July 4 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – July 4 *

1776 – The Declaration of Independence is adopted. A section
written by Thomas Jefferson denouncing slavery is deleted.

1779 – Colonel Arent Schuyler De Puyster notes the presence of
“Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, a handsome Negro, well-
educated and settled at Eschikagou.” It is the first
recorded mention of “DuSable, who settled the area that
will become known as Chicago.

1827 – New York State abolishes slavery.

1845 – Edmonia “Wildfire” Lewis is born in Greenwich, New York. After
living with Chippewa relatives, she will enroll in Oberlin
College’s preparatory and college program. Changing her
name to Mary Edmonia Lewis, she will travel to Boston and
abroad where she will become one of the most outstanding
sculptors of her day. Among her most famous works will be
“Forever Free,” “Hagar in Her Despair in the Wilderness”
and “Death of Cleopatra.” She will join the ancestors on
September 17, 1907 in London, England.

1875 – White Democrats kill several African Americans in terrorist
attacks in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

1881 – Tuskegee Institute opens in Tuskegee, Alabama, with Booker
T. Washington as its first president.

1892 – Arthur George Gaston is born in a log cabin, built by his
grandparents, former slaves, in Marengo County, Alabama,
near Demopolis. He will drop out of school after the
tenth grade and will become one of the most successful
proponents of Booker T. Washington’s brand of capitalism.
A Washington disciple as a child, he will become a self-made
millionaire and one of the richest African American men in
America in the 1950s. His many businesses thrived on the
social separateness legislated by the Jim Crow laws in
segregated Alabama. He will make it his personal mission to
urge African Americans to seek “green power,” a term he
remembered Washington using. His quiet role in the civil
rights movement will also be noted, saying once that
African Americans needed a Martin Luther King, Jr. of
economics to fire them up the way King had about integration.
He will make the following statement that sums up his
position on economic empowerment for people of color — “It
doesn’t do any good to arrive at first-class citizenship, if
you arrive broke.” He will live to the age of 103, when he
joins the ancestors on January 19, 1996.

1910 – Jack Johnson KOs James Jeffries in 15 rounds, ending
Jeffries’ come-back try.

1938 – William Harrison “Bill” Withers, Jr. is born the youngest
of nine children in the coal mining town of in Slab Fork,
West Virginia. He will become a Rhythm and Blues singer
and songwriter who will perform and record from the late
1960s until the mid 1980s. Some of his best-known songs
will include “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Use Me,” “Lean on Me”,
“Grandma’s Hands”, and “Just the Two of Us”.

1959 – The Cayman Islands, separated from Jamaica, becomes a
British Crown Colony.

1963 – Marian Anderson and Ralph Bunche receive the first Medals
of Freedom from President John F. Kennedy, the creator of
the award.

1970 – 100 persons are injured in racially motivated disturbances
in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

1990 – “2 Live Crew” release “Banned in the USA”; the lyrics quote
“The Star Spangled Banner” & “The Gettysburg Address.”

1991 – The National Civil Rights Museum officially opens at the
Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, the site of the
assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King,

1994 – Rwandan Tutsi rebels seize control of most of their
country’s capital, Kigali, and continue advancing on areas
held by the Hutu-led government.

2003 – Barry White, Rhythm & Blues balladeer, joins the ancestors
at the age of 58 after succumbing to complications of high
blood pressure, kidney disease and a mild stroke. His
hits included “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love,” “Babe” and
“I’ve Got So Much to Give.”

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

July 3 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – July 3 *

1848 – Slaves are freed in the Danish West Indies (now the U.S.
Virgin Islands).

1871 – Joseph Henry Douglass, grandson of Frederick Douglass, is
born in Washington, DC. A student of the New England
Conservatory of Music in Boston, Douglass will become a
noted violinist. He will receive his first big break as a
concert violinist at the age of 22 when he performs
at the World’s Columbian Exposition, also known as the
Chicago World’s Fair. On August 25, 1893 performers will
join together to celebrate Colored American Day (which
Frederick Douglass helped plan). Included in the
celebrations will be readings of Paul Lawrence Dunbar’s
poetry and performances by Sidney Woodward and Deseria
Plato. He will also perform at Colored American Day,
garnering him a large audience for his talents. He will
join the ancestors in 1935.

