16 -31 July 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.
1829 - A poem in tribute to the late Philadelphia caterer Robert
Bogle is published. Bogle is the first known professional African American
caterer. Among his descendants will be Robert W. Bogle, publisher of the
Philadelphia "Tribune", and Donald Bogle, noted film critic and author of "Black
Americans in Film and Television".
1862 - Ida B. Wells (later Barnett) is born in Holly Springs, Mississippi. She will become a journalist and anti-lynching advocate who, in response to the alarming increase in lynchings of African Americans, will compile and publish an 1895 statistical study on lynching, "A Red Record." Wells-Barnett will also be an integral part of the early civil rights movement, participating as a secretary of the National Afro-American Council and member of the "Committee of Forty" that leads to the formation of the NAACP.
1894 - A group of African-American miners in Alabama are killed by striking white miners.
1904 - Harold Dadford West, the first African American president of Meharry Medical College, is born in Flemington, New Jersey.
1930 - Donald McKayle is born in New York City. McKayle will make his debut, at 22, in "Her Name was Harriet" (a dance tribute to Harriet Tubman) and go on to dance in or choreograph "House of Flowers", "The Bill Cosby Special" (1968), the 1970 Academy Awards, the movie version of "The Great White Hope," and "Sophisticated Ladies" on Broadway.
1932 - Mari Evans is born in Toledo, Ohio. She will become an author and be best known for the poetry collections "I Am a Black Woman and Nightstar: 1973-1978."
1934 - Donald Payne is born in Newark, New Jersey. In 1988, he will become the first African American congressman from New Jersey.
1936 - The movie "The Green Pastures" premieres in New York's Radio City Music Hall, featuring Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, the Hall Johnson Choir, and Rex Ingram as "De Lawd." The film, a Warner Brothers production, was William Keighley's adaptation of Marc Connelly's Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway musical.
1961 - Ralph Boston of the United States, sets what is then the long jump record at 27' 2".
1977 - Janelle Penny Commissiong of Trinidad and Tabago is crowned Miss Universe. She is the first person of African descent to win the title.
1988 - Carl Lewis runs 100 meters in 9.78 seconds. Florence Joyner runs 100 meters in women's world record time of 10.49 seconds. Jackie Joyner-Kersee sets women's heptathlete record of 7,215 points.
1990 - Dr. Gwendolyn Baker was elected President of the New York Board of Education, the first African American woman to hold such an office.
1794 - Richard Allen organizes Philadelphia's Bethel African
Methodist Episcopal Church.
1794 - Absalom Jones and his followers dedicate The African Church of St. Thomas in Philadelphia. On August 12, 1794, the St. Thomas parishioners will affiliate with the Protestant Episcopal Church.
1862 - Congress approves the rights of African Americans to bear arms to fight in the Civil War and enlist in the Union Army by passing two laws, the Confiscation and Militia acts. Over 208,000 African Americans and their white officers will serve in the Union Army, with 38,000 losing their lives.
1863 - Unions troops, with First Kansas volunteers playing a leading role, route rebels at Honey Springs, Indian Territory. African American troops capture the colors of a Texas regiment.
1911 - Frank Snowden is born in York County, Virginia. He will become the foremost scholar on blacks in ancient history, notably for his books "Blacks in Antiquity: Ethiopians in the Greco-Roman Experience" and "Before Color Prejudice: The Ancient View of Blacks".
1935 - Carol Diahann Johnson (Diahann Carroll) is born in the Bronx, New York. She will be better known as Diahann Carroll, star of Broadway ("House of Flowers"), television ("Julia"), and films including "Carmen Jones" and "Claudine", the latter earning her an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress.
1944 - An ammunitions depot at Port Chicago, California explodes killing 320 men including 202 African Americans assigned by the Navy to handle explosives. The resulting refusal of 258 African Americans to return to the dangerous work formed the basis of the trial and conviction of 50 of the men in what will become known as the Port Chicago Mutiny.
1959 - Billie Holiday, blues singer, joins the ancestors after succumbing to liver failure at age 44 in Metropolitan Hospital, New York City.
1967 - A racially motivated disturbance occurs in Cairo, Illinois (within 100 miles of the Mississippi border. The Illinois National Guard is mobilized during the three day civil disturbance.
1967 - Innovative and famed jazz musician, John Coltrane joins the ancestors after succumbing to cirrhosis of the liver.
