01 -15 January in Black History

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:

01 January 1788 - 1990

* The Nguzo Saba - The seven principles of Kwanzaa - Principle for Day #7 -
Imani (ee-MAH-nee) Faith: To believe with all our hearts in our parents, our teachers,
our leaders, our people and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

1788 - The Quakers in Pennsylvania emancipate their slaves.

1804 - Haiti achieves independence from France.

1808 - The slave trade is outlawed in the United States.  This stopped the legal importation of African slaves, but did not stop domestic trading in slaves.

1831 - William Lloyd Garrison publishes the first issue of "The Liberator" in Boston, Massachusetts.  The newspaper will become a major influence in the movement to abolish slavery in the United States.

1854 - Lincoln University, was chartered as Ashmun Institute in Oxford, Pennsylvania.

1856 - Bridget "Biddy" Mason and her children are granted their freedom by the California courts.  After gaining her freedom, she will move to Los Angeles, where she will become a major landowner and be known for her philanthropy to the poor.

1863 - President Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring freedom for slaves living in the states that joined the rebellion that will become known as the Civil War.

1900 - The British protectorates of Northern & Southern Nigeria are established.

1916 - The first issue of the "Journal of Negro History" is published with Carter G. Woodson as editor.

1917 - Ulysses Simpson Kay is born in Tucson, Arizona.  He will become a classical composer and one of the first American composers to travel to the Soviet Union.  He will be known for his works for orchestra, piano, and chamber ensemble.

1956 - Sudan becomes independent.

1959 - Chad becomes an autonomous republic within the French Community.

1960 - Cameroon gains independence from France.

1962 - Rwanda is granted internal self-government by Belgium.

1964 - The Federation of Rhodesia & Nyasaland is dissolved.

1973 - The West African Economic Community is formed with Benin, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Upper Volta as members.

1986 - Aruba becomes an independent part of Kingdom of the Netherlands.

1990 - David Dinkins is sworn in as first African American mayor of New York City.

2001 - Tyrone Willingham is selected as Notre Dame's new football coach.  Willingham is 46, the first African American head coach at this Catholic school.  Willingham, whom it wooed from Stanford with a six-year contract estimated by some to be worth about $1.5 million annually.

02 January 1800 - 1991

1800 - Members of the Free Black Commission of Philadelphia petitions Congress to abolish slavery.

1831 - The "Liberator" is published for the first time.  An abolitionist newspaper, it is started by William Lloyd Garrison.

1837 - The first National Negro Congress is held in Washington, DC.

1872 - The Mississippi legislature meets and elects John R. Lynch as the Speaker of the House, at the age of twenty-four.

1898 - Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  She will become the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in economics.

1903 - President Theodore Roosevelt shuts down the U.S. Post Office in Indianola, Mississippi, for refusing to accept its appointed postmistress because she is an African American.

1915 - John Hope Franklin is born in Rentlesville, Oklahoma.  He will become a scholar and historian most famous for his book "From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans," which will sell over two million copies.

1947 - Calvin Hill is born.  He will become a professional football player with the Dallas Cowboys (running back) and will play in Super Bowl V and VI.

1957 - Sugar Ray Robinson is defeated by Gene Fullmer for the world middleweight boxing title.

1963 - Bobby "Blue" Bland's "That's The Way Love Is" is released by Duke Records.

1965 - The Selma, Alabama voter registration drive begins, led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  It is a major effort to get African American voters registered to vote in Alabama.

1970 - Clifton Reginald Wharton, Jr. becomes the first African American president of Michigan State University and the first African American president of a major American university in the twentieth century.

1970 - Dr. Benjamin E. Mays is named the first African American president of the Atlanta, Georgia Board of Education.

1977 - Erroll Garner, pianist and composer, joins the ancestors in Los Angeles, California.  He was considered the best-selling jazz pianist in the world, most famous for the jazz standard "Misty."

1977 - Ellis Wilson, the artist, joins the ancestors.   An artist known for his striking paintings of African Americans, his work had been exhibited at the New York World's Fair of 1939, the Harmon Foundation, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.  Among his best-known works are "Funeral Procession," "Field Workers," and "To Market."

