August 7 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – August 7 *

1846 – Frederick Douglass is speaker at the World’s Temperance
convention in London, England.

1904 – Ralph Johnson Bunche is born in Detroit, Michigan. A
political social scientist, he will achieve fame as the
first African American Nobel Prize winner (1950) for his
role as U.N. mediator of the armistice agreements between
Israel and her Arab neighbors in the Middle East wars of
1948, for which he will be awarded the NAACP’s Spingarn
Medal (1949). He will serve as the undersecretary of the
United Nations from 1955 until he joins the ancestors in

1932 – Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia becomes the first man to win the
Olympic marathon twice (running barefoot).

1936 – Rahsaan Ronald Kirk is born in Columbus, Ohio. Blind from
the age of two, he will begin playing the tenor saxophone
professionally in Rhythm & Blues bands before turning to
jazz. He will be compelled by a dream to transpose two
letters in his first name to make Roland. After another
dream in 1970, he will add Rahsaan to his name. Rahsaan
Roland Kirk will be best known for his ability to play more
than one instrument at once, his self-made jazz instruments,
and for his creative improvisational skills. Rahsaan will
also become an activist in getting support for what he will
term “Black Classical Music.” He will participate in
several takeovers of television talk shows during which he
would demand more exposure for black jazz artists. He will
join the ancestors on December 5, 1977.

1945 – Alan Cedric Page is born in Canton, Ohio. He will become a
6-time NFL All Pro and 1971 NFL Player of the Year while
playing for the Minnesota Vikings. In 1988, he will be
inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and become the
first native of the Hall’s home city of Canton to have been
inducted. He will obtain his law degree from the University
of Minnesota while playing pro football full-time. After a
few years in private practice, he will become an Assistant
Attorney General. In 1992, he will be elected as an
associate justice on the Minnesota State Supreme Court. He
will be re-elected in 1998 and 2004.

1946 – First coin bearing portrait of an African American (Booker T.
Washington) is authorized.

1948 – Alice Coachman becomes the first African American woman to
win an Olympic gold medal. She will win her medal in Track
and Field competition (the high jump) during the Summer
Games in London. She also will be the only American woman
to win an Olympic gold medal that year. She will later
become inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of

1954 – Charles H. Mahoney is confirmed by the Senate and becomes the
first African American to serve as a full-time delegate to
the United Nations.

1960 – African American and white students stage kneel-in
demonstrations in Atlanta churches.

1966 – A racially motivated disturbance starts in Lansing, Michigan.

1970 – Four persons, including the presiding judge, are killed in
courthouse shoot-out in San Rafael, Marin County, California.
Police charge that activist Angela Davis helped provide the
weapons used by the convicts and will be sought for arrest
and become one of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s
“most wanted criminals.” She will be arrested in New York
City in October 1970, returned to California to face charges
of kidnapping, murder, and conspiracy and will be acquitted
of all charges by an all-white jury.

1989 – Congressman George Thomas “Mickey” Leland, members of his
staff and State Department officials die in a plane crash in
the mountains near Gambela, Ethiopia. Leland, the
Democratic successor to Barbara Jordan, had established the
Select Committee on Hunger in 1984 and was chairman of the
Congressional Black Caucus during the 99th Congress. A
successful campaigner for stronger sanctions against South
Africa, Leland was on a visit to a United Nations refugee
camp at the time he joins the ancestors.

2005 – Frederick Douglas “Fritz” Pollard is inducted posthumously
into the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. He was the
first African American player and coach in the NFL. He was
also a two-time All-American at Brown University and was the
first African American to play in the Rose Bowl (1916).

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.


August 6 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – August 6 *

1795 – Absalom Jones is ordained a deacon in the Protestant
Episcopal Church.

1816 – Peter Salem, Battle of Bunker Hill hero, joins the
ancestors in Framingham, Massachusetts.

1861 – Congress passes The First Confiscation Act, authorizing
the appropriation of the property, including slaves, of
rebel slaveholders.

1925 – African American lawyers organize the National Bar
Association and name George H. Woodson of Des Moines,
Iowa, as President, and Wendell Gree of Chicago,
Illinois, as Secretary.

1930 – Anna Marie Wooldridge is born in Chicago, Illinois. She
will become a jazz vocalist, songwriter, and actress
known as Abbey Lincoln. She will be widely respected for
her writing skills. She will be one of many singers
influenced by Billie Holiday. She will have a very long
and productive career. With Ivan Dixon, she will co-star
in “Nothing But a Man” (1964), an independent film written
and directed by Michael Roemer. She also will co-star with
Sidney Poitier and Beau Bridges in 1968’s “For Love of
Ivy.” She will also appear in the 1956 film “The Girl
Can’t Help It.” She will continue to perform and
will often be found at the Blue Note in New York City. She
will perform until 2007. She will join the ancestors on
August 14, 2010.

