August 17 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – August 17 *

1847 – Archibald Henry Grimke’ is born into slavery on a
plantation near Charleston, South Carolina. His white
father, Henry Grimke’, was of the famous Grimke’ family
which included abolitionist sisters Sarah and Angelina.
After being freed in 1852, Archibald will have a
distinguished career as a lawyer (Harvard Law, 1874),
political delegate, newspaper publisher (“The Hub” in
Boston), and author.

1887 – Marcus Mosiah Garvey is born in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica.
He will become a charismatic black nationalist and
founder of the UNIA, an organization dedicated to
education, racial pride, and African development. He
will also found the Black Star Line, an African American
owned steamship company established to link new-world
Blacks with their African motherland. Garvey and several
associates will be railroaded by the U.S. government for
“mail fraud” in connection with the sale of Black Star
stock. Garvey will be convicted and serve five years in
federal prison. The U.S. government trumps up these
charges against Marcus Garvey because he was a threat to
the status quo of the “Negro people” of America. That is
why he is deported instead of being forced to serve his
complete sentence here. The U.S. government simply wanted
to get rid of him. He will join the ancestors on June 10,
1940 in London, England.

1920 – Isaiah Boyd Perry is born in Money Point (Norfolk), Virginia.
He will grow up in Hampton, Virginia and will become the
first faculty member of Hampton Institute to graduate from
the Hampton Institute Laboratory High School (George P.
Phenix), graduate from the Hampton Institute Trade School,
graduate with a Bachelor of Science Degree, and a Master of
Science Degree and join the “Quarter of the Century Club”
as a faculty member with twenty five years of service. He
will join the ancestors in 1971.

1931 – A’Lelia Walker Robinson joins the ancestors and residents of
Harlem and New York City mourn her death. The daughter of
Madame C.J. Walker, she had distinguished herself as hostess
of the “Dark Tower” on Harlem’s West 136th Street, a meeting
place for Harlem Renaissance poets, philosophers, and
artists such as W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, and Aaron
Douglas, as well as European nobility and members of New
York’s social register.

1939 – Luther Allison is born in Widener, Arkansas. He will become
a blues guitarist. Allison will spend his formative musical
years in Chicago jamming with the West Side’s best,
including Magic Sam, Otis Rush, and Freddie King. His first
recording, “Love Me Mama” (Delmark, 1969), is considered a
blues classic. Allison will come to national prominence
with blistering performances at the 1969 and 1970 Ann Arbor
Blues Festivals, wowing young rock fans with his scorching
guitar solos and soulful vocals. He will become the first
blues act to sign with Motown Records in 1971, subsequently
releasing three records for the label. He will tour
nationally throughout the 1970s before relocating to Paris
in the early 1980s where he will continue to release albums
(many issued only in Europe) and tour incessantly,
eventually becoming a European blues superstar. He will join
the ancestors on August 12, 1997.

1960 – Gabon declares its independence from France.

1984 – Roberto Clemente becomes the second baseball player to be
featured on a U.S. postage stamp.

1988 – Butch Reynolds of the United States sets the 400 meter
record (43.29) in Zurich, Switzerland.

1990 – Pearl Bailey, Broadway actress and singer, joins the
ancestors at the age of 72 after succumbing to a heart
attack in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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


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