August 12 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – August 12 *

1890 – The Mississippi Constitutional Convention begins systematic
exclusion of African Americans from political life of the
South, August 12-November 1. The Mississippi Plan
(Literacy and “understanding tests”) is later adopted with
embellishments by other states: South Carolina (1895),
Louisiana (1898), North Carolina (1900), Alabama (1901),
Virginia (1901), Georgia (1908), Oklahoma (1910).
Southern states will later use “white primaries” and other
devices to exclude African American voters.

1891 – Annie Wilson Lillian Evans (later Tibbs) is born in Washington,
DC. As Damme Lillian Evanti (a contraction of her maiden name
and that of her husband, Roy W. Tibbs), she will become a
world-famous opera star who debuts in France with the Paris
Opera and performs in the United States and 11 countries on
three continents. She will also become one of the founders of
the National Negro Opera Company. She will join the ancestors
on December 6, 1967.

1922 – Frederick Douglass’ home in Washington, DC is dedicated as
a National Historic Site. The effort is led by Nannie
Burroughs, Hallie Q. Brown, and other members of the
National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs.

1923 – Emma Ophelia DeVore (later Mitchell) is born in Edgefield,
South Carolina. She will be a pioneering force in opening the
modeling field to African Americans through her founding
of the Grace Del Marco Model Agency and the Ophelia
DeVore School of Self-Development and Modeling. In 1989, she
will be featured in Brian Lanker’s “I Dream a World,” a
collection of portraits and biographies of black women who
helped change America. In 2004, she will be honored by the
Fashion Institute of Technology and the Fashion Arts Xchange,
Inc. for her contributions to fashion and entertainment. She
will also be the CEO and publisher of The Columbus Times
Newspaper in Columbus, Georgia.

1933 – Camille Billops is born in Los Angeles, California. She
will become a painter, archivist, sculptor, ceramist, and
filmmaker and have solo exhibitions in the United States,
Russia, Europe, Africa, and the Far East. Her primary medium
will be sculpture and later will turn her eye to filmmaking.
She will direct and produce “Suzanne, Suzanne, ” “Older
Women and Love,” “Finding Christa” and “The KKK Boutique
Ain’t Just Rednecks.” Her awards will include: a Fellowship
from The Huntington Hartford Foundation in 1963, a MacDowell
Colony Fellowship in 1975, The International Women’s Year
Award for 1975-6, and The James Van Der Zee Award,
Brandywine Graphic Workshop, in 1994. Her works will be in
the permanent collections of the Studio Museum of Harlem,
Photographers Gallery, London, and The Museum of Drawers,
Bern, Switzerland. She will exhibit in one-woman and group
exhibitions worldwide since 1965 including: Gallerie
Akhenaton, Cairo, Egypt, Hamburg, Germany; Kaohsiung, Taiwan;
Gimpel and Weitzenhoffer Gallery and The New Museum of
Contemporary Art, N.Y.; and El Museo de Arte Moderno La
Tertulia, Cali, Columbia. She and her husband James Hatch,
Professor of English at CCNY, will co-found the Hatch-Billops
Archives of Black American Cultural History. The archives,
housed in New York City, is a collection of visual materials,
oral histories, and thousands of books chronicling black
artists in the visual and performing arts.

1960 – Ralph Boston of the United States, sets the long jump
record at 26′ 11″.

1964 – A racially motivated disturbance occurs in Elizabeth, New
Jersey and lasts for two days.

1965 – A racially motivated disturbance occurs on the west side
of Chicago, Illinois and will last three days.

1965 – Jonathan M. Daniels, a white Episcopal seminary student
from Massachusetts, is killed and Richard F. Morrisroe, a
white Roman Catholic priest from Chicago, is seriously
wounded by shotgun blasts fired by white special deputy
sheriffs in Hayneville, Alabama. They were participating
in civil rights demonstrations in Lowndes County,

1977 – Stephen Biko, leader of the Black Consciousness Movement
in South Africa, is arrested. He will join the ancestors
after succumbing to injuries from beatings after his
arrest in police custody.

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


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