March 11 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – March 11 *

1861 – The Confederate Congress, meeting in Montgomery, Alabama,
adopts a constitution which declares that the passage of any
“law denying or impairing the right of property in Negro
slaves is prohibited.”

1870 – Moshweshwe, King of Basutoland (Lesotho) joins the ancestors.
Moshweshwe was the founder of Lesotho in the 1820’s. Lesotho
was landlocked by the Cape Colony (now South Africa). He was
able to develop a strong tribal organization from his mix of
peoples. He appeased the Zulu and Ndebele, led cattle raids
on surrounding people, defeated the British in 1852 and
conducted frequent wars with the Orange Free State. Because
of repeated attacks by the Cape Colony, Moshweshwe asked the
British for protection and Lesotho will become a protectorate
in 1868. Upon his death, the country was annexed to Cape
Colony, but was returned to the status of British protectorate
in 1884. When the Union of South Africa was formed in 1910,
the British honored the desire of Lesotho (“Basutoland”) to
remain independent. A protectorate continued until 1968,
protecting Lesotho from incursions from South Africa.

1874 – Frederick Douglass is named president of the failing Freedmen’s

1884 – William Edouard Scott is born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He will
study with Henry O. Tanner at the Art Institute of Chicago.
He later will go to Paris, France and study at the Julien and
Colarossi academies. He will also study under Tanner again in
Paris (Tanner had emigrated there) and become best known for
his portrait studies of Haitians, rural life, and landscapes.
Many of his murals are on the walls of public buildings in
Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, and New York (135th Street
YMCA). In 1943, he will be the only African American artist
chosen to create a mural for the Recorder of Deeds Building in
Washington, D.C. By the end of his life, he will create over
seventy-five murals celebrating black history and culture. In
2007, the Indiana State Museum will organize the traveling
retrospective: “Our Own Artist: Paintings by Indiana’s William
Edouard Scott, 1884-1964.” He will join the ancestors in 1964.

1919 – Mercer Ellington is born in Washington, DC, the only child of
Edward “Duke” Ellington and his wife, Edna. He will become
“the keeper of the flame,” the charge his father will give him
and one he will readily accept. In doing so, he will lead the
Duke Ellington Orchestra for over twenty years after replacing
his father. In the early 1980s, he will become the first
conductor for a Broadway musical of his father’s music,
“Sophisticated Ladies.” His “Digital Duke” will win the 1988
Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. He will join
the ancestors on February 8, 1996 in Copenhagen, Denmark, after
succumbing to a heart attack.

1926 – Ralph David Abernathy is born in Linden, Alabama. He will
become a famed minister, civil rights advocate, and confidant
of Martin Luther King, Jr. After King’s assassination, he
will become the president of the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference and write an autobiography that will attract
widespread criticism for his comments on King’s alleged
womanizing. He will join the ancestors on April 17, 1990.

1935 – “The Conjure Man Dies,” a play by Rudolph Fisher, premieres on
Broadway at the Lafayette Theatre. Fisher, who had joined the
ancestors over a year before the play’s premiere, had adapted
the play from his 1932 short story “The Conjure-Man Dies: A
Mystery Tale of Dark Harlem,” considered the first detective
fiction by an African American.

1948 – Reginald Weir becomes the first African American to play in the
U.S. Indoor Lawn Tennis Association Championship. He will win
his first match, but will be eliminated on March 13.

1950 – Robert “Bobby” McFerrin is born in New York City. He will be
known for his versatile and innovative a cappella jazz vocals
and for his hit song “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” which will sell
over ten million copies and earn him three Grammy awards in
1989 in addition to a Grammy for best jazz vocalist.

1956 – A manifesto denouncing the Supreme Court ruling on segregation
in public schools, is issued by one hundred southern senators
and representatives.

1959 – “A Raisin in the Sun” becomes the first play written by an
African American woman, Lorraine Hansberry, to open on
Broadway. The play will run for 19 months at the Ethel
Barrymore Theatre, and be named “Best Play” by the New York
Drama Critics Circle, and bring Lloyd Richards to Broadway as
the first African American director in modern times.

1965 – After civil rights demonstrations in Selma, Alabama, the
Reverend James J. Reeb, a white minister from Boston, dies,
succumbing to his beating by segregationist whites.

1968 – Otis Redding posthumously receives a gold record for the single
“(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.”

1971 – Whitney M. Young, Jr., executive director of the National Urban
League, joins the ancestors after drowning while swimming
during a visit to Lagos, Nigeria.

