Shaka Zulu, the great
Zulu king, was killed on this date.
This date spotlights the birth of George Washington Murray. He was a Black farmer, politician, teacher and inventor.
He was born in Rembert (Sumter County) South Carolina, attended public
schools, the University of South Carolina and the State Normal Institute
at Columbia; graduating in 1876. While a farmer, he lectured for the Colored
Farmers’ Alliance and participated in local Republican politics. He was
appointed inspector of customs at the port of Charleston in 1890, the same
he ran (and lost) for the Republican nomination to Congress. He tried again
and defeated Brayton Miller and Robert Smalls in the “eight ballot box”
ruled election. This was designed to prevent large numbers of blacks from
Murray sat on the Committee on Education in the Fifty-third Congress in
1893. In 1894 he ran against William Elliott, with numerous obstacles to
voter registration for blacks. Murray was defeated but appealed, the board
rejected his appeal but the House upheld it and he won. 1896 he was defeated
at a time when Black voter registration had been severely constrained.
Murray went back to farming, investing in tracts of land sold to black
He was a leader in the struggle to protect Black voting rights in the post
reconstruction south. He as also an inventor and is the holder of eight
patents in agricultural tools. Later in his life, George W. Murray moved
to Chicago where he died on April 21st 1926.
President Lincoln’s Promise. Five days after Union forces won the Battle of Antietam, President
Lincoln, in preliminary Emancipation
Proclamation warned the South that he would all slaves in all states to be “forever
free” unless the Confederate states returned to the Union by the New Year, January
A race riot broke out in New Orleans on this date.
On this date, Alma
Thomas was born. She was an African-American
Painter and instructor.
From Columbus, Georgia, Thomas moved to Washington as a young girl. In 1924 she became the first graduate of the art department of Howard University and ten years later received an M. A. from Columbia University. She taught art at Shaw unior High School in the Nation’s Capitol for thirty-six years until she retired in 1960 to devote her energies to painting. During her long tenure at Shaw, Thomas was a dedicated and imaginative teacher.
She organized the School Arts League Project “to foster keener appreciation
of art among Negro children of Washington,” and in 1938 she established
the first art gallery in the D.C. public schools system. She also served
as vice-president of the Barnett Aden Gallery, which sponsored integrated
exhibitions of emerging talents such as Merton Simpson, Richard Dempsey,
and Jacob Kainen. Thomas’ papers include photographs, lesson plans, and
programs concerning her teaching career as well as information about the
Barnett Aden and Howard University galleries.
Most of her writings dealt with her gallery and museum exhibitions. There
are also catalogs, newspaper clippings, block print Christmas cards, and
scrapbooks that are writings of hers. “The use of color in my paintings
is of paramount importance to me. Through color I have sought to concentrate
on beauty and happiness in my painting rather than on man’s inhumanity
to man,” wrote Thomas. After a long study of color theory, she found her
inspiration at home in Washington; “I discovered that it was the light
glittering through a holly tree near the bay window of my home that attracted
my fancy. I noticed how the light shone on and through other trees, shrubs,
and flowers and tried repeatedly to capture this magic.”
Her mosaic-like abstractions, which she called “Alma’s stripes,” are identified
with the work of Washington color field painters Gene Davis, Morris Louis,
Kenneth Noland, and others active in the area in the 1950s. Alma Thomas
died in 1978.
On this date, the Black Town of Boley, Oklahoma was formally established. Boley is located in Okfuskee County in Central
The town is of national historical significance because it is representative
of the many towns established by Blacks who migrated from the south to
northern and western communities after slavery. Blacks in Boley were hopeful
of escaping oppression and making new lives for them around the turn of
the twentieth century. T. M Haynes founded Boley in 1903 in what was then
Creek Indian Territory. Railroad officials, Lake Moore and J. B. Boley,
a white man, contended that Black people could govern themselves, and that
a Black town should be established along the Fort Smith and Western Railroad.
The town was incorporated in 1905 as Boley, Creek Nation, Indian Territory.
The name was changed to Boley, Oklahoma when the State of Oklahoma was
formed in 1907. Boley began on 160 acres of land belonging to Abigail Burnett
McCormick. She had inherited the land from the government as the daughter
of James Burnett, a Creek Freedman. Haynes publicly invited Blacks to come
and settle there and served as the town’s first mayor. Many of the first
families, including the Barnetts, Walkers, Graysons, Johnson’s, and Wilcotts
became the towns leading citizens.
After this dates 1904 formal opening Booker T Washington declared that Boley
was, “The most enterprising, and in many ways the most interesting of the Negro
towns in the U. S.” In 1911 the town had a population of 4,000. In their heyday
Boley had5 grocery stores, 5 hotels, 7 restaurants, 4 cotton gins, 3 drug
stores, 1 jewelry store, 4 department stores, 2 livery stables, 2 insurance
agencies, 1 undertaking establishment, 1 lumber yard, 2 photographers and an
ice plant. Additionally, Boley was known as having the first Black owned
electric company and the one of first Black owned banks.
