Kappa Alpha Psi Formed Jan05

Kappa Alpha Psi Formed...

1911 – Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity founded. Kappa Alpha Psi (ΚΑΨ), a predominantly Black college fraternity was founded on this date. at Indiana University Bloomington. Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. was founded by Elder W. Diggs, Byron K. Armstrong, John M. Lee, Harvey T. Asher, Marcus P. Blakemore, Guy L. Grant, Paul Caine, George Edmonds, Ezera D. Alexander and Edward G. Irvin. The fraternity was founded as Kappa Alpha Nu. The fraternity opened a second chapter at the university of Illinois in 1913 and then expanded to Black and white schools throughout the country. The name Kappa Alpha Nu was conceived in tribute to an earlier fraternity, Alpha Kappa Nu. Unfortunately, then name was used derogatorily by racist student. Founder Elder Diggs was watching an initiate compete in a track meet when he heard slurs from the stands directed at the athlete, calling out “Kappa Alpha Nig.” The fraternity subsequently changed the name to Kappa Alpha Psi on April 15, 1915. The fraternity is known for its use of canes in step shows. The cane sport the fraternity colors and was recognized as an important part of the fraternity’s culture in 1985. The fraternity engages in several national campaigns to promote education and occupational guidance for youths.   1943 – William H. Hastie Resigns Position as Aide to Secretary of War. Hastie, a graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Law School, served as a Professor at Howard University Law School where he taught Thurgood Marshall. He later served as assistant solicitor for the Department of the Interior was the first Black Federal Judge, appointed by President Franklin Roosevelt to the United States District Court for the Virgin Islands. He resigned his position as a judge to become the Dean of Howard Law School in 1939 and during World War II was...

Rappers Delight Hits the Top 40...

1980 – Rappers Delight Becomes the First Hip Hop Song to Appear in the Top 40. The song, while not the first rap song, was the first huge hit in the nascent genre. It was performed by a group called the Sugar Hill Gang. The group was lined up by Sylvia Robinson who had heard young people rapping and wanted to record them, but she was having a hard time finding anyone willing to record. Her oldest son Joey knew Henry Jackson (Big Bank Hank) and recruited him for the project and Michael Anthony Wright (Wonder Mike) and Guy O’Brian (Master Gee) followed and the story is that they met her on Friday and recorded the song on Monday in one 15 minute take. The story is not without controversy however. The main groove on the song was “sampled” from Chic’s disco song “Good Times.” Niles Rodgers, who wrote good time was in a dance club and heard his song being played with rap lyrics over top of it. When he found out it had been put out in an album, he and Bernard Edwards took legal action and thereafter received co-writing credits and proceeds from the sale of Rappers Delights. As well, Big Bank Hank helped to manage a rapper named named Grandmaster Caz of the Cold Crush Brothers and asked Caz for some lyrics to use. Caz gave him a book of his rhymes and Herc used some of them almost verbatim on he song, even spelling out Casanova’s name. Caz, nonetheless, did not receive any writing credits or financial compensation. Beyond the financial aspects, many in the hip-hop industry were very angry that three guys who barely knew each other were launched into stardom when other in the community with serious...

Alvin Ailey Born

1931 – Alvin Ailey was born on January 5, 1931 in Rogers, Texas. Ailey would become a world renowned dancer and choreographer. After moving to California and studying under Lester Horton, Alvin performed in a number of Broadway shows alongside Diahann Carroll, Pearl Bailey, Lena Horne, Harry Belafonte and Ricardo Montalbán. He also performed on television and in a nightclub act called “Al and Rita” with Maya Angelou. Feeling constrained and underwhelmed, he decided to create dance performances on his own and opened the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958.  Ailey mixed modern dance with traditional ballet, jazz and African dance to tell the stories of African-American pain and sorrows. While his dance group focused on Black dance and issues, it was multi-racial  and appealed to a wide audience. In 1962, the U.S. State Department sponsored an overseas tour for the company, traveling through  the Far East, Southeast Asia and Australia as part of President John F. Kennedy’s progressive “President’s Special International Program for Cultural Presentations.” His two signature works were Revelations (1960) which drew upon his early memories of life in Texas and Cry (1971) which he dedicated to his mother and Black women everywhere. Ailey died in New York in 1989.   ]1943 – George Washington Carver Day celebrated. George Washington Carver Day honors the brilliant agricultural chemist who died on this day in 1943. Carver is best known for finding hundreds of uses for the common peanut revitalizing the peanut industry and transforming the agricultural industry. His ideas of crop rotation revitalized farmlands and replenished soil with rich nutrients changing the way in which farmers planted and harvested their crops. Called the “Wizard of Tuskegee” Carver died at age 79 in Tuskegee, Alabama. For more information on George Washington Carver, visit his profile at Great Black Heroes....

