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Where Black History happens everyday.

Slavery is abolished in Maryland.

Jamaican national hero, Paul Bogle leads a successful protest march to the Morant Bay Courthouse.  Poverty and injustice in Jamaican society and lack of public confidence in the central authority had urged Paul Bogle to lead the march. A violent confrontation with official forces will follow the march, resulting in the death of nearly 500 people. Many others will be flogged and punished before order is restored.  Paul Bogle will be captured and hanged on October 24, 1865. His forceful demonstration will pave the way for the establishment of just practices in the courts and bring about a change in official attitude, making possible the social and economic betterment of the Jamaican people.

On this date, Robert Dett was born. He was an African American composer, concert pianist, arranger, poet and choral conductor.

From Drummondsyille, Ontario,
Robert Nathaniel Dett began learning piano as a child, studying at the Oliver Willis Halstead Conservatory of Music in Lockport, New York. He performed at churches and hotels around Niagara Falls, New York. Dett published his first composition, “After the Cake Walk,” for piano, in 1900. He also studied at Oberlin College (BM, 1908, composition and piano). While there, he directed the choir of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, composing an arrangement for violin and piano of “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.” His further musical education was at the Eastman School of Music (MM, 1938). 

In 1908 after receiving his bachelor’s degree, he began teaching at Lane College, Tennessee; there he composed Magnolia, a piano suite. In 1911, while teaching at Lincoln Institute in Jefferson, Missouri, Dett published a book of poems, Album of the Heart. From 1913 to 1932, he was the director of music at Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia. He performed a number of piano concerts in Chicago from 1914 to 1916 (later that year he married Elise Smith). Also during this time Dett founded the National Association of Negro Musicians and served as its president from 1924-1926. His teaching tenures included Lane College in Tennessee, Lincoln Institute in Missouri, Bennett College in North Carolina, and Hampton Institute in Virginia. It was at Hampton Institute that he develops the choral ensembles for which he received international acclaim and recognition.

Dett is considered as one of the most important translators of spiritual music into works for the concert stage. Some of his best known works are: As by the Streams of Babylon, Poor Me, and Steal Away to Jesus. He later taught at Bennett College, in Greensboro, North Carolina, and during World War II, he worked for the USO in Battle Creek, Michigan where he died in 1943 after succumbing to congestive heart failure.

Inventor Alexander Miles registered a patent for a major safety improvement for the elevator. His elevator used wire ropes that did not break like those on previous elevators. He also made riding an elevator significantly safer with automatic closing doors which prevented people from accidentally falling down elevator shafts. Patent #371,207.

On this, Granville T. Woods of Cincinnati patented the telephone system. For a while, he manufactured and sold his inventions through the Woods Electric Company, but he later sold his patent rights to the General Electric Company.

The beginning of Kentucky State University (KSU) is celebrated on this date.

It is one of over 100 Historical Black Colleges and Universities in America. From its start as a small normal school for the training of Black teachers for the Black schools of Kentucky, KSU has grown and evolved to become the state’s unique, liberal studies institution, serving students without regard to their race, age, sex, national origin, or economic status. The University was chartered in May, 1886 as the State Normal School for Colored Persons, only the second state-supported institution of higher learning in Kentucky at the time.

KSU is located in Frankfort and Recitation Hall (now Jackson Hall), the college’s first building, was erected in 1887. The new school opened in the fall of 1887 with 3 teachers, 55 students, and John H. Jackson as president. In 1890 the institution became a land-grant college, and the departments of home economics, agriculture, and mechanics were added to the school’s curriculum. The school produced its first graduating class of five students in the spring of that year. A high school was organized in 1893.

This development continued into the twentieth century in both name and program. In 1902, the name was changed to Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute for Colored Persons and in 1926 to Kentucky State Industrial College for Colored Persons. In the early 1930’s the high school was discontinued, and in 1938 the school was named the Kentucky State College for Negroes. The term “for Negroes” was dropped in 1952. Kentucky State College became a university in 1972, and a year later the first graduate students enrolled in its School of Public Affairs.

Moving into the twenty-first century the University’s enrollment and faculty have more than doubled. 29 new structures or major building expansions have improved Kentucky State University’s 511-acre campus, which includes a 203-acre agricultural research farm. This century, KSU continues its evolution as a coeducational, liberal arts institution.

C.O. Bailiff registers a patent on the shampoo headrest.

Bert Williams and George Walker, believed to be the first Black recording artists, recorded several songs for the Victor Talking Machine Company on this date.

