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1834
This date marks one of the first patents filed by a black person in America.

The inventor,
Henry Blair of Glenrose, Maryland was granted a patent for a corn-planting machine (harvester) and, two years later, a second patent for a similar device used in planting cotton.

In the Registry of the Patent Office, Blair was designated “a colored man”- the only instance of identification by race in these early records. Since slaves could not legally obtain patents, Blair was evidently a free man and is probably the first Black inventor to receive a U. S. patent.



1864
The first African American daily newspaper, the New Orleans Tribune, is published in both French and English.


1867
The founding of St. Augustine’s College is celebrated on this date. It is one of over 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in America.

It was established by the Episcopal clergy for the education of freed slaves. Located in Raleigh, North Carolina, over time they have become one of the country’s most highly respected private, accredited, black, coeducational institutions. The College’s liberal arts department contains programs in business; computer science; teacher education; the natural sciences; mathematics; allied health; interdisciplinary studies; urban, social/international studies; theater and film; adult education; community development; communications; and military science, a required course for all members of the College’s distinguished Army ROTC division.

Recently the College’s annual enrollment has grown to 1,400 students, about half from North Carolina, the remainder from 37 states, the District of Columbia, the U. S. Virgin Islands, Jamaica and 30 foreign countries. St. Augustine’s consists of nearly 100 dedicated men and women, all capable teachers and scholars. Their main campus is over 55 acres with 37 facilities, three of which, its Chapel, St. Agnes Hall and Taylor Hall, are registered historic landmarks. St. Augustine’s was the first HBCU in the nation to have its own on-campus commercial radio and television stations: WAUG-AM750 and WAUG-TV68, Cable Channel 20. They provide a strong liberal arts base for all of its students with flexibility.

They enable their students to make educational and career choices consistent with widening opportunities and the rapidly changing conditions of society too. While technical skills are highly prized to guarantee students a meaningful role in the marketplace, St. Augustine’s also assists students in developing enriched perspectives to deal competently with an increasingly complex, interactive global society.

Some of St. Augustine’s more than 10,000 living alumni are: North Carolina State Auditor, the Hon. Ralph Campbell, Jr. ‘68, the first African-American elected to that position in this state; George Williams, ‘65, internationally acclaimed track and field coach; Ruby Butler DeMesme, ’69, former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (ret.) for manpower, installations and environment and Hannah Diggs Atkins, ’43, first African-American woman elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives (1968-1980).



1896
Oscar Charleston was born on this date. He was an African-American baseball player and manager who was considered by many to be the best all-around ball player in the history of the Negro leagues.

From Indianapolis, IN, in his mid-teens, Oscar Mckinley Charleston left school and entered the U. S. Army. He first played organized baseball while stationed in the Philippines. He was the only black player in the Manila League in 1914. He returned to Indianapolis in 1915 and signed on with the ABCs, the local Negro club for whom he had been a bat boy as a child. The barrel-chested Charleston quickly made an impression with his expert play in center field and his lively bat, which helped the ABCs win a championship in 1916. The black sports press referred to him as the “Hoosier Comet,” Charleston’s career spanned nearly four decades.

A left-hander who hit for both power and average, he was best known for his exceptional speed, strong throwing arm, and volatile temper that often led to fights on and off the field. He joined the Chicago American Giants in 1919 but returned to the ABCs the following year, when the team joined the newly formed Negro National League. In 1921 he enjoyed a typically strong year, batting.434, stealing 35 bases in 60 games, and leading the league in doubles, triples, and home runs. Charleston played with the St. Louis Giants, the Harrisburg Giants (serving also as manager), and the Philadelphia Hilldales in the 1920s.

He joined the Homestead Grays in 1930 and was part of the 1931 team that also starred Josh Gibson, Smokey Joe Williams, Ted Page, and Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe. From 1932 to 1938 he was player-manager for the Pittsburgh Crawfords. Charleston retired as a player in 1941 with a lifetime batting average of.357. He then managed various teams; in 1954, the year he died;

Charleston guided the Indianapolis Clowns to a Negro World Championship. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976.