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

February 20 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – February 20 *

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1864 – Confederate troops defeat three African American and six white
regiments at the Battle of Olustee, about fifty miles from
Jacksonville, Florida. The African-American units are the
8th U.S. Colored Troops, the 35th U.S. Colored Infantry, and
the famous 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry. It is the
54th Massachusetts’ fighting that allowed General Truman
Seymour’s Union forces to retreat. One white veteran of the
battle states: ” The colored troops went in grandly, and they
fought like devils.” A regrettable episode in the aftermath
of the battle is the apparent mistreatment of Union African
American soldiers by the Confederates.

1895 – Frederick Douglass, famous African American abolitionist and
diplomat, joins the ancestors in Washington, DC at the age of
78. His home in Washington will be later turned into a
national monument under the auspices of the National Park

1911 – Frances Ellen Watkins Harper joins the ancestors in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the age of 85. She had been a
writer and antislavery, women’s rights, and temperance

1925 – Alex La Guma is born in Cape Town, South Africa. He will
become a novelist whose writings reflect the lives of the
ghetto dwellers in the ‘Coloured’ sections of Capetown,
portrayed best in his novel, “A Walk in the Night.” The
ghettos and shanties of the Cape were his milieu, and he will
never depict the lives of the impoverished with either
rancor or self-pity. The powerful strokes of his pen will
paint a picture of the starkness and reality of their lives.
He allowed the tin and hessian fabrics of the rat-infested,
leaking hovels to spell it out. He will become involved
with the South African Coloured People’s Organisation,
playing a very active part in its affairs. He will be
exiled in 1966 and move with his family to London. At the
time he joins the ancestors on October 11, 1985, he was the
Chief Representative of the African National Congress in Cuba.

1927 – Sidney Poitier is born prematurely in Miami, Florida, weighing
only three pounds. His parents are on a regular trip to the
U.S. to sell tomatoes and other produce. He will be raised
in the Bahamas and return to the United States as a teenager
to live with his older brother in Miami. He will move to New
York City in 1945 to study acting. He will become one of the
modern movies’ leading men, making his screen debut in 1950
and earning praise in such films as “Cry the Beloved Country,”
“Blackboard Jungle,” “Porgy and Bess,” “A Raisin in the Sun,”
“To Sir With Love,” “In the Heat of the Night,” and “Guess
Who’s Coming to Dinner.” His 1965 role in “Lilies of the
Field” will earn him an Oscar, the first for an African
American in a leading role.

1929 – Writer Wallace Thurman’s play “Harlem” opens in New York City.
It is the first successful play by an African American

1936 – John Hope, president of Atlanta University, joins the ancestors
at the age of sixty seven.

1937 – Nancy Wilson is born in Chillicothe, Ohio. She will become a
well-known jazz and pop singer, singing with Cannonball
Adderly, George Shearing, Art Farmer and Chick Corea, among
others. She will make more than 50 albums, including “With My
Lover Beside Me,” featuring the lyrics of Johnny Mercer and
the music of Barry Manilow.

1951 – Emmett L. Ashford, one of baseball’s most popular figures,
becomes the first African American umpire in organized
baseball. Ashford is certified to be a substitute in the
Southwestern International League. He will later (1966)
become the first African American major league umpire, working
in the American League.

1963 – Baseball great, Willie “The Say Hey Kid” Mays, signs with the
San Francisco Giants as baseball’s highest paid player (at
that time). He will earn $100,000 a year.

1963 – Charles Barkley is born in Leeds, Alabama. He will forego his
senior year at Auburn University to enter the NBA as a forward
for the Philadelphia 76ers. Barkley will post averages of 20
or more points and at least 10 rebounds per game for 11
seasons. His achievements during that span will be remarkable.
He will be an All-NBA First Team selection in 1988, 1989,
1990, 1991 and 1993, an All-NBA Second Team pick in 1986,
1987, 1992, 1994 and 1995 and an All-NBA Third Team choice in
1996. He will be selected to 10 consecutive All-Star Games,
and receive more All Star votes than any other player in 1994,
and will be MVP in the 1991 All-Star classic.

1968 – State troopers use tear gas to stop civil rights demonstrations
at Alcorn A&M College in Mississippi.

1991 – African Americans win Grammys including Mariah Carey for
Best New Artist and female pop vocal, Anita Baker for female
R&B vocal, Luther Vandross for male R&B vocal, Living Colour
for best hard rock performance, M.C. Hammer for best rap solo
and best R&B song for “U Can’t Touch This,” and Chaka Khan and
Ray Charles for best R&B vocal by a duo or group. Quincy
Jones becomes the all-time non-classical Grammy winner when he
wins six awards at these 33rd annual Grammy Awards, including
album of the year, “Back on the Block.”

