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The British capture Capetown in South Africa.

Slavery is abolished in all French territories.

Lake Nyasa, which forms Malawi’s boundary with Tanzania and Mozambique, is first seen by a European, British explorer David Livingstone.

On this date, Claude Barnett was born. He was an African American journalist and entrepreneur.

From Sanford, FL,
Claude Albert Barnett moved to Illinois to live with relatives when he was very young. In 1906, he received and engineering degree from Tuskegee Institute. He worked as a postal clerk and as an advertising salesman in Chicago until 1915. During this time he created a small mail order business, marketing photos of famous Black Americans. Along with others, he established the Kashmir Chemical Company, a cosmetics firm, as well. Barnett noticed the need for a news service geared to Black newspapers, one that was concerned with themes relevant to the African American community.

In 1919, he founded the associated Negro Press (ANP). By 1935, the ANP was serving over 200 subscribers across the country and after WW II its membership grew to include more than 100 African American newspapers. During World War II, Barnett and other black journalist pressured the U. S. government to accredit black journalist as war correspondents. In his travels he wrote many accounts on the adverse effects of segregation in the armed forces. Barnett was also focused on the terrible living conditions of black tenant farmers. From 1942 to 1953, he served as a consultant to the Secretary of Agriculture in an effort to improve their conditions.

He was a member of the Tuskegee board of directors until 1965. He held similar post with the American Red Cross, Chicago’s Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company, and was president of the board of directors of Provident Hospital. The ANP ceased operating after Barnett died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1967.

Negro Baseball League player, William Foster was born.

The last Oklahoma land rush, targeted in the territory’s Cherokee Strip (outlet) begins. More than 100,000 homesteaders rush to claim a share of the 6 million acres in this strip of land between Oklahoma and Kansas, opened up by the U.S. government. Among the participants is E.P. McCabe, who will establish the all African American town of Liberty a few days later. McCabe will also be involved in the earlier establishment of the African American town of Langston, Oklahoma, named for John Mercer Langston, Virginia’s first African American congressman. The Oklahoma land rushes started in 1889, but African Americans were excluded from the first one.

Hector Hyppolite was born on this date. He was an African-Haitian painter.

From St. Marc, Haiti Hyppolite was educated as an apprentice shoemaker. He also worked as a cobbler, housepainter, furniture decorator, ship builder, and Innkeeper. A decisive figure in modern Haitian art, Hyppolite is generally considered to be the most important of the untrained painters in the mid twentieth century of his country. Details of his life are sparse but Hyppolite was known as a Houngan, or Voodoo Priest. During a five-year sojourn to Africa Hyppolite connection to the home of his ancestors was central to his artistic expression. In the early 1940’s he began painting with an association with Le Centre d’ Art in Port-au-Prince.

What followed was a brief but prolific period of creation that lasted until his death in 1948. The subjects of his work ranges from Christian themes, still life, and voodoo imagery. During the final years of his creative times, Hyppolite’s paintings attracted international attention including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. A legend in his country, Hyppolite is known for his aesthetically complex yet highly intuitive paintings.

Lester Granger was born on this date. He was an African-American civic leader.

From Newport News, VA, Lester Blackwell Granger was one of six sons who father was a doctor from Barbados, his mother was a teacher. He grew up in Newark, NJ, and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1918. After serving in the US Army during World War I, he worked briefly for the Newark chapter of the National Urban League (NUL). In 1922, Granger was an extension worker with the New Jersey state vocational school for African American youth in Bordentown where he stayed until 1934. During this time (1930), he also organized the Los Angels chapter of the NUL. In 1934, he led the organization efforts to promote trade unionism among African American workers and challenge racism by employers and labor organizations.

In 1940 Granger was chosen as the NUL’s assistant executive secretary in charge of industrial relations a post he stayed with for the next twenty years. During World Was II he was an up and down participant in the effort to eliminate racial segregation in the military and in defense employment. When the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950 began, and insistence on a more aggressive approach became the norm, Granger insisted that the NUL continue its strategy of “education and persuasion,” a position that prevailed. He remained a leading figure over the years in social work, serving as president of the National Conference of Social Work in 1952.

Granger retired from the NUL in 1961, then joining the faculty of Dillard University in New Orleans, LA In 1972 he was named Amistad Scholar in Residence at Dillard, Lester Granger died in Alexandria, LA in January 1976.

