* Today in Black History – July 25 *
1916 – Garrett T. Morgan, inventor of the gas mask, rescues six
persons from a gas-filled tunnel, five miles from shore
under Lake Erie, in Cleveland, Ohio.
1918 – A race riot occurs in Chester, Pennsylvania. Three
African Americans and 2 whites are killed.
1921 – Liberty Life Insurance Company is founded by Frank L.
Gillespie. After a 1926 merger with Supreme Life and
Casualty of Columbus, Ohio, and Northeastern Life of
Newark, New Jersey, the resulting company will be called
Supreme Life Insurance Company and be, at one time, one
of the largest African American insurance companies in
1930 – Nineteen-year-old Josh Gibson is called out of the stands
to substitute for the regular catcher for the Pittsburgh
Homestead Grays, one of the best-known all-Negro
professional baseball teams. Gibson will go on to play
15 years with a variety of teams in the Negro leagues.
His lifetime batting average, .423, will earn him
election to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.
1941 – Nathaniel “Nate” Thurmond is born in Akron, Ohio. He will
become an all-star college basketball player and Hall of
Fame NBA player. Agile and deceptively strong, he will
hone his talents at Bowling Green State University, where
he will average 17.8 ppg and 17.0 rpg and be selected an
All-America his senior year. In 1963, he will be drafted
third in the NBA draft by the San Francisco Warriors and
will play the forward position because Wilt Chamberlain
is the Warriors’ pivot man. When San Francisco trades
Chamberlain to Philadelphia in 1965, he will return to his
natural position and develop into one of the NBA’s truly
dominant centers. He will log 14 NBA seasons with San
Francisco, Golden State, Chicago and Cleveland. He will be
selected to play in seven All-Star Games and be named NBA
All-Defensive First Team twice and Second Team three times.
He will first make NBA history when he grabs 18 rebounds in
one quarter against the Baltimore Bullets in 1965. Then on
opening night in 1974, he will make history again as the
first player to ever record a quadruple double-double
figures in four categories in one game (22 points, 14
rebounds, 13 assists and 12 blocked shots). When he retires,
he will have scored 14,437 points and grabbed 14,464
rebounds (sixth all-time), both 15.0 per game averages. He
will be enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame on July 1,
1943 – The U.S. Navy launches the “Leonard Roy Harmon’ in Quincy,
Massachusetts, the nation’s first warship named for an
African American. Harmon, a messman, was posthumously
awarded the Navy Cross for heroism.
1954 – Walter Jerry Payton is born in Columbia, Mississippi. He
will be the Chicago Bears’ first-round draft choice and the
fourth player selected in the 1975 National Football League
Draft and will develop into a superstar of unusual
dimensions during his 13-season NFL tenure from 1975 to
1987, all of which he will spend with the Chicago Bears.
The 5-10, 200-pound running back who will rush for 3,563
yards in four seasons at Jackson State University will go
on to dominate the rushing section of the NFL record book
during and long after his career will end. The records he
will hold at the time of his retirement include 16,726
total yards, 10 seasons with 1,000 or more yards rushing,
275 yards rushing in one game against the Minnesota Vikings
(1977), 77 games with more than 100 yards rushing, and 110
rushing touchdowns. He will have 4,368 combined net
attempts and account for 21,803 combined net yards. He will
also score an impressive 750 points on 125 touchdowns. He
will win the NFC rushing title five straight years from
1976 to 1980. He will also lead the NFC with 96 points in
1977 and win the NFL kickoff return championship in his
rookie 1975 campaign. He will be named both All-Pro and
All-NFC seven times and play in nine Pro Bowl games. He
will be selected as the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1977
and 1985, the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 1977 and
1985 and the NFC Most Valuable Player in 1977. An amazing
runner, he will rush for more than 1,000 yards 10 of his
13 seasons. His best season will come in 1977, when he runs
for 1,852 yards, third best in history at that time. His
492 career pass receptions for 4,538 yards and 15
touchdowns will contribute to his exceptional combined net
yard totals. Extremely durable, he will miss one game in
his rookie campaign and then play in 186 consecutive games.
He will be a major factor in the Chicago Bear’s Super Bowl
XX win. He will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of
Fame on July 31, 1993. He will join the ancestors on
November 1, 1999 after succumbing to cancer.
1964 – A racially motivated disturbance begins in Rochester, New
York. Subsequent to this civil unrest, the major employers
in the metropolitan area (Kodak, Xerox, Sybron, and Bausch
& Lomb) show marked improvements in their hiring of
1966 – Constance B. Motley becomes the first African American
woman to be appointed a federal judge.
1972 – The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, where African Americans
were used as guinea pigs in syphilis experiments for 40
years, is admitted to by U.S. government health officials.
1981 – Walter Payton signs a contract to play with the Chicago
Bears of the NFL on his 27th birthday. The famed running
back will earn almost $2 million over his three years.
‘Sweetness’, as he is nicknamed (because of his
disposition), becomes the highest paid player in the
National Football League at the time.
1990 – “Black Enterprise” publisher Earl G. Graves and Los Angeles
Lakers star Magic Johnson become the largest minority-
controlled franchise in the country when they sign a $ 60
million agreement to purchase Pepsi-Cola of Washington, DC.
1991 – Dennis Hightower is promoted to president of Disney Consumer
Products-Europe/Middle East. Hightower will have operating
responsibility for all book and magazine publishing,
merchandise licensing, children’s records and music, film
promotion and television sponsorship and will manage the
company’s eight subsidiaries and six offices in Europe and
the Middle East.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.