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Massachusetts Bay Colony declares two Africans free and orders their return to Africa at public expense.

On this date, we recall the birth of Jean-Baptist-Point Du Sable. He was a black pioneer, trader and founder of the settlement that later became the city of Chicago.

Du Sable, was from St. Marc, Sainte-Domingue [now Haiti]. His French father had moved there and married a Black woman, he is believed to have been a freeborn. Around the 1770s he went to the Great Lakes area of North America, settling on the shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Chicago River, with his Potawatomi wife, Kittihawa (Catherine). His defiance to the crown led to his arrest in 1779 by the British, who took him to Fort Mackinac. There he managed a trading post called the Pinery on the St. Clair River in present-day Michigan, after which he returned to the site of Chicago.

By 1790 Du Sable’s establishment there had become an important link in the region’s fur and grain trade. In 1800 he sold out and moved to Missouri, where he continued as a farmer and trader until his death. But his 20-year residence on the shores of Lake Michigan had established his title as Father of Chicago. Jean Du Sable died Aug. 28th 1818 in St. Charles, MO.

The birth of Cathy Williams is celebrated on this date. She was a black domestic worker, and soldier.

From Independence, Missouri, she worked as a house slave for William Johnson, a wealthy planter in Jefferson City, Missouri until his death. About that time, the Civil War broke out and she was freed by Union soldiers. Thereafter, Williams worked for the Army as a paid servant.

While serving the soldiers, she experienced military life first hand serving a Colonel Benton in Little Rock, Arkansas. She also served a General Sheridan and his staff. She was recruited to Washington D.C. as a cook and laundress for the Army. While traveling with them, Williams witnessed the Shenandoah Valley raids in Virginia. After leaving Virginia, she traveled to Iowa and St. Louis; she also traveled to New Orleans, Savannah, and Macon. After the war, Williams wanted to be financially independent so she joined the army.

In November of 1866, she enlisted as William Cathay in the Thirty-Eighth United States Infantry, Company A, (Buffalo Soldiers). She was able to do so because a medical examination was not required at the time. When she enlisted in the army, women were not allowed to serve as soldiers. So, Williams posed as a man and joined Thirty-Eighth Infantry. As a result, she became the first and the only known female Buffalo Soldier. Only her cousin and a friend were aware of her real identity.

Company A, arrived at Fort Cummings in New Mexico on October 1, 1867. At the fort, her company protected miners and traveling immigrants from Apache attack. Of the approximately 3,800 Black infantrymen and cavalry who served in the frontier Army between 1866 and 1900, she was the only woman to serve as a Buffalo Soldier. In 1868, Williams grew tired of military life so she pretended to be ill. She was examined by a post surgeon who then discovered that she was a woman.

She was discharged October 14, 1868 and lived many years after her military service. Cathy Williams died at the age of 82 in Raton, New Mexico.

Francis James Grimke, noted Black clergyman, was born in Charleston, SC. He was a graduate of Princeton Theology Seminary and was, for nearly fifty years, the pastor of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC.

Wendell Phillips Dabney, editor, publisher, bibliophile, musician, and politician, was born in Richmond, VA. For over 40 years, Dabney published his one-man newspaper in Cincinnati, the Union.

Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback is elected as a U.S. congressman from Louisiana.

Three African Americans are elected to major offices in Louisiana elections: C.C Antoine, Lieutenant Governor; P.G. Deslonde, Secretary of State; W.B. Brown, Superintendent of Public Education.

Thomas Elkins of Albany, NY received a patent on the refrigeration apparatus. Patent #221,222. At the time, the common way of accomplishing this was by placing items in a large container and surrounding them with large blocks of ice. Unfortunately, the ice generally melted very quickly and the food soon perished. Elkins’ device utilized metal cooling coils which became very cold and would cool down items which they surrounded. The coils were enclosed within a container and perishable items were placed inside. The coils cooled the container to temperature significantly lower than that inside of a room thereby keeping the perishable items cool and fresh for longer periods of time. One unusual fact about Thomas Elkins’ refrigerator was that it was also designed to chill human corpses.

This date celebrates the birth of Eileen Jackson Southern. She was an African-American musicologist.

From Chicago, Illinois Young Eileen Jackson grew up and attended public schools in her hometown; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In childhood, as she developed as a pianist, young Eileen was introduced to and became partial to the music of those she calls the “piano composers,” including Bach, Beethoven, and Debussy. In addition, her piano teachers, mostly white, were concerned that she knew music by Black composers and introduced her to R. Nathaniel Dett’s In the Bottoms, among other such compositions.