1981 - The Fulton County (Atlanta) grand jury indicts Wayne B. Williams, a twenty-three-year-old photographer, for the murder of two of the twenty-eight Black youths killed in a series of slayings and disappearances in Atlanta. William denies the charges but will be convicted in February, 1982.
1753 - Lemuel Haynes, colonial American Congregational
clergyman, is born. In 1785, Haynes, 32, is ordained to a church in Torrington,
Connecticut, making him the first African American to pastor a white
congregation. He also becomes the first African American to receive an
honorary degree (M.A.) from a White college (Middlebury College), in 1804.
Lemuel Haynes also will serve in the Continental Army during the American
1863 - The 54th Massachusetts Volunteers charge Fort Wagner in Charleston, South Carolina. Although the Union forces suffer great losses, Sergeant William H. Carney of Company C exhibits bravery in battle by maintaining the colors high despite three bullet wounds. Although cited for bravery, it will take 37 years for Carney to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions.
1899 - Patent number 629,286 is issued to L.C. Bailey for a folding bed.
1905 - Granville T. Woods patents railway brakes.
1918 - Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is born near Umtata in Transkei, South Africa in the Eastern Cape, into the royal family of the Tembu, a Xhosa-speaking tribe. A leader in the African National Congress (ANC), he is imprisoned for 26 years for opposing apartheid and will become the first Black African President of South Africa on May 10, 1994 (Inauguration Date).
1941 - Martha Reeves is born. She will become a singer and will form a group, "Martha and the Vandellas." Some of the groups' hits will be "Power of Love," "Heat Wave," "Quicksand," "Dancing in the Street," "Nowhere to Run," "Jimmy Mack," and "Come and Get These Memories."
1951 - Jersey Joe Walcott, at age 37, becomes oldest boxer to date, to win the World Heavyweight Championship knocking out Ezzard Charles in five rounds.
1959 - William Wright becomes the first African American to win a USGA title, the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. He is 23 and a senior at Western Washington University.
1964 - Racially motivated disturbances occur in Harlem in New York City. The civil unrest will last until July 22 and will spread into Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.
1970 - Willie Mays gets his 3,000th base hit.
1998 - The "Spirit of Freedom Memorial" and "Theme Park" is unveiled in Washington, DC to honor the U. S. Colored Troops, who fought in the U.S. Civil War.
1848 - The first Women's Rights Convention is held in Seneca
Falls, New York. The convention is supported by Frederick Douglass of nearby
Rochester, New York, who attends the meeting and speaks in defense of its
organizer, Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
1866 - Tennessee becomes the first state to ratify the 14th Amendment, supposedly guaranteeing civil rights to all United States citizens.
1867 - Congress passes the third Reconstruction Act over President Andrew Johnson's veto.
1913 - The Tri-State Dental Association is formed in Buckroe Beach (now part of Hampton), Virginia. It will be the forerunner to the National Dental Association, an organization dedicated to developing a national forum for African American dentists in the United States.
1925 - Josephine Baker, entertainer and singer, makes her Paris debut.
1940 - Surgeon Louis T. Wright is presented the Spingarn Medal for his "contribution to the healing of mankind and for his courageous, uncompromising position, often in the face of bitter attack." Among Wright's many accomplishments was being the first African American surgeon to be admitted to the staff of Harlem Hospital and chairmanship of the board of directors of the NAACP, a position he will hold for 17 years.
1941 - The first Army flying school for African Americans is dedicated in Tuskegee, Alabama.
1941 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt appoints a Fair Employment Practices Committee which includes two African Americans, Earl B. Dickerson, a Chicago attorney, and Milton P. Webster, vice-president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.
1966 - The Hough district of Cleveland, Ohio, experiences racially motivated disturbances that result in the mobilization of the National Guard by Governor James A. Rhodes, who declares a state of emergency in the city.
1967 - A racially motivated disturbance occurs in Durham, North Carolina. The governor calls out the National Guard to quell the disturbance.
1973 - Willie Mays is named to the National League all star team for the 24th time, tying Stan Musial for the record number of appearances.
1979 - Patricia R. Harris is named Secretary of Health and Human Services. It is her second Cabinet-level appointment. She had been Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
1991 - The South African government acknowledges that it had been giving money to the Inkatha Freedom Party, the main rival of the African National Congress.
1934 - Henry Dumas, author of "Ark of Bones and Other Stories," is born in Sweet Home, Arkansas.
1848 - Women's Rights Convention aided anti-slavery cause.
1954 - Freeman Bosley, Jr., St. Louis' first African American mayor, is born.
1967 - The first National Conference of Black Power opens in Newark, New Jersey. The four-day meeting is attended by 1,100 African Americans.
