Today in Black History – December 8 *
1850 – The first African American woman to graduate from
college is Lucy Ann Stanton. She completes the two-year
ladies’ course and receives the Bachelor of Literature
degree from Oberlin College in Ohio.
1863 – President Abraham Lincoln issues his Proclamation on
Amnesty and Reconstruction for the restoration of the
Confederate states into the Union. He offers them a full
pardon and restoration of their rights if they are
willing to take an oath of loyalty to the Union and
accept the end of slavery.
1868 – Henry Hugh Proctor is born near Fayetteville,
Tennessee. He will receive his degree from Fisk University,
graduating in 1891. In 1894, he will receive a Bachelor of
Divinity degree from Yale University and be ordained into
the Congregational ministry. He will become pastor of the
First Congregational Church in Atlanta. In 1903, He will
join George Washington Henderson, president of Straight
University, a black college in New Orleans, Louisiana, to
found the National Convention of Congregational Workers
Among Colored People, and he will become its first president.
In 1904, Clark University will award him a Doctor of Divinity
degree. After the Atlanta Race Riot in 1906, he and a white
attorney will work together to quell remaining tensions and
form the Interracial Committee of Atlanta. In the church,
he will provide amenities lacking to blacks such as a
library, a kindergarten, an employment bureau, a gymnasium, a
ladies’ reading parlor, a music room, counseling services and
a model kitchen and sewing room for girls. He will also help
open the first housing facility for young employed black
women. He will be a strong believer in self-improvement. He
will also found the Atlanta Colored Music Festival
Association, with concerts attended by both races, segregated
but under one roof, believing that music could quell racial
animosity. This festival continues to the present day as the
Atlanta Music Festival. In 1919, he will minister to the
black American troops remaining in Europe. Afterwards he will
lead the Nazarene Congregational Church in Brooklyn, New York,
the place where he will live the rest of his life. He will
join the ancestors on May 12, 1933 New York City, after
succumbing to blood poisoning.
1873 – The National Equal Rights Convention adopts a resolution
to include African Americans.
1896 – J.T. White patents the lemon squeezer.
1925 – Entertainer, Sammy Davis Jr. is born in New York City.
He will begin his career at the age of four in
vaudeville, performing with his father. Sammy will star
on Broadway in “Mr. Wonderful” and in movies with “Porgy
and Bess”, Ocean’s Eleven, and “Robin and the Seven
Hoods.” He will release over 40 albums and will win many
gold records. He will join the ancestors on May 16, 1990.
1925 – James Oscar “Jimmy” Smith is born in Norristown,
Pennsylvania. He will become a modern jazz organist with
hits such as “Walk on the Wild Side.” He will rule the
Hammond organ in the ’50s and ’60s. He will revolutionize
the instrument, showing it could be creatively used in a
jazz context and popularized in the process. His Blue
Note sessions from 1956 to 1963 were extremely
influential. He toured extensively through the ’60s and
’70s. His Blue Note recordings will include superb
collaborations with Kenny Burrell, Lee Morgan, Lou
Donaldson, Tina Brooks, Jackie McLean, Ike Quebec and
Stanley Turrentine among others. He will join the
ancestors on February 8, 2005.
1933 – Clerow Wilson is born in Jersey City, New Jersey. “Flip”
Wilson is the tenth in a family of twenty-four children,
eighteen of whom survived. He will become a popular
comedian and will star in his own prime time comedy show
on television, “The Flip Wilson Show.” He will join the
ancestors on November 25, 1998.
1936 – “Gibbs vs The Board of Education” in Montgomery County,
Maryland is the first of a succession of suits initiated
by the NAACP, that eliminated wage differentials between
African American and white teachers.
1936 – “The Michigan Chronicle” is founded by Louis E. Martin.
1936 – The Spingarn Medal is presented to John Hope, posthumously,
for his achievement as president of Morehouse College and
for his creative leadership in the founding of the Atlanta
1939 – Jerry Butler is born in Sunflower, Mississippi. He will
become a rhythm and blues singer with his group, The
Impressions and will be best known for his songs, “Never
Give You Up”, “For Your Precious Love,” “He Will Break
Your Heart,” and “Only the Strong Survive.” He will
become involved in the election of Chicago’s first
African American mayor, Harold Washington, work as Cook
County Commissioner and will serve as a Chicago City
1962 – The Reverend John Melville Burgess is consecrated as
suffragan Bishop of Massachusetts — the first African
American bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church to
serve a predominantly white diocese.
1967 – Major Robert H. Lawrence, Jr., the first African American
astronaut, joins the ancestors when his F-104 Starfighter
crashes at Edwards Air Force Base in California’s Mojave
1972 – Representative George Collins joins the ancestors in an
airplane crash, near Midway Airport in Chicago, Illinois,
at the age of 47.
1972 – Attorney Jewel Lafontant is named Deputy Solicitor General
of the United States.
1977 – Earl Campbell, a running back with the University of Texas,
is awarded the Heisman Trophy. Campbell will play for
the Houston Oilers and be elected to the Football Hall of
Fame in 1990.
1983 – Mike Rozier, of the University of Nebraska, is awarded the
1987 – Kurt Lidell Schmoke is inaugurated as the first African
American mayor of Baltimore, Maryland.
1988 – Barry Sanders, a running back with Oklahoma State
University, is awarded the Heisman Trophy.
1991 – Tap dancing legends Fayard and Harold Nicholas and six
others receive Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, DC.
1998 – Nkem Chukwu, a Nigerian American, delivers Ebuka, the
first of eight children at Texas Children’s Hospital in
Houston, Texas. In what doctors consider a medical first,
the other seven siblings will be delivered on December 20.
Only seven will survive.
1999 – A Memphis, Tennessee jury hearing a lawsuit filed by the
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s family, finds that the civil
rights leader had been the victim of a vast murder
conspiracy, not a lone assassin.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.