1980 - Larry Williams, rhythm and blues singer best known for "Bony Maronie", joins the ancestors after being found dead with a gunshot wound to the head at the age of 45.

1981 - David Lynch, singer with The Platters, joins the ancestors at the age of 76.

1984 - W. Wilson Goode, the son of a sharecropper, is sworn in as the first African American mayor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1991 - Sharon Pratt Dixon was sworn in as mayor of Washington, DC, becoming the first African American woman to head a city of Washington's size and prominence.

03 January 1621 - 1997

1621 - William Tucker is born in Jamestown, Virginia.  He is the first African American child, on record, born in the American colonies (Some records state the year 1624).

1945 - The Albany Institute of History and Art in New York State opens its exhibit "The Negro Artist Comes of Age: A National Survey of Contemporary American Artists."  The show includes works by Aaron Douglas, William H. Johnson, Palmer Hayden, Eldzier Cortor, Lois M. Jones, and others and will run for five weeks.

1947 - The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's annual report calls 1946 "one of the grimmest years in the history of the NAACP."  The report details violence and atrocities heaped on "Negro veterans freshly returned from a war to end torture and racial extermination," and said "Negroes in America have been disillusioned over the wave of lynchings, brutality and official recession from all of the flamboyant promises of post war democracy and decency."

1947 - William Dawson becomes the first African American to head a congressional committee; Congressional proceedings are televised for the first time as viewers in Washington, Philadelphia and New York got to see some of the opening ceremonies of the 80th Congress.

1956 - The Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, established in 1870, officially changes its name to the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.  The denomination is headquartered today in Memphis, Tennessee, and comprises a membership of nearly 500,000.

1961 - Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. is elected Chairman of The House Education and Labor Committee.

1966 - Floyd B. McKissick, a North Carolina attorney, is named national director of The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

1969 - Louis Stokes is sworn in as the first African American congressman from the state of Ohio.  He will serve more that ten terms in Congress and be distinguished by his leadership of the 1977 Select Committee on Assassinations and chairmanship of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (Ethics Committee).

1969 - Representative Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. is seated by Congress after being expelled by Congress in 1967, and re-elected by the voters in his Harlem district.

1983 - Tony Dorsett sets an NFL record with a 99-yd rush, in a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings.

1984 - Syria frees captured U.S. pilot Robert Goodman, shot down over Damascus, after a personal appeal from Rev. Jesse Jackson.

1985 - Soprano, Leontyne Price bids adieu to the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She sings the title role of "Aida".  Price had been part of the Metropolitan Opera since 1961.

1985 - The Israeli government confirms the resettlement of 10,000 Ethiopian Jews.

1987 - The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts its first female artist - "Lady Soul," Aretha Franklin.

1989 - "The Arsenio Hall Show" premieres.  It is the first regularly scheduled nightly talk show to star an African American.

1997 - Bryant Gumbel co-hosts his final "Today" show on NBC.

04 January 1787 - 1986

1787 - Prince Hall, founder of the first African American Masonic lodge, and others petition the Massachusetts legislative for funds to return to Africa.  The plan is the first recorded effort by African Americans to return to their homeland.

1832 - A major insurrection of slaves on Trinidad occurs.

1901 - Cyril Lionel Richard James is born in Tunapuna, Trinidad. He will become a writer, historian, Marxist social critic, and activist who deeply influenced the intellectual underpinnings of West Indian and African movements for independence. He was born into an educated family in colonial Trinidad. At the age of nine He earned a scholarship to Queen's Royal College, in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and graduated in 1918. In 1932 James left Trinidad for England. He will become involved in socialist politics, gravitating toward a faction of anti-Stalinist Marxists. He applied Leon Trotsky's views about a worldwide workers' revolution to his colonial home. The result, in part, was "The Life of Captain Cipriani: An Account of British Government in the West Indies" (1932), in which he called for Caribbean independence. For a time in the 1970s he taught at Federal City College in Washington, D.C. He lived the last years of his life in London. Three volumes of his collected works appeared as The Future in the Present (1977), Spheres of Existence (1980), and At the Rendezvous of Victory (1984). He will join the ancestors on May 31, 1989 in London, England.

