December 7 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – December 7 *

1874 – White Democrats kill seventy-five Republicans in a
massacre at Vicksburg, Mississippi.

1885 – The Forty-Ninth Congress (1885-87) is convened. Two
African American congressmen, James E. O’Hara of North
Carolina and Robert Smalls of South Carolina are in

1931 – Comer Cottrell is born in Mobile, Alabama. In 1970, he
will become founder and president of Pro-line
Corporation in Los Angeles, California, which he will
start with $ 600 and a borrowed typewriter. He will move
the headquarters to Dallas, Texas in 1980, becoming the
largest African American-owned business in the southwest.
An entrepreneur with a wide range of interests, he will
become the first African American to own a part of a
major league baseball team, the Texas Rangers, in 1989.
He will also become sponsor of Miss Collegiate African
American Pageant in 1989, purchase the campus of bankrupt
Bishop College in Dallas, Texas in 1990, and persuade
Paul Quinn College to relocate to former grounds of
Bishop College. He will donate $25,000 to Spelman College
in Atlanta, Georgia and serve as part of an entourage of
black businessmen visiting the Republic of South Africa
in 1994. He will join the ancestors on October 3, 2014.

1941 – During the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dorie Miller
of Waco, Texas, a messman aboard the battleship Arizona
who had never been instructed in firearms, heroically
downs three Japanese planes before being ordered to
leave the ship. Miller will be awarded the Navy Cross
for his bravery.

1941 – The Downtown Gallery in New York City presents the
exhibit “American Negro Art, 19th and 20th Century”.
Included in the exhibit is work by Robert Duncanson,
Horace Pippin, Eldzier Cortor, Richmond Barte’ and

1941 – Lester Granger is named executive director of the
National Urban League.

1941 – The NAACP’s Spingarn Medal is presented to novelist
Richard Wright, “one of the most powerful of
contemporary writer,” for “his powerful depiction in
his books, ‘Uncle Tom’s Childre-n,’ and ‘Native Son,’
of the effect of proscription, segregation and denial
of opportunities to the American Negro.”

1942 – Reginald F. Lewis is born in Baltimore, Maryland. He will
receive his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1968.
He will eventually become a partner in Murphy, Thorpe &
Lewis, the first African American law firm on Wall
Street. In 1989, he will become president and CEO of
TLC Beatrice International Holding Inc. With TLC’s
leverage acquisition of Beatrice International Food
Company, Lewis becomes the head of the largest African
American-owned business in the United States. TLC
Beatrice had revenues of $1.54 billion in 1992. He will
join the ancestors in January, 1993, succumbing to brain

1972 – W. Sterling Cary is elected president of the Nation
Council of Churches.

1978 – Billy Sims is awarded the Heisman Trophy at the annual
awards dinner sponsored by the Downtown Athletic Club.
The running back from the University of Oklahoma is the
sixth junior to win the award.

1981 – John Jacobs is named president of the National Urban

1985 – Bo Jackson of Auburn University wins the Heisman Trophy.

1990 – Rhythm and Blues artist, Dee Clark, joins the ancestors in
Smyrna, Georgia at the age of 52.

1993 – The South African transitional executive council is set up.

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


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