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1839
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.


1840
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.


1841
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 requirements.

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.



1846
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 confederates.

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.



1847
George B. Vashon, became the first Black to enter the NY State Bar.


1848
On this date, slavery was abolished in the French colonies.


1855
The Massachusetts Legislature abolished separate schools. Black and White children begin attending schools in Boston together without incident.


1889
The birth of Wilbur Rogan is celebrated on this date. He was an African-American baseball player.

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.



1891
On this date, inventor George Toliver was awarded a patent for a ship vessel’s propeller. This African-American inventor’s patent number is #451,086.


1902
The British embarked on a punitive expedition against Muhammed Abdalah Hassan, known as the “Mad Mullah,” in Somalia.


1910
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.


1911
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.


1922
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.


1924
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.


1928
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 championship team.

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.



1924
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.


1934
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.


1935
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.


1941

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.


1942
Emma Pought of the Bobbettes was born on this date in New York City.


1948
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 Atlantic Records.

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.



1950
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.


1950
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.


1952
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.


1956
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.


1956
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.


1957
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 organization.


1958
The Drifters recorded their classic “Drip Drop.” It was the last charter (#58 pop) for the original group.


1958
The ChartsYou’re the Reason,” the SolitairesNo More Sorrows,” and the SpanielsTina” were all released on this date.


1961
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.


1963
Ray Charles performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.


1967
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.


1967
Mrs. Robert W. Claytor was elected president of the YWCA, becoming the first Black president of the organization.


1971
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.


1983
Two African 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.


1982
Joseph G. 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.


1990
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 (Norway-1961).


1990
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.


1991
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.


1991
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.


1992
Mutinous troops in Freetown, Sierra Leone overthrew the government of President Joseph Momoh.


1993
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.


1995
Barry White performed at the Safari Park Garden Theater in Nairobi, Kenya, becoming the first Westerner to do so.


1997
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.”


2009
On 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.


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