1920 - Andrew "Rube" Foster organizes the Negro National Baseball League.

1934 - Grace Bumbry, opera singer is born.

1935 - Floyd Patterson is born in Waco, North Carolina.  He will become a boxer, winning a gold medal in the 1952 Summer Olympic Games in the middleweight class.  He will become the first gold medallist to win a world professional title.

1937 - Grace Ann Bumbry is born.  She grew up at 1703 Goode Avenue in St.Louis, Missouri.  She will join the Union Memorial Methodist Church's choir at eleven, and sing at Sumner High School.  She will be a 1954 winner on the "Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts" show.  After her concert debut in London in 1959, Bumbry debuts with the Paris Opera the next year.  In 1961, Richard Wagner's grandson features her in Bayreuth, Germany's Wagner Festival.  The first person of African descent to sing there, Bumbry will be an international sensation and win the Wagner Medal.  A mezzo-soprano who also successfully sang the soprano repertoire, Grace Bumbry will record on four labels and sing in concerts world wide.

1944 - Dr. Ralph J. Bunche is appointed the first African American official in the U.S. State Department.

1971 - Dr. Melvin H. Evans is inaugurated as the first elected governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

1985 - Congressman William H. Gray is elected chairman of the House Budget Committee, the highest congressional post, to date, held by an African American.

1986 - David Robinson blocks a N.C.A.A. record 14 shots while playing for the U.S. Naval Academy.

05 January 1804 - 1993

1804 - Ohio begins the restriction of the rights and movements of free African Americans by passing the first of several "Black laws."  It is a trend that will be followed by most Northern states.

1869 - Matilda Sissieretta Jones is born in Portsmouth, Virginia.  She will become a gifted singer (soprano), who will rise to fame as a soloist and troupe leader during the later part of the nineteenth century.  She will be nicknamed "Black Patti", after a newspaper review mentioned her as an African American equal to the acclaimed Italian soprano Adelina Patti. American racism will prevent her from performing with established white operatic groups. She will tour Europe, South and North America and the West Indies as a soloist. In 1896, she will form her own troupe, "Black Patti's Troubadours," which will combine the elements of opera and vaudeville, creating musical comedy.  She will join the ancestors on June 24, 1933.

1911 - Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity is founded on the campus of Indiana University by Elder Watson Diggs, Byron Kenneth Armstrong, and eight others.  It will be the first African American fraternity to be chartered as a national organization.

1931 - Alvin Ailey is born in Rogers, Texas and will move to Los Angeles, California at the age of twelve.  There, on a junior high school class trip to the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, he will fall in love with concert dance.  In 1958, Mr. Ailey will found his own company, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which makes its debut in New York. Mr. Ailey will have a vision of creating a company dedicated to the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance heritage and the uniqueness of black cultural expression.  In 1969, Alvin Ailey will found the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, the official school of the Ailey Company, and he will go on to form the Repertory Ensemble, the second company, in 1974. His commitment to education is the foundation of the organization's long-standing involvement in arts-in-education programs, including AileyCamp.  He will join the ancestors on December 1, 1989 in New York City.

1938 - James Ngugi is born in Kamiriithu, Kenya.  He will become a writer whose works will depict events in colonial and post colonial Kenya.  He will integrate Marxist-Leninist beliefs into his novels, which will include "Weep Not Child," "The River Between," "A Grain of Wheat," "Petals of Blood," and "Matigari ma Mjiruumgi." He will later change his name to Ngugi wa Thiong'o. His writings will cause him to be imprisoned by the Kenyan government and he will later leave the country for England and the United States.

1943 - George Washington Carver joins the ancestors after succumbing to anemia at the age of 81.  He was a pioneering plant chemist and agricultural researcher noted for his work with the peanut and soil restoration while at Tuskegee Institute.

1943 - William H. Hastie, civilian aide to the secretary of war, resigns to protest segregation in the U.S. Armed Forces.

1947 - Ted Lange is born in Oakland, California.  He will become an actor and be best known for his role as 'Isaac' on the TV series, "The Love Boat."

