* Today in Black History – April 25 *
1905 – Doxey Alphonso Wilkerson is born in Excelsior Springs, Missouri.
He will become an educator at Howard University in Washington, DC
and Yeshiva University in New York City. In 1944, he will publish
an essay in the anthology, “What The Negro Wants,” which will
illustrate comparisons between the Allied struggle in Europe
during World War II and the civil rights struggle of African
Americans in the United States. As a member of the American
Communist Party, he will work as a civil rights activist. This
affiliation will cause him to be repeatedly investigated by
the U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities. After
resigning from the Communist Party in 1957, he will continue to
be active in civil right activities and educational pursuits
until his retirement in 1984. He will join the ancestors on
June 17, 1993 in Norwalk, Connecticut.
1916 – Madeline M. Turner receives a patent for the fruit press.
1918 – Ella Fitzgerald is born in Newport News, Virginia. Discovered
at an amateur contest at the Apollo Theatre in 1934, she will
be a leading jazz vocalist of the swing era. Known for her
renditions of such songs as “A Tisket, A Tasket” (her first
million-seller), her unique scat styling and series of recordings
of great American songwriters will make her an enduring favorite
of jazz lovers. She will join the ancestors on June 15, 1996 in
Beverly Hills, California.
1942 – Ruby Doris Smith Robinson is born in Atlanta, Georgia. She will
become a civil rights activist and a founding member of The
Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She will be
one of the original “Freedom Riders,” and will assist in creating
the policy of “jail, no bail,” employed by activists to fill
southern jails and bring national attention to the civil rights
struggle. After becoming SNCC’s first and only female executive
secretary, she will become ill with leukemia and joins the
ancestors on October 7, 1967 in Atlanta, Georgia.
1944 – The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) is founded by Dr. Frederick
Douglass Patterson, then president of Tuskegee Institute, with 27
charter colleges and universities and a combined enrollment of
1944 – George Herriman joins the ancestors in Los Angeles, California
at the age of 63. He had been a successful cartoonist who was
the author of the comic strip “Krazy Kat.” The comic strip ran
successfully from 1913 until this date.
1945 – The United Nations is founded at a San Francisco meeting
attended by African American consultants, most notably W.E.B.
Du Bois, Mary McLeod Bethune, Ralph J. Bunche and Walter White.
1950 – At the NBA’s annual players draft, the Boston Celtics select
Charles “Chuck” Cooper. He is the first African American ever
drafted by an NBA team.
1960 – A consent judgment in a Memphis federal court ended restrictions
barring voters in Fayette County, Tennessee. This was the first
voting rights case under the Civil Rights Act.
1972 – Major General Frederick E. Davidson becomes the first African
American to lead an Army division when he is assigned command of
the 8th Infantry Division in Europe.
1979 – Olodum, an internationally recognized Afro-Brazilian Carnival
association, is founded in Bahia, Brazil. The music of this
group celebrates Black history and protests racial discrimination.
The name Olodum is derived from the name of the supreme Yoruba
1990 – Tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon joins the ancestors in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the age of 67. A leading influence
in the bop movement along with Billy Eckstine and Dizzy Gillespie,
Gordon played in London in the early 1960’s and stayed until the
mid-1970’s. Elected to the Jazz Hall of Fame in 1980, his role in
the 1986 movie “‘Round Midnight” will revive interest in his music
and earn him an Academy Award nomination for best actor.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.