* Today in Black History – July 7 *
1781 – James Armistead, an American slave, infiltrates the
headquarters of General Cornwallis and becomes a servant
hired to spy on the Americans. In reality, Armistead is
a cunning double agent working for the French ally
General Lafayette and reports on the movements and troop
strength of the British. His reports are critical to the
surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.
1791 – The nondenominational African Church is founded by Richard
Allen, Absalom Jones, and Benjamin Rush.
1851 – Charles Albert Tindley, African American Methodist preacher
and songwriter is born in Berlin, Maryland. He will be
is known as one of the “founding fathers of American
Gospel music.” The son of slaves, he will teach himself to
read and write at the age of 17. He will be a driven young
man, working as a janitor while attending night school,
and earning his divinity degree through a correspondence
course. In 1902, he will become pastor of the Calvary
Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
the church where he had earlier been the janitor.
Tindley’s “I’ll Overcome Some Day” was the basis for the
American civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome,”
popularized in the 1960’s. His most enduring gospel hymns
include ‘Stand By Me,’ ‘Nothing Between,’ ‘Leave It There’
and ‘By and By.’ He will compose over 47 gospel standards.
At the time he joins the ancestors in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania on July 26, 1933, his church will have 12,500
members. The Tindley Temple United Methodist Church in
Philadelphia will be named after him.
1906 – Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige, baseball pitcher, (Negro
League and American League) is born in Mobile, Alabama.
(His birth year is an estimate) In 1965, 59 years after
Paige’s supposed birthday, he took the mound for the last
time, throwing three shut-out innings for the Kansas City
Athletics. He will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of
Fame in Cooperstown, New York in 1971. He will join the
ancestors on June 8, 1982.
1915 – Margaret Abigail Walker (later Alexander) is born in
Birmingham, Alabama. In 1935, She will receive her
Bachelors of Arts Degree from Northwestern University and
in 1936 she will begin work with the Federal Writers’
Project under the Works Progress Administration. In 1942,
she will receive her master’s degree in creative writing
from the University of Iowa. Encouraged by Langston Hughes
and others, Walker will become a writer best known for her
volume of poetry ‘For My People,’ her novel ‘Jubilee,’ and
a biography of novelist Richard Wright. In 1965, she will
return to the University of Iowa to earn her Ph.D. She will
serve for a time as a professor at Jackson State College
(now University). She will join the ancestors on November
30, 1998 after succumbing to breast cancer.
1921 – Ezzard Mack Charles is born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He will
become a boxer and will be undefeated as an amateur,
winning the 1939 AAU National middleweight title before
turning professional in 1940. After military service during
World War II, he will defeat Hall-of-Famer Archie Moore and
avenge losses to Lloyd Marshall and Jimmy Bivins to earn a
No. 2 ranking at light heavyweight in 1946. He will fight
five light heavyweight champions, beating four of them, but
will never challenge for the light heavyweight crown. He
will finally win the vacant NBA heavyweight title by
defeating Jersey Joe Walcott in 1949. He will earn worldwide
recognition as heavyweight king the next year by decisioning
an aged Joe Louis. After three successful defenses of the
undisputed crown, he will lose the title in a third battle
with Walcott. Charles will announce his retirement from the
ring on December 1, 1956. He will join the ancestors on May
28, 1975 after succumbing to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
(ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He will be
enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.
1941 – Vernard R. Gray is born in Washington, DC. He will become a
pioneer in the Black Arts Movement. He will begin in the
1960’s as a photographer/videographer documenting African
American culture in the Washington, DC metropolitan area
and around the world. He will found the Miya Gallery in
downtown DC in 1976, introducing the community to various
manifestations of African culture over twenty-five years
and from 1996 will serve as an Internet developer for many
artists, small businesses and non-profit organizations at
Vernard Gray Technology Services at :
1945 – Fern Logan is born in Jamaica (Queens), New York. A graduate
of Pratt Institute, she will study photography in the mid
1970’s with master photographer Paul Caponigro. She will
also receive a Bachelor’s Degree fro State University of
New York and a Masters in Fine Arts Degree from the School
of the Art Institute of Chicago. Among her best-known works
will be the renowned “Artists Portrait Series” of African
American artists such as Romare Bearden, Roy deCarava, and
Jacob Lawrence as well as commanding landscapes and scenes
of nature. She is currently retired (Emerita) from
Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois and
resides in the Greater St. Louis, MO area.
1948 – The Cleveland Indians sign Leroy “Satchel” Paige at the age
of 42. He will be the American League ‘Rookie of the Year’.
1948 – Edna Griffin, her infant daughter Phyllis, John Bibbs and
Leonard Hudson, will enter the Katz Drug Store in downtown
Des Moines, Iowa, sit at the lunch counter and order ice
cream. They will be refused service and Griffin will soon
organize a protest against the drugstore’s policy of
refusing service to blacks. Criminal charges will be filed
against Katz for violating Iowa’s 1884 Civil Rights Act.
The law prohibits discrimination in public accommodation.
Katz will be found guilty and will appeal the verdict to
the Iowa Supreme Court, which affirms the decision a year
later. The case will be settled with Griffin receiving a
one dollar settlement and the drugstore forced to change
1960 – Ralph Lee Sampson is born in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He
will become arguably the most heavily recruited (for both
college and the NBA) basketball prospect of his generation.
Playing for the University of Virginia, he will become one
of only two male players in the history of college
basketball to receive the Naismith Award as the National
Player of the Year three times. He will be the only player
to win the Wooden award twice. He will become a
professional basketball player with the Houston Rockets. In
the 1985-86 NBA season, Sampson will (in his third season
with the Rockets) lift the Rockets from 14-68 in the
1982-83 season before his arrival to one of the best in the
NBA. In Game 5 of the 1986 NBA Western Conference Finals,
his last second tip-in at the buzzer will beat the Los
Angeles Lakers and send the Rockets to only their 2nd NBA
Finals appearance in franchise history. His NBA career will
quickly deteriorate as he becomes burdened with numerous
knee injuries. In 1988, by the time he is traded to the
Golden State Warriors, the rest of his career will become
very limited. In 1989, he will be traded to the Sacramento
Kings where he will basically be a third-string player. He
will average 4.2 points per game and 3.0 points per game
for the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons respectively. He will
play one final season with the Washington Bullets in
1991-92 where he averages two points per game. He will
win numerous individual awards in the short period of time
he was healthy, but will never win a national or NBA
1975 – “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the
Rainbow is Not Enuf,” a play by 26-year-old Ntozake Shange,
premieres in New York City.
1994 – Panama withdraws its offer to the United States to accept
thousands of Haitian refugees.
1997 – Harvey Johnson is sworn in as the first African American
mayor in Jackson, Mississippi.
1998 – Imprisoned Nigerian opposition leader Moshood Abiola joins
the ancestors before he can be released from his political
imprisonment. The government indicates that he succumbed
from an apparent heart attack.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.