1967 - A night of racially motivated disturbances occurs in Memphis, Tennessee.
1973 - The National Black Network begins operations. It is the first African American owned and operated radio news network.
1974 - Baseball great, Hank Aaron, breaks Ty Cobb's record, as he appears in game number 3,034 of his career. Aaron, age 40, is playing in his 20th season of major-league baseball.
1988 - In the most formidable attempt ever by an African American to become President of the United States. Jesse Jackson receives 1218 delegates votes of the 2,082 needed for the Democratic party's nomination, finishing second to Michael Dukakis. In his second bid for the nomination, Jackson had garnered wide popular support and captured 92% of African American and 12% of white votes in primary elections and caucuses. The previous night, Jackson had electrified the delegates with a ringing speech encouraging them to "keep hope alive."
1864 - The New Orleans Tribune, first daily African American newspaper, is published in English and French.
1896 - Mary Church Terrell organizes the National Association of Colored Women in Washington, DC. The association is a merger of the National Federation of Afro-American Women and The Colored Women's League. It is one of many achievements for Terrell, which include being the first African American woman to serve on a school's board of education, the first to hold membership in the American Association of University Women, and at age 90, will lead the desegregation of Washington, DC restaurants in 1953.
1934 - Edolphus Towns is born in Chadbourn, North Carolina. He will become a longtime civic leader, Brooklyn borough president, congressman from New York's 11th District starting in 1983, and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1990.
1943 - "Stormy Weather" premieres in New York City with Lena Horne, Bill Robinson, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, the Nicholas Brothers, and Katherine Dunham. A week before the premiere, Horne said of African American actors, "All we ask is that the Negro be portrayed as a normal person. A worker in a union meeting, a voter in the polls...or an elected official. Perhaps I'm being naive. Perhaps these things will never be straightened out on the screen itself, but will have to wait until..[they're] solved in real life."
1945 - Alton Maddox is born. He will become a New York African American civil rights activist and attorney. He will be best known for his representation of Tawana Brawley (a black teenager who accused a group of white men of abducting and sexually molesting her in Dutchess County).
1950 - The first victory of the Korean War is won by African American troops of the 24th Infantry Regiment, who recapture Yechon after waging a 16-hour battle. The North Koreans will launch a surprise invasion of South Korea on 25 June 1950. U.S. Army divisions stationed in Japan are rushed to the defense of South Korea. The 25th Division is ordered to South Korea on 5 July 1950. By mid July the Division is fully deployed and ready to engage North Korean forces. On 20 July 1950 the 3rd Battalion 24th Infantry conducts the first combat action of the Division when it attacks and destroys a well-dug-in North Korean force which had seized the critical road hub of Yechon. The recapture of Yechon is considered the first sizable American ground victory of the war.
1957 - Althea Gibson becomes the first African American woman to win a major U.S. tennis title. She won the Women's National clay court singles competition.
1960 - The country of Katanga forms in Africa.
1962 - 160 civil right activists jailed after demonstration in Albany, Georgia.
1848 - Lester Walton is appointed minister to Liberia.
1861 - Abraham Lincoln reads the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet
1933 - Caterina Jarboro becomes the first African American prima donna of an United States opera company. The singer performs "Aida" with the Chicago Opera Company at the Hippodrome in New York City. The New York Times music editor reports: "The young soprano brought a vivid dramatic sense that kept her impersonation vital without overacting, and an Italian diction remarkably pure and distinct." Jarboro's fame, however, will shortlived. Once the American opera establishment realized that she was not Italian but African American, her career comes to an end. The newly founded New York Metropolitan Opera Association refuses to accept her as a member. Nonetheless, her contribution to opera will be powerful and farreaching. Ms. Jarboro was born in Wilmington, North Carolina.
1937 - Chuck Jackson is born. He will become a singer and will be known for his recordings of "Any Day Now," and "I Don't Want to Cry."
1939 - Jane Matilda Bolin is appointed to the New York City Court of Domestic Relations by Mayor Fiorello Laguardia, becoming the first African American woman judge.
1941 - George Clinton is born in Kannapolis, North Carolina. He will become a singer and songwriter. His group, Parliament Funkadelic will record "Testify", "Mothership Connection", "First Thangs", "Up For The Down Stroke", "Chocolate City", "The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein," "Atomic Dog," and many others. The popularity of Clinton and his group will last over thirty years.
