April 12 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – April 12 *

1787 – Richard Allen and Absalom Jones organize Philadelphia’s
Free African Society which W.E.B. Du Bois refers to,
over a century later, “the first wavering step of a
people toward a more organized social life.”

1825 – Richard Harvey Cain is born in Greenbrier County,
Virginia (now part of West Virginia). He will become
an AME minister, an AME bishop, publisher, a member of
the South Carolina Senate, member of the U.S. House of
Representatives, and a founder of Paul Quinn College
in Waco, Texas. He will join the ancestors on January
18, 1887.

1861 – The Civil War begins as Confederate troops attack Fort
Sumter, South Carolina.

1864 – Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest captures Fort
Pillow, Tennessee, and massacres the inhabitants,
sparing, the official report says, neither soldier nor
civilian, African American nor white, male or female.
The fort is defended by a predominantly African
American force.

1869 – The North Carolina legislature passes anti-Klan

1940 – Herbert Jeffrey “Herbie” Hancock is born in Chicago,
Illinois. After graduating from college at age 20, he
will go to New York with Donald Byrd, who had heard him
perform in Chicago. While in New York, Byrd will
introduce Hancock to Blue Note Records executives. This
will lead to work with various established jazz
artists and later Hancock’s first solo album, “Taking
Off,” which includes appearances by Freddie Hubbard and
Dexter Gordon. Contained on this album is Hancock’s
first top 10 hit, “Watermelon Man.” It will not be long
before Hancock gets the attention of the legendary
Miles Davis, who will extend an invitation to Hancock
to join his new group. After working with Davis for
several years Herbie will decide to form his own band,
a sextet which will include Julian Priester, Buster
Williams, and Eddie Henderson. He will become one of
the most popular jazz artists, known for his
compositions “Watermelon Man” and “Chameleon,” as well
as his musical score for the movie “‘Round Midnight,”
for which he will win an Oscar in 1986.

1960 – Martin Luther King, Jr. denounces the Vietnam War which
he says is “rapidly degenerating into a sordid military

1968 – African American students occupy the administration
building at Boston University and demand Afro-American
history courses and additional African American

1980 – Liberian President William R. Tolbert Jr. and twenty-
seven others join the ancestors after being killed in
a coup d’etat by army enlisted men led by Master
Sergeant Samuel K. Doe.

1983 – The people of Chicago, Illinois elect Harold Washington
as the city’s first African American mayor.

1989 – Former middleweight boxing champion Sugar Ray Robinson
joins the ancestors in Culver City, California, at age

1990 – August Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson” wins the Pulitzer
Prize for drama. It is the second Pulitzer Prize for
Wilson, who also won one for “Fences” in 1987 and was
awarded the New York Drama Critics’ Award for “Fences,”
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” and “Joe Turner’s Come and

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

April 9 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – April 9 *

1816 – The African Methodist Episcopal Church is organized at a
general convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1865 – Nine African American regiments of Gen. John Hawkins’s
division help to smash the Confederate defenses at Fort
Blakely, Alabama. Capture of the fort will lead to the
fall of Mobile. The 68th U.S. Colored Troops will have
the highest number of casualties in the engagement.

1865 – Robert E. Lee surrenders Army of Northern Virginia to
Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, ending the
Civil War.
the first to recognize that African Americans are major
factors in the war. The South impresses slaves to work
in mines, repair railroads and build fortifications,
thereby releasing a disproportionately large percentage
of able-bodied whites for direct war service. A handful
of African Americans enlisted in the rebel army, but few,
if any, fired guns in anger. A regiment of fourteen
hundred free African Americans received official
recognition in New Orleans, but was not called into
service. It later became, by a strange mutation of
history, the first African American regiment officially
recognized by the Union army.
four Union sailors was an African American. Of the
118,044 sailors in the Union Navy, 29,511 were African
Americans. At least four African American sailors won
Congressional Medals of Honor.
soldiers in the Union army were organized into 166 all
Black regiments (145 infantry, 7 cavalry, 12 heavy
artillery, 1 light artillery, 1 engineer). The largest
number of African American soldiers came from Louisiana
(24,052), followed by Kentucky (23,703) and Tennessee
(20,133). Pennsylvania contributed more African
American soldiers than any other Northern state (8,612).
African American soldiers participated in 449 battles,
39 of them major engagements. Sixteen Black soldiers
received Congressional Medals of Honor for gallantry in
action. Some 37,638 African American soldiers lost
their lives during the war. African American soldiers
generally received poor equipment and were forced to do
a large amount of fatigue duty. Until 1864, African
American soldiers (from private to chaplain) received
seven dollars a month whereas white soldiers received
from thirteen to one hundred dollars a month. In 1863
African American units, with four exceptions (Fifth
Massachusetts Cavalry, Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth
Massachusetts Volunteers and Twenty-ninth Connecticut
Volunteers), were officially designated United States
Colored Troops (USCT). Since the War Department
discouraged applications from African Americans, there
were few commissioned officers. The highest ranking of
the seventy-five to one hundred African American
officers was Lt. Col. Alexander T. Augustana, a surgeon.
Some 200,000 African American civilians were employed
by the Union army as laborers, cooks, teamsters and

1866 – The Civil Rights Bill of 1866 is passed over the
president’s veto. The bill will confer citizenship on
African Americans and give them “the same right, in
every State and Territory… as is enjoyed by white

1870 – The American Anti-Slavery Society is dissolved.