1915 – U.S. military forces occupy Haiti, and remain until 1934.

1917 – Three days of racial riots end in East St. Louis, Illinois.
At least 40 and as many as 200 African Americans are
killed and hundreds more are wounded.

1928 – Charles Waddell Chestnutt, author of “The Conjure Woman”
and other works, is awarded the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal
for his “work as a literary artist depicting the life and
struggle of Americans of Negro descent.”

1940 – Fontella Bass is born in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother is
Martha Bass (of the Clara Ward Singers) who exposed her to
music at an early age. She was singing in her church’s
choir at six years old, but as a teenager, she will be
attracted by more secular music. Throughout high school she
will be singing R&B songs at local contests and fairs. She
will eventually move to Chicago and sign with Chess Records.
She will record the song, “Rescue Me,” which will shoot up
the charts in the fall and winter of 1965. After a month at
the top of the Rhythm & Blues charts, the song will reach
#4 at the pop charts. Her only album with Chess Records,
“The New Look,” will sell reasonably well, but she will
decide to leave the label after only two years, in 1967. In
1970 she will record two albums with the Art Ensemble of
Chicago, “The Art Ensemble of Chicago with Fontella Bass”
and “Les Stances A Sophie.” The latter is the soundtrack
from the French movie of the same title. Her vocals, backed
by the powerful, pulsating push of the band has allowed the
“Theme De YoYo” to remain an underground cult classic ever
since. The next few years will find her at a number of
different labels, but with no notable successes. After her
second album, “Free,” flopped in 1972, she will retire from
music. She will return occasionally, being featured as a
background vocalist on several recordings, including those
of her husband, Lester Bowie, a jazz trumpeter and member
of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. In the 1990s she will host
a short-lived Chicago radio talk show, and will release
several gospel records on independent labels. She will be
inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame in the Loop in
May 2000. She will join the ancestors on December 26, 2012.

1947 – The Cleveland Indians purchase the contract of Larry Doby,
the first African American to play in the American League.

1962 – Jackie Robinson, who broke the color line in professional
baseball, is the first African American inducted into the
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, in Cooperstown,
New York.

1966 – NAACP officially disassociates itself from the “Black Power”

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

July 2 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – July 2 *

1777 – Vermont, not one of the original 13 states, becomes the
first U.S. territory to abolish slavery.

1822 – Denmark Vesey, slave freedom fighter, and 5 aides are
hanged in Blake’s Landing, Charleston, South Carolina.

1908 – Thurgood Marshall is born in Baltimore, Maryland. He
will have the most distinguished legal career of any
African American as the NAACP’s national counsel,
director-counsel of the organization’s Legal Defense
and Educational Fund, and leader of some of the most
important legal challenges for African Americans’
constitutional rights, including “Brown v. Board of
Education” in 1954. In addition to sitting as a circuit
judge for the Second Circuit, Marshall will be named
U.S. Solicitor General in 1965 and associate justice of
the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967, where he will serve for
24 years. He will join the ancestors on January 24, 1993.

1925 – Patrice Lumumba, revolutionary and first prime minister
of the Republic of the Congo, is born in Stanleyville,
Belgian Congo.

1927 – George Fisher is born in New York City of African and West
Indian parentage. He will become an actor and will be
known as Brock Peters. He will set his sights on a show
business career as early as age ten. A product of New
York City’s famed Music and Arts High School, he
initially fielded more odd jobs than acting jobs as he
worked his way up from Harlem poverty. Landing a stage
role in Porgy and Bess in 1949, he will quit physical
education studies at City College of New York and go on
tour with the acclaimed musical. His film debut will come
in Carmen Jones in 1954, but he really began to make a
name for himself in such films as “To Kill a Mockingbird”
and “The L-Shaped Room.” He will receive a Tony nomination
for his starring stint in Broadway’s “Lost in the Stars.”
He will work with Charlton Heston on several theater
productions in the 1940s and 1950s. The two will befriend
each other and subsequently work together on several
films, including “Major Dundee,” “Soylent Green,” and “Two
Minute Warning.” He will join the ancestors on August 23,
2005, after succumbing to pancreatic cancer at the age of