Floyd Patterson Born Jan04

Floyd Patterson Born

1935 – Floyd Patterson Born. Patterson was born in Waco, North Carolina and was an Olympic Gold Medalist middle-wright boxer in the 1952 games in Helsinki, Finland in 1952. He later trained under Cus D’Amato and would go on to defeat Archie Moore to become the youngest Heaweight boxing champion of the world. He fought against all of the major champions of the day and compiled a record of 55-8-1 with 40 knockouts. He lost famously to Sonny Liston and then Muhammad Ali and retired in 1972. He would serve as the chairman of the New York State Boxing Commission and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991. 1777 – Prince Hall, an abolitionist and the founder of the first African American Masonic lodge, led 73 Black delegates in presenting a request to the Massachusetts Senate requesting funds to emigrate to Africa. Hall believed that they could take the knowledge gained in the United States to Africa, whereby they could be come leaders on the continent. When the Senate rejected his plea, Hall turned to trying to improve the plight of Blacks through education and social...

Jesse Jackson Frees Pilot Jan03

Jesse Jackson Frees Pilot...

1984 – Jesse Jackson Secures Release of Black Pilot. On this date in 1984, Reverend Jesse Jackson was able to secure the release of a U.S. Bombardier Navigator. Lt. Robert Goodman was part of a crew on a bombing mission over Beirut when his plane was hit by a missile. It crashed, killing the pilot and injuring Goodman. He was captured by Syrian troops and taken to Damascus where he was held for 30 days. The United States tried repeatedly to secure his release but to no avail. In January 1984, Jesse Jackson travelled with an entourage of dignitaries, including Reverends Louis Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright, to Syria, where the were able to secure the release of Goodman. Upon his return to the United States, Goodman was welcomed by President Ronald Reagan at the White House. Reagan proclaimed that Goodman “exemplified qualities of leadership and loyalty.” Reagan also praised Jackson saying that he had “earned our gratitude and our admiration.”   1989 – The Arsenio Hall Show Premieres. The Arsenio Hall Show premieres on this date in 1989. It is appeared in syndication until 1994 and was the first late night talk show regularly hosted by a Black entertainer. Hall appealed to a younger, hipper audience than hosts like Johnny Carson or Tom Snyder. He brought in new musical acts and interacted with his audience in a manner that was fresh and new. The show was distributed by Paramount and taped at the Paramount studios in Los Angeles.     1961 – Adam Clayton Powell elected Chairman On this date in 1961, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. was elected Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. In this position he presided over several federal social programs. Under his leadership, Congress expanded the minimum wage,...

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...

Gen Benjamin O. Davis Born Dec18

Gen Benjamin O. Davis Born...

General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. Born. 1912 – General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. was born on this day in Washington, DC. Davis was the son of Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., a renowned military officer, the first Black General in the United States Army. Davis, Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming the first Black Air Force General, retiring as a four star General. He was also noteworthy as the Commander of the 99th Pursuit Squadron and then the the 332nd Fighter Group, the famous Tuskegee Airmen. Slavery Abolished in the United States Following the ratification by the requisite three-quarters of the states, the 13th Amendment is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution. Henceforth, this ensured that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude… shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their...

O.J. Simpson Sets Rushing Record Dec16

O.J. Simpson Sets Rushing Record...

1973 – O.J. Simpson Sets Rushing Record O.J. Simpson, a running back for the Buffalo Bills set the record for rushing yards in a season with 2,003 yards. He set the record on a snow covered field against the New York Jets, running for 200 yards in the game. Simpson broke the season record of Jim Brown, who ran for 1,863 yards in 1963. Simpson Simpson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985. After a careers as a sports broadcaster and actor, he was involved in one of the most controversial trials in American history, acquitted of the murder of his ex-wife and her...

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner Premieres...

1967 – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner Premieres Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, a groundbreaking movie that focused on the challenges of an interracial romantic relationship opened in theaters on this date in 1967. The film starred industry stalwarts Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and newcomer Katharine Houghton. The filmed premiere just months after the Loving v. Virginia case was decided by the Supreme Court, legalizing interracial marriage in the United States. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles Hit #1 Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, after years of success at Motown, scored their first number one hit with “Tears of a Clown.” Robinson, one of the most prolific songwriters in history had written dozens of number one hits for other artists. He would later becomean executive for Motown. Gale Sayers Scores Six Touchdowns Gale Sayers, a rookie running back for the Chicago Bears set an NFL record, scoring six touchdowns in a game against the San Francisco 49ers at Wrigley Field. He scored on four rushing plays, one reception and one punt...

