Ulysses S. Grant crossed the
Rapidan and began his duel with Robert E. Lee. At the
same time Ben Butler’s Army of the James moved on
Lee’s forces. An African American division in Grant’s army did not play a
prominent role in the Wilderness Campaign, but Ben
Butler gave his African American
infantrymen and his eighteen hundred
African American cavalrymen important assignments. African American
troops of the Army of the James were the first Union Soldiers to take
possession of James River ports (at Wilson’s Wharf Landing, Fort Powhatan and
On this date, the House of Representatives approved the Wade-Davis
Reconstruction Bill over President Abraham Lincoln’s objections. The Wade–Davis Bill of
1864 was a program proposed for the Reconstruction of the South written by two
Radical Republicans, Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio and
Representative Henry Winter Davis of Maryland. In
contrast to Lincoln’s more lenient Ten Percent Plan, the bill made
re-admittance to the Union for former Confederate states contingent on a
majority in each Southern state to take the Ironclad oath to the effect they
had never in the past supported the Confederacy. The bill passed both houses of
Congress on July 2, 1864, but was pocket vetoed by Lincoln and never took effect.
The Radical Republicans were outraged that Lincoln did not sign the bill.
Lincoln wanted to mend the Union by carrying out the Ten Percent Plan. He
believed it would be too difficult to repair all of the ties within the union
if the bill was passed.
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams founded the Provident Hospital and Training Center in Chicago, Ill, an interracial institution in Chicago where
black doctors and nurses, denied access to white institutions, could receive
medical training, and where members of Chicago’s growing black community could
receive proper medical care. Provident hosted the first nursing school for
blacks in America. Williams is
best known, however, for performing the nation’s first open heart surgery on
July 9, 1893. He operated on a man injured in a knife fight. The man would live
for another 20 years after the surgery.
Cowboy Bill Pickett invented
the technique known as bulldogging—holding a cow by biting its lip.
Melvin Edwards was born in
Houston, Texas. He became a sculptor and had one-man exhibits at the Santa
Barbara Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Whitney
Museum of American Art in New York City. His work was represented in private
collections as well as that of the Museum of Modern Art, the Schomburg
Collection of the New York Public Library, and the Los Angeles County Museum of
Art, among others.
R&B Singer Tyrone Davis was born on this date in a rural community twenty miles outside of
Greenville, Mississippi to Willie Branch and Ora Lee Jones. . Eager to leave
the Jim Crow South, He left his hometown at age fourteen and spent most of his
formative years in Saginaw, Michigan, enlisting the help from his father, who
sent him a bus ticket.
In 1959, at age nineteen, Davis had
settled in Chicago, where he became immersed in the city’s flourishing blues
scene. He was inspired by the music of blues greats Bobby “Blue” Bland and
Little Milton. He visited blues clubs regularly and eventually befriended
rhythm & blues legends Freddie King, Otis Rush and Mighty Joe Young. These
musicians spotted Davis’ talent and persuaded him to audition at local clubs.
Throughout the 1950s, he performed in the small clubs that dotted the South
Side of Chicago. During this time, he also worked as a valet/chaffeur for blues
singer Freddie King.
Singing at the clubs, he was
discovered by record executive/musician Harold Burrage. His early records for
small record labels in the city, most particularly for the Four Brothers label
for which he began in the late 60s, failed to register. Successful Chicago
record producer Carl Davis (no relation) signed him in 1968 to a new label,
Dakar Records that he was starting as part of a distribution deal with
Atlantic. His first release, “A Woman Needs To Be Loved” was flipped when the
b-side started to get radio attention. The song, “Can I Change My Mind”
featured a change of vocal style for Davis with a softer, more pleading
approach and tone. These early recordings received little notice until a disc
jockey at a Texas radio station played the B-side of one of his singles on the
air. “Can I Change My Mind?” catapulted Davis into the ranks of the Billboard
charts, where it crossed over from the R&B charts, where it spent three
weeks, while climbing to #5 in the Hot 100 pop charts. The song eventually sold
more than 1 million copies, received gold disc recognition, and thrust Davis
firmly into the limelight.
His biggest hit came in early 1970
when “Turn Back The Hands Of Time” also reached #1 in the R&B chart and
went up to #3 in the Hot 100 pop chart. Written by Jack Daniels and Bonnie
Thompson, this disc also sold over one million copies, and received a gold disc
awarded by the Recording Industry Association of America in May 1970. Davis
released about 25 singles during his seven years with Dakar, most of them big
R&B sellers produced by Willie Henderson. He finally returned to the top
spot with “Turning Point” in 1975.