1997 – T. Uriah Butler joins the ancestors in Fyzabad, Trinidad at the
age of 100. Born in Grenada, he had been a major labor
organizer and politician in Trinidad. In 1975, he was awarded
Trinidad’s highest honor, The Trinity Cross.

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

February 16 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – February 16 *

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1801 – The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church officially
separates from its parent, the Methodist Episcopal Church.
The Zion church will be incorporated as the African Episcopal
Church of the City of New York. James Varick will be its first
pastor and will later become the first black African Methodist
Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) bishop. It will hold its first national
conference in 1821. The name Zion will not be added to the
church’s name until 1848.

1874 – Frederick Douglass is elected President of Freedman’s Bank and
Trust Company.

1923 – Bessie Smith makes her first recording for Columbia Records.
The record, “Down Hearted Blues,” written by Alberta Hunter
and Lovie Austin, will sell an incredible 800,000 copies and
be Columbia’s first popular hit.

1944 – The U.S. Navy starts its first officer training class of
African Americans at Camp Robert Smalls, Great Lakes, Illinois.
In March, 1944,

1951 – James Ingram is born in Akron, Ohio. He will be raised there
on Kelly Avenue. He will later become a rhythm and blues
singer and will earn at least three Grammy Awards and
seventeen Grammy nominations.

1951 – The New York City Council passes a bill prohibiting racial
discrimination in city-assisted housing developments.

1957 – LeVar Burton is born in Landstuhl, Germany. He will become an
actor, winning a landmark role in the award-winning mini-
series, “Roots,” as the enslaved African youth Kunta Kinte,
while attending USC. He will go on to become a producer,
director and writer for numerous television series and films.

1970 – Joe Frazier knocks outs Jimmy Ellis in the second round to
become the undisputed world heavyweight boxing champion.

1972 – Wilt Chamberlain scores his 30,000th point in his 940th game,
a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the
Phoenix Suns. He is the first player in the NBA to score
30,000 points.

1992 – The Los Angeles Lakers retire Magic Johnson’s uniform, # 32.

1999 – Mary Elizabeth Roche, best known as Betty Roche, joins the
ancestors at the age of 81 in Pleasantville, New Jersey. She
was a singer who performed with Duke Ellington in the 1940s
and 1950s. She sang with the Savoy Sultans from 1941 to
1943, when she joined Ellington’s group. She scored high
marks from critics for the suite “Black, Brown and Beige,” at
Ellington’s first Carnegie Hall concert. She also performed
Ellington’s signature song “Take the A Train” in the 1943
film. “Reveille With Beverly.”

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

February 14 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – February 14 *

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1760 – Richard Allen, is born into slavery in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. He will purchase his freedom in 1786 and will
become a preacher the same year. He will become the first
African American ordained in the Methodist Episcopal Church
(1799), and founder of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME)
Church in 1816, and first bishop of the AME Church. He will
join the ancestors on March 26, 1831.

1818 – The birth of Frederick Douglass in Tuckahoe (Talbot County),
Maryland, is attributed to this date. He will state, “I have
no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any
authentic record containing it… and it is the wish of most
masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus
ignorant.” He will be a great African American leader and
“one of the giants of nineteenth century America. He was
born Frederick Bailey and will change his name to Douglass
after he escapes slavery in 1838. He will join the ancestors
on February 20, 1895 in Washington, DC.

1867 – Morehouse College is organized in Augusta, Georgia. The
school will be moved later to Atlanta.

1867 – New registration law in Tennessee abolishes racial
distinctions in voting.

1936 – The National Negro Congress is organized at a Chicago meeting
attended by eight hundred seventeen delegates representing
more than five hundred organizations. Asa Phillip Randolph
of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters is elected
president of the new organization.

1946 – Gregory Hines is born in New York City. A child tap-dancing
star in the group Hines, Hines, and Dad, Hines will lead a
new generation of tap dancers that will benefit from the
advice and teaching of such tap legends as Henry Le Tang,
“Honi” Coles, Sandman Sims, the Nicholas Brothers, and Sammy
Davis, Jr. He will also become a successful actor in movies
including “White Knights,” “Tap,” and “A Rage in Harlem.” He
will join the ancestors on August 9, 2003.

1951 – Sugar Ray Robinson defeats Jake LaMotta and wins the
middleweight boxing title.

