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1740
An issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette reports on a Negro named Simon who reportedly can “bleed and draw teeth.” It is the first mention of an African American doctor or dentist in the Colonies.


1851
On this date, the Christiana Resistance occurred. This race riot was the first recorded open resistance to the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law.

A group of Blacks routed a band of slave catchers attempting to re-enslaving escaped slaves in
Christiana, Pennsylvania. This incident happened at the home of William Parker an escaped slave. One white was killed and one wounded. Afterwards, public outcry from both the North and South was published.

Frederick Douglass viewed the violence at Christiana as having a special moral and political significance because the event was evidence of Black manhood. Violent resistance and African-American manhood were exhibited on a national stage as evidenced through this local event. Southern editors expressed anger and shock.

Both positions showcased the intense opinion about slavery in American in the years prior to the civil war.



1866
Charles W. Scrutchin was born on this date in 1866. He was an African-American attorney. From Richmond, VA his mother was Barbara Grafrene his father was William Scrutchin.

The family moved to Georgia until he was 10 years old. While a teenager his family moved again to Spokane Washington where he graduated from High School. In 1890, Scrutchin got his undergrad degree in 3 years, from the University of Washington. He then worked as a Pullman porter and hotel waiter in Detroit, Buffalo and St. Paul before deciding on a law degree. After a failed marriage Scrutchin relocated to Ann Arbor, MI where at age 25 he entered the law school at the University of Michigan.

He graduated in 1893, relocated to Chicago IL and began his practice under Edward H. Morris. In 1894, he went to Ann Arbor, MI to get his Masters and four years later came to St. Paul, Minnesota. There he became friends with two Black lawyers, Frederick McGhee and William T. Francis. Later in 1898 Scrutchin started practicing law in Bemidji, MN. Scrutchin married Laura P Arnold in 1900 and like many of his professional peers; he grounded his practice in criminal law. During his first year he won an acquittal of a man charged with stealing 10 tons of hay.

One of his most dramatic cases was his representation of William Miller, one of the 11 accused Black American circus workers who were charged with the rape of a white woman in Duluth. Three of Millers fellow workers were lynched on the night of June 14, 1920, by a white mob of 5,000. Scrutchin got an acquittal for Miller that resulted in the dismissal of the charges against the other defendants. A successful lawyer, his practiced allowed him to purchase two homes and an office building in Bemidji. He was a Republican, Unitarian, Mason & and Member of Odd Fellows.

Charles W. Scrutchin died of dropsy/apoplexy on July 14 1930 in Beltrami Co. MN.



1885
Moses A. Hopkins, minister and educator, named minister to Liberia.


1914
The birth of Crispus Attucks Wright is celebrated on this date. He was an African-American civil rights lawyer and businessman.

Wright’s father was born a slave in Louisiana and a graduate of Leland University. The Elder Wright was a teacher and high school principal who stressed to his children the importance of an education. Young Wright came to Los Angeles with his dying father, who wanted to live his final days in what was then the Southland’s cleansing, dry air. He sold newspapers at the Dunbar Hotel on Central Avenue.

While attending Manual Arts High School Wright would often stopover to the Los Angeles County Courthouse to watch lawyers arguing cases. There he observed the skill of Willis O. Tyler, one of the LA’s most outstanding Black lawyer and his interest in law and civil rights gained fruit. Wright attended UCLA and USC law school while working at a drugstore and the Vernon Branch Library. He earned both a B. A. in political science (1936) and his L.L.B. (1938) from USC.

In 1940, Wright opened his firm in South-Central Los Angeles. Three years later he co-founded the John M. Langston Bar Association of Los Angeles that remains the principal Black legal association in the LA area. As a young lawyer Wright helped the NAACP prepare the late-1940s case that led the U. S. Supreme Court to strike down restrictive real estate contracts as unconstitutional. Wright also owned and operated a number of businesses in the Los Angeles area and was chairman of the board of the Los Angeles Sentinel.

