John H. Johnson Born

Jan. 19th – 1918 – John H Johnson born. John H Johnson, publisher of “Ebony Magazine” and “Jet” was born, 1918 1969 – UCLA names building after Ralph Bunche January 19, 1969 – UCLA renames its social science buildings to honor alumnus Ralph...

Willie O’Ree Breaks NHL Color Barrier Jan18

Willie O’Ree Breaks NHL Color Barrier...

On January 18, 1958, Willie O’Ree became the first Black player to appear in a National Hockey League game. After numerous injuries suffered by Boston Bruins players, O’Ree was called up from the minor leagues to play against the Montreal Canadians. O’Ree played only two games that season and only 43 in his NHL career, scoring 4 goals and 10 assists.  In 1998, he was named the director of youth development for the NHL’s diversity...

Daniel Hale Williams Born Jan18

Daniel Hale Williams Born...

1858 – Daniel Hale Williams born Daniel Hale Williams, 1st physician to perform open heart surgery is...

Muhammad Ali Born Jan17

Muhammad Ali Born

1942 – Muhammad Ali  born Boxing champion, Muhammad Ali was born 1923 – Spingarn Award: George Washington Carver Spingarn Medal awarded to George Washington Carver, head of the department of research, Tuskegee Institute, for his pioneering work in agricultural chemistry. 1978 – Dr Ronald McNair named for a space mission Dr Ronald McNair named for a space mission...

James Earl Jones Born...

1931 – Actor James Earl Jones born Actor James Earl Jones was born in Arkabutla, Tate County, Mississippi. His movie credits include The Hunt for Red October, Roots, Dr. Strangelove and voices in both Star Wars and The Lion King. 1931 – Lawrence Douglas Wilder was born Lawrence Douglas Wilder was born on this day. 1996 – Barbara Jordan dies Barbara Charline Jordan was born February 21, 1936, in Houston, Texas. Jordan was elected to the Texas Senate in 1966, becoming the first female African-American to do so. In 1972, she was elected president pro-tempore of the Texas Senate – the first African-American elected to preside over a legislative body anywhere...

Charles Drew Founds Blood Bank Jan16

Charles Drew Founds Blood Bank...

1941 – Charles Drew founds Blood Bank A Black scientist helped save thousands of lives during World War II. Dr. Charles Richard Drew set up and ran the pioneer blood plasma bank in Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. This bank served as one of the models for the system of banks operated later by the American Red Cross. On October 1, 1940, in response … 1938 – Benny Goodman Stands by Black Musicians Benny Goodman leads a historic jazz concert at Carnegie Hall in NYC. Later considered one of the first serious jazz concerts, Goodman refused to perform without two African American members of his band, Teddy Wilson on piano and Lionel Hampton on vibraphone. Hall officials relented and the integrated band performs to… 1928 – Eartha Kitt Born Eartha Kitt, 71,singer, born,SC Jan. 16, 1928. 1941 – The 99th Pursuit Squadron formed The 99th Pursuit Squadron, an all African American unit is formed and the Tuskegee Training Program is established, the 99th will fly more than 500 missions and more than 3,700 sorties during one year of combat before being combined with the 332nd Fighter Group. 1950 – Debbie Allen Born Debbie Allen, 49,dancer,choreographer,singer,actress(“Fame”), born Houston, Tx, Jan 16,...

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Founded at Howard University Jan16

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Founded at Howard University...

1920 – Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Founded Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, founded at Howard University in 1920, incorporated. 1776 – Continental Congress approved Washington’s order Continental Congress approved Washington’s order on the enlistment of free Blacks. 1941 – The 99th Pursuit Squadron, an all African American The 99th Pursuit Squadron, an all African American unit is formed and the Tuskegee Training Program is established, the 99th will fly more than 500 missions and more than 3,700 sorties during one year of combat before being combined with the 332nd Fighter Group. Debbie Allen, 49,dancer,choreographer,singer,actress(“Fame”), born Houston, Tx, Jan 16, 1950...

Martin Luther King Jr was Born...