1957 – Lionel Hampton’s only major musical work, “King David”, makes
its debut at New York’s Town Hall. The four-part symphony
jazz suite was conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos.

1966 – Wilt Chamberlain breaks the NBA career scoring record at
20,884 points after only seven seasons as a pro basketball

1978 – Maxima Corporation, a computer systems and management company,
is incorporated. Headquartered in Lanham, Maryland, it will
become one of the largest African American-owned companies
and earn its founder, chairman and CEO, Joshua I. Smith,
chairmanship of the U.S. Commission on Minority Business

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

December 3 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – December 3 *

1841 – Abolitionist Charles Lenox Remond returns to the United
States after a year and a half in Great Britain. He
had been serving as a delegate to the world Anti-
Slavery Convention in London. He brings with him an
“Address from the People of Ireland” including 60,000
signatures urging Irish-Americans to “oppose slavery by
peaceful means and to insist upon liberty for all
regardless of color, creed, or country.”

1843 – The Society of Colored People in Baltimore, is the first
African American Catholic association whose
documentation has been preserved. Their notebook will
begin today and continue until September 7, 1845.

1847 – Frederick Douglass and Martin R. Delaney begin the
publication of “The North Star” newspaper, one of the
leading abolitionist newspapers of its day.

1864 – The Twenty-Fifth Corps, the largest all African American
unit in the history of the U.S. Army, is established by
General Order # 297 of the War Department, Adjutant
General’s Office. The Colored Troops of the Department
of Virginia and North Carolina were organized into the
Twenty-Fifth Corps under the command of Major General G.

1866 – John Swett Rock, a Massachusetts lawyer and dentist joins
the ancestors. He had become the first African American
certified to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase appointed Dr. Rock to
present cases before the Supreme Court on December 31,

1868 – The trial of ex-Confederacy president, Jefferson Davis
starts, marking the first United States trial with
African Americans included in the jury.

1883 – The Forty-Eighth Congress (1883-85) convenes. Only Two
African Americans are included as representatives. They
are James E. O’Hara of North Carolina and Robert Smalls
of South Carolina.

1883 – George L. Ruffin is appointed a city judge in Boston,

1922 – Ralph Alexander Gardner-Chavis is born in Cleveland, Ohio.
He will become a pioneer chemist whose research into
plastics leads to the development of so-called “hard
plastics.” His innovations in the manipulation of
catalytic chemicals will lead to the products for the
petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries as well as

1951 – President Truman names a committee to monitor compliance
with anti-discrimination provisions in U.S. government
contracts and sub-contracts.

1956 – Wilt Chamberlain plays in his first collegiate basketball
game and scores 52 points.

1962 – Edith Spurlock Sampson is sworn in as the first African
American woman judge.

1964 – The Spingarn Medal is presented to NAACP executive
secretary Roy Wilkins for his contribution to “the
advancement of the American people and the national

1964 – The Independence Bank of Chicago is organized.

1964 – J. Raymond Jones is elected leader of the New York
Democratic organization (Tammany Hall).

1970 – Jennifer Josephine Hosten become the first African
American Miss World.

1979 – An University of Southern California running back,
Charles White, is named the Heisman Trophy winner for
1979. White, who gained a career regular season total
of 5,598 yards, will play professionally for the Los
Angeles Rams.

1982 – Thomas Hearns unifies the world boxing titles in the
junior middleweight division by capturing the WBC title
over Wilfredo Benitez.

1988 – Barry Sanders wins the Heisman Trophy.

1988 – In South Africa, 11 black funeral mourners are slain in
Natal Province in an attack blamed on security forces.

1990 – “Black Art – Ancestral Legacy: The African Impulse in
African American Art” opens at the Dallas Museum of Art.
United States and Caribbean artists represented among
the more than 150 works include Richmond Barthe’, John
Biggers, Aaron Douglas, Malvin Gray Johnson, Sargent
Johnson, and Houston Conwill.

1997 – President Clinton hosts his first town hall meeting on
America’s race relations in Akron, Ohio.

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

September 6 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – September 6 *

1826 – John Brown Russwurm graduates from Bowdoin College. While
many sources consider him to be the first African American
in America to graduate from college, he was preceded by
Edward Jones (B.A. Amherst College – August 23, 1826) and
Alexander Lucius Twilight (B.A. Middlebury College –

1848 – National Black Convention meets in Cleveland, Ohio with
some seventy delegates. Frederick Douglass is elected
president of the convention.

