* Today in Black History – May 6 *
1787 – Prince Hall forms African Lodge 459, the first African
American Masonic Lodge in the United States.
1794 – Haiti, under Toussaint L’Ouverture, revolts against France.
1812 – Martin R. Delany is born free in Charlestown, Virginia. He
is considered to be the grandfather of Black nationalism.
He will also be one of the first three blacks admitted to
Harvard Medical School. Trained as an assistant and a
physician, he will treat patients during the cholera
epidemics of 1833 and 1854 in Pittsburgh, when many doctors
and residents flee the city. He will work alongside
Frederick Douglass to publish the North Star. Active in
recruiting blacks for the United States Colored Troops, he
will be commissioned as a major, the first African American
field officer in the United States Army during the American
Civil War. After the Civil War, he will work for the
Freedmen’s Bureau in the South, settling in South Carolina,
where he will become politically active. He will run
unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor and will be appointed
a Trial Judge. He will also be a noted author, explorer, and
a newspaper editor. He will join the ancestors on January 24,
1930 – Noted actor Charles Gilpin joins the ancestors. The founder
and manager of the Lafayette Theatre Company, one of the
earliest African American stock companies in New York,
Gilpin achieved fame for his performance as Brutus Jones
in Eugene O’Neill’s play “The Emperor Jones.” In 1921, he
won the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal in recognition of his
1931 – Willie Mays is born in Westfield, Alabama. He will become a
professional baseball player at the age of 16, for the
Birmingham Black Barons. After graduating from high school,
he will be signed by the New York Giants. His 7095 putouts
will be the all-time record for an outfielder. His career
batting average will be .302. For eight consecutive years,
he will drive in more than 100 runs a year, and his 660 home
runs will put him in third place for the all-time home run
record. He will win the Gold Glove Award 12 times. He will
be voted Most Valuable Player in the National League in
both 1954 and 1965. He will be inducted into the Baseball
Hall of Fame in 1979.
1960 – The Civil Rights Act of 1960 is signed by President
Eisenhower. The act acknowledges the federal government’s
responsibility in matters involving civil rights and
reverses its customary “hands-off” policy.
1967 – Four hundred students seize the administration building at
Cheyney State College.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry