* Today in Black History – May 13 *
1865 – Two white regiments and an African American regiment, the
Sixty-second U.S. Colored Troops, fight in the last action
of the civil war at White’s Ranch, Texas.
1871 – Alcorn A&M College (now Alcorn A&M University) opens in
1888 – Princess Isabel of Brazil signs the “Lei Aurea” (Golden
Law) which abolishes slavery. Slavery is ended in part to
appease the efforts of abolitionists, but mostly because
it is less expensive for employers to hire wageworkers
than to keep slaves. Plantation owners oppose the law
because they are not compensated for releasing their
slaves. The passage of the law hastens the fall of the
1891 – Isaac Murphy becomes the first jockey to win three Kentucky
Derbys as he wins the fabled race astride Kingman.
Kingman was trained by Dud Allen, an African American
1914 – Joseph Louis Barrow is born in Lexington, Alabama. He will
be better known as Joe Louis. “The Brown Bomber” will
hold the heavyweight crown from his 1937 title match with
James J. Braddock until his first retirement in 1949. In
his 71 professional fights, he will amass a record of 68
victories, 54 by knockouts. He will join the ancestors on
April 12, 1981.
1933 – John Junior “Johnny” Roseboro is born in Ashland, Ohio. He
will become a professional baseball player in 1957 and will
play as a catcher for the Dodgers from 1957-1967, Minnesota
Twins from 1968 to 1969, and the Washington Senators in
1970. He will join the ancestors on August 16, 2002.
1938 – Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra record the New Orleans’
jazz standard, “When The Saints Go Marching In”, on Decca
Records making it extremely popular.
1943 – Mary Wells is born in Detroit, Michigan. She will become a
singer for the Motown label and record the hits, “My Guy,”
“Two Lovers,” “You Beat Me to the Punch,” and “The One Who
Really Loves You.” She will join the ancestors on July 26,
1992 after succumbing to pneumonia and complications of
1949 – Franklin Ajaye is born in Brooklyn, New York. He will
become a comedy writer, comedian and actor. He will appear
in the movies “The Jazz Singer,” “Car Wash,” “Hysterical,”
“The Wrong Guys,” and “Jock Jokes.”
1950 – Steveland Judkins Morris is born in Saginaw, Michigan. As
12-year-old Little Stevie Wonder, he will become a singing
and musical sensation notable for “Fingertips, Part 2.”
He will continue to record through-out adulthood, with
the albums “Talking Book,” “Songs in the Key of Life,” “The
Woman in Red,” and the soundtrack to the movie “Jungle
Fever.” Among other awards, he will win more than 16 Grammys
and a 1984 best song Oscar for “I Just Called to Say I Love
You.” He will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of
Fame in 1989.
1961 – Dennis Keith Rodman is born in Trenton, New Jersey. He will
become a professional basketball player. He will play at the
small forward position in his early years before becoming a
power forward. He will earn NBA All-Defensive First Team honors
seven times and win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award
twice. He will also lead the NBA in rebounds per game for a
record seven consecutive years and win five NBA championships.
His biography at NBA.com will state that he is “arguably the
best rebounding forward in NBA history”. On April 1, 2011, the
Detroit Pistons will retire his No. 10 jersey, and he will be
inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
later that year.
1966 – Federal education funding is denied to 12 school districts
in the South because of violations of the 1964 Civil Rights
1971 – (James) Charles Evers becomes the first African American
mayor of Fayette, Mississippi.
1971 – Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, receives a gold record
for her version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, originally
a Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel tune.
1978 – Henry Rono of Kenya sets the record for the 3,000 meter
steeplechase (8:05.4). The record will stand for eleven
1979 – Max Robinson becomes the first African American network news
anchor when he anchors ABC’s World News Tonight.
1983 – Reggie Jackson becomes the first major leaguer to strike out
1985 – Philadelphia Police bomb a house held by the group “Move”,
killing eleven persons. Ramona Africa and a 13-year-old
boy are the only people to escape the inferno that the
blast caused inside 6221 Osage Street. The heat from the
blast also ignites a fire that destroys 60 other homes and
leaves 250 people homeless, angry and heartbroken in a
working-class section of West Philadelphia.
1990 – George Stallings is ordained as the first bishop of the
newly established African American Catholic Church.
Stallings broke from the Roman Catholic Church in 1989,
citing the church’s failure to meet the needs of African
1995 – Army Captain Lawrence Rockwood is convicted at his court-
martial in Fort Drum, New York, of conducting an
unauthorized investigation of reported human rights abuses
at a Haitian prison (the next day, Rockwood is dismissed
from the military, but receives no prison time).
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.