Thomas Lewis Johnson was born on
this date in Rock Raymon, Virginia. He was a Black slave, minister and author.
His grandfather had been brought to America
from Guinea, Africa. His mother was also a slave but his father was a
freeman. At the age of three, his father attempted to buy his wife and son but
they were sent to Alexandria,
VA. When Johnson was 12 years old
he was separated from his mother by being sent to work in Fredericksburg, VA.
In 1852 he was sold to a family in Richmond,
which enabled him to meet up with his mother who had already been purchased by
a man from that city. After the Civil War, Johnson was freed and moved to Denver where he worked as
a minister. In 1876 he went to Africa as a
missionary. His book, Twenty-Eight Years a Slave was published in 1909.
Johnson’s death is unknown.
Frederick Douglass is speaker at the World’s Temperance
convention in London, England.
Black Shakespearean actor Ira
Fredrick Aldridge died on this date in Lodz, Poland.
James Peters was born on this date. He was a Black
From Salford, England,
his father George Peters, was from the West Indies
and worked in a circus until he was killed in a lion’s cage. Young Peters
played cricket and rugby at school. He was also an outstanding (all-around)
athlete winning the 100 yards, mile, long jump, high jump and walking races in
1894. After leaving school Peters became a printer. He moved to Bristol in 1898 and in
1900 joined Knowle Rugby Club. Some white members objected to the inclusion of
a Black man and resigned.
In 1902 Peters moved to Plymouth,
worked in the Devonport Dockyards as a carpenter. He played for Devon team where in 1906 the South African tourists
refused to take the field with there team to play the county when they
discovered they had a Black man on the team. However, when Devon won the County Championship
the public began to campaign for Peters to play for England. On March 17, 1907, Peters
played for England against Scotland. It
was here that he became the first Black man to play rugby in an international
game. The newspapers at the time made no reference to this at all.
Although The Sportsman commented that the “dusky Plymouth man did many good things, especially
in passing.” The Yorkshire Post praised his performance but pointed out
that “his selection is by no means popular on racial grounds.” In his next game
against France he scored a
try in England’s
35-8 victory. Ironically he was not picked on racial grounds for the next game
against South Africa.
Peters returned to the team for the next two games against Scotland and Wales. However, he was dropped for
the game against Ireland.
In 1910 Peters lost three fingers in a dockyard accident.
He continued to play rugby until 1912 when he was suspended after it was
discovered he had been paid by Devon Rugby Club. Peters then became a
professional playing Rugby League games for Barrow and St. Helen’s. James Peters
died on March 26, 1954.
On this date Luckey Roberts was born.
He was an African-American composer, conductor, and pianist.
Born Charles Luckyeth in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
and, after working in vaudeville as a child at the age of three as an actor,
Roberts moved to New York
where he established a minor reputation as a composer and a major one as a
performer of “Rags” and later “Stride” piano. His first musical score was for
the Broadway musical Shy and Sly, produced in 1915. In 1926, he wrote the score
for Magnolia. Roberts was pianist for the radio program “Moran and Mack and,
also, was a successful society band leader. In the years between World War I
and World War II, Roberts’ composing talents were recognized more and several
of his musical shows were produced.
During the 40s and early 50s he owned and regularly performed at a Harlem bar.
Roberts made few records and most of these were early piano rolls, while his
later records were made after he had suffered strokes and was injured in a road
accident. Still, it is possible to understand the awe felt by such pianists as
Fats Waller, James P. Johnson and Willie “The Lion” Smith at his astonishing
technique, a technique that was greatly made possible by his remarkably large
Luckey Roberts died on February 5, 1968.
On this date, Diana McNeil Pierson was born. She was an African-American
educator and missionary.
