* Today in Black History – July 12 *
1864 – George Washington Carver, African American botanist is born
in Diamond Grove, Missouri. He will receive a B.S. from
the Iowa Agricultural College in 1894 and a M.S. in 1896.
He will become a member of the faculty of Iowa State
College of Agriculture and Mechanics in charge of the
school’s bacterial laboratory work in the Systematic Botany
department. His work with agricultural products develops
industrial applications from farm products, called chemurgy
in technical literature in the early 1900s. His research
will develop 325 products from peanuts, 108 applications
for sweet potatoes, and 75 products derived from pecans. He
will move to Tuskegee, Alabama in 1896 to accept a position
as an instructor at the Tuskegee Institute of Technology
and remain on the faculty until he joins the ancestors on
January 5, 1943. His work in developing industrial
applications from agricultural products will derive 118
products, including a rubber substitute and over 500 dyes
and pigments from 28 different plants. He will receive the
Spingarn Medal from the NAACP in 1923. He will be
responsible for the invention in 1927 of a process for
producing paints and stains from soybeans, for which three
separate patents were issued. George Washington Carver will
be bestowed with an honorary doctorate from Simpson College
in 1928. He will be made a member of the Royal Society of
Arts in London, England. Dr. Carver will be honored by U.S.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on July 14, 1943 when
$30,000 is committed for a national monument to be
dedicated to his accomplishments. The area of Carver’s
childhood near Diamond Grove, Missouri will be preserved as
a park, with a bust of the agricultural researcher,
instructor, and chemical investigator. This park will be
the first national monument dedicated to an African
American in the United States. He will be inducted
posthumously into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in
1887 – Mound Bayou, an all African American town in Mississippi, is
founded by Isaiah Montgomery.
1936 – Actress Rose McClendon joins the ancestors after succumbing
to pneumonia in New York City. A student at the American
Academy of Dramatic Art in Carnegie Hall, McClendon won
fame for her roles in the plays “Deep River”, “In Abraham’s
Bosom”, and “Porgy.” She also founded, with Dick Campbell,
the Negro People’s Theater and with Campbell and Muriel
Rahn, the Rose McClendon Players.
1936 – Cornelius Johnson sets the world record in the high jump.
1937 – William Henry “Bill” Cosby is born in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. He will become one of the most popular African
American entertainers, first in comedy, where his albums
will earn him five Grammy awards, then in Las Vegas and
elsewhere. He will later star in the television series “I
Spy”, which will be the first of several successful
television series. These series will include “The Bill Cosby
Show,” “The New Bill Cosby Show,” and “The Cosby Show.” “The
Cosby Show” will hold the number one rating for three years.
He will also author numerous books, including “Fatherhood,”
and “Love and Marriage.” His successes will reward him with
financial success and he will become a leading
1944 – Donna Denise Nicholas is born in Detroit, Michigan. After
graduating from the University of Michigan, she will become
an actress starring in “Room 222” as Liz McIntyre, “In the
Heat of the Night” as Harriet DeLong, “Baby, I’m Back”, and
“Ghost Dad.” After appearing in a variety of televion shows
from the 1960s through the 2000s, she will write her first
novel, “Freshwater Road,” published by Agate Publishing in
1949 – Frederick M. Jones patents an air conditioning unit.
1951 – Governor Adlai Stevenson, calls out the Illinois National
Guard to stop rioting in Cicero, Illinois. A mob of 3,500
racists try to keep an African American family from moving
into the all-white city.
1958 – “Yakety Yak”, by The Coasters, becomes the number one song
in the country, according to “Billboard” magazine. It is
the first stereo record to reach the top of the chart.
1959 – Rolonda Watts is born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She
will become an African American actress and television
talk show host. She will be the host of “The Rolonda Show,”
a syndicated talk show that will run for four seasons
during the 1990s.
1960 – Congo, Chad & The Central African Republic declare their
1963 – Maryland National Guard troops impose limited martial law in
Cambridge, Maryland after open confrontations between civil
rights demonstrators and white segregationists.
1966 – A racially motivated disturbance begins in the city of
Chicago, prompting the governor to call in the Illinois
1967 – Five days of racially motivated disturbances begin in Newark,
New Jersey. Over twenty three persons are killed. The
racial uprising involves ten of the city’s twenty-three
square miles. More than 1,500 persons are injured and 1,300
are arrested. Police report 300 fires. The Newark
rebellion, the worst outbreak of racial violence since the
Watts riots (in Los Angeles), spread to other New Jersey
communities, including New Brunswick, Englewood, Paterson,
Elizabeth, Palmyra, Passaic, and Plainfield. The New Jersey
National Guard is mobilized.
1975 – São Tomé and Príncipe declare independence from Portugal.
1979 – Minnie Ripperton, a singer best known for her recording of
“Lovin’ You,” joins the ancestors after succumbing to breast
cancer at the age of 32.
1980 – John W. Davis, civil rights activist and former president of
West Virginia State College, joins the ancestors in
Englewood, New Jersey at the age of 92.
1991 – “Boyz in the Hood”, a film written and directed by John
Singleton, premieres. A coming-of-age film set in gang-and-
violence-ridden South Central Los Angeles, its positive
message will earn Singleton critical acclaim and two Academy
1992 – In an emotional farewell speech, Benjamin Hooks, outgoing
executive director of the NAACP, urges the group’s
convention in Nashville, Tennessee, to show the world that
it remains vital.
2001 – Abner Louima, the Haitian immigrant tortured in a New York
City police station, agrees to an $8.7 million settlement.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.