On this date, the Stono
Rebellion (one of the earliest slave insurrections) ,
led by rebel named Jemmy, leads to the deaths of at least 20 (according to NPR) or 25
(according to Black Facts Online) whites and more than 40 Blacks in Stono,
South Carolina west of Charleston, S.C. As a consequence of the uprising, white
lawmakers impose a moratorium on slave imports and enact a harsher slave code.
George Washington writes to friend John
F. Mercer: “It is among my first wishes to see… slavery…
abolished by slow, sure, and imperceptible degrees.”
Zion Church is dedicated in New York City.
Abolitionist, teacher, writer, and public lecturer Sarah Mapps Douglass was born in Philadelphia
on this date. She was the daughter of renowned abolitionists Robert Douglass,
Sr. and Grace Bustill Douglass. As a child, she enjoyed life amongst Philadelphia’s elite and
was well educated by a private school for black women, giving women of color
the opportunity to receive a high school education.
In September 1831, the Female Literary Association for free black women
was founded and Douglass became secretary of the new society. Weekly meeting
were devoted to reading and recitation for the purpose of “mental cultivation (Winch
106). From 1853 to 1877, Douglass served as a supervisor at the Institute for
Colored Youth, a Quaker-sponsored establishment. During this time, she also
acquired basic medical training at the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania
and at Pennsylvania
where she studied female health and hygiene–subjects on which she lectured in
evening classes and at meetings of the Banneker Institute. In 1855, she married
African-American Episcopal clergyman William Douglass
As the daughter of one of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society’s
founding members, Douglass became active in the abolitionist movement at a
young age. She developed distaste for the prejudices of white Quakers early on
and devoted much of her life to combating slavery and racism. Douglass
developed a close friendship with white Quaker abolitionists Sarah and Angelina
Grimke. At the urgings of the Grimke sisters, Douglass attended the Anti-Slavery
Convention of American Women, held in New York in 1837–the first national
convention of American antislavery women to integrate black and white members–and
served on the ten-member committee on arrangements for the convention.
Throughout her abolitionist career, Douglass also served as recording secretary, librarian, and manager for the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, contributed to both the Liberator and the Anglo-African Magazine, became a fundraiser for the black press, gave numerous public lectures, and served as vice-president of the women’s branch of the Freedmen’s Aid Society.
Kentucky abolitionist and founder of Berea
College, John Gregg Fee was born in Germantown, KY in Bracken
County, the son of a
slaveholder. Following a conversion with the Christian faith, Fee became a staunch
abolitionist. He received an education at Augusta
College in Bracken
County, Miami University of Ohio, and
Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati,
OH. Fee returned to Kentucky preaching against slavery and, with a land
donation from Cassius M. Clay, founded Berea,
KY. He then founded Berea College,
which became the first interracial college in the state. In 1859, a band of
armed men raided Berea
while Fee was away and the town was deserted. Fee lived in exile until 1864.
The school then became increasingly integrated until a new president, William
Goodell Frost, shifted focus toward white Appalachian students. Fee died in
marks the death of Captain
Paul Cuffe (58), entrepreneur, merchant, shipbuilder,
and activist (a Black nationalist), in Westport,
Massachusetts. Cuffee helped
American Blacks settle in Sierra Leone
in a “return to Africa” attempt.
Twilight, who was probably the first Black to graduate
from an American college, received B.A. degree at Middlebury College.
This date marks the birth of John Roy Lynch. He was a
Born a slave in Concordia Parish, La., Lynch was freed during the American Civil War and
settled in Natchez,
Miss. There he learned the photography business, attended night school, and in
1869 entered public life as justice of the peace for Natchez County.
In November 1869 Lynch was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives,
and he was reelected in 1871.
Although Blacks never were in the majority in the Mississippi legislature, Lynch was chosen
speaker of the House in 1872. That same year he was elected to Congress, and he
was reelected in 1874. But by 1876 Reconstruction was over, and Lynch was
defeated for a third term. In 1880 he ran again and was declared the loser, but
he contested the decision and eventually was returned to his congressional
seat. In the House he backed civil-rights legislation. Lynch retired to his
plantation in Adams County,
Mississippi, in 1883. In 1889 he
returned to public office when President Benjamin Harrison appointed him fourth
auditor of the U.S. Treasury for the Navy Department.
