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The first recorded serious
slave conspiracy in American colonies surfaces in Colonial America. A plot of black slaves and white servants was betrayed by fellow servants in Gloucester County, VA.

Maria Louise Baldwin was born on this date. She was a Black teacher.

From Cambridge, Massachusetts, Baldwin was the oldest daughter of Peter L. and Mary E. Baldwin. All of her school days were spent in Cambridge. At the age of five years she entered the Sargent Primary School. She attended the Allston Grammar School and finally the Cambridge High School, graduating from there in 1874. She entered the training school for teachers in the same city and graduated from there in one year later. Her first teaching experience was in Chestertown, Maryland where she did excellent work for two years. In 1881 she was appointed as teacher of primary grades in the public schools of Cambridge. In 1889 after teaching in all the grades from the first to the seventh, Baldwin was made Principal of the Agassiz School. She hesitated about accepting this position for a long time, her native modesty making her feel herself not worthy to step into the place held by so fine a person as her predecessor. But upon being urged she decided to take it on condition that if at the end of a certain time the Board of Education was not satisfied with her, or she was satisfied that she was not the one for the place, she would return to her former position. Evidently every thing was satisfactory for she remained Principal for four years.

In April, 1916, when the school was torn down and a new building was erected at a cost of $60,000, its grades were made higher and a Baldwin was made Master of the new Agassiz School, one of but two women Masters in the city of Cambridge. Baldwin remained Master for forty years. The school, including all grades from the kindergarten to the eighth, was one of the best in the city attended by children of professors and many of the old Cambridge families. The twelve teachers under Baldwin and the five hundred pupils were all white. Uniquely, Baldwin was always a student. She took many courses from professors at Harvard and other colleges. She was a great reader intensively and extensively to which her fine library was an example. Maria Baldwin died on January 9, 1922. The 1916 Agassiz School building was torn down in 1993 and in 1995, a new Agassiz School building was dedicated. On February 12th, 2004, this school was officially re-named the Maria L. Baldwin School.

Gen. E.R.S. Canby ordered South Carolina courts to impanel Blacks jurors.

Lewis Latimer, inventor, electric engineer, and draftsman, invented and patented the incandescent electric lamp. He used tiny carbon wires (filaments) as a structure of the light bulb that was attributed to Thomas A. Edison as the final inventor. The patent number is #247,097.

Alain LeRoy Locke, scholar, professor of philosophy and author, was born on this day in Philadelphia into Philadelphia’s Black elite to Pliny Ishmael Locke (1850-1892) and Mary Hawkins Locke (1853-1922), an established free Black family.

By high school at Central High School, he was an accomplished pianist and violinist and second in his class. He also attended Philadelphia School of Pedagogy. In 1904, he entered Harvard College and studied under the celebrated faculty in philosophy that included Josiah Royce, Hugo Munsterberg, George Santayan, and William James. In 1907, he received a B.A. in philosophy and English magna cum laude from Harvard, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and became the first Black Rhodes Scholar, which he used to further study philosophy at Oxford. The impact of his selection was particularly dramatic because of the efforts of many White American scholars, specifically psychologists, to “prove” the intellectual inferiority of Blacks as a rational basis for segregation. He was denied admission to several Oxford colleges because of his skin color before he was finally accepted at Hertford College, where he studied literature, philosophy, Greek, and Latin from 1907-10. Later, he attended the University of Berlin from 1910-11, where he continued his study of philosophy. In 1911, he attended the College de France in Paris.

Locke returned to the United States in 1911 and, in 1912, joined the faculty of Howard University as an assistant professor of philosophy and English. There, he interacted with W.E.B. Du Bois and Carter G. Woodson who helped develop his philosophy. He has been called one of the most important philosophical thinkers of his day. At Howard, he later led a successful movement to establish a Phi Beta Kappa chapter at Howard and had a significant part in the development of the curriculum for the College of Liberal Arts. In 1921, he became Head of the Department of Philosophy, a position he held until his retirement in 1953. In that year, he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by Howard.

In 1916, he returned to Harvard and received a Ph.D in philosophy in 1918 after successfully defending his dissertation on “Problems of Classification in Theory of Value.” In his thesis, he discussed the causes of opinions and social biases and, that these are not objectively true or false and, therefore, not universal.

Alain Locke’s best-remembered accomplishments come from his scholarship on literature and art.

