February 18th in Black History

1688 – The first formal protest against slavery by an organized white
body in the English American colonies is made by Germantown,
Pennsylvania Quakers and Mennonites at a monthly meeting. When
some members of the Quaker community began to buy slaves,
Francis Daniel Pastorius, the founder of Germantown, was
outraged.  On this day, Pastorius will meet with three other
Germantown Quaker men to draft a denunciation of slavery.
Known as “The Germantown Protest,” it is regarded as the first
protest against slavery by whites in the American colonies.
The reasoning of the denunciation was based on the Golden
Rule: since white people did not want to be slaves themselves,
they had no right to enslave black African men and women.
Despite the Germantown Protest, some Quaker families continued
to keep slaves.  Nonetheless, by the 19th century Quakers were
prominent in the movement to abolish slavery in the United

1865 – Confederate Troops abandon Charleston, South Carolina.   The
first Union troops to enter the city include the Twenty-first
U.S. Colored Troops, followed by two companies of the Fifty-
fourth Massachusetts Volunteers.

1867 – The Augusta Institute is founded in Georgia. It is established
as an institution of higher learning for African American
students, and moves to Atlanta in 1879. In 1913, the name is
changed to Morehouse College.

1894 – Paul Revere Williams is born in Los Angeles, California. He will
become a certified architect in 1921, and the first certified
African American architect west of the Mississippi.  He will
also become the first African American member of the American
Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1923. In 1939, he will win the
AIA Award of Merit for his design of the MCA Building in Los
Angeles. He will become one of the most famous African American
architects, designer of private  residences in Los Angeles, the
Hollywood YMCA, the Beverly-Wiltshire Hotel, UCLA’s Botany
Building and many others. Among his many awards will be the
NAACP’s Spingarn Medal in 1953. He will join the ancestors on
January 23, 1980.

1931 – Toni Morrison is born in Lorain, Ohio.  She will become one of
the most celebrated modern novelists of the 20th century,
winning the National Book Critics Award in 1978 for “Song of
Solomon” and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988 for
“Beloved.”  In 1993, she will become the first African
American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

1965 – The Gambia gains its independence from Great Britain.

1973 – Palmer Hayden joins the ancestors in New York City.  One of the
principal artists of the Harlem Renaissance who, like Henry 0.
Tanner and others, studied in Paris, his most enduring work
often depicted everyday scenes of African American life.

1979 – The miniseries “Roots: The Next Generations” premiers on ABC

1995 – The NAACP replaces veteran chairman William Gibson with Myrlie
Evers-Williams, the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar
Evers, after the rank-and-file declared no confidence in
Gibson’s leadership.

2006 – Shani Davis, from Chicago’s South Side, becomes the first Black
athlete to claim an individual gold medal in Winter Olympic
history, winning the 1,000-meter speedskating race in 1 min.,
8.89 seconds.

2013 – Damon Harris, former member of the Motown group The Temptations,
joins the ancestors at the age of 62 after succumbing to prostate
cancer. Harris joined the Temptations at age 20 in 1971 and
replaced Eddie Kendricks, one of the group’s original lead
singers. He was with the group until 1975, and was best known for
singing tenor on the band’s hit, “Papa was a Rolling Stone.”

February 17th In Black History

February 17th in Black History

1870 – Congress passes a resolution readmitting Mississippi to the
Union on the condition that it will never change its
constitution to disenfranchise African Americans.

1918 – Charles Hayes is born in Cairo, Illinois.  He will be elected
to the House of Representatives succeeding Harold Washington
in 1983. He will join the ancestors on April 8, 1997.

1933 – Bobby Lewis is born in Indianapolis, Indiana.  He will become a
Rhythm and Blues singer, who will be at his peak in the 1960’s,
and will be best-known for his recordings of “Tossin’ & Turnin’,”
and “One Track Mind.”