1865 – Thaddeus Stevens, powerful U.S. congressman, urges
confiscation of estates of Confederate leaders and the
distribution of land to adult freedmen in forty-acre

1866 – Frederick Douglass becomes the first African American
delegate to a national political convention.

1876 – A race riot occurs in Charleston, South Carolina.

1892 – George “Little Chocolate” Dixon beats Jack Skelly in New
Orleans to win the world featherweight title. While some
African American citizens celebrate for two days, the New
Orleans Times-Democrat says, “It was a mistake to match a
Negro and a white man, to bring the races together on any
terms of equality even in the prize ring.”

1905 – The Atlanta Life Insurance Company is established by A.F.

1930 – Leander Jay Shaw, Jr. is born in Salem, Virginia. He will
become a justice of the Florida State Supreme Court in
1983 and, in 1990, the chief justice, a first in Florida
and the second African American chief justice in any
state supreme court.

1966 – A racially motivated civil disturbance occurs in Atlanta,

1967 – President Lyndon B. Johnson names Walter E. Washington,
commissioner and “unofficial” mayor of Washington, DC.

1968 – The Kingdom of Swaziland achieves full independence from
Great Britain as a constitutional monarchy.

1982 – Willie Stargell, of the Pittsburgh Pirates, sees his
uniform, number 8, retired by the Bucs. It is the fourth
Pirate player’s uniform to be so honored. The other
three belonged to Roberto Clemente (#21), Honus Wagner
(#33) and Pie Traynor (#20).

1988 – Lee Roy Young becomes the first African American Texas
Ranger in the police force’s 165-year history. Young is
a 14-year veteran of the Texas Department of Public

1989 – The International Amateur Athletic Federation bans Ben
Johnson of Canada from competition, after he tests
positive for steroids. He is also stripped of all of his
track records.

1989 – The National Party, the governing party of South Africa,
loses nearly a quarter of its parliamentary seats to
far-right and anti-apartheid rivals, its worst setback
in four decades.

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

August 11 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – August 11 *

1841 – African American abolitionist Frederick Douglass delivers
his first public speech before the Massachusetts Anti-
Slavery Society in Nantucket. Having escaped from
slavery only three years earlier, Douglass is legally a
fugitive when he delivers his speech about his life as a
slave. The Massachusetts Society immediately hires
Douglass as a full-time lecturer.

1873 – John Rosamond Johnson is born in Jacksonville, Florida.
He will, with Bob Cole, be part of the famous vaudeville
team Cole & Johnson. He will best be remembered as a
composer who, with his brother James Weldon Johnson
providing the lyrics, will write “Lift Every Voice and
Sing.” He will join the ancestors on November 11, 1954.

1921 – Alexander Murray Palmer Haley is born in Ithaca, New York.
He will become an award-winning author, most notably for his
authorship with Malcolm X of the latter’s autobiography and
for “Roots”, which will win a special Pulitzer Prize.
“Roots” will be his most successful work, selling over 1
million copies and contributing to a new interest in
African American history. He will join the ancestors on
February 10, 1992 in Seattle, Washington.

1925 – Carl T. Rowan is born in Ravencroft, Tennessee. He will
become one of America’s most outspoken journalist with
NBC News and The Chicago Daily News. As an author, he
will write “Dream Makers, Dream Breakers:The World of
Justice Thurgood Marshall,” “Breaking Barriers,” “Wait
Till Next Year,” “Go South in Sorrow,” and “South of
Freedom.” He will be appointed to the positions of
Director: U.S. Information Agency and U.S. Ambassador to
Finland. He will join the ancestors on September 23, 2000.

1942 – Otis Taylor is born in Houston, Texas. He will become a
professional football player with the Kansas City Chiefs,
playing wide receiver. He will be the UPI AFC Player of
the Year in 1971, and will help lead his team to Super
Bowl I and a victory in Super Bowl IV.

1948 – Amanda Randolph appears on the television series “The
Laytons” on the Dumont Network. She and Bob Howard of
CBS’ “The Bob Howard Show”, which premiered earlier in
the summer, are the first African Americans to be
featured in a national network television series.

1949 – Peter Marshall Murray of New York is appointed to the
American Medical Association’s House of Delegates.

1960 – The African country of Chad declares independence from

1962 – After integrated groups try to use the facilities, police
close the Municipal parks and library in Albany, Georgia.

1964 – A racially motivated disturbance occurs in Paterson, New

1965 – Racially motivated disturbances start in the Watts section
of Los Angeles, California. In six days, the death toll
will stand at 34, 1,032 persons will be injured, 3952 will
be arrested and $ 35 million in property will be lost.

