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1619
Twenty African “Negroes” became the first blacks to land in Protestant America at Jamestown, Virginia. John Rolfe said the ship arrived “about the latter end of August” and that it “brought not anything but 20 and odd Negroes.” Surviving evidence suggests that the twenty Blacks were accorded the status of indentured servants.


1834
Slavery is abolished in the British Empire by the royal ascent of the King of England after having been voted by Parliament the previous year. The characteristic of capturing men and women to be transported to America was openly practiced by England for decades. It was the buying and selling of convicts that was first abolished in 1828. Only then did the strongest analogy to slavery begin to come to a legal end. But even afterwards the majority of judges thought it was still lawful for one master to hire out servants to others.


1838
British slaves in the Bahamas are emancipated.


1852
San Francisco Methodists establish the first African American Zion Methodist Church.


1867
African Americans vote for the first time in a state election, in Tennessee, helping the Republicans sweep the election.


1867
General Philip H. Sheridan dismisses the board of aldermen in New Orleans and named new appointees, including several African Americans.


1868
Governor Henry C. Warmoth of Louisiana endorses a joint resolution of the legislature calling for federal military aid. Warmoth says there had been 150 political assassinations in June and July.


1869
Augustus Nathaniel Lushington was born in Trinidad. He became the first African American to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.), earning the doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.


1873
The founding of Bennett College is celebrated on this date. Bennett is one of the over 100 Historical Black College and Universities in America, and one of only two specifically educating women.

Located in Greensboro, North Carolina, its first sessions were held in the basement of Warnersville Methodist Episcopal Church North, now known as St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church. The school was founded by newly emancipated slaves. The Freedmen’s Aid and Southern Education Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church were responsible for support of the school in 1874. In its beginning, W.J. Parker served as the first principal. Three years later, the Reverend Edward O. Thayer became president.

During the Thayer Administration the school grew only in local enrollment, and Black parishioners of the Methodist Church at Greensboro helped raise money for land and a school building. Contributions and financial help from Lyman Bennett, a businessman from Troy, New York ($10,000) bought land and a building large enough to house classrooms and a dormitory. Bennett died of pneumonia while seeking funds for the purchase of a school bell. The institution was named Bennett Seminary in his memory and the first building was named Bennett Hall. By 1879 the school grew into an institution with four departments: college, normal, English courses and music. In 1881, Reverend Wilbur F. Steele became president. In 1886, Bennett served as an industrial workplace for young women under the backing of the Women’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Kent Home was established by the Society at a cost of nearly $4,500.

In 1889, the Reverend Charles N. Grandison was elected Seminarian, the first Black president. He was also the first Black president of any of the institutions founded by the Freedmen’s Aid Society. By 1901 the collegiate division had grown to 222 enrolled students and Bennett fiscal was worth $30,000. Dr. Jordan Chavis, president from 1892-1905, increased enrollment (251 students) and expanded the physical and programs of the college. Under him Carolina Hall, a dormitory for male students was built. He inspired male professors, teachers and students to donate their services in the areas of carpentry, masonry and tinning. Dr. Chavis was succeeded by the Reverend Silas A. Peeler in 1905. Peeler’s leadership was aggressive and he was quite outspoken. This may account for the fact that the Freedmen’s Aid and Southern Education Society at Cincinnati saw some reason for relieving him of his office.

Professor James E. Wallace was the seventh President of Bennett College, from 1913-1915. A president’s home was built during his presidency and the school property value rose from $36,000 to $44,500 while he was there; enrollment increased from 290 to 368. In 1915 the Reverend Frank Trigg became president. While there, the college maintained an average of 300 students and fire destroyed Carolina Hall. By commencement time in 1924, three buildings were dedicated. One professor hired by Trigg to serve as academic dean was Isaac H. Miller. Miller’s son, Isaac, Jr., would become president of the college in 1966. Trigg retired from the presidency in June, 1926. That same year, Bennett College was reorganized as a college for women. The Women’s Home Missionary Society assumed a much larger responsibility for the institution as a women’s college.

Changes in American society (World War I brought transitional changes, mobilization, migration and urbanization into the lives of African-Americans and the South) made it necessary to prepare women to perform a wider range of functions. There were more employment opportunities which dictated the trend in educational institutions. As the enrollments of women in colleges increased, more attention was given to the specific types of education that would qualify them for careers and social participation.

