May 8 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – May 8 *

1771 – Phillis Wheatley sails for England. Two years later, her
book of poetry, “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and
Moral,” will be published in London.

1858 – John Brown holds an antislavery convention, which is
attended by twelve whites and thirty-four African
Americans, in Chatham, Canada.

1858 – “The Escape,” first play by an African American, is
published by William Wells Brown.

1910 – Mary Elfrieda Scruggs is born in Atlanta, Georgia. She will
become a professional piano player at the age of 6 in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After marrying musician and band
leader, John Williams, she will perform as Mary Lou
Williams. She will become an accomplished arranger and
composer and be a music educator in her later years. In
1957, she will form Mary Records, becoming the first
woman to establish a record company. She will join the
ancestors on May 28, 1981 in Durham, North Carolina.

1911 – Robert Leroy Johnson is born in Hazlehurst, Mississippi. He
will become a legendary blues musician while remaining
relatively obscure during his short lifetime. Recordings of
Johnson, made by by Columbia Records between 1936 and 1937,
will be the foundation for his reputation after he joins
the ancestors on August 18, 1938. The songs he recorded will
influence the bluesmen of the 1960’s during the revival of
the blues. He will be inducted into the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame in 1986.

1915 – Henry McNeal Turner joins the ancestors in Windsor, Canada.
He was an influential minister in the AME Church and was
appointed the first African American chaplain in the U.S.

1917 – An African American, Jesse Washington, is burned alive in a
public square in Waco, Texas. Fifteen thousand will look
on in the incident known later as the “Waco Horror.”

1925 – A. Philip Randolph organizes the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car
Porters after failing to integrate the American Federation
of Labor.

1932 – Charles (Sonny) Liston is born in St. Frances County,
Arkansas. After spending time as juvenile delinquent, he
will be convicted of armed robbery in 1950 and sentenced to
prison. While in prison, he will develop an interest in
boxing. He will win the 1953 Golden Gloves championship,
after serving his sentence. He will become a professional
boxer and will win the World Heavyweight Boxing crown
in 1962 and defend it until he is defeated by Cassius Clay
(later named Muhammad Ali) in 1964. He will join the
ancestors on December 30, 1970 and be inducted into the
International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.

1951 – Philip Bailey is born in Denver, Colorado. He will become a
Rhythm and Blues singer and will enjoy his first fame with
the group Earth, Wind and Fire, which he joins in 1972. He
will develop his unique four-octave voice into a trademark
sound and will be the hallmark of the group’s hits such as
“Reasons,” “Shining Star,” “All ‘N’ All,” and “After The
Love Has Gone.” In 1983, he will start his solo career and
will enjoy success in both Rhythm and Blues and Gospel
venues. On March 6, 2000 he will appear with Earth, Wind
and Fire when they are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall
of Fame.

1958 – President Eisenhower orders federalized National Guard
troops removed from Central High School in Little Rock,

1965 – The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians is
founded by Muhal Richard Abrams.

1967 – Muhammad Ali is indicted for refusing induction in the U.S.

2003 – Sam Lacy joins the ancestors at the age of 99, after
succumbing to esophageal disorder. He had been one of the
nation’s first African American sportswriters and was a
chronicler of sports integration.

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

April 28 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – April 28 *

1898 – Sir Grantley H. Adams is born in Colliston Government Hill,
St. Michael Parish, Barbados. He will become an attorney and
political leader and will found the Barbados Progressive
League. The league will later become the Barbados Labour
Party on March 31, 1938. The Governor-General, in 1954,
will appoint him, the First Premier of Barbados, heading a
full ministerial government. In recognition of his
meritorious contribution to Barbados and the wider
Caribbean region, Her Majesty, the Queen of England, will
knight him in 1957. He will surrender his Premiership of
Barbados to assume the position of the first (and only)
Premier of the West Indies Federation from 1958-1962. The
federation will dissolve in 1962. In 1966, he will become
the first Leader of the Opposition in a newly independent
Barbados after being re-elected to the House of Assembly.
He will retire from politics in 1970 and will join the
ancestors. on November 28, 1971.