1947 - Danny Glover is born. He will become an actor and will star in the "Lethal Weapon" movies, "Operation Dumbo Drop", "Silverado", "Escape from Alcatraz", "Chiefs", "The Color Purple", "Angels in the Outfield", and "Places in the Heart".
1961 - Milton A. Francis, the first African American specialist in genitourinary diseases, joins the ancestors.
1963 - World Heavyweight Champion, Sonny Liston, hangs on to his boxing title, by knocking out challenger, Floyd Patterson, in the first round of a bout in Las Vegas, Nevada.
1891 - Louis Tompkins Wright, is born in Georgia. He will graduate from Harvard Medical School in 1915, and subsequently serve in World War I as an officer in the United States Army Medical Corps. He will become the first African American doctor to be appointed to the staff of a New York City municipal hospital in 1919 when he begins seeing patients at the Harlem Hospital out-patient clinic. He will be, at one point, the only African American member of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Wright will be an active civil rights advocate and leading member of the NAACP which will recognize him as a champion of human rights with the Spingarn Medal in 1940.
1892 - Lij Tafari Makonnen is born in Ejarsa Goro, Ethiopia. He will become Emperor of Ethiopia in 1930, assuming his baptismal name Haile Selassie I. He will rule Ethiopia until 1974 when he will be deposed in a bloodless coup. He will join the ancestors in August of 1975.
1900 - The Pan-African Congress meets in London, England. Among the leaders of the Congress are H. Sylvester Williams, a West Indian Lawyer with a London practice, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Bishop Alexander Walters.
1920 - British East Africa is renamed Kenya.
1943 - Poet, editor, and author Quincy Troupe is born. Among his books will be volumes of poetry, most notably "Watts Poets", and an autobiography of Miles Davis.
1947 - Spencer Christian, weatherman (Good Morning America), is born.
1948 - Progressive Party Convention, meeting in Philadelphia, nominates Henry Wallace for President. The New Party makes a major effort to attract African Americans. Approximately 150 African American delegates and alternates attend the convention. The keynote speaker is Charles P. Howard, and attorney, publisher and former Republican from Des Moines, Iowa. Thirty-seven African Americans will run for state and local offices on the party ticket. Ten Blacks will run for Congress. The party attracts few Black voters, but forces the Democratic Party to make serious gestures to hold the African American vote.
1967 - Forty-three persons are killed in a racially motivated disturbance in Detroit, Michigan. Federal troops are called out for the first time since the Detroit riot of 1943, to quell the largest racial rebellion in a U.S. city in the twentieth century. More than two thousand persons are injured and some five thousand are arrested. Police report 1, 442 fires. Disturbances will spread to other Michigan cities.
1968 - An alleged black radical ambush of a Cleveland police detail sparks two days of disturbances that will result in 11 deaths, including three policemen. The Ohio National Guard will be mobilized to control the situation.
1984 - Vanessa Williams, the first African American Miss America, relinquishes her crown after publication of nude photographs taken before her entry in the pageant. Replacing her is Suzette Charles, first runner-up in the contest.
1987 - Billy Williams is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
1651 - Anthony Johnson, a free African American, receives a grant of 250 acres in Virginia.
1807 - Ira Aldridge is born in New York City. He will be one of America's earliest African American Shakespearean actors whose fame will come only after leaving the racism of the performing arts in the United States and immigrating to Europe.
1893 - Charles S. Johnson, educator, is born in Bristol, Virginia. He will become a noted sociologist, founder of the National Urban League's "Opportunity" magazine, and professor at and president of Fisk University.
1900 - A race riot occurs in New Orleans, Louisiana. Two white policemen are killed.
1908 - Charles "Cootie" Williams is born. He will become a professional musician specializing on the trumpet. He will be known for his renditions of "Echoes of Harlem," "Concerto for Cootie," and "Carelessly." He also will lead his own group, The Cootie Williams Sextet and Orchestra, performing "Tess' Torch Song" and Cherry Red Blues."
1919 - A race riot occurs in Washington, DC. Six persons are killed and one hundred are wounded.
1921 - Dr. Billy Taylor is born in Greenville, North Carolina. He will become a jazz pianist. Over his career he will lead The Billy Taylor Trio, co-found Jazzmobile '65, become music director of "The David Frost Show," perform in jazz segments on "Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt," and become the Artistic Advisor for jazz at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
1924 - Townsend Sonny Brewster, playwright and activist, is born.
1929 - Cornelius H. Charlton, Korean War Hero, is born in East Gulf, West Virginia. Sergeant Charlton will be killed in action, from wounds received during his daring exploits, on June 2, 1951. He will be posthumously awarded The Congressional Medal of Honor on March 19, 1952.
