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The yearly meeting of the Philadelphia Quakers adopts a ban on members participating in the slave trade.

The First African Lodge, #459, was established with Prince Hall as its Worshipful Master.

On this date we remember Henrietta Vinton Davis. She was an outstanding African-American actress and an international leader of the Garvey movement.

Born in Baltimore, to Mansfield and Ann Johnson Davis, she taught school in Maryland and Louisiana and, in 1878, became the first black woman employed at the Office of the Recorder of Deeds in Washington DC, where she worked as an assistant to Frederick Douglass. Davis’ dramatic career began in 1883 and over the next decade she traveled widely as an elocutionist, attracting large audiences with her work by Dunbar, Shakespeare, and others.

She started her own company in Chicago in 1893, traveling to the Caribbean, and collaborated on writing Our Old Kentucky Home. Her connections in Jamaica and her friendship with Marcus Garvey attracted her to the Universal Negro Improvement Association in 1918.

Her experience as an actress was an effective communication vehicle with the ideals of the Garvey movement, though she became disillusioned with its mission later on. Henrietta Vinton Davis died November 23rd 1941.

Cornelius Fitzgerald was born on this date. He was a Black lawyer.

From Jonesboro, Tennessee he was one of six sons of Joseph M. Fitzgerald and Mary A. (Ford) Fitzgerald. He attended Fisk University; graduated from Berea College; Howard University School of Law, LL. B. After graduation from Berea College, Fitzgerald spent time in Kansas and the then Indian Territory of Oklahoma working for the government. He then moved to Washington, D. C. in order to accept a federal appointment. He completed his law degree in 1892 at Howard University and was admitted to the bar the following year.

Unable to establish a practice in Tennessee, he opened a law practice in Baltimore, MD. Fitzgerald met and married Gertrude Smith in 1897. The couple had one son, John McFarland Fitzgerald. He practiced law in Baltimore for forty-two years; centering on estate law and real estate law. Fitzgerald was a member of the Madison Street Presbyterian Church and the Republican Party. He was a member of the Colored Business Men’s Exchange and numerous fraternal organizations such as the Order of Good Hope, the Order of Moses and the Masons (attaining the 33rd degree). He was president of the board of trustees of (Black-owned) Providence Hospital in Baltimore.

He was also involved in the Big Brother Movement and was a major donor to the Maryland Home for the Friendless as well as the YMCA. Cornelius Fitzgerald died in 1935.

At the Battle of New Market Heights, Sergeant Major Christian Fleetwood and 12 other African Americans fight valiantly for the Union’s cause. They will receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for their action the following year.

Thomas Edward “Eddie” Tolan was born on this date. He was an African-American sprinter.

Tolan from Denver, Colo., was that areas city and state champion in the 100- and 200-yard dashes. At the University of Michigan, he attracted national attention in 1929 when he set a record in the 100-yard dash (9.5 seconds) and tied the record of 10.4 seconds in the 100-meter dash.

The 5 foot 7 inch Tolan, who raced with his glasses taped to his head, won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship in the 200- and 220-yard dashes and the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) championship in the 100- and 220-yard events between 1929 and 1931.

He finished second to Ralph Metcalfe in the 100- and 200-meter dashes in the trials for the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In the Games themselves, however, Tolan set an Olympic record by handily winning the 200-meter in 21.2 seconds, and he eked out a narrow photo-finish victory over Metcalfe in the 100-meter in 10.3 seconds, setting a world record.

Subsequently, Tolan had a brief career as a vaudeville performer with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and later became a schoolteacher. Edward Thomas Tolan was the first Black athlete to win two Olympic gold medals. In his track career Tolan won 300 races, losing only 7. While attending high school in Detroit, MI, often called “The Midnight Express.” He was also known as the “Phantom Flyer.” He died January 30, 1967 in Detroit, MI.

Dr. George Edmund Haynes, Eugene Kinckle Jones, and Ruth Standish Baldwin were leaders in the founding of the National Urban League on this date.

Henry Green Parks, Jr. is born. He will become an entrepreneur and owner of Parks Sausage Company of Baltimore, Maryland. In 1969, the company will become the first African American owned publicly traded company, when it is listed on the over-the-counter market.

Edward Thomas Demby was elected Suffragan Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas on this date.

On this date, Chuck Cooper was born. He was an African-American basketball player and government official.

From Pittsburgh, he was the son of Daniel and Emma Cooper. He played basketball and graduated from Westinghouse High School and attended West Virginia State before entering the Navy during World War II. Afterwards, the 6’5” Cooper attended Duquesne University and was one of the first Black All-Americans. On April 25, 1950 Cooper broke the color barrier in the National Basketball Association (NBA) by being drafted by the Boston Celtics.

According to his coach Red Auerbach, Cooper “had to go through hell,” as the first Black in the sport. He played for six seasons and with fellow rookie and roommate Bob Cousy they revitalized a mediocre team. He then played a season for the Milwaukee/St. Louis Hawks and the Fort Wayne Pistons, before finishing his career outside the NBA with the Harlem Magicians.

Cooper later earned a Masters in Social Work degree from the University of Minnesota., served on Pittsburgh’s school board, and became the city’s first Black department head as director of parks and recreation. Chuck Cooper also worked as supervisor of Pittsburgh’s National Bank’s affirmative action program before he died in 1984.

Dr. Lenora Moragne, one of the leading nutrition scientists in the United States, is born in Evanston, llinois.

