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1775
Lord John Murray Dunmore, the Royal British governor of the colony of Virginia, issues a proclamation granting freedom to any slave who is willing to join the British army in its fight against the American revolutionaries. The offer applies only to slaves owned by “rebels”. About 800 slaves will eventually accept the offer.


1817
On this date we recall the birth of George Washington. He was an African-American farmer, businessman and the founder of the town of Centralia, Washington.

Born a slave in Virginia, George Washington escaped and was raised by a white family in Missouri. Unable to attend school, he was tutored and eventually ran a sawmill in St. Joseph, Missouri. He struggled under the racial restrictions of that slave-holding state and in 1850 joined a wagon train on the Oregon Trail. After reaching the northwest, George Washington again entered the lumber business and established a homestead on the Chehalis River. But his farm lay in the path of the Northern Pacific Railroad.

He and the company came to terms and with the settlement he received, Washington planned a new town. He called it Centerville and laid out two thousand lots, setting aside for parks and churches in 1872. The town thrived, though the name was changed to Centralia, George Washington spent the rest of his life there as an honored citizen. When he died, in 1905, the town, 30 miles south of Olympia, shut down for a day of mourning. George Washington Park (named after him) is in the heart of Centralia, at Pearl St. and Harrison St.



1837
Elijah P. Lovejoy, newspaperman, was killed defending his newspaper, the Alton Observer, from a pro-slavery mob in Alton, IL.


1841
A slave revolt occurs on the Creole, which was en route to New Orleans, from Hampton, Virginia. Rebels overpowered crew and sailed ship to the Bahamas, where they were granted asylum and freedom.


1876
Edward Bouchet, is the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from a college in the United States (Yale University). He received a Ph.D. in physics.


1876
Edward Bannister, the first African American artist to win wide critical acclaim, is awarded a prize at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition for his work, “Under the Oak”.


1909
Knights Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary is organized in Mobile, Alabama, by four Josephite priests and three Catholic laymen. It is the largest African American lay Catholic organization. The organization is located in 34 states, has 298 Councils (men’s divisions) and 312 Courts (ladies’ divisions) with 123 Junior Councils (young men) and 208 Junior Courts (young ladies) between the ages of 7-18 years old. The Order is named after St. Peter Claver, a Jesuit priest from Spain who ministered to African slaves in Cartegena, Colombia, South America in the 1600’s. Peter Claver is said to have converted over 300,000 slaves to Catholicism. The Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary engages in a variety of church and community service projects. It also supports charitable appeals of many national and international organizations such as the NAACP and the United Negro College Fund, Catholic elementary and secondary schools, and Xavier University in New Orleans. The Knights of Peter Claver is a member of the worldwide International Alliance of Catholic Knights.


1915
Meharry Medical College is incorporated as a separate entity in Nashville, Tennessee.


1916
The NAACP’s Spingarn Medal is awarded to Col. Charles Young, U.S. Army, for organizing the Liberian constabulary and establishing order on the frontiers of Liberia.


1934
Arthur Wergs Mitchell becomes the first African American Democratic congressman (Illinois), after defeating Republican Oscar Depriest in a Chicago election.


1938
Delecta Clark is born in Blythesville, Arkansas. He will become a rhythm and blues singer better known as “Dee” Clark. He will move to Chicago as a child and be in the Hambone Kids with Sammy McGrier and Ronny Strong. They will recorded for Okeh Records in 1952 - the next year Clark will sing with the Goldentones. This group will later become the Kool Gents. Clark will go solo in 1957 and in 1958 enjoyed his first smash with “Nobody for You,” an Abner release that will reach number three Rhythm & Blues and just miss the Top 20 on the pop charts. He will continue a string of R&B winners with “Just Keep It Up,” “Hey Little Girl,” and “How About That” for Abner in 1959 and 1960. Clark will team with guitarist Phil Upchurch to write “Raindrops” in 1961, which will become his signature song. Raindrops will peak at number three Rhythm & Blues and number two pop, and will be his last major hit. He will join the ancestors in 1990.


