* Today in Black History – May 5 *
1857 – The Dred Scott decision, in the famous U.S. Supreme Court
case, declares that no black–free or slave–could claim
United States citizenship, therefore could not sue. It
also stated that Congress could not prohibit slavery in
United States territories. The ruling will arouse angry
resentment in the North and will lead the nation a step
closer to civil war. It also will influence the
introduction and passage of the 14th Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution after the Civil War (1861-1865). The
amendment, adopted in 1868, will extend citizenship to
former slaves and give them full civil rights.
1865 – Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. is born near Martin’s Mill in
Franklin County, Virginia. He will be a social and
religious leader at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem,
after becoming the pastor in 1908. Under his leadership,
he will expand the role of the church in the community and
increase its membership to 10,000. When he retires in
1937, Abyssinian Baptist Church will be the largest
Protestant church in the United States. He will be
succeeded in the pulpit by his son, Adam CLayton Powell,
Jr., who will become a future congressman. He will join
the ancestors on June 12, 1953.
1883 – Josiah Henson joins the ancestors in Dawn, Ontario, Canada
at the age of 93. He had escaped slavery in Maryland and
settled in Canada. He had been part of the creation of a
settlement for fugitive slaves near Dawn, Ontario.
1905 – Robert Sengstacke Abbott founds the Chicago Defender,
calling it “The World’s Greatest Weekly.”
1919 – The NAACP awards the Spingarn Medal to William Stanley
Braithwaite. Braithwaite’s publication of essays and verse
in notable mainstream magazines and editorial efforts on
three books of verse and poetry anthologies had earned him
wide acclaim among African Americans and whites.
1931 – Edwin A. Harleston joins the ancestors in Charleston, South
Carolina. One of the most popular and influential African
American painters of the day, his work will be exhibited at
the Harmon Foundation, the Gallery of Art in Washington, DC,
and in the exhibit “Two Centuries of Black American Art.”
1935 – Jesse Owens, of the United States, sets the long jump record
at 26′ 8″.
1943 – Maximiliano Gomez Horatio is born in San Pedro de Macoris,
Dominican Republic. After working in the sugar refineries
in his home area, be will become a politician, leading the
Dominican Popular Movement. He believed that the Dominican
Republic should be guided by its own historical and social
environment, not on any European model. He will participate
in an insurrection that is ended by a U.S. invasion in 1965.
He will later be imprisoned and after his release, he will
go into exile. He will join the ancestors under suspicious
circumstances in Brussels, Belgium, on May 23, 1971.
1965 – Edgar Austin Mittelholzer joins the ancestors in Farnham,
Surrey, England, after committing suicide at the age of 55.
He had been the first author from the Carribean to earn his
living as a writer. He was considered the father of the
novel in the English-speaking Caribbean.
1969 – Moneta Sleet becomes the first African American to win a
Pulitzer Prize for his photograph of Mrs. Martin Luther
King, Jr. and her daughter at her husband’s funeral.
1971 – A race riot occurs in the Brownsville section of New York
1975 – Hank Aaron surpasses Babe Ruth’s RBI mark. He will finish
his career with 755 home runs and over 2200 RBIs. Both
records will stand for many years. Aaron will be inducted
into Baseball’s Hall of Fame on August 1, 1982.
1977 – The Afro-American Historical and Genealogy Society is
founded in Washington, DC. The society’s mission is to
encourage scholarly research in African American genealogy.
1988 – Eugene Antonio Marino, is installed as the archbishop of
Atlanta, becoming the first African American Roman Catholic
archbishop in the United States.
2003 – Walter Sisulu, a major player in the fight against apartheid
in South Africa with Nelson Mandela, joins the ancestors at
the age of 90 after a long illness.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.