* Today in Black History – July 30 *
1822 – James Varick is consecrated as the first bishop of the
African Methodist Episcopal Church Zion (AMEZ). Varick
had formed the first African American church in New York
City in 1796 when forced to sit in segregated seating in
the white John Street Methodist Episcopal Church and had
established the first AMEZ church in New Haven,
1839 – Slave rebels, led by Joseph Cinque, kill the captain and
take over the slave ship Amistad in the most celebrated
of American slave mutinies. The rebels were captured off
Long Island on August 26.
1863 – President Lincoln gave an order to shoot a Confederate
prisoner for every African American prisoner that was shot;
it became known as the “eye-for-eye” order. A rebel
prisoner would also be condemned to life in prison doing
hard labor, for every African American prisoner sold into
slavery. The order had restraining influence on the
Confederate government, though individual commanders and
soldiers continued to murder captured African American
1864 – The Union Army explodes a mine under rebel lines near
Petersburg, Virginia, commits three white and one African
American divisions and is soundly defeated. The African
American division of the Ninth Corps sustains heavy
casualties in an ill-planned attack. The only Union success
of the day is scored by the Forty-third U.S. Colored Troops
which captures two hundred rebel prisoners and two stands
of colors. Decatur Dorsey of the Thirty-Ninth U.S. Colored
Troops wins a Congressional Medal of Honor.
1866 – Edward G. Walker, son of abolitionist David Walker, and
Charles L. Mitchell are elected to the Massachusetts
Assembly from Boston and become the first African Americans
to sit in the legislature of an American state in the
post-Civil War period.
1866 – White Democrats, led by police, attack a convention of
African American and white Republicans in New Orleans,
Louisiana. More than 40 persons are killed, and at least
150 persons are wounded. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, Military
commander of the state, says “It was not riot; it was an
absolute massacre…which the mayor and the police of the
city perpetrated without the shadow of a necessity.”
1885 – Eugene Kinckle Jones is born in Richmond, Virginia. He will
attend Cornell University where he will become one of the
seven founders of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. After
completing his education, he will become a social worker
and first executive secretary of the National Urban League.
During his 20-year tenure with the league, he will be
instrumental in its expansion to 58 affiliates and a budget
of $2.5 million as well as expanding its fellowship program
to train social workers. The League, under his direction,
will significantly expand its multifaceted campaign to crack
the barriers to black employment, spurred first by the boom
years of the 1920s, and then, by the desperate years of the
Great Depression. He will implement boycotts against firms
that refused to employ blacks, pressure schools to expand
vocational opportunities for young people, constantly
prod Washington officials to include blacks in New Deal
recovery programs, and drive to get blacks into previously
segregated labor unions. He will be a member of President
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Black Cabinet, an informal group of
African American public policy advisors to the President.
He will join the ancestors on January 11, 1954.
1945 – Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., activist and politician, is elected
to the U.S. House of Representatives representing Harlem.
1956 – Anita Hill is born in Morris, Oklahoma. She will become an
attorney, educator, author and activist. She will receive
her law degree from Yale University, and after a stint at
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), she will
teach law at the University of Oklahoma. In 1991 she will be
catapulted into the public spotlight when she brings
allegations of sexual harassment against Supreme Court
nominee Clarence Thomas. At Thomas’s Senate confirmation
hearings, she will testify that Thomas had made unwelcome
sexual advances while he was her supervisor at the EEOC in
the 1980s. Although Thomas’s appointment will be
subsequently confirmed, her testimony will bring the issue
of sexual harassment to public attention, forever changing
relations between men and women in the workplace. In 1997,
she will publish “Speaking Truth to Power,” a personal
memoir and study of her involvement in the Thomas hearings.
She will resume her teaching career at Brandeis University.
1959 – Willie McCovey steps to the plate for the first time in his
major-league baseball career. McCovey, of the San Francisco
Giants bats 4-for-4 in his debut against Robin Roberts of
the Philadelphia Phillies. He hits two singles and two
triples, driving in two runs. It is the start of an All-Star
career that will land McCovey in baseball’s Hall of Fame in
Cooperstown, New York.
1961 – Lawrence Fishburne is born in Augusta, Georgia. He will start
his acting career at the age of 12, getting his big break
portraying Joshua Hall on the ABC soap opera, “One Life to
Live in 1973.” He will be originally cast in the hit tv show
“Good Times,” but the role will eventually go to Ralph
Carter. He will later earn a supporting role in Francis Ford
Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now,” as well as a recurring role as
“Cowboy Curtis” alongside Pee Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) in
the CBS children’s television show, “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.”
However, it will be his 1991 role in “Boyz N The Hood” that
gains him lasting recognition as an outstanding actor. The
next year, he will win a Tony Award for his stage
performance in August Wilson’s “Two Trains Running,” which
is followed by an Oscar nomination one year later for his
portrayal of Ike Turner in “What’s Love Got to Do With It?.”
Also in 1992, he will receive an Emmy Award for an episode
of the short-lived TV series “Tribeca.” He will be known for
his role as Morpheus, the hacker-mentor of Neo (Keanu
Reeves) in the blockbuster science fiction movie series “The
Matrix.” He will also appear alongside Tom Cruise as his IMF
superior in Mission: Impossible III.
1967 – Eight days of racially motivated disturbances end in Detroit,
Michigan. The uprising, the worst of its kind in the 20th
century, kills 43 people, injures 2,000, and results in over
5,000 arrests and over 1,400 fires.
1967 – A racially motivated disturbance occurs in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin. Four persons are killed.
1970 – Author, television columnist, and Hofstra University
professor Louis Lomax, joins the ancestors after being
fatally injured in a car accident near Santa Rosa, New
1984 – Reggie Jackson hits the 494th home run of his career,
passing the Yankees’ Lou Gehrig and taking over 13th place
on the all-time home run list. Larry Sorenson is the
victim who gave up Reggie’s milestone homer.
1988 – The first National Black Arts Festival opens in Atlanta,
Georgia. The biennial festival includes over 50
architectural and art exhibits including the works of
Romare Bearden, Edwin Harleston, Camille Billops, David
Driskell, and over 140 others.
1994 – The first U.S. troops land in the Rwandan capital of Kigali
to secure the airport for an expanded international aid
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.