After nearly 50 years in the legal profession he closed his office in Beverly Hills in 1987. He was a member of the National Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. In 1997, Wright gave $2 million to the University of Southern California’s Law Center, to establish a scholarship in his name. His decision to donate to his old school was partially inspired by the $50 scholarships that helped him through law school. Wright died on Dec. 4, 2001 in Los Angeles.



1923
Charles Evers, brother of Medgar, Mayor of Fayette Miss. (elected 1969), was born.


1943
Lola Falana, dancer, was born.


1953
J.H. Jackson, pastor of Olivet Baptist Church, Chicago, elected president of the National Baptist Convention at Miami meeting.


1959
Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, legendary composer and bandleader, won the 44th NAACP Springarn Medal for his musical achievements.


1962
On this date, two young voter registration workers were shot. During a registration drive in the South the two were wounded by shotgun blasts fired through the window of a home in Ruleville, Mississippi.

At the time, there was good reason for seeing politics in the deep South as white folks’ business. The percentage of blacks registered to vote in the most of the Deep South was 8 percent, 3 percent, and 0.5 percent respectively; the percentage of whites, 110 percent, 111 percent, and 145 percent. These figures still didn’t speak to such a level of repression. Legal exclusionary devices kept many off the voting rolls; potential registrants could be failed for anything, from inaccurately interpreting a section of the state constitution chosen by the registrar to underlining rather than circling Mr. on the registration forms.

In response to the gunshot incident,
James Forman (then) of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), asked President Kennedy to “convene a special White House Conference to discuss means of stopping the wave of terror sweeping through the South, especially where SNCC was working on voter registration.


1966
Henry W. McGhee was appointed as the first Black Postmaster of Chicago, IL on this date.


1967
The founding of The City, Inc. is celebrated on this date. It is a community service and alternative school for at risk youth grades 9 through 12 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The City, Inc., is an agent of healing, growth and advocacy for inner-city young people and their families. In the autumn of that year, a group of fathers and sons met with a priest from the cities Holy Rosary church. The meeting was to solve community issues of behavior in the areas youth. The results were that the community needed a place to weekly teen gathering social functions. Space was rented to give the young people a place to meet after school on the cities south side.

Originally called The Psychotic City Teen Center, the name was soon changed to The City, Inc. The City School was established in 1970 and social services were added in 1980. The receive funding primarily through the United Way but many organizations are continuing to support their mission. Their current president is Fred Easter; their goal remains to build hope, opportunity and a sense of community in the young people, families and communities it serves.

The City, Inc. has implemented a strategic planning process for the 21st century. Future graduates have computer technology, construction skills added to their curriculum and a broader post-secondary counseling system.



1974
Haile Selassie I is deposed from the Ethiopian throne.


1977
Roots, a television miniseries based on Alex Haley’s novel, received an unprecedented nine Emmys at the 19th Annual Emmy Awards. Quincy Jones wins one of those Emmys for musical composition for the miniseries. Roots depicted Haley’s family history in Africa and America.


1987
Peter Tosh, reggae pioneer, who helped reggae gain world-wide acceptance, was killed in Jamaica on this date.


1999
On this date, Serena Jameka Williams became the first African American woman to win the U.S. Open women’s tennis grand slam since Althea Gibson in 1958. She defeated Martina Hingis 6-3, 7-6. She finished 1999 ranked No. 4 in the world in just her third full season.


2001
On this tragic date in American history, of special note,
twelve black firefighters died during the 9/11 attack at the World Trade Center and Leroy Wilton Homer, Jr., an African-American, was the first officer of United Airlines Flight 93 that tragically fell in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing all 33 passengers and its seven crew members. Pilot Homer’s plane was the fourth attacked that day.

The twelve black firefighters were among the 343 firefighters who gave their lives and the almost 3,000 citizens who were victims of the attack in New York City.

