* Today in Black History – September 29 *
1864 – At the Battle of New Market Heights, Sergeant Major
Christian Fleetwood and 12 other African Americans
fight valiantly for the Union’s cause. They will
receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for their
action the following year.
1916 – Henry Green Parks, Jr. is born in Atlanta, Georgia.
He will be raised in Dayton, Ohio, attend public
schools, and enroll in Ohio State University in
Columbus, graduating with honors from the University
College of Commerce in 1939 with a B.S. degree in
Marketing. He will also become the first African
American on Ohio State University’s swim team. After
graduation, he will begin working with Pabst Brewing
Company as a sales representative, targeting the
African American market. He will become one of their
leading salesmen, but in 1942 will be given the
opportunity to join W.B. Graham and Associates, a New
York City public relations firm. He will explore the
ideas of many different enterprises and work at W.B.
Graham and Associates for seven years. In 1949, he will
leave W.B. Graham and Associates for Crayton’s Southern
Sausage Company, which creates sausages appealing to
the southern taste. He will be unsuccessful with
Crayton’s Sausage Company, but after learning from his
experiences and coming across southern recipes, 35-year
-old Henry Parks will found Parks Sausage Company in
1951 in Baltimore, Maryland. Parks Sausage Company will
start with only two employees, but rapidly grow to 240
employees with annual sales in the mid-1960s exceeding
$14 million. He will use his marketing and public
relations background to craft a radio commercial which
features a little boy saying, “More Parks Sausage, Mom,
please.” The radio ad will be enormously popular and
helps spur the company’s growth. By 1955 it will be the
largest Black-owned business in Baltimore and later will
become a publicly traded company. Parks Sausage will
also become the first African American firm to advertise
in a World Series, when its ads appear at one of the
seven games between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New
York Yankees in 1955. His company will also have the
distinction of being the first publicly traded Black-
owned firm on the NASDAQ stock exchange. In 1977, he will
sell the company to a conglomerate for $1.5 million
dollars, but will stay on the board until 1980. He will
serve on the corporate boards of Magnavox, Warner Lambert,
and W.R. Grace. He will be a trustee of Goucher College
in Baltimore. He will suffer from Parkinson’s disease in
the last years of his life, and will join the ancestors in
Towson, Maryland on April 14, 1989.
1918 – Edward Thomas Demby is elected suffragan bishop of the
Protestant Episcopal diocese of Arkansas.
1931 – Dr. Lenora Moragne is born in Evanston, Illinois. She will
become one of the leading nutrition scientist in the United
States. She will become head of nutrition education and
training for the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture. She will also co-author a junior
high school textbook on nutrition for McGraw-Hill Publishing
Company in New York named “Focus on Food.” She will also be
appointed to the Future Development Committee of the
American Home Economics Association. She will also be elected
to the Board of Directors of the Chicago-based American
Dietetic Association. She will also become the founding editor
and publisher of the Black Congressional Monitor.
1940 – The first United States merchant ship to be commanded
by an African American captain (Hugh Mulzac), is
launched at Wilmington, Delaware.
1947 – Dizzy Gillespie presented his first Carnegie Hall
concert in New York City, adding a sophisticated jazz
touch to the famous concert emporium. Dizzy will
become one of the jazz greats of all time. His
trademark: Two cheeks pushed out until it looked like
his face would explode.
1948 – Bryant Gumbel is born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He
will become the editor of Black Sports magazine and a
successful sportscaster before joining NBC’s Today Show
as the first African American anchor of a national
network morning news entertainment program.
1954 – Willie Mays makes his famous “over-the-shoulder catch”
of Vic Wertz’ 460′ drive.
1962 – President John F. Kennedy sends federal troops to
enforce integration of the University of Mississippi.
1962 – Lt. Governor Paul Johnson of Mississippi is found guilty
of civil contempt for blocking the entrance of James
Meredith to the University of Mississippi.
1965 – Ralph Boston of the United States, sets the long jump
record at 27′ 4 3/4″.
1975 – The first African American owned television station in
the United States, WGPR-TV in Detroit, begins
1977 – In the most-watched prize fight in history to date,
Muhammad Ali beats Ernie Shavers (in a fifteen round
decision) to claim the heavyweight championship boxing
crown. The bout was televised from New York City’s
Madison Square Garden and was officiated by the first
woman official of a heavyweight title boxing match
before an estimated 70 million viewers.
1979 – Sir William Arthur Lewis, Professor of Economics at
Princeton University, becomes the first person of
African descent to receive the Nobel Prize in Economics.
1988 – Florence Griffith Joyner of the United States, sets the
200 meter woman’s record in 21.34 seconds.
1998 – Former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley joins the ancestors
at the age of 80.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.