date, we celebrate the birth of Anna Murray
Douglass. She was a black abolitionist.
Murray Douglass was from near Denton in eastern Maryland, she was the
first person in her family to be born free. At the age of seventeen, she came
where she met and eventually married Frederick Douglass (then Frederick
Bailey); they married after his escape from slavery in 1838. She was an
activist in her own right, participating vigorously in the circle of Massachusetts’s
reformers in the 1840’s. This group included Wendell Phillips, and William
Murray Douglass met weekly with anti-slavery women who mounted the annual
Ant-Slavery Fair in Boston’s
Faneuil Hall. In 1847, she and her family moved to Rochester, New York
where she continued her abolitionist activities while raising a family often in
the absence of her husband due to his travels abroad. To make family ends meet
Murray-Douglass worked as a laundress and shoe binder. In the words of one of
her daughters, the heroism of Frederick Douglass “was a story made possible by
the unswerving loyalty of Anna Murray.”
In 1872, Anna Douglass, her husband, and family moved to Washington D. C. where
she lived until her death in 1882.
William Howard Day was born on
this date. He was a black editor and minister.
From New York City, he worked as a printer on
the Northampton Gazette before moving to Cleveland
where he became involved in the struggle against racial discrimination. In
1851, inspired by Frederick Douglass, Day became editor of the Cleveland True
Democrat; Two years later he started editing the Aliened American. In 1858 he
toured Europe where he made speeches and
raised funds for the Anti-Slavery cause.
Day returned to the United
States after the Civil War and worked for
the Freedmen’s Bureau. He also became an inspector of schools in Maryland and Delaware
before being ordained a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in
1867. Day worked as general secretary of the General Conference of the African
Methodist Episcopal Church from 1875 to 1880.
William Howard Day died in Harrisburg
on December 3rd 1900.
Byrd Prillerman was born a
slave in Shady Grove, Franklin County, VA. He became and educator, reformer,
religious worker, political figure, and lawyer. He is best known as a
co-founder of West Virginia Colored
Institute in 1891. The school changed to the West Virginia
Collegiate Institute in 1915. The
school under Prillerman’s leadership became the first state school for African
Americans to reach the rank of an accredited college whose work was accepted by
the universities of the North. The school eventually became West Virginia State
College, then West Virginia
In elections on this date, Republicans swept South Carolina elections
with a ticket of six whites and two Blacks: Alonzo Ransier, Lieutenant Governor; Francis L. Cardozo, Secretary Of State. The First
Blacks were elected to the House of Representatives. Black Republicans won
three of the four congressional seats in South Carolina: Joseph H. Rainey, Robert C. Delarge and Robert B. Elliott. Rainey was elected to an unexpired term in the Forty-first Congress and
was the first Black seated in the House became the first Black member of
the U.S. Congress.
In 1862 when Rainey was forced to work on fortifications for the
Confederate Army in Charleston, DC, he escaped to the West Indies and remained
there until the close of the Civil War. He was a delegate to the South Carolina
State Constitutional Convention in 1868 and a member of the State Senate in
1870, but resigned to run for a vacant seat in the House of Representatives. He
was elected as a Republican to the Forty-first Congress, becoming the first
Black seated. Rainey was re-elected to the Forty-second and Forty-third
Congresses, serving from 1870 to 1879. In that year, he was appointed internal
revenue agent of South Carolina, resigning in 1881 to engage in banking and the
mortgage brokerage business in Washington, DC.
Henry O. Tanner, painter,
won Medal of Honor at the Paris Exposition.
Nannie Burroughs opened the
National Training School for Women and Girls on this date. The 31 first-year
students learned “Bible, Bath, and Broom” techniques to make them more
proficient in domestic duties.
LaWanda Page was born on this date. She was an African-American comedic character
Born in Cleveland as Alberta Peal and raised in St. Louis, Page began her career as a dancer and chorus girl
billed as “the Bronze Goddess of Fire” and later became a stand-up comic.
She starred in films such as “Mausoleum,” “Women Tell the Dirtiest Jokes,”
“Shake the Clown,” and “Don’t Be a Menace.” Her
greatest fame began in her 50s when comedian Redd Foxx, a childhood friend,
asked her to join his Norman Lear sitcom adapted from the British series
“Steptoe and Son.” Page signed on as Fred Sanford’s crusty sister-in-law,
Esther Anderson, in 1973 and stayed with “Sanford and Son” until the series
ended in 1977.