1948 - A commemorative stamp of George Washington Carver is issued by the U.S. Postal Service.  The posthumous honor bestowed upon the famed agricultural expert and researcher is only one of the many awards he received, including the 1923 Spingarn Medal and membership in the NYU Hall of Fame.

1957 - Jackie Robinson announces his retirement from professional baseball.

1971 - The Harlem Globetrotters lose 100-99 to the New Jersey Reds, ending their 2,495-game win streak.

1975 - The Broadway premiere of "The Wiz" opens, receiving enthusiastic reviews.  The show, a black version of "The Wizard of Oz" will run for 1,672 shows at the Majestic Theatre.  Moviegoers, however, gave a thumbs down to the cinema version of the play that starred Diana Ross and Michael Jackson years later. One memorable song from the show is "Ease on Down the Road."

1987 - David Robinson becomes the first player in Naval Academy history to score more than 2,000 points. This was accomplished when the Midshipmen defeat East Carolina 91-66.  He will go on to become a major star of the NBA.

1993 - Reggie Jackson is inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame with 94% of the votes.

06 January 1773 - 1993

1773 - "Felix," a Boston slave, and others petition Massachusetts Governor Hutchinson for their freedom.  It is the first of a record eight similar petitions filed during the Revolutionary War.

1831 - The World Anti-Slavery Convention opens in London, England.

1832 - William Lloyd Garrison founds the New England Anti-Slavery Society at the African Meeting House in Boston, Massachusetts, where he issues the society's "Declaration of Sentiments" from the Meeting House pulpit.

1882 - Thomas Boyne receives the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery in two New Mexico battles while a sergeant in Troop C, 9th U.S. Calvary.

1906 - Benedict Wallet Vilakazi is born in South Africa.  He will become a pre-apartheid Zulu poet, novelist, and educator.

1929 - Wilbert Harrison is born.  He will become a singer and will be best known for his recordings "Kansas City," and "Let's Work Together."

1937 - Doris Troy is born.  She will become a rhythm and blues singer best known for her song "Just One Look."

1966 - Harold R. Perry becomes the second African American Roman Catholic bishop since the U.S. was founded and the first in the 20th century.

1971 - Cecil A. Partee is elected president pro tem of the Illinois State Senate.  He is the first African American to hold this position.

1984 - Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Robert N.C. Nix, Jr., is inaugurated as Chief Justice.  The Philadelphia native, former deputy attorney general of the state, and thirteen-year veteran of the Court, is the first African American to head a state Supreme Court.

1989 - Elizabeth Koontz joins the ancestors at the age of 69.  She was a noted educator and the first African American president of the National Education Association.  She also had been director of the Women's Bureau in the U.S. Department of Labor.

1993 - Jazz great, John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie, joins the ancestors in Englewood, New Jersey at the age of 76.  He had played actively until early 1992.

07 January 1868 - 1964

1868 - The Arkansas constitutional convention convenes in Little Rock.  It is attended by eight African Americans and forty-three whites.

1890 - William B. Purvis is awarded patent #419,065 for the fountain pen.

1892 - A mine explosion kills 100 in Krebs, Oklahoma.  African Americans trying to help rescue white survivors, are driven away at gunpoint.

1901 - Zora Neale Hurston, who will become a brilliant folklorist, novelist, and short story writer, is born in Eatonville, Florida.  She will be one of the more influential writers of the Harlem Renaissance, known for her novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and her folklore collections, including "Of Mules and Men."  

1911 - Thelma "Butterfly" McQueen is born in Tampa, Florida.  She will be educated in Augusta, Georgia and Long Island, New York. After graduation, she will study dance, joining the Venezuela Jones Negro Youth Group. After performing in the "Butterfly Ballet" (in a 1935 production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream") McQueen will be dubbed---and forever referred to as---"Butterfly".   She will make her stage debut in George Abbot's "Brown Sugar", and soon after, in 1939, she will appear as Lulu in "The Women" and in her most famous role, Prissy in "Gone With The Wind."

1927 - The first touring Harlem Globetrotter game is played in Hinckley, Illinois before a crowd of 300 people.  It will be a success, bringing in $75 in profit.