1930 – Frederick Russell Jones is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
A child prodigy who will begin to play the piano at the age
of 3, he will begin formal studies at age 7. While in high
school, he will complete the equivalent of college master
classes under the noted African American concert singer and
teacher Mary Caldwell Dawson and pianist James Miller. He
will join the musicians union at the age of 14, and begin
touring upon graduation from Westinghouse High School at
the age of 17, drawing critical acclaim for his solos. In
1950, he will form his first trio, The Three Strings.
Performing at New York’s The Embers club, Record Producer
John Hammond “discovers” The Three Strings and signed them
to Okeh Records (a division of Columbia, now Sony, Records).
He will change his name to Ahmad Jamal in 1952 when he
converts to Islam. He will be one of Miles Davis’s favorite
pianists and a key influence on the trumpeter’s 1st classic
quintet (featuring John Coltrane on tenor saxophone, Red
Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe
Jones on drums). Davis had long admired his use of
space and dynamics. He will score a major popular “hit” in
his version of Poinciana, recorded while live on tour from
The Pershing nightclub in Chicago. His style will change
steadily over time – from the lighter, breezy style heard
on his 50s sides to the funk + Caribbean stylings of the
70s and onto the large open voicings and bravura-laden
playing of the nineties. He will always be distinctive
however for his use of space, his dramatic crescendos, and
for a very staccato orientation with chords. In addition
to being an excellent pianist, he is also very adept
with both the Rhodes electric piano and the Wurlitzer 200
electric piano.

1932 – Samuel Black is born in Paterson, New Jersey. He will become
a singer known as Sammy Turner. He will briefly achieve
fame in the late 50s as a rock ‘n’ roll balladeer, whose
specialty was recycled pop songs of the past, particularly
those by Guy Lombardo. His most notable record was a remake
of a Sammy Kaye hit from 1949, “Lavender Blue” (number 14
R&B/number 3 pop), in 1959. Three follow-ups were similarly
remakes of old pop hits: “Always” (number 2 R&B/number 20
pop), a frequently recorded pop song; “Symphony” (number 82
pop) and “Paradise” (number 13 R&B/number 46 pop). Turner’s
only success in the United Kingdom was with “Always”, which
went to number 26. Although essentially a pop performer,
because of his African American heritage he will also
garner considerable success on the R&B charts. However, he
will be unable to make the transition into the soul era,
and will rapidly fade as a recording artist after 1960.

1943 – Lt. Charles B. Hall of Indiana, flies the first combat
mission of the 99th Fighter Squadron (Tuskegee Airmen)
which was attached to the 33rd Fighter Group flying out of
Fardjouna (Cap Bon, Tunisia). He is flying as wingman on
this first mission to Pantelleria.

1946 – Anthony Overton, lawyer, judge, publisher, cosmetics
manufacturer and banker, joins the ancestors in Chicago,
Illinois at the age of 81.

1964 – President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Bill,
which includes public accommodation and fair employment
sections. The Civil Rights Act prohibits segregation in
employment, education, and public accommodation on the
basis of race, sex, age, national origin or religion.

1986 – The U.S. Supreme Court upholds affirmative action in two

1990 – “Devil in a Blue Dress”, a mystery novel by Walter Moseley
set in South-Central Los Angeles, is published. Its
realism and strong African American characters will earn
its author enthusiastic praise and a nomination for best
novel by the Mystery Writers of America.

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

July 1 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – July 1 *

1863 – The Dutch West Indies abolishes slavery.

1870 – James W. Smith is the first African American to enter
the U.S. Military Academy (West Point).

1873 – Henry O. Flipper of Georgia is the second African
American to enter West Point .

1889 – Frederick Douglass is named minister to Haiti.

1893 – Walter Francis White, NAACP leader, is born in Atlanta,
Georgia. After graduating from Atlanta University in 1916,
he will become an official with the Standard Life Insurance
Company, one of the largest Black-owned businesses of its
day. He will also take part in civic affairs, helping to
found the Atlanta branch of the NAACP that same year. With
White as secretary, the branch will quickly score a victory
for educational equality by preventing the school board
from eliminating seventh grade in the Black public schools.
In 1917, James Weldon Johnson, field secretary for the
NAACP will visit Atlanta. He will be impressed with White’s
enthusiasm and political skills and will persuaded the
national board of directors to appoint him the assistant
secretary. In January, 1918 he will move to New York and
join the NAACP staff. For the next ten years his primary
responsibility will be conducting undercover investigations
of lynchings and race riots. Using his fair complexion to
his advantage, he will approach members of lynch mobs and
other whites who had witnessed or were involved in racial
violence. He will trick them into giving him candid
accounts that the NAACP would then publicize. During these
years he will investigate forty-one lynchings and eight
race riots, including the riots in Elaine, Arkansas, and
Chicago, Illinois, during the Red Summer of 1919. On more
than one occasion he will narrowly escape vigilantes who
discover his true identity. He will become the Executive
Director of the NAACP from 1931 until he joins the ancestors
on March 21, 1955.