1910 – Martin Morua Delgado joins the ancestors in Havana, Cuba.
He had been a labor and political activist, statesman,
journalist and author. He had been a leading opponent of
slavery in Cuba and after emancipation, a leading proponent
for racial equality. He also was active in the struggle for
Cuban independence from Spain. Cuba will celebrate the
centennial of his birth in 1956.

1911 – Mario Bauza is born in Havana, Cuba. He will become a
professional trumpet player, bandleader and arranger. He
will be a leading player in the creation of Afro-Cuban
jazz. While in Cuba, he will be primarily a classical
musician, playing for the Havana Philharmonic Orchestra.
He will leave Cuba for New York City in 1930 and find
himself working in mostly jazz venues. He will play with
Noble Sissle, Chick Webb (musical director), Don Redman,
and Cab Calloway. While working with Chick Webb, he will
convince Webb to hire the young Ella Fitzgerald as a
vocalist for the band. While collaborating with these
talents, he will integrate Afro-Latin influence into the
music whenever possible. He will be active in the jazz
musical scene until the last year of his life. He will
join the ancestors on July 11, 1993.

1924 – Kenneth David Kuanda is born in Lubwe, Northern Rhodesia
(Northern Rhodesia will eventually become the country of
Zambia). He will begin his political career with the
Northern Rhodesia African Congress, which will become the
African National Congress. Like most African politicians
who called for independence from colonial rule, he will be
imprisoned multiple times. After his release from prison
in 1960, he will continue to be active and will promote
many activities of civil disobedience. Under his
leadership, the colonial administration will relent and
the British will grant Zambia its independence on October
24, 1964. He will become president of Zambia from its day
of independence until November 2, 1991.

1934 – Charles Patton joins the ancestors in Indianola, Mississippi.
He was a bluesman who is considered to be the creator of the
Delta variation of the blues. His recordings between 1929
and 1934 will contribute to the national influence of the
Mississippi Delta style on the blues.

1935 – Akin Euba is born in Lagos, Nigeria. He will become a
classical composer whose work will integrate European and
Yoruba influences into his compositions. His music will be
introduced to the world at the 1972 Olympics in Munich,
Germany. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1974, he will become
a music educator and continue to create his unique African
musical art form. He will eventually become a professor of
African music at the University of Pittsburgh.

1941 – In a famous Jim Crow railroad case brought by congressman
Arthur W. Mitchell, the Supreme Court rules that separate
facilities must be substantially equal.

1950 – William Anthony Colon in born in the Bronx in New York City.
He will begin his musical career, while a teenager, creating
recordings that will emphasize his Afro-Puerto Rican
heritage in the form of salsa music. His music will
integrate the influence of Puerto Rican life in New York
City with the African influence on the Puerto Rican
experience. He will create and produce over thirty
recordings and be nominated for at least five Grammy awards
in Latin music.

1957 – W. Robert Ming, a Chicago lawyer, is elected chairman of the
American Veterans Committee. He is the first African
American to head a major national veterans organization.

1967 – Muhammad Ali refuses induction into the U.S. Army and is
stripped of his boxing titles by the World Boxing
Association and the New York Athletic Association.

1983 – Two African American women, Alice Walker and Gloria Naylor,
win prestigious American Book Awards for fiction. Alice
Walker’s novel “The Color Purple” will be dramatized as a
theatrical movie starring Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover,
and Oprah Winfrey. Naylor’s first novel, “The Women of
Brewster Place,” will be made into a made-for-television
movie and series starring Oprah Winfrey, Jackee’, and
Paula Kelly.

1990 – Clifton Reginald Wharton, Sr. joins the ancestors in
Phoenix, Arizona. He was an attorney and was the first
African American to enter the U.S. Foreign Service and the
first African American to become a United States Ambassador
to a European country (Norway-1961).

1991 – Former CORE director and North Carolina judge Floyd Bixley
McKissick joins the ancestors in North Carolina at the age
of 69. He led CORE from 1963 to 1966 during its
transformation to a more militant civil rights organization.

1997 – Ann Lane Petry joins the ancestors in Old Saybrook,
Connecticut. She was a leading African American novelist
and was known for her works, “The Street,” “Country Place,”
“The Narrows,” “Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the
Underground Railroad,” “Tituba of Salem Village,” “The
Drugstore Cat,” and “Legends of the Saints.”

