16 -30 November in Black History
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1873 - William Christopher Handy is born in Florence, Alabama. He will be best known as a composer and blues musician and earn the nickname "Father of the Blues." Among his most noteworthy compositions will be "Memphis Blues," "St. Louis Blues," and "Beale Street Blues." He will also form a music publishing company with Harry Pace and become one of the most important influences in African-American music. His 1941 autobiography, "Father of the Blues," will be a sourcebook and reference on this uniquely African-American musical style. W.C. Handy will join the ancestors on March 28, 1958 in New York City, the same year "The St. Louis Blues", an biographical movie of his life debuted.
1873 - Richard T. Greener, who was the first African American graduate of Harvard University, is named professor of metaphysics at the University of South Carolina.
1873 - African Americans win three state offices in the Mississippi election: Alexander K. Davis, Lieutenant governor; James Hill, secretary of state; T.W. Cardozo, superintendent of education. African Americans win 55 of the 115 seats in the house and 9 out of 37 seats in the senate, 42 per cent of the total number.
1930 - Chinua Achebe is born in Ogidi, Nigeria. He will become the internationally acclaimed author of the novel "Things Fall Apart," among others.
1931 - Hubert Sumlin is born on a farm near Greenwood, Mississippi. Sumlin will leave home at seventeen to tour clubs and taverns throughout the South with his childhood friend James Cotton. The Jimmy Cotton band will record for the Sun label in Memphis from 1950 to 1953. In 1954, Sumlin will join the Howlin' Wolf band and move to Chicago. It will be Howlin' Wolf who mentors Sumlin, prodding and encouraging him to find his own style and develop as a performer. He will perform with Howlin' Wolf for twenty five years.
1962 - Wilt Chamberlain of the NBA San Francisco Warriors scores 73 points against the New York Knicks.
1963 - Zina Garrison, professional tennis player (1988 Olympic Gold, Bronze), is born in Houston, Texas.
1964 - Dwight Gooden, professional baseball pitcher (New York Mets), is born. "The Doctor" will set the record for most strikeouts in a rookie season and become Rookie of the Year in 1984. He also will become the youngest to achieve that award. He will receive the Cy Young Award in 1985.
1967 - A one-man showing of 48 paintings by Henry O. Tanner is presented at the Grand Central Galleries in New York City. The presentation of the canvases, not in the best of condition, is criticized by The New York Times as an "injustice to a proud man."
1967 - Lisa Bonet, actress ("The Cosby Show", "A Different World", "Angel Heart", Bank Robber", "New Eden", "Dead Connection") is born in San Francisco, California.
1972 - The Louisiana National Guard mobilizes after police officers kill two students during demonstrations at Southern University.
1975 - Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears rushes for 105 yards in a game against the San Francisco '49ers. It will be Payton's first game of 100 plus yards. He will repeat this feat over 50 times throughout his career and add two 200-yard games.
1989 - South African President F.W. de Klerk announces the scrapping of the Separate Amenities Act, opening up the country's beaches to all races.
1996 - Texaco agrees to pay $176.9 million dollars to settle a two-year old race discrimination class action suit
1998 - The Supreme Court rules that union members can file
discrimination lawsuits against employers even when labor contracts require
1842 - Fugitive slave George Latimer, is captured in Boston. His capture leads to the first of the fugitive slave cases which strain relationships between the North and South. Boston abolitionists will raise money to purchase Latimer from his slave owner.
1911 - Omega Psi Phi Fraternity is founded on the campus of Howard University.
1945 - Elvin Hayes, NBA star and Basketball Hall of Famer - "The Big E" (San Diego, Houston Rockets, Baltimore Bullets; 5th on list of most games played in ABA/NBA; University of Houston, All America in 1967 and 1968), is born.
1956 - Fullback Jim Brown of Syracuse University scores 43 pts against Colgate, establishing a NCAA record.
1967 - Ronnie DeVoe, rhythm and blues singer (New Edition; Bell Biv DeVoe), is born.
1978 - Two FBI agents testify before the House Select Committee on Assassinations that the bureau's long-term surveillance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was based solely on J. Edgar Hoover's "hatred of the civil rights leader" and not on the civil rights leader's alleged communist influences or linkages with radical groups.
1980 - Howard University's WHMM-TV starts broadcasting. It is the first African American-owned public-broadcasting television station.
