October 1 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – October 1 *

1851 – William “Jerry” Henry, a runaway slave and craftsman who had
settled in Syracuse, New York, is arrested by a United
States Marshal and scheduled to be returned to slavery.
Ten thousand citizens of the city will storm the sheriff’s
office and courthouse, free Henry, and aid his escape to
Canada via the underground railroad.

1872 – Morgan State College (now University) is founded in
Baltimore, Maryland.

1886 – Kentucky State College (now University) is founded in
Frankfort, Kentucky.

1897 – Virginia Proctor Powell, first female African American
librarian is born in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. She will
follow in her mother’s footsteps and continue her education
at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. In 1919, She will earn
her Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Oberlin.
She will move back to Pittsburgh where, although having
adequate training and experience, she was unable to pursue her
desired goal of teaching and spent some time working at her
aunt’s salon as a beautician. Aware of her passion for children
and books, Charles Wilbur Florence, her future husband, will
encourage her to pursue a career in librarianship. During a
time when African Americans were rarely considered for
admission into predominantly white universities, she will be
considered for admission into the Pittsburgh Carnegie Library
School (now the University of Pittsburgh School of Information
Sciences). There is much debate about allowing a Black person
into the program. School officials were concerned with how
white students might react to having a Black peer and the
likelihood that she would not find work upon completion of the
program. She will finish the program in 1923. OVer time she
would work as a librarian in Richmond, Virginia and Washington,
D.C. She will join the ancestors in Richmond, Virginia in 1991.

1937 – The Pullman Company formally recognizes the Brotherhood of
Sleeping Car Porters.

1937 – The Spingarn Medal is awarded to Walter White, NAACP
secretary, for his leadership and work in the anti-
lynching movement.

1945 – Donny Hathaway is born in Chicago, Illinois. He will be
an influential pop and Rhythm & Blues singer of the 1970s
whose hit songs will include “The Ghetto” and “The Closer
I Get to You” (with Roberta Flack). His collaborations with
Roberta Flack will score high on the charts and win him the
Grammy Award for “Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with
Vocal” for the duet, “Where Is the Love” in 1973. He will join
the ancestors, after commiting suicide, on January 13, 1979.

1945 – Rodney Cline “Rod” Carew, baseball Hall of Famer, is born in Gatún,
Panama, (formally Panama Canal Zone). He will win the American
League’s Rookie of the Year award in 1967 and be elected to the
first of 18 consecutive All-Star game appearances. He will steal
home seven times in the 1969 season to lead the majors, just
missing Ty Cobb’s Major League record of eight and the most in the
major leagues since Pete Reiser stole seven for the Brooklyn
Dodgers in 1946. His career total of 17 steals of home currently
puts him tied for 17th on the list with former New York Giant MVP
Larry Doyle and fellow Hall of Famer Eddie Collins. In 1972, He
will lead the American League in batting, hitting .318, and
remarkably, without hitting a single home run for the only time in
his career. He is, to date, the only player in the American League
or in the modern era to win the batting title with no home runs.
In 1975, he will join Ty Cobb as the only players to lead both the
American and National Leagues in batting average for three
consecutive seasons. In the 1977 season, he will bat .388, which is
the highest since Boston’s Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941, and win
the American League’s Most Valuable Player award. He will be
inducted into MLB Hall of Fame in 1991. He will also be inducted
into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame.

1945 – Heavyweight champion, Joe Louis, is discharged from the

1947 – United States’ control of Haitian Custom Service and
governmental revenue ends.

1948 – The California Supreme Court voids state statute banning
interracial marriages.

1948 – Edward Dudley is named Ambassador to Liberia.

1951 – The 24th Infantry Regiment, last of the all African
American military units authorized by Congress in 1866,
is deactivated in Korea.

1954 – The British colony of Nigeria becomes a federation.

1955 – Howard Hewitt is born in Akron, Ohio. He will move to Los
Angeles where he would eventually meet Soul Train dancer
and future first wife Rainey Riley-Cunningham, then a
secretary of the show’s creator and original host Don
Cornelius. It was Cornelius who introduced him to fellow
Soul Train dancers Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel, and
their group, Shalamar, was born. The trio is best known
for songs such as “Second Time Around”, “A Night to
Remember”, “Dancing in the Sheets” and the ballad “This Is
For The Lover In You”. He will be the group’s lead singer
from 1979 until 1985. When Shalamar breaks up in the mid
1980s, he will go on to pursue a solo career. In 1986 he
will be arrested and indicted in Miami with his fiance Mori
Molina for possession with an intent to distribute cocaine.
He subsequently married Molina who will be convicted and
serve prison time. He will then be acquitted of the charges.
He will sign with Elektra Records and record 1986’s I Commit
To Love (R&B #12), a relatively solid urban album that will
yielded two R&B hits, “I’m For Real” (R&B #2) and “Stay”
(R&B #8). The album will also include “Say Amen”, a gospel
tune that became a surprise hit on the Gospel charts and is
his signature song. He will contribute vocals to La Toya
Jackson’s Hot 100 hit single “Heart Don’t Lie” in 1984.

1960 – Nigeria proclaims its independence from Great Britain.

1961 – East & West Cameroon merge and become the Federal
Republic of Cameroon.

1963 – Nigeria becomes a republic within the British

1966 – The Black Panther party is founded in Oakland, California
by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale.

1977 – Brazilian soccer great, Pele’, retires with 1,281 goals
in 1,363 games.

1989 – Dallas Cowboy, Ed “Too Tall” Jones records his 1,000th
NFL tackle.

1991 – Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell assumes her duties as dean of
New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. A noted
art historian, Schmidt had previously served as
commissioner of cultural affairs, director of the
Studio of Harlem, and chair of the Smithsonian
Institution’s Advisory Committee that recommended
creation of a national African American museum.

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.


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