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William Lloyd Garrison wrote a support: “immediate emancipation is the duty of the master and the right of the slave.”
The White League, a paramilitary white supremacist organization, formed on this date in Louisiana and operated during Reconstruction. It was described as “the military arm of the Democratic Party” and contributed to its taking over control of the Louisiana Legislature. After white Democrats regained power, White Leagues were absorbed into state militias and the National Guard.
On this date, Jesse Redmon Fauset was born. She was an African-American novelist, critic, poet, and editor known for her discovery and encouragement of several writers of the Harlem Renaissance.
Fauset was from Snow Hill, N.J. and graduated from Cornell University (B.A., 1905) She later earned a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania (1919). Ms. Fauset taught French at an all-Black secondary school in Washington, D.C. for several years. While there she published articles in The Crisis magazine, the journal of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Its editor, W.E.B. Du Bois, persuaded her to move to New York City to become the magazine’s literary editor.
There from 1919 to 1926, she published the works of such writers as Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, and Jean Toomer. She also edited and wrote for The Brownies’ Book, a short-lived periodical for Black children. In her own work Fauset portrayed mostly middle-class Black characters forced to deal with self-hate as well as racial prejudice. Some critics felt her portrayals were overly idealistic, while others noted their subtle use of underlying frustration.
In Fauset’s best-known novel, Comedy: American Style (1933), Olivia Carey, the protagonist, is a Black woman who longs to be white, while her son and husband take pride in their cultural heritage. Fauset’s other novels include There Is Confusion (1924), Plum Bun (1928), and The Chinaberry Tree (1931). Jesse Redmon Fauset died on April 30, 1961 in Philadelphia, PA.
The birth of Hubert Henry Harrison is marked on this date. He was an African-American activist, educator, writer, orator, critic, and freedom fighter.
Born in St. Croix of the Virgin Islands, at the age of seventeen he moved to New York where he worked as a bellhop and an elevator operator. He also attended night school and studied sociology, science, psychology, literature, and drama. Harrison’s studies influenced his politics and he became a member of the Industrial Workers of the World. He later joined the Socialist Party where he met other African American radicals such as Philip Randolph, Chandler Owen, and Claude McKay. He impressed them with his intellect and was given the nickname, the “Black Socrates.”
As a journalist Harrison wrote for the The Masses. Harrison also edited The Voice and contributed to the The Messenger, The Call, The New Republic, the New York Times, and the New York World. He also published two important books, The Negro and the Nation (1917) and When Africa Awakes (1920). Harrison opposed United States involvement in the First World War. This caused him to break with W.E.B. Du Bois who had argued in The Crisis that: “Let, us, while this war lasts, forget our special grievances and close our ranks.”
Harrison lectured on socialism and African American civil rights from street corners and in September, 1922, the New York Times reported that he was drawing crowds of over 10,000 people and the New York police had to stop the traffic.
During the 1920s, he has also become one of the nation’s most prominent atheists. Harrison recognized the connection between racism and religion and pointed this out quite bluntly. The Bible was a slave master’s book in Harrison’s eyes, which not only sanctioned the keeping of slaves, but even gave advice on their handling. He stated that any African American person who accepts Christianity was either ignorant or crazy. He will addressed Islam by stating that the slave masters may have been largely Christian, but many of the slave traders were Muslims, apparently not deterred by their faith.
Harrison had a great influence on Marcus Garvey. Harrison, claiming that race was more important than class. After leaving the Socialist Party, he joined Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).
Harrison also edited the organizations journal, The Negro World, for four years. He also worked as a staff lecturer for the New York City Board of Education. Hubert Harrison died in 1927.
On this date, W.E.B. DuBois’ classic treatise “The Soul of Black Folks” was published. The book did much to outline and summarize progressive African-American thought and opposition to the accommodation policies of Booker T. Washington of social and political subordination—then the nation’s foremost Black leader. DuBois argued that “the problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line” and labeled Washington’s program as one of “industrial education, conciliation of the South and submission and silence as to civil and political rights.”
Maggie Lena Walker becames the first Black woman to head a bank in America. In fact, she was the first woman of any color to head a bank when she was named president of the St. Luke Bank and Trust Company in Richmond, VA. Walker was an outstanding businesswoman who took over Richmond’s Order of St. Luke when it was nearly broke and rapidly losing membership. Within a few years the Order owned a bank, a newspaper, a printing press and a three-story department store despite the active opposition of Richmond’s white business community. Walker also helped found the Lilly Black Party in part as a slap at the segregated “lilly white” political parties of the day. One of her mottos was “Don’t get angry, get busy.” She died on December 15, 1934.