1990 - Itabari Njeri receives the American Book Award for Outstanding Contribution in American Literature for her book, "Every Good-bye Ain't Gone." Also honored is poet Sonia Sanchez, who receives a lifetime achievement award.
1998 - Representative James Clyburn (D-SC) is elected as chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus. He is the first Southerner to head the group, since it was founded in 1971. He had been first elected to Congress in 1992, the first African American to represent South Carolina since Reconstruction.
1998 - Esther Rolle, the Emmy Award-winning actress, who won
acclaim on the hit CBS sitcom "Good Times" as well as on stage and in the
movies, joins the ancestors at her home in Los Angeles, at the age of 78.
1797 - Abolitionist and orator, Sojourner Truth, is born a New York slave on the plantation of Johannes Hardenbergh. Her given name is Isabelle VanWagener (some references use the name Isabelle Baumfree). She will walk away from her last owner one year prior to being freed by a New York law in 1827, which proclaimed that all slaves twenty-eight years of age and over were to be freed. Several years later, in response to what she describes as a command from God, she becomes an itinerant preacher and takes the name Sojourner Truth. Among her most memorable appearances will be at an 1851 women's rights conference in Akron, Ohio. In her famous "Ain't I a woman?" speech she forcefully attacks the hypocrisies of organized religion, white privilege and everything in between.
1900 - Howard Thurman is born in Daytona Beach, Florida. A theologian who studied at Morehouse with Martin L. King, Sr., he will found the interracial Church of Fellowship of All Peoples. The first African American to hold a full-time faculty position at Boston University (in 1953), Dr. Thurman will write 22 books and become widely regarded as one of the greatest spiritual leaders of the 20th century.
1936 - Hank Ballard is born in Detroit, Michigan. He will become a prolific songwriter as well as a major rhythm and blues singer. He will perform with his group, The Midnighters, and make the following songs popular: "There's A Thrill Upon The Hill"(Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go), "The Twist"(made famous later by Chubby Checker), "Finger Poppin' Time", "Work with Me Annie", "Sexy Ways", and "Annie Had a Baby".
1949 - Jackie Robinson, of the Brooklyn Dodgers, is named the National League's Most Valuable Player.
1956 - Warren Moon, professional football player (Minnesota Vikings, Houston Oilers, and Seattle Seahawks quarterback), is born.
1964 - The head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, J. Edgar
Hoover, describes Martin Luther King as a "most notorious liar". This statement
is indicative of the agency head's dislike of the civil rights leader.
1969 - The National Association of Health Services Executives is incorporated. NAHSE's goal is to elevate the quality of health-care services rendered to poor and disadvantaged communities.
1975 - Calvin Murphy of the Houston Rockets, ends the NBA free throw streak at 58 games.
1977 - Robert Edward Chambliss, a former KKK member, is convicted of first-degree murder in connection with the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, that killed four African American teenage girls.
1978 - The NAACP's Spingarn Medal is presented to Ambassador
Andrew J. Young "in recognition of the deftness with which he has handled
relations between this nation and other countries" and "for his major role in
raising the consciousness of American citizens to the significance in world
affairs of the massive African continent."
1980 - Wally "Famous" Amos' signature Panama hat and embroidered shirt are donated to the National Museum of American History's Business Americana collection. It is the first memorabilia added to the collection by an African American entrepreneur and recognizes the achievement of Amos, who built his company from a mom-and-pop enterprise to a $250 million cookie manufacturing business.
1983 - "Sweet Honey in the Rock," a capella singers, perform their 10th anniversary reunion concert in Washington, DC.
1994 - Bandleader Cab Calloway joins the ancestors in Hockessin,
Delaware, at age 86.
1867 - South Carolina citizens endorse a constitutional
convention and select delegates. 66,418 African Americans and 2350 whites vote
for the convention and 2278 whites vote against holding a convention. The total
vote cast is 71,046. Not a single African American votes against the convention.
1915 - William "Billy" Strayhorn is born in Dayton, Ohio. He will write his first song, "Lush Life," when he is 16 while working as a soda jerk in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He will join Duke Ellington as a co-composer, assistant arranger, and pianist, where he will collaborate with Ellington for 28 years on some of the band's greatest hits. Among Strayhorn's compositions will be "Satin Doll," and "Take the 'A' Train."