In 1923 Locke began contributing essays on a range of subjects to the journal of the National Urban League that gave him even wider prominence. In 1925, he edited the March issue of the periodical Survey Graphic, a national sociology magazine. The issue was a special devoted entirely to race and he elaborated on Harlem and the Harlem Renaissance, which helped educate white readers about the flourishing cultures there. Locke turned the issue into a showpiece for the gifted young African American writers then gathering in Harlem. The issue was an outstanding success. Locke expanded it into a book, “The New Negro” and included poetry, fiction, essays and artwork. His philosophy of the “New Negro” was grounded in the concept of race-building. Its most important component was its overall awareness of the potential of black equability. No longer would Blacks allow themselves to adjust themselves or comply with unreasonable White requests. This idea was based on self confidence and political awareness. Although, in the past, the laws regarding equality had been ignored with consequence, Locke’s philosophical idea of the “New Negro” allow for real fair treatment. The book was widely interpreted as a resounding rebuttal to the argument that African Americans were not capable of great literature and art. Locke has been said to have greatly influenced and encouraged Zora Neal Hurston.

Like many Black intellectuals of his day, Locke was intrigued by the question of just how much influence Africa had on African America. As a result, Locke became a leading critic and collector of both African and African American art. He promoted African American artists, writers, and musicians, encouraging them to look to Africa as an inspiration for their works. Locke also became a scholar on black folk music, and was also among the earliest critics to argue for African American music’s importance to American music as a whole.

He established the Associates in Negro Folk Education, which published scholarly books on African American subjects geared towards adults. In 1935, at the age of 50, Locke published his first article on philosophy. In 1942, Locke co edited with Bernard J. Stern an anthology on global race relations, “When Peoples Meet: A Study in Race and Culture Contacts,” which is considered the best legacy of his later intellectual work.

Locke also made an outstanding contribution as an interpreter and promoter of Black art, music and culture, and is believed to be the architect of the Harlem Renaissance and the New Negro Movement. His philosophical interests were focused primarily on three issues: values and valuation; cultural pluralism; and race relations. On cultural pluralism, he view can be summarized thus: each culture group has its own identity and is entitled to protect and promote it. In the particular context of America, the claim of cultural identity needed not to conflict with the claim of American citizenship. IN race relations, he felt that, if we can do away with prejudice and pride, we might be able to reconcile nationalism and internationalism, racialism and universalism. He planned an even larger volume entirely on African American cultural identity; but he died from complications from heart disease on June 9, 1954. Locke made a career of thinking about black culture in innovative ways, and in the process, he became one of the most important black intellectual leaders of the twentieth century.

The University of Maryland Eastern was founded on this date. It is one of over 100 Historical Black Colleges and Universities in America. Opened through the Delaware Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, UMES began with nine students and one faculty. 37 students were enrolled by the end of the first year. Its first name was the Industrial Branch of Morgan State College. It was renamed the Eastern Shore Branch of the Maryland Agricultural College in 1919. In 1948, the school became Maryland State College, a Division of the University of Maryland.

On July 1, 1970, Maryland State College became the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The University offers major programs leading to the B. A. and B. S. degrees in 26 disciplines in the arts and sciences, professional studies and agricultural sciences. Also they present 13 teaching degree programs and eight pre professional programs, as well as an Honors Program designed with the University of Maryland at Baltimore. UMES offers graduate degrees in Marine-Estuarine and Environmental Sciences at the M. S. and Ph.D. levels; Toxicology at the M. S. and Ph.D. levels, M. S. in Applied Computer Science, Guidance and Counseling, Agricultural and Extension Education, Physical Education, Physical Therapy and Special Education.

From its original structure known as “Olney,” built in 1798, they have over 600 acres, 28 major structures and 41 other entities. UMES provides today’s student, through a versatile student life, a chance to develop into a well-rounded individual able to take on leadership in society. As the University of Maryland Eastern Shore enters its second century, long-term plans include increasing the curriculum for graduate study, new construction and renovation projects for classroom and managerial buildings, and a better physical plant. In the last ten years, UMES has added 17 new degree-granting programs. Graduates of these courses often choose to remain in the Lower Eastern Shore.

UMES is the only four-year institution on the shore to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer science, they have long been known for providing professional training in the key regional industries of hospitality management, and the management of commercial poultry and swine operations. The newest programs on the UMES campus also look toward current and future needs of the Eastern Shore. They include Airway Science, Law Enforcement and Rehabilitation services.

This allows a greater part of the local residents to improve themselves and their communities through post-secondary education.

The first historically black and Catholic university for African Americans in the United States, Xavier University, is founded by Blessed Katherine Drexel and the religious order she established, the “Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament,” in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Cholly Atkins was born on this date. He was an African-American choreographer and dancer.