1898 – Paul Leroy Robeson is born in Princeton, New Jersey. The
son of an ex-slave turned Methodist minister, Robeson
will attend Rutgers University on a full scholarship,
where he will excel and obtain 12 letters in four sports,
be named to the All-American football team twice, be a
member of the debate team, and earn a Phi Beta Kappa key.
He will study law at Columbia University in New York and
receive his degree in 1923. There he will meet and marry
Eslanda Cardozo Goode, who will be the first African
American woman to head a pathology laboratory. He will
work as a law clerk in New York, but once again will
face discrimination and leave the practice when a white
secretary refuses to take dictation from him. He will
later become one of America’s foremost actors and singers.
He will make 14 films including “The Emperor Jones,”
“King Solomon’s Mines,” and “Showboat.” During the 1940’s
he will continue to have success on the stage, in film,
and in concert halls, but will remain face to face with
prejudice and racism. After finding the Soviet Union
to be a tolerant and friendly nation, he will begin to
protest the growing Cold War hostilities between the
United States and the USSR. He will question why
African Americans should support a government that did
not treat them as equals. At a time when dissent was
hardly tolerated, Robeson will be looked upon as an
enemy by his government. In 1947, he will be named by
the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and the
State Department will deny him a passport until 1958.
Events such as these, along with a negative public
response, will lead to the demise of his public career.
He will be an inspiration to millions around the world.
His courageous stance against oppression and inequality
in part will lead to the civil rights movement of the
1960s. He will join the ancestors on January 23, 1976,
in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after living in seclusion
for ten years.

1929 – Valenza Pauline Burke is born in Brooklyn, New York to
parents who had immigrated to the United States from
Barbados. She will become a novelist known as Paule
Marshall. She will author “Browngirl, Brownstones,”
“Praisesong for the Widow,” “The Chosen Place, The
Timeless People,” “Soul Clap Hands and Sing,” and
Daughters.” She will also write a collection of short
stories, “Reena and Other Stories.”

1939 – When she is refused admission to the Daughters of the
American Revolution’s Constitution Hall to give a
planned concert, Marian Anderson performs for 75,000 on
the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Two months later, she
will be honored with the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal for her
talents as “one of the greatest singers of our time”
and for “her magnificent dignity as a human being.”

1950 – Juanita Hall becomes the first African American to win a
Tony award for her role as Bloody Mary in the musical
“South Pacific.”

1968 – Martin Luther King Jr. is buried after funeral services
at Ebenezer Baptist Church and memorial services at
Morehouse College, in Atlanta, Georgia. More than
300,000 persons march behind the coffin of the slain
leader which is carried through the streets of Atlanta
on a farm wagon pulled by two Georgia mules. Scores of
national dignitaries, including Vice-President Hubert
Humphrey, attend the funeral. CORE and the Fellowship of
Reconciliation send twenty-three dignitaries. Ralph
David Abernathy is elected to succeed King as head of
the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

1993 – The Reverend Benjamin Chavis is chosen to head the NAACP,
succeeding Benjamin Hooks.

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

April 4 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – April 4 *

1915 – McKinley Morganfield is born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. He
will be discovered in 1941 by two music archivists from the
Library of Congress, traveling the back roads of Mississippi
looking for the legendary Robert Johnson. They recorded two
of Morganfield’s songs and lit a fire in the ambitious young
man. He will leave Mississippi for Chicago two years later
to become a blues singer better known as “Muddy Waters.” He
will join the ancestors on April 30, 1983 in Chicago,

1928 – Marguerite Ann Johnson is born in St. Louis, Missouri. She
will become the first African American streetcar conductor
in San Francisco, a dancer, nightclub singer, editor, and
teacher of music and drama in Ghana and professor of
American Studies at Wake Forest University, better known as
Dr. Maya Angelou. She will also become noted as the author of
a multi-volume autobiographical series, as well as several
volumes of poetry. She will join the ancestors on May 28, 2014.

1938 – Vertamae (Vera Mae) Smart-Grosvenor is born in Hampton County,
South Carolina. She will become a culinary anthropologist/griot,
food writer, and broadcaster on public media. She will be known
for her cookbook-memoir, Vibration Cooking: or, The Travel
Notes of a Geechee Girl (1970). She will also appear in several
films, including “Daughters of the Dust” (1992), about a Gullah
family in 1902, at a time of transition on the Sea Islands; and
“Beloved” (1998), based on the Toni Morrison novel.

1939 – Hugh Masekela is born in Kwa-Guqa Township, Witbank, South Africa.
He will become a musician and band leader. He will be a major
force in South African Jazz, and will become known throughout
the world.

