Today in Black History – August 4 *
1810 – Robert Purvis is born in Charleston, South Carolina to a
wealthy white cotton merchant father, William Purvis and
a mulatto mother, Harriet Judah. After graduating from
Amherst College in Massachusetts, he will move to
Pennsylvania. In 1833, he will help William Lloyd
Garrison establish the American Anti-Slavery Society,
sign its Declaration of Sentiments and will be on the
first board of managers. In the same year, he will help
establish the Library Company of Colored People. In 1838,
he will draft “Appeal of Forty Thousand Citizens
Threatened with Disfranchisement,” which supports the
repeal of a new state statute barring African Americans
from voting. As a supporter of the Underground Railroad,
he will serve as chairman of the General Vigilance
Committee from 1852 until 1857. According to records that
he will keep, from 1831 until 1861, he estimates that he
helped one slave achieve freedom per day. According to
these figures, he helped 9,000 slaves achieve freedom.
He will join the ancestors on April 15, 1898.
1870 – White conservatives suppress the African American vote and
capture the Tennessee legislature in an election marred
by assassinations and widespread violence. The campaign
effectively ends Radical Reconstruction in North Carolina.
The conservative legislature will impeach Governor Holden
on December 14.
1875 – The Convention of Colored Newspapermen is held in
Cincinnati, Ohio. The meeting is attended by J. Sella
Martin of the “True Republican”, Mifflin W. Gibbs, former
publisher of California’s “Mirror of the Times”
representing the “Pacific Appeal”, Henry McNeal Turner of
Philadelphia’s “Christian Recorder”, the San Francisco
“Elevator’s” L. H. Douglass, and Henry Scroggins of the
“American Citizen” (Lexington, Kentucky). Chairman P.B.S.
Pinchback states the aim of the national organization: “to
make colored people’s newspapers self-sustaining.” At the
time of the convention, Martin’s “New Era” and Frederick
Douglass’ “North Star” are among eight African American
1885 – W.C. Carter invents the umbrella stand.
1890 – Sam T. Jack’s play “Creoles” opens in Haverhill,
Massachusetts. It is the first time African American women
are featured as performers on the stage.
1891 – George Washington Williams joins the ancestors in Blackpool,
England at the age of 41. He was the first major African
American historian and published his major work, “History
of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880” in 1883.
1896 – W.S. Grant patents a curtain rod support.
1897 – Henry Rucker is appointed collector of Internal Revenue for
1901 – Daniel Louis Armstrong is born in New Orleans, Louisiana.
He will become a jazz musician specializing in the cornet
and trumpet. He will win a Grammy Award for his rendition
of “Hello, Dolly!” in 1964. He will be awarded the
Lifetime Achievement Award in 1971. Some of his other hits
will be “It’s a Wonderful World,” “Mack the Knife,” and
“Blueberry Hill.” He will also be featured in films: “The
Five Pennies,” “The Glenn Miller Story,” “Hello Dolly!,”
and “High Society.” He will be referred to as the American
ambassador of good will and will be inducted into the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Throughout his life, he will
resent the nickname “Satchmo”, short for satchel mouth. He
will join the ancestors on July 6, 1971.
1916 – The United States purchases the Danish Virgin Islands for
1931 – Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, heart surgeon, founder of
Chicago’s Provident Hospital, joins the ancestors.
1936 – “Long” John Woodruff, of the University of Pittsburgh, wins
a gold medal in the 800-meter run at the Olympic Summer
Games in Berlin, Germany. He, like Jesse Owens (who had won
his second medal earlier in the day), will be snubbed by
Adolph Hitler, who believes that blacks are incapable of
1936 – Jesse Owens sets a new Olympic running broad jump record by
leaping 26′ 5 5/16″.
1953 – The movement of African American families into the Trumbull
Park housing project in Chicago, Illinois, triggers
virtually continuous riot conditions which will last more
than three years and require the assignment of more than
one thousand policemen to keep order.
1962 – Nelson Mandela is captured and jailed by South African
1964 – James E. Chaney and two other civil rights workers’ bodies
are found in an earthen dam on a farm in Philadelphia,
Mississippi. They had been missing since June 21. The FBI
says that they had been murdered on the night of their
disappearance by segregationists. Eighteen whites,
including several police officers, were charged with
conspiracy to deprive the victims of their civil rights.
1969 – Willie Stargell is the first to hit a home run out of Dodger
1980 – Maury Wills is named manager of the Seattle Mariners. He is
the third African American to be named a major league
1985 – California Angel Rod Carew gets his 3,000th base hit.
1996 – On the final day of the Atlanta Olympics, Josia Thugwane
became the first Black South African to win a gold medal as
he finished first in the marathon.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.