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
tuberculosis.

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.

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