The U.S. Supreme Court upholds clauses in the Alabama state constitution which disfranchises African Americans.
On this date, Alice Dunnigan was born. She was a journalist who was instrumental in establishing African-American presence in political news coverage.
Born near Russellville, KY, she attended Kentucky State College and later graduated from West Kentucky Industrial College. Dunnigan was the first Black woman accredited to the White House and the State Department and to gain access to the House of Representatives and Senate galleries. She was also the first Black woman elected to the Woman’s National Press Club.
In 1948 she became the first Black woman to cover a presidential campaign when she covered Harry S. Truman’s whistle-stop trip. Alice Dunnigan died in 1983.
Basil Alexander Paterson was born on this date. He is an African-American labor lawyer and former politician.
Paterson was born in Harlem, the son of Leonard James and Evangeline Alicia (Rondon) Paterson. His father was born on the island of Carriacou in the Grenadines and arrived in the United States aboard the S.S. Vestris on May 16, 1917 in New York City. His mother was born in Kingston, Jamaica and arrived in the United States on September 9, 1919 aboard the S.S. Vestnorge in Philadelphia with a final destination of New York City. A stenographer by profession, the former Miss Rondon once served as a secretary for Marcus Garvey.
In 1942, at the age of 16, Paterson graduated from De Witt Clinton High School in the Bronx. He then began working with a wholesale house in the old Port Authority building on 18th Street. His studies continued though at St. John’s University where they were interrupted by a two year stint in the army during World War II. He graduated in 1948 with a B.S. in biology. This was followed by admission to St. John’s Law School, where he received the degree of Jurist Doctor in 1951. During this time he was married to his wife Portia and began raising a family.
Paterson became involved in Democratic politics in Harlem in the 1950s and 1960s. Along with former New York Mayor David Dinkins, former Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton, and Congressman Charles Rangel, Paterson is a leader of the “Harlem Clubhouse,” which has dominated Harlem politics since the 1960s. In 1965 Paterson was elected to the New York State Senate representing the Upper West Side of New York City and Harlem. He gave up his Senate seat in 1970 to run for lieutenant governor, as the running mate of former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg. The Goldberg/Paterson ticket lost to the Republican ticket of incumbent Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and Lt. Gov. Malcolm Wilson.
In 1978, Paterson was appointed as a Deputy Mayor of New York City by then Mayor Ed Koch. He stepped down as deputy mayor in 1979 to become New York Secretary of State, and served until the end of the Hugh Carey administration in 1983. He was the first black New York Secretary of State. In 1989, Paterson became a commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a position he held until 1995. In 2003, he was appointed to the Commission to Promote Public Confidence in Judicial Elections. That same year, Paterson was elected Chairman of the KeySpan Foundation Board of Directors. He has served as Co-Chairman of the New York State Governor’s Commission on Determinate Sentencing, and the New York State Commission on Powers of Local Government.
Paterson has received numerous awards including the Humanitarian Award from Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and St. John’s University Medal of Excellence. Currently, Paterson is a Member of the law firm of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C., where he is co-chair of the firm’s Labor practice. Paterson is the father of New York Governor David Paterson.
Connie Kay was born on this date. He was an African-American jazz drummer.
Self-taught on the drums, Kay played in the mid-’40s with Sir Charles Thompson, Miles Davis, and Cat Anderson. He was in Lester Young’s quintet off and on during 1949-55, a time in which he also worked with Beryl Booker, Stan Getz, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker and others. In February 1955, he joined the Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ), traveling the world with the band up until it called it “quits” in 1974.
During that era he also was a guest on small-group sets with Chet Baker, Cannonball Adderley, Jimmy Heath and Paul Desmond with Jim Hall. During 1975-81 Kay worked with Tommy Flanagan, Soprano Summit, Benny Goodman and was the house drummer at Eddie Condon’s club. Because for just two months shy of 40 years (including seven years in which the group was on “vacation”), Connie Kay was the drummer/percussionist with MJQ, he may be most remembered as so. His subtle constant contributions were an invaluable asset to everyone he came in contact with. Connie Kay died November 30, 1994 in New York, NY.
Wendell Campbell was born on this date in East Chicago, Indiana. Three months after he graduated from high school as a National Honor Society scholar, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Campbell eventually received his B.A. in architecture and city planning from the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he was offered a full-tuition scholarship from Commonwealth Edison, in 1957.