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

March 31 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – March 31 *

1850 – The Massachusetts Supreme Court rejects the argument of
Charles Sumner in the Boston school integration suit and
established the “separate but equal” precedent.

1853 – At concert singer Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield’s New York
debut in Metropolitan Hall, African Americans are not
allowed to attend. Angered and embarrassed at the exclusion
of her race, Greenfield will perform in a separate concert
at the Broadway Tabernacle for five African American

1871 – John Arthur “Jack” Johnson is born in Galveston, Texas. He
will become a professional boxer and will become the first
African American to be crowned world heavyweight boxing
champion. His championship reign will last from 1908 to 1915.
He will join the ancestors on June 10, 1946 after succumbing
to injuries from an automobile accident. He will be inducted
into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1954, and is on the roster of
both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World
Boxing Hall of Fame. In 2005, the United States National Film
Preservation Board deemed the film of the 1910 Johnson-
Jeffries fight “historically significant” and will place it
in the National Film Registry.

1930 – President Hoover nominates Judge John J. Parker of North
Carolina for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. The NAACP
launches a national campaign against the appointment. Parker
is not confirmed by the Senate.

1948 – A. Phillip Randolph tells the Senate Armed Services Committee
that unless segregation and discrimination were banned in
draft programs he would urge African American youths to
resist induction by civil disobedience.

1949 – William Grant Still’s opera, “Troubled Island” receives its
world premiere at the New York City Opera. In addition to
marking Robert McFerrin’s debut as the first African American
male to sing with the company, the opera is the first ever
written by an African American to be produced by a major
opera company.

1967 – Jimi Hendrix begins the tradition of burning his guitar in
London, England.

1968 – The provisional government of the Republic of New Africa is
founded in Detroit, Michigan.

1973 – Ken Norton defeats Muhammad Ali in a 12 round split decision
in San Diego, California. Norton will break Ali’s jaw
during the bout.

1980 – Jesse Owens joins the ancestors in Tucson, Arizona at the age
of 66, and President Jimmy Carter adds his voice to the
tributes that pour in from around the world. Jesse won four
gold medals in track at the Berlin Olympics in 1936.

1980 – Larry Holmes wins the vacant world heavyweight title by
knocking out Leroy Jones in the eighth round.

1988 – Toni Morrison wins the Pulitzer Prize for “Beloved,” a
powerful novel of a runaway slave who murders her daughter
rather than see her raised in slavery.

1995 – President Bill Clinton briefly visits Haiti, where he
declares the U.S. mission to restore democracy there a
“remarkable success.”

1999 – Four New York City police officers are charged with murder
for killing Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant, in
a hail of bullets. They shot at him 41 times, hitting him
with 19 shots. The officers will later be acquitted of all
charges, even involuntary manslaughter.

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

March 24 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – March 24 *

1912 – Dorothy Irene Height is born in Richmond, Virginia. In 1965,
she will inaugurate the Center for Racial Justice, which is
still a major initiative of the National YWCA. She will
serve as the 10th National President of the Delta Sigma
Theta Sorority, Inc. from 1946 to 1957, before becoming
president of the National Council of Negro Women in 1958.
Working closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Roy
Wilkins, Whitney Young, A. Philip Randolph and others, She
will participate in virtually all major civil and human
rights event in the 1950’s and 1960’s. For her tireless
efforts on behalf of the less fortunate, President Ronald
Reagan will present her the Citizens Medal Award for
distinguished service to the country in 1989. She will
receive the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP in July, 1993.
She will be inducted into the “National Women’s Hall of
Fame” in October, 1993 and President Bill Clinton will
present her the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award in
August 1994. She will join the ancestors on April 20, 2010.

