Today in Black History – August 27 *
1879 – African American publisher Robert Lee Vann is born in
Ahoskie, North Carolina. He will become an African
American publisher, lawyer and the nurturing editor of
the Black newspaper, the Pittsburgh Courier. He will
attend Western University of Pennsylvania. He will
graduate from Law School in June, 1909. In 1910, he will
become the Pittsburgh Courier’s editor and publisher.
Under his leadership, The Courier will develop into one
of the leading Black newspapers of the era. By the 1930s,
it will be one of the highest circulated Black newspapers
in the United States. As many as 14 different editions
will be circulated throughout the country. He will become
involved in politics throughout his association with The
Courier. In 1918, he will be appointed the fourth
assistant city solicitor in Pittsburgh, the highest
position held by an African American in the city
government. Initially a Republican, he will grow
disillusioned with the party and convert to the
Democratic Party. On September 11, 1932, he will deliver
a famous speech at the St. James Literary Forum in
Cleveland, Ohio entitled “The Patriot and the Partisan”
and will urge African Americans throughout the nation to
turn away from the Republican party which had failed them,
and support the Democratic party of Franklin D. Roosevelt
in the 1932 election. He will support Franklin D.
Roosevelt in the 1932 election, and will subsequently be
named special assistant to the U.S. attorney general. In
1935, he will help campaign for the enactment of an equal
rights law in the State of Pennsylvania. He will serve as
editor and publisher of The Pittsburgh Courier until he
joins the ancestors on October 24, 1940.
1909 – Lester Young is born into a musical family in Woodville,
Mississippi. Young was taught several instruments by
his father. As a child he played drums in the family’s
band, but around 1928 he quit the group and switched to
tenor saxophone. His first engagements on this
instrument were with Art Bronson, in Phoenix, Arizona.
He stayed with Bronson until 1930, with a brief side
trip to play again with the family, then worked in and
around Minneapolis, Minnesota, with various bands. In
the spring of 1932 he joined the Original Blue Devils,
under the leadership of Walter Page, and was one of
several members of the band who joined Bennie Moten in
Kansas City towards the end of 1933. During the next
few years Young played in the bands of Moten, George E.
Lee, King Oliver, Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson, Andy
Kirk and others. He will join the ancestors on March 15,
1918 – Dr. Joseph L. Johnson is named minister to Liberia.
1963 – W.E.B. DuBois joins the ancestors at age 95 in Accra,
Ghana. He was one of America’s foremost scholars, a
militant civil rights activist, founding father of the
NAACP, and leading proponent of Pan-Africanism.
1963 – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his “I Have A Dream”
speech in Washington, DC during the 1963 March on
1966 – A racially motivated civil disobedience riot occurs in
1975 – Haile Selassie, “Lion of Judah” and deposed Ethiopian
emperor, joins the ancestors at age 83 in Addis Ababa.
1982 – Rickey Henderson steals 119th base of season breaking Lou
1983 – The second “March on Washington for Jobs, Peace, and
Freedom” is held.
1989 – ‘Johnny B Goode’ is performed by Chuck Berry for NASA
engineers and scientists in celebration of Voyager II’s
encounter with the planet Neptune.
1991 – Central Life Insurance Company, the last surviving
African American owned insurance company in the state of
Florida, is ordered liquidated by a Florida circuit
2000 – Tiger Woods becomes the first male golfer since Johnny
Miller in 1975 to successfully defend three titles in
one year when he wins the NEC World Invitational.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.