She reprised the role in two short-lived spin-offs, “The Sanford Arms” in 1977
and Foxx’s own “Sanford” in 1980. She also made guest appearances on Foxx’s
variety show, “The Redd Foxx Comedy Hour” the same year. More recently, Page
made television commercials, including a well-received package for
Atlanta-based Church’s Fried Chicken.
LaWanda Page, 81, a comedic character actress best known for her role as the
Bible-thumping Aunt Esther in the 1970s TV hit “Sanford and Son,” died
September 14, 2002 in Los Angeles of complications from diabetes.
Georgia Powers was born on this date. She was an
African-American politician and lawyer.
The only girl in her family with eight brothers she was from Springfield,
Kentucky. Powers once worked as a riveter on airplane fuselages in Buffalo, New
York. Soon she moved to Louisville, Kentucky and got involved in politics
through her church. From 1962 to 1967, Powers chaired for a number of
candidates. Even before she began her career as a senator, Georgia Powers was a
Civil Rights movement leader in Kentucky.
She was one of the essential organizers of a statewide rally in March of 1964
in support of a law to make public accommodations accessible to all, regardless
of race. This rally brought civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr.
and Jackie Robinson to our state capitol. The public accommodation bill did not
pass at this time, resulting in a starve-in in the House gallery. She mentioned
that she did not know her calling in life until she was 45 years old. After
over thirty different jobs she knew that politics was where she wanted to be.
Senator Georgia Davis Powers became the first African-American and the first
woman to be elected to the Kentucky State Senate.
Senator Powers was also the first Black woman to serve on the Jefferson County
Democratic Executive Committee. When Georgia Powers arrived in Frankfort in
1967 as a newly elected senator, she could not get a room in a hotel as an
African- American woman. In 1968, Powers was present at the Lorraine Motel in
Memphis the morning that Dr. King was assassinated. As senator, she chaired two
legislative committees, Health and Welfare (1970-76) and Labor and Industry
(1978-88). During her five four-year terms, she pushed for legislation on
public accommodations, open housing, and other issues of concern to people of
color, women, children, and the poor.
She addressed the dramatic 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago,
chaired Jesse Jackson’s 1984 and ‘88 Kentucky presidential campaigns. She
fought for the Equal Rights Amendment resolution, the Displaced Homemaker’s
Law, and a law to increase the minimum wage in Kentucky. In 1988, Georgia
Montgomery Davis Powers retired from politics.
“From Dixie to Broadway” premieres at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City. The music is written
by Will Vodery, an African American, who arranged music for the Ziegfeld
Follies for 23 years.
Arrington, the first Black mayor of Birmingham, AL, was born on this
Lloyd Haynes was born on this date. He was an
Born Samuel Lloyd Haynes in South Bend, Indiana, He served in the Marines in
Korea and was a commander in the Navy. Haynes starred as history teacher “Pete
Dixon” on TV’s Room 222, one of the most popular TV shows of the 1960s. The
series chronicled the lives of the students and teachers at the fictional Walt
Whitman High School.
He also played “Mayor Morgan” on General Hospital, and on Star Trek he played
“Lieutenant Alden” in the episode: “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” Samuel Lloyd
died of lung cancer on January 1, 1987, at the age of only 52.
Johnnetta Cole was born this date. She is an
African-American educator, administrator, humanitarian, and civil and women’s
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Johnnetta Betsch came from a
family that though not poor was dedicated to all Blacks in their community;
this came from generations of philanthropic and village-based family values.
During the mid 1930s and early 1940s, her family founded the Afro-American Life
Insurance Company. They were also educators; the public library in her
neighborhood was named after her grandfather.
At age 15, Betsch entered Fisk University, through the school’s early
admissions program. She completed her undergraduate degree at Oberlin College
and went on to earn a Master’s and Ph.D. in anthropology from Northwestern
University. Her first teaching position was at Washington State University,
where she was named Outstanding Faculty member of the year. At the University
of Massachusetts at Amherst, she became Professor of Anthropology and
Afro-American Studies. At the same school, she served for two years as
Associate Provost of Undergraduate education. In 1984 she joined the faculty of
Hunter College as Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Latin American
and Caribbean Studies Program. She retained these positions while serving
simultaneously on the graduate faculty of the City University of New York.
In 1987, Dr Cole became the first African American woman to serve as president
of Spelman College. During this time Dr. Cole divorced her first husband,
economist Robert Cole, and later married Arthur J. Robinson, Jr., who is a
public health administrator, in 1988. She has three sons and two stepsons, and
one granddaughter. In 2004 she became the first African American to serve as
Chair of the Board of United Way of America.