At Chicago’s Lindblom High School Eileen Jackson majored in commercial art. During the same period she won piano-performance and essay competitions, taught piano lessons, and directed musical activities at the Lincoln Community Center all activities that contributed to her musical and intellectual growth. She gave her first piano recital at the age of twelve and made her debut in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall at age eighteen, playing a Mozart concerto with the symphony orchestra of the Chicago Musical College. She attended and received degrees from the University of Chicago (B. A., 1940, and M. A., 1941) and New York University (Ph.D., 1961). Her relationship with Cecil Smith encouraged her to further develop her interest in Negro folk music and he advised for her master’s thesis.

Southern also studied piano privately at Chicago Musical College, the Juilliard School of Music, and Boston University. Perhaps Southern’s greatest contribution to American musical history was her book The Music of Black Americans, published in 1971. Her book arrived at the height of the controversy over Black studies, and it made a very strong case for what the discipline could produce.

She also discovered Frank Johnson, a Black Philadelphia band leader who rose to fame at the end of the 1700s. He led Frank Johnson’s Colored Band and by 1818 took his band as far south as Richmond, Va., playing dances for White Southerners. Johnson played a command performance at Buckingham Palace, where he received a silver bugle in appreciation.

She taught at Harvard University from 1976 and retired to live in St. Albans, New York. Eileen Jackson Southern was 82 when she died in Florida on Oct. 13, 2002.

On this date, King Tut’s tomb was discovered. Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon found the grave in Egypt.

The burial place of
King Tutankhamun (his full name) was hidden beneath the mud brick houses of the workmen who cut the tomb of Ramesses VI. Presumably this tomb was not carved for a king, but for a high official. But due to the fact that King Tut died at an early age, the rooms were hurriedly converted. Items for the afterlife were apparently placed into the various rooms. This Pharaoh of Egypt’s find is important because the contents were untouched by thieves. The ancient artifacts can be found in the Cairo Museum.

Three coffins were found in the tomb, the last was made of solid gold. King Tut’s mummy was not in very good shape and as a result is kept at his tomb. He was found with 15 rings of various sizes on his mummy fingers depending on the amount of linen used to wrap his hands. He also had 13 bracelets and assorted amulets and earrings.

They also found among the treasures 415 statues of servants complete with baskets and tools (one for each day plus supervisors). The servants were to do the everyday jobs expected of the king in the afterlife. Large beds of gold leaf found were there to prepare the body for embalming. Other symbols found with the king were the lion, hippo, and the cow.

The only part of the complex that contained wall paintings was the Burial Chamber. One of the scenes (shown) depicts the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony where the senses are restored to the deceased King Tutankhamun. In this case the person performing this duty is Ay, who became the next pharaoh.

Actress Berlinda Tolbert was born on this date. She played Jenny Willis, Lionel Jefferson’s girlfriend, on the long running comedy “The Jefferson.”

Julius A. Archibald, a NY school teacher, became the first Black elected to the New York State Senate. Archibald, a native of Trinidad, represented at the 21st senatorial district.

Hulan Jack becomes first African American Manhattan Borough President in New York City.

World renowned opera singer, Shirley Verrett, makes her debut in New York City.

Ernie Banks, Chicago Cubs shortstop, wins the National League MVP.

Howard N. Lee and Charles Evers are elected the first African American mayors of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Fayette, Mississippi respectively.

On this date, Sean “P. Diddy” or “Puffy” Combs was born. He is an African-American Musician, and Producer.

Raised in Mount Vernon, New York, his father Melvin Combs was murdered in 1973. His mother Janice Combs was a model. He attended Howard University, Washington, D.C. majoring in Business. The career of (formerly known as) “Puffy” Combs began with an apprenticeship as an intern at a new record company. Puffy convinced Uptown Records founder Andre Harrell to take a chance on him. He was barely 20 years old and a student at Howard University when he started commuting to Manhattan three times a week on the train.

For his first assignment, Puffy constructed the careers of Uptown’s Jodeci and Mary J. Blige starting in 1991-92. In the process, he helped to create a new musical genre: hip-hop soul. In 1994, his collaboration with Mary J. Blige on her second album, My Life, produced a classic that spoke to a new generation of youth. That same year Combs created Bad Boy Entertainment and produced his first successful recordings for the new label, including the debut of his oldest friend Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace) entitled Ready To Die.

Bad Boy, a successful Black-owned and Black-operated company, was renegotiated as a 50/50 joint venture with Clive Davis and Arista Records in 1995 as Puffy introduced the debut album by Notorious B.I.G.’s wife Faith Evans. Combs was married to Misa Hylton a hip-hop fashion stylist. Together they had one child Justin Combs in 1994; the relationship ended in divorced. Afterwards he was with Kim Porter and they had one child Christian Casey Combs in 1997. One year later Combs began dating actress, musician Jennifer Lopez; they broke up in 2001. That same year Combs went on trial for weapons charges stemming from a 1999 Manhattan nightclub shooting in which three people were injured; at trial’s end he was acquitted of all charges.

