October 4–7, 1864
The National Convention of Colored Citizens
of the United States assembled in the Wesleyan Methodist Church,
in Syracuse, NY on the first day at 7:00 P M. 140 attended from 8 states,
including Virginia, North Carolina, South Caroline, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana,
and Tennessee. Rev. Henry Highland Garnet, of Washington, D.C.,
called the Convention to order, and read the call, which appeared in the Liberator
on September 9, 1864. John M. Langston, Esq., of Oberlin, O., was chosen
temporary Chairman; Frederick Douglass as its president, and Wm. Howard Day, of
New Jersey, and St. George R. Taylor, of Pennsylvania,
Secretaries. Its Address to the People of the United States was written by
La Tribune de la Nouvelle Orléans (The New Orleans Tribune), the first
African American daily newspaper, is founded by Dr.
Louis C. Roudanez. The newspaper, published in both English and
French, started as a tri-weekly, but soon became an influential daily. Belgian
scientist Jean-Charles Houzeau became managing editor of the New Orleans
Tribune that year. Ardently sympathetic to the plight of Louisiana’s black population and reveling in
the fact that his dark complexion led many people to assume he was black
himself, Houzeau passionately embraced his role as the Tribune’s editor and
principal writer. The paper closed on February 28, 1869.
Presently the New Orleans Tribune is a monthly news magazine targeted to the
upscale African-American community. Founded in 1985 by Dr. Dwight and Beverly
McKenna, the Tribune has earned a reputation as a fearless, pioneering advocate
for social, economic and political issues often ignored by the mainstream
press. Monthly features and departments highlight prominent government,
business and community leaders, and feature topical stories on education,
health, arts/entertainment, government, business, and technology.
The founding of Edward Waters College (EWC) is celebrated on this date. It is one of over 100 Historical Black
Colleges and Universities in America.
Following the Civil War, the Reverend Charles H. Pearce, was sent to Florida to
establish another church by Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne. He saw the call to
educate newly emancipated Blacks in the state and raised funds to establish a
school in 1866, which evolved as Edward Waters College. Courses were first
offered at the elementary, high school, college, and seminary levels. In 1870,
during the session of Florida’s Tallahassee Conference of the AME Church the
school’s name became Brown Theological Institute this was chartered in 1872. It
then purchased ten acres of land in Live Oak where construction of the first
That year, the name was changed to “Brown University.” But financial
difficulties from an embezzlement scheme awarded the school properties to
creditors and the school was dormant for a decade. By 1883, the school was
reopened as the “East Florida Conference High School” and later the “East
Florida Scientific and Divinity High School.” In 1892, educational programs
were extended and the name was changed to Edward Waters College in honor of the
third bishop of the AME Church. In 1901, a storm completely destroyed the
College and much of the City of Jacksonville.
In 1904 following several years in rented quarters, Edward Waters College
purchased their present Kings Road site. The Centennial Building, the B.F. Lee
Theological Seminary, is currently the College’s administration building. The
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools first accredited Edward Waters
College in 1955 as a junior college. In 1958, the school expanded to offer
senior college work. By 1960 the college restored its four-year curriculum and
granted the bachelor’s degree. In 1985 EWC grew to an average full-time
enrollment of 650 students and became the 43rd member of the United Negro
College Fund. EWC places a worth on developing morally and well-accepted
citizens among its students.
All on-campus students must attend chapel every Wednesday morning, which is
also professional dress day and they are expected to bring business casual
attire in order to be properly dressed for school based special occasions. The
college library also features a distinctive collection of African art. Edward
Waters College is located at 1760 Kings Road, Jacksonville, Florida.
This date celebrates the town of Nicodemus, Kansas. Long before southern Blacks migrated to the industries of the north,
another area was a brief haven for many Blacks from the old confederacy.
Established during reconstruction, Nicodemus, Kansas was the first primary
Black rural settlement after slavery. On April 16th of that year, a
circular predicted Nicodemus would become the “Largest Colored Colony in
America.” In June, W.R. Hill filed a
160-acre town site plat with the government land office in Kirwin, Kansas,
founding the proposed site. Over the next three years, the first businesses of
Nicodemus (a general store including a pharmacy), attorney and land agent
offices and later a Post Office and church were added.
