Joseph Cinque leads 54 slaves to seize the Amistad in a mutiny off the coast of Cuba. They attempted
to sail for Africa but were unable to navigate by the stars and were tricked
into sailing north at night and west during the day, zigzagging for two months.
Prior to 1840, the Baptist movement
in the U.S. had maintained a strained peace over slavery by carefully avoiding
discussion of the topic. The American Baptist Foreign Mission Board took
neither a pro nor anti-slavery position. However, as the “outward and visible” controversy
over slavery in the Baptist Church began to take shape, there was an outgrowth
of the more radical anti-slavery feeling among American Baptist and a few
missionaries on Burmah in 1840. As a result, on this date, the American Baptist
Anti-Slavery Convention formed and met
for the first time in New York. Elon Galusha of New York (born
June 18, 1790 – died January 6, 1856), a lawyer and Baptist preacher, served as
its first president. This convention formed a Foreign Provisional Missionary
Committee, which later sought two thing in the missionary work of the church:– a
severance from all slavery influence, and
more strict recognition of church representation. Committees at the meeting
reported upon the influence of slavery on literary and theological
institutions; the connection of slavery with the churches; reciprocal influence
between slavery and the religious press; an address to the Baptist churches in
the North in relation to their duties on the subject of slavery as it exists in
their sister churches of the South; the condition of free people of color; an
address to our brethren at the South on the subject of slavery.
This address to Southern Baptists was
sent out signed by Elon Galusha, President and O.S. Murray, Secretary. It
proved to be somewhat of a firebrand.
Southern delegates to the 1841
Triennial Convention of the Board “protested the abolitionist agitation and
argued that, while slavery was a calamity and a great evil, it was not a sin
according to the Bible.” The Board later denied a request by the Alabama
Convention that slave owners be eligible to become missionaries. In a test
case, the Georgia Baptist nominated a slave owner as a missionary and asked
asked the Home Missions Society to approve their choice. No decision was made.
Finally, a Baptist Free Mission Society was formed; “it refused ‘tainted’
Southern money.” The Southern members withdrew and formed the Southern Baptist
Convention, which eventually grew to become the largest Protestant denomination
in the U.S.
The birth of Professor William H.
Crogman is celebrated on this date. He was
an African-American educator.
Born in the West Indies in 1841, he was orphaned at twelve years of age. For
ten years he followed the sea. Then, encouraged by a shipmate, he entered
school in Massachusetts. He passed every one of the hundreds of students in
learning, accuracy, and scholarship. He accomplished as much in one quarter as
the average student did in two, mastering both mathematical and linguistic
In 1870, Crogman became a teacher in Claflin University, the first Black to be
regularly employed by the Freedmen’s Aid Society in education. He stopped
teaching long enough to take a full course at Atlanta University and in 1876 he
joined the faculty of what is now Clark University. For seven years he served
as president of Clark where the school grew both in numbers and strength. He
was the first secretary of the Boards of Trustees of Gammon Theological
Seminary and of Clark University. For twenty-nine years he was superintendent
of the Sunday school at Clark, and had the reputation of never being late
during that period.
Three times he was a delegate to the General Conference, and he was the first
individual to receive the degree of Doctor of Letters from Atlanta University.
He is the author of several books and spoke by special invitation from the
pulpit of Henry Ward Beecher’s church. At the time of the Atlanta race riots,
when it was falsely rumored that Clark University had harbored Negro criminals,
one of the leading Atlanta papers published a strong editorial in defense of
Dr. Crogman, then president of the school, and declared: “This rumor is entirely
and absolutely undeserved.”
At the 1921 commencement, Dr. Crogman retired from active teaching. The
Carnegie Foundation granted him a pension for life. William H. Crogman died in 1931.
On this date, Jeremiah Haralson was born. He was a Black politician who served in the House of Representatives.