1939 - Walt Bellamy is born. After becoming an Olympic athlete and winning a gold medal in 1960, he will become a professional basketball player
1954 - Mary Church Terrell, civil rights leader/educator and first African American to serve on the District of Columbia board of education, joins the ancestors at the age of 90 in Washington, DC.
1961 - Grace Ann Bumbry makes her debut in Richard Wagner's "Tannhauser" at the Bayreuth Festival in Bavaria. Surrounded by controversy that saw the German press protest the role of Venus being sung by an African American, Bumbry's performance dispels all doubts as she receives 42 curtain calls during a 30-minute ovation.
1963 - Karl "The Mailman" Malone is born. He will become a professional basketball player with the Utah Jazz. He will be selected at least six times to the All-NBA first team during his career.
1964 - Barry Bonds is born. He will become a professional baseball player,- playing left field for the San Francisco Giants. He will be a six-time All-Star, six-time Gold Glove winner, and three-time National League Most Valuable Player.
1965 - Kadeem Hardison is born. He will become an actor and will be best known for his roles in "A Different World" and "The Sixth Man."
1967 - Three days of racially motivated disturbances begin in Cambridge, Maryland, the site of a 1963 confrontation between civil rights demonstrators and white segregationists.
1969 - Muhammad Ali's conviction for refusing induction in U.S. Army is upheld on appeal.
1916 - Garrett T. Morgan, inventor of the gas mask, rescues six persons from a gas-filled tunnel in Cleveland, Ohio.
1918 - A race riot occurs in Chester, Pennsylvania. Three African Americans and 2 whites are killed.
1921 - Liberty Life Insurance Company is founded by Frank L. Gillespie. After a 1926 merger with Supreme Life and Casualty of Columbus, Ohio, and Northeastern Life of Newark, New Jersey, the resulting company will be called Supreme Life Insurance Company and be, at one time, one of the largest African American insurance companies in the nation.
1930 - Nineteen-year-old Josh Gibson is called out of the stands to substitute for the regular catcher for the Pittsburgh Homestead Grays, one of the best-known all-Negro professional baseball teams. Gibson will go on to play 15 years with a variety of teams in the Negro leagues. His lifetime batting average, .423, will earn him election to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.
1941 - Nate Thurmond, Basketball Hall of Famer: San Francisco/Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers; NBA record: 18 rebounds in one quarter ), is born.
1943 - The U.S. Navy launches the "Leonard Roy Harmon' in Quincy, Massachusetts, the nation's first warship named for an African American. Harmon, a messman, was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for heroism.
1954 - Walter Payton, (Pro Football Hall of Famer: Chicago Bears RB: Super Bowl XX; NFL individual record-holder:rushing yards gained in one game , in career [16,726]; career [1975-87] touchdowns scored  scored), is born.
1964 - A racially motivated disturbance begins in Rochester, New York. Subsequent to this civil unrest, the major employers in the metropolitan area (Kodak, Xerox, Sybron, and Bausch & Lomb) show marked improvements in their hiring of African Americans.
1966 - Constance B. Motley becomes the first African American woman to be appointed a federal judge.
1972 - The Tuskegee Syphillis Experiment, where African Americans were used as guinea pigs in syphillis experiments for 40 years, is admitted to by U.S. government health officials.
1981 - Walter Payton signs a contract to play with the Chicago Bears of the NFL on his 27th birthday. The famed running back will earn almost $2 million over his three years. 'Sweetness', as he is nicknamed (because of his disposition), becomes the highest paid player in the National Football League.
1990 - "Black Enterprise' publisher Earl G. Graves and Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson become the largest minority-controlled franchise in the country when they sign a $ 60 million agreement to purchase Pepsi-Cola of Washington, DC.
1991 - Dennis Hightower is promoted to president of Disney Consumer Products-Europe/Middle East. Hightower will have operating responsibility for all book and magazine publishing, merchandise licensing, children's records and music, film promotion and television sponsorship and will manage the company's eight subsidiaries and six offices in Europe and the Middle East.
1847 - Liberia declared an independent republic (1847)
1847 - Twenty-five years after the first free African Americans arrive at the colony of Cape Mesurado, the commonwealth of Liberia declares itself an independent republic. Joseph Jenkins Roberts, a Virginia native, becomes its first president.
1865 - Catholic priest Patrick Francis Healy passes his final Ph.D. examinations in philosophy at the University of Louvrain in Belgium. He becomes the first African American to earn a Ph.D.
