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1556
Ahmad Baba al-Massufi al-Timbukti
, full name Abu al-Abbas Ahmad ibn Ahmad al-Takruri Al-Massufi al-Timbukti, (also known as Ahmed Baba Es Sudane or Ahmed Baba the black) was born on this date in Araouane, Mali. He was a medieval West African writer, teacher, scholar, philosopher, Arabic grammarian, and political provocateur in the area then known as the Western Sudan. Throughout his life, he wrote more than 40 books and is often noted as having been Timbuktu’s greatest scholar.

Ahmad Baba was born to the teacher, Ahmad bin al-Hajj Ahmad bin Umar bin Muhammed Aqit. He moved to Timbuktu at an early age, to study with his father and with a scholar known as Mohammed Bagayogo (sometimes spelled Baghayúu); there are no other records of his activity until 1594, when he was deported to Morocco, where he remained until 1608 over accusations of sedition.

A fair amount of the work he was noted for was written while he was in Morocco, including his biography of Muhammad Abd al-Karim al-Maghili, a scholar and jurist responsible for much of the traditional religious law of the area. A biographical note was translated by M.A. Cherbonneau in 1855, and became one of the principal texts for study of the legal history of the Western Sudan. Ahmad Baba’s surviving works remain the best sources for the study of al-Maghili and the generation that succeeded him. Ahmad Baba was considered the Mujjadid (reviver of religion) of the century. He was also the last chancellor of the University of Sankore, Timbuktu.

The only public library in Timbuktu, the Ahmed Baba Institute (which stores over 18,000 manuscripts) is named in his honor. Baba died on April 22, 1627 in Timbuktu, Mali.


1749
Of the thirteen colonies, Georgia, of which
Georgia was the last, was the only one that received financial aid by a vote of Parliament -- the only one in the planting of which the British government, as such, took a part. Georgia differed from all others also in prohibiting slavery and the importation of intoxicating liquors. The settlers were to have their land free of rent for ten years, but they could take no part in the government. The trustees made all the laws; but this arrangement was not intended to be permanent; at the close of the proprietary period the colony was to pass to the control of the Crown.

James Oglethorpe was the founder of the colony of Georgia and was also governor for twelve years when he returned to England. In four respects the settlers were greatly dissatisfied. They wanted rum, they wanted slaves, they greatly desired to take a hand in their own government, and they were not content with the land system, which gave each settler but a small farm that must descend in the male line. In all these points the people won. On account of these restrictions the colony grew but slowly and at the end of eighteen years scarcely a thousand families had settled in Georgia. The people claimed that the prohibition of liquors drove the West India trade away from them and at length the prohibition was withdrawn. As to slavery, it still had its opponents -- the Salzburgers, the Scotch Highlanders, and the Wesley brothers, John Wesley, the great founder of Methodism, who came as a missionary, and his brother Charles, who came as secretary to Oglethorpe. But the great majority favored its introduction on the plea that slave labor was necessary to the development of the colony. On this side there is the great English Anglican preacher, George Whitefield (1714–1770), who helped spread the Great Awakening in Britain and especially in the British North American colonies, who went so far as to purchase a plantation in South Carolina, stock it with slaves, and use the proceeds for his orphan house in Savannah. His claim was that the Negroes were better off in slavery than in their native heathenism. Parliament finally relented and, on this date,
Georgia became a slave colony; but only under strict laws for the humane treatment of slaves.


1789
In Philadelphia, PA, the Pennsylvania Society met for the promotion of the abolition of slavery. They presented an essay that was a plan for improving the condition of free Negroes. The essay was printed by Frances Bailey.


1868
White terrorists kill several African Americans in St. Bernard Parish, near New Orleans, Louisiana.


1885
Robert Reed Church, Jr. was born on this date. He was an African-American businessman, civic leader, and African-American politician during the 1920s.

