* Today in Black History – April 10 *
1816 – Richard Allen is elected Bishop of the A.M.E. Church, one day
after the church is organized at its first general convention.
1872 – The first National Black Convention meets in New Orleans,
Louisiana. Frederick Douglass will be elected president.
1877 – Federal troops withdraw from Columbia, South Carolina. This
action will allow the white South Carolina Democrats to take
over the state government.
1926 – Johnnie Tillmon (later Blackston) is born in Scott, Arkansas. A
welfare rights champion, Tillmon will become the founding
chairperson and director of the National Welfare Rights
Organization. She will join the ancestors on November 22, 1995.
1932 – The James Weldon Johnson Literary Guild announces the winners of
its first annual nationwide poetry contest for children. The
judges – Jessie Fauset and Countee Cullen, among others – select
in the teen category a 16-year-old Liberian youth and Margaret
Walker of New Orleans, who receives an honorable mention for her
poem “When Night Comes.”
1938 – Nana Annor Adjaye, Pan-Africanist, joins the ancestors in West
1943 – Arthur Robert Ashe, Jr. is born in Richmond, Virginia. He will
become a professional tennis player and will be one of the first
African American male tennis stars. He will be the first African
American to win a spot on the American Davis Cup tennis team,
the first to win the U.S. Open and the men’s singles title at
Wimbledon, in 1975. Over his 11-year career he will play in 304
tournaments, winning 51, including the 1970 Australian Open and
Wimbledon in 1975. He will be the number one ranked player in the
world in 1975. A life-threatening heart condition will force him
to retire in 1980 and he will continue to serve as the non-playing
captain of that year’s U.S. Davis Cup team. In 1985 he will become
the second African American inducted into the International Tennis
Hall of Fame. The first was Althea Gibson in 1971. After his career
in tennis, he will become an eloquent spokesperson against racial
intolerance and a critic of South Africa’s racist system of
apartheid. In the United States, he will create tennis programs to
benefit inner-city youth. He will write a three-volume history of
the African American athlete entitled “A Hard Road To Glory” (1988).
Suffering complications from AIDS, contracted from a blood
transfusion during a heart bypass operation, he will join the
ancestors in New York on February 6, 1993.
1958 – W.C. Handy, composer and musician, joins the ancestors at the
age of 84 in New York City.
1959 – Kenneth Edmonds is born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He will
become a professional musician known as “Babyface” and will
begin work in the business producing music, with his friend
Antonio Reid, for Carrie Lucas, The Whispers, and Dynasty.
Since then, they’ve produced hits for many others. During the
1990s, his dominance will extend beyond the production arena
and into the performing circle. His hit “Tender Lover” crossed
him over into pop territory and eventually sold more than two
million copies. The singles “Whip Appeal” and “It’s No Crime”
were Top Ten R&B and pop hits. He will hit his peak in 1995,
producing hits for artists like Boyz II Men, Madonna and
Whitney Houston and coordinated the “Waiting to Exhale”
soundtrack. In the fall of 1996, he will released “Day,” his
first solo album since 1993 to strong reviews. He will
successfully produce the film “Soul Food” in 1997.
1968 – U.S. Congress passes a Civil Rights Bill banning racial
discrimination in the sale or rental of approximately 80 per cent
of the nation’s housing. The bill also made it a crime to
interfere with civil rights workers and to cross state lines to
incite a riot.
1975 – Lee Elder becomes the first African American to tee off as an
entrant in the Masters’ Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.
2003 – Eva “Little Eva” Boyd, singer, joins the ancestors at age 59
after succumbing to cancer. She recorded the 1960s pop hit “The
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.