16 -31 December in Black History
*** For Proper Viewing - Change Your
Screen to 800x600 ***
The intent of these pages is to bring attention to
missing and sometimes unknown
"facts" in history. If you have information to contribute email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 1834 - George Ruffin is born in Richmond, Virginia. He will be the first African
American to obtain a law degree from Harvard University and will be a lifelong champion
for African American suffrage and equality.
1838 - The Zulu chieftain Dingaan is defeated by the Boers in South Africa.
1859 - Shields Green and John Anthony Copeland, two of five African American freedom
fighters, are hanged for their participation in John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry.
Copeland will be led to the gallows shouting "I am dying for freedom. I
could not die for a better cause. I had rather die than be a slave."
1859 - The last slave ship, the Clothilde, landed a shipment of slaves at Mobile Bay,
1870 - The Colored Methodist Church of America is established at Jackson, Tennessee.
The organization will change its name in 1954 to the Christian Methodist Episcopal
Church. The denomination will grow to include approximately 3,000 congregations.
1875 - Charles Caldwell, a militant African American militia officer, joins the ancestors,
after being assassinated in Clinton, Mississippi.
1875 - Alabama A&M College, Knoxville College and Lane College are established.
1875 - Governor Daniel H. Chamberlain, acting in concert with white Democrats and
conservatives, refuses to resign his commission.
1875 - William J. Whippers is elected judge of the circuit court of Charleston by the
South Carolina General Assembly.
1895 - Andy Razafkerief(Razaf) is born in Washington, DC. He will become an
important lyricist and musical collaborator with Eubie Blake and Fats Waller. His
most famous songs will include "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Honeysuckle
Rose," and the lyrics to "Stomping at the Savoy." He will be inducted
into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame in 1972.
1934 - John Edward Jacobs is born in Trout, Louisiana and will be raised in Houston,
Texas. Jacobs will serve the National Urban League in many capacities and in 1982
will replace Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. as its president.
1937 - Augusta Savage, sculptress, is commissioned to sculpt a piece for the 1939 New York
World's Fair. The sculpture is to symbolize the African American contribution to the
field of music. It is the first such commission given to an African American.
1946 - The first coining honoring an African American and designed by an African American
is issued. The fifty-cent piece contains the bust of Booker T. Washington.
1962 - William "The Refrigerator" Perry, is born. He will become an NFL
defensive lineman with the Chicago Bears. He will be best known for his occasional
performance as a running back on short yardage situations.
1967 - Wilt Chamberlain, of the NBA Philadelphia 76ers, scores 68 points against the
1973 - Jim Brown's single season rushing record in the NFL is smashed by O.J.
Simpson. Brown rushed for 1,863 yards, while Simpson ran for 2,003 yards.
1976 - Rep. Andrew Young is appointed Ambassador and Chief representative to the United
Nations by President Jimmy Carter.
1990 - Jean-Bertrand Aristide is elected president of Haiti in the country's first
- 1920 - South Africa receives League of Nations mandate over South West Africa.
1937 - Art Neville is born. He will become a member of the popular singing group,
"The Neville Brothers."
1939 - Eddie Kendricks is born in Union Springs, Alabama. He will become one of the
original members of the Motown group, "The Temptations". He will begin a
solo career in 1971 and will have many successful hits such as "Keep on Truckin"
and "Boogie Down." In 1982, he will rejoin the Temptations for a reunion tour
and again in 1989, when the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
He will succumb to cancer in 1992.
1945 - Ernie Hudson is born. He will become an actor and best known for his role in
the movie "Ghostbusters."
1971 - Congressman Charles Diggs, Jr. resigns from the United States' delegation to the
United Nations in protest of the Nixon administration's policies regarding Africa.
1975 - Noble Sissle joins the ancestors in Tampa, Florida at the age of 86. A
protege of James Reese Europe, Sissle traveled with the famous bandleader to Europe as the
drum major in the 369th Regimental Band and teamed with Eubie Blake to form the writing
team of Sissle and Blake. Together with Flourney Miller and Aubrey Lyles, Sissle and
Blake wrote "Shuffle Along" and other musicals. A founding member of the
Negro Actor's Guild, Sissle was a successful orchestra and bandleader in his own right,
touring Europe in the 1930's and with the USO during World War II.
1975 - The NAACP's Spingarn Medal is presented to Henry ("Hank") Aaron "for
his memorable home-run record which stands as a landmark" and for his sportsmanship.
1979 - In a case that aggravates racial tensions, Arthur McDuffie, a Black insurance
executive, is fatally beaten after a police chase in Miami. Four white police
officers are later acquitted of charges stemming from McDuffie's death.