1936 – James Nathaniel (Jim) Brown is born in Saint Simons, Georgia.  He
will become a professional football player and actor. He is best
known for his exceptional and record-setting nine year career as
a fullback for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football
League (NFL) from 1957 to 1965. In 2002, he will be named by
Sporting News as the greatest professional football player ever.
He is widely considered to be one of the greatest professional
athletes in the history of the United States. He will be selected
in the first round of the 1957 draft by the Cleveland Browns. He
will depart as the NFL record holder for both single-season (1,863
in 1963) and career rushing (12,312 yards), as well as the all-time
leader in rushing touchdowns (106), total touchdowns (126), and
all-purpose yards (15,549). He will be the first player ever to
reach the 100-rushing-touchdowns milestone, and only a few others
will do so to date, despite the league’s expansion to a 16-game
season in 1978. Note: His first four seasons were only 12 games,
and his last five were 14 games. His record of scoring 100
touchdowns in only 93 games will stand until LaDainian Tomlinson
did it in 89 games during the 2006 season. He will hold the record
for total seasons leading the NFL in all-purpose yards (five:
1958–1961, 1964), and will be the only rusher in NFL history to
average over 100 yards per game for a career. In addition to his
rushing, He will be a superb receiver out of the backfield, catching
262 passes for 2,499 yards and 20 touchdowns, while also adding
another 628 yards returning kickoffs. Every season he played, he
will be voted into the Pro Bowl, and he will leave the league in
style, by scoring three touchdowns in his final Pro Bowl game.
Perhaps the most amazing feat, is that he will accomplish these
records despite never playing past 29 years of age. His six games
with at least 4 touchdowns will remain an NFL record, to date.
LaDainian Tomlinson and Marshall Faulk will both have five games
with 4 touchdowns. He will lead the league in rushing a record eight
times. He will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.
The Sporting News will select him as the greatest football player of
all time. His football accomplishments at Syracuse will garner him a
berth in the College Football Hall of Fame. He will also earn a spot
in the Lacrosse Hall of Fame, giving him a rare triple crown of sorts,
as well as being one of the few athletes to become a Hall of Fame
member in more than one sport. After his football career, he will
become a movie star and will establish the Negro Industrial and
Economic Union, and work with African American youth with the
Amer-I-Can program, which he will establish.

1938 – Mary Frances Berry is born in Nashville, Tennessee.  She will
be an influential force in education and civil rights, become
the first woman of any  race to serve as chancellor of a major
research university (University of Colorado in 1976), and a
member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

1941 – Joe Louis retains his world heavyweight boxing crown by
knocking out Gus Dorazio.

1942 – Huey Percy Newton is born in Monroe, Louisiana. He will become a
political and urban activist who, along with Bobby Seale, will co-
found the Black Panther Party in 1966. He will be the party’s Minister
of Defense. He will have a long series of confrontations with law
enforcement, including several convictions, while participating in
political activism. He will continue to pursue an education, eventually
earning a Ph.D. in Social Science from the University of California
Santas Cruz in 1980. He will spend time in prison for manslaughter, due
to his alleged involvement in a shooting that killed a police officer,
but was later acquitted. On August 22, 1989, he will join the ancestors.
after being shot and killed in Oakland, California, by Tyrone “Double R”
Robinson, a member of the Black Guerrilla Family.

1962 – Wilt Chamberlain, of the NBA Philadelphia Warriors, scores 67
points against St. Louis.

1963 – Michael Jeffrey Jordan, who will be a star basketball player
for the University of North  Carolina, the 1984 Olympic gold
medal team and the Chicago Bulls, is born in Brooklyn, New
York. Jordan’s phenomenal style and scoring ability will earn
him universal acclaim and selection on more than eight all-
star NBA teams and NBA Most Valuable Player more than four

1982 – Thelonious Monk, jazz pianist and composer, joins the ancestors
at the age of 64.

1989 – The African countries of Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia
& Libya form an economic common market.

1997 – The Virginia House of Delegates votes unanimously to retire the
state song, “Carry me back to Old Virginny,” a tune which
glorifies the institution of slavery.

