John Chavis was born on this date. He was a Black
educator and minister who made great strides educating both Black and white
students in the South during the early 19th century.
From North Carolina,
his family was legally free which allowed him to pursue an education. Chavis
arrived at Liberty
in 1795, one year prior to George Washington’s gift of 100 shares of James
River Company Stock. He was a student when the institution changed its name to Washington Academy. On November 19 1800 with high
honors they granted him a license to preach. His academic performance attracted
much public attention because it contradicted the belief that Blacks were
intellectually inferior to whites. In 1808, Chavis founded a school for the
children of white slave owners. As an educator, Chavis taught full time.
He trained white children during the day and free Black children at night. He
prepared the white children for college by teaching them Latin and Greek. The
school he opened in Raleigh
was described as one of the best in the state. It surely was an excellent
school, for some of the most powerful men in white society entrusted their
sons’ education to Chavis. His students include Priestly H. Mangum, brother of
Senator Willie P. Mangum; Archibald E. and John L. Henderson, sons of Chief
Justice Henderson; Governor Charles Manly; The Reverend William Harris; Dr.
James L. Wortham; the Edwardses, Enlows (Enloes), Hargroves, and Horners; and
Abraham Rencher who became Minister of Portugal and Territorial Governor of New
John Chavis’ influence was far reaching. A dedicated opponent of slavery, John
Chavis was an influential abolitionist leader in the South. The circumstances
surrounding his death in 1838 remain unclear, although many suspect that he was
murdered because of his work to better the lives of Blacks.
On this date,
the St. Agnes Hospital in Raleigh opened its doors.
This was one of the first hospitals for blacks in America.
In its beginning there was a single cold water faucet in the kitchen and water
was heated over a wood stove to sterilize equipment. During its first six
months of operation, the hospital cared for 17 inpatients and 35 outpatients.
An additional 223 people received medical and nursing care in their homes. The
first Head Nurse was Marie Louise Burgess a Black graduate of the New England Hospital for Women and Children.
Students would clean, cook and make beds during the six-month trial period. If
they passed and wanted a career in nursing, they entered the hospital as
student nurses. Most of their education was on-the-job training with the Matron,
staff nurses, and physicians on wards, in the operating room and on home
visits. They heard lectures, which focused on the diseases and conditions of
the current patient population.
In 1898, St. Agnes graduated its first two nurses after a training program of
Felix Houphouet-Boigny is born in the Ivory Coast when it was part of French colonial West Africa. In 1960, after the Ivory Coast (Coté d’Ivoire)
gains independence from France,
he will become President, and hold that office until he joins the ancestors in 1993.
Charles “Chuck” Edward Berry
was born in San Jose, California,
and grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. In the early 50s Berry led a popular blues trio at night and
worked as a beautician by day. He made friends with Muddy Waters, who
introduced him to Leonard Chess, head of Chicago-based Chess Records. It was
the song on his audition tape called “Ida Red,” that won the record company
over. This up tempo, R&B-country mixture was reworked into Maybellene.
Released on August 20, 1955, Maybellene and went to Number 5 in on the Billboard
charts and established Berry
as a Black artist who successfully crossed over to the white pop charts. He
made the transition when so many other deserving Black artists in the 50s
didn’t. There are many theories as to why. It also had a lot to do with his
knack for language. Berry
offered persuasive statements to the experience of being a teenager in the
changing world of the 50s. He explained the boredom of classroom-bound students
in “School Days” (“Soon as three o’clock rolls around/You finally lay your
He described the liberating appeal of rock and roll itself in “Rock and Roll
Music” (“It’s got a backbeat, you can’t lose it”). In his own words,
“Everything I wrote about wasn’t about me, but about the people listening.” Berry gave rock and roll
a classic character in “Johnny B. Goode” and was responsible for one of its
most recognizable stage moves, his “duckwalk.” All the while, his catalog, hits
and lesser-known songs like “Little Queenie” and “Let It Rock” were being
mastered by eager wannabes on the other side of the ocean; Keith Richards, John
Lennon and others. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and many other British
Invasion acts covered Chuck Berry at a time when the master himself was locked
up for two years in prison on what now appear to be trumped-up charges.
