December 27 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – December 27 *

* The Nguzo Saba – The seven principles of Kwanzaa – Principle for *
* Day #2 – Kujichagulia (koo-jee-cha-goo-LEE-ah) Self Determination: *
* To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak *
* for ourselves. *

1873 – William A. Harper is born in Cayuga, Canada. A student at the
Art Institute of Chicago, he will study with Henry O. Tanner
and be considered one of the most gifted African American
artists of the early 20th century.

1904 – Monroe Nathan Work marries Florence Evelyn Hendrickson of
Savannah, Georgia. Greatly assisted by his wife, Work will
publish “The Negro Year Book,” an annual encyclopedia of
African American achievement. He will later publish “A
Bibliography of the Negro in Africa and America” (1928), with
over 17,000 entries. Reviewers will laud it as “absolutely
indispensable” and call it “a monument of which any race may
well be proud.” It will be reprinted in 1965.

1939 – John Amos is born in Newark, New Jersey. He will become an
actor and will be known for his roles in “Good Times,” “Coming
to America,” and “Roots.”

1941 – Pioneer of blood plasma research, Dr. Charles Richard Drew,
establishes the first blood bank in New York City.

1956 – After a boycott by African Americans that lasted more than six
months, segregation is outlawed on Tallahassee, Florida buses.

1956 – The NAACP’s Spingarn Medal is awarded to Jack Roosevelt
(“Jackie”) Robinson, the first African American in the major
leagues, for his conduct on and off the baseball field.

1980 – Calvin Murphy, of the Houston Rockets, begins the longest NBA
free throw streak of 78.

1998 – A week after she was born weighing just 10.3 ounces, the
smallest of the Houston octuplets, Odera Chukwu, joins the
ancestors, succumbing to heart and lung failure. In a statement
released through the hospital, her parents, Nkem Chukwu and Iyke
Louis Udobi, say: “We are very saddened by the passing of our
beloved baby Odera. She is now safe with God in heaven and we
remain most grateful to him for having blessed our lives with

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


December 26 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – December 26 *

* The Nguzo Saba – The seven principles of Kwanzaa – Principle for *
* Day #1 – Umoja (oo-MOE-jah) Unity: To strive for and maintain unity *
* in the family, community, nation and race. *
* *

1848 – William & Ellen Craft escape from slavery in Georgia. Mrs. Craft
impersonates a slave holder and her husband, William, assumes
the role of her servant, in one of the most dramatic of the
slave escapes.

1849 – David Ruggles joins the ancestors in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Often called the first African American bookseller (for his
bookstore established in 1834), Ruggles was an early
abolitionist, speaker, and writer as well as a “conductor” on
the Underground Railroad. He published the first African
American magazine, the “Mirror of Liberty in August of 1838. He
was a noted hydropathist, erecting the first building
constructed for hydropathic treatments in the United States and
was known as the “water cure doctor.”

1894 – Nathan Pinchback “Jean” Toomer is born in Washington, DC. The
grandson of P.B.S. Pinchback, he will become a poet and novelist
and an important figure of the Harlem Renaissance and modernism.
His first book “Cane,” published in 1923, is considered by many
to be his most significant. Of mixed race and majority European
ancestry, he will struggle to identify as “an American” and will
resist efforts to classify him as a black writer. He will
continue to write poetry, short stories and essays. After his
second marriage in 1934, he will move from New York to Doylestown,
Pennsylvania, where he will become a member of the Religious
Society of Friends (also known as Quakers) and will retire from
public life. His papers will be held by the Beinecke Rare Book
Library at Yale University. He will join the ancestors on March
30, 1967.

1908 – Jack Johnson wins the heavyweight title in Australia, defeating
Tommy Burns. After avoiding fighting Johnson for over a year,
Burns will say of his loss, “Race prejudice was rampant in my
mind. The idea of a black man challenging me was beyond
enduring. Hatred made me tense.”

