February 5 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – February 5 *

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1866 – The distribution of public land and confiscated land to freedmen
and loyal refugees in forty acre lots is offered in an
amendment to the Freedmen’s Bureau bill by Congressman Thaddeus
Stevens. The measure is defeated in the House by a vote of 126
to 37. An African American delegation, led by Frederick
Douglass calls on President Johnson and urges ballots for
former slaves. The meeting ends in disagreement and controversy
after Johnson reiterates his opposition to African American
suffrage.

1934 – Henry (Hank) Aaron is born in Mobile, Alabama. After starting
his major league baseball career with the Milwaukee Braves in
1954, he will distinguish himself as a home-run specialist.
Aaron will be considered by some, the best baseball player in
history. Over his 23-year Major League Baseball career, he will
compile more batting records than any other player in baseball
history. He will hold the record for runs batted in with 2297,
and will be a Gold Glove Winner in 1958, 1959, and 1960. His
most famous accomplishment will come on April 8, 1974, when at
the age of 40, he will hit a 385-foot home run against the Los
Angeles Dodgers, surpassing Babe Ruth’s record of 714 career
home runs. He will end his career with 755 home runs. In 1982,
he will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. After his
retirement, he will return to the Atlanta Braves as a vice-
president for player development, and will be promoted to
senior vice-president in 1989.

1941 – Barrett Strong is born in West Point, Mississippi. He will
become a Rhythm and Blues singer best known for his recording
of “Money (That’s What I Want).” He will also be a prolific
songwriter, responsible for hits such as “Just My
Imagination,” “Papa Was A Rolling Stone,” and “Ball of
Confusion.” He will receive a Grammy Award for Best Rhythm &
Blues Song for co-writing “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”. He will
be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004.

1956 – L.R. Lautier becomes the first African American to be admitted
to the National Press Club.

1958 – Clifton W. Wharton, Sr. becomes the first African American to
head an American diplomatic mission in Europe when he is
confirmed as minister to Romania.

1962 – A suit seeking to bar Englewood, New Jersey, from maintaining
“racial segregated” elementary schools, is filed in United
States District Court.

1968 – Students in Orangeburg, South Carolina try to end the
discriminatory practices of a local bowling alley. Their
confrontation with police and the National Guard, and the
subsequent death of three students, creates widespread
outrage among students on campuses across the South.

1969 – Cinque Gallery is incorporated by African American artists
Romare Bearden, Ernest Crichlow, and Norman Lewis. Located
in the SoHo district of New York City, the nonprofit gallery’s
mission is to assist in the growth and development of minority
artists and to end the cycle of exclusion of their work from
the mainstream artistic community.

1972 – Robert Lewis Douglas, founder, owner and coach of the New York
Renaissance is the first African American inducted into the
Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. The
New York Renaissance was an African American team that won 88
consecutive games in 1933.

1977 – Sugar Ray Leonard defeats Luis Vega in 6 rounds in his first
professional fight.

1989 – Kareem Abdul-Jabar becomes the first NBA player to score 38,000
points.

1994 – Avowed white supremacist Byron de la Beckwith is convicted of
Medger Evers’ murder, more than thirty years after Evers was
shot in the back from ambush. After deliberating for seven
hours, a jury of eight African Americans and four whites
convicted 73-year-old De La Beckwith of Medgar Evers’s murder,
sentencing him to life in prison. He died there seven years
later. As a Mississippi State Supreme Court justice wrote
about the retrial: “Miscreants brought before the bar of
justice in this state must, sooner or later, face the cold
realization that justice, slow and plodding though she may be,
is certain in the state of Mississippi.”

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

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