* Today in Black History – March 18 *
1895 – 200 African Americans leave Savannah, Georgia for Liberia.
1901 – William Henry Johnson is born in Florence, South Carolina.
He will leave his home for New York and Europe, where
he will develop a deliberate and controversial primitive
painting style. Among his more famous works will be “Chain
Gang,” “Calvary,” and “Descent from the Cross.” He will
join the ancestors on January 1, 1970.
1939 – Charley Frank Pride is born in Sledge, Mississippi. Intent
on a career in baseball, he will begin his country music
career in 1960, singing between innings at a company-
sponsored baseball game where he is a player. A recording
contract will follow in 1964 and a debut with the “Grand
Ole Opry” in 1967. Pride will become the first African
American to become a successful country music star. His
awards will include a 1972 Grammy.
1941 – Wilson Pickett is born in Prattville, Alabama. He will become
Rhythm & Blues singer and will begin his career as the lead
tenor with The Falcons (“I Found a Love” – 1962). He will
become a solo artist and release the hits, “Funky Broadway,”
“In the Midnight Hour,” “Land of 1000 Dances,” “Mustang
Sally,” “It’s Too Late,” and “Don’t Knock My Love.” He will
be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. He
will join the ancestors on January 19, 2006.
1943 – William Hastie wins the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal. A former
federal judge and law school dean, Hastie, a civilian aide
to Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, had resigned his
position earlier in the year over the armed forces’
1959 – Irene Cara is born in New York City. She will become an
actress, singer, and songwriter. She will receive an Academy
Award, two Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, plus numerous
other awards emanating from every aspect of the industry. Her
performance in the ground breaking 1980’s picture Fame (1980)
will catapult her into world wide stardom and motivate a
generation of young people to become involved in the
1963 – Vanessa L. Williams is born in Millwood, New York (Westchester
County). She will become the first African American Miss
America. She will later become a popular singer, major
recording star, and movie actress. She will star in the
Tony Award-winning musical “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” the
mini-series “Odyssey,” and the movies “Eraser,” “Hoodlum,”
“Soul Food,” and “Shut Up and Dance.”
1972 – The USS Jesse L. Brown, the first U.S. naval ship to be named
after an African American naval officer, is launched at
Westwego, Louisiana. Brown was the first African American
pilot in the U.S. Naval Reserve and was the first African
American pilot killed in the Korean War (1950). Editor’s
Note: This was not the first naval vessel named after an
African American. The USS Harmon was named after an enlisted
man, Leonard Roy Harmon, during World War II (1944).
1982 – Singer Teddy Pendergrass is paralyzed as a result of an
1991 – The Philadelphia ’76ers retire Wilt Chamberlain’s #13 jersey.
1991 – Reggie Miller, of the Indiana Pacers ends his NBA free throw
streak of 52 games.
1992 – Donna Summers gets a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.