1941 – “Native Son,” a play adapted from Richard Wright’s novel of
the same name, opens at the St. James Theatre in New York

1944 – Patricia Louise Holt is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
She will become a singer best known as Patti Labelle. As a
teenager, she and Cindy Birdsong (later a member of the
Supremes) will sing with the Ordettes. When two girls
leave the group, Nona Hendrix and Sarah Dash will sign on
and Patti LaBelle and the Bluebells will be born in 1961.
By the next year, they will have their first multimillion
seller, “I Sold My Heart to the Junkman.” With other hits,
including “All Or Nothing” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone,”
the group will develop a strong following worldwide. After
years of success and being “Rocked and Rolled out,” as
Patti describes it, the group will disband on good terms
in 1977. She will continue to perform as a solo artist and
will release top-selling albums. She will receive numerous
awards including Philadelphia’s Key to the City, a medal
from the Congressional Black Caucus, a citation from
Congress on her 20th anniversary in the music business,
another citation from President Reagan, a cable ACE, the
B’nai B’rith Creative Achievement Award, two NAACP
Entertainer of the Year Awards, the NAACP Image Award for
three consecutive years, the Ebony Achievement Award, the
Martin Luther King Lifetime Achievement Award, three Emmy
nominations, eight Grammy nominations and a 1992 Grammy
Award for Best R&B Female Vocal performance for her album

1958 – Bill Russell, center for the Boston Celtics, becomes the
NBA’s MVP. He is again named as MVP in 1961, 1962, 1963
and 1965.

1962 – Benny ‘Kid’ Paret is knocked out in the twelfth round by
Emile Griffith, in a welterweight title bout in New York
City. Paret will join the ancestors 10 days later.

1969 – Joseph Kasavubu, President of the Congo, joins the ancestors.
In 1960, he and Mobutu Sese Seko overthrew the government of
Patrice Lumumba.

1972 – Z. Alexander Looby, the first African American to serve on
the Nashville City Council, joins the ancestors in
Nashville, Tennessee. He had also been a successful
Nashville attorney, in the forefront of the Civil Rights
Movement, for many years. In 1960, he survived the April
19th bombing of his home.

1975 – Muhammad Ali defeats Chuck Wepner in a 15-round bout to
retain his world heavyweight crown.

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

March 8 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – March 8 *

1825 – Alexander Thomas Augusta is born free in Norfolk, Virginia. He
will graduate from Trinity Medical College in Toronto, Canada
in 1856, serve his medical apprenticeship in Philadelphia,
and join the Union Army in 1863 with the rank of major. In
1865 he becomes the first African American to head any
hospital in the United States, when the Freedmen Bureau
establishes Freedmen’s Hospital at Howard University with
Augusta in charge. In 1868, Howard University opens its own
medical school, with Augusta as demonstrator of anatomy. He
will be the first African American to receive an honorary
degree from Howard University (1869). He will join the ancestors
on December 21, 1890.

1873 – The United States Senate refuses to seat P.B.S. Pinchback of
Louisiana because of alleged election irregularities.

1898 – Louise Beavers is born in Cincinnati, Ohio. She will become
an actress and will be cast as the Henderson’s maid in “The
Beulah Show,” the first network show on television to have an
African American female in the title role. She will join the
ancestors on October 26, 1962. She will be inducted posthumously
into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1976.

1942 – Richard Anthony “Dick” Allen is born in Wampum, Pennsylvania.
He will become a professional baseball player with the
Philadelphia Phillies in 1963. He will play in the major
leagues for 14 years. He will be widely regarded as one of the
best players not inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He
will appear on the 2014 Golden Era Committee ballot for
consideration of enshrinement there, ultimately falling one
vote shy.

1945 – Phyllis Mae Daley, a graduate of Lincoln School for Nurses in
New York, receives her commission as an ensign in the Navy
Nurse Corps. She is the first of four African American Navy
nurses (including Helen Turner, Ella Lucille Stimley, and
Edith De Voe) to serve on active duty in World War II.

1971 – Joe Frazier defeats Muhammad Ali in a heavyweight boxing
championship match billed as the “fight of the century.” Ali
was previously undefeated. Both Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali
collect $2,500,000 for the fight.

1977 – Henry L. Marsh, III is elected the first African American
mayor of Richmond, Virginia.

1991 – “New Jack City,” a film directed by Mario Van Peebles, actor
and son of director Melvin Van Peebles, premieres. Produced
by African Americans George Jackson and Doug McHenry, the
film, which tells the violent story of the rise and fall of a
drug lord played by Wesley Snipes, will suffer from
widespread violence among moviegoers.

