* Today in Black History – August 24 *
1854 – John VanSurley deGrasse, M.D., who received his medical
degree from Bowdoin College in 1849, becomes a member of
the Massachusetts Medical Society, a first for an African
1854 – National Emigration Convention meets in Cleveland with one
hundred delegates. William C. Munroe of Michigan is
1937 – Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola is born in Abeokuta,
Nigeria. He will a member of a very poor household of
Yoruba-speaking Muslims. He will attend the Islamic Nawar
Ud-Deen School and the Christian-run African Central
School. After graduating from the Baptist Boys’ High
School, he will work as a bank clerk and a civil servant.
He will go on to win a scholarship to Glasgow University
to study accounting. He will graduate with several awards
in 1965. He will return to Nigeria and will work for
major firms before launching his own company, Radio
Communications of Nigeria, in 1974. He will accumulate
great wealth in a short period of time. His business
interests will span 60 countries and include firms engaged
in banking, shipping, oil prospecting, agriculture,
publishing, air transportation, and entertainment. His
Nigerian companies alone will employ close to 20,000
workers. He will oppose the Nigerian military
dictatorship and on June 12, 1993, will be elected
president in a long awaited presidential election, only to
have the election results nullified by the country’s
military leader. When Abiola announces a year later that
he is the country’s legitimate leader, he will be
imprisoned by the current dictator, General Sani Abacha.
After Abacha joins the ancestors suddenly in 1998,
attempts were made to free Abiola, but he will also join
the ancestors on July 7, 1998, before his freedom becomes
a reality. His death will cause violence to occur and spur
anti-government anger throughout the country.
1965 – Reggie Miller is born. He will become a professional
basketball player and guard for the Indiana Pacers. He
will play on the ‘Dream Team’ in the 1996 Olympics.
1967 – Amanda Randolph joins the ancestors at the age of 65. She
had been an actress and was best known for her roles on
the Danny Thomas Show and television’s Amos ‘n’ Andy
1987 – Bayard Rustin, longtime civil rights activist, early
Freedom Rider, and a key organizer of the 1963 March on
Washington, joins the ancestors in New York City. A
Quaker, Rustin was best known as a civil rights advocate,
first as one of the founders of the Congress for Racial
Equality (CORE), then as a key advisor to a young Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.