* Today in Black History – March 17 *
1806 – Norbert Rillieux is born a free man in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Rillieux will become best known for his revolutionary
improvements in sugar refining methods. Awarded his second
patent for an evaporator, the invention will be widely used
throughout Louisiana and the West Indies, dramatically
increasing and modernizing sugar production. He will join
the ancestors on October 8. 1894 in Paris, France.
1865 – Aaron Anderson wins the Navy’s Medal of Honor for his heroic
actions aboard the USS Wyandank during the Civil War.
1886 – A massacre occurs in Carrollton, Mississippi. Twenty African
Americans are killed by white supremacists.
1891 – West Virginia State College is founded in Institute, West
1896 – C.B. Scott receives a patent for the street sweeper.
1898 – Blanche Kelso Bruce joins the ancestors in Washington, DC at
the age of 57.
1912 – Bayard Rustin is born in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He will
become a civil rights leader and peace activist. He will join
Martin Luther King Jr. in organizing the bus boycott that will
establish King as a national figure. For the next 10 years,
he will move back and forth between the world of the civil
rights movement and the world of peace activism. He will be
instrumental in helping A. Philip Randolph plan the 1963 March
on Washington. But due to his youthful ties to the Communist
Party, a wartime imprisonment, and an arrest in California on
public morals charges, Rustin will be obligated to limit his
public exposure to avoid problems for King and others whom
Southern white leaders (and the FBI) were attempting to
destroy. He will join the ancestors on August 24, 1987.
1919 – Nathaniel Adams Coles is born in Montgomery, Alabama. Better
known as Nat “King” Cole, he will start his musical career in
a band with his brother Eddie and in a production of “Shuffle
Along.” Leader of the King Cole Trio, he will achieve
international acclaim as a jazz pianist before becoming an
even more popular balladeer known for such songs as “Mona
Lisa,” “The Christmas Song” and “Unforgettable.” Cole will
also have the distinction of being the first African American
to host a network television variety show (1956-1957), a
pioneer in breaking down racial barriers in Las Vegas, and a
founding member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and
Sciences, which will honor him with a posthumous Lifetime
Achievement Grammy in 1989. He will join the ancestors on
February 15, 1965.
1933 – Myrlie Beasley is born in Vicksburg, Mississippi. She will
become the wife of civil rights activist Medgar Evers in 1951
and will work with him in order to combat discrimination and
segregation in Mississippi. Together, they will open and
manage the first NAACP Mississippi State Office. Her husband
will be assassinated in 1963, by white supremacist, Byron de
la Beckwith. She will later move to California where she will
graduate from Pomona College. She will work in the corporate
world as Director for Consumer Affairs at the Atlantic
Richfield Company and in government as a Commissioner of the
Los Angeles, California, Board of Public Works. She will be
the first African American woman to serve on that board. She
will be the author of the book, “For Us, the Living,” and the
recipient of numerous honorary degrees. She will later become
Mrs. Myrlie Evers-Williams and be elected vice-chairperson of
the NAACP in 1994, and in 1995 will become the first woman
chairperson. In 1998, she will be succeeded by Julian Bond as
Chair of the NAACP.
1970 – The United States casts its first veto in the U.N. Security
Council. The U.S. kills a resolution that would have condemned
Britain for failure to use force to overthrow the white-ruled
government of Rhodesia.
2000 – More than 300 members of a religious sect burn to death in a
makeshift church in southwestern Uganda.
2008 – David Paterson is sworn in as New York’s 55th governor. He is
New York’s first Black governor and the nation’s first legally
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.