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
Trophy.

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.

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