marks the birth of Mary “Mollie”
Church Terrell. She was an African-American social activist who was co
founder and first president of the National
Association of Colored Women.
Terrell was born into a middle-class family in Memphis,
and she received a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin
College, Ohio (1884).
She taught languages at Wilberforce University in Xenia,
Ohio, and at the M Street High
School, a Black secondary school in Washington, D. C. After a two-year tour of Europe, she completed a master’s degree from Oberlin
(1888) and married Robert Heberton Terrell, a lawyer who would be the first
Black municipal court judge in the nation’s capital.
An early advocate of women’s rights, Terrell was an active member of the
National American Woman Suffrage Association, addressing in particular the
concerns of black women. In 1896 she became the first president of the newly
formed National Association of Colored Women, an organization which under her
leadership worked to achieve educational and social reform and an end to
discriminatory practices. Appointed to the District of Columbia Board of
Education in 1895, Terrell was the first black woman to hold such a position.
At the suggestion of W.E.B. Du Bois, she was made a charter member of the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and in 1949 she
gained entrance to the Washington
chapter of the American Association of University Women, bringing to an end its
policy of excluding blacks.
An articulate spokeswoman, adept political organizer, and prolific writer,
Terrell addressed a wide range of social issues in her long career, including
the Jim Crow Law, lynching, and the convict lease system.
Her last act as an activist was to lead a successful three-year struggle
against segregation in public eating places and hotels in the nation’s capital.
Her autobiography, A Colored Woman in a White World, appeared in 1940. Mary
Terrell, early civil-rights advocate, educator, author, lecturer on woman
suffrage, and Black rights died July 24, 1954 in Annapolis, MD.
date, the Western Library of Louisville, KY opened.
Founded by Albert Ernest
Meyzeek, it was the first library to serve Louisville’s
Black community, and of the first of its kind in America. Western’s first librarian
was Thomas Fountain Blue, Sr., who was assisted by Ms. Rachel Harris. Joseph S.
Cotter, poet and playwright was involved with its early programs and is
credited for the early storytelling contests for young people.
The Western Library was built on Louisville’s
West Chestnut Street
with funds from Andrew Carnegie, a philanthropist. It was one of eight
Carnegie-endowed libraries built in Louisville
in the early 20th century and was a success right from the
beginning. Western’s present building opened in 1908 and Thomas Blue held his
librarianship until his death in 1935. While there he designed a training
program in library science for African-Americans that in time became adopted on
a national scale. Western has always been a center of culture and learning.
The building underwent a massive renovation in 1994 and today is a state-of-the-art
facility offering traditional library services and Internet and computer
technology. Come visit the Western Library on Friday, September 23rd,
2005 at 10:30 am for a special event organized by the Western Branch Library
On this date Joe
Hill Louis was born. He was an African American
musician who played many instruments.
Lester (or Leslie) Hill was from Tennessee, he
ran away from home at age 14, living instead with a wealthy Memphis family. A fight with another youth
that was won by young Hill earned him the “Joe Louis” term. For Hill the Harp
came first for the multi-instrumentalist; by the late ‘40s, his one-man musical
attack was a popular attraction in Handy
Park and on WDIA, the groundbreaking Memphis radio station
where he hosted a 15-minute program billed as “The Pepticon Boy.” Also known as
“the Be-Bop Boy,” Louis made his recording debut in 1949 for Columbia, but the remainder of his recordings
were issued on R&B independent labels large and small. It was on the
Phillips label that he cut the blistering Hydramatic Woman and House of Sound
in 1953 with Walter Horton on harp, (but Phillips never released it).
During the 1950s he created quite a commotion as a popular one-man blues band
If not for his tragic premature demise due to health, his name would surely be
more widely revered. Louis was only 35 when he died in Memphis in 1957 of tetanus, contracted when a
deep gash on his thumb became infected.
date, Jazz Saxophone player John W. Coltrane was born.
He was an African-American composer, small group or combo leader and a major
figure in the evolution of the jazz styles known as bebop and free jazz.
Coltrane was born in Hamlet, North Carolina,
and grew up in nearby High Point.
He began playing the clarinet in a community band at the age of 13 and switched
to the alto saxophone during his final year of high school. In 1945 he was
drafted into the United States Navy, eventually serving most of his two-year
term with a Navy band stationed in Hawaii.
In 1947 he switched to the tenor saxophone and toured with alto saxophonist
Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson.
He joined the group of trumpeter Miles Davis in 1955, beginning an important
phase of his career; during the periods he spent with Davis, Coltrane gained an international
reputation as a tenor saxophonist. His high notes had an intense, emotional
quality, and his melodies were extremely ornate and usually played without
vibrato. After leaving Davis’s
quintet, Coltrane formed his own quartet and began playing both the soprano and
the tenor saxophone.
