* Today in Black History – September 2 *
1766 – Abolitionist, inventor, and entrepreneur, James Forten is
born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1833 – Oberlin College, one of the first colleges to admit
African Americans, is founded in Oberlin, Ohio.
1864 – In series of battles around Chaffin’s Farm in the suburbs
of Richmond, Virginia, African American troops capture
entrenchments at New Market Heights, make a gallant but
unsuccessful assault on Fort Gilmer and help repulse a
Confederate counterattack on Fort Harrison. The Thirty-
Ninth U.S. Colored Troops will win a Congressional Medal
of Honor in the engagements.
1902 – “In Dahomey” premieres at the Old Globe Theater in Boston,
Massachusetts. With music by Will Marion Cook and lyrics
by poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, it is the most successful
musical of its day.
1911 – Romare Bearden is born in Charlotte, North Carolina. His
family will move to the village of Harlem in New York
City in 1914. He will call New York his home for the
rest of his life. A student at New York University, the
American Artists School, Columbia University, and the
Sorbonne, Bearden’s depiction of the rituals and social
customs of African American life will be imbued with an
eloquence and power that will earn him accolades as one
of the finest artists of the 20th century and a master
of collage. Among his honors will be election to the
American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National
Institute of Arts and Letters, and receiving the
President’s National Medal of Arts in 1987. He will join
the ancestors on March 12, 1988 after succumbing to
complications of bone cancer.
1928 – Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silver is born in Norwalk,
Connecticut. He will become a jazz pianist, bandleader,
and composer who will initially lead the Jazz Messengers
with drummer Art Blakey before forming his own band in
1956. A pioneer of the hard bop style, he will attract
to his band the talents of Art Farmer, Donald Byrd, and
Blue Mitchell, among others.
1945 – The end of World War II (V-J Day). A total of 1,154,720
African Americans have been inducted or drafted into the
armed forces. Official records list 7,768 African
American commissioned officers on August 31, 1945. At
the height of the conflict, 3,902 African American women
(115 officers) were enrolled in the Women’s Army
Auxiliary Corps (WACS) and 68 were in the Navy auxiliary,
the WAVES. The highest ranking African American women
were Major Harriet M. West and Major Charity E. Adams.
Distinguished Unit Citations were awarded to the 969th
Field Artillery Battalion, the 614th Tank Destroyer
Battalion, and the 332nd Fighter Group (Tuskegee Airmen).
1946 – William Everett “Billy” Preston is born in Houston, Texas.
He will become a musician songwriter and singer. His hits
will include “Will It Go Round in Circles”, “Nothing from
Nothing”, “Outa-Space”, “Get Back” (with The Beatles),
and “With You I’m Born Again”(with Syreeta). He also will
appear in film: “St. Louis Blues” and play with Little
Richard’s Band. He will collaborate with some of the
greatest names in the music industry, including the
Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Little Richard, Ray Charles,
George Harrison, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Sam
Cooke, King Curtis, Sammy Davis Jr., Sly Stone, Aretha
Franklin, the Jackson 5, Quincy Jones, Richie Sambora,
and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He will play the electric
piano on the Get Back sessions in 1969 and is one of
several people sometimes credited as the “Fifth Beatle”.
He is one of only two non-Beatles to receive label
performance credit on any Beatles record. He will join
the ancestors on June 6, 2006 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
1956 – The Tennessee National Guard is sent to Clinton, Tennessee,
to quell white mobs demonstrating against school
1960 – Eric Dickerson is born in Sealy, Texas. He will become a
professional football player and will become NFC Rookie
of the Year in 1983. He will also set a NFL single-
season rushing record of 2,105 yards in 1984.
1963 – Alabama Governor George Wallace blocks the integration of
Tuskegee High School in Tuskegee, Alabama.
1965 – Lennox Claudius Lewis, former WBC boxing champ, is born
in West Ham, London, England.
1966 – Frank Robinson is named Most Valuable Player of the
1971 – Cheryl White becomes the first African American woman
jockey to win a sanctioned horse race.
1975 – Joseph W. Hatchett sworn in as first African American
state supreme court justice in the South (Florida) in
the twentieth century.
1978 – Reggie Jackson is 19th player to hit 20 home runs in 11
1989 – Rev. Al Sharpton leads a civil rights march through the
Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, New York.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.