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1750
The birth of Salem Poor, possibly in this year, is celebrated on this date. He was a Black patriot during the Revolutionary War.

Poor was a free Negro in Andover, Massachusetts who was married, leaving his wife when he went off to war to fight for the American Revolution. He enlisted under Captain Benjamin Ames in Colonel Fryes’ regiment. He fought at Bunker Hill and is credited with shooting down British Lieutenant Colonel James Abercrombie.

Poor’s valor and gallantry at the Battle of Bunker Hill caused 14 officers, including Colonel William Prescott, to cite him with heroism and petition the General Court of Massachusetts with the following statement:

“The Reward due to so great and Distinguished a Character. The Subscribers beg leave to Report to your Honorable. House (Which We do in justice to the Character of so Brave a man) that under Our Own observation, we declare that A Negro Man Called Salem Poor of Col. Fryes Regiment, Capt. Ames. Company in the late Battle of Charleston, behaved like an Experienced Officer, as Well as an Excellent Soldier, to Set forth Particulars of his Conduct would be Tedious, We Would Only beg leave to say in the Person of this Negro Centers a Brave & gallant Soldier.”

Records resembling this from revolutionary rolls, such as the Massachusetts Archives at the Statehouse in Boston, reflect the remarkable character of such men as Salem Poor who enlisted and re- enlisted according to the orders and remands of General Washington and Lord Dunmore. Accounts show that Poor served at Valley Forge and White Plains too. What became of him is unknown. The conduct of most Negroes was sparsely recorded, and their later lives were completely ignored.



1831
Nat Turner, revolutionary/freedom fighter and leader of a slave revolt in Southampton, VA, was captured on this date. During the three day revolt, which began on August 21st, Turner and other slaves killed nearly 60 Whites.


1888
On this date, we celebrate the birth of Tim Moore. He was an African-American actor and entertainer.

Harry Roscoe “Tim” Moore was the son of Harry and Cynthia Moore. He grew up in Rock Island, Illinois, where he began his show business career as a child shuffling and singing for passersby on street corners. At the age of 12, Moore and partner Romeo Washburn left Rock Island to join a vaudeville troupe, appearing in an act called Cora Miskel and Her Gold Dust Twins. Moore talents and his skills soon took him to the British music halls. Returning to the States, he joined a medicine show that played vacant lots all over the Midwest.

There, Moore began developing his “con-man” person selling a cure-all potion to gullible customers. His varied career then included a stint as a carnival “geek,” and in Hawaii he posed as a native tour guide, taking carloads of tourists around Oahu. At 15, he returned home and worked as a fly-shooer in a stable and a fight manager eventually touring as a professional boxer named “Young Klondike” and earning $110,000, winning 84 of 104 fights. Following this Moore developed a one-man version of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” He portrayed both Simon Legree and Uncle Tom, performing with one half his face made up with white chalk and the other with burnt cork. Moore also toured on the black vaudeville circuit, commonly appearing with his wife Gertrude.

In the ‘20s, Moore teamed up with Mantan Moreland, working with Blackbirds of 1928. Moore appeared in a number of black musical revues over a period of 15 to 20 years including Fast and Furious, Take the Air, Shuffle Along, Harlem Scandals, and Rhapsody in Black. He also appeared on a radio series Westinghouse program in 1934. Moore wrote nearly all of his own material as well as skits for other performers, W. C. Fields bought one of his sketches, “Not a Fit Night for Man nor Beast.” Some of Moore films were, His Great Chance 1923, Darktown Revue Oscar Michaeux Films, 1931, and the Donald Heywood Choir 1950.

Moore made some appearances on Ed Sullivan’s “Toast of the Town” television program and appeared at the Apollo Theatre. By the beginning of the 1950’s, he had retired to his native Rock Island, Moore had already been in show business for 50 years when he was chosen to play the role of George “Kingfish” Stevens in the television version of the wildly popular “Amos ‘n’ Andy” radio show. The show ran from June 28, 1951, on CBS through June 11, 1953. The Amos ‘n’ Andy Show was the 13th highest rated show during its first year on the air. For that same season the top-rated show was Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts. Tim Moore died in December 1958.



1918
This date marks the birth of Frank M. Johnson. He was an American lawyer and Federal judge who championed civil rights.

Born and raised in Winston Country, Alabama, near Haleyville, Frank M. Johnson was a graduate of the University Of Alabama School Of Law in 1943. He spent three years in the Army and began private law practice in Jasper, Alabama after his discharge. Johnson was the U. S. Attorney for the northern district of his home state from 1953-55, he then received a recess appointment from president Eisenhower to the U. S. District Court, where he served until President Carter nominated him to the U. S. court of Appeals (Fifth Circuit) in 1979.

Johnson moved to the Eleventh Circuit in 1981 and served there until his death, July 23 1999. According to his former law clerk, Judge Johnson was “the embodiment of the constitution in Alabama and throughout the United States”. Senator Howell Heflin of Alabama said it was Judge Johnson’s “unrelenting devotion to the rule of law” that helped him strike down segregation laws. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said, “Judge Johnson, really through his courage and integrity, helped make this country a true constitutional democracy.”

Frank Johnson was a republican and his rulings in the 1950’s and 1960’s helped end the era of segregated buses, schools, parks and restaurants. Johnson’s rulings led to threats against him and his family and made him an outcast in Montgomery. A cross was burned on his lawn and his mother‘s home was bombed.



1925
On this date, Gus Savage was born. He was an African American politician.

From Detroit, Michigan, Savage attended public schools in Chicago and served in the U. S. Army after graduation until 1946. He then earned a B.A. degree in philosophy from Roosevelt University in 1951. While attending Chicago-Kent College of Law (1952-1953), he began his career as a journalist. Politically, Savage started in the 1940s as a fulltime member of the Progressive Party of former Vice President Henry A. Wallace. He also promoted programs for Paul Robeson, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Hon. Elijah Muhammad.