1950
On this date, Alexa Irene Canady was born. She is an African-American Neurosurgeon.

At the age of 30, Canady was the first Woman and First African American to become a Neurosurgeon in America. From Lansing Michigan, Alexa Irene Canady is the daughter of Elizabeth Hortense (Golden) Canady and Clinton Canady Jr. Her father was a graduate of the School of Dentistry of Meharry Medical College, practicing in Lansing. Her mother was a graduate of Fiasco University was active for years in civic affairs of Lansing. She also served as national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Young Canady and her brother grew up outside Lansing and were the only two Black students in the entire school. Despite the obstacles, Canady was an exceptional student and named a National Achievement Scholar in 1967. She attended the University of Michigan, getting her BS, degree in 1971. After this came the University of Michigan, Medical School, and her M.D. cum laude in 1975. Canady’s Interned at Yale’s New Hane Hospital from 1975 to 1976, and an example of her non-recognition due to being Black and a woman came on her first day of her residency at Yale New Hane Hospital. She was appointed as first female and first black to a residency in neurosurgery. As she began making her rounds a hospital administrator referred to her as “the new equal-opportunity package.” Despite the remark, Dr. Canady viewed her accomplishment as a double achievement for herself and both women and African Americans.

From there she went to the University of Minnesota in neurosurgery, from 1976 to 1981. She also worked at the University of Pennsylvania Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Ped Neurosurg from 1981-82. Currently, Canady is the director of neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital in Detroit and a clinical associate professor at Wayne State University. Her Areas of Expertise are Craniofacial Abnormalities, Epilepsy, Hydrocephalus, Pediatric Neurosurgery, and Tumors of Spinal Cord and Brain. She has also added to special research topics such as assisting in the development of neuroendoscopic equipment, evaluating programmable pressure change valves in hydrocephalus, head injury, hydrocephalus and shunts, neuroendoscopy, and pregnancy complications of shunts.

Besides Dr. Canady’s position as the director of pediatric neurosurgery, she also works to change the perspective of how African Americans both as patients and physicians are being presumed and perceived. She claims the major medical problem for Blacks stems from the scarcity of research targeting their specific health concerns and needs. Canady believes the issues will be better addressed now that medical schools are diversifying their student bodies and their faculties.

She feels very optimistic about the changing face of American medicine. She knows that her own accomplishments are helping to inspire the dreams of a younger generation. In 1975 Canady was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha Honorary Medical Society. In 1983, she was Teacher of the Year, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, and in 1991 Dr. Canady was honored as Alumni, University of Michigan.



1955
In reviewing a Baltimore, Maryland case, the U.S. Supreme Court bans segregation in public recreational areas.


1955
On this date, the Supreme Court ruled against Atlanta, Georgia’s “separate but equal” precept, in public golf courses.

The case was called
Holmes vs. Atlanta. The Holmes family was one of prominence in post-war Atlanta. Dr. Hamilton M. Holmes Sr. conducted his family practice out of an office on Auburn Ave. in the heart of the city. His son, Oliver Wendell Holmes, was a well-respected minister. Alfred (Tup) Holmes was the outspoken sibling; he served as union steward at Lockheed Aircraft in Marietta, Georgia, in 1951, when the Holmes trio joined Charles T. Bell to make a stand against segregation.

This foursome shared a passion for golf and, like most of Atlanta’s African-American elite, they all belonged to Black-owned and Black-run Lincoln Country Club, a nine-hole layout better known for the quality of its buffet than its course conditions. The group attempted to play at a course on the other side of town. Although
Bobby Jones Golf Course, located on the affluent northwest side of town, was one of seven public venues within the city limits, it was off limits to African-Americans unless they happened to be carrying someone else’s clubs. Sensing resistance, Tup and Bell came up with a plan to help persuade the others. They would dispatch ahead one of their members, K. B. Hill, who passed for Caucasian on several deceptions, to infiltrate the whites-only course.

However, the racism with which the group was confronted on that mid-summer morning was no laughing matter. “The head pro told us straight out we couldn’t play, that they didn’t allow no niggers at Bobby Jones,” recalled Bell. Hill was quickly corralled and, along with the others, escorted off the grounds. It took two years, but they eventually filed a lawsuit-Holmes vs. Atlanta-that sought to desegregate public golf courses and parks in the city. Dissatisfied with U. S. District Court Judge Boyd Sloan’s 1954 ruling in the case the litigants decided to appeal to a higher power.

