* Today in Black History – March 20 *
1852 – Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by white abolitionist Harriet Beecher
Stowe, is published. The controversial novel will be
credited by many, including Abraham Lincoln, with sparking
the Civil War. Mr. Lincoln will later tell Mrs. Stowe,
that she was “the little woman who wrote the book that
started this great war”.
1852 – Martin R. Delany publishes “The Condition, Elevation,
Emigration and Destiny of the Colored People of the United
States,” the first major statement of the African American
nationalist position. Delany says, “The claims of no people,
according to established policy and usage, are respected by
any nation, until they are presented in a national capacity.”
He adds: “We are a nation within a nation; as the Poles in
Russia, the Hungarians in Austria, the Welsh, Irish, and
Scotch in the British dominions.”
1883 – Jan Matzeliger receives patent #274,207 for his shoe lasting
machine. His invention will revolutionize the shoe industry,
allowing for the first mass production of shoes.
1890 – The Blair Bill, which provides federal support for education
and allocates funds to reduce illiteracy among the freedmen
is defeated in the U.S. Senate, 37-31.
1950 – Dr. Ralph Bunche receives the Nobel Peace Prize for his work
as a mediator in the Palestine crisis. He is the first
African American to be so honored.
1957 – Shelton “Spike” Lee is born in Atlanta, Georgia. He will
grow up in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, New York,
the son of an accomplished jazz bassist and art teacher,
Bill Lee. He will become a motion picture director,
producing many of his own films. His films, among them
“She’s Gotta Have It,” “Do the Right Thing” and “Jungle
Fever” explore the social, political, and interpersonal
relationships between African Americans and whites similar
to the early work of director Oscar Micheaux.
1970 – Students strike at the University of Michigan and demand
increased African American enrollment. The strike ends on
April 2, after the administration agrees to meet their
1973 – Roberto Clemente is elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame, 11
weeks after he joins the ancestors. He becomes the first
person of African descent to be elected to the Hall of Fame
in a special election (before the five-year waiting period).
He also is the first person of Hispanic descent to enter the
Hall of Fame.
1987 – “Hollywood Shuffle” premieres. The film is directed by,
produced by, and stars Robert Townsend. Townsend also used
his own money to bring his comedic vision to the screen.
2000 – Former Black Panther Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, once known as H.
Rap Brown, is captured in Alabama. He is wanted in the fatal
shooting of a sheriff’s deputy in Atlanta, Georgia. Al-Amin
will maintain his innocence. On March 9, 2002, he will be
convicted of 13 criminal charges, including the murder of
sheriif’s deputy Kinchen. Four days later, he will be
sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
He will then be assigned to Georgia State Prison, the state’s
maximum security facility near Reidsville, Georgia. In August,
2007, he will be transferred from state custody to Federal
custody, as Georgia officials decide that he is too high-
profile an inmate for the Georgia prison system to handle.
He will be subsequently moved to a Federal transfer facility
in Oklahoma pending assignment to a Federal penitentiary. On
October 21, 2007, he will be transferred to the ADX Florence
supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. After being diagnosed
with multiple myeloma, he will be transferred again, on July
18, 2014, to Butner (FMC) Federal Medical Center in North
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.