* Today in Black History – July 8 *
1753 – Lemuel Haynes is born in West Hartford, Connecticut. He is
born to a African American father he never knew and a
white mother who refused to acknowledge him. As a child,
he will be made an indentured servant to a white family in
Granville, Massachusetts, who will treat him as one of
their children. His indenture will end in 1774, when he
will become a Minuteman in the Continental Army. During
the Revolutionary War, he will fight at the siege of Boston
and Fort Ticonderoga. After the war, he will study Latin and
Greek with local ministers and be ordained by the
Congregationalists, becoming the first African American
ordained by a mainstream white denomination. Throughout the
next five decades he ministered to white congregations in
New England and New York. Haynes also received considerable
attention for a sermon he preached rebutting Hosea Ballou’s
theory of universal salvation from a Calvinist perspective.
Haynes’s book “Universal Salvation, A Very Ancient Doctrine”,
ran some 70 editions. In 1804, Middlebury College awarded
Haynes an honorary master’s degree becoming the first
African American to receive that honor from any institution.
He will join the ancestors on September 28, 1833.
1876 – White terrorists attack African American Republicans in
Hamburg, South Carolina, killing five.
1910 – Govan Archibald Munyelwa Mbeki is born in Nqamakwe, Transkei,
South Africa. He will become a political activist, leading
member of the African National Congress (ANC) and a member
of the South African Communist Party (SACP). After attending
a mission school, he will attend the University of Fort Hare,
in Alice, and will obtain his bachelor of arts degree in
1937. He will join the ANC while a student in 1935. While
teaching at Adams College, he will be dismissed for political
activity. He will then manage a cooperative store and edit
the Territorial Magazine from 1938 to 1944. In 1943 he will
be elected to the United Transkeian General Council, or
Bunga. In the same year, Mbeki will assist the ANC prepare a
document called African Claims, which will be a response to
the Atlantic Charter, the declaration of human rights issued
during World War II (1939-1945) by the United States and
Great Britain. African Claims became the basis for the ANC
Freedom Charter of 1955. After returning to teaching, Mbeki
will be dismissed again for political activity, and will
become the Port Elizabeth editor of New Age, a left-wing
paper, in 1955 and will make no secret of his left-wing
sympathies. Mbeki will become deeply involved in ANC politics
and stand trial with Nelson Mandela and others for treason,
charged with conspiring to overthrow the government. In 1964,
he will be sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island.
The same year, his book “The Peasants’ Revolt” is published
in Great Britain and banned in South Africa. In 1977, while
on Robben Island, Mbeki will have an honorary doctorate of
social sciences conferred on him by the University of
Amsterdam for the publication. After being released on
November 5, 1987 by the South African government, he will
continue to be a member of both the ANC and the SACP. He will
resume his place on the executive committee of the ANC in
1990. In May, 1994, Mbeki will be elected deputy president of
the Senate. His son Thabo Mbeki, the future president of
South Africa, will be elected deputy president of South
Africa. He will join the ancestors on August 30, 2001.
1914 – William Clarence (“Billy”) Eckstine is born in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. He will become famous in the 1950s as the
smooth-voiced baritone singer of such hits as “Fools Rush In”
and “Skylark,” but music critics and serious jazz fans know
him as the man whose big-band launched such renowned
performers as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker,
Dexter Gordon, and Sarah Vaughan. He will begin his musical
career on a piano his father had bought for his two sisters.
After attending Howard University, he will begin singing with
various groups, touring in the Midwest before settling in
Chicago in 1939, where he will join the band led by Earl
“Fatha” Hines. It was with Hines that he will have his first
hit, the blues song “Jelly Jelly,” which he will write and
sing. In 1944, he will form his own big-band. The band,
always a favorite with other musicians, will help to pioneer
the then-new bebop sound. Its avant-garde musicianship often
overshadowed his more traditional vocals, and the band
suffered from being badly recorded. His solo career will take
off after the band dissolves in 1947. With his deep, romantic
voice, elegant presence, and matinee-idol good looks, he
becomes a popular performer. Often referred to as “Mr. B,” he
will also garner several film roles in the following decades,
and many will refer to him as the first Black sex symbol. He
will join the ancestors on March 8, 1993.
1938 – Julia Mae Porter (later Carson) is born in Louisville,
Kentucky. She will be raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1965,
while working as a secretary for the United Auto Workers union,
she will be hired by Indiana congressman Andrew Jacobs Jr. She
will work on his staff for eight years. In 1972, she will be
elected to the Indiana House of Representatives, and in 1976,
she will be elected to the Indiana Senate, where she will serve
on the Finance Committee and the Health Committee. In 1990, she
will be elected trustee of Center Township and direct an agency
that provides assistance to the needy. After congressman Jacobs
retires in 1996, Carson will run successfully for his position.
She will win 52 percent of the vote and become the first African
American to represent Indianapolis. She will represent Indiana’s
Tenth Congressional District. It is located in the city of
Indianapolis and includes a mixture of African American and
white neighborhoods. In 1997, Carson will be assigned seats on
the Banking and Financial Services Committee and the Veterans’
Affairs Committee. She will also be a member of the
Congressional Black Caucus. She will be a member of the United
States House of Representatives for Indiana’s 7th congressional
district from 1997 until she joins the ancestors on December 15,
1943 – Alyce Faye Wattleton is born in St. Louis, Missouri. She will
become the president of Planned Parent Federation of America
in 1978 and be known for almost 14 years as an outspoken
champion of women’s reproductive rights. She will use her
position in Planned Parenthood to advocate reproductive rights.
Along with other abortion-rights groups, she will fight to
secure federal funding for birth control and prenatal programs;
to forbid states from restricting abortions; and to legalize
the sale in the United States of RU-486, the French-made pill
that induces abortions. Her efforts and the efforts of others
encounter a number of setbacks, including the Supreme Court’s
1989 decision in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services to
allow states to restrict abortions. She will use such defeats
to further mobilize activists and donors. She will leave
Planned Parenthood in 1992 to develop her own talk show, in
Chicago, Illinois, devoted to discussions of women’s issues.
She will be a 1993 inductee into the National Women’s Hall of
Fame. In 1996, she will publish her autobiography, Life on the
Line. She will later serve as the President of the Center for
the Advancement of Women. At this time, she is the managing
director at an international consulting firm.
1943 – Nebraska’s first African American newspaper, “The Omaha Star”,
is founded by Mildred Brown.
1966 – King Mwambutsa IV Bangiriceng of Burundi is deposed by his son
Prince Charles Ndizi.
1966 – John H. Johnson wins the Spingarn Medal for his “contributions
to the enhancement of the Negro’s self-image” through his
publications including “Negro Digest”, “Ebony”, and “Jet”
magazines, and books such as “Before the Mayflower”, written
by historian Lerone Bennett, Jr.
1982 – Senegalese Trotskyist political party LCT is legally recognized.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.