Today in Black History – July 22 *
1848 – Lester Walton is appointed minister to Liberia.
1861 – Abraham Lincoln reads the first draft of the Emancipation
Proclamation to his cabinet.
1933 – Caterina Jarboro becomes the first African American prima
donna of an United States opera company. She will
perform “Aida” with the Chicago Opera Company at the
Hippodrome in New York City. The New York Times music
editor will report: “The young soprano brought a vivid
dramatic sense that kept her impersonation vital without
overacting, and an Italian diction remarkably pure and
distinct.” Her fame, however, will be shortlived. Once
the American opera establishment realizes that she is not
Italian but African American, her career will come to an
end. The newly founded New York Metropolitan Opera
Association will refuse to accept her as a member.
Nonetheless, her contribution to opera will be powerful
1937 – Chuck Jackson is born in Latta, South Carolina. He will
be raised in Pittsburgh and will become a Rhythm & Blues
singer. He will be discovered when he opens for soul
legend Jackie Wilson at the Apollo Theater. He will sign a
recording contract with Scepter. His first single,”I Don’t
Want to Cry”, which he co-wrote, will be his first hit
(1961). The song will chart on both Rhythm & Blues and pop
charts. In 1962, His recording of “Any Day Now”, the Burt
Bacharach-Bob Hilliard classic, will become a huge hit. In
1967, he will move from Scepter to Motown Records, where
he will record a number of successful singles, including
“Are You Lonely for Me” and “Honey Come Back.”
1939 – Jane Matilda Bolin is appointed to the New York City Court
of Domestic Relations by Mayor Fiorello Laguardia, becoming
the first African American woman judge.
1939 – Quincy Thomas Troupe, Jr. is born in New York City. He will
become a poet, editor, journalist, and college professor.
He will grow up in East St. Louis, Illinois. He will attend
Grambling State University on a baseball scholarship and
will subsequently join the United States Army. In his free
time as a soldier, he will develop the passion for writing
that would define his career. Upon his return to civilian
life, he will move to Los Angeles, where he will encounter
the Watts Writers Workshop and begin working in a more
African American, jazz-based style. It will be on a tour
with the Watts group that he first begin his academic life.
In 1969, he will visit Ohio University with the poetry tour
and will soon be offered a position as writer-in-residence.
In 1971, he will move to Richmond College on Staten Island
in New York City, where he will be a lecturer. In 1976,
Richmond College will undergo a merger and become the
College of Staten Island of the City University of New York.
It will be during this transition, he will later reveal,
that he adjusts his curriculum vitae to include a
(fictitious) bachelor’s degree he claims to have earned in
1963 from Grambling. He will make the addition in order to
possibly attain tenure, which he likely could not have done
without an academic degree. This fiction will go
unchallenged for nearly three decades. The next few years
will see him become a celebrity in the academic world,
winning an American Book Award for 1989’s “Miles, the
Autobiography” (written with Miles Davis) and earning
numerous other accolades. In 1990, he will move to the
University of California, San Diego (UCSD) as a professor
of literature, where he will continue to gain acclaim. In
early 2002, he will be named California’s first Poet
Laureate, taking office on June 11, 2002. A background
check related to the new position will reveal that he had,
in fact, never possessed a degree from Grambling.
Confronted with the information, he will resign the post.
