* Today in Black History – December 22 *
1873 – Abolitionist Charles Lenox Remond joins the ancestors.
He was the first African American lecturer employed by
the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society.
1883 – Arthur Wergs Mitchell is born near Lafayette, Alabama.
He will become the first African American Democrat
elected to Congress, representing Illinois for four
terms. In 1937, after being forced from first-class
train accommodations in Arkansas to ride in a shabby
Jim Crow car, Mitchell will sue the railroad and
eventually argue unsuccessfully before the Supreme Court
that interstate trains be exempt from Arkansas’
“separate but equal” laws. He will join the ancestors
on May 9, 1968.
1898 – Chancellor Williams is born in Bennettsville, South
Carolina. He will become a historian and author of
“Destruction of Black Civilization.” He will join the
ancestors on December 7, 1992.
1905 – James A. Porter is born in Baltimore, Maryland. An
artist, chairperson of the department of art at Howard
University and one of the earliest scholars of African
American art, Porter will exhibit his works widely in the
United States, Europe, and Africa. He will join the
ancestors on February 28, 1970.
1938 – Mateo Rojas (Matty) Alou is born in Haina, Dominican Republic.
He will spend fifteen seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB)
with the San Francisco Giants (1960–1965), Pittsburgh Pirates
(1966–1970), St. Louis Cardinals (1971–1972, 1973), Oakland
Athletics (1972), New York Yankees (1973) and San Diego
Padres (1974). He will also play in Nippon Professional
Baseball (NPB) with the Taiheiyo Club Lions from 1974 through
1976. He will be the middle of a trio of baseball-playing
brothers that include the older Felipe and Jesús. They will
be the first set of three siblings to play together in the
same outfield (on September 15), and all bat in the same half-
inning in the majors (September 10), accomplishing both with
the Giants in 1963. Matty will be teammates with Felipe during
the prior three campaigns, and will be likewise with Jesús for
the following two. Matty and Felipe will later reunite with
the Yankees in 1973. His best years as a player will be spent
with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he ill win the National
League (NL) batting title in 1966 and be a two-time All-Star
in 1968 and 1969. He will be a member of the World Series
Champion Oakland Athletics in 1972 and a NL pennant winner
with the New York Giants in 1962. On June 23, 2007, the
Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame will induct him
into their Hall of Fame. He will join the ancestors in Santo
Domingo, Dominican Republic on November 3, 2011 after
succumbing to complications of diabetes.
1939 – Jerry Pinkney is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He
will become an award-winning illustrator of children’s
books and numerous U.S. postage stamps featuring notable
African Americans. He will win the 2010 Caldecott Medal
for U.S. picture book illustration, recognizing “The Lion
& the Mouse,” a version of Aesop’s fable that he will
also write. He will also receive five Caldecott Honors,
five Coretta Scott King Awards, four New York Times Best
Illustrated Awards (most recently in 2006 for Little Red
Hen), four Gold and four Silver medals from the Society
of Illustrators, and the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award
(John Henry, 1994). In 2000 he will be given the Virginia
Hamilton Literary award from Kent State University and in
2004 the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for
outstanding contributions in the field of children’s
literature. For his contribution as a children’s
illustrator, he will be the U.S. nominee in 1998 for the
biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award,
the highest international recognition for creators of
1943 – W.E.B. Du Bois is elected as the first African American
member of the National Institute of Arts & Letters.
1980 – Samuel R. Pierce, Jr., a New York City lawyer and former
judge, is named to President Ronald Reagan’s Cabinet as
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
1984 – Four African American youths on a New York City subway
train, are shot by Bernhard Goetz. The white man shoots
because he thought they were going to rob him. He claims
he was seconds from becoming a mugging victim when he
opened fire, and will be acquitted of attempted murder in
1987 but will serve 8 months on a weapons charge. In
1996, he will lose a civil case brought against him by
one of the youths that he shot and paralyzed. The civil
judgment brought against him will be $ 43 million.
1988 – South Africa signs an accord granting independence to South
1989 – The art exhibit “Afro-American Artists in Paris: 1919-1939”
closes at the Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery on the
Hunter College campus in New York City. The exhibit of
eight artists including William Harper, Lois Mailou Jones,
Archibald Motley, Jr., Henry O. Tanner, and Hale Woodruff,
among others, powerfully illustrates the results achieved
by African American artists when they were able to leave
the confines and restrictions imposed upon them by race in
the United States.
1996 – Kordell Stewart of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs 80 yards
for a touchdown in the first half of an 18-14 loss to the
Carolina Panthers, the longest scoring run to date by a
quarterback in NFL history.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.