March 25 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – March 25 *

1807 – The British Parliament abolishes the African slave trade. 
Although slavery was abolished within England in 1772, it 
was still allowed in the British colonies, as was the slave 
trade. The continued slave trade was not only accepted, but 
considered essential to the power and prosperity of the 
British Empire. English slave-merchants made fortunes 
carrying slaves from Africa to the British colonies in 
North America and the Caribbean, and many of England’s 
industries, notably textiles and sugar refining, depended 
on raw materials produced by slave labor on colonial 
plantations. Still, there were opponents, and in 1787, they
launched a nationwide campaign to seek the abolition of the 
slave trade.

1843 – African American explorer Dodson sets out in search of the 
Northwest Passage.

1910 – The Liberian Commission recommends financial aid to Liberia 
and the establishment of a U.S. Navy coaling station in the 
African country.

1931 – Ida B. Wells-Barnett, journalist, militant African American 
rights and anti-lynching advocate, and a founder of the 
NAACP, joins the ancestors in Chicago at the age of 78.

1931 – Nine African American youths are arrested in Scottsboro, 
Alabama, for allegedly raping two white women. Although 
they will be quickly convicted, in a trial that outraged 
African Americans and much of the nation, the case will be 
appealed and the “Scottsboro Boys” will be retried several 

1939 – Toni Cade Bambara is born in New York City. She will become 
a noted writer of such fiction as “Gorilla, My Love,” and 
“The Salt Eaters.” She will join the ancestors, after 
succumbing to colon cancer, on December 9, 1995.

1942 – Aretha Louise Franklin is born in Memphis, Tennessee. She 
will be abandoned by her mother when she was 6, and raised 
by her father, the Reverend C. L. Franklin, who is one of 
the most famous Black ministers in the North, and her aunt, 
the legendary gospel singer Clara Ward. She will grow up 
singing in her father’s New Bethel Baptist Church in 
Detroit, Michigan. Family friends Mahalia Jackson and Sam 
Cooke will encourage her recording career, and when Columbia
Records producer John Hammond first hears the 18-year-old, 
he calls her “an untutored genius, the best natural singer 
since Billie Holiday.” It will not be until her move from 
Columbia’s pop/jazz orchestrations to Atlantic Records’ 
soulful, Rhythm and Blues style, in 1966, that her career 
skyrockets. Under the auspices of Jerry Wexler, she will 
sing fierce, frantic hits like “I Never Loved a Man,”
“Respect,” “Natural Woman,” and “Chain of Fools.” In 1968, 
she will make the cover of Time magazine. From her first 
singing experiences in her father’s church through a singing 
career and 21 gold records, she will earn the title, “Queen 
of Soul.” She will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of 
Fame in 1987. 

1965 – The Selma-to-Montgomery march ended with rally of some fifty
thousand at Alabama capitol. One of the marchers, a white
civil rights worker named Viola Liuzzo, is shot to death on
U.S. Highway 80 after the rally by white terrorists. Three
Klansmen are convicted of violating her civil rights and
sentenced to ten years in prison.

1967 – Debra Janine “Debi” Thomas is born in Poughkeepsie, New York. 
After being raised in San Jose, California by her mother(who 
shuttled her back and forth between home, school and 
practice at the rate of 3,000 miles per month), she will 
become the first African American to win the world figure 
skating championship (1986). She will later become the 
first African American to win a medal in the Winter Olympics 
(Bronze Medal in Figure Skating – February 27, 1988).

1975 – Salem Poor, who fought alongside other colonists during the 
Battle of Bunker Hill, is honored as one of four 
“Contributors to the Cause,” a commemorative issue of the 
U.S. Postal Service.

1991 – Whoopi Goldberg wins the Academy Award for best actress in a 
supporting role for “Ghost.” Also winning an Oscar is 
Russell Williams II, for best sound editing for the movie 
“Dances with Wolves.” It is Williams’s second Oscar in a 
row (the first was for “Glory”), a record for an African 

1994 – American troops complete their withdrawal from Somalia.

2000 – Character actress Helen Martin, who played the little old 
lady next door in the mid-1980s television series “227” and
Halle Berry’s matriarch in the political comedy “Bulworth,”
joins the ancestors at the age of 90. An original member 
of Harlem’s American Negro Theater, Martin was one of the 
first African American actresses to appear on Broadway when 
Orson Welles cast her in his production of “Native Son.” 
She worked primarily as a stage actress early in her career,
but was perhaps best known for appearing as grandmotherly 
characters in television series about African American 

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.


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