, Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party
candidate for governor.

1968 – James Earl Ray, the alleged assassin of Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr., is captured at London’s Heathrow airport.

1969 – Bill Cosby wins an Emmy for a variety special. It is his
fourth Emmy award.

1978 – Through the voice of its president, Spencer W. Kimball, the
Mormon Church reverses a 148-year-long policy of spiritual
discrimination against African American leadership within
the denomination (Official Declaration # 2).

1982 – Leroy “Satchel” Paige, a pitcher in the Negro Leagues and
the first African American pitcher in the American League,
joins the ancestors in Kansas City, Missouri at the age of
75. Paige is heralded as one of the greatest early African
American baseball players in a career that spanned more than
40 years and was enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame in

1998 – Military dictator of Nigeria, Sani Abacha joins the ancestors
at the age of 54.

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


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