Born a slave near Columbus, Georgia, he was taken to Alabama and kept in
bondage until 1865. After attaining his freedom, Haralson taught himself how to
read and write. According to records he then became a farmer and a clergyman, a
powerful orator and debater. In 1870 he ran for Congress as an independent and
defeated the republican candidate.
In 1870, the twenty-first district elected Haralson to the state Senate and two
years later he urged Black voters to turn away from the republican movement and
remain loyal to the reelection of President Grant. In 1874, he was elected to
Congress and took his seat on March 4, 1875 serving on the Committee on Public
Expenditures. Though he made no speeches on the House floor, he introduced
several pieces of legislation, including a bill to use proceeds from public
land sales for educational purposes and a bill for the relief of the Medical
College of Alabama.
He presented a petition from citizens of Mobile requesting compensation for use
of a medical college building and supplies by officials of the Freedmen’s
Bureau. Haralson differed from many in his own party when he criticized the use
of federal soldiers to control violence and ensure orderly voting in the South
during the 1876 election. He also was in favor of general amnesty for former
After leaving Congress, Haralson worked a clerk at Baltimore’s federal
customhouse and a clerk in the Department of the Interior. By 1912 he returned
to Alabama and settled in Selma, but soon began years as a wanderer, drifting
to Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. Wild animals apparently killed him in 1916,
but no official records confirm his death.
George B. Vashon, became the
first Black to enter the NY State Bar.
On this date, slavery was abolished
in the French colonies.
The Massachusetts Legislature abolished separate schools. Black and White children begin
attending schools in Boston together without incident.
The birth of Wilbur Rogan is celebrated on this date. He was an African-American baseball
Rogan was born in Oklahoma City and moved with his family in 1908 to Kansas
City, Kansas, where he attended Sumner High School. He played on several
semi-pro teams in the Midwest, as well as in the Army. In 1917, on a tip from
Casey Stengel, manager of the New York Yankees, J. L. Wilkinson hired Rogan to
pitch for the All Nations, a mixed-race team. A few years later, at the age of
30, Rogan moved to the Kansas City Monarchs, of the newly chartered Negro
National League. Rogan was a star player for the Monarchs for eleven seasons.
He led the team in home runs and stolen bases three times, while twice, as a
pitcher, lead the league in victories. In 1926, Rogan became the team’s
manager, a position he held off and on through the 1936 season. Wilber “Bullet
Joe” Rogan was one of the best and most versatile players in the history of the
Negro Baseball Leagues. Known mainly for his fastball, Rogan had an assortment
of effective pitches that made him very effective in the 1920s. He was also an
outstanding fielder and a powerful hitter.
He retired from the Monarchs in 1938 and worked an umpire for the Negro
American League until 1946, when he went to work for the post office. Bullet
Rogan died in Kansas City in 1964. He was inducted posthumously into the
Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, in 1998.
On this date, inventor George Toliver was awarded a patent for a ship
vessel’s propeller. This African-American inventor’s patent number is
The British embarked on a punitive expedition against Muhammed Abdalah Hassan, known as
the “Mad Mullah,” in Somalia.
Martin Morua Delgado died on this date in Havana, Cuba. He had been a labor and
political activist, statesman, journalist and author. He had been a leading
opponent of slavery in Cuba and after emancipation, a leading proponent for
racial equality. He also was active in the struggle for Cuban independence from
Spain. Cuba celebrated the centennial of his birth in 1956.
Mario Bauza was born in Havana, Cuba. He became a professional trumpet
player, bandleader and arranger. He was a leading player in the creation of
Afro-Cuban jazz. While in Cuba, he primarily was a classical musician, playing
for the Havana Philharmonic Orchestra.
He left Cuba for New York City in 1930 and found himself working in
mostly jazz venues. He played with Noble Sissle, Chick Webb (musical director),
Don Redman, and Cab Calloway. While working with Chick Webb, he convinced Webb
to hire the young Ella Fitzgerald as a vocalist for the band. While
collaborating with these talents, he integrated Afro-Latin influence into the
music whenever possible. He was active in the jazz musical scene until the last
year of his life. He died on July 11, 1993.