1921 - Roy Campanella is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He will become one of the first African-American baseball players signed to major league ball after Jackie Robinson breaks the color line. Campanella will play for the Brooklyn Dodgers and be the National League's Most Valuable Player in 1951, 1953, and 1955. He was given the second MVP award in 1953 on his birthday.
1949 - Ahmad Rashad, is born in Portland, Oregon. Rashad will be a first-round draft choice of the St. Louis Football Cardinals in 1972. He will go on to play for Buffalo and Seattle before settling in Minnesota in 1976 and playing the next seven seasons for the Vikings. Rashad will hold the Viking career reception lead (400) and be second in reception yardage. Overall, Rashad will have 495 receptions in 10 seasons. Rashad -- who played his college football at the University of Oregon -- will be inducted into the state of Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1987 and the University of Oregon Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992. He will also be the author of a book, "Rashad: Vikes, Mikes, and Something on the Backside," published by Viking Press. During the summer of 1991, he will expand his broadcasting resume by handling television play-by-play for the Seattle Seahawks pre-season football games.
1955 - Carmen de Lavellade begins a contract for three seasons as a dancer with the Metropolitan Opera.
1957 - Otis J. Anderson, NFL running back (NY Giants, 1990 Superbowl MVP), is born.
1984 - Dwight Gooden, of the New York Mets, at 20 years old, becomes the youngest major-league pitcher to be named Rookie of the Year in the National League. The Mets pitcher led the majors with 276 strikeouts.
1985 - Comedic character actor Stepin Fetchit, born Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry joins the ancestors at the age of 83.
1865 - African Americans hold a protest convention in Zion Church in Charleston, South Carolina and demand equal rights and repeal of the "Black Codes."
1878 - Charles Sidney Gilpin, is born in Richmond, Virginia. In the early 1920s, Gilpin will secure his place in American theater history by creating the title --and only major -- role in Eugene O'Neill's' "The Emperor Jones." Gilpin's portrayal in the long one-act play becomes a box-office sensation in New York's Greenwich Village. The play and its principal actor transferred to Broadway and later went on tour. After the post-Broadway tour, which played Richmond to great acclaim, Gilpin's insistence on eliminating racial epithets from the play angered O'Neill. O'Neill, who at one time was said to be writing a play especially for Gilpin, will cast budding actor Paul Robeson in the London production of Emperor Jones. Robeson will also play Jones on film. Except for Ira Aldridge, who lived and performed mostly in Europe before the Civil War, Gilpin was the first African American to be widely lauded as a serious actor on America's mainstream stage. He will lose his voice in 1929 and join the ancestors at his home in Eldridge, New Jersey in 1930.
1910 - Pauli Murray is born. A lawyer and author of "Song in a Weary Throat," "Proud Shoes," and "Dark Testament and Other Poems," she will also be a powerful theologian and the first African American woman priest to be ordained in the Episcopal Church.
1922 - The NAACP's Spingarn Medal is awarded to Mary B. Talbert, the former president of the National Association of Colored Women, for service to African American women and for the restoration of the Frederick Douglas home in Southeast Washington, DC.
1923 - Garrett A. Morgan receives a patent for his three-way traffic signal. The device, which will revolutionize traffic control, is one of many inventions for the Paris, Kentucky, native, which include a hair-straightening process and the gas mask.
1939 - Morgan State College is established in Baltimore, Maryland, succeeding Morgan State Biblical College, founded in 1857.
1962 - President John F. Kennedy issues an executive order barring racial discrimination in federally financed housing.
1962 - The NAACP's Spingarn Medal is awarded to Robert C. Weaver, economist and government official, for his leadership in the movement for open housing.
1969 - Pele', the Brazilian soccer star, scores his 1,000th soccer goal.
1973 - The gravesite of Mary Seacole, a Jamaican nurse who served in the Crimean War, is restored in England. Traveling to the battlefield at her own expense, when her expert services are rejected by English authorities and Florence Nightingale, Seacole opens her own nursing hotel, which she operates by day, serving as a volunteer with Nightingale at night. Seacole's skills saved the lives of many soldiers wounded during the war or infected with malaria, cholera, yellow fever, and other illnesses.
1977 - Walter Payton, of the Chicago Bears, rushes for NFL-record 275 yards in one game.