From Memphis, Tennessee Church, Jr. was the youngest son of the wealthy businessman. After graduating from Oberlin College in 1904 and working at a Wall Street bank in New York City, he returned to Memphis to work for his father’s Solvent Savings Bank and Trust. In 1912, Church resigned as president, choosing instead to monitor his father’s extensive property holdings throughout Memphis. Turning to politics, Church became a major contributor and director of the Tennessee Republican Party.

He was an official on the National Advisory Committee for Negroes, a leader in voter registration, and a civil rights activist. Church was among the most influential African Americans in Southern politics during the 1920s. When the Republican Party lost power during the 1930s, Church also lost a powerful platform. While many Blacks were beginning to join the Democratic Party, Robert Reed Church Jr. remained a loyal Republican. Church died in 1952 while campaigning for Dwight D. Eisenhower.



1896
On this date, the
Treaty of Addis Ababa was signed, formally ended the First Italo–Ethiopian War on terms mostly favorable to Ethiopia. This treaty superseded a secret agreement between Ethiopia and Italy negotiated days after the decisive Battle of Adowa in March of the same year, in which Ethiopian forces commanded by Menelek II defeated the Italians. The most important concession the Italians made was the abrogation of the Treaty of Wuchale and recognizing Ethiopia as an independent country.


1899
Judy Johnson was born on this date. He was an African-American baseball player.

From Snow Hill, Maryland, William Julius (Judy) Johnson was the son of William Henry and Annie Lee Johnson. His father was a sailor, a licensed boxing coach and athletic director of the Negro Settlement House in Wilmington. Judy learned to box from his older sister, Emma, while playing baseball for the local Royal Blues. In 1918 for five bucks a game, his semi-pro career began with the Bacharach Giants.

The following year he tried out for the Philadelphia Hilldale’s, the premier team in the area. He failed to make the cut and joined the local Chester Stars to develop his skills. In 1921, he signed with the Madison Stars before finally making his professional debut with Hilldale of the Negro Leagues in 1922. Although his playing days preceded the break of the color barrier by nine years, Johnson became the first Black assistant coach for a major league team in 1954.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975. Johnson Field at Wilmington’s Frawley Stadium is named for him. Johnson is known as Delaware’s folk hero of the diamond. Judy Johnson died on June 15, 1989 in Wilmington, Delaware.Judy Johnson was born on this date in 1899. He was an African-American baseball player.

From Snow Hill, Maryland, William Julius (Judy) Johnson was the son of William Henry and Annie Lee Johnson. His father was a sailor, a licensed boxing coach and athletic director of the Negro Settlement House in Wilmington. Judy learned to box from his older sister, Emma, while playing baseball for the local Royal Blues. In 1918 for five bucks a game, his semi-pro career began with the Bacharach Giants.

The following year he tried out for the Philadelphia Hilldale’s, the premier team in the area. He failed to make the cut and joined the local Chester Stars to develop his skills. In 1921, he signed with the Madison Stars before finally making his professional debut with Hilldale of the Negro Leagues in 1922. Although his playing days preceded the break of the color barrier by nine years, Johnson became the first Black assistant coach for a major league team in 1954.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975. Johnson Field at Wilmington’s Frawley Stadium is named for him. Johnson is known as Delaware’s folk hero of the diamond. Judy Johnson died on June 15, 1989 in Wilmington, Delaware.



1911
Mahalia Jackson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Known as the “Gospel Queen,” Jackson, being raised in the church, and being part of the choir, she became instrumental in the popularization of gospel music and songs. Singing gospel songs with a rich contralto voice in a syncopated beat, Miss Jackson developed a style of performing which was compared to great blues singers, however, she insisted that gospel songs are not to be compared to blues because they really consist of “making a joyful noise unto the Lord.”

At a young age, Jackson knew she was going to be successful but would never show her talent to show business. She also suffered through racism in her life. Jim Crow laws were a major issue in southern states, and Jackson (like all Blacks) had to deal with prejudice all of her life. A major mentor in her life was activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, not only because he was a Baptist, but because he spoke of peace and freedom for all races. At most of Dr. King’s speeches/rallies, she sang “Amazing Grace” and other up lifting songs. One day a record producer came to her church and asked Mahalia to sing for his record company. First, she said no because she only wanted to sing for the Lord, but, the next day she changed her mind. Her first hit was “Lift Every Voice and Sing” edited in 1956.

