December 31 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – December 31 *

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* The Nguzo Saba – The seven principles of Kwanzaa – Principle for *
* Day #6 – Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah) Creativity: To do always as much as *
* we can, in the way that we can, in order to leave our community *
* more beautiful than when we inherited it. *
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1775 – Alarmed by the impact of the British Dunmore proclamation, that
would give freedom to slaves who would fight on their side,
Gen. George Washington reverses himself and authorizes the
enlistment of free Blacks.

1783 – The importation of African slaves is banned by all of the
northern states in the United States.

1862 – The Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church holds a Watch
Night service in Suburban Maryland. It begins a tradition when
African Americans pray and worship in anticipation of the next
day, New Year’s Day 1863, when President Lincoln’s Emancipation
Proclamation is to take effect.

1871 – Annie Welthy Daughtry (later Holland) is born in Isle of Wight
County, Virginia. In 1921, she will be appointed North Carolina
Supervisor of Negro Elementary Education, a position she will
hold until she joins the ancestors. In 1927, she will found
North Carolina’s Colored Parent Teachers’ Association. She will
join the ancestors suddenly on January 6, 1934, while
addressing a county-wide meeting of Black teachers in
Louisburg, North Carolina.

1900 – Sculptor and educator Selma Burke is born in Mooresville, North
Carolina. She will be commissioned to create a profile of
President Franklin D. Roosevelt after a national competition
sponsored by the Fine Arts Commission in Washington, DC. The
completed project, a plaque, is unveiled and installed at the
Record of Deeds Building in Washington DC. She will join the
ancestors on August 29, 1995.

1930 – Odetta Felious Gordon Holmes is born in Birmingham, Alabama.
She will become a famous folksinger, known simply as “Odetta”,
who will sing all over the world and at major peace and civil
rights meetings, including the 1963 March on Washington. Among
the many musicians who cite Odetta as a major musical influence
have been Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. She will join
the ancestors on December 2, 2008.

1948 – LaDonna Adrian Gaines is born in Boston, Massachusetts. She will
be best known by her stage name, Donna Summer. She will become
a singer and songwriter, gaining prominence during the disco era
of the late 1970s. A five-time Grammy Award winner, she will be
the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach #1
on the United States Billboard album chart and chart four number
one singles in the United States within a 13-month period. She will
reportedly sell over 100 million records, making her one of the
world’s best-selling artists of all time. She will first become
involved with singing through church choir groups before joining a
number of bands influenced by the Motown Sound. Also influenced by
the counterculture of the 1960s, she will become the front singer
of a psychedelic rock band named Crow and move to New York City.
Joining a touring version of the musical “Hair,” she will leave New
York and spend several years living, acting, and singing in West
Germany, where she will meet music producer Giorgio Moroder. Also
while in Europe, she will marry Helmut Sommer. After their divorce,
she will keep his surname for her stage name; dropping the “o” and
replacing it with a “u” for “Summer”. After returning to the United
States, she will co-write the song “Love to Love You Baby” with Pete
Bellotte. The song will be released in 1975 to mass commercial
success. Over the following years She will follow this success with
a string of other hits, such as “I Feel Love”, “Last Dance”,
“MacArthur Park”, “Hot Stuff”, “Bad Girls”, “Dim All the Lights”,
“No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)”, and “On the Radio”. She will
become known as the “Queen of Disco” and regularly appear at the
Studio 54 nightclub in New York City, while her music gains a global
following. She will continue to perform until 2011. She will join
the ancestors on May 17,2912 in Naples, Florida, after succumbing to
lung cancer at the age of 63. On December 11, 2012, after four prior
nominations, she will be posthumously announced to be one of the 2013
inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,and will be inducted on
April 18, 2013, at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater.

1953 – Hulan Jack is inaugurated as Manhattan borough president, the
first African American to hold the post.

1953 – The NAACP’s Spingarn Medal is presented to Paul R. Williams for
his achievements as an architect.

1962 – Katanga becomes part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

1964 – In a speech before a group of young people, Malcolm X urges them
“to see for yourself and listen for yourself and think for
yourself. This generation, especially of our people, have a
burden, more so than at any other time in history. The most
important thing we can learn to do today is think for
ourselves.”

1972 – Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh Pirate slugger, joins the ancestors
after a plane crash on his way to a humanitarian mission to
Nicaragua.

1976 – Roland Hayes joins the ancestors in Boston, Massachusetts at the
age of 89. He had been an acclaimed tenor whose pioneering
recitals of German lieder and other classical music opened the
concert stage for African American singers

1984 – The first nationally broadcast telethon for the United Negro
College Fund raises $14.1 million. The telethon will become an
annual fundraising drive that will support more than 40
historically African American institutions of higher learning
and draw widespread individual and corporate support.

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

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