John H. Calhoun, a businessman and president of the local chapter of the NAACP recommended the organization throw its clout behind the golfers; the NAACP responded by providing resources and the chief counsel of its legal defense team, an up-and-coming lawyer named Thurgood Marshall, to present their case before an appeals court in New Orleans. When that court upheld Judge Sloan’s ruling, the golfers were forced to take their fight to the nation’s ultimate battleground, the U. S. Supreme Court. This time they won. The Supreme Court accepted the case in the fall term of 1955 and, ruled in favor of the Black golfers. Not everyone was happy with this outcome, especially Georgia Gov.

Marvin Griffin who had added to an already incendiary climate by declaring, “Co-mingling of the races in Georgia state parks and recreation areas will not be tolerated.” (Then) Atlanta mayor William B. Hartsfield urged the city to sell its courses to individuals, who could then declare them open to private membership only. Although Hartsfield’s effort failed, it fueled the growing anger of diehard Jim Crow preservationists. However, Atlanta’s public courses were officially desegregated without incident. “It’s gratifying to know that I participated in something so meaningful,” said Bell, the only survivor of the original foursome.

Dr. Holmes died in September of 1965, Oliver nearly a year to the day later, and Tup succumbed to cancer in December of 1967. In 1983, Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young renamed Adams Park Golf Course the Alfred E (Tup) Holmes Memorial GC. Fittingly, it was maintained by the city for the enjoyment of all its citizenry, until 1986 when it was leased to the American Golf Management Company.



1963
Elston Howard, the starting catcher for the New York Yankees, became the first African American to win the American League Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. Neither Mickey Mantle (hurt most of the season), nor Roger Maris got a single vote as Howard was crucial in helping the Yanks win their 4th consecutive AL Pennant. That season Howard hit for an average of 287 with 28 home runs and 85 runs batted in (RBI) and solidifying a sturdy pitching staff.


1967
Carl Stokes of Cleveland, Ohio, and Richard Hatcher of Gary, Indiana, become the first African American mayors of these major United States cities. Stokes in sworn in on November 13th and becomes the first Black to serve as mayor of a major American city.


1967
The NAACP’s Spingarn Medal is presented to Edward W. Brooke for his public service as the first African American U.S. senator since Reconstruction.


1967
A report of the Senate Permanent Investigating Committee says there were seventy-five major riots in 1967, compared with twenty-one major riots in 1966. The committee reports that eight-three persons were killed in 1967 riots, compared with eleven in 1966 and thirty-six in 1965.


1970
A racially motivated civil disturbance occurs in Daytona Beach, Florida.


1972
Reverend Andrew Young of Atlanta, Georgia and Barbara Jordan of Houston, Texas become the first southern African Americans elected to Congress since Reconstruction. Also elected for the first time was Yvonne Brathwaite Burke (California). Republican Senator Edward W. Brooke of Massachusetts was overwhelmingly endorsed for a second term.


1978
Five African Americans are elected to Congress: William Gray III (Pennsylvania), Bennett Stewart (Illinois), Melvin Evans (Virgin Islands), Julian Dixon (California) and George “Mickey” Leland (Texas). Lt. Gov. Mervyn Malcolm Dymally was defeated in California’s election and Senator Edward W. Brooke was defeated in Massachusetts’ election.


1989
David Dinkins is the first African American elected mayor of New York City.


1989
Lawrence Douglas Wilder (D-Virginia) is elected as the first African American governor in the United States since Reconstruction. Wilder, a Richmond native, ran the state from 1990 to 1994; state law limits each governor’s service to one four year term. Wilder, a graduate of Virginia Union and Howard University also was the first Black elected to the Virginia senate in 1969.


1990
The National Football League withdraws its plans to hold the 1993 Super Bowl in Phoenix due to Arizona’s refusal to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.


1991
Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar Magic Johnson announces his retirement from professional basketball after learning he has tested positive for the AIDS virus.


1991
Rock legend Jimi Hendrix was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


1999
Tiger Woods becomes the first golfer since Ben Hogan in 1953, to win four straight tournaments.


1999
Kenya’s Joseph Chebet wins the New York City Marathon.


2000
In the first major election of the 21st Century, many Florida voters felt disenfranchised when they were not allowed to vote or had their votes go uncounted on this date. As a result, George W. Bush claimed Florida’s 25 electoral votes and the Presidency with fewer popular votes and possibly fewer votes in Florida than his opponent Al Gore. Many Blacks and other protested this result.


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