Two battalions African American troops with Andrew Jackson are cited for bravery in the Battle of New Orleans with the defeat of the British. Jackson issued his
famous proclamation to Black troops at New
Orleans on December 18, 1814: “TO THE MEN OF COLOR.
Soldiers! From the shores of Mobile
I collected you to arms; I invited you to share in the perils and to divide the
glory of your white countrymen. I expected much from you, for I was not
uniformed of those qualities which must render you so formidable to an invading
foe. I knew that you could endure hanger and thirst and all the hardships of
war. I knew that you loved the land of your nativity, and that like ourselves,
you had to defend all that is most dear to you. But you surpass my hopes. I
have found in you, united to these qualities, that noble enthusiasm which
impels to great deeds.”
Augustus Washington’s birth is celebrated on this date. He was an African-American
abolitionist and photographer specializing as a Daguerreotypist.
From Trenton, New Jersey he was the son of a former slave
and a woman of South Asian decent. His mother died when he was young a
stepmother, also a former slave raised him. Washington
struggled to obtain schooling, first in Trenton
and later at the Oneida Institute in Whitesboro,
New York, Kimball
in New Hampshire, and Dartmouth College.
In 1843, Washington moved to Hartford and opened a daguerrean studio to
help finance education. Finishing School in 1847, he returned to Hartford; opens studio
for a short period of time. During this time many of his portraits were of
political and social figures of the era and reflect his sentiment about slavery.
In 1851 he expressed pessimism about prospects of Blacks in American society in
a letter to New York Tribune. In 1853, he immigrated to Liberia to
works as schoolteacher, farmer stone operator and Daguerreotypist. One year
later, he expressed enthusiasm about his adopted land in a letter, stating
that, “I believe that I shall do a thousand times more good for Africa.” The last reference to Washington’s work as a daguerreotypist dates
Washington never regretted his decision to
immigrate to Liberia, and
when he died in Monrovia on June 7, 1875, his
death was mourned as “a severe loss to Western Africa.”
On this date, Maria W. Stewart (1803-1879) addressed the New England Anti-Slavery Society meeting in Boston's Franklin Hall on
the evils of slavery and the oppression of free blacks. This is often cited as
the first time an African American woman spoke publicly on political issues
before an audience of Black and White men and women. In future speeches,
Stewart also advanced women's rights.
John Henry Conyers of South Carolina
becomes first African American student at U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.
He will later resign.
Inventor, F.W. Leslie, patents the
envelope seal. Patent #590,325.
On this date, John
Wesley Hardrick was born. He was an African-American
Hardrick was from Indianapolis,
IN, where he lived his entire
life. He studied painting, sculpture, and drawing from 1910 to 1918 at the John
Herron Art Institute under William Forsythe and Otto Stark. Beginning in 1928
Hardrick exhibited his work with the Harmon Foundation for five years, winning
recognition for his realistic and expressive portraits of African Americans. He
received a Bronze Award from the foundation in 1927 for his work, Portrait of a
Young Girl and in 1933 he received a blue ribbon at the Indiana State Fair for
his portrait Mammy. Supplemental income during these years came from managing a
trucking company and working for the foundation.
Hardrick painted mainly portraits, figure composition, and landscapes. He also
painted murals at several high schools and churches in and around his home
town. He was also displayed at the Smithsonian in 1929, and at the American
Negro Exposition in Chicago
in 1940. John Hardrick died in his home town in 1968.
Learie Constantine was born on this date. He was a Black cricket player, broadcast
journalist, administrator, lawyer, and politician.
From Diego Martin, Trinidad, the son of a test
cricketer, he worked in a solicitor’s office before beginning a career in
cricket. He made his debut while touring England in 1928. The following year
Constantine moved to England and joined the Nelson team
in the Lancashire Cricket League. Constantine
became captain of the West Indies and led the
team to their first victory in a test match in 1930. He also played an
important role in West Indies winning the series against England in
After retiring from cricket he became a commentator for the British
Broadcasting Corporation. During the Second World War Constantine worked as a
welfare officer for the labor ministry. Based in Liverpool his main
responsibility was to help West Indian immigrants find employment in Britain. In
was refused service in a British hotel because of his color. He took the owners
of the hotel to court and won his case. Later he wrote Colour Bar (1954), with
his friend, C. L. R. James. The book dealt with racial prejudice in Britain. After
studying law, Constantine
gained entrance to the English bar in 1954. Later he returned to Trinidad where he became involved in politics.
A member of the People’s National Movement, he served in the government as
minister of community works and utilities. When Trinidad gained independence he
became his country’s first high commissioner to London. In 1964 he resigned but stayed in Britain where
he held several important positions. This included being governor of the BBC, a
member of the Race Relations Board and the Sports Council. In 1969 Constantine became the
first person of African descent to gain a life peerage. Learie Constantine died
of lung cancer in Hampstead, London,
on July 1, 1971.