Released in 1964, Berry
released No Particular Place
to Go, You Never Can Tell and Promised Land. All the while, even groups like
the Beach Boys plundered Berry
for inspiration. Their 1963 hit “Surfin’ U.S.A.” so deliberately copied the
melody and rhythm of Berry’s
“Sweet Little Sixteen” that he sued and won a songwriting credit. Ironically, Berry got his one and
only Number 1 hit, My Ding-a-Ling, a risqué novelty song he’d long been
performing in adult nightclubs in 1972. By this time, his music had grown so
well established that on tour he preferred to recruit pickup musicians in each
In 1979 Berry
headed back to prison, this time for income tax evasion. Upon release this
time, he appeared as himself in the film American Hot Wax, and, in 1986, was
inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but refused to record. In
addition, his live performances became increasingly erratic. In 1987, he
published his first book, Chuck Berry: The Autobiography and the same year saw
the film release of Hail! Hail! Rock’n’Roll.
For all of his offstage exploits and seemingly ongoing troubles with the law,
Chuck Berry remains the embodiment of Rock & Roll, and his music will
endure. Some of his other hits were “Johnny B. Goode,” No Particular Place to
Go,” “You Never Can Tell,” “Promised Land,” and “My Ding-a-Ling.”
Willie Horton is born. He will become a professional baseball player with the Detroit
Tigers, known for his power hitting ability.
Paul Robeson, actor,
singer, athlete, minister, and activist, won the 30th NCAAP Spingarn
Medal for his singing and acting achievements.
Ntozake Shange was born on this date in 1948. She is
An African-American Playwright, author, and educator.
Born Paulette Williams in Trenton, New
Jersey to Paul T. Williams (namesake), a surgeon, and
Eloise Williams, a psychiatric social worker and educator. She is the oldest of
four children of an upper middle class family. In 1956, when she was five years
old, her family moved to a then, racially segregated St. Louis, where she
enjoyed music, dance, art, literature, and opera; though at a German-American
school she suffered blatant racism as a part of the dawn of the Brown versus
Board of Education decision. She was an avid reader of Jean Genet, Herman
Melville, and Langston Hughes.
She also came in contact with great musicians and singers like Dizzy Gillespie,
Chuck Berry, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Josephine Baker, all friends of
her parents. W.E.B. DuBois was also a family visitor. In 1961 she returned to New Jersey, completed high school and became increasingly
aware of the inequities of the American society on Black females; five years
later she enrolled at Bernard
College. Soon after this
she attempted suicide (more than once) after a recent separation from her law
school husband and a deep sense of bitterness and alienation.
Upon gathering herself she earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in American
studies from Barnard College in 1970, a master’s degree in American
studies from the University
of Southern California in
1973. In 1971 she decided to take an African name: Ntozake means “she who comes
with her own things, and Shange means, “who walks like a lion.” This change
reinforced her inner strength and to redirect her life. Shange has taught
humanities, women’s studies, and Afro-American studies from 1972-1975 at Sonoma
State College, Mills College, and University of California
During the same period, she was dancing and reciting poetry with the Third
World Collective, Raymond Sawyer’s Afro-American Dance Company; West Coast
Dance Works; and her own company that was then called For Colored Girls Who
Have Considered Suicide. In 1975 she moved to New York. That move was facilitated by the
production of her choreopoem, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered
Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf.” During the long run of this production,
Shange was an artist in residence for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts
and a creative writing instructor at City College of New York.
She has had several volumes published: Sassafras: A Novella (1977); Nappy
Edges, a book of poems (1978); and three pieces (1981), a book which contains
three theatre pieces. A number of her short stories appeared in such
publications as Yardbird Lives, the Little Magazine, Spell #7, The Black
Scholar, Ms. Magazine, Midnight Birds, and The American Rag; her poems were published
in Black Maria, Black Heights, The Black Scholar, Yakity Yak and others.
From 1976 to 1980 she gave frequent readings and lectures at Yale University,
University of North Dakota, Howard University, New York University, Detroit Art
Institute, Southern University, and others; and married her second husband,
David Murray, a musician. Shange has written a children’s book, I Live in Music
(1994) and Lilliane: Resurrection of the Daughter (1994). She has also worked
on a play with Ladysmith Black Mambazo at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago.
date, Terry McMillan was born.
She is an African-American novelist.
