General John Thomas asserts blacks’ right to serve in the military.
William F. (Billy) Williams was born on
this date. He was an African-American executive political assistant.
From St. Paul, Minnesota,
he was a graduate of Mechanic Arts High School
and Hess Business
College in St. Paul. An exceptional athlete, Williams
was a semi-pro baseball player. In 1904, Williams joined the staff of Governor
John A. Johnson as his personal assistant. Though he wished to pursue his
talents on the field, he was equally adept as an administrator. He also wanted
to take care of his family, a pact he made with his mother. A skillful
communicator, Williams was retained in that position through fourteen governors
for a total of 53 years.
He also was active and voiced forceful opposition to racism (particularly) in
the military. Williams also acted as chairman of the Minnesota Department of
Public Safety during the First World War, retiring in 1957. Upon his departure,
the state legislature passed a special act giving him a pension for life.
William F. Williams died in 1963.
25,000 African American workers strike in New Orleans, Louisiana.
This is the first major job stoppage in U.S. labor history by African
date, Marjorie Stewart Joyner was born.
She was an African-American businesswoman and humanitarian.
From Monterey, Virginia’s
Blue Ridge Mountains, she came to Chicago
as a child, studying cosmetology as a teenager. She became associated with the
famous beauty expert Madam C.J. Walker who had been made famous by Josephine
Baker’s adoption of her products. Marjorie Stewart Joyner had a strong message
that she carried throughout her life. Be proud of who you are and treat
yourself as if you care. This strong belief in pride led her to being an avid
supporter of young men and women throughout her life. It also led her to an
invention to help the women who came to see her feel better about themselves.
Joyner went on to become an inventor and an educator in African-American beauty
culture. While a cosmetologist, she was frustrated that the day after having
her hair done most women looked like “an accident going someplace to happen.”
In response she invented a permanent wave machine that would allow a hairdo to
stay set for days, if not more. According to Anne MacDonald, “This was a dome
shaped device that applied electrical current to pressed and clamped one-inch
sections of hair, creating a hairdo that would last a considerable time.” In
1926 she became the first African-American woman to receive a patent for her
invention and this opened the door for many others to follow. Marjorie Joyner
never received any money for her invention but she did move up in the business
world of beauty.
She became the Director of C.J. Walker’s nationwide chain of beauty schools.
She also co-founded, with Mary Bethune Mcleod, the United Beauty School Owners
and Teachers Association in 1945. She was always committed to helping people.
During the depression she worked for several of the New Deal programs to find
housing and work for young African-Americans. She consistently worked to
instill pride in the young people she worked with. In pursuit of this goal she
worked for years to raise money for Black colleges and chaired the Bud Billiken
Parade, the largest African American parade in the United States, for over fifty
She is often called the “Grand Dame of Black Beauty Culture” and the “Godmother
of Bethune-Cookman College.” Marjorie Stewart Joyner died on December 27, 1994,
in Chicago, Illinois.
marks the birth of Sonny Terry born. He
was an African-American blues singer and harmonica player who became the
touring and recording partner of guitarist Brownie McGhee in 1941.
Saunders Terrell (His name at birth) was born in Greensboro, Georgia,
blinded in a childhood accident; Terry was raised by musical parents and
developed a harmonica style that imitated sounds ranging from moving trains to
barnyard animals, often using his voice while playing these effects. The
harmonica player DeFord Bailey, who broadcast nationally on the radio program
Grand Ole Opry, influenced him. Terry traveled as an itinerant musician from
1929 through the 1930s, working with Blind Boy Fuller and recording with him in
Terry first met McGhee in 1939 and in 1940 performed with him and the singer
Paul Robeson in Washington, D. C. Terry and McGhee first recorded together in
1941. Subsequently they recorded extensively and toured internationally,
becoming a popular nightclub, concert, and folk, blues, and heritage festival
attraction. During his long career, Terry also performed with such blues man as
Blind Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, and Big Bill Broonzy.
Terry appeared in the Broadway musical Finian’s Rainbow (1947-48) and the play
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955-57). Sonny Terry died March 11, 1986 in Mineola, New York.
The U.S. Department of Labor issues a report stating that
approximately 500,000 African
Americans had left the South in the preceding twelve months.
Langston Hughes’ play “Mulatto” opens on Broadway. It will have the longest run of any play by an
African American until Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun.”
Italy invades Ethiopia.
African Americans hold mass meetings of protest and raise funds for the
Lee Vann, publisher, lawyer, and political civil rights leader, died in Philadelphia, PA
on this date. Vann shaped the Pittsburgh
Courier into the leading Black paper of its time. He served as its treasurer
and later editor.
In recognition of
the influence of so-called race music, Billboard magazine creates its first ratings chart
devoted to African American music, The Harlem Hit Parade. The number-one record is “Take It
& Git” by Andy Kirk and His Twelve Clouds of Joy, featuring Mary Lou
Williams on piano.
Frizzel Gray is born in Baltimore,
Maryland. Better known as Kweisi Mfume, an adopted African name that means “Conquering Son of Kings,” he will
be elected a congressman from Maryland’s
7th District in 1986. He will later leave the Congress to become the
head of the NAACP.
On this date, Zambia
gained independence from Britain
and Kenneth David Kuanda
became its president
Originally colonized by Portugal
centuries earlier, the territory of Northern Rhodesia was administered by the South
Africa Company from 1891 until takeover by the UK in 1923. During the 1920s and
1930s, advances in mining spurred development and immigration. By 1960 the
British Government, in the famous ‘There is a wind of change blowing through Africa’ speech by the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan,
had acknowledged that the days of colonial (or minority) rule on the continent
The premier of the White dominated Federation Roy Welensky, threatened to
declare unilateral independence from Britain, but was drawn back. When Zambia trade
unions, including now powerful miners, threw their weight behind UNIP, the
nationalist momentum became unstoppable. Intense and often violent rivalry
between Kaunda’s UNIP and Nkumbula’s ANC was eventually neutralized in a
transitional coalition government. The name was changed to Zambia upon
independence in 1964.
In the 1980s and 1990s, declining copper prices and a prolonged drought damaged
the economy. Elections in 1991 ended one-party rule, but the subsequent vote in
1996 saw obvious harassment of opposition parties. With a population of over 9
million Zambia is located in
Southern Africa, east of Angola.
date, we celebrate the founding of the National
Coalition of 100 Black Women (NCBW).
This is an organization dedicated to community service, leadership development,
and the enhancement of career opportunities through networking and programming.
NCBW was conceived in New York City
and became a national organization in 1981. The NCBW has 60 chapters in 21
states and The District of Columbia, with over 7,000 members. NCBW’s diverse
membership is comprised of professional women who are actively involved in the
political and economic life of their communities.
The mission of the NCBW an advocacy organization is to empower African-American
women through programs that meet diverse needs. These programs enable NCBW to
provide effective networks among black female leaders; establish links between
NCBW and corporate and political sectors; allow black women to be a visible in
the socio-economic and political arenas; expose our next generation, through
role modeling and mentoring to new career opportunities with a special focus on
the corporate area; and recognize the historic achievements of African-American
Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson, the first African American to play
in Major League baseball, joins the ancestors at the age of 53 in Stamford, Connecticut.
William Jefferson Clinton presented Dorothy Porter Wesley (1905-1995) with the Charles Frankel Award from the National Endowment for the