1929 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Born Civil right leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on this date in 1929.  He was born in Atlanta, Georgia and his birth name was Michael King. His father changed both of their before they made a trip to Germany. He chose Martin Luther King after great German reformer. He graduated from Morehouse College in 1948 with a B.A. in Sociology and became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama in 1954. He was a leading civil rights leader, known for his “I Have a Dream” speech given during the March on Washington in 1963. He was presented the Nobel Peace prize in 1964. He was assassinated  on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. On November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor Dr. King’s birthday, observed on the third Monday of January each year   1961 – Supremes Signed by Motown On this date in 1961, Motown Records signed the the Supremes, a trio of singers that included Diana Ross, Flo Ballard and Mary Wilson. The group had performed together for several years under the name “The Primettes,” and kept showing up at Motown’s Hitsville Studio where they talked themselves in to being able to sing backup and clap their hand on recording of some of the Motown stars. They finally wore Motown President Berry Gordy down and he signed them providing they change their name. They were the sister group of the Prime, a group signed by Motown now operating as the Temptations. As the Supremes, the group found their groove and saw five straight singles reach number one on the US pop...

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Founded Jan15

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Founded...

1908 – Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Founded Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the first organization of black Greek sisterhood was founded on this date at Howard University in Washington, D. C. by Ethel Hedgeman (Lyle). 1970 – Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church honored Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church , the nearby crypt containing the remains of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his boyhood home are dedicated as part of a memorial to be known as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent...

P.B.S. Pinchback elected to the U. S. Senate. Jan14

P.B.S. Pinchback elected to the U. S. Senate....

1873 – P.B.S. Pinchback Elected to the Senate P.B.S. Pinchback elected to the U. S. Senate. He had previously served as the Governor of Louisiana when then incumbent Governor Henry Warmoth was impeached. Pinchback was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and thus when he was elected to the Senate he was both a Senator-elect and a Congressman-elect. Unfortunately, his inauguration was delayed for years by political opposition. One of those opposing him was Henry Warmoth. 1940 – Julian Bond Born Horace Julian Bond was born on this date in Nashville, Tennessee in 1940. Bond was a social activist and civil right pioneer. He graduated from  Morehouse College in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He helped to create the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and served as the first President of the Southern Poverty Law Center. He served for four terms in the Georgia House of Representatives and later six terms in the Georgia  Senate.He served as the Chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People from 1998 to 2010. 1943 – Harvey B. Gantt Born Harvey B. Gantt was born on this date in 1943. He was the first Black student to enroll at Clemson University from which he earned an architectural degree with honors in 1965. He later received a Masters of City Planning degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1970. 1948 – Carl Weathers Born. Carl Weathers was born on this date in 1948. in New Orleans, Louisiana. He played football at San Diego State University as a linebacker and played professionally with the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League and the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League.  He turned to acting and received his big break when he was cast as Apollo...

Robert Weaver Appointed To a Presidential Cabinet Jan13

Robert Weaver Appointed To a Presidential Cabinet...

1966 – First Black Appointed To a Presidential Cabinet Robert Weaver became the first Black appointed to a presidential cabinet when he was named to serve as the Secretary Department of Housing and Urban Development President Lyndon B. Johnson. The department was newly created and he was thus its first Head. Weaver grew up in Washington, D.C. and graduated from what is now known as Paul Dunbar High School. He then entered Harvard University from which a B.S., an M.A. and a Ph.D. in economics. He served as an advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt and was named to direct federal New Deal programs. He was appointed Administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Administration by President Kennedy and then selected by Johnson to become a member of his cabinet. He later became the President of  Baruch College in New York City in1969 and then became a professor of Urban Affairs at Hunter College in New York. Weaver died on July 17, 1997.   1979 – Martin Luther King, Jr. stamp issued A commemorative stamp of Martin Luther King, Jr. is issued by the U.S. Postal Service on January 1, 1979. The stamp is a part of the USPS Black Heritage USA commemorative series. The Dr. King stamp was the second in the series, the first having honored  Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman issued a year prior.   1873 – P.B.S. Pinchback Steps Down. P.B.S. Pinchback relinquished the office of Governor of Louisiana. Pinchback assumed the governorship while serving as the Lieutenant Governor when impeachment charges were filed against the incumbent Republican governor, Henry Clay Warmoth. Pinchback served for 35 days, finishing out Warmoth’s term. Pinchback was the 24th Governor of the state.   1913 – Delta Sigma Theta Founded. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was...

Douglas Wilder is Sworn in as Governor of Virginia Jan13

Douglas Wilder is Sworn in as Governor of Virginia...

