Nelson Mandela is Released from Prison...

1990 – Nelson Mandela is released Nelson Mandela’s greatest pleasure, his most private moment, is watching the sun set with the music of Handel or Tchaikovsky playing. Locked up in his cell during daylight hours, deprived of music, both these simple pleasures were denied him for decades. With his fellow prisoners, concerts were organised when possi… 1976 – Clifford Alexander Jr 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...

Ron Brown Elected Chairman of the Democratic Party Feb10

Ron Brown Elected Chairman of the Democratic Party...

1927 – Ron Brown elected Chairman of the Democratic Party Attorney Ronald Brown was elected national chairman of the Democratic Party and became the first African American to hold the post. Brown was later appointed Secretary of Commerce under the Clinton administration in 1994. He served in this capacity until he was killed in 1996 when he and 32 others died in a plane cras… 1992 – Alex Haley, renowned author, dies American biographer, scriptwriter, author who became famous with the publication of the novel ROOTS, which traces his ancestry back to Africa and covers seven American generations as they are taken slaves to the United States. The book was adapted to television series, and woke up an interest in genealogy, particularly… 1964 – 1964 After 12 days of debate and voting on 125 amendments, the U.S. House of 1964 After 12 days of debate and voting on 125 amendments, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by a vote of 290-130. The bill prohibited any state or local government or public facility from denying access to anyone because of race or ethnic origin. It further gave the U.S…. 1966 – Andrew Brimmer appointed to Fed. Reserve Bd. Andrew Brimmer becomes the first African-American governor of the Federal Reserve Board when he is appointed by President...

Satchel Paige Inducted Into Baseball Hall of Fame Feb09

Satchel Paige Inducted Into Baseball Hall of Fame...

1971 – Satchel Paige inducted to Baseball Hall of Fame Baseball Hall of Fame inducts Leroy “Satchel” Paige. 1952 – Invisible Man wins award Author Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man wins the National Book Award 1944 – Novelist Alice Walker was born in Eatonton, Georgia. 1944 Novelist Alice Walker was born in Eatonton, Georgia. 1995 – Bernard Harris, astronaut Bernard Harris, African-American astronaut, takes space...

Debi Thomas Wins the Woman’s Figure Skating Singles Feb08

Debi Thomas Wins the Woman’s Figure Skating Singles...

1986 – Figure Skater Debi Thomas wins Woman’s Singles Figure skater Debi Thomas became the first African American to win the Women’s Singles of the U.S. National Figure Skating Championship competition, was a pre-med student at Stanford University. 1986 – Ophrah’s On! Oprah Winfrey becomes the first African American woman to host a nationally syndicated talk show. 1968 – Gary Coleman born Diminutive actor Gary Coleman was born in Zion, Illinois. Despite a childhood of medical troubles, Coleman went on to become a television star in numerous situation comedies. 1944 – First African American Harry S. McAlphin – First African American to accredited to attend White House press...

Chris Rock Born

1967 – Chris Rock Born Comedian, author, recording artist, actor, and talk show host Chris Rock was born in South Carolina. He will become a critically comedian, hosting his self titled show on HBO. He will also bring to the forefront a boycott of the flag of his birthplace. He will star in and make a few movies of his own. 1872 – Alcorn A&M College opened Alcorn A&M College opened. 1883 – Eubie Blake born Eubie Blake, pianist, born. 1945 – Irwin Molison appointed to Customs Court Irwin Molison appointed judge of the US Customs...

Arthur Ashe Dies Feb06

Arthur Ashe Dies

1993 – Arthur Ashe Dies Tennis player Arthur Ashe dies on February 6, 1993. Ashe was the first African American to win the Wimbledon, U.S. Open and Australian Open championships. During heart bypass surgery, Ashe contracted the HIV virus from a tainted blood transfusion and eventually died from AIDS. On , He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton on June 20, 1993. 1820 – The Mayflower of Liberia The first organized emigration back to Africa begins when 86 free African Americans leave New York Harbor aboard the Mayflower of Liberia. They are bound for the British colony of Sierra Leone, which welcomes free African Americans as well as fugitive slaves. 1933 – Walter E. Fauntroy born Walter E. Fauntroy was born in Washington, D.C. He went on to become a District of Columbia delegate to the House of Representatives. 1945 – Bob Marley Bob Marley, Jamaican reggae star is...

Hank Aaron Born Feb05

Hank Aaron Born

1934 – Hank Aaron Born Henry “Hank” Aaron was born on born February 5, 1934, in Mobile, Alabama. Aaron would become one of the greatest players in Major League baseball history but his greatest moment came when he broke the home run record of Babe Ruth on  On April 8, 1974. He would eventually be named to the Baseball Hall of Fame on August 1, 1982. For more information on Aaron, see his profile on greatblackheroes.com. 1990 – Barack Obama named President of the Harvard Law Review Columbia University graduate and Harvard University law student Barack Obama became the first African American named president of the Harvard Law Review. 1950 – Birthday of Natalie Cole Singer Natalie Cole, daughter of legendary singer Nat Cole, born in Los Angeles, California. Singing professionally at age 11, by 1976 Cole had won Grammys for New Artist of the Year and Best R&B Female...