1981 - The Negro Ensemble Company's production of Charles Fuller's "A Soldier's Play" opens the Theatre Four. The play will win a New York Drama Critics Award for best American play and the Pulitzer Prize.
1997 - A.C. Green sets the NBA "Iron Man" record for consecutive
games played at 907 games. The previous record had stood for fifteen years.
Iron Men from professional baseball and professional hockey were present at
courtside to observe the record-breaking performance.
1654 - Richard Johnson, a free African American, is granted 550 acres in Northampton County, Virginia.
1784 - James Armistead is cited by French General Lafayette for his valuable service to the American forces in the Revolutionary War. Armistead, who was born into slavery 24 years earlier, had worked as a double agent for the Americans while supposedly employed as a servant of British General Cornwallis.
1865 - Shaw University is founded in Raleigh, North Carolina.
1878 - Marshall "Major" Taylor is born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He will become an international cycling star who will be the first native-born African American to win a national sports title. During his career, Taylor will win over 100 professional races and one-on-one matches in the U.S. and nine other countries.
1893 - Granville T. Woods, inventor, receives a patent for the "Electric Railway Conduit."
1904 - Coleman Hawkins is born in St. Joseph, Missouri. He will virtually create the presence of the tenor saxophone in jazz.
1918 - Henry B. Delany is elected saffragan bishop of the Protestant Episcopal diocese of North Carolina.
1944 - Earl "the Pearl" Monroe, NBA Guard (New York Knicks, Baltimore Bullets), is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1984 - TransAfrica's Randall Robinson, DC congressional delegate Walter Fauntroy, and U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Mary Frances Berry are arrested at a sit-in demonstration in front of the South African Embassy in Washington, DC. Their demonstration against apartheid will be repeated and spread to New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and other cities, and involve such notables as Jesse Jackson, Arthur Ashe, Harry Belafonte, and Stevie Wonder. Their efforts will play a large part in the passage of the Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, which will impose economic sanctions against South Africa.
1865 - The Mississippi legislature enacts "Black Codes" which restrict the rights and freedom of movement of the freedmen. The Black Codes enacted in Mississippi and other Southern states virtually re-enslave the freedmen. In some states, any white person could arrest any African American. In other states, minor officials could arrest African American "vagrants" and "refractory and rebellious Negroes" and force them to work on roads and levees without pay. "Servants" in South Carolina were required to work from sunrise to sunset, to be quiet and orderly and go to bed at "reasonable hours." It was a crime in Mississippi for Blacks to own farm land. In South Carolina, African Americans have to get a special license to work outside the domestic and farm laborer categories.
1871 - Louisiana Lt. Governor Oscar J. Dunn, joins the ancestors suddenly in the midst of a bitter struggle for control of the state government. Dunn aides charge that he was poisoned.
1884 - T. Thomas Fortune founds the "New York Freeman", which later becomes the "New York Age."
1884 - The Philadelphia Tribune is founded by Christopher J. Perry.
1893 - Alrutheus Ambush Taylor, teacher and historian, is born. He will become Fisk University's Dean. He and other local African American historians will come under the influence of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who spoke in Nashville on several occasions. In 1941, Taylor will publish a Tennessee study from the African American perspective. Taylor titled his study, "The Negro in Tennessee, 1865-1880." Taylor's book will go beyond slavery and cover Reconstruction history and various aspects of African American life, including business and politics.
1930 - The Nation of Islam is founded in Detroit.
1942 - Guion S. Bluford, Jr. is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He will become a Colonel in the United States Air Force, an astronaut and the first African-American to fly in space (four times - STS 8, STS 61A, STS 39, STS 53).
1957 - The Miles Davis Quintet debuts with a jazz concert at Carnegie Hall in New York.
1961 - Frank Robinson becomes the first baseball player to be named "Most Valuable Player" in both major leagues.
1965 - Muhammad Ali defeats Floyd Patterson. Ali, a recent convert to the Muslim faith, taunts the former champ and ends the fight in 12 rounds to win the world heavyweight title.
1968 - A portrait of Frederick Douglass appears on the cover of Life magazine. The cover story, "Search for a Black Past," will be the first in a four-part series of stories in which the magazine examines African-Americans, a review of the last 50 years of struggle and interviews with Jesse Jackson, Julian Bond, Eldridge Cleaver, Dick Gregory, and others.
