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
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.
The first African American daily newspaper, the New Orleans Tribune, is published in both French and English.
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).
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
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
retired as a player in 1941 with a lifetime batting average of.357. He then
managed various teams; in 1954, the year he died;
guided the Indianapolis Clowns to a Negro World Championship. He was inducted
into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976.
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.
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.
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.
The District of Columbia Bar Association votes to accept
African Americans as members.
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.
A race riot
erupted in Springfield, Massachusetts. Two people are
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.
Two were killed in
Memphis racial disturbances.
Bob Marley performs in his last concert before he untimely joins the ancestors succumbing
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.
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.
President Julius Nyerere dies at the age
of 77 from leukemia. Nyerere was lauded as one of the greatest statesmen of his