1948 – Richard Dean ‘Dick’ Parsons is born in Brooklyn, New York. In 1988,
he will be recruited to serve as chief operating officer of the
Dime Savings Bank of New York, becoming the first African American
CEO of a large, non-minority U.S. savings institution. In 1990, he
will become Chairman and CEO and will oversee a merger with Anchor
Savings Bank, gaining a substantial sum when the Dime Bank was
demutualized. In 1991, on the recommendation of Nelson Rockefeller’s
brother Laurance to the then CEO Steven Ross, he will be invited to
join Time Warner’s board. He will subsequently become president of
the company in 1995, recruited by Gerald Levin. He will help
negotiate the company’s merger with America Online in 2000, creating
a $165-billion media conglomerate. In December, 2001, it will be
announced that chief executive Gerald Levin would retire and he will
be selected as his successor. The announcement will surprise many
media watchers who expected chief operating officer Robert Pittman
to take the helm. In 2003, he will announce the name change from
AOL-Time Warner to simply Time Warner. He will become chairman
of Citigroup on February 23, 2009.

1959 – The Federation of Mali is formed, consisting of Senegal & the
territory of Mali in the French Sudan. It will dissolve in

1960 – Senegal and Mali gain separate independence.

1968 – Acknowledged leader of the U.S. civil rights movement, Martin
Luther King, Jr. joins the ancestors after being assassinated
in Memphis, Tennessee. His death will result in a national day
of mourning and the postponement of the beginning of the baseball
season. Over 30,000 people will form a funeral procession behind
his coffin, pulled by two Georgia mules. King’s death will also
set off racially motivated civil disturbances in 160 cities
leaving 82 people dead and causing $ 69 million in property
damage. President Lyndon B. Johnson declares Sunday, April 6, a
national day of mourning and orders all U.S. flags on government
buildings in all U.S. territories and possessions to fly at

1972 – Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., former congressman and civil rights
leader, joins the ancestors in Miami, Florida at the age of

1974 – Hank Aaron ties the baseball career home run record set by
Babe Ruth, when he hits his 714th home run in Cincinnati,

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

March 4 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – March 4 *

1837 – The second major African American newspaper, the “Weekly
Advocate” changes its name to the “Colored American.”

1869 – The forty-second Congress convenes (1871-73) with five
African American congressmen: Joseph H. Rainey, Robert
Carlos Delarge, and Robert Brown Elliott from South Carolina;
Benjamin S. Turner, of Alabama; Josiah T. Walls of Florida.
Walls is elected in an at-large election and is the first
African American congressman to represent an entire state.

1889 – The fifty-first Congress convenes. Three Black congressmen:
Henry P. Cheatham of North Carolina; Thomas E. Miller of
South Carolina; and John Mercer Langston of Virginia.

1897 – William McKinley (Willie) Covan is born in Savannah, Georgia.
When he was 8 and living in Chicago he will meet Harry
Yancey, who had been in an act of very young black dancers
who shared bills with major white performers. Yancey will
captivate him with tales of touring the West, riding horses
and picking oranges and lemons from trees in California. He
will be so smitten by the idea that he will hustle part-time
jobs and begin paying Yancey to teach him to dance. He will
build a practice floor in his basement and eventually dance
his way into a troupe that will toured the West. When
returning from California, he could dance a lot better than
Harry. He will partner with Leonard Ruffin and become one of
the first black dance acts to be booked into New York City’s
Palace Theater, and will also appear in a long series of hit
musicals. He will appear in the original production of
“Shuffle Along” as well as with the Four Covans. Eleanor
Powell will bring him to MGM to teach dancing to pupils,
ranging from Debbie Reynolds to Mae West to Gregory Peck.
Encouraged by West, he will open the Willie Covan Dance
Studio in Los Angeles in the mid-1930s and train students
there for 35 years. He will join the ancestors on May 10,
1989, in Los Angeles, California.

1901 – The congressional term of George H. White, last of the post
Reconstruction congressmen, ends.

1922 – Theater legend Bert Williams joins the ancestors at the age of
46 in New York City. He was considered the foremost African
American vaudeville performer, teaming first with George
Walker in 1895, most notably in “In Dahomey,” and later as a
soloist with the Ziegfeld Follies.

1932 – Miriam Zenzi Makeba, “Empress of African Song,” is born in
Prospect Township, South Africa. Although exiled from her
homeland, Makeba will become an internationally known
singer and critic of apartheid. Throughout her life and
singing career, She will use her voice to to draw the attention
of the world to the music of South Africa and to its oppressive
system of racial separation. After appearing in the
semi-documentary antiapartheid film, “Come Back, Africa,” she
will attract international attention. This will include
meeting Harry Belafonte, who will become her sponsor and
promoter in the United States. Because her music always
contained a political component – the denunciation of
apartheid, her South African passport will be revoked in 1960.
Her career in the United States will be crippled by her
marriage to Stokely Carmichael (later Kwame Ture’), who was
active in the Black Panther Party. Her career will continue
to flourish in Europe. She will later become a United Nations
delegate from Guinea and will continue to record and perform.
She will return to her homeland, South Africa, in 1990 and in
1991, will make her first performance there in over thirty
years. She will join the ancestors on November 9, 2008 after
succumbing to a heart attack suffered after singing her hit
song “Pata Pata” during a concert organized to support writer
Robert Saviano in his stand against the Camorra, a mafia-like
organization in the Campania region of Italy.