1990 – Lawrence Douglas Wilder of Virginia is Inaugurated as the First Black Governor On this date in 1990, Lawrence Douglas Wilder of Virginia is inaugurated as the first Black to be elected governor in the United States. Wilder was elected in Virginia by a margin of approximately 7,00 votes (less than half of a percentage point). His victory was  confirmed after a recount. He was sworn in by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr.. That Wilder was the first Black elected Governor in the history of the United States was novel enough, but that he was elected to Virginia, the Capital of the Confederacy made the victory even more significant. Wilder was presented the Spingarn Medal by the NAACP and served a full term, leaving office in 1994. 1925 – Benjamin Hooks born Benjamin Hooks was born on this day in 1925 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was a Baptist minister and was a civil rights activist. He was a graduated of DePaul University School of Law, receiving a Juris Doctor in 1948. He passed the Bar in Tennessee and was one of the few Black lawyers in Memphis. He was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1956  and in 1965 was appointed to serve on the Shelby County Criminal Court, thus becoming the first Black criminal court judge in the history of Tennessee. He joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and would later serve as the executive director of the NAACP in November of 1976. He served in that capacity for for 15 years. Hooks died on April 15, 2010.   1953 – Don Barksdale First Black to Play in an NBA All-Star Game Don Barksdale becomes first Black person to play in an NBA All-Star Game as a member of the Baltimore Bullets. Barksdale was an...

James Farmer Born

1920 – James Farmer Born. James Farmer was born on this date in 1920. Farmer was a Civil rights leader born in Marshall, Texas. He initiated and organized the 1961 Freedom Rides, in which civil rights activists rode interstate buses into segregated states. The United States Supreme Court had ruled in  Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia (1946) and Boynton v. Virginia (1960) that segregation public bus transportation was unconstitutional. Thus, the Freedom Rides were intended to challenge the non-enforcement of those rulings. Farmer later served as  the co-founder National Chairman of what would become the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and organization that called for the use of non-violent protest against segregation in the United States. 1944 – “Smoking Joe” Frazier Born. Joseph “Smoking Joe” Frazier was born on this date in Beaufort, South Carolina. Frazier won a gold medal in the 1964 Olympic games and would become one of the top heavyweight boxers of his time. He became the  undisputed Heavyweight Champion when he defeated Jimmy Ellis in 1970. In what many called the “Fight of the Century,” he defeated Muhammed Ali in match at Madison Square Garden in 1971. He lost his title in a match against George Foreman and then lost a return match against Ali. He later faced Ali in what was called the “Thrilla in Manilla.” The two battled in an oppressive heat in the Philipines and Ali won when Frazier trainer Eddie Futch stopped the bout because both of Frazier’s eyes were swollen almost shut. ALthough he was victorious, Ali said that he match was “Closest thing to dying that I know of.” Frazier would finish with a professional record of 32 wins (27 by knockout), four losses and one draw. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame as well as...

Mary J. Blige Born

1971 – Mary J. Blige Born. Mary J. Blige was born on this date in 1971. She is an award winning musician, the recipient of nine Grammy awards. Mary was born in Savannah, Georgia and moved at an early age with her mother and sister to Yonkers, New York. She dropped out of high school in her junior year and ventured into music by recording herself singing Anita Baker’s “Caught Up in the Rapture,” into a karaoke machine. Her stepfather took the initiative to contact record executive Andre Harrell and he signed her as a backup singer. In 1991, she began working with Sean “Puffy” Combs and he produced her debut album  “What’s the 411?” The album was a huge success success, selling over three million albums. She is the only artist to win Grammys in the R&B, Rap, Pop, and Gospel fields. 1965 – Black AFL Payers Boycott All-Star Game. On this date in 1965, Black pro football players boycotted the American Football League All-Star game being held in New Orleans. The boycott was held over conditions for Black players and their families, with many being denied access to hotels and restaurants which were deemed “white-only.” Players also had trouble getting taxi service. Eventually, the league acquiesced by moving the game to Houston, Texas. Buffalo Bills star “Cookie” Gilchrist was one of the more outspoken leaders of the boycott. This was the first boycott of a city by any professional sporting event in sports history and helped to change the mindset of league officials when selecting event locations in the future. Many of the Black players complained that they were punished later by being cut and unable to catch on with new teams in the league. After the 1964 American Football League season,...

