January 15 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – January 15 *

1865 – An African American division, under the command of Major
General Charles Paine, participates in the Fort Fisher,
North Carolina expedition, which will close the Confederacy’s
last major seaport.

1908 – Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority is founded at Howard University in
Washington, DC. The culmination of efforts by Ethel Hedgeman
(Lyle) and eight other undergraduates, it is the first Greek-
letter organization for African American women.

1929 – Michael Luther King is born in Atlanta, Georgia. His father
will have both of their names changed to Martin Luther King,
Sr. and Jr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will become a Baptist
minister, world-renowned civil rights leader, and an advocate
of non-violence. His efforts, beginning with the Montgomery
bus boycott in 1955 and continuing for the next 13 years,
will fundamentally change civil rights for African Americans
and earn him a number of honors and awards, including the
Nobel Peace Prize (1964), Medal of Freedom, and the NAACP’s
Spingarn Medal (1957). He will join the ancestors on April 4,
1968 after being assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in
Memphis, Tennessee.

1941 – Yancey Williams, a Howard University student, asked a federal
court to order the Secretary of War and other government
officials to consider his application for enlistment in the
Army Air Corps as a flying cadet.

1950 – More than 4,000 delegates from one hundred national
organizations attend the National Emergency Civil Rights
Conference in Washington, DC.

1968 – Reporting the results of a “Jet” magazine poll, “The New York
Times” article “Negro History Week Stirs Up Semantic Debate”
indicates that 59% of those polled prefer the term Afro-
American or Black to Negro.

1970 – Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, the nearby crypt containing
the remains of Martin Luther King, Jr., and his boyhood home
are dedicated as part of a memorial to be known as the Martin
Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Change.

1970 – Biafra officially surrenders to the Nigerian government and is
reintegrated into Nigeria. Odumegwu Ojukwu had declared the
independence of the eastern province of Biafra in 1967 to
guarantee the survival of Igbos, Biafra’s ethnic majority
group. During the war with Nigeria, as many as 400,000
Biafrans died of starvation.

1990 – George Foreman knocks out Gerry Cooney in 2 rounds, at the age
of forty two.

1998 – The Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s (SCLC) National
President Joseph E. Lowery, steps down from his post and
Martin Luther King, III is named the new president, the actual
birthday of SCLC Founding President, Dr. Martin Luther King,

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


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