1986 - 24 year-old George Branham wins the Brunswick Memorial World Open. It is the first time an African American wins a Professional Bowlers Association title.
1986 - Mike Tyson, 20 years, 4 months old, becomes the youngest to wear the world heavyweight boxing crown after knocking out Trevor Berbick in Las Vegas.
1988 - Bob Watson is named assistant general manager of the Houston Astros, the team where he began his professional
career in 1965. One of a select few African American assistant general managers in the sport, Watson's spikes hang in
the Baseball Hall of Fame for scoring baseball's 1,000,000th run in 1976.
1867 - The Louisiana constitutional convention (forty-nine white delegates and forty-nine African American delegates) meets in Mechanics Institute in New Orleans, Louisiana.
1897 - J.L. Love receives a patent for the pencil sharpener.
1897 - Andrew J. Beard receives a patent for the "jerry coupler," still is use today to connect railroad cars.
1905 - Henry Watson Furness, an Indiana physician, is named minister to Haiti. He will be the last African American minister to Haiti during this period in history.
1934 - "Imitation of Life" premieres in New York City. Starring Claudette Colbert, Louise Beavers, and Fredi Washington, it is the story of a white woman and an African American woman who build a pancake business while the latter's daughter makes a desperate attempt to pass for white.
1965 - Mike Garrett, a University of Southern California running back with 4,876 total yards and 3,221 yards rushing, is announced as the Downtown Athletic Club's Heisman Trophy winner of 1965. He is the University of Southern California's first Heisman Trophy winner. He will go on to play eight years in the pros, first with the Kansas City Chiefs and later with the San Diego Chargers, and be elected to the National Football Hall of Fame in 1985.
1980 - One thousand persons from twenty five states gather in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and form the National Black Independent Party.
1988 - Al Raby, the civil rights leader who convinced Martin Luther King, Jr. to bring his movement to Chicago, joins the ancestors after suffering a heart attack.
1988 - South African President Pieter Botha gives a reprieve to the Sharpeville Six.
1991 - Evander Holyfield retains the heavyweight boxing title, by KO
over Bert Cooper in the seventh round.
1868 - Scott Joplin, originator of ragtime music, is born in Texarkana, Texas.
1874 - Robert B. Elliott is elected Speaker of the lower house of the South Carolina legislature.
1880 - Southern University is established in New Orleans, Louisiana.
1880 - More than 150 delegates from Baptist Churches in eleven states organize the Baptist Foreign Mission Convention of the United States at a meeting in Montgomery, Alabama. The Rev. William H. McAlphine is elected president.
1883 - Edwin Bancroft Herson is born in Washington, DC. He will become a pioneering physical education instructor, coach, and organizer of the Negro Athletic Association, and the Colored Inter-Collegiate Athletic Association. Inducted into the Black Sports Hall of Fame in 1974, he will be widely considered "the Father of Black Sports."
1935 - Ronald V. Dellums is born in Oakland, California. He will become a Berkeley city councilman, where he will be a vocal champion for minority and disadvantaged communities. In 1970, he will stage a successful campaign for the 9th district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Among his leadership roles will be Chairman of the District of Columbia Committee.
1938 - Oscar Robertson is born in Charlotte, Tennessee. He will attend the University of Cincinnati, where he will be a
two-time NCAA Player of the Year and three-time All-American. He will go on
to play for fourteen years in the NBA (Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks) and earn All-NBA honors 11 times and lead the
Royals and the Bucks to ten playoff berths. Robinson, along with Lew Alcinder (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), will lead the Bucks to
their only NBA Championship. Robertson will conclude his career with 26,710 points (25.7 per game), 9,887 assists (9.5 per game)
and 7,804 rebounds (7.5 per game). He will be voted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979, following his retirement
in 1974 and be voted one of "The 50 Greatest Players in NBA History".
1841 - Thirty-five survivors of the "Amistad" return home to Africa.
