December 13th Black History

 

ELLA JOSEPHINE BAKER

eallabakersign_fotor_collage1903 – Ella Baker is born in Norfolk, Virginia. A civil rights
worker who will direct the New York branch of the NAACP,
Baker will become executive director of the Southern
Christian Leadership Conference in the 1960’s during
student integration of lunch counters in the southern
states. She also will play a key role in the formation
of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and its
voter registration drive in Mississippi. She will join
the ancestors on December 13, 1986 in New York City. Strange
but true, she died on her 83rd birthday.

DICK GREGORY 84th HAPPY BIRTHDAY

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1932 – Richard Claxton Gregory is born in St. Louis, Missouri.
He will be better known as “Dick” Gregory and in tdick-gregory4he
1960’s will become a comedic pioneer, bringing a new
perspective to comedy and opening many doors for Black
entertainers. Once he achieves success in the
entertainment world, he will shift gears and use his
talents to help causes in which he believes.  He will
serve the community for over forty years as a comedian,
civil and human rights activist and health/nutrition
advocate. On October 9, 2000, his friends and
supporters will honor him at a Kennedy Center gala,
showing him their “appreciation for his uncommon
character, unconditional love, and generous service.

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November 27th – Black History

Today in Black History – November 27           *

1942 – Johnny Allen Hendrix is born in Seattle, Washington.
Hendrix’s father, James “Al” Hendrix, later changes
his son’s name to James Marshall.  James Marshall
Hendrix will be best known as Jimi Hendrix, leader of
the influential rock group, The Jimi Hendrix
Experience.  His music will influence such groups as
“Earth, Wind, and Fire,” “Living Colour,” and “Sting.”
He will join the ancestors on September 18, 1970 after
succumbing to asphyxiation from his own vomit. He will
be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992
and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. His star on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame will be dedicated in 1994. In
2006, his debut album, “Are You Experienced,” will be
inducted into the United States National Recording
Preservation Board’s National Recording Registry. Rolling
Stone magazine will name him number 1 on their list of
the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time in 2003.

1951 – Sixteen-year-old Hosea Richardson becomes the first
licensed African American jockey to ride on the Florida
circuit.

1957 – Dorothy Height, YMCA official, is elected president of
the National Council of Negro Women.

1964 – Robin Givens is born in New York City.  She will become
an actress and will star in “Head of the Class,” and “A
Rage in Harlem,” “Michael Jordan: An American Hero,”
“Blankman,” “Foreign Student,” “Boomerang,” “The Women
of Brewster Place,” and “Beverly Hills Madam.”

1968 – Eldridge Cleaver, Minister of Information for the Black
Panther Party, becomes a fugitive from justice as a
parole violator.

1989 – Jennifer Lawson assumes her duties as Executive Vice
President for National Programming and Promotion
Services at the Public Broadcasting Service. The Alabama
native is the chief programming executive for PBS,
determining which programs are seen on the network. She
is the first woman to hold such a position at a major
television network.

1990 – Charles Johnson wins the National Book Award for his
novel “Middle Passage.”  He is the fourth African
American to win the award, formerly called the American
Book Award.

November 18th in Black History

Today in Black History – November 18          *

1797 – Abolitionist and orator, Sojourner Truth, is born a
New York slave on the plantation of Johannes
Hardenbergh.  Her given name is Isabelle VanWagener
(some references use the name Isabelle Baumfree).
She will walk away from her last owner one year
prior to being freed by a New York law in 1827, which
proclaimed that all slaves twenty-eight years of age
and over were to be freed.   Several years later, in
response to what she describes as a command from God,
she becomes an itinerant preacher and takes the name
Sojourner Truth.  Among her most memorable appearances
will be at an 1851 women’s rights conference in Akron,
Ohio.  In her famous “Ain’t I a woman?” speech she
forcefully attacks the hypocrisies of organized
religion, white privilege and everything in between.

1900 – Howard Thurman is born in Daytona Beach, Florida. A
theologian who studied at Morehouse with Martin L.
King, Sr., he will found the interracial Church of
Fellowship of All Peoples. The first African American
to hold a full-time faculty position at Boston
University (in 1953), Dr. Thurman will write 22 books
and become widely regarded as one of the greatest
spiritual leaders of the 20th century. He will join the
ancestors on April 10, 1981.

1936 – John Henry Kendricks is born in Detroit, Michigan.  He will
become a prolific songwriter as well as a major rhythm
and blues singer better known as Hank Ballard. He will
perform with his group, The Midnighters, and make the
following songs popular: “There’s A Thrill Upon The Hill”
(Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go), “The Twist”(made famous
later by Chubby Checker), “Finger Poppin’ Time”, “Work with
Me Annie”, “Sexy Ways”, and “Annie Had a Baby”. He will be
enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. He
will join the ancestors on March 2, 2003.

1949 – Jackie Robinson, of the Brooklyn Dodgers, is named the
National League’s Most Valuable Player.

1956 – Harold Warren Moon, professional football player
(Minnesota Vikings, Houston Oilers, and Seattle Seahawks
quarterback), is born in Los Angeles, California. He will
be the first undrafted quarterback and first African
American quarterback to be elected to the Football Hall
of Fame in 2006.

1964 – The head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, J. Edgar
Hoover, describes Martin Luther King as a “most
notorious liar”.  This statement is indicative of the
agency head’s dislike of the civil rights leader.

1969 – The National Association of Health Services Executives is
incorporated.  NAHSE’s goal is to elevate the quality of
health-care services rendered to poor and disadvantaged
communities.

1975 – Calvin Murphy of the Houston Rockets, ends the NBA free
throw streak at 58 games.

1977 – Robert Edward Chambliss, a former KKK member, is
convicted of first-degree murder in connection with the
1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in
Birmingham, Alabama, that killed four African American
teenage girls.

1978 – The NAACP’s Spingarn Medal is presented to Ambassador
Andrew J. Young “in recognition of the deftness with
which he has handled relations between this nation and
other countries” and “for his major role in raising the
consciousness of American citizens to the significance
in world affairs of the massive African continent.”

1980 – Wally “Famous” Amos’ signature Panama hat and embroidered
shirt are donated to the National Museum of American
History’s Business Americana collection.  It is the
first memorabilia added to the collection by an African
American entrepreneur and recognizes the achievement of
Amos, who built his company from a mom-and-pop
enterprise to a $250 million cookie manufacturing
business.

1983 – “Sweet Honey in the Rock,” a capella singers, perform
their 10th anniversary reunion concert in Washington, DC.

1994 – Bandleader Cab Calloway joins the ancestors in Hockessin,
Delaware, at age 86.