Always active in the Republican Party, Lynch served as a delegate to the
national Republican conventions of 1872, 1884, 1888, 1892, and 1900. He was
temporary chairman in 1884--the first Black to preside over a national
convention of a major U. S.
political party. In his book The Facts of Reconstruction (1913), Lynch
attempted to dispel the erroneous notion that Southern state governments after
the Civil War were under the control of Blacks. After the American Civil War
John Lynch served in the Mississippi
state legislature and U. S. House of Representatives and was prominent in
Republican Party affairs of the 1870s and ‘80s. He died November 2, 1939, Chicago, Ill.
John R. Lynch presides over Republican National Convention. He is the first Black to
preside over a national convention of a major U. S. political party.
Delilah L. Beasley was born on this. She was an African American newspaper journalist.
She was born in Cincinnati,
OH. She was the first child of
her family. Beasley’s career began at the age of twelve when she became a
correspondent for the Cleveland Gazette. Three years later, she published her
first column in the Sunday Cincinnati, Ohio, Enquirer under the headline
“mosaics.” She moved to northern California
in 1910, attending lectures and researching at Cal/Berkeley and writing essays
for presentations at local churches. Beasley also wrote for the Oakland Tr ibune.
While at this paper she wrote a Sunday column called, Activities among Negroes,
and spent nine year studying black life in the golden bear state. In 1919, she
wrote her only book; the classic-The Negro Trail-Blazers of California. Her impact through the news
print media was vast; through her efforts the white press stopped using the
word “darkie” and “nigger” and began to capitalize the “N” in Negro.
Beasley has the distinction of being the first person to have presented written
proof of the existence of Blacks in California.
Sensing the value of education in developing moral understanding between
different peoples is how she expressed life. Delilah Beasley died August 18,
1934 in San Leandro, CA.
Richard Wright, noted
author of “Native Son” and “Black Boy”, was born. He dies in 1960.
On this date, Marjorie
Lee Brown was born. She was an African-American
mathematician and professor.
From Memphis, TN, her father was a railway postal clerk
and her mother died before she was two years old. Because her father had taken
two years of college, excelling in mental arithmetic, he passed on his love for
math with his children and kept up with them as they grew within the concepts.
After attending public schools, Brown was sent to LeMoyne
High School (a private school) and
then attended Howard
University. While in high
school, Brown won the Memphis city singles
tennis championship and while at Howard, she sang in the Howard University
choir. In 1935, she graduated cum laud. She taught for a while at Gilbert Academy
in New Orleans, receiving her M.A. from the University of Michigan in 1939. She then joined the
faculty of Wiley College
in Marshall, TX,
beginning work on her doctorate during the summers in Michigan; Brown received a doctorate in
mathematics in 1949.
Brown then taught at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) until 1979 and
for twenty-five years was the only person in the department with a Ph.D. in
mathematics. Brown was a busy person while teaching, writing proposals for
equipment and obtaining grants for scholarships from IBM and Shell for NCCU.
The Ford Foundation awarded her a fellowship to study combinational topology at
Cambridge University in 1952 and 1953. From 1958
to 1959, Brown was a National Science Foundation Faculty Fellow studying
numerical analysis at UCLA.
In 1974, before retirement, she was the first recipient of the W. W. Rankin
Memorial Award for Excellence in Mathematics Education. After retirement, she
used her own money to provide financial aid to many gifted young people so they
could pursue their educations. Marjorie Brown died on October 19, 1979.
On this date,
the brainchild of historian Carter G. Woodson, the Association
for the Study of Negro Life and History was organized
at a meeting in Chicago, IL, partially in response to the release of
D.W. Griffith’s racist film, “The Birth of a Nation” of that same year. On October
2nd, the association was incorporated in Washington, DC
by Woodson and Jesse
E. Moorland. In 1972 it was renamed to the Association
for the Study of Afro American Life and History (ASNLH). Today it is called the
Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASNLH).
