Today in Black History – July 14 *
1798 – The first direct federal tax on the states is enacted — on
dwellings, land & slaves.
1848 – Walter ‘Wiley’ Jones is born a slave in Madison county, Georgia.
He will become a barber after the Civil War. He will establish
the first streetcar system in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, the
Wiley Jones Street Car Line, in 1886. He will invest his
income wisely and by 1890, he will be estimated to be worth
$300,000. He will own real estate, a large general store, a
popular saloon, a race track, and a horse stable “of the
finest trotters in the South.” Each day, hundreds of Pine
Bluff residents will ride the six-mile-long Jones Street
Car Line. Conductors in neat uniforms with distinctive caps
will assist riders and collect fares. He will join the
ancestors on December 7, 1904 after succumbing to a heart
attack and Bright’s disease. At the time of his transition,
he will be the richest African American in Arkansas.
1876 – Sarah A. Dicket opens a seminary for African American girls
1888 – The “Indianapolis Freeman”, the nation’s first illustrated
African American newspaper, is founded by Edward Cooper. It
will be subsidized by the Republican Party for some of its
existence and will enjoy a large circulation because of its
news coverage’s variety and scope and its attention to
Black culture. In the 1890s, the Freeman will acquire a
reputation as the country’s leading black journal. Black
press historian, I. Penn Garland, will call it “The
Harper’s Weekly of the colored race.” During WW I, the
paper will editorialize on the hypocrisy of a nation
fighting a war to save democracy at the same time it
tolerates blatant racism in its laws and institutions. The
Freeman also will cover extensively the wartime
achievements of Black Hoosiers. In the 1920s, the Freeman
will experience economic problems and subsequently fold in
1891 – J. Standard is awarded a patent for the refrigerator.
1893 – Spencer Williams is born in Vidalia, Louisiana. After
serving in the U.S. Army, he will become a writer for a
series of African American films being produce by an
affiliate of Paramount Pictures. This will lead to a career
in Hollywood. He will appear in some of the early African
American talking movies including “The Lady Fare,” “Oft in
the Silly Night,” and Music Has Charms.” “He will produce
“Hot Biscuits,” “Bronze Buckaroo,” and “Harlem Rides the
Range.” He will write, direct, and star in “The Blood of
Jesus” and “Juke Joint. He will star as Andy in the
television production of “Amos ‘n’ Andy,” a role for which
he is best remembered. He will join the ancestors on
December 13, 1969.
1895 – J.B. Allen receives a patent for a clothes line support.
1914 – Dr. Kenneth Bancroft Clark is born in the Canal Zone, Panama.
He will become a noted psychologist who will co-found the
Northside Center for Child Development in New York City in
March, 1946 with his wife, Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark. Their
pioneering research on the psychological damage to African
American children caused by segregation will be used as
part of the basis for the “Brown vs. Board of Education”
school desegregation decision of the Supreme Court. In
1996, exactly fifty years after its founding, a history of
Northside Center will be published by The University Press
of Virginia. “Children, Race, and Power, Kenneth and Mamie
Clark’s Northside Center,” by Gerald Markowitz and David
Rosner, will tell the fascinating story of how Northside
began, survived, and exerted its influence, during a
formative time in our country’s history. He will join the
ancestor on May 1, 2005. The Northside Center will
celebrate sixty years of excellence in June, 2006.
1932 – Roosevelt “Rosey” Grier is born in Cuthbert, Georgia. He
will become a professional football player and will play
for the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams. After
retiring from football in 1968, he will become an movie
actor. His film credits will include “Roots-The Next
Generations,” “Reggie’s Prayers,” “The Sophisticated
Gents,” “The Glove,” “The Seekers,” “The Timber Tramps,”
“The Treasure of Jamaica Reef,” “The Thing with Two
Heads,” “The Desperate Mission,” “Black Brigade,” “The Big
Push,” and “A Second Chance.” He will also become a singer
who will perform in Carnegie Hall, the author of “Needle-
Point for Men” and “Rosey: The Gentle Giant” and an
ordained minister. He will enter history when he apprehends
Sirhan Sirhan after the assassin shoots Bobby Kennedy.
1934 – Robert Lee Elder is born in Dallas, Texas. He will be
introduced to the game of golf as a caddie when he was a
teenager in southern California. After serving in the Army
on a golf team, he will become an active player on the
United Golf Association Tour. He will dominate the tour,
capturing titles in 1963, 1964, 1966, and 1967. In 1967,
he will become the second African American to qualify and
play in the previously whites-only Professional Golfer’s
Association (PGA). His achievements will include being the
first African American to be invited and play in the South
African Open (1971), the first African American to qualify
for the Ryder Cup Team (1979) and the first African
American to play in the Masters Tournament (1975). Among
his victories will be The Monsanto Open (1974) and The
Houston Open (1976). He will join the Senior PGA Tour in
1943 – Julius Bledsoe joins the ancestors in Hollywood, California.
He was an important stage and film actor whose roles in
“Deep River”, “In Abraham’s Bosom”, and the stage and film
versions of “Showboat” won him wide acclaim.
1951 – The George W. Carver National Monument is dedicated in
Joplin, Missouri. This is the first national monument to
honor an African American.
1968 – Hank Aaron hit his 500th career home run in Atlanta, Georgia
leading the Braves to a 4-2 win over the San Francisco
Giants. (In April of 1974, Hammerin’ Hank will eclipse the
old home run mark of 714 held by Babe Ruth.)
1972 – Former New York State Senator Basil A. Paterson is elected
vice-chairman of the Democratic National Committee, the
first African American to hold a leadership position in a
national political party.
1990 – Ernie Singleton is named president of MCA Records’ Black
Music Division. As president, Singleton oversees the
day-to-day activities of the division and the company’s
artist roster that includes Bobby Brown, Heavy D. & the
Boyz, Gladys Knight, and Patti LaBelle. He, along with
Jheryl Busby, president of Motown Records Company, Sylvia
Rhone, president of Atco EastWest Records, and Ed Eckstine,
president of Mercury Records, are the highest ranking
African Americans in the mainstream record business.
1994 – A tidal wave of Hutu refugees from Rwanda’s civil war floods
across the border into Zaire, swamping relief organizations.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.