Today in Black History – July 21 *
1864 – The New Orleans Tribune, first daily African American
newspaper, is published in English and French.
1896 – Mary Church Terrell organizes the National Association of
Colored Women in Washington, DC. The association is a
merger of the National Federation of Afro-American Women
and The Colored Women’s League. It is one of many
achievements for Terrell, which include being the first
African American woman to serve on a school’s board of
education, the first to hold membership in the American
Association of University Women, and at age 90, will lead
the desegregation of Washington, DC restaurants in 1953.
1934 – Edolphus Towns is born in Chadbourn, North Carolina. He
will graduate with a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina
A & T State University and a master’s degree in social
work from Adelphi University. He will become a longtime
local civic leader and congressman from New York’s 11th
District starting in 1983, and chairman of the
Congressional Black Caucus in 1990. He will have the
distinction of being the first African American to serve
as Deputy Brooklyn Borough President. Additionally, he and
his son, New York State Assemblyman Darryl Towns, will
become the first African American father/son tandem to
serve simultaneously in public office in New York State.
His varied professional background includes assignments as
an administrator at Beth Israel Medical Center, a
professor at New York’s Medgar Evers College and Fordham
University and a teacher in the New York City Public
School System. He is also a veteran of the United States
Army and an ordained Baptist minister.
1943 – Captain Charles B, Hall, of Brazil, Indiana, becomes the
first African American pilot in World War II to shoot down
a Nazi plane. He is a member of the 99th Fighter Squadron
which is part of the 33rd Fighter Group. During his eighth
mission, while escorting B-25 bombers over Italy, Captain
Hall spots two Focke-Wulf FW 190s. He fires a long burst
at one as it turns left. After several hits the aircraft
will crash into the ground.
1943 – “Stormy Weather” premieres in New York City with Lena
Horne, Bill Robinson, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, the
Nicholas Brothers, and Katherine Dunham. A week before
the premiere, Horne said of African American actors, “All
we ask is that the Negro be portrayed as a normal person.
A worker in a union meeting, a voter in the polls…or an
elected official. Perhaps I’m being naive. Perhaps these
things will never be straightened out on the screen itself,
but will have to wait until..[they’re] solved in real
1945 – Alton H. Maddox, Jr. is born. He will become a New York
African American civil rights activist and attorney. He
will be best known for his representation of Tawana
Brawley (a black teenager who accused a group of white men
of abducting and sexually molesting her in Dutchess
County). He will be disbarred following his involvement in
the Tawana Brawley alleged hoax in 1990.
1950 – The first victory of the Korean War is won by African
American troops of the 24th Infantry Regiment, who
recapture Yechon after waging a 16-hour battle. The North
Koreans will launch a surprise invasion of South Korea on
25 June 1950. U.S. Army divisions stationed in Japan are
rushed to the defense of South Korea. The 25th Division is
ordered to South Korea on 5 July 1950. By mid July the
Division is fully deployed and ready to engage North
Korean forces. On 20 July 1950 the 3rd Battalion 24th
Infantry conducts the first combat action of the Division
when it attacks and destroys a well-dug-in North Korean
force which had seized the critical road hub of Yechon.
The recapture of Yechon is considered the first sizable
American ground victory of the war.
1957 – Althea Gibson becomes the first African American woman to
win a major U.S. tennis title. She won the Women’s
National clay court singles competition.
1960 – The country of Katanga forms in Africa.
1962 – 160 civil right activists jailed after demonstration in
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.