* Today in Black History – September 12 *
1913 – James Cleveland Owens is born in Oakville, Alabama. He
will be better known as Jesse Owens, one of the greatest
track and field stars in history. Owens will achieve
fame at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, where
he will win four gold medals, dispelling Hitler’s notion
of the superior Aryan race and the inferiority of Black
athletes. Among his honors will be the Medal of Freedom,
presented to him by President Gerald Ford in 1976. He will
join the ancestors on March 31, 1980.
1935 – Richard Hunt is born in Chicago, Illinois. A graduate of
the Art Institute of Chicago, he will later study in
Europe and be considered one of the leading sculptors in
the United States. His work will be shown extensively
in the United States and abroad and his sculptures will
be collected by the National Museum of American Art, the
Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum
of Art, and the Museum of the Twentieth Century in
Vienna. On April 29, 2009, he will be awarded the Lifetime
Achievement Award by the International Sculpture Center.
His web site is http://www.RichardHunt.us.
1944 – Barry White is born in Galveston, Texas. He will become a
singer and songwriter. Some of his hits will be “I’m
Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby”, “Can’t Get
Enough Of Your Love Babe”, and “Love’s Theme [with Love
Unlimited Orchestra]. He will join the ancestors on July
4, 2003 from complications of high blood pressure and
1947 – The first African American baseball player in the major
leagues, Jackie Robinson, is named National League Rookie
of the Year.
1956 – African American students are barred from entering a Clay,
Kentucky elementary school. They will enter the school
under National Guard protection on September 17.
1958 – The United States Supreme Court orders a Little Rock,
Arkansas high school to admit African American students.
1964 – Ralph Boston of the United States, sets the long jump
record at 27′ 4”.
1974 – The beginning of court-ordered busing to achieve racial
integration in Boston’s public schools is marred by
violence in South Boston.
1974 – Eugene A. Marino, SSJ, is consecrated as the first
African American Roman Catholic auxiliary bishop in the
United States. He assumes his duties as auxiliary bishop
of Washington, DC.
1974 – Haile Selassie is deposed by military leaders after fifty-
eight years as the ruling monarch of Ethiopia.
1977 – Black South African student and civil rights leader Steven
Biko joins the ancestors after succumbing to severe
physical abuse while in police detention, triggering an
1980 – Lillian Randolph joins the ancestors at the age of 65. She
had been a film actress and had starred on television on
the “Amos ‘n’ Andy Show” and in the mini-series “Roots”.
1984 – Michael Jordan signs a seven-year contract to play
basketball with the Chicago Bulls. ‘Air’ Jordan will
become an NBA star for the Bulls and help make the team a
dominant force in the NBA.
1984 – Dwight Gooden, of the New York Mets, sets a rookie
strikeout record by striking out his 251st batter of the
season. He also leads the Mets to a 2-0 shutout over the
1986 – The National Council of Negro Women sponsors its first
Black Family Reunion at the National Mall in Washington,
DC. The reunion, which will grow to encompass dozens of
cities and attract over one million people annually, is
held to celebrate and applaud the traditional values,
history, and culture of the African American family.
1989 – David Dinkins, Manhattan borough president, wins the New
York City’s Democratic mayoral primary, defeating
incumbent Mayor Ed Koch and two other candidates on his
way to becoming the city’s first African American mayor.
1992 – Mae C. Jemison becomes the first woman of color to go into
space when she travels on the space shuttle Endeavour.
1998 – Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs becomes the fourth major
league baseball player to hit 60 home runs in a single
1999 – Serena and Venus Williams (sisters) take home the U.S.
Open Women’s Doubles Championship trophy. After losing
the first set, they bounce back to win the remaining two
sets against Chandra Rubin of the U.S. and Sandrine
Testud of France. The Williams sisters are the first
African Americans to win a U.S. Open Doubles
2000 – James Perkins becomes the first African American mayor of
Selma, Alabama, defeating long-time mayor Joe Smitherman
with 60% of the vote. Smitherman had been mayor for
thirty six years. He was the mayor of Selma in 1965 when
sheriff’s deputies and state troopers attacked hundreds
of voting rights marchers on Selma’s Edmund Pettus
Bridge in what became known as “Bloody Sunday.”
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.