From Port Huron, Michigan, she is the daughter of Madeline
and Edward; her father died when she was sixteen. McMillan was one of six
children who attended public schools. While working in a public library, she
discovered Black author James Baldwin. “I remember feeling embarrassed,” she
mentions now, “and did not read his book because I was too afraid. I couldn’t
imagine that he’d have anything better or different to say than Thomas Mann,
Henry Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson.” Soon she read Baldwin, and other classic
Black writers; she was astounded and stirred.
For six years until 1979, McMillan attended the University
of California at Berkley, graduating with a journalism degree.
It was during this time that her short story The End was published. Afterwards
she attended Columbia
University earning a
Masters degree, attended a workshop at the Harlem Writers Guild, and gave birth
to her son Solomon. The first draft of her book “Mama” was written after being
accepted at the MacDowell Colony in 1983, the book was published in 1987.
Marketing this novel herself to the Black public, she tirelessly proved that
African-American readers are there to be informed and entertained.
In 1988, McMillan became associate professor at the University of Arizona
and retains tenure there. Her second novel “Disappearing Act” (1989) did very
well and “Waiting to Exhale” (1992) was on The New York Times best-seller list
for months; its paperback rights were sold for $2.64 million. “How Stella Got
Her Groove Back” (1997) was very successful and these last two novels have been
made into rewarding feature films (1995 for “Waiting to Exhale). Present
reading from McMillan is “A Day Late and A Dollar Short” (2001). She currently
lives near Oakland, California.
Thrower becomes the first African American NFL quarterback in modern times (post
World War II). Thrower quarterbacked for the Chicago Bears. It would be
15 years before another African American quarterback would take another
snap in a pro game. He was cut by the Bears the next year. He probably
played with one of many semi-pro teams in the Toronto
and central Ontario
region (not for the Canadian Football League [CFL] Winnipeg Blue Bombers or the
Toronto Argonauts) until a separated shoulder forced him to retire at the age
of 27. After his retirement from football, he became a social worker in New York City. Thrower
died of a heart attack in New Kingston on February 20, 2002 at the age of 71.
Michaele Pride was born on this date. She is an
African-American architect and educator.
From Granada Hills, CA she is the daughter of Wallace and
Leatrice Pride. The oldest of three children, she has two younger brothers Dodd
and Regan. As a young girl, Pride considered becoming a judge or a scientist
but found a way of connecting her strong aptitudes with mathematics, problem
solving and art with her humanitarian spirit in her current profession. Her
father was both an artist and architect, and her mother was an entrepreneur,
administrator, and community activist.
She graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Granada Hills in 1974, and received
her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Arizona State
University in 1981. Pride
started the first woman owned and operated architecture firm in California. Pride was
married and had a son (Bryant) during this time. She was commissioned along
with others to redesign the community areas of Los Angeles ruined by the Rodney King Riots
After seven years as principal of her firm in Los Angeles,
Pride-Wells moved to Kentucky in 1996, as
director of the University of Kentucky’s community design center in downtown Lexington, she became the
first African American woman to head an architecture program in a majority
institution. As inaugural director of the Downtown
at UK, she developed
operational policies and created the Lexington
Research Round table. She directed many projects addressing critical housing
and urban design issues throughout Kentucky.
While there (2001), she achieved her Master of Architecture in Urban Design
from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Pride joined the University of Cincinnati
faculty in September 2003, as Associate Professor and Director of the School of Architecture and Interior Design. Her
research focuses on the social and political implications of urban design and
the dynamics of neighborhood change. Translating theory to practice, she also
advises neighborhoods and local governments across the United States.
Professor Pride has taught at UCLA, Woodbury
University, and the University of Southern
California. She has received awards for design,
planning, and community advocacy from the LA Cultural Affairs Commission, the
National Organization of Minority Architects, American Planning Association,
and the American Institute of Architects.
A loving mother and sensitive parent, Pride recently had more than 20 local
middle school students participated in an architectural summer CAMP (Cincinnati
Architecture Mentoring Program) offered at the University of Cincinnati’s
nationally ranked College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. Pride
stated that the goal of the event (and of future efforts from CAMP is to foster
greater awareness among younger students, minority students in particular,
regarding the possibilities for and requirements of a design career.
Wynton Marsalis was born on this date. He is an
African-American musician, composer, and educator.