The official census of February 1880 counted 595 Blacks or 20% of the entire
population of the county. In June of that year, an average of seven acres per
homestead was put into cultivation. On August 1st 1881, Emancipation Day in
Nicodemus (an annual celebration that continues today) was first observed. The
town was named for a legendary slave who foretold the coming of the Civil War.
In 1910, the Black population of the county reached its peak of 700. The fate
of Nicodemus hinged on the railroad that though proposed never happened, in
April, The Missouri Pacific line stalled at Stockton, Kansas.
The Union Pacific ran south of the Solomon River bypassing Nicodemus by six
miles. In 1950 the town was reduced to 16 inhabitants, three years later The
Post Office closed. Nicodemus completed a cycle of existence in almost 80 years.
In 1976, Nicodemus was designated a National Historic Landmark. On November 12th,
1996, Congress established the Nicodemus National Historic Site in Graham
McCray was born on this date. She is an
Born in Lynchburg, Virginia, she attended the Virginia Seminary Primary School.
Her father, William Patterson Allen, was a lawyer; her mother, Mary Rice Hayes
Allen, was a college teacher. As the ninth of ten children, McCray’s Virginia
childhood had warmth with a close community. When she was seven, her family
moved to Montclair, New Jersey where she attended Spaulding Elementary School, Hillside
Junior High, and Montclair High School. She received her Bachelor of Arts
degree from Talladega College in 1935 and her master’s degree in social work
from New York University in 1955.
In 1940, McCray married Winfield Scott Young, which ended in divorce in 1945.
She did marry a second time to John H McCray. James Weldon Johnson and Langston
Hughes, among others, were guests in the Allen home, as were more unusual and
less constrained figures that also came into the Allen’s’ lives. The tensions of
race and gender that defined McCray’s early life continued into her adult
Her list of writings include Ajös Means Goodbye, 1966. Other published works by
McCray are The Black Woman and Family Roles (1980). Her poems have also
appeared in Ms. Magazine, The River Styx, Gloria Steinem’s book; Moving Beyond
Words, The Crimson Edge: Older Women Writing, The South Carolina Collection,
and The Squaw Review. Her first person memoir, Freedom’s Child: The Life of a
Confederate General’s Black Daughter was published in 1998. Although she began
to take her writing seriously at the age of 73, McCray makes it clear that only
very recently has she been able to think of herself as writer in a professional
Carrie Allen McCray has made her home in Columbia, South Carolina since 1986.
Malvin Gray Johnson joins the ancestors in New York City. His deceptively simple
paintings, with their warm colors and serene, sensuous charm, had earned him a
large and loyal group of admirers during the Harlem Renaissance.
Joe Walcott, World Welterweight Boxing Champion during the early 1900’s, joins the
ancestors after being struck and killed by a car. He is perhaps the only West
Indian (from Barbados), universally recognized as a boxing legend. Walcott
stood at five feet, one and a half inches, his fighting weight at 142 pounds,
basically a midget version of Mike Tyson. His short powerful physique enabled
him to bob and weave, catching his opponent’s punches on his powerful shoulders
and his granite-like head.
Lee Patrick Brown is born in Wewoka, Oklahoma. He will become one of the
top-ranking law-enforcement executives in the United States, first as Public
Safety Commissioner in Atlanta, Georgia, then as the first African American
police chief in Houston, Texas, the second African American police commissioner
for New York City, and the first African American mayor of Houston.
On this date, H.
Rap Brown was born. He is an African-American
activist, writer and spiritual leader.
Hubert G. Brown is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He became involved with the Civil
Rights Movement while a student at that city’s Southern High School. He
attended Southern University but left there in 1962 to devote himself to civil
rights. Brown spent summers in Washington D.C. with his older brother Ed and
became a member of the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG). In 1964, while chairman
of NAG, he became involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
(SNCC), and in 1966, he was appointed their voter registration director in
One year later he succeeded Stokely Carmichael as National Chairman of SNCC and
in 1968 Brown served as minister of justice for the Black Panther Party during
a brief working alliance of the two Black Power organizations. As the urban
rebellions of black discontent spread across America during the late 1960’s
Brown’s eloquent militant advocacy stance made him a popular and effective
speaker. These talents were the source of his adopted name “Rap,” and were also
displayed in his book Die Nigger Die! (1969). The police and the FBI constantly
harassed Brown. He was arrested in 1967 for transporting weapons across state lines
while under indictment though he was never formally notified he was under that
He resigned as chairman on SNCC and went into hiding, making the FBI’s ten most
wanted list in 1970. Brown was apprehended in 1972 and released four years
later. He converted to Islam while in prison, taking the name Jamil Abdullah
Al-Amin (beautiful servant of Allah the trustworthy). After his release, he
moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he lives as the proprietor of a grocery store
called the Community Store. He was the Imam (leader) of the Atlanta Mosque as
well as communities in Chicago, New York, and Detroit.
