* Today in Black History – September 17 *
1787 – The U.S. Constitution is approved at the Constitutional
Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with three
clauses protecting slavery.
1861 – The first day-school for ex-slaves is opened in Fortress
Monroe, Virginia under the tutelage of an African
American schoolteacher, Mary S. Peake. The school will
later become Hampton Institute (now University) in 1868.
1879 – Andrew “Rube” Foster is born in Calvert, Texas. He will
become an American baseball player, manager, and
executive in the Negro Leagues. He will be considered by
historians to have been perhaps the best African American
pitcher of the 1900s. He will also found and manage the
Chicago American Giants, one of the most successful Black
baseball teams of the pre-integration era. Most notably,
he will organize the Negro National League, the first
lasting professional league for African American ball
players, which will operate from 1920 to 1931. He will
adopted his longtime nickname “Rube” as his official
middle name later in life. He will join the ancestors on
December 9, 1930 and will be posthumously elected to the
Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.
1953 – Ernie Banks becomes the first African American baseball
player to wear a Chicago Cubs uniform. Banks is also
quick to say “Let’s play two!” Banks will be the Cubs’
outstanding shortstop from 1954 to 1960. In 1961 he will
be moved to left field, then to first base, where he will
spend the rest of his career. In 1969, Ernie Banks will
be voted the Cub’s best player ever by Chicago fans. ‘Mr.
Cub’ will retire in 1971. He will elected to the Baseball
Hall of Fame in 1977, the first year of his eligibility.
1956 – African American students are admitted to a Clay, Kentucky
elementary school under National Guard protection. They
had previously been barred by local authorities on
1962 – The Justice Department files the first suit to end racial
segregation in public schools. The fourth African American
church is burned near Dawson, Georgia. Three white men
later admitted burning the church. They were sentenced to
seven year prison terms.
1967 – Abdul-Malik Kashie Yoba is born in the Bronx, New York. He
will become an actor best known for his role as the star
of the popular Fox Television police drama “New York
Undercover” from 1994 to 1998. He will also appear in
films such as “Cool Runnings” and “Criminal.” He will
make appearances on the Fox television series “Arrested
Development” as Ice, a bounty hunter and party planner.
He will also be a recurring character, Brock Harris, on
the UPN sitcom “Girlfriends.” He will also appear in the
FX Networks crime drama “Thief.” In 2007, he will appear
in NBC’s crime drama “Raines” alongside Jeff Goldblum.
1968 – “Julia” premieres on NBC with Diahann Carroll in the title
role. It is the first television show to star an African
American woman since “Beulah” in the 1950’s.
1970 – “The Flip Wilson Show” premieres on NBC. Starring the New
Jersey comedian born as Clerow Wilson, it is the first
prime-time variety show starring an African American male
since “The Nat King Cole Show”.
1973 – Illinois becomes the first state to honor Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr.’s birthday as a holiday.
1983 – Vanessa Williams, Miss New York State, is named Miss
America in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the first African
American winner in the history of the pageant. Williams
will relinquish her crown after a 1984 scandal and later
stage a remarkable comeback through a stellar recording
career, which will include her multimillion-selling album,
“The Right Stuff”.
1984 – New York Met’s, Dwight Goodin, becomes the 2nd person to
strike out 32 batters over 2 consecutive games.
1990 – “The Content of Our Character” is published by San Jose
State University professor Shelby Steele. The book will
attract controversy because of its provocative positions
on affirmative action and race relations and win a 1992
National Book Award.
1991 – Ground is broken for the Harold Washington wing of the
DuSable Museum in Chicago, Illinois. Founded by artist
and poet Margaret T. Burroughs in 1961, the DuSable is
one of the oldest African American museums in the United
1994 – As some 20 warships sit off the coast of Haiti, former
President Jimmy Carter, Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) and
retired Gen. Colin Powell arrive in the Caribbean nation
in an 11th-hour bid to avert a U.S.-led invasion.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.