* Today in Black History – October 2 *
1800 – Nat Turner is born in Southampton, Virginia. Believing
himself called by God to free his fellow bondsmen,
Turner will become a freedom fighter leader of one of
the most famous slave revolts, resulting in the death
of scores of whites and involving 60 to 80 slaves. He
will join the ancestors on November 11, 1831 after being
executed for his part in the rebellion.
1833 – The New York Anti-Slavery Society is organized.
1898 – Otis J. Rene’ is born in New Orleans, Louisiana. With
his younger brother Leon, he will move to Los Angeles,
California, and establish Exclusive and Excelsior
Records in the 1930’s. By the mid-1940’s, the brothers
will be leading independent record producers whose
artists will include Nat King Cole, Herb Jeffries, and
Johnny Otis. He will join the ancestors on April 5, 1970.
1929 – Moses Gunn is born in St. Louis, Missouri. He will become
an Obie Award-winning stage player, and co-found the Negro
Ensemble Company in the 1960s. His 1962 Broadway debut was
in Jean Genet’s “The Blacks.” He will be nominated for a
1976 Tony Award as Best Actor (Play) for “The Poison Tree”
and will play Othello on Broadway in 1970. He will also
appear in “Amityville II,” “Shaft,” and “Good Times.” He
will join the ancestors on December 17, 1993 after
succumbing to complications from asthma,
1932 – Maurice Morning ‘Maury’ Wills is born is Washington, DC.
He will become a professional baseball player and
shortstop for the Dodger organization. He will be an All-
Star for five seasons and seven All-Star Games, and will
be the first MLB All-Star Game Most Valuable Player in
1962. He will also be the National League Most Valuable
Player (MVP) in 1962, and a Gold Glove winner in 1961 and
1962. In a fourteen-year career, he will bat .281 with 20
home runs, 458 runs batted in, 2,134 hits, 1,067 runs,
177 doubles, 71 triples, and 586 stolen bases in 1,942
games. Since 2009, he will be a member of the Los Angeles
Dodgers organization serving as a representative of the
Dodgers Legend Bureau. In 2014, he will appear for the
first time as a candidate on the National Baseball Hall of
Fame’s Golden Era Committee election ballot for possible
Hall of Fame consideration in 2015 which requires 12 votes.
He will miss getting elected by 3 votes. All the other
candidates on the ballot will also miss being elected. The
Committee meets and votes on ten selected candidates from
the 1947 to 1972 era every three years.
1936 – Johnnie Cochran is born in Shreveport, Louisiana. He
will become a criminal defense attorney and will be
best known for his defense of Black Panther Party
member Geronimo Pratt and ex-NFL superstar O.J.
Simpson. He will join the ancestors on March 29, 2005.
1958 – The Republic of Guinea gains independence under the
leadership of Sekou Toure.
1965 – Bishop Harold Robert Perry of Lake Charles, Louisiana,
is named auxiliary bishop of New Orleans by Pope Paul
1967 – Thurgood Marshall becomes the first African American
member of the United States Supreme Court when he is
sworn in by Chief Justice Earl Warren. As chief
counsel for the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the 1940s
and ’50s, Marshall was the architect and executor of
the legal strategy that ended the era of official
racial segregation. The great-grandson of a slave,
Marshall was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1908.
After being rejected from the University of Maryland
Law School on account of his race, he was accepted at
all-black Howard University in Washington, DC. At
Howard, he studied under the tutelage of civil
liberties lawyer Charles H. Houston and in 1933
graduated first in his class. In 1936, he joined the
legal division of the NAACP, of which Houston was
director, and two years later succeeded his mentor
in the organization’s top legal post.
1967 – Robert H. Lawrence, who was named the first African
American astronaut, joins the ancestors after being
killed in a plane crash before his first mission.
1968 – Bob Gibson, of the St. Louis Cardinals, sets a world
series record of 17 strikeouts.
1980 – Larry Holmes retains the WBC heavyweight boxing title
defeating Muhammad Ali.
1981 – Hazel Scott, renown jazz singer and pianist, joins
the ancestors at the age of 61 (succumbed to pancreatic
1986 – The United States Senate overrides President Ronald
Reagan’s veto of legislation imposing economic
sanctions against South Africa. The override is seen
as the culmination of efforts by Trans-Africa’s
Randall Robinson, Rep. Mickey Leland, and others
begun almost two years earlier with Robinson’s
arrest before the South African Embassy in
1989 – “Jump Start” premiers in 40 newspapers in the United
States. The comic strip is the creation of 26-year-
old Robb Armstrong, the youngest African American to
have a syndicated comic strip. He follows in the
footsteps of Morrie Turner, the creator of “Wee Pals,”
the first African American syndicated comic strip.