* Today in Black History – April 19 *
1775 – With the assistance of African American soldiers, Minutemen
defeat the British at Concord Bridge in the initial battle
of the Revolutionary War.
1837 – Cheyney University is founded as the first historically
Black institution of higher learning in America. It is
also the first college in the United States to receive
official state certification as an institution of higher
academic education for African Americans. Cheyney will
begin its existence in Philadelphia as the Institute for
Colored Youth. The Institute for Colored Youth successfully
will provide a free classical education for qualified young
people. In 1902, the school will be moved to George
Cheyney’s farm, 24 miles west of Philadelphia. In 1913 the
name will be changed to Cheyney Training School for
Teachers; in 1921 to the Normal School at Cheyney; in 1951
Cheyney State Teachers College; and in 1959, Cheyney State
College. In 1983, Cheyney joined the State System of
Higher Education (SSHE) as Cheyney University of
1866 – The African American citizens of Washington DC celebrate the
abolition of slavery. 4,000 to 5,000 people assemble at the
White House and are addressed by President Andrew Johnson.
Led by two African American regiments, the spectators and
the procession proceed up the Pennsylvania Avenue to
Franklin Square for religious services and speeches by
prominent politicians. The sign on top of the platform
reads: “We have received our civil rights. Give us the
right of suffrage and the work is done.”
1942 – Atlanta University’s first exhibition of African American
art is held. Organized by Hale Woodruff, artist and former
professor at the university, it will be popularly known as
the Atlanta Annual. Winners in the first show will be
Charles Alston and Lois Mailou Jones.
1960 – Maj. General Frederic E. Davidson assumes command of the
Eighth Infantry Division in Germany and becomes the first
African American to lead an army division.
1960 – A National Education Association study reveals that African
Americans had lost thirty thousand teaching jobs since 1954
in seventeen Southern and Border states because of
discrimination and desegregation.
1960 – The home of Z. Alexander Looby, counsel for 153 students
arrested in sit-in demonstrations, is destroyed by a
dynamite bomb. More than two thousand students march on
the Nashville City Hall in protest.
1971 – Walter Fauntroy takes office as the first elected
Congressional representative from the District of Columbia
1975 – James B. Parsons becomes the first African American chief
judge of a federal court, the U.S. District Court in
Chicago. In 1961, Parsons became the first African American
district court judge.
1982 – Astronaut Guion S. Bluford Jr. becomes the first African
American to be selected for U.S. space missions. He will
not, however be the first person of African descent in
space. That honor belongs to Cuban cosmonaut, Arnaldo
Tamayo-Mendez, who went into space on a Russian mission
September 18, 1980 (Soyuz 38).
1994 – A Los Angeles jury awards $3.8 million to African American
motorist Rodney King in compensation/damages for the
beating he received at the hands of four Los Angeles
1999 – Joseph Chebet of Kenya wins the Boston Marathon, in 2:9:52;
Fatuma Roba of Ethiopia wins the women’s race in 2:23:25.
2003 – Cholly Atkins, Tony Award-winning choreographer, joins the
ancestors after succumbing to pancreatic cancer at the age
of 89. He was choreographer for Marvin Gaye, The
Temptations and others.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.