Today in Black History – March 6
1479 – The Treaty of Alcacovas is signed. This will establish the
territorial domains of Portugal and Castile (Spain) along a
longitudinal line 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands.
Spain, thereby, recognizes Portugal’s rights to explore the
African coast. Portugal becomes the first European nation to
exploit the West African slave trade.
1775 – Prince Hall and fourteen other African Americans are initiated
into British Military Lodge No. 441 of the Masons at Fort
Independence, Massachusetts. Hall is a leather-dresser and
caterer. On July 3, 1775, African Lodge No. 1 will be
organized in Boston by this group of African American Masons.
1857 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules against citizenship for African
Americans in the Dred Scott decision. The Court rules that
Dred Scott, a slave, cannot sue for his freedom in a free
state because he is property and, as such, “has no rights a
white man has to respect.” This ruling also opens up the
northern territory to slavery.
1862 – President Lincoln sends message to Congress recommending
gradual and compensated emancipation of the slaves.
1901 – Virginia State University in Ettrick, Virginia (Outside of
Petersburg), is founded.
1909 – Obafemi Awolowo is born in Ikenne, Nigeria. He will become
the first Premier of Western Nigeria. He will also be a
strong antagonist of the north’s feudal system and its spread
to other parts of Nigeria and an advocate of the creation of
more states in Nigeria. Chief Awolowo and 28 other members
of his party will be later put on trial for treasonable
felony. He was sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment, and,
on appeal to the Federal Court the sentence was upheld.
After spending just over three years in Calabar prison, he
will be released with a state pardon. Nine days later, amid
jubilation he was unanimously elected leader of the then
10,500,000 Yorubas and leader of the Western delegation to
the All Nigerian Conference on the future association of
Nigeria. Chief Awolowo will be an author whose publications
will include “Path to Nigerian Freedom, Thoughts on the
Nigerian Constitution”. He will join the ancestors on
May 9, 1987.
1923 – Charles Ethan Porter joins the ancestors in Rockville,
Connecticut. A student of the National Academy of Design in
New York City, the first African American artist in the
United States to graduate from a four-year school of art,
and member of the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, Porter
did not receive the recognition that contemporaries Edward
Bannister and Henry Ossawa Tanner won. He will be best known
for the paintings “Still Life (Crock With Onions),”
“Strawberries,” and “Daisies,” but there will not be a major
retrospective of his work until 1987.
1940 – Wilver Dornel “Willie” Stargell is born in Earlsboro, Oklahoma.
He will become an all-star baseball player for the Pittsburgh
Pirates. He will hit 475 career home runs – twice leading
the National League with 48 in 1971 and with 44 in 1973. He
will drive in 1540 runs, score 1195 and have 2232 hits with a
lifetime batting average of .282. He will be inducted into
Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1988. He will join the ancestors on
April 9, 2001.
1944 – Mary Wilson is born in Greenville, Mississippi. In 1959, she
will begin singing with a group called the “Primettes”, a
sister group to a male group, The Primes.” The Primes will
become “The Temptations” and the Primettes will become “The
Supremes.” The Supremes will become the only American act to
have five consecutive number one hits! From their beginning
to the end of the group, the Supremes will have 33 songs
reach the top 40. After the group disbands in 1977, Mary
Wilson will become a successful businesswoman, author,
lecturer, actress, and singer of not just pop music, but
Jazz, Rock, R&B, and Dance. She will author the best-seller
“Dreamgirl-My Life as a Supreme.” In 1988, Mary Wilson will
become the first female rock star to accept her lifetime
achievement award from the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame.
1957 – Ghana becomes the first African nation to achieve freedom from
colonial rule when the Ashanti, Northern Protectorates, the
Gold Coast and British Togoland declare their independence.
The celebration ceremonies are attended by a number of
American dignitaries, including African American leaders
Ralph Bunche, A. Philip Randolph, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.,
Martin Luther King, Jr., and Coretta Scott King.
1981 – Dr. Bernard Harleston, former dean of arts and sciences at
Tufts University, is appointed president of New York’s City
2000 – Three white New York police officers are convicted of a cover-
up in the brutal police station attack on Haitian immigrant
2000 – “Earth, Wind and Fire” is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall
2006 – Kirby Puckett joins the ancestors, one day after the Hall of
Fame outfielder had a stroke at his Arizona home, at the age
of 45. He carried the Minnesota Twins to World Series titles
in 1987 and 1991 before his career was cut short by glaucoma.
He played his entire career with the Twins and was an icon in
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.