* Today in Black History – February 4 *
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1794 – Slavery is abolished by France. France will have a very lukewarm
commitment to abolition and will, under Napoleon, reestablish
slavery in 1802, along with the reinstitution of the “Code
Noir,” prohibiting blacks, mulattos and other people of color
from entering French colonial territory or intermarrying with
1822 – The American Colonization Society founds the African colony for
free African Americans that will become the country of Liberia,
1913 – Rosa Louise McCauley is born in Tuskegee, Alabama. In 1932,
she will marry Raymond Parks. She will work at a number of
jobs, ranging from domestic worker to hospital aide. At her
husband’s urging, she will finish high school studies in 1933,
at a time when less than 7% of African Americans had a high
school diploma. Despite the Jim Crow laws that made political
participation by Black people difficult, she will succeed in
registering to vote on her third try. In December 1943, she
will become active in the Civil Rights Movement, joining the
Montgomery chapter of the NAACP. When the seamstress and
NAACP member refuses to yield her seat to a white man on a
Montgomery, Alabama bus on December 1, 1955, her actions will
spark a 382-day boycott of the buses in Montgomery, halting
business and services in the city and become the initial act
of non-violent disobedience of the American Civil Rights
movement. She will be honored with the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal
for her heroism and later work with Detroit youth(1979) and
be called the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.” She will
join the ancestors on October 24, 2005. The United States
Senate will pass a resolution on October 27, 2005 to honor
Mother Parks by allowing her body to lie in honor in the U.S.
Capitol Rotunda. The House of Representatives approved the
resolution on October 28. Since the founding of the practice
of lying in state in the Rotunda in 1852, She will be the
31st person, the first woman, the first American who had not
been a U.S. government official, and the second non-
government official (after Frenchman Pierre L’Enfant). On
October 30, 2005 President George W. Bush will issue a
Proclamation ordering that all flags on U.S. public areas
both within the country and abroad be flown at half-staff on
the day of her funeral. On February 5, 2006, at Super Bowl XL,
played at Detroit’s Ford Field, the late Coretta Scott King
and Mother Parks, who had been a long-time resident of “The
Motor City”, will be remembered and honored by a moment of
1947 – Sanford Bishop is born in Mobile, Alabama. He will graduate
from Morehouse College and Emory University Law School. He
will specialize in civil rights law and will become a member
of the Georgia Legislature from 1977 to 1993 (House and
Senate). In 1993, he will be elected a member of the United
States House of Representatives from Georgia.
1952 – Jackie Robinson is named Director of Communication for WNBC in
New York City, becoming the first African American executive
of a major radio-TV network.
1965 – Joseph Danquah joins the ancestors in Nsawam Prison in Ghana at
the age of 69. He had been a Ghanaian scholar, lawyer and
nationalist. He had led the opposition against Kwame Nkrumah
who had him imprisoned.
1969 – The Popular Liberation Movement Of Angola begins an armed
struggle against Portugal.
1971 – The National Guard is mobilized to quell civil disobedience
events in Wilmington, North Carolina. Two persons are killed.
1971 – Major League Baseball announces a special Hall of Fame wing for
special displays about the Negro Leagues. These exhibits will
provide information on these most deserving but rarely
recognized contributors to Baseball.
1974 – The Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps nineteen-year-old
newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst from her apartment in
1980 – Camara Laye joins the ancestors in Senegal at the age of 52.
He was a Guinean novelist considered a pioneer of West African
1986 – A stamp of Sojourner Truth is issued by the United States
Postal Service as part of its Black Heritage USA commemorative
series. Truth was an abolitionist, woman’s rights activist and
a famous “conductor” on the Underground Railroad.
1996 – Congressman J.C. Watts (R-Oklahoma) becomes the first African
American selected to respond to a State of the Union address.
1997 – Sixteen months after O.J. Simpson was cleared of murder charges,
a civil trial jury blames him for the killings of his ex-wife
and her friend and orders him to pay millions in compensatory
2003 – Charlie Biddle, a leader of Montreal’s jazz scene in the 1950s
and ’60s who played bass with Thelonious Monk and Charlie
Parker, joins the ancestors after a battle with cancer at the
age of 76. Biddle was a native of Philadelphia who moved to
Canada in 1948. Over the next five decades, the World War II
veteran and former car salesman became synonymous with jazz in
Montreal. Biddle opened his own club, Uncle Charlie’s Jazz
Joint, in suburban Ste-Therese in 1958. He later performed in
such legendary Montreal nightspots as The Black Bottom and the
Penthouse, where he worked with the likes of Oscar Peterson,
Art Tatum, Charlie Parker and Lionel Hampton. When there were
no jobs in Montreal, he played smaller Quebec cities with a
group called Three Jacks and a Jill. Until the time of his
passing, he played four nights a week at Biddle’s Jazz and
Ribs, a Montreal landmark for nearly 25 years. In 1979, he
organized the three-day festival that some say paved the way
for the renowned Montreal International Jazz Festival.
2005 – Ossie Davis, renown actor and civil rights advocate, joins the
ancestors in Miami, FL, while on location for yet another
acting project at the age of 87.
2007 – For the first time in Super Bowl history, two African American
coaches will lead their teams in the NFL Championship game.
The Chicago Bears will be coached by Lovie Lee Smith and the
Indianapolis Colts will be coached by Tony Dungee. The
Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears will be set to face
off in South Florida during Super Bowl XLI in a historic
meeting where both African American coaches will vie for the
Vince Lombardi Trophy. The winner will be the first African
American coach to win the Super Bowl.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.