1965 – The U.S. Senate confirms the nomination of Thurgood
Marshall as U.S. Solicitor General.

1980 – Reggie Jackson hits his 400th homer.

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

August 7 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – August 7 *

1846 – Frederick Douglass is speaker at the World’s Temperance
convention in London, England.

1904 – Ralph Johnson Bunche is born in Detroit, Michigan. A
political social scientist, he will achieve fame as the
first African American Nobel Prize winner (1950) for his
role as U.N. mediator of the armistice agreements between
Israel and her Arab neighbors in the Middle East wars of
1948, for which he will be awarded the NAACP’s Spingarn
Medal (1949). He will serve as the undersecretary of the
United Nations from 1955 until he joins the ancestors in

1932 – Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia becomes the first man to win the
Olympic marathon twice (running barefoot).

1936 – Rahsaan Ronald Kirk is born in Columbus, Ohio. Blind from
the age of two, he will begin playing the tenor saxophone
professionally in Rhythm & Blues bands before turning to
jazz. He will be compelled by a dream to transpose two
letters in his first name to make Roland. After another
dream in 1970, he will add Rahsaan to his name. Rahsaan
Roland Kirk will be best known for his ability to play more
than one instrument at once, his self-made jazz instruments,
and for his creative improvisational skills. Rahsaan will
also become an activist in getting support for what he will
term “Black Classical Music.” He will participate in
several takeovers of television talk shows during which he
would demand more exposure for black jazz artists. He will
join the ancestors on December 5, 1977.

1945 – Alan Cedric Page is born in Canton, Ohio. He will become a
6-time NFL All Pro and 1971 NFL Player of the Year while
playing for the Minnesota Vikings. In 1988, he will be
inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and become the
first native of the Hall’s home city of Canton to have been
inducted. He will obtain his law degree from the University
of Minnesota while playing pro football full-time. After a
few years in private practice, he will become an Assistant
Attorney General. In 1992, he will be elected as an
associate justice on the Minnesota State Supreme Court. He
will be re-elected in 1998 and 2004.

1946 – First coin bearing portrait of an African American (Booker T.
Washington) is authorized.

1948 – Alice Coachman becomes the first African American woman to
win an Olympic gold medal. She will win her medal in Track
and Field competition (the high jump) during the Summer
Games in London. She also will be the only American woman
to win an Olympic gold medal that year. She will later
become inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of

1954 – Charles H. Mahoney is confirmed by the Senate and becomes the
first African American to serve as a full-time delegate to
the United Nations.

1960 – African American and white students stage kneel-in
demonstrations in Atlanta churches.

1966 – A racially motivated disturbance starts in Lansing, Michigan.

1970 – Four persons, including the presiding judge, are killed in
courthouse shoot-out in San Rafael, Marin County, California.
Police charge that activist Angela Davis helped provide the
weapons used by the convicts and will be sought for arrest
and become one of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s
“most wanted criminals.” She will be arrested in New York
City in October 1970, returned to California to face charges
of kidnapping, murder, and conspiracy and will be acquitted
of all charges by an all-white jury.

1989 – Congressman George Thomas “Mickey” Leland, members of his
staff and State Department officials die in a plane crash in
the mountains near Gambela, Ethiopia. Leland, the
Democratic successor to Barbara Jordan, had established the
Select Committee on Hunger in 1984 and was chairman of the
Congressional Black Caucus during the 99th Congress. A
successful campaigner for stronger sanctions against South
Africa, Leland was on a visit to a United Nations refugee
camp at the time he joins the ancestors.

2005 – Frederick Douglas “Fritz” Pollard is inducted posthumously
into the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. He was the
first African American player and coach in the NFL. He was
also a two-time All-American at Brown University and was the
first African American to play in the Rose Bowl (1916).

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

July 5 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – July 5 *

1852 – At a meeting sponsored by the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-
Slavery Society, in Rochester Hall, Rochester, New
York, Frederick Douglass illustrates the full shame
of slavery, delivering a speech that takes aim at
the pieties of the nation — the cherished memories
of its revolution, its principles of liberty, and its
moral and religious foundation. The Fourth of July,
a day celebrating freedom, is used by Douglass to
remind his audience of liberty’s unfinished business.
“What to the American Slave is Your Fourth of July?”:
“To him your celebration is a sham…to cover up
crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.
There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices
more shocking and bloody than are the people of the
United States at this very hour.” The text of this
speech can be seen on the Information Man’s web site .