Haiti became a de facto protectorate of the United States by treaty, as the U.S. takes control of Haiti’s customs and finances for the next 10 years.

On this date, Jon Carl Hendricks was born. He is an African-American singer and writer.

From Newark, Ohio, as a youth sang with Art Tatum. He continued performing while a college student in Toledo, where he was advised by Charlie Parker to consider music as a career. He didn’t invent vocalise, the literary art of writing lyrics to follow the musical path of a specific solo but he has long been its prime practitioner. Besides writing, he is a fine jazz singer. Whether singing lyrics or scat, he sings clearly, swings hard and is inventive. Hendricks moved to New York City in 1955, where he joined singer Dave Lambert to record a vocal for Woody Herman’s Four Brothers. In ‘57 they formed a trio, Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, with Annie Ross during the recording of Sing a Song of Basie. The trio lasted until ‘64, though Ross left the group for health reasons in ‘62 and was replaced by Yolande Bavan.

Hendricks’ witty lyrics combined with the group’s exuberance and swing made them a popular nightclub attraction. In 1960 Hendricks wrote and directed The Evolution of the Blues Song for the Monterey Jazz Festival. After the trio broke up he continued performing with various other singers, and then immigrated to England in ‘68, basing himself there between tours of Europe and Africa. Returning to the States in ‘73, he settled in San Francisco, where he taught and wrote about jazz for the San Francisco Chronicle.

After returning to San Francisco, Hendricks wrote about jazz for the San Francisco Chronicle, taught jazz and formed a group with his wife Judith, children Michelle and Eric and other singers (including for a time Bobby McFerrin) called the Hendricks Family that is active on a part-time basis up to the present time. Although he never recorded often enough, Hendricks did cut a classic album featuring McFerrin, George Benson, Al Jarreau and himself recreating all the solos in the original version of “Freddie the Freeloader.”

He continues to perform often in the company of his wife and children, and rejoined Ross to tour and record in ‘99.

Samuel Riley, lawyer and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, was born in Long Island on this date.

B.B. King was born on this date. He is an African-American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter.

Riley B. King was born to a poor family of sharecroppers living on the Mississippi Delta, near the town of Itta Bene, Miss. King’s home life was very unstable and as a child he picked cotton to help with the family income. But King’s mother brought him to church regularly, where he was first exposed to gospel music; he even learned some basic guitar skills from his preacher.

In the 1940s he performed on street corners around nearby Indianola, Miss., worked as a truck driver and played guitar with a five-man chorus called “The Famous St. John’s Gospel Singers.” In 1947, with $2.50 in his pocket, King left Mississippi for Memphis to seek his fortune as a blues musician. Arriving in Memphis King moved in with his cousin, blues man Bukka White, who spent nearly a year teaching him all the fine points of blues guitar.

King’s first big break came in 1948 when he performed live on KWEM, a radio station out of West Memphis. The successful radio debut led to a long-term agreement with competitor WDIA (one of the country’s first all-black radio stations), where King performed weekly in return for plugging a health tonic called Pepticon. He was soon promoted to DJ, and became known as the Beale Street Blues Boy, later changed to “Blues Boy King” and shortened to B.B. King.

In the 1950s, King became one of the most important names in R&B music, collecting an impressive list of hits under his belt that included songs like “You Know I Love You,” “Woke Up This Morning,” “Please Love Me,” “When My Heart Beats like a Hammer,” “Whole Lotta Love,” “You Upset Me Baby,” “Every Day I Have the Blues,” “Sneakin’ Around,” “Ten Long Years,” “Bad Luck,” “Sweet Little Angel,” “On My Word of Honor,” and “Please Accept My Love”. In 1962, King signed to ABC-Paramount Records. In November 1964, King recorded Live at the Regal album at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois.

King first found success outside of the blues market with the 1969 remake of the Roy Hawkins tune, “The Thrill Is Gone”, which became a hit on both pop and R&B charts, which was rare for an R&B artist. He gained further rock visibility as an opening act on The Rolling Stones’ much-ballyhooed 1969 American Tour. King’s mainstream success continued throughout the 1970s with songs like “To Know You Is to Love You” and “I Like to Live the Love.” From 1951 to 1985, King appeared on Billboard’s R&B charts an amazing 74 times.

