On this date we celebrate the birth of James Theodore Holly. He was a Black minister and abolitionist.
From Detroit, Michigan, his father James Overton Holly was
a Scottish man and records show that his mothers name was Jane. Holly was
baptized and raised a Catholic yet gradually he moved away from the Catholic
Church. He spent his early years in Washington,
D. C. and Brooklyn, NY where he connected with Frederick
Douglass and other Black abolitionist. Holly’s emphasis on native Black clergy
was in distinct opposition to Catholic emphasis on white European clergy.
In 1852 he converted to the Episcopal Church and in went to Haiti in 1855.
There in 1874 he became the first Negro Episcopal Bishop and the second bishop
of any major white Christian church. During this time Haiti was split with the Vatican and most men of Haiti supported
their religious sentiment through the symbolism and observance of the Masonic
Lodge. As an experienced Masonic leader and scholar, Holly visited the Masonic
temples and made friends among their exclusive members. He was also willing to
perform Masonic burial services.
He also enjoyed reminding the mulattoes that only three public organizations in
Haiti had self-ruling native
administrations: the Government, the Masonic fraternity and the Orthodox Apostolic Church.
In July 1863 Holly organized the Holy
He later spent 15 years in Washington D. C. and moved to Brooklyn
where he became friends with Frederick Douglass. From 1889 to 1891, Holly aided
Douglass in a number of his programs.
James Theodore Holly died on March 13, 1911.
On this date, the Secretary
of the Navy authorizes the enlistment of slaves in the Union Navy as sailors, almost a year before the army opened its ranks. Some
former slaves risked their lives to enlist, swimming or rowing boats from
plantations to Union ships anchored nearby. The enlistees could achieve no rank
higher than “boys” and receive pay of one ration per day and $10 per month.
Eight African-American sailors won the U.S. Medal of Honor for their courage in
battle during the Civil War. Despite such valor, Blacks were barred from the
Navy after World War I, and not allowed to enlist again until 1932 and then
only as kitchen help.
In 1942, the Navy accepted volunteers for general service but prohibited them
from going to sea. In 1949, Wesley Branch became the first black graduate of
the U. S. Naval Academy. And in 1996, Admiral J. Paul Reason became the Navy’s
first black four-star admiral.
Peter “The Black Prince” Jackson wins the
Australian heavyweight title, becoming the very first Black man to win a
national boxing crown.
On this date, we celebrate the origin of the
Washington Literary Club. Started in Ohio, the first
President of the club was Rev.
George Washington of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. The club was geared to cater to the Afro-Americans students at Ohio University.
Later the club was called the B.T.W. Literary Society. The club disbanded in
Dr. Eric Williams, former prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, was born.
a letter to his friend Alain Locke, Langston Hughes writes “I’ve done a couple of new poems. I have no
more paper, so I’m sending you one on the back of this letter.” The poem, “I, Too”, will be published two years later and be among his
Robert Allen “Bob” McAdoo, Jr. is born. He will become a one of the best-shooting
big men of all time in professional basketball. He will win Rookie of the Year,
a Most Valuable Player Award and three consecutive scoring championships, all
in his first four years in the NBA. Over fourteen seasons, McAdoo will score
18,787 points and average 22.1 point per game. A five-time NBA All Star, he
will shoot .503 from the field and .754 from the line, scoring in double
figures in all but one season.
Bell Hooks was born on this date. She is an African-American author, Black
feminist and social critic.
Born Gloria Watkins in Hopkinsville,
Kentucky, she uses the name bell
hooks (spelled without capitals) to honor her mother and grandmother. In 1973,
she graduated Stanford University, followed by a degree from University of Wisconsin
in 1976 and her Ph.D. from the University
of California, Santa Cruz in 1983.
Hooks feels that many current social issues (especially race, gender, sex,
class, and sexual orientation) are interconnected, and that positive social
change requires confronting them “as a whole”. Some of her views could be
called radical or possibly anti-white. She spells “Black” with a capital but
spells “white” in lower-case. She is also Buddhist, and many of her writings
and interviews deal with Buddhism. She is best known for her critique of, and
strategy against, what she terms “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy”.
Hooks has taught at Yale and Oberlin
College. She is currently
Distinguished Professor of English at City
College in New York and is requested speaker.
Her many writings include: Ain’t I a woman: Black women and feminism, 1981.
Feminist theory from margin to center, 1984. Talking back: thinking feminist,
thinking black, 1989. Yearning: race, gender, and cultural politics, 1990. with
Cornel West. Breaking bread: insurgent Black intellectual life, 1991. Black
looks: race and representation, 1992. Sisters of the yam: black women and
self-recovery, 1993. Teaching to transgress: education as the practice of
freedom, 1994. Outlaw culture: resisting representations, 1994. Art on my mind:
visual politics, 1995. Killing rage: ending racism, 1995. Bone Black: memories
of girlhood, 1996. Reel to real: race, sex, and class at the movies, 1996.
Wounds of passion: a writing life, 1997. with Christopher Raschka. Happy to be
nappy, 1999. Remembered rapture: the writer at work, 1999. Feminism Is for
Everybody: Passionate Politics, 2000. Where We Stand: Class Matters, 2000.
Salvation: Black People and Love, and All About Love: New Visions, 2001. Be Boy
Buzz, 2002 and Communion: The Female Search for Love, 2002. Rock My Soul: Black
People and Self-Esteem, 2002. We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity, 2003.