Born Charles Atkinson in Pratt City, Ala., he learned to dance from his mother. After winning a Charleston dance contest in Buffalo, N. Y., in 1923, Atkins became a singing waiter, soon teaming up with William Porter in a tap act called the Rhythm Pals. They broke up in the late 1930s, after which Atkins took the name Cholly similar to a news columnist of the day. He worked a number of different dancing jobs including “The Hot Mikado” at the 1939 World’s Fair. He divorced his first wife Catherine and then with dancer Dottie Saulters (whom he later married) danced with a number of major bands of the era.

In 1946, after the Army, he and Charles Honi Coles got together for a memorable partnership. This included stretches on Broadway in “Gentlemen Prefer Blonde’s,” performances in Las Vegas, guest shots in forgettable movies, and showcases with major jazz and swing bands, including those led by Louis Armstrong, Charlie Barnet, Count Basie, Cab Calloway and Lionel Hampton. His 1944 marriage to Dorothy Lee ended in divorce in 1962. The following year, he married Maye Harrison Anderson. As the popularity of tap got smaller, Atkins began to take jobs staging the performances of popular vocal groups.

Later he achieved his greatest fame as a choreographer for Motown’s leading singing groups. He came to Detroit in 1965 and remained through 1971 where he made unforgettable impact on the careers of the Supremes, the Temptations, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and others. In 1975, Atkins continued to stage nightclub acts in Las Vegas leaving for occasional projects, such as the 1988 Broadway tap-revival musical “Black and Blue,” where he won a Tony Award.

He also accepted a 1993 National Endowment for the Arts three-year fellowship to tour colleges and universities teaching vocal choreography as a complete dance idiom. Cholly Atkins died in May 2003. He was 89.

On this date, Charles Brown was born. He was an African-American blues singer.

From Texas City, Texas Brown began studying classical piano at the age of ten, urged by his maternal grandmother who raised him after his mother died, and his itinerant cotton laborer father left. She instilled in her grandson the importance of education, and he eventually completed a degree in chemistry, briefly taught school, and worked as a laboratory chemist
during the early war years. But early in his life, he was deeply affected by the music of jazz great Art Tatum and his sophisticated approach that blended classical music technique and dynamics with the blues and jazz.

Moving to Los Angeles in 1944, Brown joined The Three Blazers, whose sound epitomized the cool, relaxed West Coast piano trio style but also integrated a melancholy blues quality to the music. Brown’s smooth trio format was tremendously influential to Ray Charles, Amos Milburn, and Floyd Dixon, for starters. Classically trained on the ivories, he and his group the Blazers modeled themselves after Nat “King” Cole’s trio but retained a bluesier tone within a ballad-heavy inventory.

With Brown as their vocalist and pianist, the Blazers’ Drifting Blues for Philo Records remained on Billboard’s R&B charts for 23 weeks in 1945. Followed by Sunny Road, So Long, New Orleans Blues, and their immortal 1947 Yuletide classic Merry Christmas Baby kept the Blazers around the top of the R&B listings from 1946 through 1948, until Brown opted to go solo. As a solo, Brown made the R&B Top Ten no less than ten times from 1949 to 1952, with Get Yourself Another Fool, Trouble Blues, Black Night, and Hard Times. Brown’s mellow approach failed to make the transition to rock’s brasher rhythms, and he soon faded from national prominence.

Occasionally recording without causing much of a stir during the ‘60s and ‘70s, Brown began to regroup by the mid-‘80s with One More for the Road, a set cut in 1986. Bonnie Raitt brought him on tour with her as her opening act (thus introducing the blues vet to a whole new generation or two of fans). His recording career took off too, with 1990’s All My Life.

His incredible piano skills and laid back vocal delivery remained every bit as mesmerizing at the end of his life as they were way back in 1945. He continued in 1998 with So Goes Love before dying on January 21, 1999.

Adrienne Kennedy was born on this date. She is an African-American playwright.

From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, her father, an executive secretary for the YMCA, and mother, a teacher, were very loving parents. Kennedy was a very gifted child, learning to read at the age of three. When she was four years old, her family moved to Cleveland, Ohio. Because they moved into an integrated neighborhood, Kennedy’s life became slightly rigid. In order to overcome th
is obstacle, Kennedy developed a theatrical inner life, watching the world around her, especially her family, as if they were in a play. Kennedy used these images as mixtures of the characters in her plays.