1898 – The African American 10th Calvary charges Spanish
Forces at El Caney, Cuba, and relieves Teddy
Roosevelt’s “Rough Riders.”

1899 – Rev. Thomas Andrew Dorsey, “Father of Gospel Music” is
born in Villa Rica, Georgia. Although he will begin
touring with Ma Rainey, he will leave the blues in
1932 to work as a choir director for Pilgrim Baptist
Church. A gospel legend, among his most popular songs
will be “A Little Talk with Jesus.” His father was a minister
and his mother a piano teacher. He will learn to play blues
piano as a young man. After studying music formally in
Chicago, he will become an agent for Paramount Records. He
put together a band for Ma Rainey called the “Wild Cats Jazz
Band” in 1924. He will be credited with more than 400 blues
and jazz songs. Personal tragedy will lead Dorsey to leave
secular music behind and begin writing and recording what he
called “gospel” music. He was the first to use that term. His
first wife, Nettie, who had been Rainey’s wardrobe mistress,
died in childbirth in 1932 along with his first son. In his
grief, he wrote his most famous song, one of the most famous
of all gospel songs, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”.
Unhappy with the treatment he received at the hands of
established publishers, he will open the first Black gospel
music publishing company, Dorsey House of Music. He will also
found his own gospel choir and will be a founder and first
president of the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and
Choruses. His influence will not be limited to African
American music, as white musicians also follow his lead.
“Precious Lord” will be recorded by Elvis Presley, Mahalia
Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Clara Ward, Roy Rogers, and
Tennessee Ernie Ford, among hundreds of others. It will be a
favorite gospel song of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and
be sung at the rally the night before his assassination, and
at his funeral by Mahalia Jackson, per his request. It will
also be a favorite of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who will
requested it to be sung at his funeral. He wrote “Peace in
the Valley” for Mahalia Jackson in 1937, which will also
become a gospel standard. He will be the first African
American elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and
also the first in the Gospel Music Association’s Living Hall
of Fame. His papers will be preserved at Fisk University,
along with those of W.C. Handy, George Gershwin, and the Fisk
Jubilee Singers. He will join the ancestors in Chicago,
Illinois on January 23, 1993.

1915 – William James ‘Willie’ Dixon is born in Vickburg, Mississippi.
He will be a producer for Chess and Checker Records in
Chicago and considered one of the key figures in the creation
of Chicago blues. He worked with Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters,
Howlin’ Wolf, Led Zeppelin, Otis Rush, Bo Diddley, Little
Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Koko Taylor, Little Milton,
Eddie Boyd, Jimmy Witherspoon, Lowell Fulson, Willie Mabon,
Memphis Slim, Washboard Sam, Jimmy Rogers, and others.
His genius as a songwriter lay in refurbishing archaic
Southern motifs, in contemporary arrangements. This produced
songs with the backbone of the blues, and the agility of pop
music. British R&B bands of the 1960s will constantly draw
on the Dixon songbook for inspiration. In addition, as his
songwriting and production work started to take a backseat,
his organizational ability will be utilized, putting together
all-star, Chicago based blues ensembles for work in Europe.
His health will deteriorate in the 1970s and 1980s, due to
long-term diabetes, and eventually his leg will have to be
amputated. He will join the ancestors in Burbank,
California on January 29, 1992 and will be posthumously
inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

1917 – A three day race riot starts in East St. Louis, Illinois.
Estimates of the number killed ranges from forty to two
hundred. There had been an earlier race riot that
occurred on May 27, 1917. Martial law is declared. A
congressional investigating committee will say, “It is
not possible to give accurately the number of dead. At
least thirty-nine Negroes and eight white people were
killed outright, and hundreds of Negroes were wounded
and maimed. ‘The bodies of the dead Negroes,’ testified
an eye witness, ‘were thrown into a morgue like so many
dead hogs.’ There were three hundred and twelve
buildings and forty-four railroad freight cars and their
contents destroyed by fire.”