Jackson’s traditional gospel audiences transcended beyond African American churchgoers through her recordings, radio performances and concert tours in America and abroad. Her recordings sold millions of copies and many landmarks have been named after her. She died from high-blood pressure on January 27, 1972.


1919
Edward William Brooke, III was born in Washington, DC. After serving in World War II and obtaining a law degree from Boston University, he was admitted to the bar in 1948 and was elected attorney general of the State of Massachusetts from 1963 to 1966, where he was a vigorous prosecutor of organized crime. That same year he was elected as a Republican to the U.S. Senate and served a term of four years before being elected to the United States Senate as a Republican in 1966, making him the first African American Senator elected since Reconstruction. In the Senate, Brooke will oppose President Nixon’s policies in Southeast Asia, advocate low-income housing, and oppose quotas to meet affirmative action goals. Among his awards will be the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal in 1967. Brooke served on the President’s Commission on Civil Disorders in 1967, which investigated the causes of race riots in American cities, and (in 1970) played a major role in the successful fight against confirmation of the nomination of G. Harold Carswell to the U. S. Supreme Court. Since leaving the Senate in 1979, he headed the National Low-income Housing Coalition. He is the author of The Challenge of Change (1966). Currently Brooke is a lawyer and a resident of Warrenton, Virginia.


1921
Solomon Porter Hood was named minister to Liberia.


1934
At a New York City conference, representatives of the NAACP and the American Fund for Public Service plan a coordinated legal campaign against segregation and discrimination. Charles H. Houston, Vice-dean of the Howard University Law School, is named director of the NAACP legal campaign.


1950
Walter E. “Chuck” Foreman was born in Frederick, Maryland on this date. He became a star running back for the Minnesota Vikings. He became the NFC Rookie of the Year in 1973 and NFC Player of the Year in 1974 and 1976. He also played in losing efforts in Super Bowls VIII, IX, and XI.


1951
William Collins was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He became a rhythm and blues performer and bandleader known as “Bootsy” Collins. He formed his first group, the Pacesetters, in 1968. From 1969 to 1971, the group functioned as James Brown’s backup band and was dubbed the JB’s. In 1972, Bootsy joined George Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic. He launched Bootsy’s Rubber Band as a spin-off of P-Funk in 1976. He recorded with Warner Brothers from 1976 through 1982. After a six year hiatus, he signed with Columbia Records in 1988 and actively record into the 1990s.


1951
Joe Louis was defeated by Rocky Marciano in the eighth round in a bout at Madison Square Garden.


1952
Hattie McDaniel, actress who starred in an Oscar winning role as “Mammy” in Gone with the Wind, died on this date. McDaniel was the first Black woman to win an Oscar.


1962
Louise Beavers, a African-American film and television actress who starred in more than 100 films from the 1920s until 1960, died on this date at the age of 60, following a heart attack, at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles; it was the 10th anniversary of the death of Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American actress to win an Academy Award. There were no Academy Award supporting-actor categories in 1934, or she could have won for her portrayal of Aunt Delilah in “Imitation of Life.” Her talents were monumental but she was mainly relegated to maid, servant, or slave roles. She did not have a Southern accent and had to develop one; she was not a fat person and had to keep up her weight for her roles. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Beavers was a member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority, one of the four African-American sororities. Some of her hother or roles were in “The Jackie Robinson Story,” and “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.” Louise Beavers was born on March 8, 1902.


1970
Following 3½ years of forced isolation from boxing, Muhammad Ali returned to the ring and beat Jerry Quarry in Atlanta, Georgia.


1970
Construction began on the
Tanzania-Zambia Railway, an 1,860-kilometer long railroad from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to Kapiri Mposhi, Zambia.

The TAZARA Railway (also called the Uhuru Railway or the Tanzam Railway) links the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam with the town of Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia's Central Province.

