April 4 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – April 4 *

1915 – McKinley Morganfield is born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. He
will be discovered in 1941 by two music archivists from the
Library of Congress, traveling the back roads of Mississippi
looking for the legendary Robert Johnson. They recorded two
of Morganfield’s songs and lit a fire in the ambitious young
man. He will leave Mississippi for Chicago two years later
to become a blues singer better known as “Muddy Waters.” He
will join the ancestors on April 30, 1983 in Chicago,

1928 – Marguerite Ann Johnson is born in St. Louis, Missouri. She
will become the first African American streetcar conductor
in San Francisco, a dancer, nightclub singer, editor, and
teacher of music and drama in Ghana and professor of
American Studies at Wake Forest University, better known as
Dr. Maya Angelou. She will also become noted as the author of
a multi-volume autobiographical series, as well as several
volumes of poetry. She will join the ancestors on May 28, 2014.

1938 – Vertamae (Vera Mae) Smart-Grosvenor is born in Hampton County,
South Carolina. She will become a culinary anthropologist/griot,
food writer, and broadcaster on public media. She will be known
for her cookbook-memoir, Vibration Cooking: or, The Travel
Notes of a Geechee Girl (1970). She will also appear in several
films, including “Daughters of the Dust” (1992), about a Gullah
family in 1902, at a time of transition on the Sea Islands; and
“Beloved” (1998), based on the Toni Morrison novel.

1939 – Hugh Masekela is born in Kwa-Guqa Township, Witbank, South Africa.
He will become a musician and band leader. He will be a major
force in South African Jazz, and will become known throughout
the world.

1948 – Richard Dean ‘Dick’ Parsons is born in Brooklyn, New York. In 1988,
he will be recruited to serve as chief operating officer of the
Dime Savings Bank of New York, becoming the first African American
CEO of a large, non-minority U.S. savings institution. In 1990, he
will become Chairman and CEO and will oversee a merger with Anchor
Savings Bank, gaining a substantial sum when the Dime Bank was
demutualized. In 1991, on the recommendation of Nelson Rockefeller’s
brother Laurance to the then CEO Steven Ross, he will be invited to
join Time Warner’s board. He will subsequently become president of
the company in 1995, recruited by Gerald Levin. He will help
negotiate the company’s merger with America Online in 2000, creating
a $165-billion media conglomerate. In December, 2001, it will be
announced that chief executive Gerald Levin would retire and he will
be selected as his successor. The announcement will surprise many
media watchers who expected chief operating officer Robert Pittman
to take the helm. In 2003, he will announce the name change from
AOL-Time Warner to simply Time Warner. He will become chairman
of Citigroup on February 23, 2009.

1959 – The Federation of Mali is formed, consisting of Senegal & the
territory of Mali in the French Sudan. It will dissolve in

1960 – Senegal and Mali gain separate independence.

1968 – Acknowledged leader of the U.S. civil rights movement, Martin
Luther King, Jr. joins the ancestors after being assassinated
in Memphis, Tennessee. His death will result in a national day
of mourning and the postponement of the beginning of the baseball
season. Over 30,000 people will form a funeral procession behind
his coffin, pulled by two Georgia mules. King’s death will also
set off racially motivated civil disturbances in 160 cities
leaving 82 people dead and causing $ 69 million in property
damage. President Lyndon B. Johnson declares Sunday, April 6, a
national day of mourning and orders all U.S. flags on government
buildings in all U.S. territories and possessions to fly at

1972 – Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., former congressman and civil rights
leader, joins the ancestors in Miami, Florida at the age of

1974 – Hank Aaron ties the baseball career home run record set by
Babe Ruth, when he hits his 714th home run in Cincinnati,

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


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