* Today in Black History – April 17 *
1758 – Frances Williams, the first African American to graduate
from a college in the Western Hemisphere, publishes a
collection of Latin poems.
1818 – For unknown reasons, Daniel Coker is expelled from the
AME Church. Coker had been a key organizer in the
church’s early history and was elected its first bishop,
a position he declined possibly because of his fair
1947 – Jackie Robinson bunts safely for his 1st major league
1978 – Thomas W. Turner, founder of the Federation of Colored
Catholics, civil rights pioneer and charter member of
the NAACP, joins the ancestors in Washington, DC, at
the age of 101.
1980 – Zimbabwe, formerly known as Rhodesia, gains its
independence. Reggae stars Bob Marley and the Wailers
and others perform in the celebration festivities.
Robert Mugabe will be sworn in the following day as
prime minister of the newly formed nation.
1987 – Julius Erving becomes the 3rd NBA player to score 30,000
1990 – Reverend Ralph Abernathy, civil rights activist, joins
the ancestors at the age of 64 in Atlanta, Georgia.
1991 – African American and African leaders meet in Abidjan,
Ivory Coast, in the first Summit Meeting of Africans
and African Americans. The summit, organized by the
Reverend Leon H. Sullivan, calls for closer ties
between Africans and African Americans and urges
Western governments to cancel Africa’s foreign debt.
“Hold on, Africa!” the Rev. Sullivan says in his
keynote speech. “We are coming! Home of our heritage,
land of our past, we can help. We have 2 million
college graduates in America. We earn $300 billion a
year. Three centuries ago they took us away in a boat,
but today we have come back in an airplane.”
1993 – A federal jury in Los Angeles convicts two former police
officers of violating the civil rights of beaten
motorist Rodney King. Two other officers are acquitted.
2003 – Earl King, Rhythm & Blues guitarist, joins the ancestors
at age 69 after succumbing to complications of diabetes.
His hits include the Mardi Gras favorite “Big Chief”
and “Come On (Let the Good Times Roll).”
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.