Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Born...

1898 – Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Born. Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander was born on this date in 1898. She was very highly educated as a youth and lived with her Uncle, Lewis Baxter Moore, a Dean at Howard University. She would find great success in life, receiving the Francis Sergeant Pepper fellowship which allowed her to become the first Black woman to receive a Ph.D. in Economics in the United States, graduating in 1921 from the University of Pennsylvania. She was also the first woman to receive a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and to pass the Pennsylvania Bar in 1927. Later, she served on the Commission on Human Relations for the City of Philadelphia. She retired from practicing law in 1982. and died on November 1,...

Emancipation Proclamation Signed

1863 – The Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order issued on January 1, 1863 during the American Civil War by President Abraham Lincoln declared that all slaves held in the 10 rebel states were freed. It resulted in almost four million slaves being freed over the course of the war.Although the Proclamation did not account for any compensation to the slave owners, it was never challenged in court. It was ratified by Congress in February 1063  and it was ratified by the states in December 1865. The Proclamation applied only to the ten states in rebellion against the Union. Slavery was outlawed in all of the other slave holding states by other Federal and state legislation.   1997 – Kofi Annan of Ghana becomes first Black Secretary General of the United Nations, replacing Secretary-General, Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt. He served previously as a Budget Officer for the World Health Organization, an agency of the United Nations and later as the Director of Tourism in Ghana. He served as the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations before taking on the Secretary-General position, in which he served until December 31, 2006. 1808 – The Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves of 1807, the federal law prohibiting the importation of African slaves went into effect on January 1, 1808. The act was the results of an effort to bring forward a bill by Vermont Senator  Stephen Row Bradley and provided that no slaves would be imported into the United States. The bill was signed into law on March 3, 1807 by President Thomas Jefferson and went into effect on January 1, 1808.   1831 – The Liberator Begins Publishing. The Liberator, an abolitionist newspaper was first published by William Lloyd Garrison on this date in 1831. It was published for 35 years as a weekly publication and was one of the most influential newspaper working to end slavery in the United...

Roberto Clemente Dies in Plane Crash Dec31

Roberto Clemente Dies in Plane Crash...

  1972 – Roberto Clemente Dies in Plane Crash Roberto Clemente, a 15-time Major League Baseball All-Star died at the age of 38 in a plane crash bringing aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. A member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Clemente earned 12 Golden Gloves and four National League batting titles and his Major League career and posted a career batting average of .317. Clemente learned that much of the cargo being sent to the relief victims in Nicaragua was not being received. He decided to accompany the cargo in order to ensure that it would arrive as planned. The plane carrying him crashed shortly after takeoff off the coast of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico. The plane has had a history of mechanical problems and was overloaded by more than 4,000 lbs. Clemente was survived by his wife Vera and three children and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame the year after his...

Jack Johnson Wins Heavyweight Boxing Title Dec26

Jack Johnson Wins Heavyweight Boxing Title...

  Jack Johnson Wins Heavyweight Boxing Title 1908 – Jack Johnson Wins Heavyweight Boxing Title On this date in 1908, Jack Johnson became the first Black person to win the World’s Heavyweight Boxing title belt. Johnson was awarded the belt when police entered the ring to stop the fight. Johnson was winning the fight in an extremely lopsided manner and won via a technical knockout of Tommy Burns. He defended his title successfully, including against Jim Jeffries, a former heavyweight champion who was called out of retirement as the “Great White Hope,” but was knocked out by Johnson in the 15th round of what many called “the Fight of the Century.” Johnson, who lived a very extravagant lifestyle and engaged in romantic relationships with white women, was hounded by critics as well as law enforcement throughout his career. He was eventually arrested under the Mann Act for crossing state lines with a white woman who would later become his wife. Many believed this to have been a sham trial aimed at ruining his career and removing him from the national scene. He served a year in prison and died in an automobile accident in 1046. He was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1954. 1966 – Jimi Hendrix Writes Purple Haze Ten days after his group, “The Jimi Hendrix Experience,” released their first hit song in the United Kingdom, “Hey Joe,” Jimi Hendrix penned his biggest hit song, “Purple Haze.” It became his breakthrough hit in the United States and propelled him to stardom in the 1960s rock scene. After serving in the military int he United States, Hendrix moved to the United Kingdom where he was recruited by Chas Chandler, a former member of the group “The Animals.” After teaming with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell, Hendrix saw...