1924 – DeFord Bailey, Sr., a harmonica player, becomes the first African
American to perform on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville,

1927 – Lonnie Elder III is born in Americus, Georgia, but will be raised
in Jersey City, New Jersey. He will begin his career as a
Broadway actor but soon will find his skills in playwriting. His
first and most well known play, “Ceremonies in Dark Old Men,”
will win him a Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Playwright.
The play, which was about a Harlem barber and his family, will be
produced by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1969, and this will
encourage him to study filmmaking at Yale. He will write the
screenplay for “Sounder” and he and Suzanne de Passe will become
the first African Americans to be nominated for an Academy Award
for screen writing. He will later write the sequel to “Sounder.”
He will be known for films that promote the cause of feminism for
African American women. His script for the television miniseries
“A Woman Called Moses” is an example of this. His play
“Ceremonies in Dark Old Men,” which will be produced for
television in 1975, will also be influential in depicting the
realities of a black family attempting to survive in New York
City. He will also co-write the screenplay for the Richard Pryor
comedy “Bustin’ Loose.” He will also star in the original
Broadway production of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun”
as the character Bobo. He will join the ancestors on June 11,

1937 – La Julia Rhea becomes the first African American to sing with the
Chicago Civic Opera Company during the regular season. She
opens in the title role of Verdi’s “Aida.”

1956 – African Americans in Birmingham, Alabama begin mass defiance of
Jim Crow bus laws.

1966 – Kwanzaa, originated by Dr. Maulana Karenga, is first celebrated
by a small number of African American families in Los Angeles,
California, to “restore and reaffirm our African heritage and
culture.” Kwanzaa, a Kiswahili word meaning first or first
fruit, will celebrate over the next seven days the Nguzo Saba,
or seven principles, of Umoja(Unity), Kujichagulia(self-
determination), Ujima(Collective Work and Responsibility),
Ujamaa(Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba
(Creativity), and Imani (Faith).

1999 – Prolific singer, songwriter & producer Curtis Mayfield joins
the ancestors at the age of 57 in North Fulton Regional Hospital
near Atlanta, Georgia. Mayfield introduced social
consciousness into African American music and continued to
record for a decade after an accident left him paralyzed. His
many hits included “People Get Ready,” “I’m So Proud,” and “Keep
On Pushing.” His soundtrack for the 1972 movie “Superfly” sold
over 4 million copies and produced two classic hit singles, the
title track and “Freddie’s Dead.” In addition to his wife, he
leaves behind his mother, 10 children, a brother, two sisters
and seven grandchildren to celebrate his life.

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

December 25 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – December 25 *


1760 – Jupiter Hammon, a New York slave who was probably the
first African American poet, publishes “An Evening
Thought:Salvation by Christ”.

1776 – Oliver Cromwell and Prince Whipple are among soldiers who
cross the Delaware River with George Washington to
successfully attack the Hessians in Trenton, New Jersey,
during the Revolutionary War.

1807 – Charles B. Ray is born in Falmouth, Massachusetts. He
will enter Wesleyan University in Connecticut and be
forced to withdraw due to objections from northerners
and southerners. He will later become a prominent
African American leader.

1835 – Benjamin Tucker Tanner is born in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. Father of famous painter Henry O. Tanner,
he will become an A.M.E. bishop and editor of the
“Christian Recorder” and founder in 1884 of the A.M.E.
Church Review,” a leading magazine of the day.

1837 – Cheyney University is established in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. It will be first known as the “Institute
for Colored Youth”. The school will be moved to George
Cheyney’s farm, 24 miles west of Philadelphia, in 1902.
It will be renamed in 1913 to “The Cheyney Training
School for Teachers.” Cheyney University of Pennsylvania
is the first historically Black institution of learning
in America. It is also the first college in the United
States to receive official state certification as an
institution of higher academic education for African

1837 – Charles Lenox Remond begins his career as an antislavery
agent. Remond will be one of the first African Americans
employed as a lecturer by the antislavery movement. He
will work many years for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery

1865 – Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, Shaw University
in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Virginia Union University
in Richmond, Virginia are founded.

1875 – Charles Caldwell joins the ancestors after being
assassinated in Clinton, Mississippi. He was the first
African American in the state of Mississippi to be accused
of the murder of a white man and found “not guilty” by an
all-white jury. He was later elected to the state senate.

1907 – Cabell “Cab” Calloway III is born in Rochester, New York. A
versatile jazz bandleader and singer who will popularize
scat singing, his song “Minnie the Moocher” will be the
first million-selling jazz record. Calloway will also
appear in the movie “Porgy and Bess” as well as perform as
a singer in the touring companies of “Porgy” and “Hello
Dolly.” He will join the ancestors on November 18, 1994.