1922 - Marcus Garvey electrifies a crowd at Liberty Hall in New York City as he states the goals and principles of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA): "We represent peace, harmony, love, human sympathy, human rights and human justice... we are marshaling the four hundred million Negroes of the world to fight for the emancipation of the race and for the redemption of the country of our fathers." 1935 - Namahyoke Sokum Curtis, who led a team of 32 African Americans to nurse yellow fever victims during the Spanish-American War, joins the ancestors. She will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
1941 - Annie Mae Bullock is born in Nutbush, Tennessee. She will meet Ike Turner in the early 1950's at a St. Louis, Missouri club. Soon after, she will begin singing with his band on occasional engagements, and in 1959, form the Ike and Tina Turner Revue. After separating from Ike and the band, she will build an even more successful career on her own, which will include the multi-platinum album, "Private Dancer" and five Grammy awards.
1949 - Dr. Ralph J. Bunche receives the Spingarn Medal for his contributions to the Myrdal study and his achievements as UN mediator in the Palestine conflict.
1949 - The St. Louis chapter of CORE presses a sit-in campaign designed to end segregation in downtown St. Louis facilities.
1955 - The Interstate Commerce Commission bans segregation in interstate travel. The law affects buses and trains as well as terminals and waiting rooms.
1987 - Harold Washington, the first African American mayor of Chicago, Illinois, joins the ancestors, in office at the age of 65.
1997 - Legendary Eddie Robinson, of Grambling State University, coaches his last game as head coach. This will close out a career spanning 57 years. He has the NCAA record for wins at 402. The closest to Eddie Robinson's record is 'Bear' Bryant of the University of Alabama at 323 wins.
1998 - Comedian Flip Wilson joins the ancestors in Malibu, California, at the age of 64.
1866 - Rust College is founded in Holly Springs, Mississippi.
1872 - Macon B. Allen is elected judge of the Lower Court of Charleston, South Carolina. Allen, the first African American lawyer, becomes the second African American to hold a major judicial position and the first African American with a major judicial position on the municipal level.
1883 - Sojourner Truth, women's rights advocate, poet, and freedom fighter, joins the ancestors in Battle Creek, Michigan.
1890 - Savannah State College is founded in Savannah, Georgia.
1968 - O.J. Simpson is named Heisman Trophy winner for 1968. A running back for the University of Southern California, Simpson amassed a total of 3,187 yards in 18 games and scored 33 touchdowns in two seasons. He will play professional football with the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers and be equally well known as a sportscaster and actor.
1970 - Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. the first African American general in the U.S military, joins the ancestors at the age of 93 in Chicago, Illinois.
1970 - Charles Gordone is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his play, "No Place To Be Somebody."
1970 - Painter, Jacob Lawrence is awarded the Spingarn Medal "in tribute to the compelling power of his work which has opened to the world...a window on the Negro's condition in the United States" and "in salute to his unswerving commitment" to the Black struggle.
1986 - Scatman Crothers, actor, who is best known for his role as "Louie" on TV's "Chico & the Man", joins the ancestors at the age of 76.
1942 - Johnny Allen Hendrix is born in Seattle, Washington. Hendrix's father, James "Al" Hendrix, later changes his son's name to James Marshall. James Marshall Hendrix will be best known as Jimi Hendrix, leader of the influential rock group, The Jimi Hendrix Experience. His music will influence such groups as "Earth, Wind, and Fire," "Living Colour," and "Sting."
1951 - Sixteen-year-old Hosea Richardson becomes the first licensed African American jockey to ride on the Florida circuit.
1957 - Dorothy Height, YMCA official, is elected president of the National Council of Negro Women.
1964 - Robin Givens is born in New York City. She will become an actress and will star in "Head of the Class," and "A Rage in Harlem," "Michael Jordan: An American Hero," "Blankman," "Foreign Student," "Boomerang," "The Women of Brewster Place," and "Beverly Hills Madam."
1968 - Eldridge Cleaver, Minister of Information for the Black Panther Party, becomes a fugitive from justice as a parole violator.
1989 - Jennifer Lawson assumes her duties as Executive Vice President for National Programming and Promotion Services at the Public Broadcasting Service. The Alabama native is the chief programming executive for PBS, determining which programs are seen on the network. She is the first woman to hold such a position at a major television network.
1990 - Charles Johnson wins the National Book Award for his
novel "Middle Passage." He is the fourth African American to win the award,
formerly called the American Book Award.