Lawyer and civil rights activist Jewel
Stradford Lafontant MANkarious was born Jewel Carter
Stradford on this date
on Chicago’s South Side. Lafontant-Mankarious was the first female
deputy solicitor general of the United States, an official in the
administration of President George H. W. Bush, and an attorney in Chicago. She
also was considered by President Richard Nixon as a possible nominee to the Supreme
Court of the United States.
Kenneth Kuanda was born in Lubwe, Northern Rhodesia (Northern Rhodesia
eventually became the country of Zambia). He became president of Zambia from
its day of independence until 1991. He began his political career with the
Northern Rhodesia African Congress, which became the African National Congress.
Like most African politicians who called for independence from colonial rule,
he was imprisoned multiple times. After his release from prison in 1960, he
continued to be active and promoted many activities of civil disobedience.
Under his leadership, the colonial administration relented and the British granted
Zambia its independence on October 24, 1964.
On this date, we celebrate the birth
of Earl Francis
Lloyd. He was an African American
basketball player, the first Black man to play in a National Basketball
Association (NBA) game.
A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Lloyd led West Virginia State to two CIAA
Conference and Tournament Championships in 1948 and 1949. He was named
All-Conference three times (1948-50), and was All-American twice as named by
the Pittsburgh Courier (1949-50). As a senior, he averaged 14 points and 8
rebounds per game while leading West Virginia State to a second place finish in
the CIAA Conference and Tournament Championship. In 1947-48, West Virginia
State was the only undefeated team in the United States.
Nicknamed “The Big Cat,” he was one of three African-Americans to enter the NBA
at the same time. It was only because of the order in which the teams’ season
openers fell that Lloyd was the first to actually play in an NBA game. The date
was October 31, 1950, one day ahead of Charles Cooper of the Boston Celtics and
four days before Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton of the New York Knicks. Lloyd played
in over 560 games in nine seasons, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound forward averaged 8.4
points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
Lloyd played in only seven games for the Washington Capitols before the team
folded on January 9, 1951. He then went into the Army at Fort Sill, Okla.,
before the Syracuse Nationals picked him up on waivers. He spent six seasons
with Syracuse and two with the Detroit Pistons before retiring in 1960. Lloyd
retired ranked 43rd in career scoring with 4,682 points. His best year was
1955, when he averaged 10.2 points and 7.7 rebounds for Syracuse, and the
Nationals won the NBA title by defeating the Fort Wayne Pistons four games to
three. Lloyd and Jim Tucker were the first African-Americans to play on an NBA
Lloyd once said, “In 1950 basketball was like a babe in the woods, it didn’t
enjoy the notoriety that baseball enjoyed.” Like Lloyd, Clifton and Cooper had
solid but not spectacular careers. After retiring as a player, Lloyd was a
Detroit Pistons assistant coach for two seasons and a scout for five. He and
his wife, Ginny, have one child.
Don Matthew Redman, musical prodigy,
multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, vocalist and bandleader, was the
first musician to use the oboe as a
jazz instrument in a solo he performed in a recording of “After the Storm,” with Fletcher Henderson and his Orchestra. The
piece was recorded by Pathe Actuelle in New York on this date.
Charles Patton died on this date in Indianola, Mississippi. He was a bluesman who was
considered to be the creator of the Delta variation of the blues. His recordings
between 1929 and 1934 contributed to the national influence of the Mississippi
Delta style on the blues.
Akin Euba was born in
Lagos, Nigeria. He became a classical composer whose work integrated European
and Yoruba influences into his compositions. His music was introduced to the
world at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany. After receiving his Ph.D. in
1974, he became a music educator and continued to create his unique African
musical art form. He eventually became a professor of African music at the
University of Pittsburgh.