The twelve black firefighters were
Vernon Cherry, André Fletcher, Gerald Baptist, Keith Glascoe, Karl Joseph, Tarel Coleman, William Henry, Ronnie Henderson, Vernon Richard, Leon Smith Jr., Shawn Powell, and Keithroy Maynard.

Leroy Wilton Homer, Jr. was New York native who dreamed of flying as a child. He was only 15 years old when he started flight instruction in a Cessna 152. By the time he was 18, Homer had obtained his private pilot’s license. That same year, he joined the Air Force and became a second lieutenant. He served in Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield and later supported efforts in Somalia. During his tenure, Homer was named the 21st Air Force Air Crew Instructor of the Year. Homer achieved the rank of captain before his honorable discharge from active duty in 1995.

For his actions on board Flight 93, Homer received many posthumous awards and citations, including honorary membership in the historic Tuskegee Airmen, the Congress Of Racial Equality’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, the SCLC Drum Major for Justice Award and the Westchester County Trailblazer Award.

Ironically, Homer was depicted by a white actor in the film, “United 93,” the drama that told the story of the passengers and crew, their families on the ground and the flight controllers on the day of the attacks.


2009
On this date, Gertrude Baines died. Baines was an African American supercentenarian, who became the oldest recognized living person according to Guinness World Records (upon the death of Portuguese woman Maria de Jesus) on January 2, 2009. She remained so until her own death on on this date at age 115 years 158 days. She was the last surviving person documented as being born in 1894. Furthermore, she was the only person born in 1894 to live into 2009.

Baines lived in Los Angeles. Just before her 115th birthday, Baines was hospitalized and treated for dehydration, but she made a quick recovery. Aside from her arthritis and inability to walk, Baines was in good health until age 115. She was buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery.

Born in Shellman, Georgia, Baines on April 6, 1894, she was the third daughter of Jordan (1863 – October 23, 1921) and Amelia “Amy” Baines (née Daniel), who were married in Terrell County, Georgia on January 1, 1887. She recalled that her earliest memory was a car ride to Canada.

Gertrude Baines married Sam Conley at a “very young age” and had a daughter, Annabelle, born in 1909, who died of typhoid fever at age 18. If alive, at the time of Baines death she would have been a 100 year-old person. In 1920, Gertrude Conley was recorded as living in Hartford, Connecticut. She later moved to Ohio, where she worked as a maid at Ohio State University, before moving many years later to California. She lived on her own until 1999 when she was 105 years old, and resided at the Western Convalescent Home in Jefferson Park, Los Angeles until her death. Baines voted for Barack Obama for U.S. President in the 2008 election. The only other time she voted in a Presidential election was in 1960 for John F. Kennedy.

After her death, Baines remained one of the 15 oldest verified people ever until she became number 16 being passed of Besse Cooper of Monroe, GA on February 1, 2012.



2009
Zakes Makgona Mokae (pronounced ZAYKES Muh-KWA-nuh Mo-KYE), a Tony-winning South African actor whose partnership with his countryman, the playwright Athol Fugard, in plays like “The Blood Knot,” “Boesman and Lena” and “Master Harold … and the Boys,” brought the insidious psychological brutality of apartheid to the attention of a world audience, died in Las Vegas on this date. He was 75 and lived in Las Vegas and Cape Town.

The cause was complications of a stroke he had on May 6. He had also previously received diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
 
Mokae, who was black, and Fugard, who is white, were part of a drama collective in South Africa in the 1950s. In 1960, when they performed together in Fugard’s play about brothers with skins of different hues, “The Blood Knot,” it was the first time, Fugard noted in an interview, that black and white performers had appeared on the same stage in South Africa. The play not only defied a national taboo, but also propelled Fugard to international fame as a playwright and Mokae to a rich and varied career in theater, film and television.

Mokae (pronounced ZAYKES Muh-KWA-nuh Mo-KYE) was born in Johannesburg on August 5, 1934.


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