1991 - Michael Jordan, outstanding guard for the Chicago Bulls, who led his team to their
first-ever NBA championship, is named the 1991 "Sport Illustrated" Sportsman of
the Year. Jordan's likeness will appear on the December 23rd issue of the magazine
in the form of a full-color holographic stereogram, a first for a mass-market publication.
1999 - Jazz great Grover Washington, Jr. joins the ancestors resulting from a heart attack
following a taping session.
- 1852 - George H. White is born in Rosindale, North Carolina. He will become a
lawyer, state legislator, and in 1896, the only African American member of the United
States House of Representatives, where he will be the first to introduce an anti-lynching
bill. White will also found the town of Whitesboro, New Jersey, as a haven for
African Americans escaping southern racism.
1860 - South Carolina declares itself an "independent commonwealth."
1865 - Congress proclaims the ratification of the thirteenth Amendment to the
Constitution, abolishing slavery. The ratification process had been completed on
December 6, 1865.
1917 - Ossie Davis is born in Cogdell, Georgia. While he will be best known as an
actor in such plays as "Jeb" (where he will meet his wife, Ruby Dee) and
"Purlie Victorious" and films like "Let's Do It Again," "Do The
Right Thing," and "Jungle Fever," he will be a playwright, screenwriter,
and director(Cotton Comes to Harlem). In 1969, he will win an Emmy for his role in
"Teacher, Teacher" and will be a featured performer in television's
1958 - Niger gains autonomy within the French Community of Nations.
1961 - Wilt Chamberlain of the NBA Philadelphia Warriors scores 78 points vs the Los
1964 - Funeral services are held in Chicago for Sam Cooke. Hundreds of fans will cause
damage to the A.R. Leak Funeral Home, where Cooke's body is on display.
1971 - Jesse Jackson announces the formation of Operation Push (People United to Save
Humanity), a new African-American political and economic development organization.
Jackson, who resigned from Operation Breadbasket, the economic arm of the SCLC, says,
"the problems of the 1970's are economic so the solution and goal must be
1971 - The NAACP's Spingarn Medal is presented to Rev. Leon H. Sullivan, founder of
Opportunities Industrialization Centers of America (OIC) for his leadership.
1989 - Ernest Dickerson wins the New York Film Critics Circle Award for best
cinematography for the movie "Do the Right Thing."
1996 - The Oakland, California School board becomes the first in the nation to recognize
Black english, a.k.a. Ebonics, as a separate language, NOT a dialect or slang.
- 1798 - Portrait painter Joshua Johnston places an ad in the "Baltimore
Intelligencer" describing himself as "a self-taught genius."
Johnston, a freeman, will paint protraits of some of the most successful merchant
families in Maryland and Virginia. Only three of his subjects will be African
American, among them "Portrait of an Unknown Man" and "Reverend Daniel
1875 - Carter G. Woodson is born in New Canton, Virginia. A founder of the
Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, of the "Journal of Negro
History," and Negro History Week, Woodson will write many books on African-American
history. The most popular of his books will be, "The Negro in Our
History," which will be used extensively in high schools throughout the United
1886 - Clementine Rubin (later Hunter) is born in Clourtierville, Louisiana. Because
there were no birth certificates issued in rural Louisiana during this time, there is much
controversy about her correct date of birth. Sources mention her birth in
December 1886 and January 1887. The only real documentation of her earliest
existence is a christening document dated March, 1887. She will become a painter in
the 1930's after spending years working on the Melrose Plantation, a haven for many rural
Southern artists. Her first artistic medium will be quiltmaking, and her first piece
will be in 1938 exhibiting the hardships of plantation life. Her first painting will
be completed in 1939. In 1955, she will become the first African American artist to
have a one person show at the Delgado Museum (now known as the New Orleans Museum of
Art). Her folk-art style will earn her the nickname "the Black Grandma
Moses." By the time she joins the ancestors on January 1, 1988, she will be
considered one of the twentieth century's leading folk artists.
1891 - Charles Randolph Uncles becomes the first African American Catholic priest ordained
in the United States. He is ordained in Baltimore, Maryland.
1910 - The first city ordinance requiring white and black residential areas is passed by
the Baltimore City Council. Similar laws will be passed in Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke,
Greensboro, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Dallas and Louisville.
1910 - The Pittsburgh Courier newspaper is founded.
1910 - North Carolina College is founded in Durham, North Carolina.