The Supreme Court ruled, on this date, that separate railroad facilities for
Blacks must be substantially equal to those of Whites. This Jim Crow case was brought by Congressman Arthur W. Mitchell, a black
congressman from Chicago.
Emma Pought of the
Bobbettes was born on this date in New York City.
Milan B. Williams, keyboardist and one of the founding
members of the Commodores, was born on this date.
Williams was born in Okolona,
Mississippi and began playing the piano after being inspired by his older
brother Earl, who was a multi-instrumentalist. Williams’ first band was called
The Jays, after they disbanded he met the other founding members of the
Commodores in 1967. They were freshmen at Tuskegee Institute, Alabama and
Williams was recruited into the newly formed band. In 1969 he traveled with the
band to New York, where they recorded a single called “Keep On Dancing” on
Williams also wrote the Commodores first hit record the instrumental track, “Machine
Gun”. Other Commodores songs penned by him are; “The Bump”, “Rapid Fire”, “I’m
Ready”, “Better Never Than Forever”, “Mary Mary”, “Quick Draw”, “Patch It Up”, “X-Rated
Movie”, “Wonderland”, “Old-Fashion Love”, “Only You” (a track Williams also
produced, taken from the Commodores first LP without Lionel Richie, Commodores
13), “You Don’t Know That I Know”, “Let’s Get Started” and “Brick House.”
He left the Commodores in 1989, allegedly after refusing to perform with them
in South Africa.
Milan Williams died in Texas in 2006, from cancer, at the age of 58.
Willie Colon was born in the Bronx in New York City. He began his musical
career, while a teenager, creating recordings that emphasized his Afro-Puerto
Rican heritage in the form of salsa music. His music integrated the influence
of Puerto Rican life in New York City with the African influence on the Puerto
Rican experience. He created and produced over thirty recordings and was
nominated for at least five Grammy awards in Latin music.
Robert Greenidge, the most successful
player of the steel pan instrument which is native to Trinidad and Tobago, was born,
on this date, in Trinidad.
On this date, the St. Louis Browns loaned two black minor league players, 33-year-old third baseman, John Britton and 30-year-old right-handed pitcher, Jim Newberry, both of
whom were veterans of the Negro National League’s Birmingham Black Barons, to
the Hankyu Braves of the Japanese Pacific League. The Browns were the first
team to send players outside of the U.S. Abe Saperstein, owner and
coach of the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters, negotiated this special example
in “lend-lease” for both sides.
The New York City doo-wop group the Willows entered the charts with the singing-group standard “Church Bells May Ring,” reaching #11 R&B and #62 pop.
On this date, Cincinnati Redlegs
rookie left fielder Frank Robinson hit his first
major league home run. He would hit 585 more. The home run came in a 9-1 win
over the Chicago Cubs in Crosley Field in Cincinnati.
W. Robert Ming, a Chicago lawyer, was elected chairman of the American
Veterans Committee. He was the first African American to head a major national veteran’s
The Drifters recorded their classic “Drip Drop.” It was the last charter (#58 pop) for the original group.
The Charts’ “You’re the Reason,” the Solitaires’ “No More Sorrows,” and the Spaniels’ “Tina” were all released on this date.
The Flamingos, the Vibrations, the Miracles, Shep & the LimeLites, Jerry Butler, and Maxine Brown played
Philadelphia’s Uptown Theater while the Del Vikings performed on American Bandstand, also in Philly.
Ray Charles performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
The World Boxing Association and the
New York State Athletic Commission withdrew recognition of Muhammad Ali as world heavyweight boxing champion because of his opposition to the
war in Vietnam and his resulting refusal to serve in the U.S. military. One of
his famous phrases during the controversial period was “I ain’t got no quarrel
with those Vietcong.” In addition to being stripped of his title and license to
box, Ali was sentenced to five years in prison for refusing to be inducted into
the military. However, four years later the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the
conviction and Ali was allowed to box again.
