Today April 23rd in Black History

* Today in Black History – April 23 *

1856 – Granville Tailer Woods is born in Columbus, Ohio. He will
become an inventor of steam boilers, furnaces, incubators
and auto air brakes and holder of over 50 patents. He will
become the first American of African ancestry to be a
mechanical and electrical engineer after the Civil War.
Self-taught, he will concentrate most of his work on trains
and streetcars. One of his notable inventions will be the
Multiplex Telegraph, a device that sends messages between
train stations and moving trains. His work will assure a
safer and better public transportation system for the
cities of the United States. He will join the ancestors on
January 30, 1910.

1872 – Charlotte E. Ray becomes the first African American woman
lawyer in ceremonies held in Washington, DC admitting her
to practice before the bar. She had received her law degree
from Howard University on February 27.

1894 – Jimmy Noone is born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He will
become a jazz clarinetist and a major influence on the
swing music of the 1930’s and 1940’s. He will be a band
leader and be best known as the leader of “Jimmy Noone’s
Apex Club Orchestra.” Two of the people most influenced by
Jimmy Noone’s style will be Benny Goodman and Jimmy Dorsey.
He will join the ancestors after suffering a fatal heart
attack, while performing with “Kid” Ory on April 19, 1944.

1895 – Jorge Mateus Vicente Lima is born in Alagoas, Brazil. He
will become a poet, novelist, essayist, painter, doctor,
and politician. He will become best known as a writer,
manipulating Brazilian subjects, at the same time analyzing
Afro-Brazilian culture and heritage. He will become a
fixture in the Brazilian experience during the 1920’s. Even
though he became a physician, he will exhibit his talents
as a writer in writings from his youth. His most famous
writing will be a poem,”Essa Nega Fulo” (That Black Girl
Fulo), written in 1928. The poem will explore the dynamics
between a slave master, the slave and her mistress. He
will join the ancestors in 1953 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

1898 – Alfredo da Rocha Viana Jr. is born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
He will become a composer and bandleader best known as
“Pixinguinha.” By the time he was a teenager, he will be
respected for his talent as a flutist. After traveling with
his first band to France in 1922, he will open the door of
Brazilian music to the world. He will be credited with
assisting to invent the “samba.” He is generally referred
to as the King of Samba and the Father of Musica Popular
Brasileira. He will join the ancestors on February 17, 1973
in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

1913 – The National Urban League is incorporated in New York City.
The organization is founded in 1910 when the Committee on
Urban Conditions Among Negroes met in New York to discuss
means to assist rural African Americans in the transition
to urban life. Founders include Mrs. Ruth Standish Baldwin
and Dr. George Edmund Haynes, who becomes the league’s
first executive director.

1941 – New Yorkers are treated to a performance of Cafi Society at
Carnegie Hall by a group of jazz artists that includes
Albert “Jug” Ammons, Hazel Scott, and Art Tatum. It also
marks the first performance of Helena (later Lena) Horne,
who sings “Summertime,” among other songs.

1944 – The NAACP Youth Council and Committee for Unity in Motion
Pictures selects its first Motion Picture Award recipients.
Given to honor actors whose roles advance the image of
African Americans in motion pictures, awards go to Rex
Ingram for “Sahara,” Lena Horne for “As Thousands Cheer,”
Leigh Whipper for “The Oxbow Incident” and “Mission to
Moscow,” Hazel Scott for her debut in “Something to Shout
About” and Dooley Wilson for his role as Sam in
“Casablanca,” among others. The awards will be the fore-
runner to the NAACP’s Image Awards.

1948 – Charles Richard Johnson in born in Evanston, Illinois. He
will become an novelist, essayist and screenwriter. He
will begin his career after graduating from the State
University of New York at Stonybrook with a Ph.D. in
philosophy. He will be mentored by W.E.B. Du Bois, Ralph
Ellison, Jean Toomer, Richard Wright and John Gardner. He
will be known for his works, “Middle Passage,” “Oxherding
Tale,” “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” and “Being and Race:
Black Writing Since 1970.” He will win the 1990 National
Book Award for “Middle Passage.”