Riot at the University of Georgia...

1961 – Riot at the University of Georgia. On this date in 1961, two Black student at the University of Georgia were suspended by the University after a riot erupted protesting their enrollment. Hamilton E. Holmes and Charlayne Hunter-Gault were the first two African-American students admitted to the University of Georgia. The two were high school classmates and after they were denied entrance to the University in 1959, the two were the subjects of a lawsuit brought against the University, the result of which found the University compelled to admit them. The two registered for classes amid a protest by white students. A few days later, Charlayne’s dorm was surrounded by almost 1,000 whites who threw rocks, bottles, bricks and firecrackers at it. The University suspended Hunter and Holmes, citing a concern for their safety. More than 300 of the University’s professed protestedd the action, supporting the two Black students. A court ordered the University to re-admit the two and they both eventually graduated. Hunter graduated with a degree in Journalism and went on to enjoy an award-winning career  working for media outlets such as the New York Times, PBS and NPR. Holmes became an orthopedic physician and later a professor of orthopedics and associate dean at Emory University. Holmes died in 1995 of heart failure in Atlanta, Georgia. 1936 – Charles Anderson entered Kentucky House Charles Anderson entered Kentucky House of...

Southern Christian Leadership Conference Founded...

1957 – Southern Christian Leadership Conference founded. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was founded in New Orleans, Louisiana by five ministers including Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Joseph Lowery, Fred Shuttlesworth and C.K. Steele. Dr. King was the founding president, Abernathy president emeritus and Rep. Walter Fauntroy, D-District of Columbia, … 1938 – Willie Lee McCovey Born Baseball great Willie Lee McCovey born in Mobile, Alabama on this date in 1938. He was called “the scariest hitter in baseball” by Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson. McCovey joined the San Francisco Giants in 1953 and was named Rookie of the Year in 1959. He led the league in home runs  three times and finished with 521 homers for his career. He played for the San Francisco Giants for 14 and the before moving on to the San Diego Padres and then the Oakland Athletics. He returned to the Giants and retired with them in 1980. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986. 1966 – Julian Bond Denied Seat. Julian Bond, communications director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965 but was denied his seat by state representatives. By a vote of 184-12 they refused to seat him because of his support for the SNCC policy opposing the Vietnam war and his support of people who were “unwilling to respond to a military draft.” He took the matter all the way to the United States Supreme Court (Bond v. Floyd – 385 U.S. 116), which in 1966 found by a vote of 9-0 that he had been denied his freedom of speech and the Georgia House of Representatives was required to seat him....

Fisk University Founded Jan09

Fisk University Founded...

1866 – Fisk University Established. Fisk University, a historically Black university was founded on this day in 1866. It was the first Black institution to gain accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The school sits on 40 acres of land in Nashville, Tennessee and is one of four historically Black to earn a tier-one ranking on the list of Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the 2011. 1906 – Paul Laurence Dunbar Dies. Paul Laurence Dunbar, a poet, novelist and playwright died on this day in 1906. His works often used Negro dialect and he became very popular and one of the first nationally renowned Black writers. The New York Times described him as “a true singer of the people — white or black.” Dunbar was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1900 and he moved to Colorado at the suggestion of his doctors. They also encouraged him to drink whiskey to treat the illness and he ended up falling into alcoholism. He succumbed to tuberculosis in 1906 age of 33.     1935 – Earl G. Graves born Earl G. Graves, publisher of Black Enterprise magazine and entrepreneur was born on this day in 1935. A graduate of Morgan State University, Graves found a void in the amount of attention given to the Black consumer. He decided to create a newsletter discussing the issues of the Black community as well as its needs for products and services. His work helped to create an interest in marketing products to the Black community. Eventually he expanded his newsletter into a full fledged high quality magazine which he called Black Enterprise which debuted in August 1970. Over the years he has served in various positions and on boards for several prominent companies. Graves has been hailed...

African National Congress Founded Jan08

African National Congress Founded...

