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
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,
After the war, Williams wanted to be financially independent so she joined the
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
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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
the Juilliard School of Music, and Boston
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
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.
Tolbert was born on this date. She played Jenny
Willis, Lionel Jefferson’s girlfriend, on the long running comedy “The
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,
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.
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
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
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%)