Combs changed his name from Puffy to “Diddy”, and by the time Diddy celebrated Bad Boy’s 10th anniversary in 2004, the business had grown into a multi-million-dollar empire. His company had encompassed not only a music label but the award-winning Sean John clothing line, Justin’s restaurants and a wide array of charitable ventures. Diddy is also building an acting career, appearing in movies such as Made and Monster’s Ball, and making his Broadway debut in Raisin in the Sun. This is his first time hosting the MTV VMAs.

Elgin Baylor announces his retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers. After 14 years in the NBA, Baylor had scored 23,149 points, the third highest in the league, and was the fifth-highest career rebounder.

William Howard Jr. is elected president of the National Council of Churches, at the age of 32.

Zena Garrison becomes the 1st African American player to win the junior singles tennis championship at Wimbledon, England.

Rayford Logan joins the ancestors in Washington, DC. He was an educator, historian, and author of numerous books on African Americans, including the “Dictionary of American Negro Biography.” Among his honors was a 1980 NAACP Spingarn Medal.

Bill and Camille Cosby make a $20 million gift to Spelman College. In his remarks to newly inaugurated President Johnetta B. Cole, Cosby states, “I want Johnetta Cole to understand the love that Camille and I have for this college, the love we have for women who, in spite of odds against them, come to this school to challenge themselves, to challenge the school, then to challenge what we call ‘the outside world.’”

The Martin L. King, Jr. Federal Building is dedicated in Atlanta, Georgia. It is the first federal building in the nation to bear the name of the slain civil rights leader.

In a low-turnout election on this day, Chuck E. Burris defeated the incumbent, Pat Wheeler, by 278 votes to 260 to become the first Black mayor of Stone Mountain, Georgia which is the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan.

Daisy Bates, who is best known for counseling the “Little Rock Nine,” joins the ancestors at the age of 84. The “Little Rock Nine” were the students who broke the color barrier at all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. Her leadership helped to inch America toward desegregated schools. She had dedicated her entire life to service in the civil rights struggle.

On this U.S. Election Day, at 11:00 pm EST, immediately with the closing of the poles on the West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada, and all four going for Obama), to this date, 45 years after the March on Washington, the most significant pinnacle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Dream” had come to fruition. All of major news networks projected and declared the 47 year old junior senator from Illinois, Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th President Elect of the United States. Obama, with a slogan of “Change,” defeated Senator John Sidney McCain, III, the senior senator from Arizona who ran with a campaign slogan of “American First.” By 11:19 pm EST, Senator John McCain in Phoenix, AZ, gracefully conceded and, by 11:59 pm EST, in Grant Park in Chicago to a crowd of 250,000, President Elect Obama gave his acceptance speech. With his election, the Hawaiian born Obama, the son of a Kenyan father and White mother, became the first African American and the first non-White to be elected and ascend to the Office of President of the United States.

At the media projection and declaration, Missouri, Indiana, and North Carolina were undecided. Shortly thereafter, with 100% of votes tallied in North Carolina, Obama had received 2,123,334 popular votes while McCain had received 2,109,281 and, with 100% of votes tallied in Indiana, Obama had received 1,367, 503 popular votes while McCain had received 1,341,667. North Carolina with 15 electoral votes and Indiana with 11 electoral votes were eventually both declared for Obama. As of this writing (November 14, 2008), Obama had 365 electoral votes with McCain receiving 162 with Missouri still listed as undecided with McCain having a popular vote of 1,444,331 (50%) and Obama 1,439,341 (49%). Missouri remained undecided because, at the time, there was a differenced of 4,990 votes with 8,000 provisional ballot that had yet to be verified and counted. As of November 14, 2008, of special note, the state of Nebraska which had not voted for a Democrat in 44 years, for the first time in its history being one of two states (the other being Maine) able to split its electoral votes, cast one of its votes to Obama.

It was not until November 19th that the vote count in Missouri was finalized. That state with 11 electoral votes had cast 1,445,812 (49.4%) votes for McCain and 1,224,180 votes (49.3%) for Obama, 17,813 (0.6%) for Independent Ralph Nader, 11,386 (0.4%) for Libertarian Bob Barr, and 8,201 for AKI candidate Chuck Baldwin. The difference between Obama and McCain was 221,632 votes. After correctly picking the winning president in the last 13 presidential elections, Missouri did not do so in this election. This culminated in a final electoral vote count 365 for Obama and 173 for McCain. Overall, nationally, Obama received 67,066,915 (52.7%) popular votes while McCain received 58,421,377 (45.9%) popular votes and 1,653,986 (1.3%) for others.

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