* Today in Black History – June 16 *
1822 – Denmark Vesey’s slave rebellion in South Carolina is aborted
when his plans are revealed to authorities by slave George
Wilson. After 10 of the conspirators are arrested, one of
them, Monday Gell, informs on the others. Although an
estimated 9,000 are involved, only 67 are convicted of any
offense. Denmark and over 30 others will be hanged.
1858 – In a speech in Springfield, Illinois, Senate candidate
Abraham Lincoln says the slavery issue has to be resolved,
declaring, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
1939 – Chick Webb, famous jazz drummer and band leader joins the
ancestors. Webb discovered singer Ella Fitzgerald after
she won an amateur contest at the Apollo Theater. She
performed with his band until his death. After his death,
Ella will take over the band until she starts her solo
career in 1942.
1941 – Lamont Dozier is born in Detroit, Michigan. He will become
part of the legendary songwriting team of Holland, Dozier &
Holland. Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland will
write and produce many of the songs that are most closely
identified with Motown. These include “Stop! In the Name of
Love” and “You Can’t Hurry Love” (the Supremes), “Heat Wave”
and “Jimmy Mack” (Martha and the Vandellas), “Reach Out I’ll
Be There” and “Baby I Need Your Loving” (the Four Tops), and
“Can I Get a Witness” and “How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by
You” (Marvin Gaye). These classics are only the tip of the
iceberg, insofar as Holland-Dozier-Holland’s ten-year output
at Motown is concerned. In their behind-the-scenes roles as
staff producers and songwriters, Holland-Dozier-Holland were
as responsible as any of the performers for Motown’s
spectacular success. Dozier and his team will be inducted
into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.
1942 – Eddie Levert is born in Canton. Ohio. He will become a
Rhythm & Blues singer and will form the group, The O’Jays
with William Powell, Walter Williams, Bobby Massey and Bill
Isles. The group had more than one name until they were
named by Cleveland disc jockey Eddie O’Jay. They will
become a trio in 1971 without Bill Isles and Bobby Massey.
They will record many hit songs including “Back Stabbers,”
“Love Train,” “Put Your Hands Together,” “Time To Get Down,”
“For The Love Of Money,” “Give The People What They Want,”
“I Love Music,” “Livin’ For The Weekend,” “Message In Our
Music,” and “Use Ta Be My Girl.” Eddie will remain with the
group for over forty years.
1943 – A race riot occurs in Beaumont, Texas, resulting in two
1969 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the suspension of Adam
Clayton Powell Jr. from the House of Representatives is
1970 – Kenneth A. Gibson is elected mayor of Newark, New Jersey. He
is the first African American to serve in the position and
the first of a major northeastern city. In 1976 he will be
elected the first African American president of the U.S.
Conference of Mayors.
1970 – A racially motivated civil disturbance occurs in Miami,
1971 – Tupac Shakur is born in Brooklyn, New York. He will move to
Baltimore, Maryland to attend the High School for Performing
Arts, where he will begin writing rap music. He will move
to Marin City, California, located near San Francisco,
continuing to write and record rap. He will release many
albums, with the album “All Eyez on Me” selling over 5
million copies. Tupac will join the ancestors on Friday,
September 13, 1996 after succumbing from wounds he will
receive as a result of a drive-by shooting.
1971 – A major racial disturbance occurs in Jacksonville, Florida
and will last through June 20.
1975 – Adam Wade hosts the nationally televised game show ‘Musical
Chairs’. He becomes the first African American game show
1976 – Hector Petersen, a 13-year-old Soweto schoolboy, is the
first to join the ancestors in what will become known as the
‘Children’s Crusade,’ the first nationwide black South
African uprising in the 1970’s. The violence will last 16
months and result in 570 deaths, 3,900 injuries, and 5,900
1984 – Edwin Moses wins his 100th consecutive 400-meter hurdles
1985 – Willie Banks sets the triple jump record at 58 feet 11
inches in Indianapolis, Indiana at the USA championships.
Banks breaks the record that had been set by Brazil’s Joao
Oliveria in 1975.
1987 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar signs a two-year contract with the Los
Angeles Lakers for $5,000,000. The 18-year veteran of the
NBA becomes the highest paid player in any sport.
1990 – African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, welcomed by
a crowd in the Netherlands, thanks them for staunch Dutch
support of the anti-apartheid movement.
1991 – Natalie Cole’s album ‘Unforgettable’ is released. The album
consists of her rendition of 24 songs by her father, Nat
King Cole, and includes the title track, specially remixed
to include both father and daughter’s voices. It will be
her most successful album, selling over 4,000,000 copies,
and will sweep the Grammy Awards ceremonies in 1992.
1999 – Thabo Mbeki takes the oath as president of South Africa,
succeeding Nelson Mandela.
2002 – The late Rev. W.J. Hodge is honored at a service at the
church where he pastored, as the newest member of the
Gallery of Great Black Kentuckians. A framed poster that
will hang in the gallery is unveiled at the Fifth Street
Baptist Church, where Hodge’s son, the Rev. Phillip Hodge,
became pastor. W.J. Hodge joined the ancestors in December
2000 at age 80. The gallery is meant to teach young people
about Blacks’ influence in the state. Hodge became the 32nd
member. “If all of us did half of what Dr. Hodge did in his
life, this world would be a better place,” said Beverly
Watts, executive director of the Kentucky Commission on
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.