1910 - The Norfolk Journal and Guide is established under the leadership of P. B. Young
1930 - James Weldon Johnson resigns as executive secretary of NAACP citing health reasons.
1930 - The NAACP's Spingarn Medal is awarded to Henry A. Hunt, Principal, Fort Valley High
and Industrial School, Fort Valley, Georgia, for his pioneering work as an educator.
1930 - Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, founded at Howard University.
1933 - Cicely Tyson is born in the Village of Harlem in New York City. She will
pursue a modeling career, appearing on the covers of both "Vogue" and
"Harper's Bazaar at the age of 23. She will later pursue acting and win acclaim
for her roles on the stage and on television, as well as in the movie, Sounder (for which
she will be named best actress by the National Society of Film Critics and receive an
Academy Award nomination) and "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman," for
which she will win two Emmys.
1941 - Maurice White is born. He will become a singer, musician (drummer) and
founder of Earth, Wind & Fire. Some of his hits include "Shining
Star," "Sing a Song," "Got to Get You into My Life,"
"After the Love Has Gone," and "Best of My Love".
1944 - Tim Reid is born in Norfolk, Virginia. He will become a comedian and known
for his role as "Venus Flytrap" on "WKRP in Cincinnati, as well as
1961 - Reggie White is born. He will become an all-pro defensive lineman for the NFL
Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers. He will play with Green Bay as they win
the 1997 Super Bowl. He will retire from football ad the end of the
1962 - Nyasaland secedes from Rhodesia.
1977 - Jimmy Rogers, a bluesman who played guitar for the original Muddy Waters band and
who was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1994, joins the ancestors in Chicago at
the age of 73. He succumbs to colon cancer. He recorded a string of solo hits
beginning in the 1950s, including "Walking by Myself," "Chicago Bound"
and "Sloppy Drunk." He played with Water's Band in Chicago clubs and in
the studio for about a decade. In 1996, he won the W.C. Handy award for male
traditional blues artist.
1989 - Police in Jacksonville, Florida, disarm a parcel bomb at the local NAACP office,
the fourth in a series of mail bombs to turn up in the Deep South. One bomb kills a
Savannah, Georgia, alderman, and another a federal judge in Alabama. Walter L. Moody Jr.
will be convicted in both bombings.
- 1854 - Walter F. Craig is born in Princeton, New Jersey. He will become a
violinist, organizer of Craig's Celebrated Orchestra, and, in 1886, the first African
American to be admitted to the Musician's Protective Union.
1870 - Robert H. Wood, Mississippi political leader, is elected mayor of Natchez.
1870 - Allen University, Benedict College and LeMoyne-Owen College are established.
1870 - Jefferson F. Long of Macon, Georgia, is elected to an unexpired term in the
Forty-first Congress. Georgia Democrats carry the state election with a campaign of
violence and political intimidation.
1893 - Paul Lawrence Dunbar publishes "Oak and Ivy." Unable to afford the
$125 publishing costs, he accepts a loan from a white friend. The loan will be
quickly repaid through book sales, often to passengers in the elevator of the Dayton,
Ohio, building where he works.
1893 - The first state anti-lynching statute is approved in Georgia.
1938 - Mattie Alou is born in Haina, Dominican Republic. He will become a
professional baseball player like his brother Felipe. They both will play for the
San Francisco Giants.
1942 - Robert "Bob" Hayes is born in Florida. He will become a world
class sprinter for the United States, winning the Gold Medal in the 100 meter dash in the
1964 Olympic games. He will later become a wide receiver in the National Football
1956 - The African American community of Montgomery, Alabama votes unanimously to end its
385 day bus-boycott. Montgomery, Alabama, removes race-based seat assignments on its
1981 - "Dreamgirls" opens on Broadway at the Imperial Theater. The
musical, which chronicles the rise of a black female group in the 1960's, star Jennifer
Holliday, Ben Harney, and Cleavant Derricks. Holliday, Derricks and choreographer
Michael Peters will earn Tony awards for their work in the musical.
1988 - Max Robinson, the first African American network (ABC) TV anchor, joins the
ancestors from complications of AIDS at the age of 49.
1998 - Nigerian American Nkem Chukwu gives birth in Houston, Texas to five girls and two
boys, 12 days after giving birth to another child, a girl. The tiniest of the babies
will succumb a week later.
- 1872 - Robert Scott Duncanson joins the ancestors in Detroit, Michigan. He suffers
a severe mental breakdown and ends his life in the Michigan State Retreat. Duncanson
avoided painting in an ethnic style, favoring still lifes and landscapes including
"Mount Healthy," "Ohio," "Blue Hole," "Little Miami
River," and "Falls of Minnehaha. The Detroit Tribune, on December 26,
1872, refers to Duncanson as "an artist of rare accomplishments".
