July 18 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – July 18 *

1753 – Lemuel Haynes, colonial American Congregational clergyman,
is born in West Hartford, Connecticut. He will be
abandoned at five months old by his African father and
Anglo mother. He will be indentured to a white family in
Massachusetts. When he becomes a free man at age 21 in
1774, one of his first choices is to join freedom’s cause
and serve in a military unit from Connecticut. He will
not only fight on the battlefield, but will write about
freedom in poems and essays. He will be inspired by the
Declaration of Independence, and in 1776 will write an
essay about the need to extend freedom to Africans. His
essay is called, “Liberty Further Extended.” After the
American Revolutionary War, he will study Latin, Greek
and theology, and will be licensed to preach in 1780. In
1785, he will be ordained to a church in Torrington,
Connecticut, making him the first African American to
pastor a white congregation. He also will become the
first African American to receive an honorary degree
(M.A.) from a White college (Middlebury College), in 1804
at its second commencement. He will serve as pastor in
Bennington, Manchester, and Granville, New York, until he
joins the ancestors on September 28, 1833 at the age of
eighty.

1863 – The 54th Massachusetts Volunteers charge Fort Wagner in
Charleston, South Carolina. Although the Union forces
suffer great losses, Sergeant William H. Carney of Company
C exhibits bravery in battle by maintaining the colors
high despite three bullet wounds. Although cited for
bravery, it will take 37 years for Carney to receive the
Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions.

1899 – Patent number 629,286 is issued to L.C. Bailey for a
folding bed.

1905 – Granville T. Woods patents railway brakes.

1918 – Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is born near Umtata in Transkei,
South Africa in the Eastern Cape, into the royal family
of the Tembu, a Xhosa-speaking tribe. His father is Chief
Henry Mandela. He will be educated at University College
of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand and
qualifies to practice law in 1942. He will join the
African National Congress in 1944 and engage in resistance
against the ruling National Party’s apartheid policies
after 1948. He will go on trial for treason in 1956-1961
and be acquitted in 1961. After the banning of the ANC in
1960, he will argue for the setting up of a military wing
within the ANC. In June 1961, the ANC executive will
consider his proposal on the use of violent tactics and
agree that those members who wished to involve themselves
in his campaign would not be stopped from doing so by the
ANC. This will lead to the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe.
He will be arrested in 1962 and sentenced to five years’
imprisonment with hard labor. In 1963, when many fellow
leaders of the ANC and the Umkhonto we Sizwe are arrested,
he will be brought to stand trial with them for plotting
to overthrow the government by violence. His statement
from the dock will receive considerable international
publicity. On June 12, 1964, he is among eight accused,
that will be sentenced to life imprisonment. From 1964 to
1982, he will be incarcerated at Robben Island Prison, off
the shore from Cape Town; thereafter, he will be at
Pollsmoor Prison, nearby on the mainland. He will be
released on February 11, 1990. After his release, he will
plunge himself wholeheartedly into his life’s work,
striving to attain the goals he and others had set out
almost four decades earlier. In 1991, at the first
national conference of the ANC held inside South Africa
after the organization had been banned in 1960, Mandela
will be elected President of the ANC while his lifelong
friend and colleague, Oliver Tambo, will become the
organization’s National Chairperson. He will become the
first Black African President of South Africa on May 10,
1994 (Inauguration Date) and serve until June 14, 1999.
He will join the ancestors on December 5, 2013.

1941 – Martha Reeves is born in Eufaula, Alabama. Her family will
move to Detroit, Michigan before her first birthday. As a
child, she will sing in her grandfather’s church and in
school, and continue her vocal training through high school.
After graduating in 1959, she will join a girl group called
the Fascinations, and the following year co-founds the
Del-Phis, whose membership will include the future
Vandellas. In 1961, she will win a talent contest as a solo
act and get a nightclub engagement performing as Martha
LaVaille. There she will be noticed by Motown executive
William “Mickey” Stevenson, who will invite her to stop by
the label’s offices. She will not land an audition right
away, but will parlay her visit into a secretarial job in
the A&R department. She will catch a lucky break when backup
singers are needed for a recording session, and the Del-Phis
will wind up supporting Marvin Gaye on his first hit, 1962’s
“Stubborn Kind of Fellow.” Stevenson will be impressed
enough to record a Del-Phis (renamed the Vels) single,
“You’ll Never Cherish a Love So True (‘Til You Lose It),”
and release it on Motown’s Mel-O-Dy subsidiary. One day,
Mary Wells fails to show up for a recording session, and
musicians’ union rules demand that a lead vocalist be
present on the microphone — so she will be hastily tapped
to sing “I’ll Have to Let Him Go.” That song will become
the first single credited to the newly renamed Martha & the
Vandellas in 1963. Their second single, the ballad “Come
and Get These Memories,” will reach the Rhythm & Blues Top
Five. Martha & the Vandellas will rack up an impressive
slate of Motown classics that will include the Top Five
smashes “(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave” and “Dancing in the
Street,” plus “Nowhere to Run,” “I’m Ready for Love,”
“Jimmy Mack,” and “Honey Chile,” all of which will make the
Rhythm & Blues Top Five. Martha & the Vandellas’ run of
success will continue through 1967. They will continue to
perform and record for several more years, but will never
match their past success and will disband in December 1972
after a farewell concert in Detroit. She will eventually
leave Motown and record for other labels with minimal
success. In 1989, she will reunite with original Vandellas
Annette Sterling and Rosalind Holmes and cut the single
“Step Into My Shoes” for British producer Ian Levine’s
Motor City label. However, she will continue to make her
primary living on the nostalgia circuit. She will be
inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

1951 – Jersey Joe Walcott, at age 37, becomes oldest boxer to date,
to win the World Heavyweight Championship knocking out
Ezzard Charles in five rounds.

1959 – William Wright becomes the first African American to win a
a USGA title, the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.
He is 23 and a senior at Western Washington University.

1964 – Racially motivated disturbances occur in Harlem in New York
City. The civil unrest will last until July 22 and will
spread into the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.

1970 – Willie Mays gets his 3,000th base hit.

1998 – The “Spirit of Freedom Memorial” and “Theme Park” is
unveiled in Washington, DC to honor the U. S. Colored
Troops, who fought in the U.S. Civil War.walmart.com

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

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