1942 – Andrae Crouch, African American sacred music artist, is
born in Los Angeles, California. He will become a gospel
musician, recording artist, songwriter, arranger, and
producer. He will be a key figure in the Jesus Music
movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He will work as a
producer or arranger with Michael Jackson, Madonna (Like
A Prayer), Quincy Jones, Diana Ross, Elton John and Rick
Astley (Cry For Help). His film credits will include “Once
Upon A Forest,” “The Color Purple,” “The Lion King,” and
“Free Willy.” He will also appear as the television voice
of Dr. Seuss’s Yertle the Turtle. He will eventually serve
as Senior Pastor at the New Christ Memorial Church of God
in Christ in San Fernando, California, the church founded
by his parents. In 2004, he will be honored with a star on
the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He will be the third gospel
musician to appear on the walk. His most enduring gospel
songs will be “Soon and Very Soon,” “My Tribute”, “The
Blood” and “Through It All.”

1960 – Ghana becomes a republic. Italian Somalia gains
independence, and unites with the Somali Republic.

1960 – Evelyn “Champagne” King is born in the Bronx, New York City,
New York. In her teens, she will relocate to Philadelphia
with her mother, and begin singing in several groups. To
make ends meet, she and her mother will become cleaning
women. For a teenager, King’s voice will be quite mature.
Many, at first thought will think she is a grown woman.
While working at Gamble & Huff’s recording studio as a
cleaner, she will be “discovered” by producer T. Life, and
will go on to become one of the most popular Rhythm & Blues
and disco singers of the late seventies and early eighties.
She will be best known for the disco classic “Shame”, her
Top 10 1978 Gold record. She will score an additional Top 40
hit and Gold record, with “I Don’t Know If It’s Right” in
1979. “Shame” and “I Don’t Know If It’s Right” will both be
tracks released from her 1977 debut album Smooth Talk. On
September 20, 2004, her signature song “Shame” will become
among the first records to be inducted into the newly formed
Dance Music Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in New York’s
Spirit club.

1961 – Frederick Carlton “Carl” Lewis is born in Birmingham, Alabama.
He will be raised in Willingboro, New Jersey. He will become
an athlete who will win 10 Olympic medals (9 golds) during
his career (1984 to 1996), and 8 World Championship gold
medals, and 1 bronze (1983 to 1993). He will become only the
third Olympian to win four consecutive titles in an individual

1962 – Burundi & Rwanda gain independence from Belgium (National Days).

1976 – Newark mayor Kenneth Gibson is elected as the first African
American president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

1991 – Former chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
and judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Clarence Thomas is
nominated by President George H. Bush as associate justice of
the Supreme Court to replace retiring justice Thurgood
Marshall. Thomas’ Senate confirmation hearings will be the
most controversial in history and will include charges of
sexual harassment by a former employee, Professor Anita Hill.

1997 – Audrey F. Manley begins her appointment as president of Spelman
College. She is the first alumna of Spelman to be named
president in the college’s 116-year history. Formerly acting
surgeon general of the United States, Manley had served in key
leadership positions in the U.S. Public Health Service for the
previous 20 years.

2005 – Grammy award winner Luther Vandross joins the ancestors at John
F. Kennedy Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey at the age of
54. He never really recovered from a stroke suffered in his
Manhattan home on April 16, 2003. He amazingly managed to
continue his recording career, and in 2004, captured four
Grammys as a sentimental favorite, including best song for the
bittersweet “Dance With My Father.” He had battled weight
problems for years while suffering from diabetes and
hypertension. He was arguably the most celebrated Rhythm &
Blues balladeer of his generation. He made women swoon with
his silky yet forceful tenor, which he often revved up like a
motor engine before reaching his beautiful crescendos. He was
a four-time Grammy winner in the best male R&B performance
category, taking home the trophy in 1990 for the single “Here
and Now,” in 1991 for his album “Power of Love,” in 1996 for
the track “Your Secret Love” and a last time for “Dance With
My Father.”