1950 - The James Weldon Johnson Collection officially opens at Yale University. Established in 1941 through a gift by Grace Nail Johnson, widow of the famed author, diplomat, and the famed author,  diplomat, and NAACP official, the collection will eventually include the papers of Johnson, Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Dubois, Richard Wright, Jean Toomer, Zora Neale Hurston, and many other writers of the Harlem Renaissance.

1955 - Marian Anderson appears as Ulrica in Verdi's "Un Ballo in Maschera" with the New York Metropolitan Opera.  In her debut performance at the Met, Anderson becomes the first African American ever to sing with the company.

1964 - The Bahamas achieve internal self-government & cabinet level responsibility.

08 January 1811 - 1993

1811 - A slave rebellion begins 35 miles outside of New Orleans, Louisiana.  U.S. troops will be called upon to put down the uprising of over 400 slaves, which will last three days.

1837 - Fanny M. Jackson is born a slave in Washington, DC.  She will become the first African American woman college graduate in the United  States when she graduates from Oberlin College in 1865.  After graduation, she will become a teacher at the Institute for Colored Youths in Philadelphia.  In 1869, she will become the first African American woman to head an institution of higher learning when she is made Principal of the Institute.  In the fall of 1881, Fanny will marry the Rev. Levi Jenkins Coppin, a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The marriage will open a wealth of missionary opportunities for Fanny. When her husband is made Bishop of Cape Town, South Africa, Fanny will accompany him and travel thousands of miles organizing mission societies.  In 1926, a facility for teacher training in Baltimore, Maryland will be named Fanny Jackson Coppin Normal School in her honor.  The school is known today as Coppin State College.

1867 - Overriding President Andrew Johnson's veto, Congress passes legislation giving African Americans in the District of Columbia the right to the vote.

1912 - The African National Congress, in South Africa, is formed.

1922 - Colonel Charles Young dies in Lagos, Nigeria at the age of 58.  He was one of the first African American graduates of West Point, the first to achieve the rank of colonel in the U.S. Army, and the second winner of the NAACP's Spingarn Medal (1916).

1937 - Shirley Bassey is born in Wales.  She will become a professional singer and is best known for her rendition of the James Bond themes: "Goldfinger," and "Diamond's Are Forever."

1975 - The state-owned Alabama Educational Television Commission has its application for license renewal denied by the Federal Communications Commission because of racial discrimination against African Americans in employment and programming.

1993 - Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls, scores his 20,000th career point.

09 January 1866 - 1989

1866 - Fisk College is established in Nashville, Tennessee.  Rust College is established in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Lincoln University is established in Jefferson City, Missouri.

1901 - Edward Mitchell Bannister joins the ancestors in Providence, Rhode Island. Challenged to become an artist after reading a newspaper article deriding African Americans' ability to produce art, he disproved that statement throughout a distinguished art career.

1906 - Poet and author, Paul Laurence Dunbar, joins the ancestors after succumbing to tuberculosis. Dunbar was so talented and versatile that he succeeded in two worlds.   He was so adept at writing verse in Black English that he became known as the "poet of his people," while also cultivating a white audience that appreciated the brilliance and value of his work. "Majors and Minors" (1895), Dunbar's second collection of verse, was a remarkable work containing some of his best poems in both Black and standard English.  When the country's reigning literary critic, William Dean Howells reviewed "Majors and Minors" favorably, Dunbar became famous.  And Howells' introduction in "Lyric of Lowly Life" (1896) helped make Dunbar the most popular African American writer in America at the time.

1914 - Phi Beta Sigma fraternity is founded at Howard University.

1935 - Earl G. Graves is born in Brooklyn, New York.  He will become president and chief executive officer of Earl G. Graves, Ltd., the publisher of "Black Enterprise" magazine, a successful entrepreneur, and one of the strongest advocates for African American business.

1942 - Joe Louis knocks out Buddy Baer in the first round in the 20th title defense of his world heavyweight title in New York City.