Soon afterwards, in 1976, Davis
switched to the industry behemoth Columbia record label and recorded seven albums
over the next five years with producer Leo Graham and arranger James Mack who
had collaborated with him for “Turning Point”. While with Columbia, Davis made
some of his most inspired recordings, which also include ballads such as “In
the Mood” (#6), “Close to You” “Give It Up(Turn It Loose)” (#2), “This I Swear”
(#6), and “Heart Failure.” Some of his major albums have been “Without You In
My Life” and “It’s All In The Game.”
1982 brought a change of label to the newly-established independent, Highrise
and another major hit, “Are You Serious” (#3 R&B, #57 pop), again produced
by Leo Graham. When Highrise closed the following year, Davis switched to a
tiny Los Angeles label Ocean Front which lacked promotional muscle to get
behind arguably one of his best performances, “Let Me Be Your Pacifier.” Davis’
days as a major chart act were over but he continued to be a popular live
attraction and finally signed in 1996 with Malaco Records, the southern-based
blues label recording him on a number of albums.
Davis has performed for thirty years
and was a vital force on the recording and touring circuit. His backup group,
the Platinum Band, was among Chicago’s most-respected ensembles. Together they
scored yet another hit in 1991 with the song “Mom’s Apple Pie.” Since that
first success, Davis enjoyed a long and successful career as a musician. His
phenomenal body of recordings includes more than fifty hit songs. A Billboard
survey taken in the late 1980s placed Davis thirtieth on the All-Time Top
R&B Charts. In 1998, Tyrone Davis was awarded the R&B Foundation’s
prestigious Pioneer Award for his lifetime of work.
A stroke in October 2004 curtailed his career and, following complications, he
died in a Chicago hospital February 9, 2005 at the age of 66. He left a widow,
Ann, to whom he had been married for over 40 years, and several children and
The first African American owner of a
major international sports organization, Mannie Jackson, was born
on this date in Illmo, Missouri. Jackson was born in a converted railway boxcar
that housed twelve members of his extended family. Jackson and his family moved
to Edwardsville, Illinois when he was three years old, where his father worked
at an auto plant, and his mother and grandmother cleaned houses. Jackson
graduated from Edwardsville High School before obtaining his B.A. degree from
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his M.A. degree from the
University of Detroit.
During the course of Jackson’s four years at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign, he and childhood friend Governor Vaughn became the first
African American basketball players to start for the university’s varsity
basketball team. Despite the oppressive racist atmosphere that shrouded the
University of Illinois campus, Jackson became the first African American
All-American player and the captain of the Illini basketball team.
After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1960,
Jackson traveled to New York to try out for the NBA’s New York Knicks. Although
Jackson did not make the team, within the same year, he was accepted in an
alternative professional team, the Harlem Globetrotters, whom he played for
After leaving the Globetrotters, Jackson settled in Detroit and received his
M.A. degree in marketing and economics from the University of Detroit in 1968.
From there, Jackson launched his business career, becoming the Director of
Labor Relations for the Honeywell Corporation in Minnesota, where he worked for
thirty years. Then, in 1986, Jackson helped found The Executive Leadership
Council and later became its president until 1992.
In 1993, Jackson sought to invest money into the Harlem Globetrotters after the
franchise reached a low point, eventually becoming the owner and president of
the team. Under Jackson’s leadership, the Globetrotters’ image was completely
revamped, and the team amassed an impressive list of national sponsors,
expanded countries visited to 118 with attendance of over two million people
annually and topped the Sports Q ratings as the most liked and recognized team
in the world in 1999, 2000 and 2002.
For his work with the Harlem Globetrotters, as well as his impressive business
history, Jackson has received numerous awards including Black Enterprise
Magazine’s “Most Powerful Black Executives,” the National Conference of
Community and Justice’s Humanitarian of the Year Award and the Effa Manley
Sports Executive of the Year Award.
Nickolas Ashford was born on
this date in Fairfield, South Carolina. He became a songwriter who, with his
partner and wife Valerie Simpson, wrote such hits as “Reach out and Touch
(Somebody’s Hand),” “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” and “Ain’t No Mountain
High Enough.” Becoming a solo act in 1973, Ashford and Simpson had a string of
successful albums including “Send It,” “Solid,” and “Real Love.” He and wife
Valerie performed at Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday celebration in
London in 1988, sang for President Clinton at the 52nd Presidential
Inauguration in 1992, performed at the White House for the CISAC 39th
World Congress, and in April of 1996 they were awarded ASCAP’s highest honor:
The Founder’s Award, at the Motown Cafe in New York.
Norman Blann Rice, born on this
date in Denver, Colorado, was the 49th mayor of Seattle, Washington.
Rice was Seattle’s first and only African American mayor. Rice is the youngest
son of Irene Hazel Johnson (1913-1993) and Otha Patrick Rice (1916-1993).