Two weeks after Kennedy graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in elementary education, she married Joseph C. Kennedy. After six months of marriage, Joseph was sent to Korea so Kennedy moved in with her parents. When Joseph returned from Korea, they moved to New York. While he furthered his education at Columbia Teacher’s College, she pursued her interest in writing through a creative writing class at Columbia University and at the American Theater Wing. In 1961, when the family moved to Africa, at the age of 29 she started the play Funnyhouse of the Negro. She finished this play in Italy where her family was forced to move due to a difficult pregnancy with her second son.

This Obie Award winning play would go on to launch her career as a playwright. Kennedy’s unique style of writing has greatly influenced different aspects of the theater. She created her own dramatic vision in which she used various theatrical devices such as masks, nontraditional music, characters being played by more that one actor, and the transforming of one character into another. Her writing is unique and has been described as being vivid and imaginative. The reader or actor can sense that Kennedy enjoys what she is doing. Kennedy has the ability to entwine many different influences into her works; because of this, her writings reflect a synthesis of artistry and craft.

In 1962, she joined Edward Albee’s Playwrights’ Workshop beginning over a thirty-year career in theatre that continues to this day. Kennedy has been a lecturer at Yale and the University of California at Berkeley, and has taught playwriting at Princeton and Brown. She has received Guggenheim Fellowships, NEA, and Rockefeller Foundation Grants. In 1992, the mayor of Cleveland declared March 7 to be Adrienne Kennedy Day, also in 1992 the Great Lakes Theatre Company organized a month long celebration of her work.

That same year she wrote The Ohio State Murders, first produced in Cleveland. A few years later the Signature Theatre Company selected her as their playwright of the fall season and produced seven of her plays. Kennedy’s latest play is Oedipus Rex 2001, produced by the Hartford Stage.

Nell Carter was born on this date. She was an African-American singer and actress.

From Birmingham, Alabama and born
Nell Ruth Hardy, while growing up, Carter listened to her mother’s recordings of Dinah Washington and B. B. King, and her brother’s Elvis Presley records. She liked Doris Day, the Andrews Sisters, Johnny Mathis, and admired the work of Cleo Laine and Barbra Streisand. Early in her career, she performed as a singer on the gospel circuit. She moved on to coffeehouses and nightclubs in her hometown, before going on to New York.

While there Carter started out as a cabaret performer, then leaped to stardom in the musical revue “Aint Misbehavin’,” for which she won a Tony Award. She continued in theater with a revival of “Annie,” where she won the Outer Circle Critics Award, the Obie, and the Drama Desk Award. On TV, Carter worked on the soap opera “Ryan’s Hope” and the prime-time series “The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo” as police sergeant Hildy Jones.

In 1981 Carter had her biggest TV hit was on the sitcom “Gimme a Break” which ran until 1987. In 1990, she was in the short-lived series “You Take the Kids” and from 1993 to 1995 she appeared in the recurring role of Mark Curry’s boss in “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper”. Carter also appeared in TV-movies, including the musical “Cindy” 1978, she also played the mother of ill-fated athlete Hank Gathers in “Final Shot: The Hank Gathers Story” 1992 “Maid for Each Other” later that same year.

Carter’s musical specials have been many, a guest appearance on “Baryshnikov on Broadway” 1980; “Ain’t Misbehavin’” 1981; and “Evening at the Pops” 1987. Carter’s feature film appearances included “Black Boys/White Boys,” Milos Forman’s “Hair” 1979, “Modern Problems” and “Back Roads” both in 1981. In 1992, Carter’s voice was featured for the animated feature “Bebe’s Kids”. She has also performed in Las Vegas, headlined a 1991 Los Angeles revival of “Hello, Dolly!” with an African-American cast and played the villainous Miss Hannigan in the 1996-97 revival of the stage musical “Annie”.

Her last appearance was an episode of “Touched By an Angel” in 2001. Nell Carter died from heart disease complicated by diabetes and obesity on January 23, 2003.

On this date, baseball’s Philadelphia Athletics integrated their team. Ex-Homestead Grays pitcher Bob Trice integrated the (then) Philadelphia Athletics as a pitcher.

He appeared in three games that year and 19 the next, but he pitched so poorly that he asked to be sent back to the minor leagues to regain his form. His request was granted, but Trice would never become the pitcher the A’s had hoped.

He pitched four more poor games for them in 1956, and never appeared in the majors again.