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

April 14 Jazz Artist of the Day: Kellylee Evans


April 14 Jazz Artist of the Day is Kellylee Evans, a Canadian born jazz and soul music vocalist.  Read more about this talented artist below:

Website: http://www.kellyleeevans.com/

Spac15: http://www.spac.org/kellylee-evans

Songs: “My Name is” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPRyzJdPeuA; “Feeling Good” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1rZK-cvH2E; “Tomorrow is my Turn” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybFXdGPc1Gk

April 14 Poet of the Day: Terrance Hayes

Terrance Hayes is my April 14 Poet of the Day. Read more about this poet below:


Website: http://terrancehayes.com/

Poetry Foundation: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/terrance-hayes

Poets.org: http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/terrance-hayes

NPR: http://www.npr.org/2014/09/17/349272690/macarthur-fellow-terrance-hayes-poems-are-music-language-our-instrument

National Book Awards: http://www.nationalbook.org/nba2010_p_hayes.html#.VeKLE3vluEA

April 13 Jazz Artist of the Day: Marion Meadows

My belated posts on Jazz Artists for the April is Jazz Appreciation Month is slowly but surely coming!  April 13 Jazz Artist of the Day is Marion Meadows, saxophonist.  Information about him can be found below:


Website: http://marionmeadows.com/

All Music: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/marion-meadows-mn0000281953

Songs: “Suede” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8bUUADNd_I; “Dressed to Chill” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vgn7fBI0dI ; “Secrets” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0atfaSPqoLk

April 13 Poet of the Day: Anne Spencer


My belated poet of the day posts are slowly but surely coming! April 13 Poet of the Day is Anne Spencer, a Harlem Renaissance poet.  More information about her is listed below:

Poetry Foundation: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/anne-spencer

Modern American Poetry: http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/s_z/spencer/spencer.htm

Afro Poets.Net: http://www.afropoets.net/annespencer.html

Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum: http://www.annespencermuseum.com/poetry.php

Poets.Org: http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/anne-spencer

June 30 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – June 30 *

1881 – Henry Highland Garnet, former abolitionist leader and
Presbyterian minister, is named Minister to Liberia.
He will join the ancestors in Monrovia shortly after
his arrival.

1906 – John Hope becomes the first African American president
of Morehouse College.

1917 – Lena Horne is born in Brooklyn, New York. She will
begin her career at 16 as a chorus girl at the Cotton
Club in Harlem, appear in the movies “Cabin in the Sky”
and “Stormy Weather” and have a successful Broadway
career culminating in her one-woman show. Horne will
also be a strong civil rights advocate, refusing to
perform in clubs where African Americans are not
admitted and marching during the civil rights movement
in the 1960s. She will join the ancestors on May 9, 2010.

1921 – Charles S. Gilpin becomes the first actor to receive the
NAACP’s Spingarn Medal for his portrayal of Emperor
Jones in the Eugene O’Neill play of the same name.

1940 – John T. Scott is born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He will
attend Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans and
receive a Bachelor of Arts degree. He will receive his
Master of Fine Arts degree from Michigan State University
in East Lansing, Michigan in 1965, after which he will
return to Xavier to become a professor of art. In 1995,
he will receive an honorary Doctor of Humanities from
Michigan State University and a Doctor of Humanities from
Tulane University in 1997. In 1992, he will be awarded
the exclusive MacArthur Grant (also known as the “Genius
Grant”) from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation. He will also become a sculptor whose works
will be exhibited widely in the United States and at the
exhibit of “Art of Black America in Japan, Afro-American
Modernism: 1937-1987.” He will be best known for creating
large woodcut prints and for his African-Caribbean-New
Orleans-inspired kinetic sculptures. In 2005, he will be
the subject of a major retrospective exhibit at the New
Orleans Museum of Art entitled “Circle Dance: The Art of
John T. Scott.” He will also be commissioned to create
several pieces that will be placed throughout the City of
New Orleans. These public works in New Orleans include
Spirit Gates at the DeSaix Boulevard traffic circle (at
St. Bernard and Gentilly Boulevards) in the Seventh Ward
and River Spirit at Woldenberg Park along the Mississippi
River near the Port of New Orleans. He will join the
ancestors on September 1, 2007.