He worked as an architect from 1956 until 1966, when he became president of Campbell & Mascai, an architectural and urban planning firm. In 1966, he became the CEO of Wendell Campbell Associates, which since changed its name to Campbell Tiu Campbell to reflect the contributions of partners Domingo Tiu and Campbell’s daughter, Susan. Noted projects for the firm include the DuSable Museum of African American History, the McCormick Place expansion, the King Drive Gateway, redevelopment plans for the city of New Orleans and the new Bronzeville Military Academy.
Campbell was a founder and the first president of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), established in 1971. He has served on the board of the Illinois Chapter of NOMA, the Cosmopolitan Chamber of Commerce, Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, the Black Ensemble Theater, the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Chicago Architectural Assistance Center and the South Side YMCA. He is also a member of the Chicago’s Capital Improvement Advisory Council and the city’s Committee on Standards and Tests.
Campbell is dedicated to improving the quality of affordable housing in metropolitan centers through the design of “smart homes,” housing that brings twenty-first-century technology to the varied needs of today’s urban families.
Campbell married June Crusor Campbell in 1954. They live in Chicago and have two daughters, Susan Campbell Smith and Leslie Campbell.
Coretta Scott King was born in Marion, Alabama. She married Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1953 and became an integral part of his civil rights activities. After his assassination in 1968, she continued her civil rights activities, founding the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Change in Atlanta, Georgia. She died on January 31, 2006 after succumbing to complications of a stroke and heart attack.
Actress Madge Sinclair, most well known for her role in the television series “Trapper John MD” and Eddie Murphy’s “Coming to America,” was born in Kingston, Jamaica on this date. Madge Sinclair died on December 20, 1995. She was 57.
Rhythm-and-blues singer Cuba Gooding, Sr., lead singer of the Main Ingredient, was born on this date in New York City. Cuba Gooding, Sr. and the Main Ingredient’s are most notable for their two biggest hits, “Everybody Plays the Fool” (1972) and “Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely” (1974). Gooding also had a brief solo career on Motown Records during the late-1970s and early-1980s. His biggest international success was “Happiness Is Just Around the Bend” in 1983, which has in recent times been sampled by several R&B artists, as well as hitting the charts again as a remix by UK Hardcore Rave group Altern-8 in 1991.
On this date, August Wilson was born. He was an African-American playwright and activist.
Born in Pittsburgh to a white father (Frederick August Kittle, who never lived with his family) and a Black mother (Daisy Wilson) from North Carolina. His mother raised him along with five siblings. During the 1960s Wilson left school in the 9th grade and worked at menial jobs at age 16. He received his education in libraries and in town hubs. Wilson began writing plays in Pittsburgh and then took a job in St. Paul writing dramatic skits for the Science Museum of Minnesota.
He then became involved in the civil rights movement, describing himself as a Black Nationalist. He moved to Minneapolis and began to write, clearly using speech patterns and rhythms that were familiar to him from Black neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. His writing was also strongly influenced by the blues and artist Romare Bearden. In 1968 he founded and directed the Black Horizon Theater Company in Pittsburgh in a predominantly Black neighborhood referred to as “the Hill”. In 1972 he began writing a play, Jitney, about a Gypsy cab station, which was produced in 1978 at Black Horizon and in 1982 at the Eugene O’Neill Center’s National Playwright Conference.
Wilson also founded the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis. Shortly after, he wrote Fullerton Street, which was not as well received as Jitney. His first commercial success was Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which was developed at the Playwrights Center in 1983, Yale Repertory Theater in 1984 and Broadway where it enjoyed 275 performances and won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. The play was set in a movie studio and Charles Dutton played the character of Levee.
Wilson’s next play was Fences. It presented a slice-of-life in a Black tenement in (Pittsburgh?) set in the late 1950s through 1965. Joe Turner’s Come and Gone opened at the Yale Repertory Theater in late 1986 and moved to New York in early 1988. It won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. Two Trains Running opened in 1992 and starred Laurence Fishburne and Cynthia Martells. Seven Guitars opened at the Goodman Theater, Chicago in 1995. The play has since moved to Broadway with a successful run. Set in Pittsburgh, it’s about the blues and how they mean different things to Blacks and to Whites.
Wilson’s drama, King Hedley II opened at the Virginia Theater on Broadway in April 2001 and it starred Brian Stokes-Mitchell and Leslie Uggams. Wilson ended his 10-work cycle of plays, which chronicling the 20th century Black American experience, at the theater where his first debuted more than 20 years earlier. The cycle included the Pulitzer Prize winning plays Fences and The Piano Lesson.
