* Today in Black History – April 2 *
1855 – John Mercer Langston is elected clerk of Brownhelm, Ohio,
township. He will be considered the first African American
elected to public office.
1918 – Charles Wilbert White is born in Chicago, Illinois. An artist
who will work with traditional materials (pen, ink, oil on
canvas and lithography), White will transform the image of
African Americans and earn praise from critics and artists
alike. White will receive dozens of awards and his work will
be collected by museums on three continents and major
corporations. He will be known for his WPA-era murals. He will
be briefly married to famed sculptor and printmaker Elizabeth
Catlett. His best known work will be “The Contribution of
the Negro to American Democracy,” a mural at Hampton University
depicting a number of notable blacks including Denmark Vesey,
Nat Turner, Peter Salem, George Washington Carver, Harriet
Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Marian Anderson. He will teach
at the Otis Art Institute from 1965 until he joins the ancestors
on October 3, 1979.
1932 – Bill Pickett, a well-known cowboy who was acclaimed by
President Theodore Roosevelt as “one of the best trained
ropers and riders the West has produced,” joins the
ancestors. Pickett performed as a bulldogger in Europe,
Mexico, and the United States, where he was often assisted
by two relatively unknown white cowboys, Tom Mix and Will
1939 – Marvin Gaye, Jr. is born in Washington, DC. He will sign
with Motown in 1962 and begin a 22-year career that includes
hits “Pride and Joy,” duets with Mary Wells and Tammi
Terrell, as well as best-selling albums exploring his social
consciousness (“What’s Going On”) and sexuality (“Let’s Get
It On,” “Midnight Love, and “Sexual Healing”). He will join
the ancestors on April 1, 1984, succumbing to a gun shot
wound inflicted by his father.
1969 – The Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association
signs Lew Alcindor for a reported $1,400,000 five-year
contract. Alcindor will later change his name to Kareem
Abdul-Jabar and his team to the Los Angeles Lakers.
1984 – Coach John Thompson of Georgetown University becomes the
first African American coach to win the NCAA Division I
basketball championship. The team, led by Patrick Ewing,
wins over the University of Houston, 84-75.
2003 – Edwin Starr, Rhythm & Blues singer, joins the ancestors at
age 61 after succumbing to a heart attack. He recorded the
hits “War” and “Agent Double-O Soul.”
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.