date, we recall the birth of Edward Wilmot
Blyden. He was an African-American Black Nationalist and Repatriations
From St. Thomas, in the West
Indies, Blyden was educated beginning at the age of twelve when a
white pastor began to encourage him to make the ministry his life’s work. At
eighteen, upon coming to America,
he was unable to find a seminary that would accept a black student. Instead, at
the age of 24, he went to Liberia
under the sponsorship of the New York Colonization Society to study at the new Alexander High School
Seven years later he was the principal of the school. As an adult, Blyden had
two careers, a teacher and a scholar.
In his writings, he defended his race at every opportunity, exalted the
achievements of other blacks, attacked slavery and advocated repatriation of
his people back to Africa in pamphlets such as “A Voice from Bleeding Africa”, in which he attacks
slavery, and “A Vindication of the African Race.” As a
teacher he was professor of classics from 1862 to 1871 and president of Liberia College from 1880 to 1884. At the same
time as a politician and diplomat in Liberia,
he was Secretary of State from 1864 to 1866, Minister of Interior from 1880 to
1882, Minister to Britain
from 1877 to 1878 and 1892, and Minister Plenipotentiary to London
and Paris in
Blyden traveled to America
eight times representing Liberia,
his last visit was in 1895. He studied both Christianity and Islam, summing up
his views in his influential book Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race.
Between 1901 and 1905 he was Director of Education in Sierra Leone.
Edward Blyden died in 1912.
provisional governor of Florida abolishes slavery by proclamation.
date, we recall Abbie Mitchell, born on
this date. She was an African-American singer and actress.
From the Lower East Side of New York City, she was the daughter of an
African-American mother and a German- Jewish father, both who were musically
inclined. After completing her public school training in Baltimore,
she began to study voice in New York
in 1897. Lyricist, Paul L. Dunbar, and composer Will Marion Cook who cast her
in their musical Clorindy, the Origin of the Cakewalk, recognized her talent.
A year later she married Cook and was given the principal role in Tes Lak White
Folks. The years ahead were filled with many shows, and events around the
theatrical life of New York.
Mitchell joined the Memphis Student, a playing, singing, and dancing group that
opened at Proctor’s Twenty-third Street Theater, the Victoria Theater, and the
Roof Garden. She also worked at the Olympia in Paris, the Palace Theater in
London, and the Schumann Circus in Berlin. Between 1904 and 1912, she appeared
in The Southerner and Bandanna Land.
Years after returning to America, Mitchell took a position as head of the voice
department at Tuskegee Institute; this did not keep her from singing in
concert. She appeared in Coquette with Helen Hayes in Chicago in 1929 and at
Town Hall in New York in 1931. Abbie Mitchell died in Harlem on March 16th
L.P. Ray, inventor, patented the dust pan on this date. Patent #587,607.
date, we celebrate the birth of Horace R. Cayton. He was an
African-American sociologist and writer.
He became one of the preeminent Black sociologists in America. From Seattle,
Washington, Horace Cayton was the namesake son of a newspaper publisher from
the northwest. He came to Chicago in 1929 to study sociology at the University
His works include Black Metropolis; a classic study of Chicago’s”
Bronzeville”, and Black Workers and the New Unions, a study of the role
of African Americans in industrialized life. During the 1940’s, Cayton
served as director of the innovative Parkway Community House, a center for
culture, education, and social services. Cayton died on January 22, 1970, in
A site plan
for the town of Allensworth, California, is filed
with the Tulare County recorder. The town is founded by African American Allen
Allensworth, “in order to enable black people to live on an equity
[basis] with whites and to encourage industry and thrift in the race.”
date, Eddie Jefferson was born.
He was an African- American jazz & blues singer.
Edgar Jefferson (his name at birth) was from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Considered by many as the founder of “vocalese” (putting recorded solos to
words), Eddie Jefferson did not have a great voice but he was one of the top
jazz singers, getting the maximum out of what he had. He started out working as
a tap dancer but by the late ‘40s was singing and writing lyrics. A live session
from 1949 (released on Spotlite) finds him pioneering vocalese by singing his
lyrics to “Parker’s Mood” and Lester Young’s solo on “I Cover the Waterfront.”
However, his classic lyrics to “Moody’s Mood for Love” were recorded first by
King Pleasure (1952) who also had a big hit with his version of “Parker’s
Mood.” Jefferson had his first studio recording that year (which included
Coleman Hawkins’ solo on “Body and Soul”) before working with James Moody
(1953-57). Although he recorded on an occasional basis in the 1950s and ‘60s,
his contributions to the idiom seemed to be mostly overlooked until the 1970s.
Jefferson worked with Moody again (1968-73) and during his last few years often
performed with Richie Cole. He was shot to death outside of a Detroit club May
Eddie Jefferson, who also wrote memorable lyrics to “Jeannine,” “Lady Be Good,”
“So What,” “Freedom Jazz Dance,” and even “Bitches’ Brew,” recorded for Savoy,
Prestige, a single for Checker, Inner City and Muse; his final sides appeared
in 1999 under the title Vocal Ease.
