April 16 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – April 16

1862 – Slavery is abolished in Washington, DC, and $993,407 in
compensation is paid to slave owners for their lost
“property.” The District of Columbia will later declare this
date an annual holiday known as “Emancipation Day.”

1868 – Louisiana voters approve a new constitution and elect
state officers, including the first African American
lieutenant governor, Oscar J. Dunn, and the first
African American state treasurer, Antoine Dubuclet.
Article Thirteen of the new constitution bans
segregation in public accommodation: “All the persons
shall enjoy equal rights and privileges upon any
conveyances of a public character; and all places of
business, or of public resort, or for which a license
is required by either State, Parish or municipal
authority, shall be deemed places of a public
character and shall be opened to the accommodation and
patronage of all persons, without distinction or
discrimination on account of race or color.”

1869 – Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett is appointed Consul General
to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the first African
American to serve in a diplomatic position for the
United States. Bassett will hold the post for 12

1947 – Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr. is born in New York City.
He will become one of the finest basketball players in
history, first with UCLA, then with the Milwaukee Bucks
and, from 1975 to his retirement in 1990, with the Los
Angeles Lakers. After his conversion to Islam in
1971, he will change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
early in his professional career. The all-time leading
scorer in the NBA, he will lead the Lakers to five NBA
championships, including back-to-back titles in 1987
and 1988.

1962 – Three Louisiana segregationists are excommunicated by
Archbishop Joseph Rummel for continuing their
opposition to his order for integration of New Orleans
parochial schools.

1965 – Maj. General Benjamin O. Davis Jr., assistant deputy
chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, is named
lieutenant general, the highest rank attained by an
African American to date in the armed services.

1973 – Lelia Smith Foley becomes the first African American
female to be elected mayor of a U.S. city when she
takes office in the small town of Taft, Oklahoma. She
will hold the position for 13 years.

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


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