1902
William Allison Davis was born on this date. He was an African-American cultural anthropologist and educator.

From Washington, DC, he attended Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts and received a Masters Degree in Anthropology from Harvard University in 1942. He received a Ph.D. in Education in 1942 at the University of Chicago and was awarded the John Dewey Distinguished Professor honor. Davis taught at Dillard University and later at the University of Chicago. In 1948, he became one of the first African Americans to receive tenure at a non-historical Black institution.

Davis, a leading social anthropologist and educator, challenged the cultural bias of standardized intelligence (IQ) tests. He argued that Black’s low scores were not the results of lower intelligence but the result of middle-class cultural bias posed in the questions. His work in psychology and education included the development of the Davis-Ellis Intelligence Test and several studies on social and class influences on the education of children. He authored or coauthored eight scholarly works, including Children of Bondage 1940 and Cultural Deprivation 1964. He was appointed as a member of the Conference to Insure Civil Rights in 1965 and served on the White House Task Force on the Gifted in 1968.

Dr. Davis was the first person from the field of education to be elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, (1967). He retired in 1978 and began writing what proved to be his last book. Leadership, Love and Aggression, a study of four Black leaders was published in November of 1983. He died in November the same year. In 1994, the United States Postal Service honored him with a stamp bearing his picture.


1916
Sophomore tackle Paul Robeson was excluded from the Rutgers football team when Washington and Lee University of Virginia refused to play against an African American. The exclusion was temporary. Regretting the decision, Coach G. Foster Sanford, a staunch defender of Robeson stood by Robeson when the demand was again made of West Virginia. The young Robeson went on to be named a football All-American twice. He went on further to distinguish himself both nationally and internationally as an actor, singer, social activist, and socialist. Nevertheless, he would be hounded by the federal government throughout his career.


1947
Charles “Charlie” Joiner, Jr. is born in Many, Louisiana. He will become a professional football player after being picked in the fourth round of the 1969 NFL draft. He will be a wide receiver for the Houston Oilers from 1969-1972, the Cincinnati Bengals from 1972-1975, and the San Diego Chargers from 1976-1986.  In eighteen seasons, he will play in 239 games (most ever for a wide receiver at the time of his retirement) and compile a career record of 750 catches, 12,146 yards, and 65 touchdowns. He will catch 586 passes as a Charger and was a key element in vaunted “Air Coryell” offense. He exceeded 50 catches in seven seasons, was a 100-yard receiver in 29 games, and played in three Pro Bowls. In his last thirteen years, he will miss only one game. He will be inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 1996.


1958
The District of Columbia Bar Association votes to accept African Americans as members.


1964
Martin Luther King Jr., clergyman, civil rights leader, and advocate for non-violence, was named the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize on this day. He became the second Black American and the youngest recipient of the award. Often referred to as the prophet of peace in a time of trouble, King, the impassioned voice of a people oppressed who upheld the philosophy of nonviolence, donated the monetary award of $54,000 that came with the Nobel Peace Prize to the Civil Rights Movement. Four years later, on the evening of April 4, 1968, while in Memphis to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers, he was assassinated as he stood on the balcony of his motel room.


1969
A race riot erupted in Springfield, Massachusetts. Two people are killed.


1970
Angel Davis, author, activist, and professor, was arraigned in New York on this date. Arrested the previous day, Davis was charged in federal court with unlawful; flight to avoid charges stemming from a Marion County, CA courthouse shooting. Davis was later found not be involved in the incident.


1971
Two were killed in Memphis racial disturbances.


1980
Bob Marley performs in his last concert before he untimely joins the ancestors succumbing to cancer.


1995
Sports Illustrated places Eddie Robinson on the cover of its magazine. He is the first and only coach of a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) to appear on the cover of any major sports publication in the United States.


1999
The governor of Pennsylvania, Thomas Ride, signs the death warrant for Mumia Abu-Jamal. Mumia is charged with the early eighties slaying of a police officer.


1999
Former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere dies at the age of 77 from leukemia. Nyerere was lauded as one of the greatest statesmen of his time.


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