2012 – Jimmy Ellis, who belted out the dance anthem “Disco Inferno” in
the 1970s for the Trammps, joins the ancestors at the age of 74.

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

February 15 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – February 15 *

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1848 – Sarah Roberts is barred from a white school in Boston,
Massachusetts. Her father, Benjamin Roberts, files the first
school integration suit on her behalf.

1851 – African American abolitionists invade a Boston courtroom and
rescue a fugitive slave from federal authorities. The fugitive,
Shadrach Minkins was about his job as a waiter in Boston when
United States federal officers showed up at his workplace and
arrested him. Minkins had escaped from slavery in Virginia
the previous year. An act passed by Congress in 1850, the
Fugitive Slave Law, had just been enacted, allowing slave
holders to enlist the aid of the federal government in
recapturing runaway slaves. The Minkins case is to be an
early test of the new law. Within a few hours of his arrest,
Minkins is brought before a federal commissioner. But as he
is being led from the courtroom, a group of Boston African
Americans overpower the guards and free him. He immediately
disappears and is never seen in Boston again. With the help
of the Underground Railroad, Minkins will travel north through
New Hampshire and Vermont, crossing into Canada six days after
his rescue. Out of reach of the U.S. government, Minkins will
settle in Montreal, marry an Irish woman and raise two children
before his death in 1875. Minkins’s rescue will come to
symbolize the spirit of resistance to the legal institutions of
the slave system.

1960 – Darrell Ray Green is born in Houston, Texas. He will become a
professional football player with the Washington Redskins. He
will, for 20 years, be a defensive threat and one of the
fastest men in the NFL. He will retire in 2002 at the age of
42, the oldest Redskin, having played for six head coaches.
He will be enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame in
2004. On February 2, 2008, he will be voted into the NFL Hall
of Fame on his first ballot, and will be inducted with former
Redskins teamate Art Monk on August 2, 2008.

1961 – U.S. and African Nationalists protesting the slaying of Congo
Premier Patrice Lumumba disrupt United Nations sessions.

1964 – Louis Armstrong’s “Hello Dolly,” a song the world-renowned
trumpeter recorded and almost forgot, becomes the number-one
record on Billboard’s Top 40 charts, replacing The Beatles’
“I Want to Hold Your Hand.” It is Armstrong’s first and
only number-one record.

1965 – Nat King Cole, singer and pianist, joins the ancestors in Santa
Monica, California at the age of 45. He succumbs to lung

1968 – Henry Lewis becomes the first African American to lead a
symphony orchestra in the United States when he is named
director of the New Jersey Symphony.

1969 – Noted historian John Henrik Clarke, speaking before the Jewish
Currents Conference in New York City, says, “You cannot
subjugate a man and recognize his humanity, his history…so
systematically you must take this away from him. You begin by
telling lies about the man’s role in history.”

1978 – Leon Spinks defeats Muhammad Ali for the world heavyweight
boxing championship in a 15-round decision in Las Vegas,

1992 – At memorial services attended by over 1,600 in Memphis,
Tennessee, author Alex Haley (“Roots,” “Autobiography of
Malcolm X”) is eulogized by his wife, who says, “Thank you,
Alex, you have helped us know who we truly are.”

1992 – NAACP Executive Director, Benjamin L. Hooks, announces that he
would retire from the organization in 1993. He will have
headed the organization for sixteen years.

1999 – The body of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African gunned down
by New York City police, is returned to his native Guinea.

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

February 3 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – February 3 *

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* Black Facts every day of the year. *
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1855 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court declares that the United States
Fugitive Slave Law is unconstitutional.

1874 – Blanche Kelso Bruce is elected to the United States Senate from
Mississippi. He will be the first African American senator to
serve a full term and the first to preside over the Senate
during a debate.

