* Today in Black History – March 16 *
1827 – With the assistance of James Varick, Richard Allen, Alexander
Crummel, and others, Samuel E. Cornish and John B. Russwurm
publish “Freedom’s Journal” in New York City. Operating
from space in Varick’s Zion Church, “Freedom’s Journal” is
the first African American newspaper. Russwurm says of the
establishment of the newspaper, “We wish to plead our own
cause. Too long have others spoken for us.”
1870 – Senator Hiram R. Revels argues against Georgia’s re-admission
to the Union without safeguards for African American citizens.
It is the first official speech by an African American before
1956 – Ozzie Newsome is born in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. He will
become a stand-out football player for the University of
Alabama, and the first African American star athlete for a
major school in the south. Newsome will be drafted by the
Cleveland Browns and start 176 out of 182 games in 13 years.
He will be the all-time leading receiver in Cleveland history
and the all-time receiver among tight ends in the NFL. He
will be fourth among receivers in NFL history with a record
of 662 catches. He will earn three trips to the Pro Bowl and
will be named to the All-NFL Teams of the ’80’s. Newsome
will remain with the Cleveland Browns in an administrative
position after his retirement. In 1994 he will be inducted
into the College Football Hall of Fame and in 1999 to the Pro
Football Hall of Fame.
1956 – Former heavyweight champion Joe Louis, makes his debut as a
pro wrestler. He knocks out 320-pound cowboy Rocky Lee.
Jersey Joe Walcott, the referee, is another former
1960 – San Antonio, Texas becomes the first major southern city to
integrate lunch counters.
1966 – Rodney Peete is born in Mesa, Arizona. He will become a NFL
quarterback playing for the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia
Eagles and later, the Washington Redskins.
1970 – Tammi Terrell (Tammy Montgomery), best known for her duets
with Marvin Gaye, joins the ancestors at Graduate Hospital
in Philadelphia after undergoing six brain tumor operations
in 18 months. Doctors first discovered Terrell’s brain
tumor after she collapsed in Gaye’s arms onstage in 1967.
1975 – Aaron Thibeaux “T-Bone” Walker, jazz and blues singer, blues
guitarist, composer and pianist, joins the ancestors at the
age of 64. He was best known for his hits “Stormy Monday”
and “T-Bone Shuffle.”
1988 – President Ronald Reagan vetoes a civil rights bill that would
restore protections invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court’s
1984 ruling in Grove City College v. Bell. Reagan’s veto
will be overridden by Congress less than a week later.
1989 – The U.S. Senate agrees to try U.S. District Court Judge Alcee
Hastings on fraud, corruption, and perjury charges stemming
from a 1981 bribery conspiracy case. Hastings, appointed by
President Jimmy Carter as the first African American judge
to serve on the federal bench in Florida, will be convicted
of eight of the original articles and impeached in October.
1991 – Soon Ja Du, a Korean American grocery store owner, shoots to
death Latasha Harlins, a fifteen-year old African American
girl, after Ms. Du accused the girl of trying to steal a
$1.79 bottle of orange juice. A security camera in the
store captures the shooting on videotape. The shooting
exacerbates racial and ethnic tensions in Los Angeles in the
wake of the Rodney King beating.
1995 – Mississippi ratifies the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery,
some 130 years after the rest of the country got around to
1996 – Mike Tyson regains a piece of the heavyweight championship by
defeating WBC champion Frank Bruno by TKO in the third round
to reclaim the heavyweight boxing title in Las Vegas.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.