December 2 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – December 2 *

1859 – John Brown, abolitionist who planned the failed attack
on the Federal Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, is hanged at
Charles Town, West Virginia.

1866 – Harry T. Burleigh, singer and composer, is born in
Erie, Pennsylvania. He will be educated at the
National Conservatory of Music in New York City, where
he will meet and form a lasting friendship with Anton
Dvorak. He will eventually be awarded the NAACP’s
Spingarn Medal. Burleigh will be best known for his
arrangements of the Negro spiritual “Deep River”. He
will join the ancestors on December 12, 1949.

1884 – Granville T. Woods receives a patent for his first
electric device, an improved telephone transmitter.

1891 – North Carolina A&T College, Delaware State College and
West Virginia State College are established.

1891 – The Fifty-second Congress convenes. Only one African
American congressman has been elected – Henry P.
Cheatham of North Carolina.

1891 – Charles Harris Wesley, historian, educator, and
administrator, is born in Louisville, Kentucky. His
published works will include, “Neglected History,”
“Collapse of the Confederacy,” and “Negro Labor in the
United States,”and “1850-1925: A Study of American
Economic History.” He will join the ancestors on
August 16, 1987.

1908 – John Baxter “Doc” Taylor joins the ancestors as a result
of of typhoid pneumonia at the age of 26. Taylor had
been a record-setting quarter miler and the first
African American Olympic gold medal winner in the 4 x
400-meter medley in the 1908 London games.

1922 – Charles C. Diggs is born in Detroit, Michigan. He will
become an early member of the civil rights movement and
will attend the trial of Emmett Till’s murderers. In
1954, he will defeat incumbent U.S. Representative
George D. O’Brien in the Democratic Party primary
elections for Michigan’s 13th congressional district. He
will go on to win the general election to the 84th
Congress and be subsequently re-elected to the next
twelve Congresses. He will be the first African American
elected to Congress from the state of Michigan. He will
also be elected the first chairman of the Congressional
Black Caucus. He will serve as a congressman from January
3, 1955, until his resignation June 3, 1980. He will
resign from the United States House of Representatives
and serve 14 months of a three-year sentence for mail
fraud, although he maintained his innocence. He will join
the ancestors on August 24, 1998.

1923 – Roland Hayes becomes the first African American to sing
in the Symphony Hall in Boston, Massachusetts.

1940 – William Ferdie ‘Willie’ Brown is born in Yazoo City,
Mississippi. He will play college football at Grambling
State University and will not be drafted by any
professional team after leaving college in 1963. He will
be signed by the Houston Oilers of the American Football
League (AFL), but will be cut from the team during training
camp. He will then be signed by the AFL’s Denver Broncos
and became a starter by the middle of his rookie season. He
will win All-AFL honors in his second season and play in
the AFL All-Star Game, recording nine interceptions for 144
yards. In 1967, he will be traded to the AFL’s Oakland
Raiders and spend the remainder of his playing career there.
He will serve as defensive captain for 10 of his 12 years
with the team. He will be named to five AFL All-Star games
and four NFL Pro Bowls. He will also be named All-AFL three
times and All-NFL four times. His most memorable moment as
a Raider will come during Super Bowl XI, when he intercepts
a Fran Tarkenton pass and return it a Super Bowl-record 75
yards for a touchdown. His record will stand for 29 years.
He will retire after the 1978 season, and finish his Raiders’
career with 39 interceptions. He will finish his 16
professional football season seasons with 54 interceptions,
which he returned for 472 yards and two touchdowns. He will
also recover three fumbles. He will be a member of the
American Football League All-Time Team and be inducted into
the Pro Football Hall of Fame on July 28, 1984, his first
year of eligibility. In 1999, he will be ranked number 50 on
The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players,
making him the highest-ranking Raiders player.

1943 – “Carmen Jones,” a contemporary reworking of the Bizet
opera “Carmen” by Oscar Hammerstein II with an all-black
cast, opens on Broadway.

1953 – Dr. Rufus Clement, president of Atlanta University, is
elected to the Atlanta Board of Education.

1975 – Ohio State running back Archie Griffin becomes the first
person ever to win the Heisman Trophy twice, when he is
awarded his second trophy in New York City. He amassed
a career record of 5,176 yards and 31 consecutive 100
yard plus games.

1989 – Andre Ware of the University of Houston, becomes the
first African American quarterback to win the Heisman

1992 – Dr. Maya Angelou is asked to compose a poem for William
Jefferson Clinton’s presidential inauguration.

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

December 1 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – December 1 *

1641 – Massachusetts becomes the first colony to give statutory
recognition to the institution of slavery.

