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three collections of short stories, two unpublished  plays,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
Gang.’

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
independent.

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.

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