1934 – United States troops leave Haiti, which it had occupied
since 1915.

1941 – An African American private and a white military policeman
are shot to death on a bus in North Carolina during a
fight between African American and white soldiers. This
is the first of a series of serious racial incidents
(between African American and white soldiers and African
American soldiers and white civilians) which will
continue throughout the war.

1952 – Satchel Paige, at age 46, becomes the oldest pitcher to
complete a major-league baseball game. Paige, pitching
for the Cleveland Indians, shuts out the Detroit Tigers
1-0 in a 12-inning game.

1962 – Jamaica becomes independent after 300 years of British

1965 – The Voting Rights Act is signed by President Lyndon B.
Johnson in the same room that Abraham Lincoln signed the
Emancipation Proclamation. Rosa Parks, Martin Luther
King, Jr., and a host of others witness the signing of
the act, which suspends the use of literary tests and
calls for federal examiners to ensure fair elections in
the South.

1965 – David Maurice Robinson is born in Key West, Florida.. He
will become a NBA center (San Antonio Spurs), NBA Rookie
of Year (1990), and will lead the NBA in scoring in 1994.
He will help lead the Spurs to the NBA Championship in

1969 – The Learning Tree, directed by Gordon Parks, Jr., premieres.
The film is the first directed by an African American in
modern times.

1973 – Stevie Wonder is nearly killed in an automobile accident
near Durham, North Carolina, where he was to perform in a
benefit concert. Wonder suffers severe brain contusions
and a broken skull and will be in a coma for ten days as a
result of his injuries.

1984 – Carl Lewis wins 2nd (long jump) of 4 gold medals in the
Summer Olympics.

1988 – Once accused by African American artists of racism, MTV,
the 24-hour cable music channel, premieres “Yo! MTV Raps.”
It will become one of the station’s most popular programs.

1994 – In Wedowee, Alabama, an apparent arson fire destroys
Randolph County High School, which had been the focus of
tensions over the principal’s stand against interracial

1996 – U.S. Officials announce that the Air Force had punished 16
officers in connection with the crash that killed Commerce
Secretary Ron Brown and 34 others the previous April.

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.

August 5 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – August 5 *

1763 – William Richmond is born in Cuckold’s Town, near,
Richmond, Virginia. He will relocate to Staten Island,
New York, where will he will become a freedman and the
first black professional boxer from America. He will
work as a shipyard laborer and be noticed by a British
commander named Hugh Percy on the docks having a fight
with a dock sailor. Percy convinced Richmond’s parents
to let him travel to England where he could establish a
better life. He will become a cabinetmaker, and learned
boxing for self-defense. Known as “Black Terror,” he will
knock out his first Englishman in just 25 seconds. By
1800, he will become a recognized semi-professional
boxer. After enough wins, he will be booked to fight the
English champion Tom Cribb. The Richmond/Cribb fight will
bring in thousands of English fans, including dukes and
nobles. The hype of the fight on October 8, 1805 will be
immediately publicized as Cribb and Richmond (The Black).
He will be 41 at the time, lose his fight to Cribb, and
“the crowd was pleased that a Black man had been put in
his place.” One of the first African Americans to attempt
winning a title in any sport, he will continue boxing
until he was 52. He will join the ancestors on Dec. 28,

1864 – John Lawson, an African American gunner on the flagship of
Admiral David Farragut, exhibits marked courage in the
Battle of Mobile Bay and wins the Congressional Medal of

1865 – President Andrew Johnson moves to reverse the policy of
distributing abandoned land to freedmen.

1892 – Harriet Tubman receives a pension from Congress for her
work as a nurse, spy, and scout during the Civil War.
She, along with Sojourner Truth, Susie King and almost
200 other African American women, served as nurses during
the war at 11 hospitals in three states.

1900 – James Augustine Healy, the first African American Roman
Catholic bishop, joins the ancestors in Portland, Maine.
He is the brother of Patrick Francis Healy, the first
African American to receive a Ph.D. and first African
American president of a predominantly white university
(Georgetown University).

1936 – Jesse Owens wins his third gold medal by running a 200-
meter race in 20.7 seconds at the Olympic Games held in
Berlin, Germany.

