* Today in Black History – May 15 *
1795 – John Morront, the first African American missionary to work
with Indians, is ordained as a Methodist minister in
1802 – Jean Ignace joins the ancestors in Baimbridge, Guadeloupe
in the revolt against the Napoleonic troops sent to the
Caribbean island to reimpose slavery.
1891 – The British Central African Protectorate (now Malawi) is
1918 – In a World War I incident that will later be known as “The
Battle of Henry Johnson,” the African American attacks
advancing Germans, frees sentry Needham Roberts, and forces
the retreat of the enemy troops. Johnson and Roberts will
be awarded the Croix de Guerre, France’s highest military
award. They are the first Americans ever to win the award.
1923 – “The Chip Woman’s Fortune” by Willis Richardson opens at the
Frazee Theatre on Broadway. The play, staged by the
Ethiopian Art Theatre of Chicago, is the first dramatic work
by an African American playwright to be presented on
1934 – Alvin Francis Poussaint is born in the village of East Harlem
in New York City. After being educated at Columbia College,
Cornell University Medical School, and the University of
California’s Neuropsychiatric Institute, he will become a
psychiatrist and educator specializing in African American
psychological and social issues. He will begin his career
teaching at Tufts Medical School and Harvard Medical School.
He will then join Operation Push. He will be a consultant
for the television series, “The Cosby Show” and “A Different
World, hired to ensure that the story lines present positive
images of African Americans. He will later become Associate
Dean and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
1938 – Diane Nash is born in Chicago, Illinois. She will become an
civil rights activist and one of the founders of the Student
Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960. She will be part
of the first group of civil rights activists who will refuse
to pay bail for protesting under the “Jail, No Bail”
strategy employed in the South. She will later marry fellow
civil rights activist James Bevel and take his last name as
her middle name. She and her husband will receive the Rosa
Parks award from the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference in 1965.
1942 – The 93rd Infantry is activated at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. It
is the first African American division formed during World
War II and is assigned to combat duty in the South Pacific.
1946 – Camilla Williams appears in the title role of Madama
Butterfly with the New York City Opera. She is the first
African American female concert singer to sign a contract
with a major American opera company.
1953 – Former Heavyweight Champion, Jersey Joe Walcott, is knocked
out by Rocky Marciano at Chicago Stadium at two minutes, 25
seconds of the first round.
1970 – Two African American students (Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and
James Earl Green) at Jackson State University in
Mississippi are killed when police open fire during student
1983 – James VanDerZee joins the ancestors in Washington, DC at the
age of 96. He had been a prominent photographer who
recorded and contributed to the Harlem Renaissance. Over
his long career, which extended into his 90s, he captured
the images of many famous African Americans.
1992 – Mary M. Monteith (later Simpkins) joins the ancestors in
Columbia, South Carolina. She was a civil right activist
who had been a state secretary of the NAACP and
instrumental in the fight to desegregate South Carolina
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.