1954 – Hammerin’ Hank Aaron, of the Milwaukee Braves, hits the
first of what will be 755 career home runs, in a game
against the St. Louis Cardinals. The score will be 7-5 in
favor of the Braves.

1955 – U.S. Supreme Court refuses to review a lower court decision
which would ban segregation in intrastate bus travel.

1964 – James Baldwin’s play, “Blues for Mr. Charlie” opens on
Broadway. Starring Al Freeman, Jr., Diana Sands, and
others, the play reveals the plight of African Americans in
the South.

1971 – Columbia University operations are virtually ended for the
year by African American and white students who seize five
buildings on campus.

1971 – William Tubman, president of Liberia, joins the ancestors at
the age of 76. He had been president of Liberia since

1998 – James Earl Ray, who confessed to assassinating the Rev.
Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 and then insisted he was
framed, dies at a Nashville hospital at age 70.

Today April 22nd in Black History

* Today in Black History – April 22 *

1526 – The first recorded slave revolt occurs in a settlement of
some five hundred Spaniards and one hundred slaves, located
on the Pedee River in what is now South Carolina.

1882 – Benjamin Griffith Brawley is born in Columbia, South
Carolina. He will become a prolific author and educator,
serving as a professor of English at Morehouse, Howard,
and Shaw universities. He will also serve as dean of
Morehouse. His books, among them “A Short History of the
American Negro” and “A New Survey of English Literature,”
will be landmark texts recommended at several colleges. He
will join the ancestors in 1939.

charles mingus1922 – Charles Mingus is born in Nogales, Arizona. Raised in Watts,
California, he will play double bass with Charlie Parker,
Duke Ellington, and Bud Powell before becoming a bandleader
and composer in his own right. Although not as popular as
Miles Davis or Ellington, Mingus, who also will play piano,
will be considered one of the principal forces in modern
jazz. He will join the ancestors in 1979 succumbing to Lou
Gehrig’s disease.

CharlesHouston1950 – Charles Hamilton Houston, architect of the NAACP legal
campaign, joins the ancestors in Washington, DC at the age
of 54.







1964 – A Trinity College student occupies the school administration
building to protest campus bias.

1964 – New York police arrest 294 civil rights demonstrators at the
opening of the World Fair.

1970 – Yale University students protest in support of the Black

1981 – The Joint Center for Political Studies reports that 2991
African Americans held elective offices in 45 states and
the District of Columbia, compared with 2621 in April, 1973,
and 1185 in 1969. The Center reports 108 African American
mayors. Michigan had the largest number of African American
elected officials (194), followed by Mississippi (191).

BR_Brazeal_Morehouse1981 – Brailsford Reese Brazeal, economist and former dean of
Morehouse College, joins the ancestors in Atlanta, Georgia,
at the age of 76.










HNewton1989 – Huey Newton, black activist and co-founder of the Black
Panther Party, joins the ancestors, after being killed at
age 47.










2000 – The Rev. R.F. Jenkins, a pastor active in civil-rights
organizations, who led his church for 25 years, joins the
ancestors in Omaha, Nebraska, after suffering a heart attack
at the age of 87. He was the first African American Lutheran
Church Missouri Synod minister in the Nebraska district. He
and his wife, Beatrice, had come to Omaha in 1954 after
serving pastorates in Alabama and North Carolina. He had
also previously served eight years as a faculty member at
Alabama Lutheran College. He had returned to his hometown of
Selma, Alabama, to take part in a civil-rights march in
1965. He served on the Omaha School District board from 1970
to 1976, and retired from the pulpit in 1979.

Today April 11th in Black History

* Today in Black History – April 11 *

1865 – President Lincoln recommends suffrage for African American veterans
and African Americans who are “very intelligent.”