Boley’s early social institutions and public buildings included many churches
and schools. This included a training school for Negro boys. Boley was
also home to a Masonic Temple to which all Black Masons in the state made
a yearly pilgrimage. Eastern Star and other fraternal orders visited regularly
too. The Great Depression in the late 1920’s to mid 1930’s was a difficult
time for Boley. Many residents moved away and the migration of new residents
came to a standstill. The Depression dealt Boley a blow that took a long
time to recover.
On November 22, 1932, members of Pretty Boy Floyd’s gang tried to rob the
Farmers & Merchants Bank. The robbers, two white and one Black, killed
the bank’s president D. J. Turner. Officers and vigilantes killed them
during their escape. Currently Boley offers opportunity and challenge as
it did almost 100 years ago, they have a population of 748. It’s businesses
include a manufacturing company, a funeral home, 3 boarding houses, 2 gas
stations, 2 grocery stores, 1 hardware store, a community center, a swimming
pool, 6 churches, an elementary school, a high school, as well as a town
In recent years Boley is hosts to the Annual Boley Rodeo, which started
in 1961. Very popular the event usually occurs on or near the Memorial
Day weekend. Boley also holds an Annual Founder’s Day Celebration in September
and their Chamber of Commerce also holds a banquet that has featured Congressmen
and University Presidents as speakers. Additionally, the Boley High School
Bears, the basketball team won 4 State Championships during the 1970’s.
Boley, OK is on Hwy 62, sixty-eight miles southwest of Tulsa and sixty-seven
miles east of Oklahoma City.
On this date, The Atlanta Race Riot of 1906 began. It was a mass civil disturbance
in Atlanta, Georgia, which began the evening of September 22nd and lasted until September 25th. At least 27 people died and over seventy were injured. Atlanta newspapers
reported that black men were assaulting white women. The charges were not
true, but the reports set off the Atlanta race riot of 1906. The official
death count was 12 black and two white, but it has been claimed the real
death toll was much higher as Atlanta authorities did not want to further
damage the reputation of the city. Over the five days, Atlanta’s police did nothing to protect black citizens,
going so far as to confiscate guns from Atlanta’s Black community while
allowing whites to remain armed.
The riot was reported in newspapers around the world but has not been taught
in schools in the United States, and those who died have not been officially
was this and other events of hatred based incidents during what was called the
“Red Summers” in the early twentieth century. They were part of a pattern of
anti-Black violence that included several hundred lynching each year for over
Charles L. Black Jr. was born on this date in 1915. He was an American Professor and authority
in constitutional law.
From Austin, TX, he was one of three children of Charles L. Black Sr.,
a renowned lawyer, and Alzada Bowman Black. He graduated from Austin High
School at 16 in 1931 and enrolled at the University of Texas, focusing
on Greek classics. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1935 and traveling
to Europe he enrolled at Yale and earned a master’s degree in Old and Middle
English Literature. He graduated from Yale Law School in 1943. He later
served in the Army Air Corps as a teacher and practiced Law for a year
with the New York firm of Davis, Polk and Wardwell, Sunderland & Kiendl
after his military discharge.
With a desire to teach he joined the Columbia law faculty in 1947 and became
a full professor shortly afterwards. In 1954, Black helped Thurgood Marshall
and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., to write the legal
brief for Linda Brown, a 10-year old girl in Topeka KS. This historic case,
Brown vs. the Board of Education, became the Supreme Court’s ultimate judgment
on segregation in American schools, soon after he married Barbara Aronstein.
Black taught generations of law students, first at Columbia from 1947 to
1956, then at Yale for 30 years, then again at Columbia from 1986 until
his health began to fail in 1999. Among his students were Hillary Rodham
Clinton and countless others who later became leaders in government, business
or academic life. Black wrote more than 20 books and hundreds of articles
on constitutional law, admiralty law, capital punishment, the role of the
judiciary and other subjects.
He was widely praised for his book, “Impeachment: A Handbook,” in 1974
when President Richard M. Nixon resigned in the Watergate Scandal, and
also when reissued during the 1999 proceedings against President Bill Clinton.
Black was a prominent voice in national debates on the presidential impeachments,
desegregation, the death penalty and other issues.
Charles Black taught at Columbia and Yale Universities for 52 years, he
died May 5th 2001.
Xavier University, the first Black Catholic College in U.S., opened in New Orleans, LA.
Virginia Capers was born on this date. She was an African-American actress and singer.