1934 – Barbara McNair is born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in
Racine, Wisconsin. She will become a singer and actress, and
will host her own television program (The Barbara McNair Show).
The glamorous actress will moonlight as a pop singer between
TV and film roles during the 1960s. She will be a classy
addition to Berry Gordy’s talent roster when his firm attempts
to diversify its appeal. She will cut a pair of albums for
Motown in 1966 and 1969. She will join the ancestors on
February 4, 2007 after succumbing to throat cancer.

1944 – Robert Dwayne “Bobby” Womack is born in Cleveland, Ohio. He
will become a Rhythm and Blues performer, guitarist and
songwriter. He will be an active recording artist, starting in
the early 1960s, as the lead singer of his family musical group,
the Valentinos and as Sam Cooke’s backup guitarist. His career
will span more than 50 years, during which he will play in the
styles of Rhythm & Blues, soul, rock and roll, doo-wop, gospel,
and country. He will write and originally record the Rolling
Stones’ first UK No. 1 hit, “It’s All Over Now” and New Birth’s
“I Can Understand It” among other songs. As a singer, he will be
most notable for the hits “Lookin’ For a Love”, “That’s The Way
I Feel About Cha”, “Woman’s Gotta Have It”, “Harry Hippie”,
“Across 110th Street” and his 1980s hit “If You Think You’re
Lonely Now”. He will join the ancestors on June 27, 2014 after
suffering from prostate and colon cancer, pneumonia and
Alzeimer’s disease.

1954 – The first African American sub-cabinet member is appointed.
President Eisenhower names J. Earnest Wilkins of Chicago as
the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor.

1968 – Joe Frazier defeats Buster Mathis for the world heavyweight
boxing championship by knockout in the eleventh round.

1968 – Martin Luther King, Jr. announces plans for the Poor People’s
Campaign in Washington, DC. He says that he will lead a
massive civil disobedience campaign in the capital to pressure
the government to provide jobs and income for all Americans.
He tells a press conference that an army of poor white, poor
African Americans and Hispanics will converge on Washington
on April 20 and will demonstrate until their demands were met.

1981 – A jury in Salt Lake City convicts Joseph Paul Franklin, an
avowed racist, of violating the civil rights of two black men
who were shot to death.

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

February 25 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – February 25 *

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1867 – Tennessee Gov. William Gannaway Brownlow issues a proclamation
warning that the unlawful events of the Ku Klux Klan “must and
SHALL cease” and that militia would be immediately organized
against the organization. This is in response to Ku Klux Klan
activities in a nine county area. The Klan’s aim is to
reverse the interlocking changes sweeping over the South
during the Reconstruction: to destroy the Republican’s party’s
infrastructure, undermine the Reconstruction state, reestablish
control of the black labor force, and restore racial
subordination in every aspect of Southern life. (Editor’s Note:
The KKK was founded in Pulaski, Tennessee on December 15, 1865)

1870 – Hiram Rhoades Revels of Mississippi becomes the first African
American Senator. He is elected by the Mississippi legislature
to fill the Senate seat vacated by Jefferson Davis. After the
Senate term expires, he will become the first President of
Alcorn A&M College, in Lorman, Mississippi (the first African
American land-grant institution in the United States).

1948 – Martin Luther King, Jr. is ordained as a Baptist minister.
After graduating from Morehouse College in June, 1948, he will
enter the Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania.

1964 – Twenty-two year old Cassius Clay becomes world heavyweight
boxing champion when he defeats Sonny Liston in Miami, Florida.
The feared Liston is the favorite, but Clay predicts he will
“float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Soon after his
victory, Clay will assume his Muslim name of Muhammad Ali. He
will be considered by many, the greatest heavyweight champion
of all time.

1978 – Daniel “Chappie” James, Jr. joins the ancestors at the age of
58 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. James was an early graduate
of the Tuskegee Institute Flying School and flew more than 100
missions during the Korean War. He was the first African
American to achieve the rank of four-star general.

1980 – Robert E. Hayden, African American poet and former poetry
consultant to the Library of Congress, joins the ancestors in
Ann Arbor, Michigan. Hayden’s most notable works include
“Words in Mourning Time and Angle of Ascent: New and Selected

1991 – Adrienne Mitchell becomes the first African American woman to
die in a combat zone in the Persian Gulf War when she joins
the ancestors after being killed in her military barracks in
Dharan, Saudi Arabia.

1992 – Natalie Cole, Patti LaBelle, Lisa Fischer, Luther Vandross,
B.B. King, Boyz II Men, and James Brown, among others, win
Grammy awards in ceremonies hosted by Whoopi Goldberg.