1916 - Spottiswood W. Robinson is born in Richmond, Virginia. He will pursue a distinguished career in law, in private practice, as a representative of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, dean of the Howard University Law School, and as a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In 1966, he will be named a U.S. Circuit Judge of the D.C. Circuit by President Lyndon B. Johnson, marking the beginning of a successful judicial career.
1918 - Two days after she moves into a predominantly, though not exclusively, white Philadelphia neighborhood, an African American woman's house is stoned. The incident will set off four days of riots in which one African American and three whites are killed.
1926 - The Spingarn Medal is awarded to Carter G. Woodson for "ten years of devoted service in collecting and publishing the records of the Negro in America."
1948 - President Harry S Truman issues Executive Order 9981, directing "equality of treatment and opportunity for all personnel without regard to race, color, religion or national origin" in federal employment and the armed forces
1948 - Bob Howard becomes the first African American host of a network show - CBS' "The Bob Howard Show."
1951 - The Army announces that it is disbanding the 24th Infantry Regiment, its last and oldest all African American regiment, in order to integrate all White and African American troops in the Korean War zone.
1998 - Larry Doby, the first African American in major league baseball's American League, and Joe Rogan, a player in the Negro Leagues, are inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame.
1816 - Fort Apalachicola, a Seminole fort in Florida, is attacked by U.S. troops. The Fort, held by fugitive slaves and Indians, is taken after a siege of several days. The fort is destroyed, punishing the Seminoles for harboring runaway slaves.
1880 - Inventor, A.P. Abourne, is awarded a patent for refining coconut oil.
1919 - Chicago race riots kill 23 African Americans, 15 whites, and injure more than 500, despite the warnings of Ida B. Wells-Barnett to city officials to improve conditions for African Americans in the city.
1937 - Woodie King, Jr. is born in Detroit, Michigan. A drama critic, producer, and dramatist, he will be best known as the artistic director of the New Federal Theatre at the Henry Street Settlement, for his adaptation of Langston Hughes' "Weary Blues" and "Simply Blues" for the stage, and for producing Ntozake Shange's "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When Rainbow is Enuf" and "Checkmates", featuring Denzel Washington.
1950 - Albert L. Hinton joins the ancestors, becoming the first African American reporter to lose his life in a theater of military operation, when an Army transport plane carrying him crashes into the Sea of Japan while enroute to Korea.
1962 - Martin Luther King, Jr., is jailed in Albany, Georgia for participating in a civil rights demonstration.
1967 - In the wake of urban rioting, President Johnson appoints the Kerner Commission to assess the causes of the violence, the same day black militant H. Rap Brown said in Washington that violence was "as American as cherry pie."
1968 - A racially motivated disturbance occurs in Gary, Indiana.
1984 - Reverend C.L. Franklin joins the ancestors in Detroit, Michigan, after a long coma sustained after being shot by a burglar in his home. He was the founder of the New Bethel Baptist Church, where his radio sermons drew a nationwide audience and where the singing career of his daughter, Aretha, began.
1999 - Harry "Sweets" Edison, a master of the jazz trumpet who was a mainstay of the Count Basie band, joins the ancestors in Columbus, Ohio at the age of 83. In a career spanning more than 60 years, Edison had that rarest of qualities, an utterly individual style. Although his sound was not especially unique, his articulation, his ability to invest each note with a driving sense of swing, was completely his own. It didn't matter whether he was playing with Basie, with Frank Sinatra or Oscar Peterson, or on any of his innumerable recording sessions; his solos, stamped with his singular phrasing, always popped out of the mix.
1802 - Alexandre Dumas is born in Villiers-Cotterets, France to a Haitian mulatto, Thomas Alexandre Dumas, and Marie Labouret Dumas, a French woman. He will become an acclaimed author of the French classics "The Three Musketeers", "The Count of Monte Cristo", "The Man in the Iron Mask", and "The Corsican Brothers."
1866 - Congress passes a law that African American regiments should be part of the regular army, which results in the organization of the 9th and 10th Cavalry.
1868 - The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing due process of law, is declared in effect. which grants citizenship for African Americans and provides for federal intervention when state governments are accused of violating an individual's constitutional rights.
1903 - Maggie Lena Walker founds and becomes the first president of the Saint Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond, Virginia. She becomes the first woman bank president in the nation.
1915 - United States forces invade Haiti and the country becomes a defacto protectorate. U.S. troops will remain there until 1924.