“Radio Golf” premiered at the Yale Repertory Theater, Timothy Douglas directing the staging through May 14, 2005. August Wilson died of liver cancer on October 2, 2005 in Seattle, Washington.
Singer and songwriter Ann Peebles was born on this date in St. Louis, MO. She is best known for her Memphis soul albums of the 1970s on the Hi Records label. Two of her better known songs are “I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down” and “I Can’t Stand the Rain,” popularized by cover versions by Paul Young and Eruption respectively.
Rhythm-and-blues singer Herb Murrell of the Stylistics was born on this date in Lane, SC.
The Group Areas Act of 1950 (Act No. 41 of 1950) was an act of parliament created under the apartheid government of South Africa on this date. The act assigned racial groups to different residential and business sections in urban areas in a system of urban apartheid. An effect of the law was to exclude non-Whites from living in the most developed areas, which were restricted to Whites (e.g., Sea Point). It caused many non-Whites to have to commute large distances from their homes in order to be able to work. The law led to non-Whites being forcibly removed for living in the “wrong” areas.
This act was repealed 41 years later, on June 5, 1991 along with the Natives’ Land Act of 1913.
Togo gained its independence from France. Sylvanus Olymplo served as its first prime minister.
The Biggest Show of Stars 1960 made a performance stop at the Lauderdale County Coliseum in Florence, AL, with performers including Little Anthony & the Imperials, Lloyd Price, Clyde McPhatter, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed, and the Coasters, among others.
Sierra Leone gained its independence from Great Britain with Dr. Milton Margai as its first prime minister.
SCLC activist Ralph Abernathy releases a press statement that includes “…We may not get all of what we want all at once, but you can be rest assured the city of Birmingham will never be the same…”
The Crystals soared onto the pop hit list with “Da Doo Ron Ron,” an eventual #3 classic.
Dr. Vincent Porter becomes the first Black certified in plastic surgery.
Curt Flood resigned from the Washington Senators after playing 13 games and batting a quiet .200 and departed for Denmark.
The Chi-Lites hit #1 pop and R&B with their career establishing “Oh, Girl.” Lead singer Eugene Record was the husband of soul singer Barbara Acklin.
Kwame Nkrumah, African statesman, nationalist leader, and the first president of Ghana, died in exile, in Conarky, Guinea at the age of 62.
The Impressions charted with “Finally Got Myself Together,” reaching #1 R&B (#17 pop). It was their fourth and last #1 over eleven years, starting in 1963 with “It’s Alright.”
Artist Charles Henry Alston died in New York City on this date. After studying at Columbia University and Pratt Institute, he traveled to Europe and the Caribbean before executing murals for Harlem Hospital and Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company in Los Angeles. A recipient of the National Academy of Design Award, he also received the first-place award of the Atlanta University Collection’s 1942 show for his gouache “Farm Boy.” His best known works are “Family” and “Walking.” Among his other notable works are “School Girl,” “Frederick Douglass,” and “Nobody Knows.”
Bloody riots break out in Soweto, South Africa on this date.
Michael Jackson’s incredible success and airwave “overkill” had its detractors and among them was radio WWSH in Philadelphia, which declared a “No Michael Jackson” weekend.
B.B. King was hospitalized due to diabetes-related problems in Las Vegas. Within a month he would be back performing.
Luther Vandross charted with “Power of Love/Love Power,” reaching #1 R&B and #4 pop. The backing vocalists included Darlene Love and Cissy Houston.
A tragedy befell the Zambian national football team when the military plane (Zambian Air Force Buffalo DHC-5D, reg: AF-319) carrying the team to Senegal for a 1994 World Cup qualification match crashed in the late evening of 27 April 1993. The journey required two refueling stops and at the first stop in Congo engine problems were noted. Despite this, the flight continued and a few minutes after taking off from a second stop in Libreville, Gabon one of the engines caught fire and failed. The pilot, who was tired from already having flown back from Mauritius earlier that day, then shut down the wrong engine, causing the plane to lose all power during the climb out of Libreville Airport and fall into the water 500m offshore.
All 30 passengers and crew, including 18 players, as well as the national team coach and support staff, were lost in the accident. The Chipolopolo’s captain and later national team coach, Kalusha Bwalya, was not aboard the ill-fated flight as he was in the Netherlands playing for PSV at that time and had made separate arrangements to make his own way to Senegal to take part in the qualifier match. Also Charles Musonda, at the time playing for Anderlecht, wasn’t involved in the plane crash being injured.