Dr. Cole is President emerita of Spelman College and Professor emerita of Emory
University from which she retired as Presidential Distinguished Professor of
Anthropology, Women’s Studies and African American Studies. She is the author
of numerous publications for scholarly and general audiences. Her most recent
publication is a book co-authored with Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall: Gender Talk:
The Struggle for Women’s Equality in African American Communities. She is a
fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American
Dr. Cole continues to work as a college professor and president, her
publications, speeches and community service, consistently address issues of
racial, gender and all other forms of discrimination. Dr. Cole serves on the
board of the Carter Center, the National Visionary Leadership Project, and the
United Way of Greater Greensboro. She also serves on the Board of Directors of
Merck & Co., Inc., and the Atlanta Falcons. Dr. Cole also consults on
diversity matters with Citigroup. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta
Sorority, The Links, Inc. and the National Council of Negro Women.
In addition to 50 honorary degrees, Dr. Cole has received numerous awards,
including the TransAfrica Forum Global Public Service Award, the Dorothy I.
Height Dreammaker Award, the Radcliffe Medal, the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill
Medal, the 2001 Alexis deTocqueville Award for Community Service from United
Way of America, the Award for Education presented at the 90th
Anniversary Celebrations of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and The Joseph Prize
for Human Rights presented by the Anti-Defamation League.
She is a mentor to many young women and men. Also currently, Dr. Johnnetta
Betsch Cole is the 14th president of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The United States Supreme
Court refused to review a Georgia court decision holding constitutional an Atlantic ordinance requiring
that taxicabs carry a sign that they are for hire to White or Black passengers
only and prohibiting them from the two signs in the same taxi.
On this date, Paul Robeson opened in Theater
Guild presentation of Othello at the
Shubert Theater in N.Y. City. The show ran for 296 consecutive performances and
set record for Shakespearean drama on Broadway.
Peter Tosh, reggae
pioneer, who helped reggae gain world-wide acceptance, was born Winston Hubert McIntosh in Westmoreland, Jamaica on
this date. As a founding father of reggae music, he became a part of the song writing
magic of the Wailers, Bob Marley’s group. He was shot and killed in a robbery
attempt on September 11, 1987.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved a
plan submitted by the U.S. Navy for the
acceptance of Black women in the Women’s Accepted
for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES). The plan called for the immediate
commission of Black women as officers. Up to that time, black women were barred
from the WAVES. Previously the efforts of Mildred
McAfee and Dr. Mary McLeod
Bethune helped the Secretary of the Navy push through the admittance of
African-American women. The first two black WAVES officers, Harriet Ida Pikens and Frances Wills, were sworn in December 22nd
of that year. Of the 80,000 WAVES in the World War II, 72 Black women served,
normally under integrated conditions.
The first exhibition of the work of Josef Nassy, an American citizen of Dutch-African descent, is held in Brussels. The exhibit consists of 90 paintings and drawings Nassy created while in a Nazi-controlled internment camp during World War II.
Jennifer-Yvette Holiday is born in Riverside, Texas. She will become a singer and actress and
will have her first big break as a star in the Broadway production of “Dream
Girls” in 1981. She will later become a successful recording artist. She
will be best known for her debut single, the Dream Girls showstopper and
Grammy Award-winning Rhythm & Blues/Pop hit, “And I Am Telling You
I’m Not Going.”
Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested in
an Atlanta sit-in and ordered to serve four months in the Georgia State Prison
for violating a probated traffic sentence. John F. Kennedy, Democratic presidential candidate,
called Mrs. Martin Luther King Jr. and expressed his concern about the
imprisonment of Dr. King.
Evander Holyfield is born in Atmore, Alabama. He will become a professional boxer. Over
the course of his career, he will become IBF Heavyweight Champion, WBA
Heavyweight Champion, three time World Champion, and Undisputed Cruiserweight
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Library and Archives opens in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded by Coretta Scott King, the facility is the largest repository in the world of primary resource material on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., nine major civil rights organizations, and the American civil rights movement.
educated Prime Minister Maurice Bishop is assassinated
in a military coup. He had refused to share the leadership of the New Jewel
Movement with his deputy Bernard Coard. Follow his assassination, the United
State and six Caribbean nations invaded Grenada.
The U.S. Senate
approves the establishment of the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday on the third
Monday in January.
South African anti-apartheid leader, Walter Sisulu wins a $100,000 Human Rights prize.
The Illinois Supreme
Court upheld a decision to disallow the Harold
Washington Party in the November election on this date.