300 U.S. Army troops of the 101st Airborne Division, nine African
American children (The Little Rock Nine), forced to withdraw the previous day from Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, because of unruly white
crowds, are escorted to back to class. President Dwight Eisenhower ordered the
troops when Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus used National Guardsmen to block the
students from entering the school, putting him direct violation of the landmark
1954 Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, KS, which
banned segregation in public schools. The Little Rock Nine, Thelma Mothershed, Elizabeth Eckford,
Ray, Jefferson Thomas, Melba Patillo,
Green, Carlotta Walls, Minnie Brown, and Terence Roberts, were led by Daisy Bates, who then headed the Arkansas conference of NAACP branches. In
1999, the group members were awarded Congressional Medals, the top civilian
award bestowed by Congress and, in 2005, a statue to commemorate their civil
rights battle was dedicated outside the governor’s office in Little Rock. A Central High School National Historic
Site is slated to be dedicated during the 50th anniversary commemoration
of the historic milestone.
A Black church was destroyed by fire in Macon, Georgia. This was
the eighth church burned in Georgia since August 15.
The Continuing Struggle. Mississippi
Governor Ross Barnett again defied court orders and personally denied James Meredith admission to the University of Mississippi.
Sonny Liston knocks out Floyd
Patterson in the first round to become the world
heavyweight boxing champion.
Willie Mays hits his 50th home run of the baseball
season, making him the oldest player to accomplish this. He was 34 years old. Ten
years before this, at the age of 24, he was the youngest man to accomplish the
Scotty Pippen is born. He will become a professional basketball
player and will be traded to the Houston Rockets in 1998 after 11 distinguished
seasons with the Chicago Bulls, for whom he averaged 18.0 points, 6.8 rebounds
and 5.3 assists in 833 NBA games. He will earn All-NBA First Team honors three
times in his career and All-Defensive First Team honors in each of seven seasons
(1992-1999. In addition, Pippen will earn NBA World Championships in six of the
eight years and Olympic gold medals in 1992 and 1996. He will be selected as
one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996.
Will Smith was born on this date. He
is an African-American actor and entertainer.
From West Philadelphia, Smith has 1 brother and 2 sisters, among whom Harry and
Ellen who are twins. His mother, Caroline, used to be a school board worker and
his dad, Willard Smith Sr., worked as an engineer and has been owner of a
refrigeration company. He graduated from Overbrook High School where received
the nickname “Prince” from his teachers because of the way he “charmed his way
through”. Later, he added “Fresh” to it. He started rapping at parties at 12
and that’s how he met Jeff A. Townes; they started performing together in duo
as DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. So far they have recorded 5 albums: Rock
The House, He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper (Grammy-winning), And In This Corner,
Home base, Code Red as well as a few hit singles, such as “Nightmare on My Street” and “Parents Just Don’t
Understand” and a Greatest Hits album.
Big Willie Style was a huge global success in 1998, and so is Willennium this
year. His participation to Men in Black: The Album made impact.
In 1990, he was offered him to play in a sitcom based on his life. That’s how
Will started acting in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which was successful and
lasted 6 years. In 1992, he had his first film role in Where the Day Takes You
and also appeared in Made In America. In 1993, he starred in Six Degrees of
Separation. But the real fame started only in 1994, with the release of Bad
Boys. The blockbuster Independence Day came in 1996, then Men in Black in 1997,
co-staring Tommy Lee Jones, followed by Enemy of the State and Wild Wild West,
and The Legend of Bagger Vance 2000. Will’s latest movies are Ali and I Robot.
He was previously married to Sheree Zampino. He has two sons, Willard Smith III,
nicknamed Trey, and Jaden Christopher Syre Smith. Will is now been with Jada
Pinkett (also an actress). They’ve been married since December of 1997. A
passionate chess player he also owns a production company, Will Smith
Enterprises, working on behalf of talents Tatyana Ali, former FPBA co-star and
His Brother and sisters are working for him; Harry is his chief financial
officer, Ellen, (who studied as a cosmetologist) is receptionist and Pam helps
in the managing of Will’s business back in Philadelphia, an ice-manufacturing
company and a charitable foundation that puts money into local resources.
However Smith has been criticized for his lip service to his home town. Several
of his songs talk about parts of Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. While
he has spoke over the years about how much he loves the city and how much he
wants to give back, none of his proposed ventures in the city of Philadelphia
have ever been developed. He has proposed opening a restaurant, several upscale
bars, and a community center in Philadelphia which have never seen development.
‘Men in Black 3’ is set for release in 2007, 10 years after the 1st film: Men
in Black. Will Smith is also planned to star in a feature film remake
television series of “It Takes a Thief.”
Barbara W. Hancock becomes the first Black woman named a White House fellow.
Florence Griffith Joyner runs 100 meters in record Olympic time of 10.54 seconds.
Williams’ 1942 movie “Blood of Jesus” is among the third group
of 25 films added to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry.
William’s movie was about an atheist who accidentally shoots his Baptist wife.
She dies and goes to an afterlife crossroads, where the devil tries to lead her
astray. Williams, best known for his
role of Andy in the television series “Amos ‘n’ Andy”, was more importantly, an
innovative film director and a contemporary of Oscar Micheaux. Williams’s film
joins other classics like “Lawrence of Arabia” and “2001: A Space Odyssey".
On this date, a Nigerian woman won an acquittal in court avoiding death
Amina Lawal a Nigerian peasant sentenced under Islamic law to death by stoning for
having had sex outside marriage was set free by the highest religious court in
her state. Her case had become a flash point in the debate over the
reintroduction of Shariah, or Islamic law, across northern Nigeria and a
difficult political problem for a nation already inflamed by deep religious and
regional divides. Death-by-stoning is not allowed under the Nigerian
The ruling by the Katsina State Sharia Court of Appeals relied largely on
technicalities, and it is unclear what impact it will have on the dozens of
other Shariah sentences pending before Islamic courts, including
death-by-stoning. During the same week, another Shariah court in northern
Nigeria convicted a man of sodomy and sentenced him to death by stoning.