Today in Black History – July 29 *
1895 – The First National Convention of Black Women is held in
1909 – Chester Himes is born in Jefferson City, Missouri. He will
become a noted crime novelist whose books will reflect his
encounters with racism. The domination of his dark-skinned
father by his light-skinned mother was a source of deep
resentment that will shape his racial outlook. The family’s
frequent relocations, as well as the accidental blinding of
his brother, will further disrupt his childhood. He will
attend Ohio State University. From 1929 to 1936 he will be
jailed at the Ohio State Penitentiary for armed robbery,
and while there, he will begin to write fiction. A number
of his stories will appear in Esquire and other American
magazines. After his release from prison, he will work at
numerous odd jobs and join the Works Progress
Administration, eventually serving as a writer with the
Ohio Writers’ Project. His first novel, “If He Hollers Let
Him Go” (1945), will detail the fear, anger, and humiliation
of a black employee of a racist defense plant during World
War II. “Lonely Crusade” (1947) will concern racism in the
labor movement. “Cast the First Stone” (1952) will portray
prison life, and “The Third Generation” (1954) will examine
family life. In the mid-1950s, he will move to Paris. There
he will write chiefly murder mysteries set in New York
City’s village of Harlem. These will include “The Crazy Kill
(1959), “Cotton Comes to Harlem,” which describe the
underbelly of the American dream and introduce “Gravedigger
Jones” and “Coffin Ed Johnson” to the reading public (1965;
will be made into a film in 1970), and “Blind Man with a
Pistol” (1969; that will later be retitled “Hot Day, Hot
Night”). Among his other works will be “Run Man, Run” (1966),
a thriller; “Pinktoes” (1961), a satirical work of
interracial erotica; “Come Back Charleston Blue”; and “Black
on Black” (1973), a collection of stories. He will also
publish two volumes of autobiography, “The Quality of Hurt”
(1972) and “My Life As Absurdity” (1976). He will join the
ancestors on November 12, 1984 in Moraira, Spain.
1919 – The first convention of the National Association of Negro
Musicians is held in Chicago. Illinois. NANM’s charter
members include Clarence Cameron White, who will call for
the formation of the association, and R. Nathaniel Dett,
Nora Holt, and Florence Cole Talbert among others. NANM
will be active in furthering African American music and
performers, and will award its first scholarship to a
young Marian Anderson. NANM continues to exist, with
chapters all over the country. Its headquarters will be
located in Chicago, Illinois.
1942 – William Dean, Jr., plans a boycott unless African Americans
are permitted to play on major league baseball teams.
1970 – Six days of racially motivated disturbances start in
Hartford, Connecticut, leaving one person dead.
1974 – Lou Brock of the St. Louis Cardinals steals his 700th base.
1988 – The South African government bans the anti-apartheid film
1991 – Physician Bernard A. Harris, Jr. becomes a full-fledged
astronaut. Harris, who will join NASA’s Johnson Space
Center in 1987 as a clinical scientist and flight surgeon,
is now eligible for future flight assignments.
1996 – At the Atlanta Olympics, Carl Lewis wins the gold medal in
the long jump, becoming only the fifth Olympian to win
gold medals in four straight games.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.