1999 – A jury in Jasper, Texas, sentences white supremacist John
William King to death for chaining James Byrd Jr., an African
American man, to a pickup truck and dragging him to pieces.

2000 – The killers of unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo, four
white New York police officers, are acquitted of all charges
by a jury in Albany, New York. Diallo had been fired upon 41
times, with 19 shots hitting him while holding only his wallet
in the vestibule of his own home.

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

January 15 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – January 15 *

1865 – An African American division, under the command of Major
General Charles Paine, participates in the Fort Fisher,
North Carolina expedition, which will close the Confederacy’s
last major seaport.

1908 – Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority is founded at Howard University in
Washington, DC. The culmination of efforts by Ethel Hedgeman
(Lyle) and eight other undergraduates, it is the first Greek-
letter organization for African American women.

1929 – Michael Luther King is born in Atlanta, Georgia. His father
will have both of their names changed to Martin Luther King,
Sr. and Jr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will become a Baptist
minister, world-renowned civil rights leader, and an advocate
of non-violence. His efforts, beginning with the Montgomery
bus boycott in 1955 and continuing for the next 13 years,
will fundamentally change civil rights for African Americans
and earn him a number of honors and awards, including the
Nobel Peace Prize (1964), Medal of Freedom, and the NAACP’s
Spingarn Medal (1957). He will join the ancestors on April 4,
1968 after being assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in
Memphis, Tennessee.

1941 – Yancey Williams, a Howard University student, asked a federal
court to order the Secretary of War and other government
officials to consider his application for enlistment in the
Army Air Corps as a flying cadet.

1950 – More than 4,000 delegates from one hundred national
organizations attend the National Emergency Civil Rights
Conference in Washington, DC.

1968 – Reporting the results of a “Jet” magazine poll, “The New York
Times” article “Negro History Week Stirs Up Semantic Debate”
indicates that 59% of those polled prefer the term Afro-
American or Black to Negro.

1970 – Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, the nearby crypt containing
the remains of Martin Luther King, Jr., and his boyhood home
are dedicated as part of a memorial to be known as the Martin
Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Change.

1970 – Biafra officially surrenders to the Nigerian government and is
reintegrated into Nigeria. Odumegwu Ojukwu had declared the
independence of the eastern province of Biafra in 1967 to
guarantee the survival of Igbos, Biafra’s ethnic majority
group. During the war with Nigeria, as many as 400,000
Biafrans died of starvation.

1990 – George Foreman knocks out Gerry Cooney in 2 rounds, at the age
of forty two.

1998 – The Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s (SCLC) National
President Joseph E. Lowery, steps down from his post and
Martin Luther King, III is named the new president, the actual
birthday of SCLC Founding President, Dr. Martin Luther King,

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

December 12 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – December 12 *

1870 – Joseph Hayne Rainey is the first African American to serve
in Congress representing South Carolina. He is sworn in
to fill an unexpired term.

1872 – U.S. Attorney General George Williams sends a telegram to
“Acting Governor Pinchback,” saying that the African
American politician “was recognized by the President as
the lawful executive of Louisiana.”

1892 – Minnie Evans, visual artist and painter, is born in Pender
County, North Carolina. One of her more famous works will
be “Lion of Judah.” She will be inducted into the
Wilmington, NC “Walk of Fame.” She will join the ancestors
on December 16, 1987.

1899 – Boston native, dentist, and avid golfer, George F. Grant
receives a patent for a wooden golf tee. Prior to the
use of the tee, wet sand was used to make a small mound
to place the ball. Grant’s invention will revolutionize
the manner in which golfers swing at the ball.

1912 – Henry Melody Jackson, Jr. is born in Columbus, Mississippi.
He will move with his family to St. Louis, Missouri and
become a boxer known as Henry Armstrong. In 1938 he will
become the first boxer to hold three titles at the same
time after winning the lightweight boxing championship.
He will be inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame as well
as the International Boxing Hall of Fame. His boxing record
at the time of his retirement in 1945 will be 150 wins, 101
wins by knockout, 21 losses, and 10 draws. After retiring
from boxing, he will become a Baptist minister and will
teach young upcoming fighter how to box. He will join
the ancestors on October 22, 1988 in Los Angeles, California.

1913 – James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens is born in Oakville, Alabama.
He will become a world-class athlete in college, setting
world records in many events. He will go on to win 4 gold
medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, spoiling Hitler’s
plans to showcase Aryan sports supremacy. He will join the
ancestors on March 31, 1980.

1918 – Famed jazz singer Joe Williams is born in Cordele, Georgia.
Williams will sing for seven years in Count Basie’s band,
where he will record such hits as “Every Day I have the
Blues.” He will join the ancestors on March 29, 1980.

1929 – Vincent Dacosta Smith is born in New York City. He will
exhibit his works on four continents and be represented in
the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the National
Museum of American Art, and the National Museum of Afro-
American Artists in Boston. He will join the ancestors on
December 27, 2003.