1911 - Joshua "Josh" Gibson is born in Buena Vista, Georgia. He will
become a professional baseball player in the Negro Leagues. Gibson will begin playing in
the Negro leagues in 1930, at age 18. A catcher, he will play mostly for teams in and
around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, including the Homestead Grays and the Pittsburgh
Crawfords. He will also play winter baseball in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He
will join the ancestors suddenly in early
1947, the year that Jackie Robinson will become the first African American player
in the major leagues. In recognition of his accomplishments, Gibson will be inducted into
the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. He will be referred to as the "Negro Babe
Ruth" hitting 800+ Home Runs. Some say that Babe Ruth should have been referred
to as the "white Josh Gibson."
1921 - P.B.S. Pinchback, a major Reconstruction politician, joins at the ancestors at the
age of 84.
1959 - Delorez Florence Griffith is born in Los Angeles, California. As Florence
Griffith Joyner, she will bring glamour to women's track and field. A
world-classrunner, "FloJo" will win three gold medals (in the 100-meter,
200-meter and 400-meter races) at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul and a silver
medal in the 1600-meter relay.
1959 - Citizens of Deerfield, Illinois block the building of interracial housing.
1969 - Diana Ross makes her final television appearance as a member of the Supremes on
"The Ed Sullivan Show."
1976 - Patricia R. Harris is named Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
1986 - While seeking a tow for his disabled car in Howard Beach(Queens), New York, Michael
Griffith is struck by an automobile and killed as he attempts to escape from a mob of
whites who were beating him. The incident will spark a controversy that will further
divide factions in New York City, already troubled by racially motivated violence.
1988 - Jesse Jackson, in a speech in Chicago, urges the use of the term "African
American": "Every ethnic group in this country has reference to some land base,
some historical cultural base. African Americans have hit that level of maturity."
- 1873 - Abolitionist Charles Lenox Remond joins the ancestors. He was the first
African American lecturer employed by the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society.
1883 - Arthur Wergs Mitchell is born near Lafayette, Alabama. He will become the
first African American Democrat elected to Congress, representing Illinois for four
terms. In 1937, after being forced from first-class train accommodations in Arkansas
to ride in a shabby Jim Crow car. Mitchell will sue the railroad and eventually
argue unsuccessfully before the Supreme Court that interstate trains be exempt from
Arkansas' "separate but equal" laws.
1898 - Chancellor Williams is born. He will become a historian and author of
"Destruction of Black Civilization."
1905 - James A. Porter is born in Baltimore, Maryland. An artist, chairperson of the
department of art at Howard University and one of the earliest scholars of African
American art, Porter will exhibit his works widely in the United States, Europe, and
1939 - Jerry Pinckney is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He will become an
award-winning illustrator of children's books and numerous U.S. postage stamps featuring
notable African Americans.
1943 - W.E.B. Du Bois is elected as the first African American member of the National
Institute of Arts & Letters.
1980 - Samuel R. Pierce, Jr., a New York City lawyer and former judge, is named to
President Ronald Reagan's Cabinet as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
1984 - 4 African American youths on a New York City subway train, are shot by Bernhard
Goetz. The white man shoots because he thought they were going to rob him. He
claims he was seconds from becoming a mugging victim when he opened fire, and will be
acquitted of attempted murder in 1987 but will serve 8 months on a weapons charge.
In 1996, he will lose a civil case brought against him by one of the youths that he
shot and paralyzed. The civil judgment brought against him will be $ 43 million.
1988 - South Africa signs an accord granting independence to South-West Africa.
1989 - The art exhibit "Afro-American Artists in Paris: 1919-1939" closes at the
Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery on the Hunter College campus in New York City. The
exhibit of eight artists including William Harper, Lois Mailou Jones, Archibald Motley,
Jr., Henry O. Tanner, and Hale Woodruff, among others, powerfully illustrates the results
achieved by African American artists when they were able to leave the confines and
restrictions imposed upon them by race in the United States.
1996 - Kordell Stewart of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs 80 yards for a touchdown in the
first half of an 18-14 loss to the Carolina Panthers, the longest scoring run by a
quarterback in NFL history.
