January 28 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – January 28 *

1858 – John Brown organizes the raid on the federal arsenal at
Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. The raid was an attempt to
obtain arms and ammunition to free African Americans from
slavery by force.

1901 – James Richmond Barthe’ is born in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
Educated at the Art Institute of Chicago, he will begin to
attain critical acclaim as a sculptor at 26. He will drop
the use of his first name when producing his works of art
and will be best known as Richmond Barthe. His first
commissions will be of Henry O. Tanner and Toussaint
L’Ouverture. He will also become the first African
American commissioned to produce a bust for the NYU Hall of
Fame (of Booker T. Washington). He wil join the ancestors
on March 5, 1989.

1938 – Crystal Byrd Fauset is elected to the Pennsylvania House of
Representatives, becoming the first African American woman
to be elected to a state legislature.

1944 – Matthew Henson is a recipient of a joint medal by Congress
for his role as co-discoverer of the North Pole. It is the
U.S. government’s first official recognition of the explorer
who accompanied Commander Robert Peary on his 1909
expedition.

1958 – Brooklyn Dodger catcher Roy Campanella’s career ends when he
loses control of his car on a slick highway. He will become
a paraplegic and be confined to a wheelchair the remainder
of his life. The accident ends his ten-year playing career
with the Dodgers, where he had been named the National
League’s MVP three times, but he will remain a part of the
Dodgers organization for many years. He will join the
ancestors on June 26, 1993.

1960 – Zora Neale Hurston joins the ancestors in Fort Pierce,
Florida at the age of 71. She had been a prominent figure
during the Harlem Renaissance.

1970 – Arthur Ashe is denied entry to compete on the U.S. Team for
the South African Open Tennis Championships due to Ashe’s
sentiments on South Africa’s racial policies.

1972 – Scott Joplin’s Opera “Treemonisha,” published 61 years
earlier, has its world premiere with Robert Shaw and
Katherine Dunham directing.

1986 – The space shuttle “Challenger” explodes 73 seconds after
lift-off at Cape Canaveral, Florida. One of the seven
crew members killed is physicist Dr. Ronald McNair, the
only African American aboard.

1997 – The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa
announces that as part of their petition for amnesty,
five Afrikaner police had admitted to killing Steve Biko.
The announcement confirms what his admirers and followers
had never doubted: Steve Biko was a martyr to the struggle
against the apartheid government. Steve Biko was one of
the major figures in the struggle against South Africa’s
system of apartheid. Founder and leader of the Black
Consciousness Movement, the charismatic Biko was the first
president of the all-black South African Students
Organization before organizing the Black People’s
Convention, a coalition of over 70 black organizations
committed to ending apartheid. In 1977, Biko was arrested.
While in custody in Port Elizabeth, on the Indian Ocean
coast, he was apparently severely beaten. He was denied
medical attention and driven in the back of a police van
nearly 700 miles to Pretoria, where he died, naked and
shackled in a police hospital at the age of 29. The police
first claimed that Biko starved himself to death, then that
he died of self-inflicted injuries.

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

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