Singer Sam Cooke Killed...

1964 – Singer Sam Cooke Killed in Los Angeles Sam Cooke, a charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was killed on this day in 1964. Cooke, ranked the 4th Greatest Singer of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine, was shot to death at the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, California. Cooke was shot three times in the chest by Bertha Franklin, the manager of the motel, when she said he threatened to kill her after an earlier altercation in his room with another woman, Elisa Boyer. It is believed that Boyer robbed him and that Cooke believed her to be hiding in the manager’s office. Cooke rose to prominence as a singer in the legendary Gospel group the Soul Stirrers before moving into the pop and soul music world  where he scored huge hits such as “You Send Me” (1957), “Chain Gang” (1960), “Cupid” (1961), “Twistin’ the Night Away” (1962) and “A Change Is Gonna Come” (1964). Two funeral services were held for Cooke,  in Chicago, IL on December 18, 1964 which drew 200,000 fans and one the next day in Los...

Otis Redding Dies in Plane Crash...

1967 – Legendary Musician Otis Redding Dies in Plane Crash Otis Redding, the singer and songwriter behind such hits as “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” and “RESPECT” died on this date in 1967. The plane carrying Redding and members of his backup band The Bar-Kays crashed into Lake Manona in Madison, Wisconsin. The party was on its way to play a concert the next evening near the University of Wisconsin. Also killed in the crash were guitarist Jimmy King, tenor saxophonist Phalon Jones, organist Ronnie Caldwell and drummer Carl Cunningham; their valet, Matthew Kelly; and the pilot, Richard Fraser. Ben Cauley, a member of the Bar-Kays was the only one to survive the crash. “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” was released in January 1968 and would become Redding’s only number one hit. Redding was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, the United States Post Office issued a 29-cent commemorative postage stamp in his honor and he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994. In 1999 he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and Rolling Stone magazine ranked Redding  number 21 on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All...

Black Panthers Fred Hampton Killed...

1969 – Black Panther Fred Hampton Shot to Death Fred Hampton, 21, a prominent member of the Black Panthers was gunned down by 14 police officers along with fellow member Mark Clark, 22, as they lie sleeping in their Chicago, Illinois, apartment. Police claimed to kill the two in what they termed a fierce gun fight with the Black Panthers Party. Ballistics reports, however, would later show that only one bullet was fired from the apartment. Four other Black Panthers were wounded in the raid, as were two police officers. Hampton had become involved in the civil right fight early on, organizing a chapter of the NAACP at his high school when he was only 15, and  became chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party at age 20. According to History.com,  “Despite the evidence provided by ballistics experts showing that police had fired 99 percent of the bullets and had falsified the report on the incident, the first federal grand jury did not indict anyone involved in the raid. Furthermore, even though a subsequent grand jury did indict all the police officers involved, the charges were...

Archie Griffin Wins Second Heisman Dec02

Archie Griffin Wins Second Heisman...

Archie Griffin Win Second Heisman 1975 – Archie Griffin, running back for Ohio State University becomes the first player in history to win the Heisman Trophy two years in a row. In 1974, Griffin became only the fifth player in history to win the Heisman trophy, annual awarded to the most outstanding player in college football. He followed up by winning the award as a senior after amassing an NCAA record-breaking 5,177 career rushing yards and leading the Buckeyes to a record of 29-1-1. Griffin’s number 45 jersey was the first ever retired by Ohio State. He would later spend seven years playing in the National Football League. 1972 – The Temptations earn their four chart-topping hit when “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” reaches #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The legendary Motown group had previously hit number one with “My Girl” in 1964, “I Can’t Get Next to You” in 1969 and “Just My Imagination” in 1971. 1859 – Abolitionist John Brown Hanged. Brown had set out to take over the Federal arsenals of weapons in Harper’s Ferry, in what is now the state of West Virginia. The plan was to launch an armed fight against the bastions of slavery and during the siege a number of people were killed. The plan failed when the raiders allowed a Baltimore-bound train to pass through. The train’s passengers alerted local authorities who sent in local militias from Maryland and Virginia. Brown was sentenced to death on November 2, 1859 and was hanged on December 12th after declaring “The crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with...

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