August 29 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – August 29 *

1920 – Charlie “Bird” (Charles Christopher) Parker is born in
Kansas City, Kansas. The jazz saxophonist will become one
of the leaders of the bebop movement and be noted for his
works “Ko Ko” and “In the Still of the Night,” among
others. He will receive numerous awards from Downbeat
magazine and have the famous jazz club, Birdland, in New
York City named in his honor. He will be commonly
considered one of the greatest jazz musicians, ranked with
such players as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Jazz
critic Scott Yanow speaks for many jazz fans and musicians
when he states that “Parker was arguably the greatest
saxophonist of all time.” A founding father of bebop, his
innovative approaches to melody, rhythm, and harmony were
enormously influential on his contemporaries, and his
music remains an inspiration and resource for musicians in
jazz as well as in other genres. Several of Parker’s songs
have become standards, such as “Billie’s Bounce,”
“Anthropology,” “Ornithology,” and “Confirmation”. He will
join the ancestors on March 12, 1955.

1924 – Ruth Lee Jones is born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She will be
better known as “Dinah Washington.” She will perform with
Lionel Hampton from 1943 to 1946 and become one of the
most popular Rhythm & Blues singers of the 1950’s and
early 1960’s. Her family will move to Chicago while she
is still a child. As a child in Chicago she will play
piano and direct her church choir. She will later study
in Walter Dyett’s renowned music program at DuSable High
School. There will be a period when she both performed in
clubs as Dinah Washington, while singing and playing piano
in Sallie Martin’s gospel choir as Ruth Jones. Her
penetrating voice, excellent timing, and crystal-clear
enunciation added her own distinctive style to every piece
she undertook. While making extraordinary recordings in
jazz, blues, R&B and light pop contexts, she will refuse
to record gospel music despite her obvious talent in
singing it. She believed it wrong to mix the secular and
spiritual, and after she enters the non-religious
professional music world, she will refuse to include
gospel in her repertoire. She will begin performing in
1942 and soon join Lionel Hampton’s band. There is some
dispute about the origin of her name. Some sources say
the manager of the Garrick Stage Bar gave her the name
Dinah Washington, while others say Hampton selected it.
In 1943, she will begin recording for Keynote Records and
release “Evil Gal Blues”, her first hit. By 1955, she will
release numerous hit songs on the R&B charts, including
“Baby, Get Lost”, “Trouble in Mind”, “You Don’t Know What
Love Is” (arranged by Quincy Jones), and a cover of “Cold,
Cold Heart” by Hank Williams. In March of 1957, she
marry tenor saxophonist Eddie Chamblee, (formerly on tour
with Lionel Hampton) who led the band behind her. In 1958,
she will make a well-received appearance at the Newport
Jazz Festival. With “What a Diff’rence a Day Makes” in
1959, she will win a Grammy Award for Best Rhythm and
Blues Performance. The song will be her biggest hit,
reaching #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. She will join the
ancestors on December 13, 1963.

1933 – Eloise Gwendolyn Sanford is born in New York City. She
will become an actress better known as Isabel Sanford and
will star as Louise on the long-running sitcom “The
Jeffersons”, “All in the Family”, and will star in many
movies including “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”, “Original
Gangstas”, “South Beach”, “Love at First Bite”, “The
Photographer”, “The New Centurions”, “Pendulum”, and
“Buffalo Soldiers”. She will be the first African American
actress to win a Lead Actress Emmy (for Outstanding Lead
Actress in a Comedy Series in 1981), and will receive a
star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She will join the
ancestors on July 9, 2004, succumbing to cardiac arrest
and heart disease at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los
Angeles at the age of 86.

1945 – Wyomia Tyus, Olympic runner, who will become the first
woman sprinter to win consecutive Olympic gold medals in
the 100 meters (three total), is born in Griffin, Georgia.
She will also become a 10-time AAU National Champion and
an All-American Athlete in both the indoor and outdoor
competition. Tyus will compete in amateur and
professional track and field meets from 1960 – 1975. In
addition to her athletic achievements, Tyus will hold a
special place in Olympic history. At the XXIIIrd Olympic
Games in Los Angeles, Tyus will become the first woman
ever, in the history of the Olympic Games, to bear the
Olympic Flag.

1946 – Robert “Bob” Beamon is born in Jamaica, New York. He
will become a star in track and field, He will specialize
in the long jump and will win the 1968 Olympic gold medal
in the long jump and set the world record of 29 feet, 2
1/2 inches. His record will stand for twenty three years
until it is broken by Mike Powell at the World
Championships in Tokyo in 1991. His jump is still the
Olympic record to date. He will be inducted into the
National Track and Field Hall of Fame, and when the United
States Olympic Hall of Fame starts to induct athletes in
1983, he will be one of the first inductees.

1957 – The Civil Rights Act of 1957 is passed by Congress. It is
the first civil rights legislation since 1875. The bill
establishes a civil rights commission and a civil rights
division in the Justice Department. It also gave the
Justice Department authority to seek injunctions against
voting rights infractions.

1958 – Michael Joseph Jackson is born in Gary, Indiana. First
with the family group the Jackson Five and later as a
solo artist, Jackson will be one of pop and Rhythm &
Blues’ foremost stars. His solo album “Off the Wall”
(1979) will sell 7 million copies worldwide, surpassed
only by “Thriller”, his largest-selling album (also the
biggest selling album of all time). He will be commonly
known as “MJ” as well as the “King of Pop”. His successful
career and controversial personal life will be a part of
pop culture for at least 40 years. He will be widely
regarded as one of the greatest entertainers and most
popular recording artists in history, displaying
complicated physical techniques, such as the robot and the
moonwalk, that have redefined mainstream dance and
entertainment. His achievements in the music industry will
include a revolutionary transformation of music videos,
establishing high-profile album releases and sales as a
new trend for record companies to generate profits,
dominating pop music during the 1980s, and becoming the
first Black entertainer to amass a strong following on MTV
while leading the relatively young channel out of
obscurity. His distinctive style, moves, and vocals will
inspire, influence, and spawn a whole generation of hip
hop, pop, and Rhythm & Blues artists. He will join the
ancestors on June 25, 2009.

1962 – Mal Goode becomes the first African American television
news commentator when he begins broadcasting on ABC.

1962 – Carl E. Banks, Jr. is born in Flint, Michigan. He will
become a star NFL linebacker with the New York Giants. He
will play for three teams from 1984 to 1995, the New York
Giants, the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Browns.
He will make the Pro Bowl in 1987, have 39.5 career
quarterback sacks, and be a member of the NFL’s 1980’s
All-Decade Team. He will attend Michigan State University
and be the 3rd overall pick in the 1984 NFL draft. He will
be a member of the Giants teams that win Super Bowls XXI
and XXV. Banks will be a standout in their Super Bowl XXI
victory in which he records 14 total tackles, including 10
solo tackles.

1970 – Black Panthers confront the police in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. One policeman is killed and six are wounded
in a racial confrontation.

1971 – Hank Aaron becomes the first baseball player in the
National League to drive in 100 or more runs in each of
11 seasons.

1977 – St. Louis Cardinal Lou Brock eclipses Ty Cobb’s 49-year-
old career stolen base record at 893.

1979 – The first completely Black-owned radio network in the
world, “Mutual Black Network” is purchased by the
Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation.

1984 – Edwin Moses wins the 400-meter hurdles in track competition
in Europe. It is the track star’s 108th consecutive

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


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