Mrs. Robert W. Claytor was elected president of the YWCA, becoming the first Black president
of the organization.
Samuel Lee Gravely
Jr. became the U.S. Navy’s first Black admiral on
this day. At the time of his promotion, Vice Adm. Gravely was the veteran of
three wars, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He was also the
first Black to command a U.S. Navy warship, the USS Falgout. Born June 4, 1922,
in Richmond, VA, Gravely attended Virginia Union University in his hometown of
Richmond for three years before he joined the Navy as an enlisted man in 1942.
He later graduated from Virginia Union with a bachelor’s degree in history.
Gravely retired from the Navy in 1980. He died in October, 2004 following a
stroke at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. Gravely was 82.
American women, Alice Walker and Gloria Naylor, won prestigious American Book Awards for fiction. Alice Walker’s
novel “The Color Purple” was be dramatized as a theatrical movie starring Whoopi
Goldberg, Danny Glover, and Oprah Winfrey and numerous stage productions.
Naylor’s first novel, “The Women of Brewster Place,” was be made into a made-for-television
movie and series starring Oprah Winfrey, Jackeé, and Paula Kelly.
Christopher, a 26-year-old white Army private, accused of the racially
motivated slayings of four blacks and a dark-skinned Hispanic man in shooting
and stabbing attacks in Buffalo, N.Y. and New York City, was convicted for the
murder of three of the blacks.
Clifton Reginald Wharton, Sr. died on this date in Phoenix, Arizona. He was an attorney and
was the first African American to enter the U.S. Foreign Service and the first
African American to become a United States Ambassador to a European country
MC Hammer (Stanley Burrell) charted with the
dance-rap classic “U Can’t Touch This,” reaching #1
R&B (#8 pop). In its first week on the charts it reached #28, the highest
position a rap song had achieved up to that time. The song appropriated the
entire baseline of Rick James’ “Superfreak,” but thanks to the tenacious pursuit of his publisher, Jay Warner,
James soon wound up with 50 per cent of the ownership of the new song.
Civil rights leader and former North Carolina judge Floyd Bixley McKissick died, on this date, in North Carolina at the
age of 69. He was a former director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)
and led the organization from 1963 to 1966 during its transformation to a more
militant civil rights organization.
Quincy Jones recorded his album Hallelujah!, a modern-day version of Handel’s Messiah, at A&M Studios in
Hollywood. On hand to sing on the album were Patti LaBelle and Stevie Wonder.
Mutinous troops in Freetown, Sierra Leone overthrew the government of President Joseph Momoh.
Lee P. Brown was nominated Director of the Office of National Drug Policy on
this date. His nomination, by President Bill Clinton, was the first for a Black
in this position.
Barry White performed at the Safari Park Garden Theater in Nairobi, Kenya,
becoming the first Westerner to do so.
Ann Lane Petry died in Old Saybrook, Connecticut on this date. She was a
leading African American novelist and was known for her works, “The Street,” “Country
Place,” “The Narrows,” “Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad,”
“Tituba of Salem Village,” “The Drugstore Cat,” and “Legends of the Saints.”
this date in the U.S. Capitol, after a bill was passed in Congress on October
13, 2007 with the lobbying leadership of Dr. C. DeLores Tucker of the National
Congress of Black Women, Inc. (NCBW), a bust of Sojourner Truth
was unveiled. With the unveiling, with First Lady Michelle Obama, the first
African American First Lady, Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton, Speaker
of the House Nancy Pelosi, and actress Cicely Tyson in attendance, Sojourner
Truth was the first Africa American female to be so honored. Also with this
unveiling, which was financed with private money, artist Artis Lane was the
first African American artist/sculptor to have a work displayed in the U.S.
Capitol. In 2006, President George W. Bush signed into law a requirement that a
bust of Truth be placed in a “suitable, permanent location in the Capitol.”
Clinton co-sponsored the measure when she served in the Senate.