Rosa Parks Born

1913 – Rosa Parks (born Rosa Louise McCauley) was born on this day. Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. Thursday, December 1, 1955, in downtown Montgomery, Alabama, Parks boarded a bus driven by James Blake.  When a white man entered the bus, Blake ordered the Blacks to move to the back of the bus. The other three Blacks complied with Blake’s order and got up and moved by Rosa simply moved laterally into the window sat. Blake asked her if she was was going to stand up, and she said, “No, I’m not.” Blake told her “Well, if you don’t stand up, I’m going to have to call the police and have you arrested” to which she responded, “You may do that.” Blake called for the police and she was arrested and taken to the police station where she was booked, fingerprinted and incarcerated. Parks was charged with disorderly conduct based on violating Chapter 6, Section 11 of the Montgomery City Code, which provided for segregation. She was found guilty and fined but her action of defiance symbolized the beginning of the civil right movement that began to get national attention. The resulting Montgomery bus boycott crippled the bus industry in Montgomery and forced it to change its segregationist seating policies. For more information on Rosa Park, view her profile on greatblackheroes.com. 1986 – A stamp of Sojourner Truth is issued A stamp of Sojourner Truth is issued by the U.S. Postal...

University of Alabama Admits First Black Student Feb03

University of Alabama Admits First Black Student...

1956 – U of Alabama First Black Student Autherine Juanita Lucy becomes the first black student to attend the University of Alabama. She was born on October 5, 1929 in Shiloh, Alabama and attended Linden Academy from which she graduated in 1947. She then attended Selma University in Selma, Alabama and then Miles College, an all-Black school from which she graduated in 1952 with a Bachelors degree in English.  She decided to attend the University of Alabama to obtain a Masters degree and  and consulted with the NAACP, which assigned Thurgood Marshall, Constance Baker Motley and Arthur Shores as her attorney to prepare paperwork for the legal battle they knew she would have to endure. On June 29, 1955, they secured a court order preventing Lucy from being barred from applying based on her race.  The Supreme Court of the United Sates upheld this order and Lucy was able to officially register for classes. She was unable to live in any of the dormitories or to eat in any of the dining halls, however. On February 3, 1956, she enrolled in the University’s graduate program seeking a degree in Library Science. When a mob tried to bar her from entering one of the buildings, the police were called in to escort her, but the University expelled her after saying that it could not provide a safe environment for her and then claimed that she had slandered the school. A lawsuit against the University was unsuccessful and for 32 years the expulsion was in effect. In 1988, the University of Alabama reversed the decision to expel her and she was admitted to the University and received a Master’s in Elementary Education on May 9, 1992, the same day her daughter Grazia Foster also graduated, with a degree in Corporate...

President Truman Sends Congress Anti-Lynching Message...

1948 – Truman sends Congress Anti-Lynching Message President Truman sent Congress a special message urging adoption of a civil rights program, including a fair employment practices commission and anti-lynching and anti-poll tax measures. 1915 – Biologist Ernest E. Just Receives Spingarn Medal Biologist Ernest E. Just receives the Spingarn medal for his pioneering in cell division and fertilization. 1862 – District of Columbia abolishes slavery District of Columbia abolishes...

Negro History Week Established Feb01

Negro History Week Established...

1926 – Negro History Week Begins What is now known as Black History Month, was first celebrated on this date as Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson. It became a month long celebration in 1976. 1865 – First African American Before US Supreme Court John Sweat Rock (1825-1866), a noted Boston lawyer, became in 1865 the first African-American to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and the first Black person to speak before the U.S. House of Representatives. 1952 – Singer Rick James born Rock/Funk singer Rick James is born 1978 – The first stamp of the U.S. Postal Service’s The first stamp of the U.S. Postal Service’s Black Heritage USA series honors Harriet Tubman, famed abolitionist and “conductor” on the Underground...

Greensboro Sit-ins Take Place...

1960 – Greensboro sit-ins takeplace The primary event took place at the Greensboro, North CarolinaWoolworth’s store, now the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. 1997 – First 24-Hour Black Movie Channel BET Holdings and Encore Media Corp. launch BET Movie/Starz the first 24 hour Black Movie channel. 1978 – The first stamp of the U.S. Postal Service’s The first stamp of the U.S. Postal Service’s Black Heritage USA series honors Harriet Tubman, famed abolitionist and “conductor” on the Underground...

Doug Williams, the first African American quarterback to play in a Super Bowl game, is named MVP in Super Bowl XXII. Jan31

Doug Williams, the first African American quarterback to play in a Super Bowl game, is named MVP in Super Bowl...