The ASALH was dedicated to using education to fend off racist and erroneous
ideas about African American life and history. Originally run by Woodson and
colleagues George Cleveland
Hall, Alexander L. Jackson, and James
E. Stamps, the ASALH encouraged and supported African
American historical research and provided important publication outlets for
Black scholars, including the Journal of Negro History, created in 1916, and
the popular Negro History Bulletin, founded in 1937.
Through these publications and other activities, the Association was important
in correctly influencing white public opinion. In 1926, Woodson established an
annual Negro History
Week, devoted to the celebration of Black
history and culture. This happened 7 days in February, the birth month of
Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. After Woodson’s death in 1950, the leadership
of Mary McLeod
Bethune and Charles Harris Wesley insured the association’s survival.
In 1976, under the guidance of executive director J. Rupert Picott, Negro
History Week was expanded to Black History Month. The Association continues its mission of providing information on
the history of Africans and African-Americans. There are more than 37 branches
nationwide that collect, preserve, and promote the achievements and
contributions of people of African descent. The organization also maintains and
owns the Carter G. Woodson home in Washington, D.C. Woodson was born in New Canton, VA, and received
both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Chicago.
He then earned his PhD from Harvard
University. It was due to
his efforts that in 1976 Black History Month came to be. Woodson died April 3,
1950 in Washington, D.C.
Elvin Jones was born on this date. He was an African-American jazz drummer.
From Pontiac, Mich., Elvin Ray Jones came from one of
jazz’s great musical families, including brothers Thad and Hank. His start with
local bands and army military bands led to work as the house drummer at the
Bluebird Club in Detroit,
where he got his first real exposure to professional talents. In 1956, Jones
moved to New York,
where he began his playing and recording career with Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz,
J.J. Johnson and Bud Powell and others.
After a distinguished relationship working with Coltrane, pianist McCoy Tyner
and bassist Jimmy Garrison, Jones has pursued his own career as a leader,
working with artists from George Coleman, and Joe Farrell, to Delfeayo Marsalis
and Nicholas Payton. Some of Jones’ best recordings are: Illumination! 1963,
Live At The Lighthouse, Vols. 1 & 2 1972, Coltrane 1962, A Love Supreme
1964, Sun Ship 1965, Ascension 1965 and A Night At The Village Vanguard 1957.
For many, Elvin Jones will always be remembered for the crucial role he played
as the drummer in saxophonist John Coltrane’s “classic” quartet of the 1960s.
It was during this period that his place in as one of the jazz drummers was
cemented. Known for his swinging, polyrhythmic style built on the bop
innovations of Max Roach, Kenny Clarke and, especially, Art Blakey, Jones uses
all four of his limbs, seemingly independently, many times “talking” with the
main improviser. This style blended with many jazz musicians throughout his
career. Elvin Jones died in May of 2004.
Sanchez was born Wilsonia Benita Driver in Birmingham, Alabama. Most often associated with the
Black Arts Movement, she has authorized over a dozen books on poetry, as well
as plays and children’s books.
When she was only a year old, her mother died and she was sent to live
with her paternal grandmother. In 1943, she moved to Harlem
to live with her father, her sister, and her stepmother who was her father’s
third wife. In 1955, she received a B.A. in Political Science from Hunter College,
where she had also taken several creative writing courses. Later, Sanchez,
completed postgraduate work at New
where she studied poetry with Louis Bogan. Sanchez married poet Etheridge
Knight and she had three children with him. They later divorced. In 1972, she
joined the Nation of Islam, but left the organization after three years in 1975
because her views on Women’s rights conflicted with theirs.
Sanchez has taught as a professor at eight universities and has
lectured at over 500 college campuses across the U.S.,
including Howard University. She advocated the
introduction of Black Studies courses in California.
She as the first to create and teach a course based on Black Women and
literature in the United
States. She was the first Presidential
Fellow at Temple University where she began working in
1977, where she had the Laura Carnell chair until her retirement in 1999. She
is currently a poet-in-resident at Temple
University. She has read
her poetry in Africa, the Caribbean, China,
Australia, Europe, Nicaragua, Canada,
She also appeared on Bill Cosby’s CBS show of the 1990’s.