1879 – Charles Follis is born in Wooster, Ohio. He will become the
first African American professional football player in the
United States reported by the press. He will play for a
professional team known as the Shelby Blues, in Shelby, Ohio.
starting in 1904 and will retire in 1906 due to injuries.
Most sources will state that 1904 was when his career started,
when he signed a contract on September 16, but Hall of Fame
research indicates the 1902 Shelby Athletic Club that Follis
played on, was indeed professional. Editor’s note: In 1972,
The Pro Football Hall of Fame will discover proof that William
(Pudge) Heffelfinger, a Yale All-American, played one game for
$ 500, for the Allegheny Athletic Association in 1892, making
him the actual ‘first’ to play football for pay. Follis will
join the ancestors on April 5, 1910 after succumbing to

1935 – Johnny “Guitar” Watson is born in Houston. Texas. He will
become a guitarist and singer known for his wild style of
guitar playing and the sound which merged Blues Music with
touches of Rhythm & Blues and Funk. He will join the ancestors
after succumbing to a heart attack, while performing at the
Yokohama Blues Cafe in Japan, on May 17, 1996.

1938 – Emile Griffith is born in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. He will
move to New York City as a young man and discover boxing. He
will win the Golden Gloves title and turn professional in
1958. In his career, he will meet 10 world champions and box
339 title-fight rounds, more than any other fighter in history.
He will be elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame
with the distinction of being the third fighter in history to
hold both the welterweight and middleweight titles. He will
join the ancestors on July 23, 2013,

1938 – Elijah Pitts is born in Mayflower, Arkansas. He will become a
professional football player with the Green Bay Packers. A
major contributor as a running back, he will help his team win
Super Bowl I. He will spend nine years with the Green Bay
Packers during their championship years under Hall of Fame
coach Vince Lombardi. The Packers will win four NFL
championships and two Super Bowls during his career. He will
return to the Super Bowl thirty years later as a running back
coach with the Buffalo Bills. He will join the ancestors on
July 10, 1998 after succumbing to abdominal cancer.

1939 – The Baltimore Museum of Art exhibit, “Contemporary Negro Art”,
opens. The exhibit, which will run for 16 days, will feature
works by Richmond Barthe, Aaron Douglas, Archibald Motley,
Jr., and Jacob Lawrence’s Toussaint L’Ouverture series.

1947 – Percival Prattis of “Our World” in New York City, becomes the
first African American news correspondent admitted to the
House and Senate press galleries in Washington, DC.

1948 – Laura Wheeler Waring, portrait painter and illustrator, joins
the ancestors. Trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine
Arts, she received the Harmon Award in 1927 for achievement in
the fine arts and, with Betsey Graves Reyneau, completed a set
of 24 renderings of their works entitled “Portraits of
Outstanding Americans of Negro Origins” for the Harmon
Foundation in the 1940’s.

1948 – Rosa Ingram and her fourteen and sixteen-year-old sons are
condemned to death for the alleged murder of a white Georgian.
Mrs. Ingram states that she acted in self-defense.

1964 – School officials report that 464,000 Black and Puerto Rican
students boycotted New York City public schools.

1980 – Muhammad Ali starts tour of Africa as President Jimmy Carter’s

1981 – The Air Force Academy drops its ban on applicants with sickle-
cell trait. The ban was considered by many a means of
discriminating against African Americans.

1984 – A sellout crowd of 18,210 at Madison Square Garden in New York
City sees Carl Lewis best his own world record in the long
jump by 9-1/4 inches.

1989 – Former St. Louis Cardinals’ first baseman, Bill White becomes
the first African American to head an American professional
sports league when he was named to succeed A. Bartlett
Giamatti as National League president.

1993 – The federal trial of four police officers charged with civil
rights violations in the videotaped beating of Rodney King,
began in Los Angeles.

1993 – Marge Schott is suspended as Cincinnati Reds owner for one year
for her repeated use of racial and ethnic slurs.

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

January 16 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – January 16 *

1776 – The Continental Congress approves General George Washington’s
order on the enlistment of free African Americans.