- 1832 - The first hospital for African Americans is founded by whites and chartered in
1853 - Octavia Victoria Rogers Albert is born in Olgethorpe, Georgia. Albert is best known
for her book "House of Bondage", a collection of seven informal narrative of
1881 - Tennessee starts the modern segregation movement with Jim Crow railroad car laws
and is followed by Florida (1887), Mississippi (1888), Texas (1889), Louisiana (1890),
Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas and Georgia (1891), South Carolina (1898), North Carolina
(1899), Virginia (1900), Maryland (1904), and Oklahoma (1907).
1881 - The United Order of True Reformer, an African American fraternal order, is
1881 - The exodus of five thousand Blacks from Edgefield County, South Carolina
begins. They become migrants, protesting exploitation and violence, finally settling
1898 - Irvin C. Mollison is born in Chicago, Illinois. In 1945, he will be appointed
the first African American judge to the U.S. Customs Court.
1924 - Lee Dorsey is born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He will become a vocalist, best
known for the recording of "Working in the Coal Mines."
1936 - Count Basie makes his New York debut at the Roseland Ballroom.
1946 - 'Mean' Joe Green is born. He will become a football player for he NFL
Pittsburgh Steelers (defensive tackle) and win rings in Super Bowls IX, X, XIII, and
XIV. He will later become a Miami Dolphins defensive coach.
1954 - In a session with the Miles Davis All-Stars, Thelonius Monk records "Bag's
Groove," which many will regard as his finest solo performance.
1992 - Alphonso Michael 'Mike' Espy becomes the first African American to hold the
position of Secretary of Agriculture.
- 1760 - Jupiter Hammon, a New York slave who was probably the first African American
poet, publishes "An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ".
1776 - Oliver Cromwell and Prince Whipple are among soldiers who cross the Delaware River
with George Washington to successfully attack the Hessians in Trenton, New Jersey, during
the Revolutionary War.
1807 - Charles B. Ray is born in Falmouth, Massachusetts. He will enter Wesleyan
University in Connecticut and be forced to withdraw due to objections from northerners and
southerners. He will later become a prominent African American leader.
1835 - Benjamin Tucker Tanner is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Father of famous
painter Henry O. Tanner, he will become an A.M.E. bishop and editor of the "Christian
Recorder" and founder in 1884 of the A.M.E. Church Review," a leading magazine
of the day.
1837 - Cheyney University is established in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It will be first
known as the "Institute for Colored Youth". The school will be moved to
George Cheyney's farm, 24 miles west of Philadelphia, in 1902. It will be renamed in
1913 to "The Cheyney Training School for Teachers." Cheyney University of
Pennsylvania is the first historically Black institution of learning in America. It
is also the first college in the United States to receive official state certification as
an institution of higher academic education for African Americans.
1837 - Charles Lenox Remond begins his career as an antislavery agent. Remond will be one
of the first African Americans employed as a lecturer by the antislavery movement.
He will work many years for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society.
1865 - Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina,
and Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia are founded.
1875 - Charles Caldwell joins the ancestors after being assassinated in Clinton,
Mississippi. He was the first African American in the state of Mississippi to be
accused of the murder of a white man and found "not guilty" by an all-white
jury. He was later elected to the state senate.
1907 - Cabel "Cab" Calloway is born in Rochester, New York. A versatile
jazz bandleader and singer who will popularize scat singing, his song "Minnie the
Moocher" will be the first million-selling jazz record. Calloway will also
appear in the movie "Porgy and Bess" as well as perform as a singer in the
touring companies of "Porgy" and "Hello Dolly."
1951 - Harry T. Moore, a Florida NAACP official, joins the ancestors after being killed by
a bomb in his home in Mims, Florida. Active in expanding the African American vote
in Florida and in desegregating the University of Florida, Moore will be posthumously
awarded the NAACP's Spingarn Medal in 1952.
1951 - The NAACP's Spingarn Medal is presented to Mabel K. Staupers for her leadership in
the field of nursing.
1956 - The home of Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, a Birmingham, Alabama protest leader, is
destroyed by a dynamite bomb.
1958 - Rickey Henderson is born. He will grow up to become a baseball player with
the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees and will become the stolen base king.
1965 - The Congress of Racial Equality announces that its national director, Dr. James
Farmer, would resign on the 1st of March.
*The Nguzo Saba - The seven principles of Kwanzaa - Principle for
* Day #1 - Umoja (oo-MOE-jah) Unity: To strive for and maintain unity *
* in the family, community, nation and race.
1848 - William & Ellen Craft escape from slavery in Georgia. Mrs. Craft
impersonates a slave holder and her husband, William, assumes the role of her servant, in
one of the most dramatic of the slave escapes.