1988 – Washington Redskins quarterback Doug Williams Washington Redskins quarterback Doug Williams, the first African American quarterback to play in a Super Bowl game, is named MVP in Super Bowl XXII. 1962 – First Black to Command U.S. Warship Samuel L Gravely becomes first Black person to command a U.S. warship. 1931 – Baseball star Ernie Banks born Baseball great Ernie Banks, former Chicago Cub star, was born in Dallas, TX. 1914 – Boxer Jersey Joe Walcott born Boxer Jersey Joe Walcott was born Arnold Raymond Cream in Merchantville, New Jersey. Walcott won the World Heavyweight Championship from Ezzard Charles, whom he knocked out in the 7th round of their 1951 title bout in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Walcott had 69 professional fights. He won 30 of them by knock-out and was...

13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution Passes by the House of Representatives Jan31

13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution Passes by the House of Representatives...

1865 – Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment which, on Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment which, on ratification, abolished slavery in America. The vote in the House was 121 to 24. 1919 – Baseball Great Jackie Robinson born In Cairo, Georgia on this date baseball great Jackie Robinson was born. The fifth African American to play major league baseball with a white team, Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, ending five decades of segregated baseball. At the time of his retirement in October 1972, Robinson is believed to have been t… 1934 – Etta Moten sings for President Etta Moten sings for President and Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt at a White House Dinner. It is the first time an African American actress performs at the White...

Wendell Scott Inducted into NASCAR Hall Jan30

Wendell Scott Inducted into NASCAR Hall...

Wendell Scott was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on January 30, 2015. In addition to being the first Black driver inducted to the Hall of Fame, he was also the first Black driver to compete on the NASCAR Grand National Series and was also the only Black driver to win on NASCAR’s highest...

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s House Bombed...

1956 – Home of Martin Luther King Jr Home of Martin Luther King Jr. Montgomery bus boycott leader bombed. 1900 – John Parker, Underground Railroad Conductor died Born: 1827 Died: January 30, 1900 Birthplace: Norfolk, Virginia John P. Parker was born in Norfolk, Virginia , the son of a white father and a slave mother. He was sold to a slave agent from Richmond, Virginia at age eight. Parker worker for two years at a foundry and the New Orleans docks as a steved… 1844 – Richard Theodore Greener Richard Theodore Greener becomes the first African American to graduate from Harvard University  ...

Oprah Winfrey Born

1954 – Oprah Winfrey birthday American television personality whose syndicated daily talk show is among the most popular was born in Kosciusko, Miss. 1926 – Violette Neatley Anderson Violette Neatley Anderson is the first African American woman admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court 1981 – William R. “Cozy” Cole, jazz drummer, dies. William R. “Cozy” Cole, jazz drummer, dies. His recording of “Topsy” became the only drum solo to sell more than one million...

Matthew Henson Receives a Joint Medal from Congress Jan28

Matthew Henson Receives a Joint Medal from Congress...

1944 – Matthew Henson receives a joint medal by Congress Matthew Henson receives a joint medal by Congress for his role as co-discoverer of the North Pole 1934 – Baseball Outfielder William “Bill” White born Baseball outfielder William “Bill” White was born in Lakewood, Ohio. Now baeball’s National League President, White played in 1,673 games and ended his career with a .286 batting average on 1,706 hits. He won the Golden Glove award in 1960 and 1966. 1938 – First Black Woman elected to a state legislature Crystal Byrd Fauset was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. 1970 – Arthur Ashe, first Black male to win Wimbledon, is denied entry to Arthur Ashe, first Black male to win Wimbledon, is denied entry to compete on the US Team for the South African Open tennis championships due to Ashe’s sentiments on South Africa’s racial policies 1986 – Ronald McNair dies in Challenger disaster On this day in 1986 astronaut Ronald McNair died in the space shuttle Challenger disaster. Surviving him are his wife Cheryl McNair and children. 1989 – Colgate Redesigns “Darkie” Toothpaste After 62 years of racial caricatures, Colgate-Palmolive Co. redesigned packaging for its “Darkie” toothpaste sold in Asia. The logo for the toothpaste, previoulsy a black face sambo character named “Darkie,” was renamed “Darlie” and replaced with a...

Ralph Ellison wins National Book Award....

Ralph Ellison’s powerful novel, Invisible Man, wins the National Book Award. Ralph Ellison’s powerful novel, Invisible Man, wins the National Book Award. 1972 – Mahalia Jackson Gospel music legend Mahalia Jackson dies this day in Evergreen Park,...

Executive Order 9981, to end segregation in US Armed Forces is signed by President Harry Truman Jan26

Executive Order 9981, to end segregation in US Armed Forces is signed by President Harry Truman...

 1948 – Executive Order 9981, to end segregation in US Armed Forces is signed by Preside Executive Order 9981, to end segregation in US Armed Forces is signed by President Harry Truman 1893 – First Black American woman aviator, Bessie Coleman was born, 1893 First Black American woman aviator, Bessie Coleman was born, 1893 1944 – Activist, Angela Davis was born Activist, Angela Davis was born 1958 – Birthday of Anita Baker, Grammy award winning singer. Birthday of Anita Baker, Grammy award winning...

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