The birth of Clayton Bates is marked on this date. He was an African-American tap dancer.

From rural Fountain Inn, South Carolina he was raised by his mother, Emma, after his father abandoned them. He loved to dance. He started dancing at the age of five. When he was 12, he lost his left leg after it was mangled in the conveyor belt of a cotton separator at a mill where he was working. With no hospital nearby for Black people, his leg was amputated on the table in his mother’s kitchen. After the mill accident, people said he would never dance again.

Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates started to dance again using two broomsticks under his arm until his uncle, Whitt Stewart, made his peg leg. Within a short time, his peg leg matched the dancing ability of his other leg. Bates and his mother moved to Greenville where he danced at carnivals and county fairs until a New York producer discovered him at Greenville Black Liberty Theatre in 1927. By this time, he could leap five feet in the air and perform almost every known tap dance step. He performed at the Lafayette Theatre in New York with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.

For many years of his professional life, he had been denied the opportunity to sleep in hotels at resorts where he performed. He never considered himself handicapped. “God showed me what to do with one leg. God blesses us differently.” In a brief time Bates was a show stopper, dancing at the Apollo Theatre, the Cotton Club and resorts and clubs throughout the United States. He gave two command performances before the King and Queen of England. He appeared on many television shows, including 21 times on the Ed Sullivan Show and toured Europe, South America and Australia.

He also wanted a better life for his people. An extraordinary human being, Peg Leg Bates never boasted or sought self-pity. In 1951, Bates and his wife, Alice, transformed their 60-acre turkey farm in the Catskill Mountains of New York into a resort for African-Americans. He retired from the stage in 1989 and passed away at Fountain Inn on December 6, 1998. Clayton Bates was buried in Palentown Cemetery, Ulster County, New York.

Art Blakey was born on this date. This African-American man was one of the finest musicians and band leaders in the history of jazz.

From Pittsburgh, PA, Blakey was originally a pianist. He went to New York with Mary Lou Williams’ combo as a drummer around 1939 and did yeoman service with Fletcher Henderson’s band before joining Charlie Parker, Sarah Vaughan, and other budding stars in Billy Eckstine’s embryonic bebop band. Following his stay with popular singer Eckstine, he began working New York clubs and contributing to recording sessions by the likes of Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk.

In 1954, Blakey directed his firepower into a combo founded with pianist Horace Silver that had Kenny Dorham on trumpet and Hank Mobley on tenor saxophone (hear their Blue Note LP at The Café Bohemia). With Silver departing, Blakey and company rolled on, the ranks most always filled with superlative young players. Among those under his tutelage at one time or another in the ‘50s were trumpeters Bill Hardman and Lee Morgan, saxophonists Jackie McLean and Benny Golson (who provided the band with durable tunes “Moanin’,” “Blues March” and “Along Comes Betty”) and pianist Bobby Timmons.

Tenor player Wayne Shorter, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and trombonist Curtis Fuller were the Jazz Messengers for part of the ‘60s, touring and cutting Blue Note gems like Mosaic (1961) and Free For All (1964). Although jazz suffered a commercial slump in the late ‘60s and ‘70s, Blakey carried on with other fine student musicians including Woody Shaw, George Cables, Bobby Watson and Chuck Mangione. But it was the arrival of the 19-year-old trumpet wizard Wynton Marsalis in 1979 that gave rise to widespread interest in Blakey’s cooperative quintets, sextets, and septets. Also in the group was Wynton’s brother Branford.

Not even Marsalis’ decision to go solo could impede the Jazz Messengers’ momentum; Blakey remained a tireless dynamo of creativity and prize students like Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison, Robin Eubanks, Benny Green, Kenny Garrett and Geoff Keezer improvised with creativity and emotional commitment. Only Blakey’s death on October 16, 1990 at the age of 71 could silence the world-acclaimed Jazz Messengers. After a visit to West Africa, Blakey converted to Islam and briefly took the name
Abdullah Ibn Buhaina, which led to the nickname “Bu.”

On this date, the first “Colored World Series” of baseball began in Chicago, Illinois.

The Kansas City Monarchs played the Philadelphia
Hilldales. The Monarchs finished at 55-22, ahead of the Chicago American Giants and the Hilldales were at 47-22 ahead of the Baltimore Black Sox.

A nine game series went the full length. The deciding game was a three-hit shutout by Jose Mendez of the Monarchs, final score K.C.,5; Philly,0.