1865 – General William T. Sherman issues his Field Order No. 15,
setting aside “the islands from Charleston, south, the
abandoned rice fields along the river for thirty miles back
from the sea, and the country bordering the St. John’s River,
Florida,” for exclusive settlement by African Americans. The
order provides that “each family should have a plot of not
more than forty (40) acres of tillable ground…in the
possession of which land the military authorities will afford
them protection until such time as they can protect
themselves….” General Rufus Saxton, South Carolina
Freedmen’s Bureau director, will later settle some 40,000
African Americans on forty-acre tracts in the area. In
South Carolina and other states, African American settlers
will be given possessory titles pending final action on the
confiscated and abandoned lands of Confederate rebels. Many
will never see their land, because President Johnson will
reverse the policy implemented by the Freedmen’s Bureau.

1871 – Jefferson F. Long, of Georgia, is sworn in as the second
African American congressman.

1901 – Hiram Revels joins the ancestors in Aberdeen, Mississippi, at
the age of 73. He held the distinction of being the first
African American elected to serve in the U.S. Senate.

1938 – Lionel Hampton and Teddy Wilson become the first African
Americans to perform at Carnegie Hall, in New York City.
Benny Goodman leads a historic jazz concert, later considered
to be one of the first “serious” jazz concerts. Goodman
refuses to perform without the two African American members
of his band. Carnegie Hall officials will relent and the
integrated band performs to critical praise with Hampton on
vibraphone and Wilson on piano.

1941 – The War Department announces formation of the first Army Air
Corps squadron for African American cadets. The 99th Pursuit
Squadron is formed and the Tuskegee Training Program is
established. The 99th will fly more than 500 missions and
more than 3,700 sorties during one year of combat before
being combined with the 332nd Fighter Group.

1941 – Dr. Charles Richard Drew sets up and runs the pioneer blood
plasma bank in Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. This
bank will serve as one of the models for the system of banks
operated later by the American Red Cross.

1962 – A suit accusing the New York City Board of Education of using
“racial quotas” is filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of
African American and Puerto Rican children.

1966 – Harold R. Perry becomes the second African American Roman
Catholic bishop in U.S. history.

1967 – Lucius D. Amerson, a former army paratrooper, becomes the first
African American sheriff in the South since Reconstruction,
when he is sworn in at Tuskegee (Macon County), Alabama.

1967 – The first Black government is installed in the Commonwealth of
the Bahamas.

1974 – Heavyweight boxing champion, Muhammad Ali, is named the
Associated Press “Athlete of the Year.”

1978 – NASA names Major Frederick D. Gregory, Major Guion Bluford,
and Dr. Ronald McNair to its astronaut program.

1988 – Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder, a self-styled oddsmaker and expert
on sports, is fired as a CBS Sports commentator after making
controversial remarks about athletes of African descent.

1989 – Racially motivated disturbances erupt in Miami, Florida after
a police officer fatally shoots an African American
motorcyclist, causing a crash that kills a passenger.

2012 – Today marks the first King holiday where visitors can celebrate
the legacy of the civil rights leader at the Martin Luther King,
Jr. Memorial, since it was dedicated in the fall of 2011. The
National Park Service will lay a wreath at the site and offer
educational programs throughout the day.

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

January 13 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – January 13 *

1869 – A National Convention of African American leaders meets in
Washington, DC. Frederick Douglass is elected president.

1869 – The first African American labor convention is held when the
Convention of the Colored National Labor Union takes place.

1873 – P.B.S. Pinchback relinquishes the office of governor, saying
at the inauguration of the new Louisiana governor: “I now have
the honor to formally surrender the office of governor, with
the hope that you will administer the government in the
interests of all the people [and that] your administration
will be as fair toward the class that I represent, as mine has
been toward the class represented by you.”

1913 – Delta Sigma Theta Sorority is founded on the campus of Howard
University. The sorority will grow, from the original 22
founders, to over 175,000 members in over 800 chapters in the
United States, West Germany, the Caribbean, Liberia, and the
Republic of South Korea.

1953 – Don Barksdale becomes the first African American person to play
in an NBA All-Star Game.

1966 – Robert C. Weaver becomes the first African American appointed
to a presidential cabinet position, when President Lyndon B.
Johnson names him to head the newly created Department of
Housing and Urban Development.

1979 – A commemorative stamp of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is issued
by the U.S. Postal Service as part of its Black Heritage USA
commemorative series. The stamp of the slain civil rights
leader is the second in the series.

1979 – Singer Donnie Hathaway joins the ancestors after jumping from
the 15th floor of New York’s Essex House hotel.

