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.
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.
British slaves in the Bahamas are
Methodists establish the first African American
Zion Methodist Church.
African Americans vote for the first time in a state election,
in Tennessee, helping
the Republicans sweep the election.
H. Sheridan dismisses the board of aldermen in New Orleans and named new appointees,
including several African Americans.
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.
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 Bennett College is
celebrated on this date. Bennett is one of the over 100 Historical
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
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.
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.
Joseph M. Bartholomew was born on
this date. He was an African-American architect who specialized in golf
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
as Garvey presents his “Back to Africa” plan
and a formal Declaration of Rights for Black people worldwide.
Jemison, Sr. is born in Selma,
Alabama. He will become a Baptist
minister and will later be elected president of the National Baptist Convention
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
nationalist movement reaches its height in 1920-21.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Race-related rioting erupts in New York City’s
village of Harlem,
resulting in several deaths.
Powell, Jr. of New York
is elected to congress and becomes the first African American congressman from
The American Bowling
Congress ends its all-white-males rule.
Spaulding joins the ancestors in Durham,
North Carolina at the age of 78.
Benin changes its
name to Dahomey and
proclaims its independence from France.
“The Twist” is released. The song inspires the dance craze of the ‘60s.
Whitney Moore Young,
Jr. is named Executive Director of the National Urban League.
Arthur Ashe becomes the
first African American to be named to the U.S. Davis Cup tennis team.
“Black Enterprise” magazine is
Willie Stargell, of the
Pittsburgh Pirates, ties the record of 5 extra base hits in a game.
Tempestt Bledsoe, actress, “The
Cosby Show’s” Vanessa Huxtable, is born in Chicago, Illinois.
Hooks becomes the Executive Director of the NAACP.
Lyke is installed as auxiliary bishop of the Cleveland Diocese of
the Roman Catholic Church.
Mike Tyson defeats Tony Tucker to become undisputed Heavyweight Boxing Champion.
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.
Gail Devers wins the
women’s 100 meters at the Barcelona Summer Games.
Ronald H. Brown, former
chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is appointed head of the
Department of Commerce by President Bill Clinton.
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.
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.