Other Presidents of Bennett College were: David Dallas Jones, Dr. Willa B. Player, Dr. Isaac H. Miller, Jr., Gloria Randle Scott, Ph.D., Dr. Althia F. Collins, and Dr. Charles Fuget. In June 2003, Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole became the fourteenth and current President of Bennett College. It is currently a coeducational institution.



1874
On this date Charles Clinton Spaulding was born. He was an African-American business leader who built the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company into the nation’s largest black-owned business by the time of his death, when it was worth about $40 million.

From Columbus County, North Carolina, Spaulding left his father’s farm at the age of 20, moved to Durham, North Carolina, where in 1898 he completed what was equivalent to a high school education, and became the manager of a black-owned grocery store. In 1899, the recently established North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association hired him as a part-time agent. The following year he was promoted to full-time general manager, the companies’ only full-time position. Spaulding was an early proponent of saturation advertising, inundating local businesses with promotional items bearing his company’s name.

In the first decade of the century, the company prospered, establishing subsidiaries and supporting a variety of local businesses. Spaulding was elevated to vice president in 1908, and then to secretary-treasurer in 1919, when the firm officially changed its name to the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. By 1920 the company had over 1,000 employees and several offices along the East Coast. In 1923 Spaulding became president, a position he held until his death in 1952. North Carolina Mutual continued to grow and to establish more black-operated subsidiaries in the 1920s. His financial reorganization of the company insured its survival during the economic depression of the 1930s.

Although he was best noted for his business leadership, Spaulding was also involved in political and educational issues. As national chairman of the Urban League’s Emergency Advisory Council in the 1930s, he campaigned to secure New Deal jobs for African-Americans. As chairman of the Durham Committee on Negro Affairs, he engaged in voter registration efforts and convinced city officials to hire black police officers. Spaulding also supported education for blacks while serving as a trustee for Howard University, Shaw University, and North Carolina College. He died in 1952.



1879
Mary Eliza Mahoney graduates from the nursing program at the New England Hospital for Women and Children. She is the first African American to graduate from a nursing school.


1881
Joseph M. Bartholomew was born on this date. He was an African-American architect who specialized in golf courses.

From New Orleans, Joe Bartholomew soothed his restless soul with Catholic belief and a materialism shaped from youthful exuberance. As a seven-year-old caddie at nearby Audubon Golf Course, the close-to-the-game experience lasted all his life. Bartholomew copied the swings of those for whom he caddied, taught himself the game’s touch and quickly became talented enough to instruct others. He became such a good player — he once shot 62 at Audubon — that club members backed him in arranged matches.

Still, his calling would not be revealed themselves until several years later when he took his talents across town to Metairie Golf Club. A wealthy club member named H. T. Cottam persuaded the club to send Bartholomew to New York to obtain knowledge and experience in golf course architecture. Early in 1922, Bartholomew returned to New Orleans and began construction of Metairie’s new course. So covetous of his design was he that he often worked through the night to protect the project from those who might steal his ideas. That practice also perturbed some of the Metairie membership, who wanted proof that their money was being well spent. One morning Bartholomew loaded his doubters into wagons and showed them his progress and they were astounded.

However, after months of physical labor and mental anguish to see the project to fruition, Bartholomew wasn’t allowed to hit one golf ball on the greenery that his mind and hands had shaped. Over the next decade Bartholomew built a number of courses in Louisiana, including City Park No. 1, City Park No. 2 and Pontchartrain Park in New Orleans. However, the public courses, like the City Park playgrounds, were segregated, and Joe, although he built them too, could not play them. He received little if any salary for several of the courses he built. His biggest payoff came from seven holes he built primarily for his friends on property he owned in the New Orleans suburb of Harahan.

Later, Bartholomew started a construction company and expanded his business into other areas, including landscaping. As the years went by his wealth grew, derived from successful real estate investments and diversified assets. His contributions to Dillard and Xavier Universities endeared him to the academic community. Joe Bartholomew never strayed far from his first love. He was a fixture at Pontchartrain Park well into his 70s. Even in declining health his eyes would light up at the mention of the game of golf. In 1971, Bartholomew had a stroke and on Oct. 12 of that year, he died.



1895
On this date, Benjamin Elijah Mays was born. He was an educator, college president, activist, clergyman, and administrator.

