April 29 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – April 29 *

1854 – Ashmun Institute, later Lincoln University, is founded in
Oxford, Pennsylvania. It will be “the first institution
founded anywhere in the world to provide a higher
education in the arts and sciences for youth of African
descent.” (This applies to the modern era).

1899 – Edward “Duke” Kennedy Ellington is born in Washington, DC.
He will form his first band in 1919, and move to New York
City in 1922. His five-year tenure at the famed Cotton
Club will garner him wide acclaim. Scoring both his first
musical and making his recording debut in 1924, Ellington
will be known as the first conventional jazz composer,
although he will also become renowned for his Sacred
Concerts in the mid-1960’s. His most notable works
include “Take the A Train,” “Mood Indigo,” “Sophisticated
Ladies,” and “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good.” He will
join the ancestors on May 24, 1974.

1915 – Donald Mills is born in Piqua, Ohio. With his brothers,
Herbert, Harry and John, the Mills Brothers will begin
performing in 1922 in their hometown and over time will
sell an estimated 50 million records. The group will break
racial barriers in the era of Jim Crow and sing before
royalty in London. From the early 1930s onward, the Mills
Brothers will be a nationwide hit on radio and in record
sales. In 1931, the song “Tiger Rag” will sell 1 million
copies. Some of their other hit songs will include “You
Always Hurt the One You Love,” “Glow Worm,” “Yellow Bird,”
and “Paper Doll.” The brothers will also appear in several
movies, including “The Big Broadcast” in 1932, and “Twenty
Million Sweethearts” in 1934. Donald will be the last
surviving member of the group and will tour in his later
years with his youngest son, John, after his brothers
retire in 1982. He will accept a Grammy Award for Life
Achievement for the Mills Brothers in 1998. With 2,246
recordings made by 1981, their last year performing
together, the Mills Brothers may have recorded more songs
than anyone else. They will be awarded 36 gold records. He
will join the ancestors on November 13, 1999.

1922 – Parren James Mitchell is born in Baltimore, Maryland. In
1971, he will become the first African American elected to
Congress from the State of Maryland. He will represent the
7th congressional district of Maryland from January 3, 1971
to January 3, 1987. During his 16 year career, he will fight
for affirmative action legislation. As Chairman of the Small
Business Committee, he will attach an amendment to a $4
billion public works bill that compels state and local
governments, seeking federal grants, to set aside 10% of the
funds to retain minority firms as contractors and
subcontractors. He will also mentor several dozen young up
and coming leaders. Maryland House of Delegates majority
whip Talmadge Branch will be an early aide, Delegate
Nathaniel Oaks will volunteer in Mitchell’s early campaigns,
as will Delegates Sandy Rosenberg and Curt Anderson. He will
initiate a congressional investigation into Wedtech where
bribes were alleged to have been offered in return for no
bid military contracts. In 1986, he will retire from
Congress, but will run unsuccessfully for Lieutenant
Governor of Maryland as the running mate of Attorney General
Stephen H. Sachs. He will join the ancestors on May 28,2007.

1928 – Carl Edward Gardner is born in Tyler, Texas. He will become
a singer, best known as the foremost member and founder of
The Coasters. The Coasters will go on to produce several
enduring classics of 1950s rock and roll music including
“Yakety Yak”, “Charlie Brown”, and “Poison Ivy”. Together
with the other members of the Coasters – Cornell Gunter,
Billy Guy and Will “Dub” Jones, he will be inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He will join the
ancestors on June 12, 2011.

1934 – Otis Rush is born in Philadelphia, Mississippi. He will move
to Chicago, Illinois in 1948 and become a blues musician,
singer and guitarist who will help to shape Chicago’s West
Side blues sound. His distinctive guitar style will feature
a slow burning sound and long bent notes. With similar
qualities to Magic Sam and Buddy Guy, his sound will become
known as West Side Chicago blues and be an influence on many
musicians including Michael Bloomfield and Eric Clapton. He
is left-handed and, unlike many other left-handed guitarists,
will play a left-handed instrument strung upside-down with
the low E string at the bottom. He will play often with the
little finger of his pick hand curled under the low E for
positioning. It is widely believed that this contributes to
his distinctive sound. He will also be known for his wide-
ranging, powerful tenor voice.

1967 – Mrs. Robert W. Clayton is elected president of the YWCA, the
first African American president of the organization.

1983 – Harold Washington is sworn in as the first African American
mayor of Chicago.

1992 – Rioting erupts in Los Angeles after a jury acquits four
white policemen of charges related to the videotaped
beating of African American motorist Rodney King. The
National Guard and federal troops are mobilized to deal
with the civil disturbance, which will last several days
and cost the lives of 58 persons. There are demonstrations
and riots in other American cities.

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


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