* Today in Black History – March 15 *
1809 – Joseph J. Roberts is born free in Norfolk, Virginia. He will
leave Virginia with his family for the West African coast in
1829, part of the colonization effort of the American
Colonization Society. He will become the first president of
Liberia in 1848 and the seventh president of Liberia in 1872.
He will join the ancestors on February 24, 1876.
1842 – Robert C. DeLarge is born in Aiken, South Carolina. He will
defeat a white opponent by 986 votes out of 32,000 cast to
earn a seat as a South Carolina representative to the United
States Congress in 1870. He will serve in the House of
Representatives from March 4, 1871 until January 24, 1873
when the seat will be declared vacant as the result of an
election challenge initiated by Christopher C. Bowen. After
leaving Congress he will serve as a local magistrate until he
joins the ancestors in Charleston, South Carolina on February
1897 – The Fifty-fifth Congress (1897-99) convenes. Only one African
American congressman is in attendance: George H. White, of
1912 – Sam John Hopkins is born in Centerville, Texas. He will become a
blues guitarist, better known as Lightnin’ Hopkins, and be
considered one of the last blues singers in the grand
tradition of “Blind” Lemon Jefferson, with whom he played as
a child. I n addition to being a blues guitarist, he will be a
country blues singer, songwriter and occasional pianist. Rolling
Stone magazine will include him at number 71 on their list of
the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. Musicologist Robert
“Mack” McCormick will state that he “is the embodiment of the
jazz-and-poetry spirit, representing its ancient form in the
single creator whose words and music are one act”. He will join
the ancestors on January 30, 1982 after succumbing to cancer.
1933 – The NAACP begins a coordinated attack on segregation and
discrimination, filing a suit against the University of North
Carolina on behalf of Thomas Hocutt. The case is lost on a
technicality after the president of an African American
college refuses to certify the records of the plaintiff.
1933 – The Los Angeles Sentinel is founded by Leon H. Washington.
1933 – The NAACP’s Spingarn Medal is presented to YMCA secretary Max
Yergan for his achievements as a missionary in South Africa,
“representing the gift of cooperation…American Negroes may
send back to their Motherland.”
1933 – Cecil Percival Taylor is born in New York City. He will
become a international jazz pianist concert artist and
composer. He will also teach African American music and lead
the Black Music Ensemble at the University of Wisconsin,
Antioch College, and Glassboro State (in New Jersey). He is
considered to be one of the most controversial figures in
“jazz”. For many observers, his work ranks as some of the
most profound art ever produced. Classically trained, he is
generally acknowledged as one of the pioneers of free jazz.
1938 – Emilio Cruz is born in New York City. He will become a painter
who will study in his teens with the influential African
American artist Bob Thompson, study European masters in
Italy, Paris, London, and Amsterdam and become noted in the
United States for both his figurative and abstract paintings.
His work will be exhibited or collected by the Museum of
Modern Art, National Museum of American Art, the Studio
Museum of Harlem, and prestigious private galleries. He will
join the ancestors on December 10, 2004 in New York City
after succumbing to pancreatic cancer.
1944 – Sylvester “Sly Stone” Stewart is born in Dallas, Texas. He
will become a popular disc jockey in the San Francisco Bay
area. This popularity will fuel his career as a musician and
singer. He will achieve fame with his group: Sly & The
Family Stone and record the hits “Dance to the Music,”
“Everyday People,” “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” “Thank You,”
and “Family Affair.” In 2010, he will file suit, claiming that
manager Gerald Goldstein and attorney Glenn Stone in the late
1980s, induced him to sign an employment and shareholder
agreement with Even Street Productions, but that they instead
used the arrangement to divert millions in royalties, leaving
him unable to get the money he said was due him. In 2015, a
jury in Los Angeles Superior Court, will award him 2.5 million
dollars in damages against Even St. Productions, 2.45 million
dollars against Goldstein and 50,000 dollars against attorney
1946 – Bobby Lee Bonds is born in Riverside, California. He will
become a major league baseball player and hit a grand slam in
his first Major League game on June 25,1968 against the Los
Angeles Dodgers. He will be a 3-time All-Star (1971 and 1973
in the National League and 1975 in the American League). He
will amass a total 332 home runs, 1,024 RBIs, 461 stolen
bases and a .268 batting average for 8 teams. He will hold
the Major League record for most HRs as a lead-off batter in
a game in a season with 11 in 1973. He will be named by The
Sporting News as the National League Player of the Year in
1973, hitting .283 with 39 homers, 96 RBI and 43 stolen
bases. He will join the ancestors on August 23, 2003 after
succumbing to complications of lung cancer and a brain tumor.
1946 – Howard E. Scott is born in San Pedro, Los Angeles, California.
He will become a Rhythm and Blues singer, guitarist, and be
best known for his performances as part of the Rhythm & Blues
group “War.” Scott will contribute lyrics, music, and
co-produced some of War’s greatest hits, such as ‘Cisco Kid,’
‘Slipping into Darkness’ and ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends?.’ He
will also be the frontman and leader of the group.
1958 – Cincinnati Royals basketball star Maurice Stokes collapses
during a playoff game suffering with encephalitis. It will
be determined that this was the result of an earlier injury,
when his head hit the floor, knocking him unconscious, in the
last game of the regular season. He will go into a coma and
become permanently disabled.
1959 – Saxophonist and major influence on the “Cool School” of jazz,
Lester “Prez” Young joins the ancestors at the age of 49 in
New York City.
1962 – Terence Trent D’Arby is born in New York City. He will become
a popular Rhythm and Blues singer, music producer, songwriter,
and composer. He will be best known for his recording
1962 – Wilt Chamberlain becomes the first and only player in NBA
history to score more than 4,000 points in a season (4,029).
He will average 50.4 points per game.
1968 – “LIFE” magazine calls Jimi Hendrix “the most spectacular
guitarist in the world.”
1968 – Bob Beamon sets an indoor long jump record as he leaps 27
feet, 2-3/4 inches.
1969 – St. Clair Drake is named director of the African and Afro
American Studies program at Stanford University. Drake’s
accomplishments in the position will form a model for such
programs across the country.
1970 – The musical, “Purlie” opens a run of 680 continuous
performances on Broadway in New York City.
1980 – Scores of people are injured in Klan-related incidents in
Georgia, Tennessee, California, Indiana and North Carolina.
1985 – Larry Holmes beats David Bey in Las Vegas, Nevada. This was
probably good for Bey, since no one had ever heard of him
before the fight. Holmes defends his International Boxing
Federation heavyweight boxing title with the win.
1991 – Four Los Angeles police officers-Sergeant Stacey Koon and
Officers Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind and Theodore Briseno-
are charged with felony assault and related charges arising
from the Rodney King beating.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.