* Today in Black History – September 8 *
1866 – Charles Harrison Mason is born on the Prior Farm near
Memphis, Tennessee. He will be inspired by the
autobiography of evangelist Amanda Berry Smith in 1893.
He and Charles Price Jones will form a fellowship of
churches, named “Church of God.” He will rename the
group the “Church of God in Christ,” to distinguish the
group from the other “Church of God” forming around that
time. After attending the “Azusa Street Revival” in Los
Angeles, California, he will adopt the new Pentecostal
teachings of Elder William Seymour, such as ‘speaking in
tongues.’ After the opposition of Charles Jones in these
new beliefs, they will split and he will win the legal
rights to the “Church of God in Christ” name. He will be
elected General Overseer of the Church in Memphis,
Tennessee in 1907, later becoming the Senior Bishop (now
referred to as Presiding Bishop). He will lead the COGIC
group of churches until he joins the ancestors on November
17, 1961. At this time, the Church membership totals
around 400,000. Afterwards, the Church will grow
exponentially, until in 2000, it is estimated over 6
million people were members of the denomination.
1875 – The governor of Mississippi requests federal troops to
protect African American voters. Attorney General Edward
Pierrepont refuses the request and says “the whole
public are tired of these annual autumnal outbreaks in
1925 – Ossian Sweet, a prominent Detroit doctor, is arrested on
murder charges after shots are fired into a mob in front
of the Sweet home in a previously all-white area. Sweet
is defended by Clarence Darrow, who won an acquittal in
the second trial.
1940 – Willie Tyler is born in Red Level, Alabama. He will
become a well known ventriloquist along with his wooden
1956 – Maurice Cheeks is born. He will become a professional
basketball player and will play guard for the New York
Knicks and the Philadelphia ’76ers.
1957 – Tennis champion, Althea Gibson, becomes the first
African American athlete to win a U.S. national tennis
1965 – Dorothy Dandridge, nominated for an Oscar for her
performance in “Carmen Jones,” joins the ancestors at
the age of 41 in Hollywood, California.
1968 – Black Panther Huey Newton is convicted of voluntary
manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an Oakland
policeman. He will later begin a 2 to l5-year jail
1968 – Saundra Williams is crowned the first Miss Black America
in a contest held exclusively for African American
women in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
1973 – Hank Aaron sets the record for most Home Runs in 1
1975 – The city of Boston begins court ordered citywide busing
of public schools amid scattered incidents of violence.
1981 – Roy Wilkins, longtime and second executive director of
the NAACP, joins the ancestors.
1990 – Marjorie Judith Vincent of Illinois is selected as Miss
America in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Haitian
native, a third-year law student at Duke University,
is the fourth woman of African descent to become Miss
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.