Al-Amin is a strict Sunni Muslim in his interpretation of the Koran and his
followers make aggressive outreach efforts to college campuses, malls, and the
surrounding community. Al-Amin’s Mosque operates its own 300-student school as
well. Currently the 57-year-old Al-Amin is in a Georgia jail awaiting another
trial. Al-Amin is accused of killing Fulton County Deputy Ricky Kinchen and
wounding Deputy Aldranon English as they tried to serve him with an arrest
warrant at his grocery store in west Atlanta on March 16th, 2000.
His indictment was based on the identification of him as the gunman and on lab
tests showing that the two weapons recovered after his arrest in White Hall,
Alabama, matched shell casings found at the shooting scene. Al-Amin was found
guilty on March 9, 2002 on 13 counts including murder.
Primus makes her Broadway debut at the Belasco
Theater. She will become widely known for blending the African and American
Clifton Davis is born in Chicago, Illinois. He will become an actor and
singer, performing in “That’s My Mama,” and “Amen” on television. He will also
become a minister in the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Lesotho (Basutoland) gains its independence from Great Britain.
Howard N. Lee and Charles
Evers are elected the first African American mayors
of Chapel Hill, N.C. and Fayette, Miss., respectively.
Elgin Baylor announces his retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers. After 14 years
in the NBA, Baylor had scored 23,149 points, the third highest in the league,
and was the fifth highest career rebounder.
Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz resigns in the wake of a controversy over a joke he had made about
Rayford Logan, educator, historian, author, dies.
Sweatt, the plaintiff in the infamous Sweatt v. Painter separate-but-equal
decision, died in Atlanta, GA.
Bill and Camille
Cosby make a $20 million gift to Spelman College.
The Martin L.
King, Jr. Federal Building is dedicated
in Atlanta, GA. It is the first federal building in the nation to bear the name
of the slain civil rights leader.
The Harold Washington Library in Chicago, Illinois is dedicated in the memory of its beloved former
Haitian President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide vows in an address to the U.N. General
Assembly, to return to Haiti in 11 days.
President Clinton welcomes South African President Nelson Mandela to the White
Congress passes a bill authorizing the
creation of 500,000
Black Revolutionary War Patriots Commemorative coins.
On this date, an African Burial Ground in New York City was re-established.
The African Burial Ground is a 5 or 6-acre cemetery that was used between the
late 1600’s and 1796 and originally contained between ten thousand and twenty
thousand burials. In June of 1991 the discovery of the African Burial Ground
happened. Earlier that month construction workers began to dig the foundation
for a new $300 million federal government building in lower Manhattan. It all
stopped when they dug into a burial ground, where they found wooden coffins and
Investigators discovered that this was a colonial burial ground used to bury
Africans who were not permitted to be buried in church cemeteries, even if they
had converted to Christianity. Despite the harsh treatment that these African
people in colonial America seemed to receive, the 427 remains which were
finally recovered from the site were buried with great care and love on this
date. They were wrapped in linen shrouds and methodically positioned in
well-built cedar or pine coffins, sometimes with beads or other treasured
objects, occasionally with ornamentation on the coffin.
The African Burial Ground is a reminder of the contribution of African people,
both slave and free, to the building of New York City. Many Americans were not
aware that New York was a slave state in the early days of the nation. New York
had the largest number of enslaved people in North America except for
Charleston during the 18th century. It is estimated that Africans made up
between 14-20% of New Yorkers during those days. The two day event of the Rites
of Ancestral Return commemorative ceremony began with a Departure Ceremony at
Howard University. They were then celebrated as contributors of African
Americans as their ancestral remains from the African Burial Ground were
returned from Washington, DC, to New York City.
Dr. Kofi Asare Opoku, a religious scholar from Ghana, poured a libation of
water from a small gold bowl onto the ground and prayed in his native tongue.
The remains were given a permanent resting-place at the African Burial Ground