February 11th in Black History

1783 – Jarena Lee, the first woman to preach in an AME church, at
Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia, is born in Cape
May, New Jersey.  She will chronicle her life’s work in her
book, “Religious Experiences and Journal of Mrs. Jarena Lee:
A Preachin’ Woman” (1849).  Jarena Lee will be one of first
African American women to speak out publicly against slavery.
She will join the ancestors in 1849.1790 – The Society of Friends (Quakers) presents a petition to
Congress calling for the abolition of slavery.1958 – Mohawk Airlines schedules Ruth Carol Taylor on her initial
flight from Ithaca, New York to New York City.  She becomes the
first African American flight attendant for a United States-
based air carrier.1961 – Robert Weaver becomes the highest-ranking African American in
the federal government as he is sworn in as administrator of
the Housing and Home Finance Agency.

1966 – Willie Mays signs with the San Francisco Giants for $ 130,000
a year.  At the time, this is one of the highest salaries in
professional baseball.

1977 – Clifford Alexander, Jr. is confirmed as the first African
American Secretary of the Army.  He will hold the position
until the end of President Jimmy Carter’s term.

1977 – Lieutenant Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam is named head of state
in Ethiopia.  He will rule Ethiopia and be backed by the
Soviet government until he loses the civil war in 1991 to the
forces supporting Meles Zenawi.

1989 – Rev. Barbara Clementine Harris becomes the first woman
consecrated as a bishop in the Episcopal Church, in a ceremony
held in Boston.

1990 – Nelson Mandela is released from prison after being held for
nearly 27 years without trial by the South African government.
The founder and unofficial leader of the African National
Congress,  Mandela became, during his imprisonment, a symbol
for the struggle of Black South Africans to overcome apartheid.

1990 – James “Buster” Douglas defeats Mike Tyson in a stunning upset
in Tokyo to win the heavyweight boxing championship. Almost two
years later to the day, Tyson will be convicted of rape and two
related charges filed by a Miss Black America contestant in
Indianapolis, Indiana.

2012 – Whitney Houston, the woman with the pitch-perfect voice who once
reigned as the queen of pop at the Grammys, joins the ancestors
at the age of 48.

February 9th in Black History

1906 – Never fully recovering from a bout of pneumonia in 1899, poet
and author Paul Laurence Dunbar joins the ancestors in Dayton,
Ohio, at the age of 33.   He nonetheless produced three novels
(including “The Sport of the Gods”), three books of verse,
three collections of short stories, two unpublished  plays,
and lyric pieces set to music by Will Marion Cook.

1944 – Alice Walker is born In Eatonton, Georgia.  Best known for “The
Color Purple,” which will win the American Book Award and the
Pulitzer Prize, she  will also write a variety of other
critically praised and award-winning works including poetry
and children’s books and edit a book on Zora Neale Hurston,
whom she will credit as her role model.

1944 – John Rozelle is born in St. Louis, Missouri.  He will become an
artist and professor at the Art Institute of Chicago.  His
work reflects his self identification as an “African American
sentinel,”  or visual historian, guide, and advocate of
contemporary African American culture.

1951 – Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas is born in Jersey City, New Jersey. He will
become a rhythm and blues musician with the group, ‘Kool & the

1953 – Gary Franks is born in Waterbury, Connecticut.  In 1990, he
will be elected to Congress from Connecticut’s 5th District
and become the first African American Republican congressman
since Oscar De Priest left office in 1934.

1962 – Jamaica signs an agreement with Great Britain to become

1964 – Arthur Ashe, Jr. becomes the first African American on a United
States Davis Cup Team.

1964 – A speech by U.S. Representative Martha Griffiths in Congress,
on sex discrimination, results in civil rights protection for
women being added to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

1971 – Satchel Paige becomes the first African American elected to
professional baseball’s Hall of Fame for his career in the
Negro Leagues.

February 3rd – Black History

* T O D A Y   I N  B L A C K  H I S T O R Y *

1855 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court declares that the United States
Fugitive Slave Law is unconstitutional.

1874 – Blanche Kelso Bruce is elected to the United States Senate from
Mississippi.  He will be the first African American senator to
serve a full term and the first to preside over the Senate
during a debate.

