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.


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