From New Orleans,
LA Marsalis began his classical training on trumpet at age 12. He gained
experience as a young musician in local marching bands, jazz and funk bands,
and classical youth orchestras. He entered The Juilliard School in 1979 when he
was 17 years old and soon became recognized as the most impressive trumpeter at
the conservatory. That year he also joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers,
where generations of emerging jazz artists honed their craft.
Marsalis made his recording debut as a leader in 1982 and has since produced a
unique catalog of close to 40 jazz and classical recordings for Columbia Jazz
and Sony Classical, which have earned nine Grammy Awards. In 1983 he became the
first and only artist to win both classical and jazz Grammy Awards in one year
and he repeated this feat the following year. In 1999, he released 8 new
recordings in his unprecedented “Swinging into the 21st” series,
which included a seven-CD boxed set of live performances from the Village
Vanguard. Marsalis is the Music Director of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
(LCJO), which spends over half the year on tour. He also composes new works,
many of which are commissioned from and premiered by JALC.
Marsalis’s work includes Them Twos, from the second collaboration between JALC and
the New York City Ballet in 1999; Big Train, commissioned and premiered in 1998
by JALC; Sweet Release, a score for ballet written in 1996 for the LCJO and
choreographed by Judith Jamison for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; At
the Octoroon Balls, a 1995 piece performed by the Orion String Quartet with The
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; Jazz: Six Syncopated Movements, from
the 1993 JALC collaboration with the New York City Ballet; Jump Start, a score
written for the noted dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp; Citi Movement/Griot
New York, a three-movement composition scored for jazz septet created in
collaboration with choreographer Garth Fagan; and In This House, On This
Morning, an extended piece based on the form of a traditional gospel service,
commissioned and premiered by JALC in 1992. In 2002 on Sony Classical, he
released All Rise, a twelve-part composition that was commissioned and
premiered by the New York Philharmonic with the LCJO and the Morgan State
University Choir in December 1999. His latest work, The Magic Hour, is his
first album on Blue Note.
Marsalis is valued globally as a teacher and spokesman for music education. He
has received honorary doctorates from more than a dozen universities and
colleges. Through JALC education programs, he regularly conducts master
classes, lectures, and concerts for students of all ages, including the popular
JALC Jazz for Young People concerts. He has also been featured in the TV
production of Marsalis on Music for the Public Broadcasting System and the
series Making the Music for National Public Radio, which won a Peabody Award in
1996. Marsalis has also written a companion book for the PBS series, as well as
Sweet Swing Blues on the Road, collaboration with JALC photographer Frank Stewart.
Marsalis was named one of “America’s
25 Most Influential People” by Time magazine and one of “The 50 Most
Influential Boomers” by Life magazine in recognition of his critical role in
stimulating an increased awareness of jazz in the consciousness of an entire
generation of jazz fans and artists. In 2001, Marsalis was awarded the United
Nations designation of “Messenger of Peace” by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan,
and in 2002, received the Congressional “Horizon Award.”
World long jump
was beat by Bob Beamon, record at 29 ft.,
2½ in. in at the Mexico City Summer Olympics. His long jump bettered the world
record by over 21”.
United States Olympic Committee suspends Tommie Smith and John Carlos for giving a “black power” salute as a protest during a
victory ceremony in Mexico City
on October 16.
“Raisin”, a musical adaptation of the Lorraine Hansberry play, “A Raisin in the Sun”, opens on Broadway. It marks the debut of Debbie Allen in the role of Beneatha Younger and will act as the catalyst for her further success in television and choreography.
The Chicago Bull’s Nate Thurmond, becomes first player in the NBA to complete a quadruple
double - 22 pts, 14 rebounds, 13 assists & 12 blocks.
Reggie Jackson hits 3 consecutive home runs, tying Babe Ruth’s World Series record. The Yankees beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 for 21st
world championship, the first in 15 years.
The city of Baltimore, MD became the new national headquarters
of the NAACP on this date.
Filmmaker Charles Burnett’s 1977 movie “Killer of Sheep” is declared a “national treasure” by the Library of Congress. It is among
the first 50 films placed in the National Film Registry because of its
significance. Burnett’s film joins other significant films such as “All
About Eve”, “The Godfather”, and “Top Hat.”