Mississippi Governor Ross R. Barnett defied the federal government in impassioned speech on statewide radio-television hookup, saying he would “interpose” the authority of the state between the University of Mississippi and federal judges who had ordered the admission of James H. Meredith. Barnett said, “There is no case in history where the Caucasian race has survived social integration.” He promised to go to jail if necessary to prevent integration at the state university. His defiance set the stage for the gravest federal state crisis since the Civil War.

President Kennedy Supports Blacks. President Kennedy denounced the burning of churches in Georgia and supported voter registration drives in the South.

Four years after he hit four home runs against the Milwaukee Braves on April 39, 1961, Houston Astros pitcher Don Nottebart gave Willie Mays his 500th career home run in the 4th inning before a crowd of 20,000 in the Houston Astrodome. It was also Mays 47th home run of the 1965 season. The Giants beat the Astros by a score of 5-1.

Michael Johnson is born in Dallas, Texas.  He will become a world class sprinter, Olympic athlete, and the first person to break 44 (43.65) seconds for the 400-meter run. At the Atlanta Olympics, he also will become the first man to win the double gold in the 400 ad 200 meters.

The exiled Black Panther Party leader, Elderidge Cleaver, led the group’s first international section in Algiers, Algeria on this date.

On September 9, responding to rumors of the impending torture of a prisoner at the Attica Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in western upstate New York, about 1,000 of the prisoner’s approximately 2,200 inmates rioted and seized control of the prison, taking 33 guards hostage. On this date, in the morning, between 1,500–2,000 troopers and officers stormed the facility under orders from Governor Nelson Rockefeller. The riot was based in part upon prisoners’ demands for better conditions as well as education and training opportunities. At the time, inmates were given one bucket of water a week as a shower and one roll of toilet paper a month.

During the following four days of negotiations, authorities agreed to 28 prisoners’ demands, but would not agree to demands for complete amnesty from criminal prosecution or for the removal of Attica’s warden. After negotiations failed, the prison was stormed. Thirty-two convicts and ten guards were killed. Investigation showed that nine of the ten guards were killed by the storming party.

Many people attribute the riot to the racial issues inside of the prison at the time. Of the 2,225 inmates in a facility built for 1,200, 54% of the inmates were African American and 9% Puerto Rican, however, all of the 383 corrections officers were White. From reports on the prison conditions, the guards were openly racist and assaulted the prisoners with their batons, which they dubbed “Nigger Sticks.” During this time period “black militancy” was at its peak and several prisons had the black militants transformed to Attica. Additionally, George Jackson, a member of the Black Panther Party, died at the hands of White prison guards in San Quinton Prison in California only a few days before the riot, adding to the racial tension. 
This riot focused national attention on corrections departments nationwide and the practice of imprisonment in the United States, especially the treatment of minority inmates who were becoming the majority in state correctional facilities across America. A National Conference on Corrections convened in December, 1971 resulting in the formation of the National Institute of Corrections in 1974.

Frank Robinson hits his 500th career home run.

Two Alabama men became the first African-Americans to be elected mayors of towns that did not have all-Black populations on this day. John Ford, 29, a businessman, was voted mayor of Tuskegee where 80 percent of the town’s 11,000 population was Black.

A.J. Cooper, 28, a civil rights attorney, won a runoff election in the blue-collar town of Prichard, which is a Mobile suburb whose 41,000 residents were 52 percent Black. The two new mayors raised the number of Black Alabama mayors to seven at that time.


South Africa grants Venda independence (Not recognized outside of South Africa). Venda is a homeland situated in the north eastern part of the Transvaal Province of South Africa.

Isabel Sanford wins an Emmy award as best comedic actress for The Jeffersons.


Archbishop Desmond Tutu leads huge crowds of singing and dancing people through central Cape Town in the biggest anti-apartheid protest march in South Africa for 30 years.

The talented and controversial rapper and actor Tupac Shakur dies in Las Vegas at the age of 25, six days after sustaining 4 bullet wounds in a drive-by shooting.

Andre Braugher wins Emmy for Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role on Homicide: Life on the Street.


Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs hits his 61st and 62nd home runs of the season, passing Roger Maris’ record and pulling into a tie with St. Louis Cardinals’ Mark McGwire in the year’s home run derby.

On this date, Selma, Alabama, Black businessman James Perkins defeated White incumbent Joe Smitherman for mayor. Smitherman a former segregationist was first elected prior to the bloody civil rights march of 1965.

Perkins became the first African American mayor of that pivotal southern city a focal point of the Civil Rights movement.

Perkins received 6,326 votes, 57 percent of the vote in the nonpartisan runoff which featured a heavy turnout. Smitherman had 4,854 votes, 43 percent.

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