1938 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Missouri that a state must
provide equal educational facilities for African Americans
within its boundaries. Lloyd Gaines, the plaintiff in the
case, disappears after the decision and is never seen

1941 – Dionne Warwick is born in East Orange, New Jersey. Warwick
will sing in a gospel trio with her sister Dee Dee and
cousin Cissy Houston, and begin her solo career in 1960
singing the songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. She
will become a three-time Grammy winner.

1943 – Grover Washington, Jr. is born in Buffalo, New York. He
will become a renown jazz artist and famous for his
recording of “Mr. Magic.” He will join the ancestors on
December 17, 1999.

1961 – Martin Luther King Jr., along with over seven hundred
demonstrators is arrested in Albany, Ga., after five mass
marches on city hall to protest segregation. The arrests
trigger the militant Albany movement.

1963 – Kenya achieves its independence from Great Britain with
Jomo Kenyatta as its first prime minister.

1963 – Medgar Wiley Evers is awarded the Spingarn Medal
posthumously for his civil rights leadership.

1965 – Johnny Lee, an actor best known for his portrayal of
“Calhoun” on “The Amos ‘n’ Andy Show,” joins the ancestors
at the age of 67.

1965 – Gale Sayers, of the Chicago Bears, scores 6 touchdowns and
ties the NFL record.

1968 – Arthur Ashe becomes the first African American to be ranked
Number One in tennis.

1975 – The National Association of Black Journalists is formed in
Washington, DC. Among its founding members are Max
Robinson, who will become the first African American anchor
of a national network news program, and Acel Moore, a
future Pulitzer Prize winner.

1979 – Rhodesia becomes the independent nation of Zimbabwe.

1986 – Bone Crusher Smith knocks out WBA champion Tim Witherspoon
in Madison Square Garden in New York City.

2007 – Ike Turner, whose role as one of rock’s critical architects
was overshadowed by his ogre-like image as the man who
brutally abused former wife and rock icon Tina Turner,
joins the ancestors at his home in suburban San Diego at the
age of 76.

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

December 5 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – December 5 *

1784 – African American poet Phyllis Wheatley joins the
ancestors in Boston at the age of 31. Born in Africa
and brought to the American Colonies at the age of
eight in 1761, Wheatley was quick to learn both English
and Latin. Her first poem was published in 1770 and
she continued to write poems and eulogies. A 1773
trip to England secured her success there, where she
was introduced to English society. Her book, “Poems on
Various Subjects, Religious and Moral”, was published
late that year. Married for six years to John Peters,
Wheatley and her infant daughter died hours apart in a
Boston boarding house, where she worked.

1832 – Sarah Gorham, the first woman appointed by the African
Methodist Episcopal Church to serve as a foreign
missionary in 1881, is born.

1881 – The Forty-Seventh Congress (1881-83) convenes. Only two
African American congressmen have been elected, Robert
Smalls of South Carolina and John Roy Lynch of

1895 – Elbert Frank Cox is born in Evansville, Indiana. He will
become the first African American to earn a doctorate
degree in mathematics (Cornell University – 1925). He
will spend most of his life as a professor at Howard
University in Washington, D.C., where he will be known
as an excellent teacher. During his life, he will
overcome various difficulties which will arise because
of his race. In his honor, the National Association of
Mathematicians will establish the Cox-Talbot Address,
which will be annually delivered at the NAM’s national
meetings. The Elbert F. Cox Scholarship Fund, which will
be used to help black students pursue studies, is named
in his honor as well. He will continue teaching until
his retirement in 1966 – three years before he joins the
ancestors on November 28, 1969, at age 73 in Washington, DC.

1917 – Charity Adams (later Earley) is born in Kittrell, North
Carolina. She will become the first African American
commissioned officer in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps
in 1942. She will serve as the commanding officer and
battalion commander of the first battalion of African
American women (6888th Central Postal Direction) to serve
overseas during WWII, in England. She will serve in the
Army for four years and hold the rank of Lt. Colonel
at the time of her release from active duty. She will
join the ancestors on January 13, 2002.

1931 – James Cleveland is born in Chicago, Illinois. He will
sing his first gospel solo at the age of eight in a
choir directed by famed gospel pioneer Thomas Dorsey.
He will later sing with Mahalia Jackson, The Caravans,
and other groups before forming his own group, The
Gospel Chimes, in 1959. His recording of “Peace Be
Still” with the James Cleveland Singers and the 300-
voice Angelic Choir of Nutley, New Jersey, will earn him
the title “King of Gospel.” He will join the ancestors
on February 9, 1991.

1932 – Richard Wayne Penniman is born in Macon, Georgia. He will
become a Rhythm and Blues singer and composer. He will be
known for his flamboyant singing style, which will be
influential to many Rhythm and Blues and British artists.
His songs will include “Good Golly Miss Molly”, “Tutti
Frutti”, and “Lucille.” He will be honored by many
institutions, including inductions into the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He will be
the recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards from The
Recording Academy and the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. His
“Tutti Frutti” (1955) will be included in the Library of
Congress’ National Recording Registry in 2010, claiming
the “unique vocalizing over the irresistible beat
announced a new era in music.”

