* Today in Black History – March 9 *
1841 – Sengbe Pieh, known as Joseph Cinque, and the surviving African
slaves who revolted on the ship Amistad are ordered freed by
the United States Supreme Court and return to Africa after
successfully appealing their mutiny conviction on grounds that
they were kidnapped by outlawed slave traders. Their defense
attorney is John Quincy Adams, former President of the United
States and a Massachusetts senator. Before reaching the
Supreme Court, U.S. President Martin Van Buren appeals twice
the decision of lower courts to free the slaves. View the
original documents of the U.S. Supreme Court at:
1871 – Oscar Stanton De Priest is born in Florence, Alabama. He will
be the first African American to be elected to Congress from
outside the southern states and the first in the 20th century.
He will represent Illinois for ten years and be an active
advocate for pensions for African American ex-slaves, lynching
prevention, and civil rights improvements. He will join the
ancestors on May 12, 1951.
1891 – The North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University is
founded in Greensboro.
1892 – Three friends of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, prominent African
American businessmen, are lynched in Memphis, Tennessee after
an incident that stemmed from their opening a grocery store
across the street from a white-owned grocery store.
1911 – White firemen of the Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific
Railroad struck to protest the hiring of African American
firemen. (For those who don’t remember steam engines, firemen
worked in the engine stoking the fire, which kept the steam
1914 – The “New” Southern University campus opens in Scotlandville,
Louisiana near Baton Rouge with nine teachers and 47 students.
1930 – Ornette Coleman is born in Fort Worth, Texas. He will become a
self-taught musician, beginning on alto saxophone when he is
fourteen and moving on to the tenor saxophone when he is
sixteen. He will be influenced by Charlie Parker, Illinois
Jacquet and Big Jay McNeely. A born improvisionalist, he
found it difficult to fit into his school band as well as the
mainstream groups that he will later join. It wasn’t until
the late 1950’s that he will be recognized for his jazz
innovations. He will name his musical method “harmolodics.”
Many musicians and critics and jazz listeners will reject his
new jazz as formless and abstract. However, critics of his
method will recognize his importance as a composer. Critics
will praise his compositions, including “Peace,” “Lonely
Woman,” and “Beauty Is a Rare Thing.” In 1967 he will win
a Guggenheim fellowship, the first granted to a jazz musician.
He will compose and perform film scores, including “Chappaqua”
(1965), “Box Office” (1981), and “Naked Lunch” (1991). In
1997 the New York Philharmonic will perform his “Skies of
America,” a large-scale work that was first recorded by the
London Symphony Orchestra in 1972. His album “Sound Grammar”
will receive the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for music.
1931 – Walter F. White is named NAACP executive secretary.
1933 – Lloyd Price is born in Kenner, Louisiana. He will become a
successful Rhythm & Blues artist and will record “Lawdy Miss
Clawdy” (’52 #1 R&B), “Oooh, Oooh, Oooh” (’52 #4 R&B), “Ain’t
It A Shame” (’53 #4 R&B), “Just Because” (’57 #3 R&B, #29
Pop), “Stagger Lee” (’58 #1 R&B, #1 Pop), “Where Were You (On
Our Wedding Day)” (’59 #4 R&B, #23 Pop), Personality” (’59 #1
R&B, #2 Pop), and fifteen other hits.
1948 – Jeffrey Osborne is born in Providence, Rhode Island. He will
become an accomplished rhythm and blues singer performing as
lead singer for the group LTD. He will later become a
successful solo artist.
1964 – Miriam Zenzi Makeba speaks before the United Nations about the
apartheid system in South Africa.
1965 – Three white Unitarian ministers, including the Rev. James J.
Reeb, are attacked with clubs on the streets of Selma,
Alabama, while participating in a civil rights demonstration.
Reeb will later die in a Birmingham, Alabama hospital.
1966 – Andrew F. Brimmer becomes the first African American governor
on the Federal Reserve Board.
1971 – Emmanuel Lewis is born in Brooklyn, New York. He will become
a child actor and will be best known for his television role
1997 – The popular “gangsta rapper” Notorious B.I.G., whose real name
is Christopher Wallace, joins the ancestors after being killed
in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles, California at the age
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.