1821 – Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) proclaims independence
from Spain.

1873 – The 43rd Congress (1873-75) convenes with seven African
American congressmen: Richard H. Cain, Robert Brown
Elliott, Joseph H. Rainey and Alonzo J. Ransier, South
Carolina; James T. Rapier, Alabama; Josiah T. Walls,
Florida; John R. Lynch, Mississippi.

1873 – Mifflin Wister Gibb is elected city judge in Little Rock,
Arkansas and becomes the first African American to hold
such a position.

1873 – Bennett College (Greensboro, North Carolina) and Wiley
College (Marshall, Texas) are founded.

1874 – Queen Esther Chapter No. 1, Order of the Eastern Star, is
established at 708 O Street, N.W., Washington, DC in the
home of Mrs. Georgiana Thomas. The first Worthy Matron
is Sister Martha Welch and the first Worthy Patron is
Bro. Thornton A. Jackson. This establishes the first
Eastern Star Chapter among African American women in the
United States.

1877 – Jonathan Jasper Wright, the first African American state
supreme court justice, resigns from the state supreme
court in South Carolina. He resigns knowing that whites
would soon force him off the bench after overthrowing
the Reconstruction government. He will later join the
ancestors on February 19, 1885, in obscurity, of

1934 – Paul Williams is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He
will become Billy Paul, rhythm and blues singer, best
known for his song, “Me and Mrs. Jones”. The song,
recorded in 1972 will earn him a Grammy Award.

1935 – Lou Rawls is born in Chicago, Illinois. A successful
rhythm, blues, and jazz singer, he will record over 30
albums including “Unmistakably Lou”, a 1977 Grammy
winner for best R & B vocal performance. He will also
be a strong supporter of African American colleges, as
host of the annual UNCF telethon. He will join the
ancestors on January 6, 2006.

1940 – Richard Franklin Lennox Pryor III is born in Peoria,
Illinois. Raised in a brothel owned by his grandmother,
Pryor will try music as a drummer before his big comedy
break on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and a series of
successful, Grammy-winning comedy albums. Pryor will
also make movies, most notably “Stir Crazy” and “Silver
Streak”. Pryor will also battle drug abuse and illness
in his career, including his near death from burns
inflicted while freebasing cocaine and a battle against
multiple sclerosis. He will join the ancestors on
December 5, 2005.

1955 – Rosa Parks, a seamstress, refuses to take a back seat on
a Montgomery, Alabama bus. Her refusal to move will
result in her arrest and will begin a 382-day boycott
of the bus system by African Americans and mark the
beginning of the modern American Civil Rights movement.

1958 – The Central African Republic is made an autonomous
member of the French Commonwealth of Nations.

1980 – George Rogers, of the University of South Carolina, is
named the Heisman Trophy winner. Rogers will go on to
achieve success with the Washington Redskins.

1980 – United States Justice Department sues the city of
Yonkers, New York, citing racial discrimination.

1981 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar surpasses Oscar Robertson as
basketball’s second all-time leading scorer (second
only to Wilt Chamberlain). Kareem gets to the total of
26,712 points as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Utah
Jazz 117-86. Chamberlain’s record will fall in 1984,
when Kareem’s scores reach 31,259. Kareem will wind up
his career in 1989 with 38,387 points.

1982 – Michael Jackson’s album “Thriller” is released and will
go on to become the best-selling album in history, with
over 40 million copies sold worldwide.

1987 – James Baldwin, author, joins the ancestors in St. Paul
de Vence, France, of stomach cancer, at the age of 63.
He explored the plight of oppressed African Americans in
20th century America in a variety of literary forms.
His output included novels and plays, but it was above
all, as an essayist, that he achieved a reputation as
the most literary spokesman in the struggle for civil
rights in the 1950s and 1960s. His three most important
collection of essays were “Notes of a Native Son” in
1955, “Nobody Knows My Name” in 1961, and “The Fire Next
Time” in 1963. The most highly regarded of his novels
were the first three, “Go Tell It on the Mountain” in
1953, “Giovanni’s Room” in 1956, and “Another Country”
in 1962.

1989 – Dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey joins the ancestors
in New York City. Ailey began his professional career
with Lester Horton, founded, and was the sole director
of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958.
Initially performing four concerts annually, he took
the company to Europe on one of the most successful
tours ever by an American dance troupe. Among his
honors were the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal in 1977, and
Kennedy Center Honors.

1992 – Pearl Stewart becomes the first African American woman
editor of the Oakland Tribune, which has a circulation
of over 100,000.

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