1868 - John Sengstacke Abbott is born in Frederica, Georigia. The son of former slaves, he will attend Hampton Institute and prepare himself for the printing trade. He will also go on to law school, and will work as an attorney for a few years, but will change careers to become a journalist. He will found the Chicago Defender, a weekly newspaper on May 6, 1905. He will start the paper on $25, and in the beginning, operate it out of his kitchen. Under his direction, the Defender will become the most widely circulated African American newspaper of its time and a leading voice in the fight against racism. He will cultivate a controversial, aggressive style, reporting on such issues as violence against blacks and police brutality. The Defender will raise eyebrows with its anti-lynching slogan - "If you must die, take at least one with you," its opposition to a segregated Colored Officers Training Camp in Fort Des Moines, Iowa in 1917, and its condemnation of Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). Through the Defender, he will also play a major role in the "Great Migration" of many African Americans from the South to Chicago. He will join the ancestors on February 22, 1940.
1871 - The Ku Klux Klan trials begin in Federal District Court in South Carolina.
1907 - Charles Alston is born in Charlotte, North Carolina. After studying at Columbia University and Pratt Institute, he will travel to Europe and the Caribbean, execute murals for Harlem Hospital and Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company in Los Angeles, earning the National Academy of Design Award, and the First Award of the Atlanta University Collection's 1942 show for his watercolor painting, "Farm Boy". As a teacher, he will teach at the Harlem Community Art Center, Harlem Art Workshop, and Pennsylvania State University. He will be an associate professor of painting at The City University of New York and a muralist for the WPA during the Depression. His two-panel mural of that period, "Magic and Medicine," can be seen at Harlem Hospital.
1929 - Berry Gordy is born in Detroit, Michigan. He will become the founder and president of Motown Records, the most successful African American-owned record company. Gordy's "Motown Sound" will become synonymous with the 1960's and will launch the careers of Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Jackson Five, and many others.
1942 - Richard Wright, author of "Native Son" and "Black Boy", joins the ancestors in Paris, France at the age of 52.
1942 - Paul Warfield is born in Warren, Ohio. He will become an wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins. Over his career, he will catch 427 passes for 8,565 yards and 85 touchdowns. He will have a sensational 20.1-yard per catch average and will be All-NFL five years. He also will be named to eight Pro Bowls. He will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983.
1958 - Chad, Congo, and & Mauritania become autonomous members of the French World Community.
1960 - Mauritania gains independence from France.
1961 - The Downtown Athletic Club awards the Heisman Trophy to Ernie Davis, a halfback from Syracuse University. He is the first African American to win the award.
1966 - A coup occurs in Burundi overthrowing the monarchy. A republic is declared as a replacement form of government.
1981 - Pam McAllister Johnson is named as publisher of Gannett's Ithaca (New York) Journal. She is the first African American woman to head a general circulation newspaper in the United States.
1992 - In King William's Town, South Africa, four people are
killed, about 20 injured, when black militant gunmen attack a country club.
1905 - The Chicago Defender, an African American newspaper, begins publication.
1907 - Thomas C. Fleming is born in Jacksonville, Florida. He will become the co-founder of the San Francisco Sun Reporter, an African American weekly newspaper. Mr. Fleming will be active, as a writer for the paper, from its inception in 1944 through the end of the century. He will chronicle his life as an African in America through his series, "Reflections on Black History," published in his 90's, while still active as a journalist with his beloved Sun Reporter.
1908 - Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. is born in New Haven, Connecticut. Son of the famed minister of Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church, the younger Powell will be a civil rights activist, using mass meetings and strikes to force employment reforms. In 1944, Powell will be elected to Congress and begin what will be considered a controversial congressional career. Among his early actions will be the desegregation of eating facilities in the House and an unrelenting fight to end discrimination in the armed forces, employment, housing, and transportation. Later in his career, his questionable activities while chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor will result in his expulsion from Congress, re-election and eventual return to his seat.
1935 - Two-term congressman from North Carolina, Henry Plummer Cheatham joins the ancestors in Oxford, North Carolina. Cheatham was the only African American member of Congress during the 1890 term.
1943 - David Bing is born in Washington, DC. He will be selected No. 2 in the 1966 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons, and play 12 years in the NBA. He will be inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 1990, and named one of the top 50 basketball players of all time.
1961 - Freedom Riders are attacked by white mob at bus station in McComb, Mississippi.