1912 – African National Congress Founded. African National Congress was founded on this date in 1912.  The African National Congress is the Republic of South Africa’s governing political party and was originally named the South African Native National Congress. The organization’s aim was to increase the rights of the population of Blacks in South Africa. It’s first president was John Dube and in 1923 its name was changed to the ANC. The organization called for boycotts and strikes but eventually when the peaceful, non-violence goals of the organization seemed ineffective in battling apartheid, a military wing of the ANC was organized called the Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in 1961. The MK was co-founded by Nelson Mandela who served as its chairman and it initiated a sabotage campaign against the apartheid government, bombing power plants, military installations and communications apparatuses throughout the country. Although this was  clearly violent action taken in protest, the MK took actions to minimize casualties. Mandela was arrested in 1962 and was connived of conspiracy to overthrow the government, sentenced to life in prison. After serving 27 years in prison, Mandela was released in 1990 and became the President of South Africa in 1994. The ANC is the prevailing political party in South Africa today.   1922 –  Colonel Charles Young Dies. Colonel Charles Young, the first Black to achieve that rank died on this day in 1922 in Lagos, Nigeria. Young was only the third graduate of the West Point, the United States Military Academy and became the first Black to serve as the superintendent of a National Park (the Sequoia and General Grant national parks) the first Black military attache (to Port Au Prince, Haiti). At his death, he was still the highest ranked Black military official....

Marian Anderson in Debut at the Met...

1955 – Marian Anderson made debut at Metropolitan Opera. Anderson, who made history singing in front of the Lincoln Memorial after being denied the opportunity to sing before an integrated audience at Constitution Hall, became the first Black to sing a the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.She sang at the invitation of director Sir Rudolf Bing and sang the role of Ulrica in Giuseppe Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera. Before she could sing a word the crowd broke into an applause. Afterwards, she was named a member of the Metropolitan Opera Company. For a complete biography of Marion Anderson, visit her profile at Great Black Heroes website. 1891 – Zora Neale Hurston born. Zora Neale Hurston was born on this date in 1891 in Notasulga, Alabama. She attended Howard university, Barnard College and Columbia University. She was a noted author and anthroplogist who gained great fame during the Harlem Rennassaine. She authored more then 50 short stories and four novels, the most famous of which was Their Eyes Were Watching God, published in 1937. Later that year she was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship to conduct ethnographic research in Haiti and Jamaica. She died on January 28, 1960 in Florida. 1950 – The James Weldon Johnson Collection opens at Yale. The collection focuses on the works of Black writers and artists, particularly those prominent during the Black Renaissance. The collection was started when Grace Nail Johnson, James widow. Numerous Black writers and artists thereafter donated their papers including: Dr. W. E. B. DuBois, Walter White and Poppy Cannon White, Dorothy Peterson, Chester Himes, Langston Hughes, Arna Bontemps, Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Hurston, Claude McKay, and Wallace Thurman. 1986 – Howard Beach Incident. White teens in Howard Beach chased Michael Griffith, an African-American youth, onto a freeway where he was...

John Singleton Born

1968 – John Singleton Born in Los Angeles California. He attended Pasadena City College and the University of Southern California from which he graduated in 1990. Singleton made his film directorial debut in 1991 with Boyz in the Hood. The film depicted life in South Central Los Angeles and the struggles of gang-life and trying to steer clear of it. Singleton received Academy Award nominations for both Best Screenplay and Best Director (the youngest person and first Black Director ever nominated). He subsequently directed more ten films, including Poetic Justice, Baby Boy, and2 Fast 2 Furious. 1867 – The Peabody Fund is Established. The Peabody Fund was established by George Peabody, an American-British entrepreneur and philanthropist. The fund was established for the purpose of promoting “intellectual, moral, and industrial education in the most destitute portion of the Southern States.” Unfortunately, because the fund was restricted from flowing the newly established schools, none of the funding aided newly freed slaves because there were no schools already established for them. In 1937, the Southern Education Foundation which was created by the Peabody fund, established three new funds (the John F. Slater Fund, the Negro Rural School Fund, and the Virginia Randolph Fund) aimed at supporting education for southern Blacks. 1831 – New England Anti-Slavery Society Organized. The New England Anti-Slavery Society was founded on this date in 1831, It was organized at African Baptist Church on Boston’s Beacon Hill by William Lloyd Garrison, the editor of the Liberator. The goal of the organization was the immediate abolishment of slavery. The organization sponsored a lecture series which travelled throughout New England. The organization, as it travelled, attempted to create local spinoff societies, establishing 47 of them within two years.The organization also created annual anti-slavery conventions. In 1835, the organization was absorbed into the...

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