* Today in Black History – December 14 *
1829 – John Mercer Langston is born in Louisa County, Virginia.
He will have a distinguished career as an attorney,
educator, recruiter of soldiers for the all African
American 5th Ohio, 54th and 55th Massachusetts regiments,
dean of the law school and president of Howard University,
diplomat, and U.S. congressman. He will join the ancestors
on November 15, 1897 in Washington, DC.
1915 – Jack Johnson becomes the world heavyweight boxing champion.
1920 – Clark Terry is born in St. Louis, Missouri. He will become
a trumpeteer and flugelhorn player who will be known for
his association with Duke Ellington on the 1950’s, his
innovative flugelhorn sound, and unusual mumbling scat
singing. He will be one of the most recorded musicians in
the history of jazz, with more than nine-hundred recordings.
His discography will read like a “Who’s Who In Jazz,” with
personnel that will include greats such as Quincy Jones,
Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Dinah
Washington, Ben Webster, Aretha Franklin, Charlie Barnet,
Doc Severinsen, Ray Charles, Billy Strayhorn, Dexter Gordon,
Thelonious Monk, Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan, Sarah
Vaughan, Coleman Hawkins, Zoot Sims, Milt Jackson, Bob
Brookmeyer, and Dianne Reeves. Among his numerous recordings,
he will be featured with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Count
Basie Orchestra, Dutch Metropole Orchestra, Chicago Jazz
Orchestra, Woody Herman Orchestra, Herbie Mann Orchestra,
Donald Byrd Orchestra, and many other large ensembles – high
school and college ensembles, his own duos, trios, quartets,
quintets, sextets, octets, and two big bands – Clark Terry’s
Big Bad Band and Clark Terry’s Young Titans of Jazz. His
career in jazz will span more than seventy years.
1939 – Ernest “Ernie” Davis is born in New Salem, Pennsylvania.
He will become the first African American to win the
Heisman Trophy (1961). He will join the ancestors on May
18, 1963, succumbing to acute monotypic leukemia before
he is able to play in the National Football League.
1945 – Stanley Crouch is born in Los Angeles, California. He will
become a drummer, poet, and writer for “The Village Voice.”
Among his books will be “Notes of a Hanging Judge,”
published in 1990.
1963 – Singer Dinah Washington joins the ancestors after a sleeping
pill overdose at the age of 39 in Detroit, Michigan. She
popularized many, many great songs, including “What a
Diff’rence a Day Makes”, “Unforgettable” and several hits
with Brook Benton, including “Baby (You’ve Got What it
Takes)” and “A Rockin’ Good Way (To Mess Around and Fall
1968 – Sammy Davis Jr. is awarded the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal for
his “superb and many-faceted talent,” and his contributions
to the civil rights movement.
1968 – Classes of San Francisco State University are suspended
after demonstrations by the Black Student Union and Third
World Liberation Front.
1972 – Johnny Rodgers, a running back with the University of
Nebraska, is awarded the Heisman Trophy. Rodgers gained a
total of 5,586 yards for the Cornhuskers in three years.
1980 – Elston Howard, a New York Yankee catcher for many years,
joins the ancestors.
1991 – Desmond Howard, of the University of Michigan wins the
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.