To Kill a Mockingbird Opens in Theaters...

To Kill a Mockingbird Opens in Theaters 1962 – To Kill a Mockingbird Opens in Theaters To Kill a Mockingbird, a major motion picture film based on the1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper opened in theaters on this day in 1962. The story takes place in the Great Depression era fictional southern town of  of Maycomb, Alabama. It starred Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, a small town country lawyer assigned to defend Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a young white woman, Mayella Ewell. Robinson was portrayed by Tony nominated actor Brock Peters. The film is seen through the eyes of Atticus’ young daughter Scout, an reflects her innocence in a world of racism, allowing the viewer to have compassion for Robinson’s character and to feel the bitter hatred directed towards him. The movie is noted in history as having been one of the early films focused on the plight of Blacks living in the Jim Crow south as it took aim on the injustices faced by Robinson and his family. It also prompted a whole nation of children to want to become lawyers in order to fight the good fight, as Atticus...

Josh Gibson Born Dec21

Josh Gibson Born

Josh Gibson Born. Josh Gibson was born on this date. He was a professional baseball player, a star of the Negro Leagues and one of the greatest players in history. He played as a catcher and was one of the most feared power hitters in history, alleged to have hit more than 800 home runs in his career. He began playing in 1927 on a team sponsored by Gimbels Department store. and later signed by the Pittsburgh Crawfords. H also played for the Homestead Grays of the Negro Leagues, the Dragones de Ciudad Trujillo of the Dominican League and Azules de Veracruz of the Mexican League. One of the greatest experiences for him was when he played for the Kansas City Monarchs alongside teammates Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson. In what many feel was his best year, he  batted .467 with 55 home runs and batted .351 for his career. He died in 1943 after suffering from a cancerous brain tumor and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. The United States Postal System designated a stamp in his honor in...

Florence Griffith Joyner Born Dec21

Florence Griffith Joyner Born...

1959 – Florence Griffith-Joyner Born. Florence Delorez Griffith Joyner was born on this date in 1959. Nicknamed Flo-Jo, Griffith-Joyner was considered by many to be the faster woman on Earth as she still holds the world record for both the 100 and 200 meter dash, set in the 1987 World Championships and the 1988 Olympic Games respectively. She was married to Olympic triple jumper Al Joyner and the sister-in-law of the heptathlete and long jumper Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Joyner served as the head coach of the University of California at Los Angeles track team and Florence transferred to the school where she ran track and she graduated in 1982 with a degree in psychology. After her success at the Olympics, she became the subject of rumors of steroid use. She denied using steroids and noted that she had passed all drug tests that she had been subjected to. In fact, Prince Alexandre de Merode, the Chairman of the International Olympic Committee’s medical commission stated that “We performed all possible and imaginable analyses on her…We never found anything. There should not be the slightest suspicion [on Florence Griffith Joyner].” Griffith-Joyner died in her sleep on September 21, 1998, her death being attributed to suffocation during a severe epileptic seizure A park  near her neighborhood was named in her honor by the City of Mission...

Carter Woodson Born Dec19

Carter Woodson Born

1875 – Carter Woodson born Carter Godwin Woodson was born on this day in 1875. Woodson was a historian who found that there was very little information about the history of his own race. Together with Alexander L. Jackson, he published “The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861” in 1915. He followed this with “A Century of Negro Migration” and then “The Journal of Negro History” in 1916. One of his greatest contributions to society was the creation of Negro History Week in 1926, the forerunner to Black History Month. He is considered by many the father of Black...

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