1881 – Spelman College is founded with $100 and eleven former slaves
determined to learn to read and write. It is opened as the Atlanta
Baptist Female Seminary. The two female founders, Sophia B. Packard
and Harriet E. Giles are appalled by the lack of educational
opportunities for African American women at the time. They will
return to Boston determined to get support to change that and earned
what will prove to be the lifelong support of John D. Rockefeller,
who considers Spelman to be one of his family’s finest investments.
The name Spelman is adopted later in honor of Mrs. Rockefeller’s

1933 – William Anthony “Tony” Brown is born in Charleston, West Virginia.
He will become well known as executive producer, host, and moderator
of the Emmy-winning television series “Black Journal.” In 1971 he
will establish and become the first dean of Howard University’s School
of Communications, a post he will hold until 1974. In 2002, he will
be inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and
Sciences’ Silver Circle. He will become the dean of Hampton
University’s Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications
in 2004 and hold that position until 2009, when he will step down.

1955 – Roy Wilkins is elected the NAACP’s executive secretary following
the ancestral ascension of Walter White.

1956 – Singer Nat “King” Cole is attacked on the stage of a Birmingham
theater by white supremacists.

1966 – Emmett Ashford becomes the first African American major league
umpire, working in the American League. He had been the first
African American professional umpire in the minor leagues in

1967 – Harlem voters defy Congress and re-elect Congressman Adam Clayton
Powell Jr. after he had been expelled by the legislative body.

1968 – President Lyndon B. Johnson signs what will become known as the
1968 Housing Act, which outlaws discrimination in the sale,
rental, or leasing of 80% of the housing in the United States.
Passed by the Senate and submitted by the House to Johnson in
the aftermath of the King assassination, the bill also protects
civil rights workers and makes it a federal crime to cross state
lines for the purpose of inciting a riot.

1972 – Benjamin L. Hooks, a Memphis lawyer and Baptist minister, becomes
the first African American to be named to the Federal Communications

1979 – Idi Amin is deposed as president of Uganda. A combined force of
Tanzanian and Ugandan soldiers overthrew the dictator. Amin, who
attained power in 1971 after a coup against socialist-leaning
President Milton Obote, oversaw the killing of at least 100,000
people. It is believed that Idi Amin left Uganda to live in Saudi

1988 – Willie D. Burton becomes the first African American to win the
Oscar for sound when he receives the award for the movie “Bird.”

1997 – The Museum of African American History opens in Detroit. It will
become the largest of its kind in the world.

Today April 7th in Black History

* Today in Black History – April 7 *

1712 – A slave uprising in New York City results in the death of
nine whites. This is one of the first major revolt of
African slaves in the American colonies. After the
militia arrives, the uprising will be suppressed. As a
result of the action, twenty one slaves will be executed
and six others will commit suicide.

1867 – Johnson C. Smith University is founded in Charlotte, North

1872 – William Monroe Trotter is born in Chillicothe, Ohio. Editor
of the Boston “Guardian,” he will also be a militant civil
rights activist and adversary of Booker T. Washington and
his moderate politics.

1915 – Eleanora Fagan is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She will
become a jazz singer who will influence the course of
American popular singing, better known as Billie Holiday or
“Lady Day.” She will be best known for her songs, “Strange
Fruit,” “Lover Man,” and “God Bless the Child.” Although she
will enjoy limited popular appeal during her lifetime, her
impact on other singers will be profound. Troubled in life
by addiction, She will join the ancestors as a result of
drug and alcohol abuse on July 17,1959.

1922 – Ramon “Mongo” Santamaria is born in Havana, Cuba. He will
drop out of school to become a professional musician,
playing gigs at the legendary Tropicana Club in Havana. In
1950 Santamaria will move to New York, where he will hook
up with such Latin jazz greats as Perez Prado, Tito Puente
and Cal Tjader. In 1963 Santamaria will score his first Top
10 hit with the single “Watermelon Man,” written by then
bandmate Herbie Hancock. Santamaria will perform and record
steadily throughout the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. In 1977,
he will be awarded a Grammy for his album “Amancer.” In
1999 Rhino Records will release a double-CD retrospective
of Santamaria’s music, The Mongo Santamaria Anthology
1958-1995, culling his greatest work during those five
decades. He will be considered one of the most influential
percussionists of his generation. He will join the ancestors
in Miami, Florida on February 1, 2003.