1849 - David Ruggles joins the ancestors in Northampton, Massachusetts. Often called
the first African American bookseller (for his bookstore established in 1834), Ruggles was
an early abolitionist, speaker, and writer as well as a "conductor" on the
Underground Railroad. He published the first African American magazine, the "Mirror
of Liberty in August of 1838. He was a noted hydropathist, erecting the first
building constructed for hydropathic treatments in the United States and was known as the
"water cure doctor."
1894 - Jean Toomer is born in Washington, DC. The grandson of P.B.S. Pinchback,
Toomer will become the author of the influential "Cane."
1908 - Jack Johnson wins the heavyweight title in Australia, defeating Tommy Burns.
After avoiding fighting Johnson for over a year, Burns will say of his loss, "Race
prejudice was rampant in my mind. The idea of a black man challenging me was beyond
enduring. Hatred made me tense."
1924 - DeFord Bailey, Sr., a harmonica player, becomes the first African American to
perform on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.
1931 - Lonnie Elder is born in Americus, Georgia. He will be known as an author,
playwright ("Ceremonies in Dark Old Men"), and screenwriter
("Sounder," "A Woman Called Moses").
1937 - La Julia Rhea becomes the first African American to sing with the Chicago Civic
Opera Company during the regular season. She opens in the title role of Verdi's
1956 - African Americans in Birmingham, Alabama begin mass defiance of Jim Crow bus laws.
1966 - Kwanzaa, originated by Dr. Maulana Karenga, is first celebrated by a small number
of African American families in Los Angeles, California, to "restore and reaffirm our
African heritage and culture." Kwanzaa, a Kiswahili word meaning first or first
fruit, will celebrate over the next seven days the Nguzo Saba, or seven principles, of
Umoja(Unity), Kujichagulia(self-determination), Ujima(Collective Work and Responsibility),
Ujamaa(Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba(Creativity), and Imani(Faith).
1999 - Prolific singer, songwriter & producer Curtis Mayfield joins the ancestors at
the age of 57 in North Fulton Regional Hospital near Atlanta, Georgia. Mayfield
introduced social conscienceness into African American music and continued to record for a
decade after an accident left him paralyzed. His many hits included "People Get
Ready," "I'm So Proud," and "Keep On Pushing." His soundtrack for
the 1972 movie "Superfly" sold over 4 million copies and produced two classic
hit singles, the title track and "Freddie's Dead." In addition to his wife, he
leaves behind his mother, 10 children, a brother, two sisters and seven grandchildren to
celebrate his life.
* The Nguzo Saba - The seven principles of Kwanzaa - Principle for
* Day #2 - Kujichagulia (koo-jee-cha-goo-LEE-ah) Self Determination: *
* To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak
* for ourselves. http://www.endarkenment.com/kwanzaa/
1873 - William A. Harper is born in Cayuga, Canada. A student at the Art
Institute of Chicago, he will study with Henry O. Tanner and be considered one of
the most gifted African American artists of the early 20th century.
1904 - Monroe Nathan Work marries Florence Evelyn Hendrickson of Savannah, Georgia.
Greatly assisted by his wife, Work will publish "The Negro Year Book," an annual
encyclopedia of African-American achievement. He will later publish "A
Bibliography of the Negro in Africa and America" (1928), with over 17,000
entries. Reviewers will laud it as "absolutely indispensable" and call it
"a monument of which any race may well be proud." It will be reprinted in 1965.
1939 - John Amos is born in Newark, New Jersey. He will become an actor and will be
known for his roles in "Good Times," "Coming to America," and
1941 - Pioneer of blood plasma research, Dr. Charles Richard Drew, establishes a pioneer
blood bank in New York City.
1956 - After a boycott by African Americans that lasted more than six months, segregation
is outlawed on Tallahassee, Florida buses.
1956 - The NAACP's Spingarn Medal is awarded to Jack Roosevelt ("Jackie")
Robinson, the first African American in the major leagues, for his conduct on and off the
1980 - Calvin Murphy, of the Houston Rockets, begins the longest NBA free throw streak of
1998 - A week after she was born weighing just 10.3 ounces, the smallest of the Houston
octuplets, Odera Chukwu, joins the ancestors, succumbing to heart and lung failure. In a
statement released through the hospital, her parents, Nkem Chukwu and Iyke Louis Udobi,
say: "We are very saddened by the passing of our beloved baby Odera. She is now safe
with God in heaven and we remain most grateful to him for having blessed our lives with
* The Nguzo Saba - The seven principles of Kwanzaa - Principle for
* Day #3 - Ujima (oo-JEE-mah) Collective Work & Responsibility: To *
* build and maintain our community together and to make our Brother's *
* and Sister's problems, our problems and to solve them together.