1892 – Andrew Beard is issued patent number 478,271 for his
rotary engine.

1899 – Anna Arnold (later Hedgeman) is born in Marshalltown,
Iowa. She will become the first African American
woman to serve in the cabinet of a New York City mayor
(1954), a special projects coordinator for the
Commission on Religion and Race of the National Council
of Churches, and recruiter of 40,000 Protestant
churchmen to participate in the 1963 March on Washington.
She will serve as teacher, lecturer, and consultant to
numerous educational centers, boards, and colleges and
universities, particularly in the area of African American
studies. She will travel to Africa and lecture throughout
the United States, especially in black schools and
colleges, as an example of a black hero. She will stress
to students the importance of understanding history as a
basis to achieve equality. She will hold memberships in
numerous organizations, such as the Child Study
Association, Community Council of the City of New York,
National Urban League, NAACP, United Nations Association,
Advisory Committee on Alcoholism, Advisory Committee on
Drug Addiction, and the National Conference of Christians
and Jews. She will author “The Trumpet Sounds” (1964),
“The Gift of Chaos” (1977), and articles in numerous
organizational publications, newspapers, and journals.
She will join the ancestors on January 17, 1990.
1913 – Overton Amos Lemons is born in Dequincy, Louisiana. He will
become a rhythm and blues vocalist better known as Smiley
Lewis. He will be best rememberd for his song, “I Hear You
Knockin’.” He will join the ancestors on October 7, 1966
after succumbing to stomach cancer.

1947 – The first African American baseball player in the American
League joins the lineup of the Cleveland Indians. Larry
Doby plays his first game against the Chicago White Sox.
He will play for both the Indians and the White Sox
during his 13-year, major-league career.

1949 – The New York Giants purchase the contracts of Monty Irvin
& Henry Thompson, their first African American players.

1966 – Three nights of race rioting in Omaha, Nebraska, result
in the calling out of the National Guard.

1969 – Tom Mboya, Economics Minister, joins the ancestors after
being assassinated in Narobi, Kenya.

1975 – Arthur Ashe becomes the first African American to win the
Wimbledon Men’s Singles Championship when he defeats
Jimmy Conners.

1975 – The Cape Verde Islands gain independence after 500 years
of Portuguese rule.

1975 – Forty persons are injured in racial disturbances in Miami,

1989 – Barry Bond’s home run sets father-son (Bobby) HR record at

1990 – Zina Garrison upsets Steffi Graf in the Wimbledon semi-

1994 – In an attempt to halt a surge of Haitian refugees, the
Clinton administration announces it is refusing entry to
new Haitian boat people.

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

June 23 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – June 23 *

1824 – The Reverend William Levington, Deacon, establishes St.
James’ First African Protestant Episcopal Church in the
“Upper Room” at Park Avenue and Marion Street. The St.
James Episcopal Church, in Baltimore, Maryland, becomes
the oldest African American Episcopal Church established
south of the Mason-Dixon line.

1888 – Abolitionist Frederick Douglass receives one vote from
the Kentucky delegation at the Republican convention
in Chicago, effectively making him the first African
American candidate nominated for U.S. president.

1893 – Willie Sims, the wealthiest jockey of his time, rides
winning horses in five of six races at Sheepshead Bay
in Brooklyn, New York. Sims will repeat the feat two
years later in addition to winning two Kentucky Derbys
and two Belmont Stakes.

1904 – Willie Mae Ford (later Smith) is born in Rolling Fork,
Mississippi. She will become a leading gospel singer
and will be known as “the mother of gospel music.” She
will be one of the early associates of Thomas A. Dorsey
and an innovator in gospel style, introducing the “song
and sermonette” style that other singers, such as
Shirley Caesar and Edna Gallmon Cooke, made popular. She
will also be a major figure within the Baptist Church as
the Director of its Education Department of the National
Baptist Convention before she became a member of a
Pentecostal denomination. She will consider herself a
preacher and instill her singing and sermonettes with an
evangelical fervor. In 1990, she will be inducted into
the St. Louis Walk of Fame. She will join the ancestors
on February 2, 1994.

1919 – The Black Star Line of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro
Improvement Association (UNIA) is incorporated.