Rice’s father worked as a porter on the railroads and for the United States
Postal Service. He was also the owner and operator of Rice’s Tap Room and Oven
in Denver. Rice’s mother was a caterer and a bank clerk. Rice’s parents
divorced when he was a teenager. His grandmother, Reverend Susie Whitman
(1895-1989), Assistant Pastor at Seattle’s First A.M.E. Church, was one of the
first western women ministers in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. After
graduating from Denver’s Manual High School in 1961, Rice attended the
University of Colorado at Boulder. Distressed by the segregated housing and
meal facilities and frustrated by the work load, he dropped out in his second
year and went to work. Between 1963 and 1969, Rice held jobs as a hospital
orderly, a meter reader and an engineer’s assistant. Rice arrived in Seattle in
1969 and restarted his education at Highline Community College and received his
A.A. degree in 1970. Then, he attended the University of Washington through the
Economic Opportunity Program (EOP). By 1972, Rice had earned his B.A. degree in
communications and in 1974 his M.A. degree in public administration at the
University of Washington.
Before entering city government, Rice worked as a reporter at KOMO-TV News and
KIXI Radio, served as Assistant Director of the Seattle Urban League, was
Executive Assistant and Director of Government Services for the Puget Sound
Council of Governments and was employed as the Manager of Corporate
Contributions and Social Policy at Rainier National Bank. Rice was first
elected to the Seattle City Council in 1978 and reelected in 1979, 1983 and
1987, serving eleven years in all. Rice served as Mayor of Seattle from 1990 to
1997. Because of his warm personality and easy smile, he was affectionately
known as “Mayor Nice.” From 1995 to 1996, Mayor Rice served as president of the
U.S. Conference of Mayors, an association of more than a thousand of America’s
After nineteen years of public service in Seattle city government, Rice served
as president of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle from 1998 to 2004. Rice
was also Vice Chairman of Capital Access, LLC. Rice returned to academia in
2007 as a visiting professor at the Evans School of Public Affairs at the
University of Washington, where he is to lead a series of public seminars on
Civic Engagement for the 21st Century.
Rice married Constance Williams on February 15, 1973. They have one adult son,
Mian Rice, and one grandchild, Sekoy Elliott Rice.
William Vacanarat Shadrach Tubman was elected president of Liberia.
In December of 1942, Liberia was
faced with the question of the succession of President Edwin Barclay. Six
candidates then applied, including two favorites: Tubman and Foreign Minister
Clarence L. Simpson. Without much opposition from Simpson, Tubman was elected
at the age of 48, and was inaugurated January 3, 1944. He served
for seven consecutive terms, spanning 28 years. He was the
19th President of Liberia from 1944 until his death on July 23,
Billy Eckstine charted
with “Prisoner of
Love,” reaching #3 R&B and #10 pop.
The song would be later passionately revived in James Brown’s electric version.
Sigmund Esco Jackson was born on this date in Gary,
Indiana. Better known as “Jackie,” he became the oldest of the pop group, “The
Jackson Five” and later “The Jacksons.”
On this date, the first Grammy
Award was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Beverly Hills Hotel. There were 28
award categories… In the category of Best Performance, Ella Fitzgerald won her 1st Grammy Award. In doing so, she is the first
African American singer to do so.
South Africa ANC-leader John K. Nkadimeng was arrested on this date. Nkadimeng, who had retained strong
connections with his people in Sekhukhuniland and had been refused permission
to visit his mother there, was arrested for entering the proclaimed area without
a permit. He was detained until 1 July, convicted and fined £25.
Thirteen CORE-sponsored Freedom Riders began a bus
trip in Washington, DC of what became their first series of protest rides to
cities throughout the South to New Orleans to test Southern compliance with a 1960 U.S.
Supreme Court ruling outlawing segregation in interstate transportation
facilities and to force desegregation of those terminals. They were soon joined by hundreds of other
“Freedom Riders” of all ages and races. Despite the court’s decision, dozens of
Freedom Riders were arrested. Ten days later, the bus was bombed
and its passengers attacked by white segregationists near Anniston, Alabama.
Founded by James Farmer and
students from the University of Chicago, the Congress
of Racial Equality (CORE) is based on the non-violent Gandhi’s
edition of the Biggest Show of Stars 1962 tour began
at Pittsburgh’s Syria Mosque, Featuring Fats Domino, Don & Juan, Brook Benton, the Impressions, and Gene Chandler.