1935 – The National Council of Negro Women is established by Mary
McLeod Bethune.

1935 – Langston Hughes’s play, “The Mulatto”, begins a long run
on Broadway.

1935 – Mary McLeod Bethune is awarded the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal
for her work as founder-president of Bethune Cookman
College and her national leadership.

1946 – The NAACP’s Spingarn Medal is awarded to Thurgood Marshall,
director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund,
“for his distinguished service as a lawyer before the
Supreme Court.”

1946 – President Truman created The Committee on Civil Rights by
Executive Order No. 9808. Sadie M. Alexander and Channing
H. Tobias were two African Americans who will serve as
members of the committee.

1947 – Jersey Joe Wolcott defeats Joe Louis for the heavyweight
boxing title. It is also the first time a heavyweight
championship boxing match is televised.

1949 – Ezzard Charles defeats Jersey Joe Walcott for the
heavyweight boxing title.

1955 – The Montgomery bus boycott begins as a result of Rosa
Parks’ refusal to ride in the back of a city bus four
days earlier. At a mass meeting at the Holt Street
Baptist Church, Martin Luther King Jr. is elected
president of the boycott organization. The boycott will
last a little over a year and be the initial victory in
the civil rights struggle of African Americans in the
United States.

1955 – Asa Philip Randolph and Willard S. Townsend are elected
vice-presidents of the AFL-CIO.

1955 – Carl Murphy, publisher of the Baltimore Afro-American, is
awarded the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal for his contributions
as a publisher and civil rights leader.

1957 – New York City becomes the first city to legislate against
racial or religious discrimination in housing market
(Fair Housing Practices Law).

1957 – Martin Luther King Jr. is awarded the NAACP’s Spingarn
Medal for his leadership of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

1981 – Marcus Allen, tailback for the University of Southern
California, wins the Heisman Trophy. Six years later,
Tim Brown of the Notre Dame “Fightin’ Irish” will win
the award.

1984 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, at age 37, is the oldest player in
the National Basketball Association. He decides to push
those weary bones one more year by signing with the Los
Angeles Lakers – for $2 million.

2013 – Nelson Mandela, a South African anti-apartheid
revolutionary who was imprisoned and then became a
politician and philanthropist who served as President of
South Africa from 1994 to 1999, joins the ancestors at
the age of 95. He was the first black South African to
hold the office, and the first elected in a fully
representative, multiracial election.

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

October 27 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – October 27 *

1890 – Charles H. Garvin is born in Jacksonville, Florida. He will
graduate from Howard University”s medical school in 1915.
He will practice medicine in Cleveland, Ohio from 1916 until
he joins the ancestors on July 17, 1968. During WORLD WAR I,
he will become the first black physician commissioned in the
U.S. Army, serving in France as commanding officer in the
92nd Division. His interest in medicine will extended beyond
his practice to research and writing, especially tracing the
history of Africans and African Americans in medicine. He will
amass an important collection of books on the black experience
and also complete a manuscript (unpublished as of 1994) and
write several articles on the subject. His account of the
history of blacks in medicine in Cleveland will be published
in 1939 in the ‘Women”s Voice,’ a national women”s magazine.
He will be a founder of the Dunbar Life Insurance Company and
assist in organizing Quincy Savings & Loan, serving as a
director and board chairman. He will also pioneer integrated
housing during a period of intense racial separation in the
city, living in the home he built on Wade Park Ave., an
exclusive allotment, despite threats of violence and two
bombings. He will be a trustee of Karamu House, the Urban League
of Greater Cleveland, the Cleveland branch of the NAACP, and the
Cleveland Public Library. He will also be 4th General President
of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity from 1912 to 1914.

1891 – Philip B. Downing, invents the street letter box and is
awarded patent # 462,093.

1924 – Ruby Ann Wallace is born in Cleveland, Ohio. She will become
one of the foremost actresses in America, better known as
Ruby Dee, beginning her career on Broadway in the early
1940’s. She will marry actor Ossie Davis and have a strong
personal career with such notable stage roles as “A Raisin
in the Sun”, “Purlie Victorious”, and “The Taming of the
Shrew” as well as work in numerous television series and
movies including “Raisin”, “Do the Right Thing”, and “Jungle
Fever.” She will be married to Ossie Davis until he joins
the ancestors in 2005. She will join the ancestors on June
11, 2014.

1951 – Jayne Kennedy is born in Washington, DC. She will become
an actress, writer and producer. Her movie credits will
include “Fighting Mad,” “Body and Soul,” “Mysterious
Island of Beautiful Women,” “Cover Girls,” “The Muthers,”
and “Group Marriage.”

1954 – Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. becomes the first African American
general in the history of the United States Air Force.
He is designated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

1960 – Martin Luther King Jr. is released on bond from the
Georgia State Prison in Reidsville. Political observers
say the John F. Kennedy call for King’s release increased
the number of African American voters who ensured his

1971 – The Republic of the Congo becomes the Republic of Zaire.

1978 – President Carter signs the Hawkins-Humphrey full
employment bill.