1946 - Lyric poet, Countee Cullen joins the ancestors in New York City at the age of 42.   His several volumes of poetry include "Color" (1925); "Copper Sun" (1927); "The Black Christ" (1929);  and "On These I Stand" (published posthumously, 1947), his selection of poems by which he wished to be remembered.  Cullen also wrote a novel dealing with life in Harlem, "One Way to Heaven" (1931), and a children's book, "The Lost Zoo" (1940).

1958 - The University of Cincinnati's Oscar Robertson scores 56 points against Seton Hall University, whose team total is 54 points.

1965 - Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues is born in Baltimore, Maryland.  He will become a high school standout at Paul Lawrence Dunbar High, on same team that produced first round draft picks Reggie Williams and the late Reggie Lewis along with former Hornets teammate David Wingate. He will play college basketball at Wake Forest (where his jersey #14 will be retired) and become a NBA guard with the Charlotte Hornets and Golden State Warriors.  All these accomplishments and only five feet three inches tall.

1967 - The Georgia legislature, bowing to legal decisions and national pressure, seats state Representative Julian Bond, a critic of the Vietnam War.

1970 - After 140 years of unofficial racial discrimination, the Mormon Church issues an official statement declaring that blacks were not yet to receive the priesthood "for reasons which we believe are known to God, but which He has not made fully known to man."

1989 - Time, Inc. agrees to sell NYT Cable for $420 million to Comcast Corporation, Lenfest Communications, and an investment group led by African American entrepreneur J. Bruce Llewellyn.  It is the largest cable TV acquisition by an African American.

10 January 1768 - 1976

1768 - James Varick is born in Orange County, New York.  Racism in New York City will lead Varick, a licensed clergyman, and 30 other African Americans to leave the famous and predominantly white John Street Methodist Episcopal Church and establish the first African American church in New York City.  He will later become the founder and first bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

1811 - African Americans in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania hold meetings at Bethel Church to protest The American Colonization Society's campaign "to exile us from the land of our nativity."

1811 - Slaves in Louisiana rebel in two parishes about thirty-five miles from New Orleans.  The revolt is suppressed by U.S. troops.

1864 - George Washington Carver, Scientist and inventor is born.

1870 - The legislature in the state of Georgia reconvenes and admits African American representatives and senators.

1889 - The Ivory Coast is declared a protectorate of France.

1925 - Drummer Max Roach is born in New Land, North Carolina.   He will become an influential figure in the development of modern jazz, playing with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Clifford Brown before forming his own groups in the 1950's.  He will achieve wide acclaim for his superb musical innovation.  He also will be an educator, teaching at Lennox, Massachusetts School of Jazz, Yale University, and Professor of Music at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst).

1938 - Willie McCovey is born.  He will become a professional baseball player in 1959.  In more than two decades later, Willie will end his career, and garner an impressive array of baseball's most coveted awards: Rookie of the Year in 1959; MVP in 1969; six times an All-Star and once the All-Star Game MVP; Comeback Player of the Year in 1977 and the National League's all-time left-handed home run hitter.

1949 - George Foreman is born in Marshall, Texas.  He will become a professional boxer and win the world heavyweight championship in 1973.  He will retire from boxing in 1977 after a defeat by Jimmy Young.  He will enter the ministry and stay away from boxing for ten years.  He will return to boxing in 1987 at the age of 37 and become the oldest heavyweight champion at age 45 on November 5, 1994.

1966 - The Georgia House of Representatives refuses to seat African American legislator Julian Bond, SNCC communications director, because of his opposition to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.  He will be seated almost one year later, after a legal battle that will eventually be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court.

1967 - Edward Brooke, takes his seat as the first popularly elected African American United States Senator.

1976 - Chester Arthur Burnett, better known as "Howlin' Wolf," joins the ancestors in Hines, Illinois. He was a blues legend that helped to bring the Delta Blues music from Mississippi to Chicago during the 1950's. This music was the basis for the Chicago blues sound.

11 January 1870 - 1986

1870 - The first reconstruction legislature meets in Jackson, Mississippi.  Thirty one of the 106 representatives and five of the 33 senators are African American.

1892 - William D. McCoy, of Indiana, is appointed United States Minister to Liberia.

