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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 voting.

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 tenant farmers.

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 1, 1863.

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 Oklahoma.

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 hall.

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 commemorated. It 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 two decades.

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.

The Interstate Commerce Commission issued regulations that outlawed segregation on buses and in terminal facilities used for interstate travel on this date.

San 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.

On 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.

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