From Pluka, Maryland, Liberia she was the daughter of a soldier named Mr. Fish
and was adopted by a missionary named Elizabeth McNeil. Young McNeil first came
to America at the age of three to be present at a general missionary
conference. She first attended school in Lancaster, PA, the home of her foster
father. She also attended Walden University Prep. School and graduated from
Monrovia H. S. in Monrovia, California. Soon after High School McNeil entered
the University of Southern California, having a double major of history and
The first Black to attend USC, her Master’s thesis was on “Liberian Republic:
Experiment in Government.” McNeil received her B. A. in 1909 and her M. A. in
1910 from USC. She returned to her homeland to teach English at the College of
West Africa. Health issues caused her to return to America where McNeil soon
began teaching at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Ark. It was during
this time that she met and married Professor Pierson who taught at the same
school. The couple eventually moved to Marshall, TX where they spent the next
thirty years teaching at Wiley College.
After her retirement they moved to Houston. Diana McNeil Pierson died on August
The Fifty-third Congress (1893-95) convened. One Black
congressman, George W. Marray, South Carolina
Black longshoremen struck for higher
wages and better working conditions in Galveston, Texas.
Mark Matthews was born this date. He was an
African-American Buffalo Soldier.
From in Greenville, Ala., Mathews grew up in Mansfield, Ohio. He rode horses
when he was a child and delivered newspapers on his pony. According to
Matthews’ accounts told friends, family members and at least one military
historian, he was 15 when he met members of the Buffalo Soldiers’ 10th
Cavalry. They were visiting a Lexington, Ky., racetrack where he worked
exercising the horses. Although you had to be 17 to enlist, his boss concocted
documents that persuaded a Columbus, Ohio, recruiter that he was of age.
Mathews served along the U. S.-Mexican border as part of Gen. John Joseph
“Black Jack” Pershing’s 1916 expedition into Mexico, on the trail of Mexican
bandit and revolutionary Poncho Villa. In 1931, he was assigned to Ft. Myers,
Va., where he trained recruits in horsemanship, helped tend the presidential
stable for Franklin D. Roosevelt and played on the polo team. Ten years later,
although in his late 40s when the United States entered World War II, he saw
action on Saipan. He retired from the Army in 1949 and became a security guard
at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. He retired a second time,
as chief of guards, in 1970.
Matthews was heir to a proud military heritage that originated with the Black
soldiers who fought in the Indian wars on the Western frontier. Historians say
that the Cheyenne, Kiowa and Apache tribes bestowed the term Buffalo Soldiers
because the soldiers’ hair reminded them of a buffalo’s mane. Matthews joined
up at the end of the Buffalo Soldiers’ colorful Western exploits. The regiments
that made up the Buffalo Soldiers the 9th and 10th
Cavalry regiments and the 24th and 25th Infantry
regiments stayed together for years afterward, fighting in World Wars I and II
and Korea. The all-Black regiments were disbanded in 1952 as the Army
Matthews’ wife of 57 years, Genevieve Hill Matthews, died in 1986. Survivors
include three daughters, a son, nine grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.
He met with President Clinton at the White House, and in 2002 and marked his
108th birthday by meeting with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.
Retired 1st Sgt. Mark Matthews, one of the last of the nation’s
Buffalo Soldiers and said to be the oldest, died of pneumonia September 6, 2005
at Fox Chase Nursing Home in D.C. He was reported to be 111.
Ralph Johnson Bunche was born on this date. He was an
African-American scholar and diplomat, known for his work in the United Nations
and the first black to win a Nobel Peace Prize.
He was born in Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from the University of
California at Los Angeles in 1927 and earned a doctorate in government and
international relations from Harvard University in 1934. He taught political science
at Howard University, while completing his doctorate work at Harvard. From 1938
until 1940, he worked with the Swedish sociologist Gunnar Myrdal on a classical
study of African- Americans that resulted in Myrdal’s 1944 book, An American
Dilemma: The Negro Problem and American Democracy.
Dr. Bunche served in the Office of Strategic Services from 1941 to 1944, during
World War II, and joined the United States Department of State in 1944; in
1945, he became the first black to head a departmental division in federal
government, the Division of Dependent Area Affairs. An expert on trusteeship
matters, Ralph Bunche participated in the writing of the UN Charter and in
1946, he became director of the trusteeship division of the UN.
