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
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.,
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.”