1917 - Led by W.E.B. Dubois and James Weldon Johnson, over 10,000 African Americans march down Fifth Avenue in New York City to the sound of muffled drums in silent protest of lynchings and other racial indignities that are rampant in the United States.
1949 - Vida Blue, major-league pitcher (who will win the Cy Young award & American League MVP in 1971), is born.
1977 - Roy Wilkins turns over NAACP leadership to Benjamin L Hooks.
1985 - Lou Brock is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, New York.
1895 - The First National Convention of Black Women is held in Boston, Massachusetts.
1909 - Chester Himes is born in Jefferson City, Missouri. He will become a noted crime novelist whose books "If He Hollers Let Him Go", "Come Back Charleston Blue", and "Cotton Comes to Harlem" explore the underbelly of the American dream and introduce "Gravedigger Jones" and "Coffin Ed Johnson" to the reading public.
1919 - The first convention of the National Association of Negro Musicians is held in Chicago. Illinois. NANM's charter members include Clarence Cameron White, who called for the formation of the association. R. Nathaniel Dett, Nora Holt, and Florence Cole Talbert among others. NANM will be active in furthering African American music and performers, and award its first scholarship to a young Marian Anderson. NANM continues to exist, with chapters all over the country. Its headquarters will be located in Chicago, Illinois.
1942 - William Dean, Jr., plans a boycott unless African Americans are permitted to play on major league baseball teams.
1970 - Six days of racially motivated disturbances start in Hartford, Connecticut, leaving one person dead.
1974 - Lou Brock of the St. Louis Cardinals steals his 700th base.
1988 - The South African government bans the anti-apartheid film "Cry Freedom".
1991 - Physician Bernard A. Harris, Jr. becomes a full-fledged astronaut. Harris, who joined NASA's Johnson Space Center in 1987 as a clinical scientist and flight surgeon, is now eligible for future flight assignments.
1996 - At the Atlanta Olympics, Carl Lewis wins the gold medal in the long jump, becoming only the fifth Olympian to win gold medals in four straight games.
1822 - James Varick is consecrated as the first bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Zion (AMEZ). Varick had formed the first African American church in New York City in 1796 when forced to sit in segregated seating in the white John Street Methodist Episcopal Church and had established the first AMEZ church in New Haven, Connecticut.
1839 - Slave rebels, led by Joseph Cinque, kill the captain and take over the slave ship Amistad in the most celebrated of American slave mutinies. The rebels were captured off Long Island.
1863 - President Lincoln gave an order to shoot a Confederate prisoner for every African American prisoner that was shot; it became known as the "eye-for-eye" order. A rebel prisoner would also be condemned to life in prison doing hard labor, for every African American prisoner sold into slavery. The order had restraining influence on the Confederate government, though individual commanders and soldiers continued to murder captured African American soldiers.
1864 - The Union Army explodes a mine under rebel lines near Petersburg, Virginia, commits three white and one African American divisions and is soundly defeated. The African American division of the Ninth Corps sustains heavy casualties in an ill-planned attack. The only Union success of the day is scored by the Forty-third U.S. Colored Troops which captures two hundred rebel prisoners and two stands of colors. Decatur Dorsey of the Thirty-ninth U.S. Colored Troops wins a Congressional Medal of Honor.
1866 - Edward G. Walker, son of abolitionist David Walker, and Charles L. Mitchell are elected to the Massachusetts Assembly from Boston and become the first African Americans to sit in the legislature of an American state in the post-Civil War period.
1866 - White Democrats, led by police, attack a convention of African American and white Republicans in New Orleans, Louisiana. More than 40 persons are killed, and at least 150 persons are wounded. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, Military commander of the state, says "It was not riot; it was an absolute massacre... which the mayor and the police of the city perpetrated without the shadow of a necessity."
1885 - Eugene Kinckle Jones is born in Richmond, Virginia. He will attend Cornell University where he will become one of the founders of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. After completing his education, he will become a social worker and first executive secretary of the National Urban League. During his 20-year tenure with the league, he will be instrumental in its expansion to 58 affiliates and a budget of $2.5 million as well as expanding its fellowship program to train social workers. He will join the ancestors in 1954.
1945 - Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., activist and politician, is elected congressman from Harlem.
1956 - Anita Hill is born in Morris, Oklahoma. She will become an attorney and educator best known for her accusations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas during his Supreme Court nomination hearings.