Beginning in 1947, as a senior member of the staff of the UN commission on
Palestine, he participated in the mediation efforts that resulted in
recognition of the state of Israel. Bunche won international recognition for
his skill as a mediator, and he was awarded the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize after
negotiating the four armistice agreements that halted the 1948-1949
Arab-Israeli War. Continuing to work at the UN, he became an Undersecretary in
1955. In 1969, this title was changed to Undersecretary General of the UN.
Until his retirement from the UN in 1971 Bunche directed peacekeeping
operations for the UN and was responsible for the UN program on peaceful uses
of atomic energy.
Throughout his life, Bunche worked to improve race relations and further the
cause of civil rights. For 22 years, he served on the board of the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), earning its highest
honor, the Spingarn Medal, in 1949. He participated in several civil rights
demonstrations, including the 1963 March on Washington. That same year, U. S.
President John F. Kennedy awarded him the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s
highest civilian award. Ralph Bunche died in 1971.
Ernestine Wade was born on this date. She was an
Born in Jackson, Mississippi, she grew up in her native South. Being an only
child she would often play act by herself as a youth; she claimed this aided
her characterizations and vocal abilities. She had a naturally beautiful voice
and had performed professionally until the age of 13. She was also an
accomplished organist. She went to Hollywood and got a job as a secretary at
first, but auditioned for music opportunities and was cast to do voice-overs in
the animated Disney film Song of the South (1946) as a butterfly and
In the 1940s, Wade auditioned for “Amos ‘n’ Andy” on radio and later TV. She
was eventually cast as Sapphire, which made her a star. At one time it was the
most popular program on radio in the U. S. Other Wade TV and film credits were:
Unexpected Riches (1942), an Our Gang short; as Bit in Buckwheat’s
Dream; Three Violent People (1956), as Maid; The Girl He Left
Behind (1956) as Lorna; Full of Life (1956) as Delia the Maid; Bernadine
(1957) with Pat Boone, as Cleo; The Guns of Fort Petticoat (1957) as
Hetty, and Critic’s Choice (1963) as Thelma, her final role. On TV she
guest starred in The Adventures of Jim Bowie and Family Affair
(1966); Playhouse 90; Sizeman and Son (1956); Somebody
Upstairs (1967); and That’s My Mama (1974).
She was a fine actress and a pioneer of Black actors in film. She was a very
attractive lady with smiling eyes and a warm demeanor. All her professional life
she fought the value of her role as “Sapphire” against those who felt it
demeaning to Black women. They claimed the role was stereotypical of shrewish
Black bossy wives. Her character in Amos & Andy only scolded her husband
when he deserved it, but most often her character was a kindly, loving and
loyal wife. Wade was one of the few cast members who ‘honed down’ the Black
Ernestine Wade died on April 15, 1983 in Los Angeles, California at the age of
On this date, Melvin Herbert Evans was born. He was an African
-American politician, public health official, and physician.
He was born in Christiansted, St. Croix after the island had been purchased
from Denmark by the United States. After graduating from high school on St.
Thomas, Evans received his B.S. from Howard University in 1940 and a M.D. from
the Howard College of Medicine four years later. He then served in a variety of
medical and public health positions for the United States and the Virgin
Islands. From 1959 to 1967, Evans served as the Islands’ Health Commissioner.
He returned to private practice for two years before President Nixon appointed
him Governor of the Islands.
In 1978 he was elected to the House and was sworn in to the ninety-sixth
Congress on January 3, 1979. Evans served on the Armed Services, Interior and
Insular Affairs, and Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committees. He introduced
legislation to alleviate the Islands’ critical shortage of doctors at local
health facilities by permitting foreign physicians to practice there. He also
attempted to create farm credit loans to local fishing and agricultural
industries and he succeeded in getting the Islands included under the
definition of a “state” so that they would receive full law enforcement
funding. He also publicly eulogized A. Phillip Randolph after his death and
opposed opposition to court ordered busing.
He was defeated for his congressional seat in 1980, was appointed U. S.
Ambassador to Trinidad a year later and died in his hometown on November 27,
On this date, Dr. James Cameron, founder and director of America’s
Black Holocaust Museum, Inc. with two of his young associates were lynched.
