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
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
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.