Mays was from Ninety Six, South Carolina, the youngest of eight children; his parents were tenant farmers and former slaves. After spending a year at Virginia Union University, he moved north to attend Bates College in Maine, where he obtained his B.A. in 1920, then entered the University of Chicago as a graduate student, earning an M.A. in 1925 and a Ph.D. in the School of Religion in 1935.

His education at Chicago was interrupted several times: he was ordained a Baptist minister in 1922 and accepted a pastorate at the Shiloh Baptist Church of Atlanta, then later taught at Morehouse and at South Carolina State College. While in graduate school Mays worked as a Pullman Porter. He also worked as a student assistant to Dr. Lacey Kirk Williams, pastor of Olivet Baptist Church in Chicago and President of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.

He was a militant civil rights advocate and was president of Morehouse College while Martin Luther King Jr. attended. (He delivered the eulogy at King’s funeral.) After retiring as the president of Morehouse, he was elected to the school board of Atlanta, Georgia and later served as its president. In 1982, he was awarded the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal. Benjamin E. Mays died in 1984.



1909
On this date, Mechanics and Farmers Bank opened for business. This is an African-American savings and loan institution in Durham, N.C.

As a state chartered commercial bank, M&FB was organized in 1907 under a charter issued by the Legislature of the State of North Carolina. The original incorporates were a group of nine businessmen:
R.B. Fitzgerald, J.S. Dodson, J.R. Hawkins, John Merrick, Aaron M. Moore, W.G. Pearson, James E. Shepard, G.W. Stephens, and Stanford L. Warren. The opening building, located at 112 West Parrish Street, was rented from North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. Since 1922, the main office of the bank is located at 114-116 West Parrish Street. This space was also rented from North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company until 1965 when the Bank purchased the building.

Throughout M&FB’s existence, Dr. George Adams was cashier and the principal employee until his death in 1918. In 1921, Mechanics and Farmers Bank and the Fraternal Bank and Trust Company, a bank that was also operated by Blacks, merged and operated from downtown Durham. The Bank now has assets of more than $153,000,000. Mechanics and Farmers Bank holds the distinction of being the first lending institution in North Carolina to receive a Certificate of Authority from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in 1935. In recent years, M&FB has become the pioneer in stimulating and financing the construction of low income housing in North Carolina.

The bank traditionally has been a dominant force in stimulating Black entrepreneurship in North Carolina as well. In 1987 Black Enterprise Magazine chose M&FB as “Bank of the Year.” Mechanics and Farmers Bank now has approximately 75 employees in its eight offices.



1914
Marcus Garvey establishes the Universal Negro Movement Improvement and Conservation Association and African Communities’ League, later shortened to UNIA. In New York City six years later to the day, the UNIA will meet in Madison Square Garden as Garvey presents his “Back to Africa” plan and a formal Declaration of Rights for Black people worldwide.


1918
Theodore Juson Jemison, Sr. is born in Selma, Alabama. He will become a Baptist minister and will later be elected president of the National Baptist Convention USA.


1920
The national convention of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association opens in Liberty Hall in Harlem. The next night Garvey addresses twenty-five thousand Blacks in Madison Square Garden. Garvey’s nationalist movement reaches its height in 1920-21.


1925
On this date, the National Bar Association (NBA) formally dedicated and organized to “advance the science of jurisprudence, uphold the honor of the legal profession...and protect the civil and political rights of all citizens of the several states of the United States.” It is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of predominately African American lawyers and judges.

During the first quarter of the 20th century, twelve Black pioneers with a mutual interest in and dedication to justice and the civil rights of all, helped structure the struggle of the African American race in America. The NBA was formally organized in Des Moines, Iowa and conceived by
George H. Woodson, S. Joe Brown, Gertrude E. Rush, James B. Morris, Charles P. Howard, Sr., Wendell E. Green, C. Francis Stradford, Jesse N. Baker, William H. Haynes, George C. Adams, Charles H. Calloway, and L. Amasa Knox. The rationale of the NBA is “...to advance the science of jurisprudence, uphold the honor of the legal profession, promote social intercourse among the members of the bar, and protect the civil and political rights of all citizens of the several states of the United States.”

When the NBA was organized there were fewer than 1,000 African American lawyers in the nation, and less than 120 belonged to the Association. By 1945, there were nearly 250 members representing 25% of the African American members of the bar. Over the past 75 years, the NBA has grown enormously in size and influence. Currently the NBA is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of predominately African American lawyers and judges. It has 87 affiliate chapters throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Africa and the Caribbean, and represents a professional network of over 17,000 lawyers, judges, educators and law students.



