Make your own free website on
Another Shade of Where journeys take you beyond your imagination!!! Big Larry

The Galleries

The Flavour Palette

From the Analogs
of Gemindii

On the Stoop

Black History

Special Features

About the Artist
Where Black History happens everyday.

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 Hall Academy 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 Mexico.

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 18 months.

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 burden down”).

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 new town.

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.

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 Extension.

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.

On this 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.

Willie 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 in 1992.

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 Design Center 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.”

Back to On this date in Black History


Black History Special Features