This night Cameron’s life changed forever. A day before, he and two other young
Black men were arrested for the robbery, rape and assault of a White couple in
Marion, Indiana, James as in a cell in the Grant County Jail. There was a lynch
mob outside numbering into the thousands. James is sixteen years old.
The mob came into the jail and grabbed one of men accused with James of the
crime. He was beaten unconscious, dragged outside, and lynched. The second man was
then given the same treatment. The bodies of these two men, Tom Shipp, 18, and
Abraham Smith, 19, hanging from a tree was depicted in a famous and disturbing
photograph. The mob now came for James. He was beaten and dragged out to the
tree where his friends now hung and the rope was placed around his neck. It was
at this moment that James remembered hearing what he described as an angelic
voice above the crowd saying “Take this boy back. He had nothing to do with any
killing or rape.” Suddenly the hands that were beating him were now helping
him. The rope was taken from around his neck and the crowd cleared a path for
him to walk back to the jail. In interviews he later conducted with people who were
in the crowd, no one remembered hearing any voice. Their reason why the crowd
did not lynch James was, “You were lucky that night.” Though James never
admitted any guilt in the assault (he admitted that he was there), he served 4
years in prison. The female victim later changed her story and confirmed that
James had no part in the assault.
After he was paroled, James Cameron moved to Milwaukee. During his career, he
held several jobs including table waiter, laborer, construction worker, laundry
worker, salesman, janitor, ditch digger, record shop owner, theater custodian,
junkman, newspaper reporter, shoeshine boy and cardboard-box factory worker. He
also organized the Madison County Branch of the NAACP in Madison and other
chapters in Muncie and South Bend, Indiana. Upon retirement, he opened a rug
and upholstery cleaning business.
In 1983, after not being able to find a publisher for the book he started
writing in prison, Cameron took out a second mortgage on his home to publish A
Time of Terror, his autobiographical account of what happened that night in
The following year, after hearing of plans to build a Jewish Holocaust Museum
in Washington, D.C., James Cameron decided that a Black Holocaust Museum was
needed. “It seems that every group of people have a chance to erect museums and
memorials and statues in our country so that the world can never forget.”
In 1988, he founded America’s Black Holocaust Museum, Inc., a non-profit museum
devoted to preserving the history of lynching in the United States and the
struggle of Black people for equality. Dr. Cameron was born on February 23,
1914 in La Crosse, WI and died on June 11, 2006 at the age of 92 in Milwaukee,
Dr. Maurice F. Rabb Jr. was born on this date. He was an
African-American ophthalmologist, author and administrator.
The only child of an anesthesiologist and math teacher, Rabb was from
Shelbyville, Kentucky. At the age of 16, he graduated from Central Colored High
School and went to the University of Indiana because the University of
Louisville was still segregated. After the University of Louisville
desegregated, Rabb came home as one of the first African Americans admitted
into the school’s College of Arts and Sciences. He earned both a B.S. in 1954
and an M.D. in 1958 from the University of Louisville. He also studied
ophthalmology at New York University.
Rabb was director of the Illinois Eye Bank and Research Laboratory of the
University of Illinois Medical School. He was also director of the Fluorescent
Angiography Laboratory at the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. Rabb received
awards in 1962 and 1964 for photographic work concentrating on the physiology
of the inner eye. With Dr. George Honig, Dr. Rabb founded IIIC’s Comprehensive
Sickle Cell Center in 1972. For decades, the center distinguished itself as a
leader in sickle cell research. Dr. Rabb served as the center’s director for 16
years and accumulated more than $16 million in grants during his tenure. It was
through Dr. Rabb’s research in the field that it became possible to prevent
retinal detachment and blindness in sickle cell patients. He was chair of the
ophthalmology department at Mercy Hospital in Chicago from 1971 until 2005.
He was also a highly-regarded professor, tenured since 1977, at the University
of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Rabb was the first African-American ophthalmology
resident at the University of Illinois Hospital and the first Black president
of Mercy Hospital’s medical staff. He initially dreamed of becoming a
photographer. But when he realized a career in the arts might not afford him
the lifestyle he was accustomed to, he chose the profession his parents wanted
him to pursue without compromising his appreciation for all things visual. “He was
going through film like it was water. A friend of his said, ‘Man, you better go
to medical school.’ So he ended up picking ophthalmology because it was related
to some of his interests,” said Dr. Rabb’s wife, art consultant Madeline Murphy
Rabb. The couple had two sons, Maurice Rabb III and Christopher Rabb.