1964 - Don Cheadle is born in Kansas City, Missouri. He will become an actor and star in movies such as "Boogie Nights", "Rebound", "Hamburger Hill", and "Devil in a Blue Dress". He will also be successful on the small screen in "Picket Fences", "Golden Palace" and a variety of guest appearances.
1989 - The space shuttle Discovery lands after completing a secret military mission. The mission was led by Air Force Colonel Frederick D. Gregory, the first African American commander of a space shuttle mission.
1869 - John Roy Lynch is elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives.
1912 - Gordon Parks, Sr. is born in Fort Scott, Kansas. In the late 1930's, while working as a railroad porter, he will become interested in photography and launch his career as a photographer and photojournalist. From 1943 to 1945, he will be a correspondent for the Office of War Information, giving national exposure to his work. This will lead to him becoming a staff photographer for Life magazine in 1948. He will branch off into film and television in the 1950's and in 1968 will produce, direct, and write the script and music for the production of his book, "The Learning Tree." He will also direct and write the music scores for the movies "Shaft," "Shaft's Big Score," The Super Cops," "Leadbelly," "Odyssey of Solomon Northrup" and "Moments Without Proper Names." He will also direct "Superfly," "Three The Hard Way," "Aaron Loves Angela," and be called a "Twentieth Century Renaissance Man" by the NAACP, who will award him its Spingarn Medal in 1972. The Library of Congress will honor him in 1982 with the National Film Registry Classics designation for his film, "The Learning Tree."
1924 - Shirley Anita St. Hill (later Chisholm) is born in Brooklyn, New York. While an education consultant for New York City's day-care division, she will become active in community and political activities that included the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and her district's Unity Democratic Club. She will begin her political career at the age of 40, when she is elected to the state assembly. In 1968, she will be the first African American woman elected to Congress, defeating civil-rights leader James Farmer, who had asserted in his campaign that African American voters needed "a man's voice in Washington." She will run for President in 1972 and continue her Congressional duties until 1982.
1933 - Sam Gilliam is born in Tupelo, Mississippi. He will become an artist known for his unique manipulation of materials that result in painted sculpture or suspended paintings. His work will be shown at the 36th Venice Miennale as well as in the exhibit "African-American Artists 1880-1987."
1937 - Robert Guillaume (Williams) is born in St. Louis, Missouri. He will become an actor and be best known for his roles in the sit-coms "Soap" and "Benson".
1944 - Luther Ingram is born in Jackson, Mississippi. He will become a rhythm and blues musician and singer and will be best known for the song, "(If Lovin' You is Wrong) I Don't Want to be Right."
1948 - The Negro National League (Professional Baseball) officially disbands. Although black teams will continue to play for several years, they will no longer be major league caliber. The demise of the Negro Leagues was inevitable as the younger black players were signed by the white major league franchises.
1953 - Albert Michael Espy is born in Yazoo City, Mississippi. In 1987, he will be sworn in as the state's first African American congressman since John Roy Lynch more than 100 years before. He will become Secretary of Agriculture during the Bill Clinton administration. Leaving the cabinet under fire and indicted for corruption, he will later be vindicated when he is found not guilty.
1956 - Archie Moore is defeated by Floyd Patterson, as Patterson wins the heavyweight boxing title vacated by the retired Rocky Marciano. At the age of 21, Patterson becomes the youngest boxer to be named heavyweight champion.
1962 - Bo Jackson is born in Bessemer, Alabama. The 1985 Heisman Trophy winner will be one of the few professional athletes to play in two sports - football and baseball.
1965 - Judith Jamison makes her debut with Alvin Ailey's American Dance Theatre in Chicago, dancing in Talley Beaty's Congo Tango Palace. Jamison will rejoin the company in 1988 as artistic associate due to the failing health of Alvin Ailey. She will become the company's artistic director in 1989 upon Ailey's death.
1966 - Barbados gains its independence from Great Britain.
1975 - The state of Dahomey becomes the People's Republic of Benin.
1981 - The NAACP's Spingarn Medal is awarded to Coleman A. Young "in recognition of his singular accomplishments as mayor of the City of Detroit."
1990 - Ruth Washington, long-time publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel, joins the ancestors. Following the death of her husband Chester, Washington acted as publisher of the weekly newspaper, founded in 1933, for sixteen years.
Updated by K. Ferguson Kelly: November 30, 2003