1879 – Charles Follis is born in Wooster, Ohio. He will become the
first African American professional football player in the
United States reported by the press. He will play for a
professional team known as the Shelby Blues, in Shelby, Ohio.
starting in 1904 and will retire in 1906 due to injuries.
Most sources will state that 1904 was when his career started,
when he signed a contract on September 16, but Hall of Fame
research indicates the 1902 Shelby Athletic Club that Follis
played on, was indeed professional. Editor’s note: In 1972,
The Pro Football Hall of Fame will discover proof that William
(Pudge) Heffelfinger, a Yale All-American, played one game for
$ 500, for the Allegheny Athletic Association in 1892, making
him the actual ‘first’ to play football for pay. Follis will
join the ancestors on April 5, 1910 after succumbing to

1935 – Johnny “Guitar” Watson is born in Houston. Texas.  He will
become a guitarist and singer known for his wild style of
guitar playing and the sound which merged Blues Music with
touches of Rhythm & Blues and Funk. He will join the ancestors
after succumbing to a heart attack, while performing at the
Yokohama Blues Cafe in Japan, on May 17, 1996.

1938 – Emile Griffith is born in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.  He will
move to New York City as a young man and discover boxing.  He
will win the Golden Gloves title and turn professional in
1958. In his career, he will meet 10 world champions and box
339 title-fight rounds, more than any other fighter in history.
He will be elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame
with the distinction of being the third fighter in history to
hold both the welterweight and middleweight titles. He will
join the ancestors on July 23, 2013,

1938 – Elijah Pitts is born in Mayflower, Arkansas.  He will become a
professional football player with the Green Bay Packers.  A
major contributor as a running back, he will help his team win
Super Bowl I.  He will spend nine years with the Green Bay
Packers during their championship years under Hall of Fame
coach Vince Lombardi. The Packers will win four NFL
championships and two Super Bowls during his career. He will
return to the Super Bowl thirty years later as a running back
coach with the Buffalo Bills.  He will join the ancestors on
July 10, 1998 after succumbing to abdominal cancer.

1939 – The Baltimore Museum of Art exhibit, “Contemporary Negro Art”,
opens.  The exhibit, which will run for 16 days, will feature
works by Richmond Barthe, Aaron Douglas, Archibald Motley,
Jr., and Jacob Lawrence’s Toussaint L’Ouverture series.

1947 – Percival Prattis of “Our World” in New York City, becomes the
first African American news correspondent admitted to the
House and Senate press galleries in Washington, DC.

1948 – Laura Wheeler Waring, portrait painter and illustrator, joins
the ancestors. Trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine
Arts, she received the Harmon Award in 1927 for achievement in
the fine arts and, with Betsey Graves Reyneau, completed a set
of 24 renderings of their works entitled “Portraits of
Outstanding Americans of Negro Origins” for the Harmon
Foundation in the 1940’s.

1948 – Rosa Ingram and her fourteen and sixteen-year-old sons are
condemned to death for the alleged murder of a white Georgian.
Mrs. Ingram states that she acted in self-defense.

1964 – School officials report that 464,000 Black and Puerto Rican
students boycotted New York City public schools.

1980 – Muhammad Ali starts tour of Africa as President Jimmy Carter’s

1981 – The Air Force Academy drops its ban on applicants with sickle-
cell trait.  The ban was considered by many a means of
discriminating against African Americans.

1984 – A sellout crowd of 18,210 at Madison Square Garden in New York
City sees Carl Lewis best his own world record in the long
jump by 9-1/4 inches.

1989 – Former St. Louis Cardinals’ first baseman, Bill White becomes
the first African American to head an American professional
sports league when he was named to succeed A. Bartlett
Giamatti as National League president.

1993 – The federal trial of four police officers charged with civil
rights violations in the videotaped beating of Rodney King,
began in Los Angeles.

1993 – Marge Schott is suspended as Cincinnati Reds owner for one year
for her repeated use of racial and ethnic slurs.