* Today in Black History – January 30 *
1797 – Boston Masons, led by Prince Hall, establish the first
African American interstate organization, creating lodges
in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Providence, Rhode Island.
1797 – Isabella Baumfree is born a slave in Swartekill, Ulster County,
New York. This is an approximation, since historians cannot
agree on the actual date of her birth. She will escape from
slavery with her infant daughter in 1826. After going to court
to gain custody of her son, she will become the first Black
woman to win such a case against a white man. She will become
an African American abolitionist and women’s rights activist,
naming herself ‘Sojourner Truth’ on June 1, 1843. Her best-known
extemporaneous speech on racial inequalities, “Ain’t I a Woman?,”
will be delivered in 1851 at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention
in Akron, Ohio. During the Civil War, she will help recruit
Black troops for the Union Army. After the war, she will try
unsuccessfully, to secure land grants from the federal government
for former slaves. She will speak about abolition, women’s rights,
prison reform, and will preach to the Michigan Legislature against
capital punishment. Not everyone welcomed her preaching and
lectures, but she will have many friends and staunch support among
many influential people at the time, including Amy Post, Parker
Pillsbury, Frances Gage, Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison,
Laura Smith Haviland, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony.”
During her last days on earth, a reporter will come from the Grand
Rapids Eagle to interview her. “Her face was drawn and emaciated
and she was apparently suffering great pain. Her eyes were very
bright and mind alert although it was difficult for her to talk.”
She will join the ancestors on November 26, 1883, at her home in
Battle Creek, Michigan,
1797 – Congress refuses to accept the first recorded petitions from
1844 – Richard Theodore Greener becomes the first African American
to graduate from Harvard University.
1858 – William Wells Brown publishes the first drama by an African
American, “Leap to Freedom,” Brown is an escaped slave who
will also become noted as an abolitionist and author of
several early historical publications.
1927 – The Harlem Globetrotters, considered by many the most popular
basketball team in the world, is formed by Abe Saperstein.
Originally called the Savoy Five after their home court, the
Savoy Ballroom, in Chicago, Illinois, the team’s name will
be changed to the Harlem Globetrotters.
1928 – Ruth Brown is born in Portsmouth, Virginia. She will become a
Rhythm & Blues and jazz singer, recording “So Long,”
“Teardrops from My Eyes,” “Hours,” “Mambo Baby,” “Lucky
Lips,” and “This Little Girl’s Gone Rockin’.” She will be a
Tony Award winner and a Rhythm & Blues revolutionary–a
woman whose early successes earned her instant worldwide
fame and launched a career that has influenced such
legendary performers as Aretha Franklin, Dinah Washington,
Little Richard and Stevie Wonder. She will be inducted into
the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. She will join the
ancestors on November 16, 2006. A memorial concert for her
will be held on January 22, 2007 at the Abyssinian Baptist
Church in the village of Harlem in New York City.
1944 – Sharon Pratt is born in Washington, DC. In 1990, as Sharon
Pratt Dixon, she will be elected the first woman mayor of
Washington, DC. Her defeat of incumbent Marion Barry coupled
with her years of community involvement and activism will
raise the beleaguered city’s hopes for positive change.
R1945 – Floyd Flake is born in Los Angeles, California. He will
become a congressman from New York’s 6th District.
1956 – The home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Montgomery bus
boycott leader, is bombed.
1962 – The United Nations General Assembly censures Portugal for its
widespread violations of human rights in Angola.
1965 – Leroy “Satchel” Paige, major league baseball player, is named
all-time outstanding player by the National Baseball
1979 – Franklin A. Thomas becomes the first African American to head
a major U.S. charitable foundation when he is named
president of the Ford Foundation.
2009 – Michael Steele, the first African American lieutenant governor
of Maryland, is elected after six rounds of voting as the
chairperson of the Republican National Committee. He is the
first African American to hold that office.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.