On this date, San Francisco Giants
outfielder Willie Mays, the “Say Hey
Kid,” hit his 512th career home run to right field in Candlestick
Park against the Los Angeles Dodgers Claude Osteen to break former New York
Giants great Mel Ott’s National League record for home runs. At the time, it
put him fourth on the all-time list. The Giants beat the Dodgers 6-1. Mays
would finish his career with 660 home runs, good for third on the all-time list
at the time of his retirement.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience peaked at
#3 with “Purple Haze” on the British charts, their second Top 10 hit in a row.
Place to Be Somebody” opened at
the Public Theatre in New York City. Charles
Gordone’s powerful play earned its author the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for
Kimora Lee Simmons, fashion model, author, business
woman, and the head of design for Baby Phat, KLS was born Kimora Lee Perking on
this date in St. Louis, MO. Being of Japanese and African-American descent, her
mother, Joanne Perkins, was adopted by an American serviceman during the Korean
War and renamed Joanne. She renamed herself by the Japanese name “Kyoko,” to
which Simmon’s mother asserts was her “full blooded Japanese mother’s name. Her
father is Vernon Whitlock, Jr., who previously worked as a federal marshal, a
social security administrator, and then a barber.
Kimora began her career as a fashion model at the early age of 13 when she was
personally chosen by fashion czar Karl Lagerfeld to model for the esteemed
house of Chanel in Paris. Her success as a runway model gave Kimora an innate
sense of style which propels her as a fashion designer. As the instrumental
force behind the brand’s creative designs, ad campaign strategy and marketing
concepts, Kimora has taken her astute business acumen and passion for her work
to spearhead numerous brand extension ventures with companies including Mattel,
Motorola, Lancaster and M. Fabrikant & Sons which include bedding, home
products, candles, fragrance and cosmetics.
Having made her mark on the fashion industry, it wasn’t long before Hollywood
came calling. Kimora appeared as a judge on season on of UPN’s America’s Next
Top Model, and went on to co-host Sony Television’s syndicated talk show Life
& Style. She has also Executive Produced and starred in projects including
StarTrekking with Kimora Lee Simmons for MSN.com and specials for VH-1
(InsideOut: Kimora Lee Simmons presents NY Fashion Week) and Style (Party
Fabulous with Kimora Lee Simmons). Kimora is currently in production with a new
Style series, Fabulosity to debut Fall 2007. She has appeared in Ginuwine’s
video for “In Those Jeans” with mod Devon Aoki and Usher’s video for “Nice
& Slow.” Lee is also a playable character in the fighting game “Def Jam:
Fight for New York.” A book written by Simmons, “Fabulosity: What It Isa and
How to Get It,” was published by Harper Entertainment in February, 2006. The
book was set to function as a “lifestyle manual” on everything from
spirituality and finances to fashion and beauty.
She is the head of design for Baby Phat, KLS and became the CEO of Baby Phat
after her ex-husband Russell Simmons stepped down.
Rivers Laurie, R.N., who served as a liaison between the
syphilitic subjects and the researchers, revealed in an oral interview that she
was vital to the “Tuskegee
Syphilis Experiment” because the men trusted her, calling her
group “Miss Rivers’ Lodge.”
famed Apollo Theatre, once the
showcase for the nation’s top African American performers, reopened after a
renovation that cost $10.4 million. The landmark building on West 125th
Street in New York was the first place The Beatles wanted to see on their
initial visit to the United States. Ed Sullivan used to frequent the Apollo in
search of new talent for his CBS show.
South African government and the African National Congress concluded historic talks in Cape Town with a joint statement agreeing
on a “common commitment toward the resolution of the existing climate of
Crystal Waters, niece of
legendary vocalist Ethel Waters, vaulted onto the Top 100 with “Gypsy Woman.”
In order to
get his battered girlfriend to drop charges against him, Wilson Pickett paid a $6,500 fine along with $3,500 to the battered women’s shelter
she was staying in.
Toni Braxton was named the
World’s Best-Selling R&B Newcomer of the Year at the sixth annual World
Music Awards in Monte Carlo, Monaco, while Whitney Houston received
the World’s Best-Selling pop Artist of the Year, Female recording Artist of the
Year, American Recording Artist of the Year, R&B Artist of the Year, and
Overall recording Artist awards.
Neil de Grasse Tyson, who directed the Rose Center for Earth and
Space, containing the rebuilt Hayden Planetarium, was appointed to the
Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City.
Five New York police officers went on
trial for the torture of Haitian immigrant Abner
Louima. One officer later pled guilty; a second officer was convicted;
and three were acquitted.
On this date, in the first inning at AT&T
Park, San Francisco, off his first pitch from Jimmy Haynes, Barry Bonds slammed his 400th home run as a San Francisco Giant to
right field, leading his team to a 3-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds. Bonds was
the first player to hit 400 homers for one team and 100 with another.