A determined opponent of Chicago’s Democratic machine, Savage ran for Congress in Illinois’ Third Congressional District in 1968 but lost. A 1970 primary bid was also unsuccessful. Savage did win in 1979, taking his seat as a member of Congress on January 3, 1981 as chairman of the Committee on Public Works and Transportation Subcommittee on Economic Development. He was also a senior Black member of the Committee on Small Business.

In 1986, he successfully sponsored an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 1987. This set aside a possible $25 billion for minority-owned and controlled businesses, institutions, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.



1930
On this date Clifford Brown was born. He was an African-American jazz trumpeter.

Born in Wilmington, Delaware, Brown attended Delaware State College and Maryland State College and played in Philadelphia before joining, first, Tadd Dameron’s band in Atlantic City, New Jersey, then Lionel Hampton’s big band for a European tour, both in 1953. He then played with leading West Coast musicians and the Art Blakey quintet. In 1954 he and drummer Max Roach formed the Brown-Roach quintet, which quickly became one of the outstanding postwar jazz units.

Brown and Richie Powell, the quintet’s pianist, died in an accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. From 1953, when Brown began recording frequently, his style was fully mature. Influenced by Fats Navarro, he developed an innate sense of solo form, a rich tone, and a virtuoso technique in all trumpet ranges. His style included brilliant high notes, high rhythmic detail, and a generous incorporation of grace notes and varied inflections, all of which he played with rare grace and ease. He was especially noted for the melodic qualities of his improvising, which often flowed in long phrases.

Most of his recordings are of consistently high quality, at his best in the Brown-Roach At Basin Street and Sonny Rollins Plus Four albums (both 1956). The jazz standard “Joy Spring” (1954) is one of the best-known songs that he wrote. Brown was the most influential trumpeter of his generation; the lyrical aspects of his music influenced many trumpeters, including Lee Morgan and Booker Little, and his technical brilliance especially influenced trumpeters such as Donald Byrd and Freddie Hubbard. He died June 26, 1956 in Pennsylvania.

Clifford Brown was noted for lyricism, clarity of sound, and grace of technique. He was a principal figure in the hard-bop idiom.



1939
Eddie Holland is born in Detroit, Michigan. He will become one-third of an amazing songwriting and production trio, Holland-Dozier-Holland. Eddie Holland will not be as successful on his own as when teamed with Brian Holland, his brother, and Lamont Dozier. Eddie Holland will score his biggest hit as a solo artist back in 1962, with “Jamie” reaching number six on the R&B charts and peaking at #30 pop. He recorded three more songs for Motown in the mid-‘60s, but none of them were hits, and he then concentrated on songwriting and production. The Holland-Dozier-Holland trio will write numerous hits for Motown acts through the ‘60s before departing in 1968. They will form their own label in 1970, Hot Wax/Invictus, and will have success for a while with such acts as The Chairmen Of The Board, Laura Lee, and the Honey Cone. Some of the songs written by the trio are “Where Did Our Love Go”, “Baby Love”, “Stop! In the Name of Love”, “I Hear a Symphony”, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”, “Reach Out”, and “I’ll Be There.”  Holland-Dozier-Holland will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.


1941
Otis Miles is born in Texarkana, Arkansas. He will become a rhythm and blues singer known as Otis Williams and will be one of the original members of the Motown group, The Temptations. Some of their hits will be “I Can’t Get Next to You”, “Cloud Nine”, “Runaway Child”, “Running Wild”, “Just My Imagination”, “Papa was a Rolling Stone”, and “Masquerade.”


1950
Philip “Phil” Chenier is born in Berkeley, California. He will become a professional basketball player and will be best known as a member of the Washington Bullets team.


1954
The Defense Department announces that all units in the armed forces are now integrated. The announcement comes six years after President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981.


1966
Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, students at Oakland City College in Oakland, California, create the Black Panther Party for Self Defense.


1974
Muhammad Ali defeats George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire to regain his heavyweight crown in a fight billed as “The Rumble in the Jungle.” In addition to the fight being the first heavyweight title fight held in Africa, it is the 14th Anniversary of Ali’s professional boxing debut.


1976
Dr. Joseph H. Evans is elected president of the United Church of Christ, the first African American to hold the post in this predominantly White denomination.


1978
Esther Rolle wins an Emmy Award for her role in “Summer of My German Soldier.”


1979
Richard Arrington is the first African American to be elected mayor of Birmingham, Alabama. With Black comprising nearly 45 percent of the electorate, Arrington, a former councilman, defeated Frank Parsons, a White lawyer and businessman with 52 per cent of the vote. Arrington, the son of a sharecropper, was reared in Fairfield, AL and had pursued a career in higher education. A former dean at Miles College, he had earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology and a doctorate in zoology and biochemistry. However, his desire to improve conditions for Blacks in the city led him to win a seat as the first Black member of the Birmingham City Council in 1971. After his second term opn the council, at age 44, he ran a grassroots campaign for mayor of the state’s largest city, won and re-elected a recofd four times, holding office 20 years. He is currently a visiting professor in the Center for Urban Affairs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


1989
Frank Mingo, CEO of the Mingo Group, joins the ancestors in New York City. He, along with D. Parke Gibson, Barbara Proctor of Proctor and Gardner, and Tom Burrell of Burrell Advertising, was one of the pioneering advertising executives who specialized in targeting African American consumers.


1991
Led by President Robert L. Johnson, BET Holdings, Inc., the parent company of Black Entertainment Television, sells 4.2 million shares of stock in an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. BET is the first African American company listed on the “Big Board.”


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