On this date, The
New Hope Baptist Church of Newark was
organized. The New Hope Baptist Church
is one of the oldest black churches in the state of New Jersey.
Located in Newark, New Jersey at a time when the American population was around
76,300,000 and at a time when women still did not have the right to vote, The
New Hope Baptist Church was organized by Addie and Maggie Vine, two sisters, in
a room on Drift Street (in Newark). Incorporation of the church happened at a
time when it was not common for churches to gather and congregate in such large
groups but per our history, incorporation happened in 1911 when they located at
232 Central Avenue.
The New Hope Baptist Church
has only had 6 Pastors in its 100 year existence.
The current Pastor is Reverend
Joe A. Carter. The vision of the church is to be
“Purpose-Driven with Five-Star Excellence, Ministering to the Total Man.” There
is a dire need to serve this present age spiritually, economically, physically
and emotionally. The New Hope
is a full-time ministry, with areas of need being addressed everyday
year-round. There is a 6-day per week Food Program. A Clothing Ministry aids
those in need of clothing and a Substance Abuse and Referral Ministry exists to
aid those who are addicted and have realized they need a way out.
As the church grew, so did their ministries and most of the events and
activities are held during the month of June. New Hope celebrates their church’s
anniversary yearly on the 3rd Sunday in September.
The Atlanta Life Insurance Company was founded.
They are the largest black-owned stockholder
insurance company in America.
Founded by former slave, Alonzo
Franklin Herndon, he purchased a small benevolent
association for $140 and, with the acquisition and reorganization of two other
companies in that year forming the Atlanta Mutual Insurance Association. In
June 1996, Charles Cornelius began as the fifth president and chief executive
officer and carries on the company’s proud legacy.
Today, Atlanta Life has assets of over $200 million and operates in 17 states.
On this date, we mark the birth of Kwame Nkrumah. He was an
African Statesman and political activist from Ghana.
He led his country to independence from Britain in 1957 and was a powerful
voice for African nationalism. He was overthrown by a military coup nine years
later after his rule grew dictatorial. Nkrumah was born in the town of Nkroful in the southwestern corner of the British colony
of the Gold Coast (now Ghana).
He was an excellent student in local Catholic missionary schools, who as a
teenager, became an untrained elementary school teacher in the nearby town of Half Assini.
In 1930, at Achimota College in Accra,
the capital of the Gold Coast Nkrumah earned a teacher’s certificate and taught
at several Catholic elementary schools. In 1939 he graduated from Lincoln University
with B. A. degrees in economics and sociology, earned a theology degree from
the Lincoln Theological Seminary in 1942, and received M. A. degrees in
education and philosophy from the University
of Pennsylvania in 1942
and 1943. While studying in the United
States, Nkrumah was influenced by the
socialist writings of German political philosopher Karl Marx, German political
economist Friedrich Engels, and Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin. He
formed an African student’s organization and became a popular speaker,
advocating the liberation of Africa from
He also promoted Pan-Africanism, a movement for cooperation between all people
of African descent and for the political union of an independent Africa. In 1945 he went to London, to study economics and law. That year
he helped organize the fifth Pan-African Congress, in Manchester; with black American sociologist
and writer W. E. B. Du Bois, future president of Kenya Jomo Kenyatta, and
American actor and civil rights activist Paul Robeson. In 1946 Nkrumah left his
academic studies to become secretary general of the West African National
Secretariat. That same year, Nkrumah became vice president of the West African
Students Union, a pro-independence organization of younger, more politically
aggressive African students studying in Britain.
Nkrumah returned to the Gold Coast in 1947 when the United Gold Coast
Convention (UGCC), a nationalist party, invited him to serve as its secretary
general. He gave speeches all over the colony to rally support for the UGCC and
for independence. In 1948, Nkrumah and several other UGCC leaders were arrested
by British colonial authorities and briefly imprisoned. After setting up a
series of colony-wide strikes in favor of independence that nearly brought the
colony’s economy to a standstill, Nkrumah was again imprisoned for subversion
However, the strikes had convinced the British authorities to move the colony
toward independence. In 1951 Nkrumah, while still in prison, won the central Accra seat by a
landslide. The British governor of the Gold Coast released Nkrumah from prison
and appointed him leader of government business. The following year he named
him Prime Minister. Reelected in 1954 and 1956, Nkrumah guided the Gold Coast
to independence in 1957 under the name Ghana, after an ancient West
African empire. Nkrumah built a strong central government and attempted to
unify the country politically and to muster all its resources for rapid
As a proponent of Pan-Africanism, he sought the liberation of the entire
continent from colonial rule, offered generous assistance to other African
nationalists, and initially pursued a policy of nonalignment with the United States
and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). His goal was never
realized, but his efforts helped bring about the Organization of African Unity,
which promotes peace and cooperation between African nations. In 1960 Ghana became a
republic and Nkrumah was elected president. Between 1961 and 1966 Nkrumah put
together an ambitious and very expensive hydroelectric project on the Volta River
that though highly successful, was laced with economic mismanagement along with
several other developmental schemes over the period.