1934 – William Monroe Trotter joins the ancestors in Boston,
Massachusetts at the age of sixty-two.

1938 – Trumpeter Frederick Dewayne “Freddie” Hubbard is born in
Indianapolis, Indiana. From a musical family, he will play
four instruments in his youth and will later play with “Slide”
Hampton, Quincy Jones, and Art Blakey. A leader of his own
band starting in the 1960’s, he will record the noteworthy
albums “Red Clay,” “First Light,” and the Grammy Award-winning
“Straight Life.” He will join the ancestors on
December 29, 2008.

1940 – The first U.S. stamp ever to honor an African American is
issued bearing the likeness of Booker T. Washington. His
likeness is on a 10-cent stamp.

1954 – Tony Dorsett is born in Rochester, Pennsylvania. He will
become a star football player at the University of
Pittsburgh, where he will win the Heisman Trophy in 1976.
He will then become the number one pick in the 1977 NFL
draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He will play in two Super Bowls,
five NFC championship games, four Pro Bowls, will be All-NFL
in 1981, and NFC rushing champion in 1982. His career totals
include 12,739 yards rushing, 398 receptions for 3,544 yards,
16,326 combined net yards, 90 touchdowns, and a record 99
yard run for a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings in
1983. He will end his career with the 1988 Denver Broncos.
He will be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame in 1994.

1994 – Civil war erupts in Rwanda, a day after a mysterious plane
crash claims the lives of the presidents of Rwanda and
Burundi. In the months that follow, hundreds of thousands of
minority Tutsi and Hutu intellectuals will be slaughtered.

Today April 3rd in Black History

* Today in Black History – April 3 *

1865 – The Fifth Massachusetts Colored Cavalry and units of the
Twenty-fifth Corps are in the vanguard of Union troops
entering Richmond. The Second Division of the Twenty-Fifth
Corps help to chase Robert E. Lee’s army from Petersburg to
Appomattox Court House, April 3-10. The African American
division and white Union soldiers are advancing on General
Lee’s trapped army with fixed bayonets when the Confederate
troops surrender.

1889 – The Savings Bank of the Order of True Reformers opens in
Richmond, Virginia.

1934 – Richard Mayhew is born in Amityville, New York. A student
at the Art Students League, Brooklyn Museum Art School, and
Columbia University, as well as the Academia in Florence,
Italy, Mayhew will be one of the most respected and
revolutionary landscape artists of the 20th century. He
will also form “Spiral,” a forum for artistic innovation
and exploration of African American artists’ relationships
to the civil rights movement, with fellow artists Romare
Bearden, Charles Alston, Hale Woodruff, and others.

1936 – James Harrell McGriff is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
He will be surrounded by music as a child, with both parents
playing piano and cousins Benny Golson and Harold Melvin,
who were pursuing their own musical talents. He will be
influenced to play the organ by neighbor Richard “Groove”
Holmes, with whom he will study privately. He will also
study organ at Philadelphia’s Combe College of Music and at
Julliard. In addition, he will study with Milt Buckner and
with classical organist Sonny Gatewood. His first hit will
be with his arrangement of “I Got A Woman”, on the Sue
label, which made it to the top five on both Billboard’s
Rhythm and Blues and Pop charts. There will be close to 100
albums with Jimmy McGriff’s name at the top as leader. He
will record for Sue, Solid State, United Artists, Blue Note,
Groove Merchant, Milestone, Headfirst and Telarc. Over his
prolific career, he will record with George Benson, Kenny
Burrell, Frank Foster, J.J. Johnson and a two-organ jam
affair with the late “Groove” Holmes.

1944 – The U.S. Supreme Court (Smith v. Allwright) said that “white
primaries” that exclude African Americans are

1950 – Carter G. Woodson, “the father of black history,” joins the
ancestors in Washington, DC at the age of 74.