1817 - The American Colonization Society, a private philanthropic organization, is
organized in Washington, DC in the hall of the House of Representatives, for the purpose
of relocating freeborn and emancipated blacks to Africa. The Society's supporters
espoused a wide range of viewpoints on slavery and the treatment of blacks, ranging from
advocacy of the abolition of slavery to the removal of the Negro race from the United
States. The primary motivation for this group stemmed from the fact that there were
too many 'free' Blacks in the United States.
1829 - Elizabeth "Mumbet" Freeman joins the ancestors. Freeman, born into
slavery, ran away from her owners after she was mistreated by her master's wife. She
petitioned successfully for her freedom, citing her knowledge of the Bill of Rights and
the new constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in her argument that all men
were created equal, thereby justifying her petition for freedom. Her victory
effectively abolished slavery in Massachusetts. Freeman was the great-grandmother of
W.E.B. Dubois, one of America's most renowned scholars, leaders, and fighters for civil
1905 - Earl "Fatha" Hines is born in Duquesne, Pennsylvania. He will be
considered the "Father of Modern Jazz Piano."
1918 - The NAACP's Spingarn Medal is awarded to William Stanley Braithwaite, poet,
literary critic and editor, for distinguished achievement in literature.
1918 - George H. White joins the ancestors at the age of 66 in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. He was the last of the post Reconstruction congressmen.
1954 - Denzel Washington is born in Mount Vernon, New York. He will become an actor,
playing Dr. Phillip Chandler for six seasons on television's "St. Elsewhere" and
have a successful movie career that will include roles in "A Soldier's Story"
and an Oscar-winning performance in "Glory."
1959 - Everson Walls is born. He will become a NFL corner back with the Dallas
Cowboys and the New York Giants.
1977 - Karen Farmer becomes the first African American member of the Daughters of the
American Revolution, when she traces her ancestry back to William Hood, a soldier in the
* The Nguzo Saba - The seven principles of Kwanzaa - Principle for
* Day #4 - Ujamaa (oo-JAH-mah) Cooperative Economics: To build and
* maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit
* from them. http://www.endarkenment.com/kwanzaa/
1907 - Robert Clifton Weaver is born in Washington, DC. He will become 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.
He will join the ancestors on July 17, 1997.
1917 - Thomas Bradley is born in Calvert, Texas. He will become a successful
politician in California and will be elected as the first African American mayor of Los
Angeles by winning 56% of the vote. He will serve as mayor for twenty years. He will
join the ancestors on September 29, 1998.
1925 - At 67, Anna Julia Cooper receives her doctorate from the University of
Paris. Officials of the French Embassy present the degree to her at ceremonies at
Howard University. Cooper had been a noted college and secondary school educator and
will continue to teach and work for educational improvement for African Americans until
she joins the ancestors at the age of 105.
1939 - Kelly Miller joins the ancestors in Washington, DC. The first African
American to be admitted to Johns Hopkins University (In 1887), and later a longtime
professor and dean at Howard University, Miller was a noted writer, essayist, and
newspaper columnist who opposed the accommodations policies of Booker T. Washington.
He was best known, however, as a champion for educational development for African
Americans, dramatically increasing enrollment at Howard and founding a
"Negro-Americana Museum and Library," which will become Howard's
Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.
1952 - Noted jazz bandleader Fletcher Henderson joins the ancestors in New York
City. Henderson worked early in his career with Harry Pace of Black Swan Records as
a recording manager and, in 1924, started playing at the Roseland Ballroom, the same year
he added New Orleans trumpeteer Louis Armstrong to the band. Armstrong's short
tenure helped it evolve from a dance to a jazz band and established Henderson as the
founding father of the big band movement in jazz.
1954 - The Kingdom of the Netherlands, with Netherlands & Netherlands Antilles as
autonomous parts, comes into being.
1982 - Jamaica issues a postage stamp to honor Bob Marley.
* The Nguzo Saba - The seven principles of Kwanzaa - Principle for
* Day #5 - Nia (nee-AH) Purpose: To make as our collective vocation
* the building and developing of our community in order to restore
* our people to their traditional greatness.
1842 - Josiah T. Walls is born near Winchester, Virginia. He will become, in 1871,
Florida's first African American congressman.
1892 - Physician, Dr. Miles V. Lynk, publishes the first African American medical journal.
1916 - Frederick Douglass "Fritz" Pollard, of Brown University, becomes the
first African American running back named to the All-American team.