1902 - Acknowledging the increasing attention African American athletes receive, the Baltimore "Afro- American" states, "Mr. [Joe] Gans gets more space in the white papers than all the respectable colored people in the state."  Gans is the world lightweight boxing champion and first native African American world title holder.

1924 - James Moore is born in Lobdell, Louisiana (outside of Baton Rouge).  During the 1940's Moore will teach himself how to play the harmonica and begin working jukes, clubs, parties, and picnics in Louisiana.  Moore will work professionally with Lightnin' Slim and will be known as "Slim Harpo."  Harpo will be a big influence on British blues-rockers of the mid-Sixties.

1936 - Charles W. Anderson enters the Kentucky House of Representatives as its first elected African American member.  He will serve for six consecutive terms and will help to dismantle legal segregation in his state, when his bill allowing African American and white nurses to go to the same school is passed in 1948.

1947 - Evangelina Rodriguez joins the ancestors in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic.  She had been the first woman to graduate from medical school in the Dominican Republic, becoming the first woman physician to practice in that country.

1957 - Darryl Dawkins is born.  He will become one of only five players to enter the NBA right out of high school and survive.  He will go on to play for fourteen seasons as a center for the New Jersey Nets and Philadelphia 76'ers.

1960 - Chad declares its independence from France.

1961 - Racially motivated disturbance erupts on the University of Georgia campus as a result of civil rights demonstrations by African American students. African American students Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes are suspended but will be reinstated by a federal court order. Hunter-Gault will become an Emmy award-winning journalist with "The MacNeil/Lehrer News  Hour."

1962 - Nelson Mandela leaves South Africa, traveling to Ethiopia, Algeria, and England to speak out against apartheid in South Africa.

1965 - Lorraine Hansberry, author and dramatist dies.

1985 - Reuben V. Anderson is appointed as judge on the Mississippi Supreme Court.   Anderson is the first African American named to the court.

1986 - L. Douglas Wilder, of Virginia, is sworn in as the first African American Lt. Governor since reconstruction.

12 January 1890 -1995

1890 - Mordecai Wyatt Johnson is born in Paris, Tennessee.  He will become the first African American president of Howard University in 1926, a position he will hold for 34 years.  He will also be a recipient of the NAACP's Spingarn Medal in 1929.   He will retire in 1960, and will join the ancestors on September 11, 1976 in Washington, DC.

1915 - Margaret Danner, poet is born.

1920 - James Farmer is born in Marshall, Texas.  He will become an African American civil rights leader and activist. He will found the Committee on Racial Equality in 1942 and later change the name of the organization to the Congress of Racial Equality. Farmer and CORE will be the architects of the "Freedom Rides" that will lead to the desegregation of over 100 bus terminals in the South.  He will become a major player during the Civil Rights movement.  He will be awarded the Congressional Medal of Freedom in 1998 by President Bill Clinton.  He will join the ancestors on July 9, 1999 in Fredericksburg, Virginia, at the age of 79.

1944 - Joseph William "Joe" Frazier is born in Beaufort, South Carolina. He will become a boxer and will win the Olympic Gold Medal in 1964 in Tokyo, Japan.  He will go on to win the heavyweight title on February 16, 1970, after knocking out Jimmy Ellis in five rounds. He will remain champion until January 22, 1973, when he is knocked out in the second round by George Foreman.  He will be inducted into the Ring's Boxing Hall of Fame in 1980 and into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.

1946 - George Duke is born in San Rafael, California, and will be reared in Marin City, a working class section of Marin County.  He will become a major recording artist, heavily influenced by Miles Davis and the soul-jazz sound of Les McCann and Cal Tjader.   He and a young singer named Al Jarreau will form a group becoming the house band at San Francisco's Half Note Club.  Over the years, George will work with Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Frank Zappa, Cannonball Adderley, Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, and Dizzy Gillespie.  He will be a prolific songwriter and producer.

1948 - The United States Supreme Court decision (Sipuel v. Oklahoma State Board of Regents) said a state must afford African Americans "an opportunity to commence the study of law at a state institution at the same time as [other] citizens."