The 1980s, 1990s and 2000s saw King recording less and less, but appeared on numerous television shows, major motion pictures and performing 300 nights a year. In 1988, he reached a new generation of fans via the single “When Love Comes To Town”, together with the Irish band U2 on their Rattle and Hum album. In 2000, King teamed up with guitarist Eric Clapton to record Riding With the King.In June 2006, King was present at a memorial of his first radio broadcast at the Three Deuces Building in Greenwood, Mississippi, where an official marker of the Mississippi Blues Trail was erected.

On March 29 2006, King played at the Sheffield’s Hallam Arena. This was the first date of his UK and European farewell tour. He later went back to Europe and at that time he said farewell to Switzerland. Currently 81 years old, on January 26, 2007, while on tour, King was hospitalized in Galveston, Texas due to a low grade (100.4) fever after a recent bout with influenza. He was released on January 27, after an overnight stay. He was scheduled to resume his tour.

On this date, the third-largest natural disaster in the history of this country occurred in Western Palm Beach County, Florida, when more than 3,000 lives, mostly “Blacks” were lost due to hurricane winds that were estimated to have exceeded 150 miles per hour and to flooding caused by Lake Okeechobee washing over its muck levee in a 10-foot high wave. That tidal wave was reported to have flooded an area that was 30 to 35 miles wide in all directions. Six hundred and seventy-four bodies - ones that had been separated out as being “Black” victims, were tossed by grabbing their hands and feet into a mass gravesite in West Palm Beach without a proper burial.

There is no accurate number of those who died as a result of the Storm of 1928. Immediately afterward, the number of victims was reported to be 2,300. A more realistic number would be from 3,000 to 6,000 deaths as a result of the Storm of ‘28. The basis for this number included the following considerations: “Mass Graves’’ (most bodies without coffins) are documented in Port Mayaca (1,600 bodies), Miami Locks (more than 800 bodies), and the “Unmarked Trench” in West Palm Beach (674 bodies). There were 61 whites and eight ‘‘Negroes buried in coffins at Woodlawn Cemetery in West Palm Beach with a marker. It is also documented that due to severe decomposition victims were interred where they were found without coffins or markers, or burned in the pyres. The pyres were noted as “dotted the horizon” in the “muck lands” in western Palm Beach County. Some were buried elsewhere by their families. Many were likely never found. There is no way to know the exact number of the black families wiped out, or individuals lost in this storm. Very few names were recorded. Neighbors who knew each other in the farming areas were also among the dead. After five days of lying in hot, wet muck the rapid decomposition made identification of bodies almost impossible.

The Storm of ‘28 is likely to have resulted in the highest number of black fatalities within 24-hour period by any cause throughout the entire history of the United States. Civil War battles and other events are still being researched to confirm whether or not this is true.

Paul Robeson, actor, linguist, political activist, orator, and athlete, made his film debut in “The Emperor Jones” Brutus Jones is released by United Artists on this day. It was the first major Hollywood production starring and African American with Whites in supporting roles. Born on April 9, 1898, in Princeton, NJ, Robeson graduated from Rutgers University in 1919 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He also attended Columbia University Law School, where he received his LL.B. degree in 1922. Robeson was one of the world’s great interpretive artists. He was the son of an escaped slave, and rose from humblest beginning to become the epitome of a Renaissance Man. He was an all-around athlete, scholar, orator, and linguist–fluent in more than 20 languages–and outstanding in theater, film, and the concert stage. Besides his performance in the “The Emperor Jones,” he also starred in “Show Boat” and “Othello”. He was the recipient of several awards and accolades, many posthumously. Robeson died January 23, 1976, in Philadelphia.

Elgin Baylor is born in Washington, DC. He will become a NBA star beginning as the 1958-59 Rookie of the Year with the Los Angeles Lakers. He will set the NBA Playoff Record for points scored in a game (61), and for points scored in a playoff series (284) [both in 1962].

