December 12 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – December 12 *

1870 – Joseph Hayne Rainey is the first African American to serve
in Congress representing South Carolina. He is sworn in
to fill an unexpired term.

1872 – U.S. Attorney General George Williams sends a telegram to
“Acting Governor Pinchback,” saying that the African
American politician “was recognized by the President as
the lawful executive of Louisiana.”

1892 – Minnie Evans, visual artist and painter, is born in Pender
County, North Carolina. One of her more famous works will
be “Lion of Judah.” She will be inducted into the
Wilmington, NC “Walk of Fame.” She will join the ancestors
on December 16, 1987.

1899 – Boston native, dentist, and avid golfer, George F. Grant
receives a patent for a wooden golf tee. Prior to the
use of the tee, wet sand was used to make a small mound
to place the ball. Grant’s invention will revolutionize
the manner in which golfers swing at the ball.

1912 – Henry Melody Jackson, Jr. is born in Columbus, Mississippi.
He will move with his family to St. Louis, Missouri and
become a boxer known as Henry Armstrong. In 1938 he will
become the first boxer to hold three titles at the same
time after winning the lightweight boxing championship.
He will be inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame as well
as the International Boxing Hall of Fame. His boxing record
at the time of his retirement in 1945 will be 150 wins, 101
wins by knockout, 21 losses, and 10 draws. After retiring
from boxing, he will become a Baptist minister and will
teach young upcoming fighter how to box. He will join
the ancestors on October 22, 1988 in Los Angeles, California.

1913 – James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens is born in Oakville, Alabama.
He will become a world-class athlete in college, setting
world records in many events. He will go on to win 4 gold
medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, spoiling Hitler’s
plans to showcase Aryan sports supremacy. He will join the
ancestors on March 31, 1980.

1918 – Famed jazz singer Joe Williams is born in Cordele, Georgia.
Williams will sing for seven years in Count Basie’s band,
where he will record such hits as “Every Day I have the
Blues.” He will join the ancestors on March 29, 1980.

1929 – Vincent Dacosta Smith is born in New York City. He will
exhibit his works on four continents and be represented in
the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the National
Museum of American Art, and the National Museum of Afro-
American Artists in Boston. He will join the ancestors on
December 27, 2003.

1938 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Missouri that a state must
provide equal educational facilities for African Americans
within its boundaries. Lloyd Gaines, the plaintiff in the
case, disappears after the decision and is never seen
again.

1941 – Dionne Warwick is born in East Orange, New Jersey. Warwick
will sing in a gospel trio with her sister Dee Dee and
cousin Cissy Houston, and begin her solo career in 1960
singing the songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. She
will become a three-time Grammy winner.

1943 – Grover Washington, Jr. is born in Buffalo, New York. He
will become a renown jazz artist and famous for his
recording of “Mr. Magic.” He will join the ancestors on
December 17, 1999.

1961 – Martin Luther King Jr., along with over seven hundred
demonstrators is arrested in Albany, Ga., after five mass
marches on city hall to protest segregation. The arrests
trigger the militant Albany movement.

1963 – Kenya achieves its independence from Great Britain with
Jomo Kenyatta as its first prime minister.

1963 – Medgar Wiley Evers is awarded the Spingarn Medal
posthumously for his civil rights leadership.

1965 – Johnny Lee, an actor best known for his portrayal of
“Calhoun” on “The Amos ‘n’ Andy Show,” joins the ancestors
at the age of 67.

1965 – Gale Sayers, of the Chicago Bears, scores 6 touchdowns and
ties the NFL record.

1968 – Arthur Ashe becomes the first African American to be ranked
Number One in tennis.

1975 – The National Association of Black Journalists is formed in
Washington, DC. Among its founding members are Max
Robinson, who will become the first African American anchor
of a national network news program, and Acel Moore, a
future Pulitzer Prize winner.

1979 – Rhodesia becomes the independent nation of Zimbabwe.

1986 – Bone Crusher Smith knocks out WBA champion Tim Witherspoon
in Madison Square Garden in New York City.

2007 – Ike Turner, whose role as one of rock’s critical architects
was overshadowed by his ogre-like image as the man who
brutally abused former wife and rock icon Tina Turner,
joins the ancestors at his home in suburban San Diego at the
age of 76.

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

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