From Sumter, South Carolina Eliza Virginia Capers attended Howard University
in Washington, D. C., and studied voice at Juilliard in Manhattan. She
was introduced to band leader Abe Lyman, who hired her for his radio program
and on-the-road tours. In the late 1950s she played in the Broadway productions
of “Jamaica” and “Saratoga.” Capers topped her stage career with a Tony
Award for her role as the matriarch Lena Younger in the 1974 musical “Raisin,”
a musical version of “A Raisin in the Sun.” In 1979 she performed in the
straight dramatic version of the Lorraine Hansberry play.
As a heavyset Black woman, she worked thoroughly to fight off typical stereotypes
in the movie business On occasion Capers played judges, nurses and other
professional characters. Still she sometimes still found herself in the
same category as Theresa Merritt, Mabel King, and others before a live
audience in the dominant mother or hired help category. Her stage recognition
moved into TV where she appeared often from the 1960s on in both drama’s
“Daniel Boone,” “Mannix,” “Knot’s Landing,” “ER” and comedies “Evening
Shade,” “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “The Hughleys”.
Her best known roles in films were as Mama Holliday in “Lady Sings the Blues”
(1972) and as Nurse Sparrow in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986). With plenty
of talent, musical actress Capers made music her focus and passion for most her
career. Virginia Capers died of pneumonia on May 6, 2004 at age 78.
Chester Lovelle Talton was born in Eldorado, Arkansas. At 49, he became the first African American
Episcopalian bishop to be ordained in the western United States. As suffragan
bishop of the diocese of Los Angeles, he becamesthe religious leader of
Episcopalians in the fourth-largest diocese in the United States.
Lee Harold Carmichael is born in Jacksonville, Florida. He will become an American football
wide receiver in the NFL. He will play 13 seasons for the Philadelphia
Eagles from 1971 to 1983, and one season for the Dallas Cowboys in 1984.
He will play his college football at Southern University. He will be selected
to four Pro Bowls in his NFL career, and will lead the league in receptions
during the 1973 season. He will also be the Eagles’ top receiver of Super
Bowl XV, with 6 catches for 91 yards. He willend his career with 590 receptions for 8,985 yards with 79 career touchdown
catches, along with 64 rushing yards on 9 carries. He will rank 18th all-time
in career touchdown receptions. He will be selected to the NFL 1970s All-Decade
Team by voters of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He will become Director
of Player Programs for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2006.
Dr. Ralph Johnson Bunche, United
Nations undersecretary general for special political affairs (1055-70), became
the first Black awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on this date for his successful
mediation for the 1949 armistice between the (then)
new nation Israel and four Arab neighbor states, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. It was the first, and to date it remains the only, time that all the parties
to the Middle East conflict signed armistice agreements with Israel. In
being awarded the Peace Prize, Bunche became the first African-American
and the first person of color in the world to be so honored. At the time
of the presentation he was Professor Harvard University, Cambridge, MA,
a Director of the UN Division of Trusteeship, and Acting Mediator in Palestine.
He also directed the UN peacekeeping efforts in the Suez (1956), the Congo (1960), and Cyprus (1964). He also served in the U.S. State Department prior to joining the UN. Born in Detroit, Bunche worked his way through the University of California at Los Angeles and graduated in 1927. He received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1934. He also won the Spingarn Medal in 1949. He died in 1971.
Shari Belafonte Harper, now Behrens, is born in New York City, New York. She will become is an
American actress, model, writer and singer. The daughter of singer Harry
Belafonte, she will be best known for her role as Julie Gilette on the
1980s television series “Hotel” and as a spokesperson for the diet supplement
“Slim-Fast” during the 1990s.
The African nation of Mali gained its independence on this date.
Commerce Commission issued regulations that outlawed segregation on buses and in terminal
facilities used for interstate travel on this date.
Francisco Giant, Willie Mays, becomes the
first player since Babe Ruth to hit 600 home runs.
Robert Guillaume won an Emmy for best leading actor in a comedy for Benson, while The Cosby Show won for best comedy series.
Edward Perkins, the first African American ambassador to the Republic of South Africa,
becomes director-general of the United States Foreign Service. The first
African American named to the post, Perkins will be credited with bringing
more minorities into the Foreign Service.
André Dawson steals his 300th base and is the only
player other than Willie Mays to have 300 HRs, 300 steals, and 2,000 hits.
In Milwaukee, Barry Bonds hit his 733rd home run to tie Hank Aaron’s National
League all-time home run record.
this date, in a landmark development for a country where ethnic minorities was
slow to emerge into national politics, Germany elected its first blacks into
its national parliament, the Bundestag. Karamba Diaby, 51, was elected as a candidate from the left
leaning Social Democratic Party from Halle (Saale), Saxony-Anhalt and Charles M. Huber, 56, was elected as a member of
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s right leaning Christian Democratic Union.
Daiby was a Senegalese-born German chemist and politician and Huber was a well
known television actor born in Munich to a Senegalese father and German mother.
Until this date there were no black lawmakers in Parliament, despite more than
500,000 people of recent African origin that there were believed have been
living in Germany at the time.