1951 - Ezzard Charles knocks out Lee Oma to retain the heavyweight boxing crown.

1952 - The University of Tennessee admits its first African American student.

1959 - Berry Gordy borrows $800 from a family loan fund to form Motown Records.   The record company's first releases will appear on the Tamla label.

1960 - Dominique Wilkins is born.  He will become a NBA forward and play for the Atlanta Hawks.

1964 - Leftist rebels in Zanzibar begin their successful revolt against the government.

1965 - Noted playwright Lorraine Hansberry joins the ancestors, after succumbing to cancer in New York City at the age of 34, while her second play, "The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window," is playing on Broadway.  Her first and most famous work, "A Raisin in the Sun," brought her wide acclaim on Broadway, earned her the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best play, and became a motion picture starring Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, and Claudia McNeil.

1971 - The Congressional Black Caucus is organized.

1982 - A commemorative stamp of Ralph Bunche is issued by the U.S. Postal Service as part of its Great Americans series.

1988 - Willie Stargell, formally of the Pittsburgh Pirates, is elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1990 - Civil Rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton is stabbed in Brooklyn, New York, in Bensonhurst.

1995 - In Port-au-Prince, Haiti, an American soldier is killed and another wounded during a shootout with a former Haitian army officer who also was killed.

1995 - Qubilah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X, is arrested in Minneapolis, Minnesota on charges that she had tried to hire a hit man to kill Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. The charges will later be dropped.

13 January 1869 - 1999

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 - The first elected African American governor in the United States,  is inaugurated (L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia).  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.

     14 January 1868 - 1964

1868 - The South Carolina constitutional convention, the first official assembly in the western hemisphere with an African American majority, meets in the Charleston Clubhouse with seventy-six African American delegates and forty-eight white delegates.   Two-thirds of the African American delegates are former slaves.  A New York Herald reporter writes: "Here in Charleston is being enacted the most incredible, hopeful, and yet unbelievable experiment in all the history of mankind."

1868 - The North Carolina constitutional convention meets in Raleigh, with fifteen African American and one hundred eighteen whites in attendance.

1873 - P.B.S. Pinchback is elected to the U.S. Senate.  Since he had previously been elected to Congress, he went to Washington with the unique distinction of being both a senator-elect and a congressman-elect.

1874 - I.D. Shadd is elected Speaker of the Lower House of the Mississippi legislature.

1916 - Author John Oliver Killens is born in Macon, Georgia.  Among his books will be the novels "Youngblood," and "And Then We Heard the Thunder," biographies of Denmark Vesey, John Henry, and Aleksandr Pushkin, and the script for "Odds  Against Tomorrow," a 1959 movie starring Harry Belafonte.

1930 - Biologist and pioneer of cell division, Ernest E Just, is named Vice-President of the American Zoological Society.

1940 - Horace Julian Bond is born in Nashville, Tennessee.  He will be one of several hundred students from across the South who will found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  He will become SNCC's communications director.   He will spend over twenty years of service in the Georgia General Assembly, after having his first elective seats denied him in the mid-sixties. Bond will be known also for his narration of many civil rights oriented programs, most notably, the critically acclaimed 1987 and 1990 PBS series, "Eyes on the Prize."  He will become Chairman of the NAACP in February, 1998.

1948 - Carl Weathers is born in New Orleans, Louisiana.  He will become an actor and is best known for his portrayal of fictional boxer Apollo Creed in the "Rocky" movies.

1970 - Diana Ross and the Supremes perform their last concert together, at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas.

1975 - William T. Coleman is named Secretary of Transportation by President Gerald R. Ford.  He is the second African American to hold a Cabinet-level position.

1979 - After much pressure from civil rights leaders and others, President Jimmy Carter proposes Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday become a federal holiday.

1981 - James Frank, president of Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, is installed as the first African American president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

1987 - The National Urban League's report "State of Black America" blasts President Reagan's policies, stating, "Black Americans enter 1987 besieged by the resurgence of raw racism, persistent economic depression and the continue erosion of past gains."

15 January 1865 - 1998

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).

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, Jr.

      Updated by K. Ferguson Kelly:  December 05, 2012