A. Scott, III, founds the “Atlanta World”
newspaper. It will become a bi-weekly in 1930 and on March
13, 1932, will become the “Atlanta Daily World,” the first
African American daily newspaper in modern times.
date, we celebrate the founding of Wings Over
Jordan Choir. This group was organized by the Rev
Glen T. Settles in Cleveland, Ohio and was perhaps the most beautiful
sounding of all Gospel choirs.
Their otherworldly and almost ghostly sound was heard on over 50 recordings. In
the days before television, when families would sit around the radio together,
Wings Over Jordan was a popular family radio program that featured this
talented African American choir. Beginning in the late 1930s, the show was
broadcast out of Cleveland on the CBS network.
Rev. Glenn T. Settle had his choir work with Worth Kramer (program director at
radio station WGAR), who eventually stepped down as program director to run the
Wings show. As a bonus, the program featured outstanding African American
leaders from all walks of life as guest speakers. One of Wings Over Jordan
first recordings was made on October 19, 1941 for CBS radio. It was called I
Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray. The Wings Over Jordan Celebration Chorus was formed
in 1988 to carry on the original group’s mission.
William Adolf Fierre, on of Denmark’s
few Black residents, and a native of the Virgin Islands, died in Middlefart, Denmark
at age 73. Fierre owned two big hotels in Berlin until the race conscious Nazis seized
his fortune and expelled him.
Williams of the United States sets the then 100 meter record at 10.1 seconds.
J. Carey, Chicago minister, attorney, judge, and diplomat,
was appointed the first African American chairman of the President Dwight D.
Eisenhower’s Committee on Government Employment Policy.
of Niger achieves its independence from France.
Lucky Dube was born on this date. He was a black
South African reggae musician.
Lucky Philip Dube was born in Ermelo, then in the Eastern Transvaal, now
Mpumalanga. His parents separated before his birth and he was raised by his
mother, Sarah. She named him Lucky because she considered his birth fortunate
after a number of failed pregnancies. Along with his two siblings, Thandi and
Patrick, Dube spent much of his childhood with his grandmother, while his
mother relocated to work.
Dube worked as a gardener but, realizing that he wasn’t earning enough to feed
his family, he began to attend school. There he joined a choir and, with some
friends, formed his first musical ensemble, called The Skyway Band. While at
school he discovered the Rastafari movement. At 18 Dube joined his cousin’s
band, The Love Brothers, playing Zulu pop music known as mbaqanga. The band
signed with Teal Record Company, (Teal was later incorporated into Gallo Record
Company). While Dube was still attending classes, the band recorded material in
Johannesburg during his school breaks.
Their debut album was released under the name Lucky Dube and the Supersoul. On
the second album, Dube wrote some of the lyrics, sang and also began to learn
English. After his fifth Mbaqanga album, he dropped the “Supersoul” name. At
this time Dube’s fans were responding to some reggae songs he played during
live concerts. Inspired by Jimmy Cliff and Peter Tosh, he felt the
socio-political messages associated with Jamaican reggae were related to a
South African audience in an institutionally racist society. In 1984, he
released a new musical direction with the mini album Rastas Never Die. The
record sold poorly. Keen to suppress anti-apartheid activism, the apartheid regime
banned the album in 1985.
Not discouraged he continued to perform the reggae tracks live and wrote and
produced a second reggae album. Think About The Children (1985). It went
platinum and established Dube as a popular reggae artist in South Africa, in
addition to attracting global attention. Dube continued to release commercially
successful albums. In 1989 he won four OKTV Awards for Prisoner, won another
for Captured Live in 1990 and yet another two for House Of Exile in 1991. His
1993 album, Victims sold over one million copies worldwide. In 1995 he earned a
worldwide recording contract with Motown. His album Trinity was the first
release on Tabu Records after Motown’s acquisition of the label.
In 1996 he released a compilation album, Serious Reggae Business, which led to
him being named the “Best Selling African Recording Artist” at the World Music
Awards and the “International Artist of the Year” at the Ghana Music Awards.
His next three albums each won South African Music Awards. His album, Respect,
earned a European release and Dube toured internationally, sharing stages with
Sinéad O’Connor, Peter Gabriel and Sting. He appeared at the 1991 Reggae
Sunsplash and the 2005 Live 8 event in Johannesburg.
In addition to music Dube did some acting, appearing in the feature films Voice
In The Dark, Getting Lucky and Lucky Strikes Back. On October 18, 2007, Dube
was killed in the Johannesburg suburb of Rosettenville shortly after dropping
two of his seven children off at their uncle’s house. Police reports suggest he
was killed by carjackers.
Lucky Dube recorded 22 albums in Zulu, English and Afrikaans in a 25-year
period and was one of South Africa’s biggest selling reggae artist. He is
survived by his wife, Zanele, and seven children.
thousand delegates and observers attend the Congress of African
Peoples convention in Atlanta, Georgia.
Communications Commission upholds a political candidate’s
right to broadcast paid commercials with racist content if such
broadcast presents no danger of violence or incitement to violence.
date, the United States Senate overrode President Ronald Reagan’s veto of
legislation imposing economic
sanctions against South Africa.
Henderson sets American League mark of 50 stolen bases in nine seasons.