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
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,
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
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.
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
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
511-acre campus, which includes a 203-acre agricultural research farm. This
century, KSU continues its evolution as a coeducational, liberal arts
Bailiff registers a patent on the shampoo
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
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
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.
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.
Hawkins records his famous “Body and Soul” in New York City.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
U.S. troops in Haiti take over the National Palace.