1979 – St Vincent & the Grenadines becomes independent of Great

1981 – Andrew Young, former United Nations Ambassador, is elected
mayor of Atlanta, Georgia.

2003 – Walter Washington, ex-mayor of Washington, DC, joins the
ancestors at age 88. He was the first elected mayor of
the nation’s capital in modern times and the first
African American to head the government of a major U.S.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry

September 20 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – September 20 *

1664 – Maryland enacts the first anti-amalgamation law to prevent
widespread intermarriage of English women and African
American men. Other colonies passed similar laws:
Virginia, 1691; Massachusetts 1705; North Carolina, 1715;
South Carolina, 1717; Delaware, 1721; Pennsylvania, 1725.

1830 – The National Negro Convention, a group of 38 free African
Americans from eight states, meets in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, at the Bethel A.M.E. Church, with the
express purpose of abolishing slavery and improving the
social status of African Americans. They will elect
Richard Allen president and agree to boycott slave-
produced goods.

1847 – William A. Leidesdorff is elected to San Francisco town
council receiving the third highest vote. Leidesdorff,
who was one of the first African American elected
officials, becomes the town treasurer in 1848.

1850 – Slave trade is abolished in Washington, DC, but slavery
will be allowed to continue until 1862.

1890 – Ferdinand Joseph La Menthe (“Jelly Roll” Morton) is born
in Gulfport (New Orleans), Louisiana. He will become a
renown jazz pianist and composer. Morton, whose fabulous
series of 1938 recordings for the Library of Congress are
a gold mine of information about early jazz, was a
complex man. Vain, ambitious, and given to exaggeration,
he was a pool shark, hustler and gambler, as well as a
brilliant pianist and composer. His greatest talent,
perhaps was for organizing and arranging. The series of
records he made with his “Red Hot Peppers” between 1926
and 1928 stands, alongside King Oliver’s as the crowning
glory of the New Orleans tradition and one of the great
achievements in Jazz. He will join the ancestors on
July 10, 1941

1915 – Hughie Lee-Smith is born in Eustis, Florida. He will
become a painter known for such surrealistic landscapes
as “Man with Balloons”, “Man Standing on His Head” and
“Big Brother”. He will join the ancestors on February 23,

1943 – Sani Abacha is born in Kano, Nigeria. After being educated
in his home state, will become a soldier and go to England
for advanced military education. He will achieve many
promotions as a soldier and by the mid-1980s, will enter
Nigeria’s military elite. In 1983 he will be among those
who will overthrow Shehu Shagari, leader of the Second
Republic, in a coup which led to the military rule of
Muhammadu Buhari. In 1985, Abacha will participate in a
second coup, which will replace Buhari with General
Ibrahim Babangida. As head of state, Babangida will
announce that free elections will be held in the early
1990s. In 1993, however, after Babangida nullifies the
results of these belated free elections, Abacha will
stage a third coup and oust his former ally. His regime
will be characterized by a concern with security that
verges on paranoia. Abacha will schedule elections for
August, 1998, but months beforehand, all five legal
parties nominate him as their “consensus candidate.” On
June 8, 1998, he will join the ancestors when he succumbs
unexpectedly to a heart attack.

1958 – Martin Luther King Jr. is stabbed in the chest by a
deranged African American woman while he is autographing
books in a Harlem department store. The woman is placed
under mental observation.

1962 – Mississippi’s governor, Ross Barnett, personally refuses
to admit James Meredith to University of Mississippi as
its first African American student. (Meredith is later

1962 – The Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) is banned in an
order issued by Sir Edgar Whitehead, the prime minister of
Southern Rhodesia.

1973 – Willie Mays announces his retirement from major league
baseball at the end of the 1973 baseball season.

1979 – A bloodless coup overthrows Jean-Bedel Bokassa, self-styled
head of the Central African Empire, in a French-supported
coup while he is visiting Libya.

1984 – NBC-TV debuts “The Cosby Show”. Bill Cosby plays Dr.
Heathcliff (Cliff) Huxtable. His lovely wife, Clair, is
played by Phylicia Rashad. The Huxtable kids were Sondra,
age 20 (Sabrina Le Beauf), Denise, age 16 (Lisa Bonet),
Theodore, age 14 (Malcom-Jamal Warner), Vanessa, age 8
(Tempestt Bledsoe) and Rudy, age 5 (Keshia Knight Pulliam).
The premiere is the most watched show of the week and the
show goes on to become an Emmy Award-winner and one of the
most popular on television for eight years. The series,
which had been rejected by other network television
executives, will become one of the most popular in
television history.

1987 – Alfre Woodard wins an Emmy for outstanding guest performance
in the dramatic series “L.A. Law”. It is her second Emmy
award, her first having been for a supporting role in “Hill
Street Blues” in 1984.

1987 – Walter Payton scores the NFL record 107th rushing touchdown.

1999 – Lawrence Russell Brewer becomes the second white supremacist
to be convicted in the dragging death of James Byrd Jr. in
Jasper, Texas. He will be later sentenced to death.

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