During the early 1960s, Coltrane and drummer Elvin Jones developed a highly
energetic and interactive way of playing jazz, while improvising in one key. He
would often introduce notes from another key. Soon he moved into free jazz, a
style in which musicians sometimes create very unusual sounds with their
instruments. A deeply religious man, Coltrane recorded several albums of his
religious compositions, the most famous being A Love Supreme. Some other
of famous songs were My Favorite Things and Ascension.
In the 1960s Coltrane won several polls conducted in the United States and in Japan. After his death, the National Academy of the Recording Arts and
Sciences (NARAS) honored Coltrane’s memory with a Grammy Award and a lifetime
achievement award. Coltrane inspired many to play the soprano saxophone, an
instrument rarely used in jazz until he began playing it.
Ray Charles was born on this date. He was an African-American singer, composer,
From in Albany, Georgia,
Ray Charles Robinson was raised in Greenville,
Florida. It was in Florida that he began
the friendship of a piano-playing neighbor. As a youngster, Charles studied
with him at his small store-cum-juke joint and absorbed and digested the blues,
boogie-woogie and big-band swing records on his jukebox. At age six, Charles
contracted glaucoma, which eventually left him blind. As a result, in 1936 he
began a nine year stay at the St.
for the Deaf and the Blind. While there when he was fifteen his mother died
(followed two years later by his father).
At St. Augustine School Charles studied composition and mastered a variety of
instruments including piano and saxophone. From there he played in a number of
bands around Florida.
Charles eventually led a jazz-blues trio that worked the West Coast in the
style of Nat “King” Cole and Charles Brown. After releasing singles for labels
such as Downbeat and Swingtime, Charles wound up on Atlantic Records in 1952.
It turned out to be an ideal match between artist and label, as both were just
beginning to find their true identity.
With artistic control at Atlantic after
demonstrating his skills as an arranger he released “Things That I Used to Do,”
the biggest R&B hit of 1954. Charles responded with a string of recordings
in which he truly found his voice. This extended hit streak, which carried him
through the end of the decade, included such R&B greats as “I Got a Woman,”
“Hallelujah I Love Her So,” “Drown in My Own Tears” and the feverish
call-and-response classic “What’d I Say.” All were sung in Charles’ gruff,
soulful voice and accompanied by his piano and a horn section. While recording
for Atlantic Records during the Fifties, the innovative singer, pianist and
band leader broke down the barriers between sacred and secular music.
The gospel sound he’d heard growing up in the church found its way into the
music he made as an adult. In his own words, he fostered “a crossover between
gospel music and the rhythm patterns of the blues.” After his Atlantic years,
Charles moved to ABC/Paramount, where he claimed greatness with his own Modern
Sounds in Country and Western Music, an album that topped the Billboard chart
for 14 weeks in 1962. Over the decades, elements of country & western and
big-band jazz have infused his music as well. He was as complete and
well-rounded a musical talent as this century has produced.
In the 1980s, Charles was often in the public eye on television and in the
movies. He had a number of albums and performed duets with many well-known
musicians including Willie Nelson, Chaka Khan, and the Blues Brothers. His
appearance on the 1985 release of “We Are the World,” brought a renewed
interest in much of his work. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of
Fame in 1986. During the 1990s he continued to write and perform, and in 1992
President Bill Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Arts. Charles was one
of the most important influences on popular music. His passionate singing and
intelligent melding of different genres remains the ideal by which many
musicians continue to gauge their work.
Charles was a passionate chess player who displayed his genius by combining
elements of gospel and blues into a fervid, exuberant style that came to be
known as Soul Music. Just what is soul, according to Ray Charles? As he told
Time magazine in 1968, “It’s a force that can light a room. The force radiates
from a sense of selfhood, a sense of knowing where you’ve been and what it
means. Soul is a way of life, but it’s always the hard way.” Many musicians and
artist possess elements of genius, Charles truly and completely embodied the
term bestowed upon him as a nickname.
As Executive Director of The African American Registry, my favorite song performed
by him is “Old Man River.” Ray Charles died of liver disease at his home in Beverly Hills, CA
on June 10th 2004.
This date marks the birth of George L. Jackson. He was an Africa-American activist.
Jackson was born in Chicago
and moved with his family to Los
Angeles at the age of fourteen. As a teen, had a
number of juvenile problems, which landed him in trouble with the police and
resulted in him spending time in the Youth Authority Corrections facility in
Paso Robles, CA. At sixteen he was accused of stealing $71 from a gas station,
received an indeterminate sentence of one year to life in which his case was
reviewed annually. Jackson
was never granted parole and spent the rest of his life in prison.