1961 – Edward “Eddie” Regan Murphy is born in Brooklyn, New York. A
stand-up comedian and star of “Saturday Night Live” before
pursuing a movie career, Murphy will become one of the
largest African American box office draws. Among his most
successful movies will be “48 Hours,” “Trading Places,”
“Beverly Hills Cop,” “Coming to America,” and “Harlem

1963 – Led by Martin Luther King, Jr., the Birmingham anti-
segregation campaign begins. Before it is over, more than
2,000 demonstrators, including King, will be arrested. The
Birmingham Manifesto, issued by Fred Shuttlesworth of the
Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights the morning of
the campaign, summarizes the frustration and hopes of the
protesters: “The patience of an oppressed people cannot
endure forever…. This is Birmingham’s moment of truth in
which every citizen can play his part in her larger

1964 – Malcolm X speaks at a CORE-sponsored meeting on “The Negro
Revolt What Comes Next?” In his speech “The Ballot or
Bullet,” Malcolm warns of a growing black nationalism that
will no longer tolerate patronizing white political action.

1968 – Less than 24 hours before he is assassinated in Memphis,
Tennessee, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
delivers his famous “mountaintop” speech to a rally of
striking sanitation workers.

1990 – Jazz singer Sarah Vaughan joins the ancestors in suburban
Los Angeles, California, at the age of 66.

1996 – An Air Force jetliner carrying Commerce Secretary Ron Brown
and American business executives crashes in Croatia,
killing all 35 people aboard.

2007 – Eddie Robinson, the longtime Grambling University coach who
transformed a small, Black college into a football power
that sent hundreds of players to the NFL, joins the
ancestors at the age of 88. The soft-spoken coach spent 57
years at Grambling State University, where he set a
standard for victories with 408 and nearly every season
relished seeing his top players drafted by NFL teams.

Today April 2nd in Black History


* Today in Black History – April 2 *

1855 – John Mercer Langston is elected clerk of Brownhelm, Ohio,
township. He will be considered the first African American
elected to public office.

1918 – Charles Wilbert White is born in Chicago, Illinois. An artist
who will work with traditional materials (pen, ink, oil on
canvas and lithography), White will transform the image of
African Americans and earn praise from critics and artists
alike. White will receive dozens of awards and his work will
be collected by museums on three continents and major
corporations. He will be known for his WPA-era murals. He will
be briefly married to famed sculptor and printmaker Elizabeth
Catlett. His best known work will be “The Contribution of
the Negro to American Democracy,” a mural at Hampton University
depicting a number of notable blacks including Denmark Vesey,
Nat Turner, Peter Salem, George Washington Carver, Harriet
Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Marian Anderson. He will teach
at the Otis Art Institute from 1965 until he joins the ancestors
on October 3, 1979.

1932 – Bill Pickett, a well-known cowboy who was acclaimed by
President Theodore Roosevelt as “one of the best trained
ropers and riders the West has produced,” joins the
ancestors. Pickett performed as a bulldogger in Europe,
Mexico, and the United States, where he was often assisted
by two relatively unknown white cowboys, Tom Mix and Will

1939 – Marvin Gaye, Jr. is born in Washington, DC. He will sign
with Motown in 1962 and begin a 22-year career that includes
hits “Pride and Joy,” duets with Mary Wells and Tammi
Terrell, as well as best-selling albums exploring his social
consciousness (“What’s Going On”) and sexuality (“Let’s Get
It On,” “Midnight Love, and “Sexual Healing”). He will join
the ancestors on April 1, 1984.

1969 – The Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association
signs Lew Alcindor for a reported $1,400,000 five-year
contract. Alcindor will later change his name to Kareem
Abdul-Jabar and his team to the Los Angeles Lakers.

1984 – Coach John Thompson of Georgetown University becomes the
first African American coach to win the NCAA Division I
basketball championship. The team, led by Patrick Ewing,
wins over the University of Houston, 84-75.

2003 – Edwin Starr, Rhythm & Blues singer, joins the ancestors at
age 61 after succumbing to a heart attack. He recorded the
hits “War” and “Agent Double-O Soul.”