TAZARA was a turnkey project financed and executed by China. Construction began in 1970 and was completed in 1975, two years ahead of schedule. Construction costs were about US $500 million, making it the largest single foreign-aid project undertaken by China at the time.

The Chinese government sponsored construction of the railway specifically to eliminate Zambia's economic dependence on Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa, both of which were ruled by white-minority governments. Completion of the line provided landlocked Zambia with an alternative route for its copper exports. The friendly relations between Zambia and Tanzania, along with the symbolism of China's involvement in newly decolonized Africa, gave rise to TAZARA's designation as the Great Uhuru Railway, Uhuru being the Swahili word for Freedom.


1976
Trinidad and Tobago gained its independence from the United Kingdom on this date. Eric Williams, a noted Caribbean historian, widely regarded as “The Father of The Nation,” was the first Prime Minister; he served from 1956, before independence, until his death in 1981.


1976
The Transkei
(meaning the area beyond [the river] Kei), officially the Republic of Transkei (Xhosa: iRiphabliki yeTranskei), was a Bantustan— as one of the two homelands for Xhosa-speaking people (the other being Ciskei) it was given nominal parliamentary democracy in the southeastern region of South Africa in 1963. Its capital was Umtata (renamed Mthatha in 2004).

Transkei represented a significant precedent and historic turning point in South Africa’s policy of apartheid and “separate development.” On this date, it was the first of four territories to be declared independent of South Africa. Although the first election was contested and won by the Democratic Party, whose founder Chief Victor Poto was opposed to the notion of Bantustan independence, the government was formed by the Transkei National Independence Party. Of the 109 members in the regional parliament, only 45 were elected; the remaining seats held by ex officio chiefs.

Throughout its existence, it remained an internationally unrecognised, diplomatically isolated, politically unstable de facto one-party state, which at one point broke relations with South Africa, the only country that acknowledged it as a legal entity. In 1994, it was reintegrated into its larger neighbour and became part of the Eastern Cape Province.


1977
Dr. Clifford Reginald Wharton, Jr. was named chancellor of the State University of New York.


1980
Ten African American Roman Catholic bishops issued a pastoral letter asserting that “the Church must seize the initiative to ‘share the gift of our blackness with the Church in the United States.’


1994
Beverly Harvard became the first Black woman to run a major police department when she was appointed Atlanta’s police chief on this date. Harvard began her distinguished career in 1973 as a patrol officer and worked her way through the ranks, serving in a number of posts within the department. A native of Macon, GA, she is a graduate of Morris Brown College and Georgia State University and holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and master’s degree in urban government and administration. She also graduated from the Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) National Academy in Quantico, VA. Harvard retired from the police department in 2002 and currently serves aas deputy federal security director at Atlanta’s Hartfield-Jackson International Airport.


2000
At the Ivorian Popular Front’s (FPI) of
Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) 3rd Ordinary Congress on July 9-11, 1999, Laurent Gbagbo was chosen as the FPI's candidate for the October 2000 presidential election. That election took place after a December 1999 coup in which Robert Guéï took power. Guéï refused to allow Alassane Ouattara or Henri Konan Bédié to run, leaving Gbagbo as the only significant opposition candidate. Guéï claimed victory in the election, held on October 22, 2000. However, after it emerged that Gbagbo had actually won by a significant margin, street protests forced Guéï to flee the capital. Gbagbo installed himself as President on this date and remained in office until his arrest in April 2011.


2000
Diamonds from Sierra Leone arrived in Antwerp under a new UN plan, UNSC resolution 1306,  involving a new certification system, to keep diamond revenues from financing civil war.


2006
Enolia Pettigen McMillan, first female president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) died on this date.


2013
On this date, stock car racing driver Darrell Wallace, Jr. became the first African American driver to win in one of NASCAR's national series since 1963, winning the Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway. The only previous win by an African American driver was by Wendell Scott in the Grand National Division, now the Sprint Cup Series, on December 1, 1963.


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