1951 – Harry T. Moore, a Florida NAACP official, joins the
ancestors after being killed by a bomb in his home in Mims,
Florida. Active in expanding the African American vote in
Florida and in desegregating the University of Florida,
Moore will be posthumously awarded the NAACP’s Spingarn
Medal in 1952.

1951 – The NAACP’s Spingarn Medal is presented to Mabel K. Staupers
for her leadership in the field of nursing.

1956 – The home of Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, a Birmingham,
Alabama protest leader, is destroyed by a dynamite bomb.

1958 – Rickey Henley Henderson is born in Chicago, Illinois. He
will grow up to become a baseball player with the Oakland
Athletics and New York Yankees and will become the stolen
base king. In 1982, Henderson will shatter Lou Brock’s
modern major league record by stealing 130 bases. He will
have 23 consecutive seasons in which he will steal more
than 20 bases. He will rank 4th all-time in games played
(3,081), 10th in at-bats (10,961), 20th in hits (3,055),
and first in runs scored (2,295) and stolen bases (1,406).

1959 – Michael P. Anderson is born in Plattsburgh, New York. He
will be raised in Spokane, Washington. He will graduate
from the University of Washington in 1981 and be
commissioned a second lieutenant in the USAF. He will
become Chief of Communication Maintenance for the 2015
Communication Squadron and later be Director of
Information System Maintenance for the 1920 Information
System Group. In 1986 he will be selected to attend
Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance AFB, Oklahoma. He
will serve as an aircraft commander and instructor pilot
in the 920th Air Refueling Squadron, Wurtsmith AFB
Michigan. He will be selected as an astronaut by NASA in
December 1994, and will become qualified for flight crew
assignment as a mission specialist. He will be initially
assigned technical duties in the Flight Support Branch of
the Astronaut Office. He will fly on the crew of STS-89
(Shuttle Endeavour to Space Station Mir) and will log
over 211 hours in space in 1998. Lt. Colonel Anderson
will be assigned to the crew of STS-107 (Shuttle Columbia)
and will join the ancestors when Columbia explodes during
re-entry on February 1, 2003.

1965 – The Congress of Racial Equality announces that its national
director, Dr. James Farmer, would resign on March 1.

2006 – James Brown, the dynamic “Godfather of Soul,” whose
revolutionary rhythms, rough voice and flashing footwork
influenced generations of musicians from rock to rap,
joins the ancestors early Christmas morning at the age of
73. He had been hospitalized with pneumonia at Emory
Crawford Long Hospital on 12/24 and succumbed to heart
failure around 1:45 a.m. He was one of the major musical
influences of the past 50 years. From Mick Jagger to
Michael Jackson, David Bowie to Public Enemy, his rapid-
footed dancing, hard-charging beats and heartfelt yet
often unintelligible vocals changed the musical landscape.

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

December 24 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – December 24 *

1832 – The first hospital for African Americans is founded by
whites and chartered in Savannah, Georgia.

1853 – Octavia Victoria Rogers Albert is born in Olgethorpe,
Georgia. Albert is best known for her book “House of
Bondage”, a collection of seven informal narratives of
slaves’ lives.

1881 – Tennessee starts the modern segregation movement with
Jim Crow railroad car laws and is followed by Florida
(1887), Mississippi (1888), Texas (1889), Louisiana
(1890), Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas and Georgia (1891),
South Carolina (1898), North Carolina (1899), Virginia
(1900), Maryland (1904), and Oklahoma (1907).

1881 – The United Order of True Reformer, an African American
fraternal order, is established.

1881 – The exodus of five thousand Blacks from Edgefield County,
South Carolina begins. They become migrants, protesting
exploitation and violence, finally settling in Arkansas.

1898 – Irvin C. Mollison is born in Chicago, Illinois. In 1945,
he will be appointed the first African American judge to
the U.S. Customs Court.

1924 – Irving Lee Dorsey is born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He
will become a vocalist, best known for the recording of
“Working in the Coal Mines.” He will join the ancestors
on December 1, 1986 after succumbing to emphysema.

1936 – Count Basie makes his New York debut at the Roseland

1954 – In a session with the Miles Davis All-Stars, Thelonius
Monk records “Bag’s Groove,” which many will regard as his
finest solo performance.

1992 – Alphonso Michael ‘Mike’ Espy becomes the first African
American to hold the position of Secretary of Agriculture.

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