1938 – James Hal Cone is born in Fordyce, Arkansas. He will
become a theologian, best known for his advocacy of Black
liberation theology. His 1969 book “Black Theology and
Black Power” provides a new way to articulate the
distinctiveness of theology in the black Church. His work
will become influential from the time of the book’s
publication and remain influential today. His work has
been both utilized and critiqued inside and outside of the
African American theological community. He will become the
Charles Augustus Briggs “Distinguished Professor of
Systematic Theology” at Union Theological Seminary in the
City of New York and is currently in that position, at this

1945 – Jeannette (Ja’net) DuBois born in Brooklyn, New York. She
will become an actress and singer. In the late 1960’s, she
will perform in the original Broadway production of “Golden
Boy” with Sammy Davis, Jr. and Lou Gossett. This will be
her introduction to live theatre. She will go on to appear
in some of the biggest shows on Broadway, including “A
Raisin in the Sun” and “Nobody Loves An Albatross.” A role
on the soap opera, “Love of Life”, will give her
recognition as the first black female to regularly appear
on a serial. A pivotal point in her career will occur when
she relocates to the West Coast. During a performance of
“Hot L. Baltimore” in Los Angeles, she will capture the
attention of Norman Lear, creator of “Good Times.” She and
Lear will develop the vivacious and independent “Willona,”
for the popular sitcom, which will air on CBS from 1971 to
1979. She will usually find herself playing roles which
make her seem much older than she her actual age. For
example, when “Good Times” premiered in 1974, she was a
few years older than Jimmie Walker, while the show made
her out to be much closer in age to Esther Rolle, who was
53 at the time. In 1970, she will play the part of a
quarrelsome laundress alongside Carrie Snodgrass in the
cult classic, “Diary of a Mad Housewife”. She will co-star
in the movie “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” and the sitcoms
“Moesha” and “The Steve Harvey Show.” She will play the
grandmother on the hit show, “The Wayans Bros.”. She will
appear in the 2003 movie “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.”
Among her other credits, she will appear in the 1969 made-
for-TV holiday film “J.T.”. She will also appear in former
“Good Times” co-star Janet Jackson’s “Control” music video
as her mother. She will also appear in “Love of Life”
between 1970-1972 as Loretta Allen, years prior to
starring in “Good Times.” She will win an CableACE Award
for her work on the TV movie “Other Women’s Children”,
based on the novel by Perri Klass, and she will also win
two Emmy Awards for her voiceover work on the animated
program “The PJs.”

1962 – Nelson Mandela is charged with incitement and illegally
leaving South Africa.

1962 – Patrick Aloysius Ewing is born in Kingston, Jamaica. He
will star in cricket and soccer. He will be 13 years old
when he arrives in the United States with his family,
settling in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he will learn
to play basketball at Cambridge Rindge and Latin, a public
high school. He will attend Georgetown University in
Washington, DC. In the 1984 season, he and Georgetown will
win the NCAA title with an 84-75 win over the University of
Houston. He will be one of the best college basketball
players of his era, as Georgetown will reach the
championship game of the NCAA tournament three out of four
years. He will be a first team All-American in 1983, 1984,
and 1985. Although injuries will mar his first year in the
NBA, he will be named NBA Rookie of the Year, averaging 20
points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. Soon after he
will be considered one of the premier centers in the
league. He will enjoy a successful career, eleven times
named a NBA All-Star, an All-NBA First Team selection once,
a member of the All-NBA Second Team six times and the NBA
All-Defensive Second Team three times. He will be a member
of the original Dream Team at the 1992 Olympic Games,
winning a second gold medal. In 1996, he will also be given
the honor of being named one of the 50 greatest players in
NBA history. While he will enjoy a stellar career in the
NBA, he will never win a title as a professional.

1966 – Martin Luther King, Jr. is stoned by hecklers during a
Chicago, Illinois civil rights march.

1968 – Senator Edward Brooke is named the temporary chairman of
the Republican National Convention in Miami, Florida.

1984 – Track and field stars Evelyn Ashford and Edwin Moses win
Gold medals in the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles,

1992 – Federal civil rights charges are filed against four Los
Angeles police officers acquitted of state charges in the
videotaped beating of Rodney King. Two of the officers
will be convicted later of federal charges of violating
King’s civil rights.

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.

Book review: Americanah

Book of words

The best way for me to summarize “Americanah” by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is to describe the wonderful warm and fuzzy feeling after completing the book. Even though it was a work of fiction, the experiences described felt raw, personal and compelling in a way that could only come from someone who had been through all of them.

Americanah is the story of young lovers Ifemelu and Obinze who first met in high school in Nigeria which was then under military rule, a period dominated by upheavals and uncertainties that drove the poor as well as the well-educated locals to look elsewhere for greener pastures. Such circumstances inevitably forced them to search for better lives, Ifemelu to the U.S. and Obinze to England, and separated their fates.

While in foreign lands, their identities instantly transformed as they became African migrants confronted with new sets of problems they had never…

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