1958 – Alabama courts fined the NAACP $ 100,000 for contempt, for
refusing to divulge membership. The U.S. Supreme Court
will reverse the decision.

1960 – Zaire proclaims its independence from Belgium.

1966 – Michael Gerard “Mike” Tyson is born in Brooklyn, New York.
He will become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the
world and hold the record as the youngest boxer to win the
WBC, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles at 20 years, 4 months,
and 22 days old. He will win his first 19 professional
bouts by knockout, 12 of them in the first round. He will
win the WBC title in 1986 after defeating Trevor Berbick
by a TKO in the second round. In 1987, he will add the
WBA and IBF titles after defeating James Smith and Tony
Tucker. He will be the first heavyweight boxer to
simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles, and the
only heavyweight to successively unify them.

1967 – Maj. Robert H. Lawrence Jr. becomes the first African
American astronaut. He will join the ancestors after
being killed during a training flight accident on December
8, 1967.

1969 – Jacob Lawrence receives the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal “in
testimony to his eminence among American painters.”

1974 – Alberta King, mother of the late Martin Luther King Jr.,
joins the ancestors after being assassinated during a
church service in Atlanta, Georgia. The assailant, Marcus
Chennault of Dayton, Ohio, is later convicted and sentenced
to death.

1978 – Larry Doby becomes the manager of the Chicago White Sox
baseball team. He will have a win-loss record of 37-50 and
will be fired at the end of the season (October 19).

1980 – Coleman A. Young is awarded the Spingarn Medal for his
“singular accomplishment as Mayor of the City of Detroit,”a
position he had held since 1973.

2001 – Saxophonist Joe Henderson joins the ancestors in San
Francisco. His improvisational style and compositions have
influenced jazz musicians everywhere. He had been suffering
from emphysema, and became ill at his home in San Francisco,
but did not go to the hospital until the following day, where
he died of heart failure.

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

June 29 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – June 29 *

1868 – The Louisiana legislature meets in New Orleans. The
temporary chairman of the house is an African American
representative, R.H. Isabelle. Oscar J. Dunn presides
over the senate. Seven of the thirty-six senators are
African American. Thirty-five of the 101
representatives are African American.

1886 – James Van Der Zee is born in Lenox, Massachusetts. He
will become one of America’s foremost photographers and
a major chronicler of the visual history of the Harlem
Renaissance. His photographic subjects will include
Marcus Garvey, Madame C.J. Walker, Bill “Bojangles”
Robinson, Countee Cullen, Daddy Grace and many others.
He will obtain national recognition at age 82 when his
collection of 75,000 photographs, spanning a period of
six decades of African American life, is discovered by
the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His photos will be
featured in 1969 as part of the “Harlem on my Mind”
exhibition. From the 1970s until he joins the ancestors
on May 15, 1983, Van Der Zee will photograph many
celebrities who had come across his work and promoted
him throughout the country.

1919 – Lloyd Richards is born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His
family will move to Detroit, Michigan soon after he is
born. After graduating from Wayne State University, he
will start a theater group in Detroit with a handful of
friends and classmates. At that time, the American theater
will be entirely centered in New York City. Richards will
move there in 1947 to pursue an acting career. Roles for
African American actors will be hard to come by, but he
will work on Broadway in “Freight and The Egghead” and on
radio throughout the 1950s. He will also teach acting and
direct off-Broadway productions. In 1958, he will become
the first person of African descent to direct a Broadway
play in modern times when he galvanizes Broadway with his
production of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun.”
This production, a realistic portrayal of a contemporary
Black working class family in Chicago, will begin a new era
in the representation of African Americans on the American
stage. In the 1960s, he will direct the Broadway productions
“The Long Dream,” “The Moon Besieged,” “I Had a Ball” and
“The Yearling.” In 1966, he will become head of the actor
training program at New York University’s School of the Arts.
He will be Professor of Theater and Cinema at Hunter College
in New York City when he is tapped to become dean of the
prestigious Yale University School of Drama in 1979. At the
same time he will become Artistic Director of the highly
influential Yale Repertory theater. Throughout his career,
he will seek to discover and develop new plays and
playwrights, as Artistic Director of the National Playwrights
Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theatre Center, as
a member of the Playwrights’ selection committee of the
Rockefeller Foundation and of the New American Plays program
of the Ford Foundation. His long search for a major new
American playwright will bear fruit with the 1984 production
of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” by August Wilson. Throughout
the 1980s and into the ’90s, he will direct the Yale Rep and
New York productions of the successive installments of August
Wilson’s multi-part chronicle of African American life. The
plays in this cycle will include “Fences,” “Joe Turner’s Come
and Gone,” “The Piano Lesson,” “Two Trains Running” and “Seven
Guitars.” His productions for television include segments of
“Roots: The Next Generation,” “Bill Moyers’ Journal” and
“Robeson,” a presentation on the life of the African American
actor and activist Paul Robeson, who will be an early
inspiration for the young Lloyd Richards. He will also deal
with Robeson’s life and legacy in the 1977 theatrical
production “Paul Robeson.” He will be the recipient of the
Pioneer Award of AUDELCO, the Frederick Douglass Award and,
in 1993, will be awarded the National Medal of the Arts. He
will also serve as President of the Society of Stage Directors
and Choreographers. In 1991, he will retire from his posts as
Dean of the Yale University School of Drama and as Artistic
Director of Yale Rep, but he will remain Professor Emeritus at
Yale University, and continue to teach, direct, and search for
new plays and playwrights. He will be inducted into the Academy
of Achievement in 1987. He will join the ancestors on June 29,