1930
Geoffrey Holder is born on the island of Trinidad, British West Indies. He will become a Broadway dancer and actor and will be best known for his performances in “Annie” and “The Wiz.”


1936
Educator, clergy and community activist, Benjamin E. Mays, who has been called “the greatest school master of his generation,” was named president of Morehouse College on this day. He served as president of Morehouse for 27 years, becoming the longest-tenured president in the institution’s history. As president of Morehouse he strove to level the academic playing field of historically Black colleges and universities with White institutions. A gregarious man known for his outstanding leadership, Mays helped Morehouse become one of the nation’s most prestigious colleges of higher learning for Black men. He also played a pivotal role in the inclusion of a Phi Beta Kappa chapter to the college, which gave Morehouse international recognition. Born of former South Carolina slaves, Mays’ thirst for knowledge (second only to his desire for equality) helped him overcome education limitations in South Carolina to become valedictorian of his high school. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Bates College in 1920, then his master’s in 1925 and his Ph.D. in 1935 from the University of Chicago. Mays died in Washington, D.C.


1941
Ronald H. Brown was born on this date in Washington, D. C. He was an African-American businessman and politician who was the first African-American to serve as chairman of a national political party.

Ronald Brown grew up in Harlem, graduated from Middlebury College in 1962, and enlisted in the U. S. Army. After his service, Brown worked for the National Urban League in New York while earning his law degree at night from St. John’s University. He held several positions at the Urban League from 1968 to 1979, including general counsel, chief Washington spokesperson, deputy executive director, and vice-president of Washington operations. Brown became active in the Democratic Party, and in 1979, served as deputy manager of Senator Edward Kennedy’s presidential campaign.

He left politics in 1986 to become a partner in a Washington law firm. In 1988, Brown returned to politics as the convention manager for Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign. He was elected chairman of the DNC in 1989, the first African- American in either political party to serve in that capacity. In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed him Secretary of Commerce, the first black to hold that position. He is widely credited with revitalizing the Department.

In 1996, Brown and 34 others were on a three-day economic tour of the Balkans for the Department of Commerce when their plane crashed during stormy weather. On his death was survived by his wife Alma, and their two children. In December of that same year the Ron Brown Scholar program was established, sponsored and funded by the CAP Charitable Foundation.



1943
Race-related rioting erupts in New York City’s village of Harlem, resulting in several deaths.


1944
Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. of New York is elected to congress and becomes the first African American congressman from the East.


1950
The American Bowling Congress ends its all-white-males rule.


1952
Charles Clinton Spaulding joins the ancestors in Durham, North Carolina at the age of 78.


1960
Benin changes its name to Dahomey and proclaims its independence from France.


1960
Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” is released. The song inspires the dance craze of the ‘60s.


1961
Whitney Moore Young, Jr. is named Executive Director of the National Urban League.


1964
Arthur Ashe becomes the first African American to be named to the U.S. Davis Cup tennis team.


1970
“Black Enterprise magazine is first published.


1970
Willie Stargell, of the Pittsburgh Pirates, ties the record of 5 extra base hits in a game.


1973
Tempestt Bledsoe, actress, “The Cosby Show’s” Vanessa Huxtable, is born in Chicago, Illinois.


1977
Benjamin L. Hooks becomes the Executive Director of the NAACP.


1979
James Patterson Lyke is installed as auxiliary bishop of the Cleveland Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church.


1987
Mike Tyson defeats Tony Tucker to become undisputed Heavyweight Boxing Champion.


1992
The Supreme Court permits the administration to continue its special interdiction policy by which the U.S. Coast Guard patrols international waters near Haiti to prevent Haitian citizens from escaping from their country, and Haiti is the only country in the world to receive such treatment by the United States.


1992
Gail Devers wins the women’s 100 meters at the Barcelona Summer Games.


1993
Ronald H. Brown, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is appointed head of the Department of Commerce by President Bill Clinton.


1993
Barbara Ross-Lee, practicing family physician, Naval officer, and medical educator, assumed the position as dean of Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing Michigan. This position made her the first Black woman to head a medical school in the United States.


1994
Supporters of Haiti’s military rulers declare their intention to fight back in the face of a U.N. resolution paving the way for a U.S.-led invasion.


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