* Today in Black History – May 16 *
1792 – Denmark abolishes the importation of slaves.
1857 – Juan Morel Campos is born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He will
become a musician and composer who will be one of the
first to integrate Afro-Caribbean styles and folk rhythms
into the classical European musical model. He will be
considered the father of the “danza.” He will join the
ancestors on May 12, 1896.
1917 – Harry T. Burleigh, composer, pianist, and singer, is
awarded the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal for excellence in the
field of creative music.
1929 – John Conyers, Jr. is born in Detroit, Michigan. He will
be elected to the House of Representatives from Michigan’s
1st District in 1964, where he will advocate home rule and
Congressional representation for the District of Columbia.
He will be the principal sponsor of the 1965 Voting Rights
Act and the 1983 Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday bill, as
well as a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus.
1930 – Lillie Mae Jones is born in Flint, Michigan. She will
become an uncompromising jazz singer using the stage name,
Betty Carter, who will earn the nickname “Betty Bebop” for
her bop improvisational style. She will tour with Lionel
Hampton and Miles Davis during her career. In 1997, she
will receive the National Medal of Arts award from
President Bill Clinton. She will join the ancestors on
September 26, 1998.
1966 – Stokely Carmichael (later named Kwame Ture) is elected
chairman of SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating
Committee, a group formed during the Freedom Marches and
dedicated to voter registration in the South.
1966 – Janet Damita Jackson is born in Gary, Indiana. Sister of
the famous Jacksons of the Jackson 5 singing group, she
will have her own successful career, first in acting
(“Good Times,” “Diff’rent Strokes,” and “Fame”), then as
a solo recording artist. Her albums “Control” and
“Rhythm Nation 1814” will earn her five American Music
Awards and a Grammy award.
1966 – The National Welfare Rights Organization is organized.
1977 – Modibo Keita joins the ancestors in Bamako, Mali. He was
the first president of Mali, serving from 1960 to 1968.
1979 – Asa Philip Randolph, labor leader and civil rights pioneer,
joins the ancestors in New York at the age of 90.
1985 – Michael Jordan is named Rookie of the Year in the National
Basketball Association. Jordan, of the Chicago Bulls, was
the number three draft choice. At the time, Michael was
third in the league scoring a 28.2 average and fourth in
steals with 2.39 per game.
1990 – Sammy Davis Jr., actor, dancer, singer and world class
entertainer, joins the ancestors in Beverly Hills,
California at the age of 64 from throat cancer. Davis,
born in Harlem, was a member of the Hollywood “Rat Pack.”
He also had starring roles in a host of Broadway musicals
and motion pictures and had been an entertainer for over
1997 – In Zaire, President Mobutu Sese Seko ends 32 years of
autocratic rule, ceding control of the country to rebel
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.