He served as the medical director of the university-affiliated Illinois Eye
Bank from 1972 to 1987, becoming the first African-American physician named as
a medical director of an American eye bank. Dr. Rabb was on the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration’s ophthalmic advisory committee in 1972. He was appointed
as an ophthalmic consultant for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention to investigate the Tuskegee syphilis study. In 1974, he became the
first African American to co-author a book on ophthalmology, titled
Clinicopathologic Correlation of Ocular Disease with Dr. David Apple. He wrote
five books and authored more than 60 articles during his career.
Dr. Rabb was appointed to the National Advisory Council of the National Eye
Institution of the National Institutes of Health in 1995. He was also a
longtime member of the National Medical Association (NMA), a
more-than-century-old group for Black physicians. The NMA named a scholarship after
him and another prominent Black doctor called the Rabb Venable Ophthalmology
Award for Outstanding Research. Dr. Maurice F. Rabb Jr died on June 6, 2005 at
his Gold Coast home from complications related to lung cancer. He was 72.
Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia becomes the first man to win the Olympic marathon twice (running
Rahsaan Ronald Kirk was born on this
date. He was an African-American jazz musician.
From Columbus, Ohio, he lost his sight at the age of two when a negligent nurse came into work and put too
much medicine in his eyes. Kirk was educated at the Ohio School for the Blind.
When he was 16, the idea of playing three instruments at once came to him in a
dream. Kirk would later become a popular figure in the Midwest working in bands
with Rhythm & Blues Ohio
musicians Hank Marr, Frank Foster, Snooky Young and Bobby Miller. Dreams played
an important part in Kirk’s life and musical development. He dreamed of playing
two saxophones simultaneously and immediately set out to make this a reality.
He found two antique saxophones in a pawnshop and christened them the manzello
(a derivative of the soprano saxophone) and the stritch (a derivative of the
straight alto saxophone). Along with the tenor, these saxophones comprised the
“triple threat” mentioned in his first recording. In 1960 Kirk moved to New
York City, joining the Mingus band in 1961. Kirk’s band-mates were Eric Dolphy,
Danny Richmond and Jackie Byard, and the exposure helped to introduce the young
virtuoso to mainstream jazz audiences.
Kirk’s most productive period was from 1965 to 1975 when he recorded a series
of albums for Atlantic Records. His 1968 Inflated
Tear addressed his blindness and his 1969 Volunteered Slavery was the flash point for his social activism on
behalf of working musicians. This activism peaked in 1970 when Kirk became
violent on an episode of the Dick Cavett Show. Kirk was also a highly
innovative flutist, using many unorthodox techniques in his playing, especially
simultaneously singing and playing, his most famous example of which is You Did It, You Did It from “We Free
Kings,” his first release for Mercury.
While the techniques that Kirk used were not his in origin (circular breathing
is a necessity in playing the Australian aboriginal didjeridu and several
performers played three clarinets at once as early as the 1920’s), he brought
musicality to these novelty tricks. Another dream led to his adding the name
“Rahsaan” around 1970. Rahsaan was an activist in getting support for what he
termed “Black Classical Music.” After suffering a cerebral vascular incident in
November 1975, it seemed that he would not regain the use of his right hand
after several months of therapy. His determination devised a method that
enabled him to play his instruments with the use of only his left hand.
Actively performing and recording, he made several tours and albums after this
first stroke. He suffered another stroke and died in Bloomington, Indiana on
December 5, 1977 at the age of 41. The Vibration Society, a tribute band,
existed for a time after his death.
Alan Cedric Page was born on this date. He was an African-American football player and is a lawyer and state Supreme Court Judge, and education activist.