1928 - Otha Elias Bates is born in McComb, Mississippi. Better known as Bo Diddley,
he will influence a generation of musicians including such groups as the Rolling Stones
and the Doors. A favorite of President John F. Kennedy, who invited Diddley to play
in the White House in 1962, he will be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in
1929 - The Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority is incorporated.
1929 - The "Don't Buy Where You Can't Work" campaign begins in Chicago with
picketing of Chain stores on the South Side. The campaign spread to New York, Cleveland,
Los Angeles and other cities and continued throughout the Depression.
1929 - Mordecai W. Johnson receives the NAACP's Spingarn Medal for his work as the first
African American president of Howard University.
1935 - Marian Anderson makes a historic appearance in New York City's Town Hall.
Fresh from a triumphant tour in Europe, Anderson will be hailed by New York critics as one
of the "great singers of our time." Her performance will mark a new era in
the Philadelphian's long and successful career. Marian Anderson makes her Town Hall
debut in New York. Her performance is described by Howard Taubman, the New York
Times reviewer, as "music-making that probed too deep for words."
1952 - Tuskegee Institute reports there were no lynchings during the year for the first
time in the 71 years it has been keeping such records.
1960 - Poet Langston Hughes is presented the NAACP's Spingarn Medal and cited as "the
poet laureate of the Negro race."
1960 - Two U.S. courts issues temporary injunctions to prevent eviction of about seven
hundred African American sharecroppers in Haywood and Fayette counties, Tennessee.
1961 - Ben Johnson is born. He will become a world class 100 meter runner. He
win the Olympic gold medal in 1988 and will be later disqualified for using steroids.
1975 - The constitution of the Democratic Republic of Madagascar comes into effect.
1975 - Eldrick 'Tiger' Woods is born. He will become the first African American or
Asian American to win the Masters Golf tournament. He will accomplish this feat in his
first year on the PGA tour at the age of 21 also making him the youngest person to win the
* The Nguzo Saba - The seven principles of Kwanzaa - Principle for
* Day #6 - Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah) Creativity: To do always as much as *
* we can, in the way that we can, in order to leave our community
* more beautiful than when we inherited it.
- 1775 - Alarmed by the impact of the British Dunmore proclamation, that would give
freedom to slaves who would fight on their side, Gen. George Washington reverses himself
and authorizes the enlistment of free Blacks.
1783 - The importation of African slaves is banned by all of the northern states in the
1862 - The Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church holds a Watch Night service in
Suburban Maryland. It begins a tradition when African Americans pray and worship in
anticipation of the next day, New Year's Day 1863, when President Lincoln's Emancipation
Proclamation is to take effect.
1871 - Annie Holland is born. She will become an educator and will found the Parent
Teachers Association (PTA) in North Carolina.
1900 - Sculptor and educator Selma Burke is born in Mooresville, North Carolina. She
will be commissioned to create a profile of President Franklin D. Roosevelt after a
national competition sponsored by the Fine Arts Commission in Washington, DC. The
completed project, a plaque, is unveiled and installed at the Record of Deeds Building in
1930 - Odetta Felious Gordon Holmes is born in Birmingham, Alabama. She will become
a famous folksinger, known simply as "Odetta", who will sing all over the world
and at major peace and civil rights meetings, including the 1963 March on Washington.
1948 - Donna Summer is born in Boston, Massachusetts. She will be the reigning
"Queen of Disco" music in the 1970's, known for her renditions of "Bad
Girls" and "Last Dance."
1953 - Hulan Jack is inaugurated as Manhattan borough president, the first African
American to hold the post.
1953 - The NAACP's Spingarn Medal is presented to Paul R. Williams for his achievements as
1962 - Katanga becomes part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
1964 - In a speech before a group of young people, Malcolm X urges them "to see for
yourself and listen for yourself and think for yourself. This generation, especially
of our people, have a burden, more so than at any other time in history. The most
important thing we can learn to do today is think for ourselves."
1972 - Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh Pirate slugger, joins the ancestors after a plane
crash on his way to a humanitarian mission to Central America.
1976 - Roland Hayes joins the ancestors in Boston, Massachusetts at the age of 89. He had
been an acclaimed tenor whose pioneering recitals of German lieder and other classical
music opened the concert stage for African American singers.
1984 - The first nationally broadcast telethon for the United Negro College Fund raises
$14.1 million. The telethon will become an annual fundraising drive that will
support more than 40 historically African American institutions of higher learning and
draw widespread individual and corporate support.
Updated by K. Ferguson
Kelly: November 30, 2003