Orlando Manuel Cepeda Penne is born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He will be become a professional baseball player. In his first season in 1958, he will bat .312 with 25 home runs and 96 runs RBI, lead the National League in doubles (38), and will be named Rookie of the Year. In 1967, he will be named the National League MVP by hitting .325 and having a league-leading 111 RBIs. He will be the second NL player (joining fellow Giant Carl Hubbell in 1936) to win the MVP unanimously (receiving all first-place votes). He will be a seven-time All-Star (1959–64, 1967). He will retire in 1975 with a career .297 BA with 379 homers and 1365 RBI in 17 seasons. He will be the first designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox, and the second DH in all of MLB. He will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999, joining Roberto Clemente as the only other Puerto Rican in the Hall.

Earl Klugh, Jazz pianist/guitarist, is born in Detroit, Michigan. He will become an American smooth jazz/jazz fusion guitarist and composer. He normally finger picks a nylon string classical guitar. At the age of 13, he will be captivated by the guitar playing of Chet Atkins when he makes an appearance on the Perry Como Show. He will since be a guest on several Atkins albums. Atkins, reciprocating as well, joins Earl on his “Magic In Your Eyes” album. He will also be influenced by Bob James, Ray Parker Jr, Wes Montgomery and Laurindo Almeida. His sound will be a blend of these jazz, pop and rhythm and blues influences, forming a potpourri of sweet contemporary music original to only him. He will become a guitar instructor at the young age of 15, and will eventually be discovered by Yuseff Lateef. His career will rapidly progress to working with the likes of George Benson, George Shearing, Chick Corea, and many others. Like several other Detroit-bred entertainers, He attended Mumford High School in Detroit. For their album “One on One,” He and Bob James will receive a Grammy award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance of 1981. He will receive at least 13 Grammy nods and millions of record and CD sales.

San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral becomes the site of the first concert of sacred music presented by Duke Ellington.

Six Klansmen were arrested in connection with the bombing of ten school buses in Pontiac, Michigan.

Boxer ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard, at age 25, knocks out Thomas ‘The Hit Man’ Hearns.  Leonard wins the welterweight boxing championship—and the richest payday in boxing history.

Debbye Turner, a 22 year old veterinary student at the University of Missouri, was crowned Miss America at the 68th Annual Miss American Pageant in Atlantic City, NJ. She was the third African American to win the crown since the inception of the pageant in 1921.

Keenan Ivory Wayans’ “In Living Color” wins an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series.

Minnesota Twins’ slugger Dave Winfield becomes the 19th player to get 3,000 career hits.

In what was described as “the flood of the century,” the nation’s oldest incorporated Black town, Princeville, NC, was flooded by the wrath of Hurricane Floyd on this date. The mayor and many of its citizens vowed to rebuild the town.

On this date, a Consecration Ceremony for the Key West African cemetery took place. This occasion marked another chapter of closure in the history of Africans in America.

Key West was never a slave trading port, but because of its unusual geography it was often affected by the Transatlantic Slave Trade. A remote outpost, poised along the maritime highway of the Gulf Stream current and very close to the plantations of Cuba, the small island saw a number of slave ships sail through, wreck in, or be forcibly brought to her waters.

In the spring of 1860, three slave ships intercepted by the US Navy in its efforts to stop the illegal trade in humans were brought to Key West. These American-owned ships were bound for Cuba, where the slave cargo was to be sold to the thriving sugar plantations. A total of 1,432 Africans arrived from these ships, and they came with nothing. The 3,000 citizens of the island, led by United States Marshal Fernando Moreno, came together and built housing, donated clothing, and provided food and medical attention for them during their stay. For eighty-five days the newly liberated refugees found shelter at Key West. But because of the horrific conditions they suffered aboard the slave ships, many of the Africans were quite ill, and 295 of them died.

They were buried in shallow sand graves on the southern shore of the island. For three days in June of 2002, a team of archaeologists and volunteers conducted a Ground-penetrating Radar survey in the area of Higgs Beach to locate any evidence of the African Cemetery. Grids were laid out on the ground, and using a hand-towed antenna, radar signals were generated and their reflections measured. The data was collected into a computer, processed, showing clear images of the subsurface structures. A series of shallow graves was found near the sidewalk on the beach.

On this date,
Prince Adegbolu Adefunmi sprinkled water on the ground over the site and performed an ancient African ceremony honoring and remembering the dead. Adefunmi performed the ceremony mainly in “Yoruba”, an African language from the region where the Africans buried at the site originated. Annually there are services such as Fernanda Meier (shown) at the Florida burial site.

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