From Canton, Ohio he is the son of Howard and Georgiana Page and has one
brother and two sisters. He graduated from Central Catholic High School in his
home town. In 1967, young Page received a Bachelor of Arts in Political
Science, University of Notre Dame. Then he was drafted into the National
Football League by the Minnesota Vikings the following year. Page played
professionally with the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears from until
1981. In 1971, he was the first defensive player in NFL history to receive
“Most Valuable Player” Award. Eight years later Page became the first active
NFL player to complete a marathon (26.2 miles). In his NFL career, he was a
6-time All Pro. Also during this time (1978) he received his Jurist Doctor from
the University of Minnesota Law School.
He is married to Diane Sims Page, they have four children: Nina, Georgi, Justin
and Kamie. In 1987, he completed the Edmund Fitzgerald 100-kilometer (62-mile)
race. In 1988 Page was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio.
Two years later he helped dedicate “Alan Page Drive” in his hometown. Page has
received many honors and awards in his lifetime, some of them include: the
National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA) Executive Committee,
1972-1975 and NFLPA Representative, 1970-1974, 1976-1977. In 1979, Page became
a member, National Bar Association, American Bar Association. One year later he
joined the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers and has been a member of the
Advisory Board of the Mixed Blood Theater Company since 1984. He was a Color
Commentator for Turner Broadcasting System, College Football Game of the Week
in 1982 and a Commentator for National Public Radio from 1982-1983. Page also
received the National Education Association “Friend of Education” Award and the
Chicago’s Inner City Sports Hall of Fame in 1991. In 1993 he was inducted into
College Football Hall of Fame. In 1994 Page won the Aetna Voice of Conscience
Arthur Ashe, Jr., Achiever Award. 1999 found him as one of Sports Illustrated
“The 50 Greatest Sports Figures from Ohio.” In 2001 he was selected Academic
All-American Hall of Fame, and the Dick Engberg Award. In 2002 Page was
inducted into International Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame. In 2004, he received
the NCAA Theodore Roosevelt Award.
After football, Page was an Associate with Lindquist & Vennum from
1979-1984. A Special Assistant Attorney General (Employment Law Division) from
1985-1987 and Assistant Attorney General, State of Minnesota from 1987-1993. He
became an Associate Justice, Minnesota Supreme Court in 1993 and presently
still serving. Page was on the Board of Directors of the Minneapolis Urban
League from 1987-1990, and a member, Institute of Bill of Rights Law Task Force
on Drug Testing in the Workplace, 1990-1991. In 1988, he founded The Page
Education Foundation, which assists minority youth with post-secondary
education. The Page Education Foundation was created with a simple but
innovative idea—entice young people of color to positively influence younger
children by offering mentoring and financial assistance for college in exchange
for their volunteer service.
He also helped establish Kodak/Alan Page Challenge, a nationwide essay
contest encouraging urban youth to recognize the value of education, and
is a frequent speaker to groups of students about the importance of education.
Page was a member of the Board of Regents, University of Minnesota from
1989-1992. Alan Page is also a member of the American Law Institute since 1993.
In 2004, Page received the NCAA Theodore Roosevelt Award. In 2005, he received
the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Distinguished
American Award. Also in January 2007, Justice Page was honored by the Trumpet
Award Association as their 2007 recipient of the Trumpet Award in Law.
date, the first U.S. Mint was created by an African-American. Sculptor, Isaac Hathaway was chosen as the designer of the
American coin. On that date, President Harry S. Truman authorized a commission
by the U.S. Mint of a fifty cent piece “to commemorate the life and perpetuate
the ideas and teachings of Booker T.
Alice Coachman became the first Black woman to win an Olympic Gold medal. She won her
medal in the high jump Track and Field competition at the Summer Games in London
on this day. In the first Olympics held after World War II, Coachman leapt 1.68
meters (5 feet and 6½ inches), which set a new record that year. She was the
only American woman to win a track event at the games. Coachman’s victory was
the reward for years of hard work-since she was not allowed to practice high
jumps in the segregated public facilities of Albany, GA. She ran barefoot on
the town’s back roads, hurdling over strings, ropes, sticks and other makeshift
high-jump bars. Coachman went on to win 25 national championships in track,
including a still-standing record of 10 consecutive high jump titles. Coachman briefly
attended Tuskegee Institute and earned a bachelor’s degree at Albany State in
Georgia. After Coachman’s historic win, she retired from competitive track and
became a coach and schoolteacher. Coachman was inducted into the U.S. Olympic
Hall of Fame and the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.