After UCSD considers suspending him without pay, he retires
from his academic position as well. His other notable works
include “James Baldwin: The Legacy” (1989) and “Miles and
Me: A Memoir of Miles Davis” (2000). He will also edit
“Giant Talk: An Anthology of Third World Writing” (1975)
and is a founding editor of “Confrontation: A Journal of
Third World Literature and American Rag.” He will teach
creative writing for the Watts Writers’ Movement from 1966
to 1968 and serve as director of the Malcolm X Center in
Los Angeles during the summers of 1969 and 1970. Among his
honors and awards will be fellowships from the National
Foundation for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the
Arts, and a grant from the New York State Council on the
1941 – George Clinton is born in Kannapolis, North Carolina. He
will grow up in Plainfield, New Jersey. In Plainfield, he
will run a barber salon, where he straightens hair, and
will soon formed a doo wop group, inspired by Frankie Lymon
& the Teenagers, called The Parliaments. The Parliaments
will eventually find success under the names Parliament and
Funkadelic in the seventies. Parliament Funkadelic will
record “Testify”, “Mothership Connection”, “First Thangs”,
“Up For The Down Stroke”, “Chocolate City”, “The Clones of
Dr. Funkenstein,” “Atomic Dog,” and many others. The
popularity of Clinton and his group will last over thirty
years. He will be widely considered one of the forefathers
of funk. Usually recording under the name George Clinton &
the P.Funk All-Stars, he will record several solo albums. In
1982, he will sign to Capitol Records as a solo artist and
as the P.Funk All-Stars, releasing Computer Games that same
year. “Loopzilla” hit the Top 20 R&B charts, followed by
“Atomic Dog,” which reached #1 R&B, but peaked at #101 on
the pop chart. In the next four years, he will release
three more studio albums (You Shouldn’t-Nuf Bit Fish, Some
of My Best Jokes Are Friends and R&B Skeletons in the
Closet) as well as a live album, Mothership Connection
(Live from the Summit, Houston, Texas) and charting three
singles in the R&B Top 30, “Nubian Nut,” “Last Dance,” and
“Do Fries Go with that Shake.” His popularity will wane in
the mid 1980s, but revive by the rise of rap music
(particularly, in the 1990s, G Funk), as many rappers cited
him as an influence and began sampling his songs. Alongside
James Brown, George Clinton will be considered to be one
of the most sampled musicians ever. In 1989, he will release
The Cinderella Theory on Paisley Park, Prince’s record
label. This will be followed by Hey Man, Smell My Finger.
He will then sign with Sony 550 and release T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M.
(The Awesome Power Of A Fully Operational Mothership) in
1996, having reunited with several old members of Parliament
and Funkadelic. He will be known for his flamboyant style.
In the 1990s, he will appear in films such as Graffiti
Bridge (1990), Good Burger (1997) and PCU (1994). He will
also appear as the voice of The Funktipus, the DJ of the
Bounce FM station in the 2004 video game, Grand Theft Auto:
San Andreas. Rapper Dr. Dre will sample most of his beats to
create his G-Funk music era.
1947 – Daniel Lebern “Danny” Glover is born in San Francisco,
California. He will become an actor and will star in the
“Lethal Weapon” movies, “Operation Dumbo Drop”, “Silverado”,
“Escape from Alcatraz”, “Chiefs”, “The Color Purple”,
“Angels in the Outfield”, and “Places in the Heart”. He will
serve as board chair of the TransAfrica Forum, “a non-profit
organization dedicated to educating the general public —
particularly African Americans — on the economic, political
and moral ramifications of U.S. foreign policy as it affects
Africa and the Diaspora in the Caribbean and Latin America.”
In March 1998, he will be appointed ambassador to the United
Nations Development Program. He will also serve on the
Advisory Council for TeleSUR, “Television of the South”, a
pan-Latin American television network based in Caracas,
Venezuela. It will begin broadcasting on July 24, 2005.
He is probably best known for his role as Los Angeles police
Sgt. Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon movie series, and
his role as the abusive husband to Whoopi Goldberg’s
character Celie in The Color Purple. Among many awards, he
will win five NAACP Image Awards, for his achievements as a
Black actor. He will join the ranks of actors, such as
Humphrey Bogart, Elliott Gould, and Robert Mitchum, who will
portray Raymond Chandler’s private eye detective Philip
Marlowe in the episode ‘Red Wind’ of the Showtime network’s
1995 series Fallen Angels. He will make his directorial
debut with the Showtime channel short film Override in 1994.
1961 – Milton A. Francis, the first African American specialist in
genitourinary diseases, joins the ancestors.
1963 – World Heavyweight Champion, Sonny Liston, hangs on to his
boxing title, by knocking out challenger, Floyd Patterson,
in the first round of a bout in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.