1959 - Willie McCovey steps to the plate for the first time in his major-league baseball career. McCovey, of the San Francisco Giants bats 4-for-4 in his debut against Robin Roberts of the Philadelphia Phillies. He hits two singles and two triples, driving in two runs. It is the start of an All-Star career that will land McCovey in baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
1961 - Lawrence Fishburne is born in Augusta, Georgia. He will become an actor and will star in many Hollywood productions, some of which will be "Boyz 'N' the Hood," "What's Love Got to Do With It," and "Apocalypse Now."
1967 - Eight days of racially motivated disturbances end in Detroit, Michigan. The uprising, the worst of its kind in the 20th century, kills 43 people, injures 2,000, and results in over 5,000 arrests and over 1,400 fires.
1967 - A racially motivated disturbance occurs in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Four persons are killed.
1970 - Author, television columnist, and Hofstra University professor Louis Lomax, joins the ancestors after being fatally injured in a car accident near Santa Rosa, New Mexico.
Gehrig and taking over 13th place on the all-time home run list. Larry Sorenson is the victim who gave up Reggie's milestone homer.
1988 - The first National Black Arts Festival opens in Atlanta, Georgia. The biennial festival includes over 50 architectural and art exhibits including the works of Romare Bearden, Edwin Harleston, Camille Billops, David Driskell, and over 140 others.
1994 - The first U.S. troops land in the Rwandan capital of Kigali to secure the airport for an expanded international aid effort.
1874 - Patrick Francis Healy, a Jesuit priest, is inaugurated as president of Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Healy is the first African American to head a predominantly white university and is credited with the modernization of the university's curriculum and the expansion of its campus.
1921 - Whitney Young, Jr. is born in Lincoln Ridge, Kentucky. He will become dean of Atlanta University's School of Social Work before becoming executive director of the National Urban League. As its leader during the 1960's, he will guide the organization through one of the most socially and politically active decades in America's history. A 1969 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Young will speak out against government and business' lack of commitment to African Americans. During a visit to Nigeria in 1971, he will join the ancestors after a swimming accident in Lagos.
1931 - Kenny Burrell is born in Detroit, Michigan. He will become a prolific composer and professional musician specializing in the guitar. For over forty years, he will be a jazz professional. Kenny, who will credit Charlie Christian, Oscar Moore, and Django Reinhardt as influences, as well as such bluesmen as T-Bone Walker and Muddy Waters, will play on his first major recording session in Detroit in 1951 with a Dizzy Gillespie combo that will include John Coltrane, Milt Jackson, and Percy Heath. Even though the young guitarist will keep heavy company, including that of such other up-and-coming Detroiters as Tommy Flanagan, Yusef Lateef, Pepper Adams, and Elvin Jones, he will remain in Detroit to study at Wayne State University, from which he will earn a B.A. in music composition and theory in 1955. He will also study classical guitar with Joseph Fava during that period and continue to employ finger-style and other techniques. After the mid-Sixties, he will lead his own group plus work in "All-Star" settings and will perform with college bands and orchestras. He will also perform with professional orchestras such as the Detroit Symphony and the Buffalo Philharmonic.
1938 - New York Yankees suspend Jake Powell, after he says on Chicago radio that he would "hit every colored person in Chicago over the head with a club".
1960 - At a New York City meeting of the Nation of Islam, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad calls for the creation of a black state in America.
1962 - Wesley Snipes is born in Orlando, Florida. After growing up in the Bronx, New York City, he will become a film actor starring in films such as "New Jack City," "Jungle Fever," "Passenger 57," "Demolition Man," "Money Train," "Rising Sun," "Major League," "Sugar Hill," "White Men Can't Jump," and "King of New York."
1969 - Racially motivated disturbances in Baton Rouge cause the governor of Louisiana to mobilize the National Guard.
1981 - Attorney Arnette R. Hubbard is installed as the first woman president of the National Bar Association, the largest national group of African American attorneys, legal scholars, and jurists. Hubbard is a graduate of John Marshall Law School in Chicago and past president of the Cook County Bar Association.
1985 - Prince is big at the box-office with the autobiographical story of the Minneapolis rock star -- "Purple Rain." The film grosses $7.7 million in its first three days of release on 917 movie screens. The album of the same name is, at the time, the top LP in the United States, as well.
1988 - Willie Stargell, formerly of the Pittsburgh Pirates, becomes the 200th man inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, New York.
1990 - Shoal Creek, a private club in Birmingham, Alabama, that drew criticism for being all-white, announces it had accepted a Black businessman as an honorary member.
Updated by K. Ferguson Kelly: July 19, 2004