Aftermath of the tragedy
A new side was quickly assembled, and led by Bwalya, faced up to the difficult task of having to complete Zambia’s World Cup qualifiers and then prepare for the upcoming African Nations Cup which was only months away.
The resurrected team defied the odds, and displaying an offensive playing style, they reached the final against Nigeria. They took the lead in the first half, but the Super Eagles quickly equalized and followed up with the winner in the second half. In spite of the loss, the Zambian side returned home as national heroes.
Aretha Franklin’s first TV special was taped at New York’s Nederlander Theater and featured duets with Bonnie Raitt on “Since You’ve Been Gone,” and “Natural Woman” with Raitt and Gloria Estefan. Also performing were Smokey Robinson (singing a duet with Aretha on “Just to See Her”) and Elton John.
A former Italian colony, Eritrea was occupied by the British in 1941. In 1952 the United Nations resolved to establish it as an autonomous entity federated with Ethiopia as a compromise between Ethiopian claims for sovereignty and Eritrean aspirations for independence. However, 10 years later the Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie, decided to annex it, triggering a 32-year armed struggle.
This culminated in independence after an alliance of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) and a coalition of Ethiopian resistance movements defeated Haile Selassie’s communist successor, Mengistu Haile Mariam.
On this date, in a referendum supported by Ethiopia, Eritreans voted almost unanimously for independence, leaving Ethiopia landlocked. Formal independence was declared on May 24.
The two countries hardly became good neighbors with the issues of Ethiopian access to the Eritrean ports of Massawa and Assab and unequal trade terms souring relations.
In 1998, border disputes around the town of Badme erupted into open hostilities. This conflict ended with a peace deal in June, 2000, but not before leaving both sides with tens of thousands of soldiers dead. A security zone separates the two countries. The UN patrolled the zone at one time but pulled out, unable to fulfill its mandate.
The unresolved border issue compounded other pressing problems. These included Eritrea’s inability to provide enough food; two thirds of the population received food aid. Moreover, economic progress was hampered by the proportion of Eritreans who were in the army rather than the workforce.
This date marks the celebration of “Freedom Day” in South Africa. It is the date that South African marks as the end of apartheid. It commemorates the first multiracial election in that country. Though this date is used to mark the election, most references note the start of the three or four day election on April 26 (some say April 26-28 while other note April 26-29). The election resulted in the election of Nelson Mandela as president. He served from 1994-1995.
On this date, the first black woman trekked to the North Pole. 75 year old Barbara Hillary of Averne, NY made the journey.
The bone-numbing trek to the North Pole is riddled frostbite, polar bears and the ice is constantly shifting beneath your feet. Hillary is also one of the oldest people to reach the North Pole. She grew up in Harlem and devoted herself to a nursing career and community activism. At 67 and during retirement, she battled lung cancer. Five years later, she went dog sledding in Quebec and photographed polar bears in Manitoba. Then she heard that a black woman had never made it to the North Pole. “I said, `What’s wrong with this picture?’” she said. “So I sort of rolled into this, shall we say.”
The expedition’s customers can travel to the North Pole in various ways, from 18-day cross-country ski trips to simply being dropped off at the Pole via helicopter. Hillary insisted on skiing. So she enrolled in cross-country skiing lessons and hired a personal trainer, who finally determined she was physically fit for the voyage. Her lack of funds didn’t stop her, either. Hillary scraped together thousands of dollars and solicited private donors.
On April 18, she arrived in Longyearben, Norway. The travelers were then flown to the base camp which is rebuilt each year due to melting ice and pitched their tents. Five days later, she set off on skis with two trained guides. As the sunlight glinted off the ice, Hillary fought beneath a load of gear and pressed on. In her euphoria at reaching the Pole, standing at the top of the world, she made it. The enormous expanse of ice and sky left Hillary speechless.
She hopes her journey will inspire hope in other cancer survivors. With her feet back on dry land in New York, she is already plotting a new adventure: that of a global-warming activist. She said. “I’d like to go and lecture to different groups on what they can do on a grass-roots level to fight global warming.”
Greg Page, a prizefighter who was hailed as the next Muhammad Ali as a teenager and briefly held a world heavyweight title in the mid-1980s, only to sustain a brain injury in his last fight in a seedy Kentucky nightclub in 2001, died on this date at his Louisville home attributed by his wife Patricia to the lingering effects of his final fight. He was 50.
Frankie Manning, a master of swing-era dance who went from the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem to Broadway and Hollywood, and then after a long break enjoyed a globe-trotting second career as an inspirational teacher and choreographer of the Lindy hop, died on Monday in Manhattan. He was 94 and lived in Corona, Queens.