May 9 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – May 9 *

1750 – The South Carolina Gazette reports that Caesar, a South
Carolina slave, has been granted his freedom and a life
time annuity in exchange for his cures for poison and
rattlesnake bite. Caesar and the famous James Derham of
New Orleans are two of the earliest known African American
medical practitioners.

1862 – General Hunter of the Union Army issues a proclamation
freeing the slaves of Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.
A displeased President Lincoln annuls this act. Lincoln
stated, “General Hunter is an honest man…He proclaimed
all men free within certain states. I repudiated the

1919 – James Reese Europe joins the ancestors after being stabbed
to death by a crazed band member (his drummer) after a
concert at Mechanics Hall in Boston. Europe was one of
the preeminent jazz bandleaders of the early 20th century,
beginning with his association with the team of J. Rosamond
Johnson and Bob Cole in The Shoo Fly Regiment in 1906.
Founder of the Clef Club, Europe joined the 15th, and
later, 369th Infantry Regiments. The military band he
formed during World War I was one of the most popular in
all of Europe.

1936 – After a eight month occupation, Italy annexes Abyssinia (now
Ethiopia). Italy’s dictator Benito Mussolini announces in
front of 400,000 people at the Piazza Venezia in Rome that,
by controlling Abyssinia, Eritrea, and Somaliland, Italy
now has its own Empire. This is the beginning of a five
year occupation, which will end in 1941.

1952 – Canada Lee joins the ancestors in New York at the age of 45.
A jockey and amateur boxer before turning to acting, Lee
achieved wide acclaim for his portrayal of Bigger Thomas
in the 1941 Broadway play “Native Son” and for the film,
“Cry the Beloved Country.”

1960 – Nigeria becomes a member of the British Commonwealth.

1974 – The House Judiciary Committee formally opens its impeachment
hearings against President Richard M. Nixon with
representatives John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Barbara
Jordan (D-Tex.) among members of the committee. Jordan, in
particular, distinguishes herself as an eloquent and
incisive contributor to the hearings process.

1977 – Mabel Murphy Smythe is confirmed as Ambassador to the
Republic of Cameroon.

1987 – Chief Obafemi Awolowo, leader of the banned Action Group and
leader of the Yorubas of western Nigeria and first premier
of the defunct Western Region, joins the ancestors at the
age of 78.

1987 – Eddie Murray, of the Baltimore Orioles, is the first
baseball player to hit home runs as a switch hitter in 2
consecutive games.

1994 – South Africa’s newly elected parliament chooses Nelson
Mandela to be the country’s first Black president.

1995 – Kinshasa, capital of Zaire, is placed under quarantine after
an outbreak of the Ebola virus.

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


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