1943 – Eva Narcissus Boyd is born in Belhaven, North Carolina. She will
move to Brighton Beach, New York at a young age. As a teenager,
she will work as a babysitter for songwriters Carole King and
Gerry Goffin. Amused by Eva’s individual dancing style they
wrote “The Loco-Motion” with Dee Dee Sharp in mind. She
will record it as a demo and music producer Don Kirshner will
be impressed by the song and Eva’s voice and will release it
as is. This will be the birth of “Little Eva”. The song will
become an instant hit after Little Eva demonstrates the song
and dance steps on American Bandstand. It will reach #1 in the
U.S. in 1962. After the success of “The Loco-Motion”, Eva will
be unfortunately stereotyped as a dance-craze singer and will
be given limited material. The notorious 1962 single “He Hit Me
(And It Felt Like a Kiss)” was inspired by the abuse Eva
suffered from her then-boyfriend. She will continue to tour and
record throughout the sixties, but her commercial potential
will plummet after 1964. Little Eva’s other hits will be “Keep
Your Hands Of My Baby”, “Somekind Of Wonderful” and “Let’s
Turkey Trot”. She will retire from the music business in 1971.
She will return to live performing with other artists of her era
on the cabaret and oldies circuits in the 1990’s. She will
continue performing until cervical cancer stops her in October
of 2001. She will join the ancestors after succumbing to the
illness on April 10, 2003 in Kinston, North Carolina.

1949 – South Africa begins its apartheid policy of racial segregation.
This includes a ban against racially-mixed marriages.

1950 – Mabel Keaton Staupers of the National Association of Colored
Graduate Nurses receives the Spingarn Medal in honor of her
advocacy of integration of African American graduate nurses
into the American workplace.

1964 – The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is passed.

1968 – Marlin Briscoe becomes the first African American quarterback
to play professional football in the modern NFL.

1970 – NAACP chairman Stephen Gill Spottswood tells the NAACP annual
convention that the Nixon administration is “anti-Negro” and
is pressing “a calculated Policy” inimical to “the needs and
aspirations of the large majority” of citizens.

1972 – U.S. Supreme Court rules, in a five to four decision, that the
death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment which violates
the Eighth Amendment. African Americans and members of other
minority groups constitute 483 of the 600 persons awaiting

1972 – The NAACP Annual Report states the unemployment of “urban Blacks
in 1971 was worse than at anytime since the great depression
of the thirties.” The report also says that more school
desegregation occurred in 1971 than in any other year since
the 1954 school decision.

1983 – The Apollo Theatre, in Harlem, New York, is declared a cultural

1988 – Motown Records is sold for $ 61 million to an investment group
that includes a venture-capital firm, record executive Jheryl
Busby, and others. The company, which was founded by Berry
Gordy in 1959, produced some of the biggest rhythm and blues
performers of all time including the Supremes, the Temptations,
the Four Tops and Marvin Gaye.

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