While incarcerated at Soledad Prison in Salinas,
CA., he became politicized and began studying the theories of Mao Zedong,
Frantz Fanon, and Fidel Castro. He developed strong ideas viewing capitalism as
the source of the oppression of people of color, and became the leader in the
politicization of Black and Chicano prisoners in Soledad. On January 16, 1970 in response to
the death of three Black Muslims, a white guard (John Mills) was killed;
Jackson, Fleeta Drumgo, and John Clutchette were accused of the murder. The
three became known as the “Soledad Brothers.”
The fate of the Soledad Brothers became an international cause célèbre, which
focused on the treatment of blacks in prison. The publication of Jackson’s book Soledad
Brother that same year added to his visibility. For many supporters the issue
was the belief that the Soledad Brothers were victims of a prison conspiracy.
In August 1970, Jackson’s
teenage brother Jonathan was killed in the Marin County Courthouse in an
attempt to rescue his brother.
After being transferred to San Quentin Prison, three days before he was to go
to trial, George Jackson was killed by prison guards. The official report said
that he was armed and had participated in a prison revolt earlier in the day,
which had left five men (two guards and three prisoners) dead. Accounts of this
incident remain conflicting. Many in the Black Power Movement and the New Left
as a martyr and a hero.
Marshall was named to the U.S. Circuit of Appeals by President John F.
Representatives of more than 50 Black
professionals, business, religious, civil rights, and community organizations concluded
the first national Black Economic
Lou Brock of the St. Louis Cardinals stole his 935th base in a game
against the Mets in New York
on this day and became the all-time base-stealer in baseball history. A native
of El Dorado, AR, Brock signed with the Chicago Cubs in
1961 and was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1964 where he played until
his retirement in 1979. For 12 consecutive seasons with the Cardinals, he stole
more than 50 bases. He batted .391 in three World Series and holds the record
for most hits (13), most stolen bases (140) and highest slugging percentage
(.655) in a World Series as well as most hits in back-to-back World Series
(25). Brock was enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985. Rickey
his record of 938 stolen bases in 1991. Currently Brock is the owner of a
concessions business and remains active with the Cardinals organization.
Mandela was honored by President Bill Clinton with the Congressional
Medal of Honor on this date. Mandela received the medal at the Capital Rotunda
for overcoming 27 years of unjust imprisonment and rising up to become
President of South Africa.
Resource Organization is
celebrated on this date. Ayecha supports, strengthens, and advocates for Jews
of Color and multi-racial families in the U.S.
Founded in 2000 by Yavilah
McCoy, it is based in New
York City and St. Louis.
McCoy is an Orthodox, African-American Jewish educator, activist, publisher and
diversity consultant. Through her vision Ayecha has developed educational
awareness resources that both address the needs of diverse Jews and assist
Jewish organizations in building more aware, inclusive and welcoming
environments for “multi-dimensional” Jewish identity.
Demographics of the Jewish community show that through adoption, conversion,
intermarriage and immigration, the American Jewish population is growing
increasingly diverse. Jews of diverse backgrounds must not only contend with
challenging issues facing the entire Jewish population, but their own unique
cultural, racial, and socio-economic challenges as well. The Institute for
Jewish and Community Research estimates that 6.5-10% of American Jews are
ethnic minorities (Asian, Latino or African American.) The National Jewish
Population Study posits that over 5% of Jewish families with children have at
least 1 adopted child, and that 52% of Jews inter-marry.
Additionally Ayecha‘s projects are a result of information gathered through a
sampling of 150 racially and culturally diverse Jews across the United States.
Over a two-year period, Ayecha hosted various discussions to explore the
potential for recognizable change in the experiences of diverse Jews in
organized Jewish communal settings.
These discussions produced three areas of Ayecha’s programming: “Diversity in
Spirituality”- resources to address feelings among diverse Jews that Jewish
spiritual leaders are not adequately prepared to assist them and their
communities in navigating and creating space for diverse Jewish identity in the
synagogue. “Diversity in Building Community”- resources for Jewish educators
and professionals to address feelings among diverse Jews that their voices and
identities are not included in the type of programs and outreach services being
offered by their local Jewish communities, and “Diversity in Jewish Identity”-
social/educational events that address needs expressed among diverse Jews for
educational programs that cater to a wide variety of Jewry and offer networking
opportunities for diverse Jews to come together and contradict feelings of
being “the only one” in larger communal settings.
Ayecha’s current programming reaches many diverse Jews and their families,
living in Jewish communities across the United
States, in Canada,
England and in Israel. The
“living stories” provided by the individuals and families that seek out
Ayecha’s resources, offer a compelling reason for all Jewish individuals to
reflect upon the changing face of American Jewry and to examine our communal
acceptance and support of Jewish Diversity.
Through their projects and programs, Ayecha dispels harmful assumptions and
negative stereotypes that provide rigorous challenges to the successful
integration of ALL Jews into the various social settings, neighborhoods,
synagogues and educational institutions that comprise our national Jewish
Barry Bonds hit his 734th
home run to break Hank Aaron’s National League all-time home run record.