On this date, Otis
Redding was born. He was an African American singer
From Dawson, GA., he began playing drums in school and
was paid six dollars a hour on Sundays to accompany gospel groups appearing on
local radio station WIBB. He stayed in school until the tenth grade, quitting
to help support his family Redding
began his recording career in the early ‘60s as a Little Richard-styled
shouter. He was working in the band of guitarist Johnny Jenkins at the time,
and in 1962 he recorded the ballad “These Arms of Mine.”
When it became an R&B hit, Redding’s solo career was on its way, though the
hits didn’t really start to take hold for about three years, when “Mr. Pitiful,”
“I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” “I Can’t Turn You Loose,” and “Respect” (later
turned into a huge pop smash by Aretha Franklin) were all big sellers. Redding wrote much of his
own material, sometimes with guitarist Steve Cropper. Yet at the time, his
success was primarily confined to the soul market; his singles charted only
mildly on the pop listings.
He was nonetheless tremendously respected by many White groups, particularly
the Rolling Stones, who covered Redding’s
“That’s How Strong My Love Is” and “Pain in My Heart.” One of Redding’s biggest hits was a duet with fellow
Stax star Carla Thomas, Tramp, in 1967. That was the same year of a
well-received performance at the Monterey Pop Festival.
biggest triumph, however, came just days before his death, when he recorded
“(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay,” a significant rise in the examination of
intense personal emotions. He was one of the most influential soul singers of
the 1960s. Redding
embodied to many listeners the power of Southern “Deep Soul,” an emotional
voice with both party songs and emotionally aching ballads. Redding at age of 26,
died in a plane crash in Wisconsin
on December 10, 1967.
Singer and musician, Billy Preston was born.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Civil
Rights Bill of 1957. It was the first civil rights legislation
to pass Congress since Reconstruction.
Nashville’s new Hattie
Cotton Elementary School, with
enrollment of 1 Black and 388 whites, was virtually destroyed by a dynamite
Rev. Fred L.
Shuttlesworth was mobbed when he attempted to enroll his
daughters in a White Birmingham school.
Two churches were burned near Sasser, Georgia. Black
leaders asked the president to stop the “Nazi-like reign of terror in southwest
Arthur Ashe became the first African-American men’s singles winner of the U.S.
Open Tennis Championship, defeating Tom Okker of the Netherlands
at Forest Hills Stadium, New York.
wins an Emmy for best actor in a comedy series for Soap.
Vernon E. Jordan resigned as president of the National Urban League and announced plans to join a Washington
law firm. He was succeeded by John E. Jacob, executive vice president of the
On this date, the Chicago
Defender Building was dedicated as a Chicago Landmark.
Located at 3435 South Indiana Ave,
the Chicago Defender was nationally known for its candid editorial policies on behalf of
civil rights issues. Built in 1899 by architect Henry Newhouse, this former
Jewish synagogue was home to the Chicago Defender newspaper from 1920 until
1960. Founded by Robert S. Abbott in 1905, the “Great Migration” of the
early-20th century was largely initiated by Defender editorials
advising African-Americans to leave the poverty of the South for new
opportunities in the North.
It is one of nine structures in the Black Metropolis-Bronzeville Historic
Venus Williams defeated
Lindsey Davenport 6-4, 7-5 to win her first U.S. Open women’s singles
tournament on this date. Her sister, Serena, won the tournament the previous
On this date, the University of Alabama sorority system remained segregated. Melody Twilley, a junior at
the University was trying to become the fist African-American to get accepted
by a white sorority.
At 7:21 am Twilley’s sorority rush counselor told her “You didn’t get asked
back.” The schools top officials, civil rights leaders, and alumnae who
dominate the politics and business in the state had followed her progress
through the rush selection process closely. Twilley sings in the school choir
and carries a 3.87 grade point average.
of Alabama remains the
last college in the South where no black student has ever been accepted to a
traditionally white fraternity or sorority.