* 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.