* Today in Black History – April 8 *
1922 – Carmen McRae is born in the village of Harlem in New York
City. She will study classical piano in her youth, even
though singing was her first love. She will win an
amateur contest at the Apollo Theater and begin her
singing career. She will be influenced by Billie
Holiday, who will become a lifelong friend and mentor.
She will devote her albums and the majority of her
nightclub acts to Lady Day’s memory. Her association
with jazz accordionist Matt Mathews will lead to her
first solo recordings in 1953-1954. In her later years,
McRae’s original style will influence singers Betty
Carter and Carol Sloane. Her best known recordings will
be “Skyliner” (1956) and “Take Five” with Dave Brubeck
(1961). She will also work in films and will appear in
“Hotel” (1967) and “Jo Jo Dancer Your Life is Calling”
(1986). She will receive six Grammy award nominations
and the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Jazz
Masters Fellowship Award in 1994. She will join the
ancestors on November 10, 1994.
1938 – Cornetist and bandleader Joe “King” Oliver joins the
ancestors in Savannah, Georgia. He was considered one
of the leading musicians of New Orleans-style jazz and
served as a mentor to Louis Armstrong, who played with
him in 1922 and 1923.
1953 – Louis “Sweet Lou” Dunbar is born in Houston, Texas. He will
become a professional basketball player (for 27 years) with
the Harlem Globetrotters. After his playing days, he will
become the Director of Player Personnel. He will be the 25th
person to receive the Globetrotter “Legends” Distinction,
awarded on February 9, 2007 at Houston’s Toyota Center. He
will also become a member of the National Basketball Retired
Players Association (Legends of Basketball).
1974 – Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hits his 715th home run
against a pitch thrown by Los Angeles Dodger Al Downing
at a home game in Fulton County Stadium. Aaron’s home
run breaks the long-standing home run record of Babe
1975 – Frank Robinson, major league baseball’s first African
American manager, gets off to a winning start as his
team, the Cleveland Indians, defeat the New York
1980 – State troopers are mobilized to stop racially motivated
civil disturbances in Wrightsville, Georgia. Racial
incidents are also reported in Chattanooga, Tennessee,
Oceanside, California, Kokomo, Indiana, Wichita, Kansas,
and Johnston County, North Carolina.
1987 – Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Al Campanis is fired
for alleged racially biased comments about the
managerial potential of African Americans.
1990 – Percy Julian, who helped create drugs to combat glaucoma
and methods to mass produce cortisone, and agricultural
scientist George Washington Carver are the first African
American inventors admitted into the National Inventors
Hall of Fame in the hall’s 17-year history.
1992 – Tennis great Arthur Ashe announces at a New York news
conference that he has AIDS. He contracted the virus
from a transfusion needed for an earlier heart surgery.
He will join the ancestors on February 6, 1993 of
AIDS-related pneumonia at age 49.
2001 – Tiger Woods becomes the first golfer to hold all four
major professional golf titles at one time when he wins
the 2001 Masters tournament.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.