Alan Lee Keyes was born on this date. He is an
African-American politician and diplomat from the state of Maryland.
He was born in New York City, the fifth child of a sergeant in the United
States Army and a homemaker. The family traveled frequently; his father
transferred to installations in Georgia, Maryland, Texas, Virginia and overseas
in Italy. After graduation from high school, Keyes attended Cornell University
where he criticized local efforts in favor of the civil rights movement and
strongly supported the Vietnam War. After receiving death threats because of
his political stances, Keyes left Cornell for Harvard University where he
completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in government affairs in 1972. He
received his doctoral degree in government affairs in 1979, writing his
dissertation on Alexander Hamilton and constitutional theory.
Just a year before completing his doctoral studies, Keyes joined the State
Department as an aid of UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick who was a mentor to
him. That same year, he was assigned to the consulate in Bombay, India, where
as a desk officer he met his future wife. Keyes also worked at the embassy in
Zimbabwe. He settled in Washington, DC in 1981 and two years later President
Ronald Reagan reappointed him to the United Nations with the full rank of
ambassador. He remained in the United Nations until 1987. That year, Keyes
defended the Reagan policy against the imposition of economic sanctions on South
Africa as punishment for apartheid. This was an unpopular position within the
Black community, and Keyes was ridiculed by other Black leaders.
Keyes resigned in protest over a disagreement in relative United Nations
funding and ran for the United States Senate representing Maryland in 1988.
With only 38 percent of the vote, he lost. In 1991, Keyes briefly served as the
interim president of the Historically Black Alabama A&M University in
Huntsville. There Keyes sparked controversy when he ordered university trustees
not to speak with journalists. The following year, he again ran for and lost a
bid for the Senate with only 29 percent of the vote. Keyes was criticized when
reports came out that he had paid himself a salary from campaign funds of
approximately $8,500 each month. Keyes also sought the Republican nomination in
the 1996 Presidential election and again in the 2000 primary season.
He is considered one of the leading Blacks in the Republican Party. On August
4, 2004, the Illinois Republican Party offered Keyes the nomination as the
replacement candidate to run against Barrack Obama in the race for the U.S.
Senate. He is a Roman Catholic and married to Jocelyn Marcel Keyes, an East
Indian-American, whom he met during his service in Bombay. The couple has three
children Francis, Maya, and Andrew.
Charles H. Mahoney
is confirmed by the Senate and becomes the first African American to serve as a
full-time delegate to the United Nations.
African American and white students
stage kneel-in demonstrations in Atlanta churches.
The African nation of the Ivory
Coast gained its independence on this date.
racially motivated disturbance starts in Lansing, Michigan.
Four persons, including the presiding judge, Judge Harold Haley, are killed
in courthouse shoot-out in San Rafael, Marin County, California. Police charge
that activist Angela Davis helped provide the weapons used by the convicts. She will go into
hiding, will be sought for arrest, and become one of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation’s “most wanted criminals.” She will be arrested in New York City
in October 1970, returned to California to face charges of kidnapping, murder,
and conspiracy, and will be acquitted of all charges by an all-white jury on June 4, 1972.
Congressman George Thomas “Mickey” Leland, members of his staff, including Patrice Johnson of Minneapolis, and
State Department officials die in a plane crash in the mountains near Gambela,
Ethiopia en route to a refugee camp in Fugnido. Leland, the Democratic
successor to Barbara Jordan, had established the Select Committee on World Hunger
in 1984 and was chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus during the 99th
Congress. Leland will be buried in his hometown of Houston, TX on August 19,
Frederick Douglas “Fritz” Pollard
is inducted posthumously into the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. He was the first African American player and
coach in the NFL. He was also a two-time All-American at Brown University and
was the first African American to play in the Rose Bowl (1916).