Nkrumah did not hesitate to use strong-arm methods in implementing his domestic
programs. He remained popular with the masses, yet his tactics made enemies
among civil servants, judges, intellectuals, and army officers. While Nkrumah
was visiting China
in 1966, his government was overthrown in an army coup. Nkrumah lived in exile
in Guinea, where Guinean
president Sékou ????? appointed
him honorary co-president of Guinea.
He died in 1972 in Romania
while receiving treatment for throat cancer. Kwame Nkrumah’s remains were
returned to Ghana
for burial in his hometown.
Melvin Van Peebles, actor, playwright, screen writer, director and
composer, most notable for Sweet
Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971), which is credited with starting
“blaxploitation” style of action films of the 1970’s, and Watermelon Man), and the
father of actor and director Mario Van
Peebles, is born in Chicago.
Alexander, Jr., the first Black Secretary of the U.S.
Army, was born on New York City
on this date.
On this date, St. Louis parochial schools were put on notice to include black kids or face religious discipline.
E. Ritter publicly said he would excommunicate any
St. Louis Catholic who continued to protest integration of parochial schools.
The start of this order was one of Ritter’s first acts on 1946, his first year
in St. Louis.
At that time he instructed all pastors in the archdiocese to end racial
segregation in the parochial schools. The U.S. Supreme Court would not take the
same action with the nation’s public schools until 1954.
As the school year opened in the fall of 1947, Catholics who opposed the archbishop’s
edict appealed to the Church’s apostolic delegate in Washington. They were sharply rejected.
Next, they considered taking legal action in the civil courts, but the
archbishop learned of their plans. On a that date (which was a Sunday) in 1947,
church pastors throughout the archdiocese read a letter from Ritter to their
congregations informing the opponents of multi-racial schools that any civil
lawsuits would result in automatic excommunication. The organized opposition
Ritter was widely praised, both for his decision and his resolve in enforcing
it. He was recognized not only in St. Louis but
also throughout the United
States. Ritter saw the decision as a simple
matter of justice.
Artis Gilmore, who will become a professional basketball
all-star, is born.
Stout was named by the Governor of Pennsylvania
to serve as a Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge on this date. Late that year
Stout won the election for a full term on the Court and became the first Black
woman elected judge in the United
Southern Regional Council announced that Sit-in movement had effected twenty states and more
than one hundred cities in Southern and Border
States in period from February, 1960, to September,
1961. At least seventy thousand Blacks and whites had participated in the
movement, the report said. The council estimated that 3,600 had been arrested
and that at least 141 students and 58 faculty members had been expelled by
college authorities. SRC said one or more establishments in 108 Southern and Border State
cities had been desegregated as a result of sit-ins.
National Guard mobilized to stop rioting in Dayton, Ohio.
Walter Washington is nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson as the
first mayor of the newly reorganized municipal government of Washington, DC.
In 1974, he will be elected to the post, another first for an African American.
The Oakland Athletics’s Vida Blue pitches a no-hitter against the
Minneapolis Twins, 6-0.
Alfonso Ribeiro, actor/pianist (Alfonso-“Silver Spoons”, “Fresh
Prince of Bel Air”), is born.
Belize gains independence from Great Britain.
Michael Spinks becomes the first light heavyweight to defeat the
reigning heavyweight champion when he defeats Larry Holmes.
Joyner (Flo Jo), legendary track star, died in Santa Monica, CA
on this date. At the time of her death, Joyner held world records in the
women’s 100 and 200 meter dashes.
Army General Colin Powell received Senate confirmation as
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the United States,
thereby becoming the military’s highest-ranking African American. Powell, 52, a
four-star general, also became the youngest to serve in this position in the U.S. The Joint
Cheifs is the highest military advisory panel to the president. He served four years
in the position. A native of Harlem,
NY, Powell graduated from the
City College of New York and its ROTC program in 1958 with a degree in geology
and an Army commission as a second lieutenant. Following a tour of duty in Vietnam, Powell received an MBA from George Washington
University in 1971. On
January 20, 2001, the Senate confirmed Powell as Secretary of State under the George
W. Bush administration. He resigned the post in November 2004. Powell currently
serves as a limited partner in Kleiner Perkins Caufield& Byers, a Menlo,
CA-based venture capital firm.
Pittsburgh Pirate Barry Bonds is the second person to hit 30 home runs and steal
50 bases in the same season.
On this date, the first African-American woman to chair the Association of Community Colleges Trustees was elected.
Brenda Knight led the organization, which represents more than 1,200 colleges, 6,500
trustees, and 11 million students in America. Knight, a California native served her term and is currently the
community and government relations coordinator for the Oakland Unified