1982 – Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson are elected to the Baseball Hall
of Fame.

1983 – Citing Muhammad Ali’s deteriorating physical condition, the AMA
calls for the banning of prizefighting because new evidence
suggests that chronic brain damage is prevalent in boxers.

1989 – Sterling Allen Brown joins the ancestors in Washington, DC. He
had devoted his life to the development of an authentic black
folk literature. He was one of the first scholars to identify
folklore as a vital component of the black aesthetic and to
recognize its validity as a form of artistic expression. He
worked to legitimatize this genre in several ways. As a
critic, he exposed the shortcomings of white literature that
stereotyped blacks and demonstrated why black authors are best
suited to describe the Black experience. As a poet, he mined
the rich vein of black Southern culture, replacing primitive
or sentimental caricatures with authentic folk heroes drawn
from Afro-American sources. He was associated with Howard
University for almost sixty years.

1990 – L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia is inaugurated as governor and
becomes the first elected African American governor in the
United States. Wilder won the election in Virginia by a mere
7,000 votes in a state once the heart of the Confederacy.
Later in the year, he will receive the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal
for his lifetime achievements.

1999 – Michael Jordan, considered the best player to ever play in the
NBA, retires from professional basketball after thirteen
seasons. This is the second time ‘His Airness’ has retired.
He leaves the game after leading the Chicago Bulls to six NBA
championships and winning five MVP awards.

2010 – Rhythm & Blues singer Teddy Pendergrass, one of the most electric
and successful figures in music until a car crash 28 years ago
left him in a wheelchair, joins the ancestors after
succumbing to colon cancer at the age of 59.

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

December 11 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – December 11 *

1872 – America’s first African American governor takes office as 
Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback became acting governor 
of Louisiana. 

1916 – John E. Bush, former slave and teacher, joins the 
ancestors. He had been appointed receiver of the United 
States Land Office in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1898. 

1917 – 13 African American soldiers are hanged for alleged 
participation in a Houston riot.

1917 – The Great Jazz migration begins as Joe Oliver leaves New 
Orleans and settles in Chicago, to be joined later by 
other stars.

1917 – The NAACP’s Spingarn Medal is presented to Harry T. 
Burleigh, composer and accomplished opera singer, for 
excellence in the field of music.

1926 – Willie Mae Thornton is born in Montgomery, Alabama. She 
will be better known as “Big Mama” Thornton, a blues 
singer whose recording of “Hound Dog” in 1952 will be 
mimicked by Elvis Presley, much to his success. She 
also recorded the hits “Ball & Chain,” and “Stronger 
than Dirt.” She will join the ancestors on July 25, 1984.

1928 – Lewis Latimore joins the ancestors in Flushing, New York. 
Employed as a chief draftsman, Mr. Latimore created the 
drawings for Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone in 1870.

1931 – The British Statute of Westminster gives complete 
legislative independence to South Africa.

1940 – Lev T. Mills, who will become an artist and chairman of 
the art department at Spelman College, is born in 
Tallahassee, Florida. His prints and mixed-media works 
will be collected by the Victoria & Albert and British 
Museums in London and the High Museum in Atlanta and 
include glass mosaic murals for an Atlanta subway station 
and the atrium floor of Atlanta’s City Hall.

1954 – Jermaine Jackson is born in Gary, Indiana. He will become 
a singer and musician with his brothers and perform with 
their group, The Jackson Five.

1961 – U.S. Supreme Court reverses the conviction of sixteen 
sit-in students who had been arrested in Baton Rouge, 

1961 – Langston Hughes’ musical, “Black Nativity,” opens on 

1964 – Sam Cooke joins the ancestors after being killed. Bertha 
Franklin, Manager of the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, 
claimed she killed the singer in self-defense after he’d 
tried to rape a 22-year-woman and then turned on Franklin. 

1980 – George Rogers, a running back for the University of South 
Carolina, is awarded the Heisman Trophy. He achieved 21
consecutive 100-yard games with the gamecocks and led the 
nation in rushing.

1981 – Muhammad Ali’s boxes in his 61st & last fight, losing to 
Trevor Berbick.

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