Hugh Mulzac, the first black captain of a US merchant ship, launched with the SS Booker T. Washington out of Wilmington, DE on this date. The Booker T. Washington was built by the California Shipbuilding Corp. at Terminal Island, Los Angeles and with its crew of eighteen nationalities, was the first of 17 Liberty Ships (out of 2,700) named for an African-American (A later Liberty would bear the name Frederick Douglass.). Marian Anderson christened the Washington as its first honor.

Under Mulzac’s command, the 10,500-ton vessel made twenty-two round-trip voyages between 1942-47, making its first trans-Atlantic crossing in early 1943 from New York City to Great Britain and also carrying 18,000 troops to Europe and the Pacific through dangerous waters.

On the day his ship was launched, Mulzac recalled, “Everything I ever was, stood for, fought for, dreamed of, came into focus that day. The concrete evidence of the achievement gives one’s strivings legitimacy, proves that the ambitions were valid, the struggle worthwhile. Being prevented for those twenty-four years from doing the work for which I was trained had robbed life of its most essential meaning. Now at last I could use my training and capabilities fully. It was like being born anew.” He remained at the ship’s helm for the next four years and 22 successful voyages. During this time, he expressed pride for his integrated crew, which represented the numerous nationalities.

After World War II, the Washington hauled coal for the Luckenbach Steamship Company, under the command of another Black shipmaster, Captain James H. Brown, Jr. In 1947, the vessel was laid-up in the defense reserve fleet, where it remained for the next 22 years. The Washington was turned back over to the Maritime Commission in 1947. Despite his many years of service, Mulzac was never again given a similar assignment. The Washington was scrapped in July 1969 in Portland, OR, but remains an interesting and significant footnote in the chronicle of African American seafaring.

Dizzy Gillespie presented his first Carnegie Hall concert in New York City, adding a sophisticated jazz touch to the famous concert emporium. Dizzy will become one of the jazz greats of all time. His trademark: Two cheeks pushed out until it looked like his face would explode.

Bryant C. Gumbel is born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He will become the editor of Black Sports magazine and a successful sportscaster before joining NBC’s Today Show as the first African American anchor of a national network morning news entertainment program.

Gwen Ifill was born on this date. She is an African-American journalist.

From New York City (Queens), she is the daughter of O. Urcille Ifill, Sr. a Methodist preacher and Eleanor IFill. She has a sister and brother, Maria Ifill Philip and Roberto. In 1977, she graduated from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts where she majored in communications, and through an internship got her first hands-on experience as a journalist. Ifill has also received 15 honorary degrees.

She earlier worked for the Boston Herald, the Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and NBC. Ifill became moderator of the PBS program Washington Week in Review in October 1999 and is also senior correspondent for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. On October 5, 2004, she moderated the vice presidential debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards. Ifill serves on the board of the Harvard Institute of Politics, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Museum of Television and Radio and the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

Willie Mays makes his famous “over-the-shoulder catch” of Vic Wertz’ 460’ drive.

President John F. Kennedy authorized use of federal troops in the integration of University of Mississippi with the admission of James Meredith to the university. On this same date, in relation to this, Lt. Governor Paul Johnson of Mississippi was found guilty of civil contempt for blocking the entrance of the university to Meredith.

Ralph Boston of the United States sets the long jump record at 27’ 4¾”.

WGPR-TV Detroit, first Black-owned station in US, began broadcasting.

In the most-watched prize fight in history to date, Muhammad Ali beats Ernie Shavers (in a fifteen round decision) to claim the heavyweight championship boxing crown. The bout was televised from New York City’s Madison Square Garden and was officiated by the first woman official of a heavyweight title boxing match before an estimated 70 million viewers.

Sir William Arthur Lewis, Professor of Economics Princeton University, became the first black to receive the Nobel Prize in Economics. This award represents the highest level of accomplishment for an economist.

Florence Griffith Joyner of the United States sets the 200 meter woman’s record in 21.34 seconds.

Former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley joins the ancestors at the age of 80.

Mabel Fairbanks, 85, the first black women to be inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame

On this date, radio talk show host William Bennett was quoted as making racially divisive statements about African American’s in relation to abortion and crime. This happened on the former secretary of education’s program “Morning in America”. Here is the transcript from the show.

CALLER: I noticed the national media, you know, they talk a lot about the loss of revenue, or the inability of the government to fund Social Security, and I was curious, and I’ve read articles in recent months here, that the abortions that have happened since Roe v. Wade, the lost revenue from the people who have been aborted in the last 30-something years, could fund Social Security as we know it today. And the media just doesn’t never touches this at all.

BENNETT: Assuming they’re all productive citizens?

CALLER: Assuming that they are. Even if only a portion of them were, it would be an enormous amount of revenue.

BENNETT: Maybe, maybe, but we don’t know what the costs would be, too. I think as abortion disproportionately occurs among single women? No.

CALLER: I don’t know the exact statistics, but quite a bit are, yeah.

BENNETT: All right, well, I mean, I just don’t know. I would not argue for the pro-life position based on this, because you don’t know. I mean, it cuts both you know, one of the arguments in this book Freakonomics that they make is that the declining crime rate, you know, they deal with this hypothesis, that one of the reasons crime is down is that abortion is up. Well.

CALLER: Well, I don’t think that statistic is accurate.

BENNETT: Well, I don’t think it is either, I don’t think it is either, because first of all, there is just too much that you don’t know. But I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.

The comments drew criticism from Senate minority leader Harry Reid who said he was appalled. Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy called them racist and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi who said they were shameful.

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