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1831
Nat Turner was turned over to a sheriff on this date. The revolutionary freedom-fighter was captured the previous day for his involvement in his infamous slave revolt.


1893
Football player, William Henry Lewis, is named as an All-American, playing for Harvard College. This is the second year in a row he is named to the All American Team. He is the first African American athlete to be named All American.


1899
W.F. Burr patents a railway switching device. Patent #636,197.


1896
This date marks the birth of Ethel Waters. She was an African-American entertainer, vocalist, and actress.

Born in Chester, Pennsylvania, Waters came to New York City in 1919 after singing and dancing on the East Coast and the Southern vaudeville and cabaret circuit. Due to her slender appearance, she was billed as Sweet Mama String-bean. In 1921 she cut two songs for Cardinal Records and became the first artist to release a blues record on the black-owned Black Swan label, recording “Down Home Blues” and “Oh Daddy.”

With smooth, well-defined phrasing and a meticulous sense of timing, the singing style of Ethel Waters rated with the best of the era’s vocalists, making her a popular figure during the Harlem Renaissance. By the mid-‘20s Waters had stopped singing the blues. She was
the first woman to perform W.C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues.” Her style changed to that of a successful pop singer. Waters performed in a number of revues, including Africana, Paris Bound, and The Ethel Waters Broadway Revue. In 1929 she landed her first acting role in the film On with the Show. She appeared in Pinky in 1949, which won her an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress.

On Broadway Ethel Waters appeared in Mamba’s Daughters, though her greatest theatrical achievement was in 1950 when she played a cook in the play The Member of the Wedding and won the New York Drama Critics Award for best actress. She penned two autobiographies, His Eye Is on the Sparrow and To Me It’s Wonderful. Ethel Waters also toured with evangelist Billy Graham from 1957 until her death
on September 1, 1977.


1902
Julia Lee was born on this date. She was an African-American singer and pianist.

Julia Lee was born in Boonville, Missouri and raised in Kansas City, where she attended Lincoln High School. As a child, she performed with her father’s string trio, as well as at neighborhood house parties and church socials. She began her professional musical career singing and playing the piano in her brother’s band, George E. Lee and His Novelty Singing Orchestra.

His band formed around 1920 and, among the Black musical groups in the Kansas City area, was the biggest rival of the Bennie Moten Orchestra during that decade. George Lee’s band featured outstanding singers and soloists. It was also the training ground for a many talented young musicians, including, briefly, Charlie Parker. In 1935, Lee launched an independent career. Lee was known for her husky voice, her straightforward piano style, and the easy, heartfelt way of singing. In a professional career that spanned four decades, Lee built a national reputation as one of the great female blues singers of all time.

A major figure in the blues revival that followed World War II, her trademark was double-entrendres, or, as she once said, “the songs my mother taught me not to sing.” She made several hit records in the 1940s. Come On Over to My House Baby led to a recording contract with Capitol Records in 1946. Snatch and Grab It, (1947), sold a half million copies. She worked primarily in the mid-west and frequently teamed up with the great drummer Samuel “Baby” Lovett. In 1949, Lee and Lovett played at the White House at the invitation of President Harry Truman.

Lee was married for a time to baseball player and manager Frank Duncan, of the Kansas City Monarchs. At the time of her death on December 8, 1958 in San Diego, she was one of the most popular performers in Kansas City.



1922
Illinois Jacquet was born on this date. He was an African-American Tenor saxophonist.

Born Jean Baptiste Jacquet, in Boussard, Louisiana, he grew up in Houston, Texas. There he played in a band with his older brother, Russell, and worked in several bands around town before moving to Los Angeles in 1941. In L.A., he joined Hampton’s big band. Jacquet wrote his signature on jazz immortality in 1942. Then, as a 19-year-old member of Lionel Hampton’s big band, he played an incredible solo on Hampton’s “Flying Home.”

He has virtually built a career on that solo, which he claims, came from divine inspiration; it ranks as one of the best improvisational performances in the 20th century. His raw-boned tenor sound combining R&B boldness and jazz sophistication is his trademark. He performed in the Jazz At The Philharmonic series, appeared in the jazz documentary, Jammin’ The Blues and in 1945 formed his own band. From the ‘50s to the present, Jacquet has recorded for many labels including Savoy, RCA, Mercury, Epic, and Atlantic.

Continuing performing on jazz recordings into the 1990s, he was a guest on the Modern Jazz Quartet’s 1994 album A Celebration. As he explained in the closing statement of a 1988 Jazz Times interview, “With this kind of music you don’t get old, because it takes 50 years to learn how to play it. I don’t expect to retire.”

Into the 21st century, Jacquet lead one of the best swing big bands on the scene and performed with the same intensity that marked his ascendancy more than 50 years ago. Illinois Jacquet died on July 21, 2004.



1935
John Henry Lewis wins the world light heavyweight crown in St. Louis, Missouri by defeating Bob Olin.  He will become the first American-born light heavyweight champion to retire undefeated.


1945
Educator, Booker T. Washington, is inducted into the Hall of Fame for Great Americans.


1950
Earl Lloyd becomes the first African American to play in an NBA game when he takes the floor for the Washington Capitols in Rochester, New York. Lloyd is actually one of three African Americans to become NBA players in the 1950 season. The other two are Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton and Chuck Cooper. Lloyd will play 9 solid NBA seasons from 1950 to 1960.


1953
John Harding Lucas II is born in Durham, North Carolina. He will become a professional basketball player and play guard for the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks. He will become a NBA coach after retiring as a player. He will coach the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers, each for less than two seasons, compiling a 174 - 258 overall record. Prior to accepting the head coaching position for the Cavaliers, he will be an assistant coach for the Denver Nuggets for three seasons.


1954
On this date, Algeria gained independence from France.

For more than a century, the Algerian people fought a permanent armed, moral, and political struggle against the invader and all its forms of oppression after the aggression of 1830 against the Algerian State and the occupation of the country by the French colonialist forces. In the conflict the National Liberation Front called for the mobilization of all the energies of the nation, the process of struggle for independence having reached its final realization stage.

The war of extermination carried on by the French imperialism became more intensive, and more than a million martyrs died for the love of the homeland and liberty. In March 1962, the people came out victorious from a struggle that lasted seven and a half years led by the National Liberation Front. Having recovered its sovereignty after 132 years of colonial domination under a feudal system, Algeria gave itself new national political institutions.

Faithful to the program adopted by the National Council of the Algerian Revolution in Tripoli, the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria moved its activities in the process of building of the country in conformity with the principles of socialism and the effective exercise of power by the people, of whom the fellahs, the working masses, and the revolutionary intellectuals constitute the ultramodern.



1969
A racially motivated civil disturbance occurs in Jacksonville, Florida. The disturbance is caused by tensions between whites and Blacks during civil rights demonstrations.


1997
Violet Palmer, a Black woman, became the first woman to officiate a NBA game, the Dallas Mavericks at the Vancouver Grizzlies. The NBA introduced two women official in 1997.

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