General Roscoe Robinson, Jr., the second Black Four-Star General in U.S. history, was born in St. Louis, MO on this date.

Billy Higgins was born on this date. He was an African-American jazz drummer.

From Los Angeles, he began his career drumming in rock and R&B bands with Bo Diddley and Amos Milburn. His earliest jazz gigs were with Don Cherry, James Clay’s Jazz Messiahs, and with Dexter Gordon. In the mid-‘50s, Higgins began rehearsing with Ornette Coleman; his first recordings were with Coleman in ‘58, as well as sessions with Red Mitchell.

In the following decades the short list of Higgins’ discography would include material with Steve Lacy, Lee Morgan, Donald Byrd, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson, Mal Waldron and David Murray, as well as leading the Brass Company with Bill Lee and Bill Hardman. He also worked as a member of the Timeless All-Stars. A lifetime Los Angeles resident, Higgins was mentor to the young musicians who formed the B Sharp Quartet and Black Note. Higgins had a cameo in the movie ‘Round Midnight.

The combination of his loosely swinging tempos and controlled technique made him popular with fellow musicians as diverse as Thelonious Monk and Pat Metheny. Billy Higgins died in June 2001.

Coleman Hawkins records his famous “Body and Soul” in New York City.

The NAACP organizes and incorporates the Education and Legal Defense Fund. As a separate organization, it goes on to win many important legal battles guaranteeing civil, legal, and educational rights for Blacks. The Legal Defense Fund remains on of the most prominent groups fighting for minority rights in America today.

Lester Bowie was born on this date. He was an African-American trumpeter, flugelhornist, and percussionist.

A native of Frederick, Maryland, Bowie was reared in Little Rock, Arkansas and St. Louis and began playing at age 5. He was leading a teen combo in St. Louis at the age of 16. He then went into military service, returning to work with R&B groups and in support of his wife Fontella Bass. Bowie worked in the backup bands for R&B sessions for the Chess label and was instrumental in the formation of the Black Artists Group in St. Louis before moving to Chicago in 1966.

In Chicago, Bowie became involved with the AACM and worked with Roscoe Mitchell, a grouping that with the addition of Joseph Jarman and Malachi Favors became the Art Ensemble of Chicago, a groundbreaking group that continues to this day (minus Jarman). While in Paris with the Art Ensemble in 1969-‘70, Bowie recorded with an assortment of avant-garde players and made German recordings in the same period. In addition to his continuing role with the Art Ensemble, Bowie worked with Jack DeJohnette’s New Directions and followed a varied career through the ‘80s and ‘90s.

His bent notes, slurs, growls, half-valve effects, and showy, comedic flair added a fun, light, bluesy quality to the Art Ensemble performances and recordings. His best recordings outside the Art Ensemble include The Fifth Power (Black Saint) and My Way (DIW). The pure joy of making music is found in abundance in the sounds created by Lester Bowie. He died November 9, 1999.

A major prison uprising occurs at the DC Jail in Washington, DC.

The United Nations Day of Solidarity with South Africa is declared by the membership of the United Nations. A special day of solidarity is observed with the numerous political prisoners who are being held in South Africa.

Billy Thomas joins the ancestors after a heart attack in Los Angeles, California.  He was an actor, most notable as the third child to portray Buckwheat in the Our Gang comedies, a role he played in some 80 episodes of the popular film series.

President Reagan bans the importation of South African gold coins known as Krugerrands.

Red Foxx (John Elroy Sanford), famous for his raunchy standup comedy and his role as Fred Sanford in the popular Friday night NBC series Sanford & Son with Demond Wilson which ran for six seasons, died on this date in Los Angeles, CA at the age of 68. He also several film appearance, which included Cotton Comes to Harlem and Harlem Nights with Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, and Arsenio Hall.

On this date, Anita Hill, a University of Oklahoma law professor, gave her senate testimony accusing Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. Too many, Hill’s claims or to those opposed the Thomas nomination on other grounds, his appointment was a defeat.

Yet, the Hill-Thomas controversy had other long-term consequences beyond his life-term on the Supreme Court. National awareness about sexual harassment in the workplace heightened greatly. According to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filings in the five years that followed, sexual harassment cases more than doubled, from 6,127 in 1991 to 15,342 in 1996. Over the same period, awards to victims under federal laws nearly quadrupled, from $7.7 million to $27.8 million.

U.S. troops in Haiti take over the National Palace.

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