August 31 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – August 31 *

1935 – Eldridge Cleaver is born in Wabaseka, Arkansas. He will join
the Black Panther Party in 1967, becoming its Minister of
Information and putting together The Black Panther
newspaper. He will be the 1968 Presidential candidate for
the Peace and Freedom Party. He and another Panther member,
will be assaulted by police in 1968 (Cleaver is arrested).
He and Kathleen Cleaver, his wife and a Panther leader in
her own right, flee the country, eventually founding the
Panther’s international branch in Algeria before moving to
France. Cleaver split from the Party in 1971, forming his
own version of the organization with several Party chapters
switching from Bobby Seale to him. Cleaver will return to
the United States in the late 1970’s as a born-again
Christian and a republican. He will spend his later years
as a conservative idealist concerned with the environment,
and will join the ancestors on May 1, 1998 at the age of

1935 – Frank Robinson is born in Beaufort, Texas. He will become
a professional baseball player and will become Most
Valuable Player in the National League in 1961 and Most
Valuable Player in the American League in 1966. Later, he
will become the first African American manager in major
league baseball.

1936 – Marva Collins is born in Monroeville, Alabama. She will
become an innovative educator who uses her pension funds
to open Westside Preparatory School in Chicago, dedicated
to reverse the educational decline in the city’s African
American neighborhoods. Collins’ motto for the school is
“entrance to learn, exit to serve.”

1943 – The USS Harmon, a destroyer escort, is launched. It is
named after Mess Attendant 1st Class Leonard H. Harmon, a
1942 Navy Cross recipient. It is the first United States
warship named for an African American.

1958 – Edwin Corley Moses, track star (hurdler, Olympic-gold-
1984), is born in Dayton, Ohio. He will be referred to as
“the greatest hurdler in the history of track and field”
for his 122 consecutive wins in the 400 meter hurdles
(spanned eleven years and 22 countries).

1962 – Joint independence is granted to Trinidad and Tobago by
Great Britain.

1983 – Brigadier General Hazel W. Johnson retires from the Army
Nurse Corps. She is the first African American woman to
achieve the rank of Brigadier General and the first
African American to be chief of the Army Nurse Corps.

1983 – Edwin Moses of the United States sets the 400 meter hurdle
record (47.02) in Koblenz, Germany.

1984 – Pinklin Thomas defeats Tim Witherspoon for the WBC
heavyweight boxing title.

1990 – Nat (Sweetwater) Clifton, former New York Knickerbocker
star, joins the ancestors after succumbing to a heart
attack at the age of 65.

1991 – KQEC-TV of San Francisco begins broadcasting under new
owners, the Minority Television Project. It is the
second minority-owned public television station.

Munirah Chronicle is edited by Rene’ A. Perry


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