1926 – Langston Hughes’ articles “The Negro Artist and the
Racial Mountain” appears in “Nation “magazine. In it,
Hughes expresses African Americans’ bold new confidence
to create a new art during the Harlem Renaissance. “We
younger Negro artists who create now intend to express
our individual dark skinned selves without fear or

1940 – Wilma Rudolph is born in St. Bethlehem, Tennessee. A
polio victim as a child, she will overcome her illness
and win three gold medals at the Summer Games in Rome
(1960), the first American woman to achieve this feat
in a single Olympiad. She will be United Press Athlete
of the Year in 1960 and Associated Press Woman Athlete
of the Year for 1960 and 1961. Also in 1961, she will win
the James E. Sullivan Award, an award for the top amateur
athlete in the United States, and visit President John F.
Kennedy. She will be voted into the National Black Sports
and Entertainment Hall of Fame in 1973 and the National
Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1974. She will be inducted
into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1983, honored with
the National Sports Award in 1993, and inducted into the
National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1994. She will join the
ancestors on November 12, 1994, after succumbing to cancer.

1944 – Rosetta Hightower is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She
will become a singer with the group, The Orlons. Some of
their hits will be “The Wah Watusi,” “Don’t Hang Up,” and
“South Street.”

1948 – Clarence Thomas is born in the Pinpoint community, near
Savannah, Georgia. He will become a U.S. Supreme Court
Justice in 1991, replacing Thurgood Marshall as the only
African American among the nine jurists. He is
appointed by the conservative Republican administration
to satisfy the need to have an African American on the
court, while at the same time have a justice that is very
conservative. This will serve to increase the court’s
decisions that negatively affect African Americans and
other minorities and weaken affirmative action.

1956 – Steven Randall “Randy” Jackson in born in Baton Rouge,
Louisiana. He will become an American musician and
record producer. He will be best known to the general
public for being a judge on the television show American
Idol. As a musician Randy Jackson will play the electric
bass. He will be the bass player for the band Journey
for a period in the 1980s. He will also record, produce,
or tour with many well-known artists and bands, ranging
from Mariah Carey (whom he knew when she was still a
teenager; he will be in her band at Live 8 in London in
2005) to *NSYNC, Céline Dion, Bruce Springsteen and
Madonna. He will also work as an executive with Columbia
Records and MCA Records. He will be a judge with American
Idol since its inception in 2002. On the show he will be
known for taking a middle road of criticism between the
supportiveness of Paula Abdul and the nastiness of Simon
Cowell. He will popularize “pitchy” as the way to describe
off-key singing. He will also be renowned for his heavy
use of slang terms and gestures, most notably the word
“dawg”. When Randy says “you can blow,” it means “you can
sing well.” Jackson will sometimes wear outrageous outfits
and supplies an endless inspirational resource for those
looking for eye glasses.

1958 – A federal judge ruled racial segregation in Little Rock,
Arkansas, must end in 30 months.

1966 – Jonathan “Chico” DeBarge is born in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
He will launch a promising solo career on Motown in the
late ’80s. Despite a hit single and a hit debut album, his
career will be sidelined by imprisonment on a drug charge.
After he completes his sentence, DeBarge will launch a
comeback in November 1997 with the release of “Long Time
No See”. “The Game” will follow in 1999.

1969 – Joe Frazier defeats Jerry Quarry for the heavyweight boxing

1970 – Charles Rangel defeats Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. in the New
York Democratic primary in Harlem. This will end the
political career of one of the major political symbols of
the post-World War II period.

1982 – The House of Representatives approves the extension of the
Voting Rights Act of 1965, despite North Carolina Senator
Jesse Helms’ attempt to block the House vote. The Senate
had approved the extension of the bill five days before the
historic House vote.

1990 – TV Guide selects Arsenio Hall as Television Personality of
the Year.

1994 – After decades as an international outcast, South Africa
reclaims its seat in the United Nations.

1994 – French marines and Foreign Legionnaires head into Rwanda to
try to stem the country’s ethnic slaughter.

1997 – Dr. Betty Shabazz, widow of Malcolm X, joins the ancestors
in New York City at the age of 61, 3 weeks after receiving
burns over 80% of her body. Her burns were the result of a
fire set by her grandson, Malcolm.

2003 – Maynard Jackson Jr., who was elected the first African
American mayor of Atlanta in 1973 and transformed urban
politics in America by forcing the city’s white business
elite to open doors to minorities, joins the ancestors at
the age of 65. Thirty years earlier, Jackson survived a
racially charged primary to become the first African
American mayor of a major Southern city. The victory, the
same year that African American mayors were elected in
Detroit and Los Angeles, helped solidify the political
power of urban African Americans.

2003 – Max Manning, star pitcher in the Negro Leagues, joins the
ancestors at the age of 84 after a long illness. His 1937
tryout offer from the Detroit Tigers was rescinded when
they learned that he was African American.

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