Theodore Holly, a Black man who emigrated from Haiti, was consecrated Bishop to Haiti on this
date. A ceremony was held at the Grace Church in New York for Holly, who was elected five
Eartha Mary Magdalene White was born on
this date. She was an African-American vocalist, educator, administrator and
From Jacksonville, Florida raised by her adoptive, altruistic
mother, Clara English White. Her adoptive father, Lafayette died in 1881 when
she was five. In 1893 White graduated from Stanton
School and moved to New York City. She attended the Madam Hall
and the National Conservatory of Music eventually working with the Oriental
American Opera Company. A lyric soprano, she sang under the direction of J.
Rosamond Johnson performed on Broadway and with her ensemble traveled
throughout the United States
Returning to Florida in 1896, she graduated
from Florida Baptist
Academy and taught for sixteen years
in Bayard, Florida
and at Stanton School
In the 1920s White worked with the Republican Party and formed the Colored
Citizens Protective League in Jacksonville.
In 1941, she and A. Philip Randolph protested job discrimination, and she
became an influential force in Jacksonville’s
social welfare. White also focused on prison inmates and the establishment of
an orphanage for African-American children.
She created a home for unwed mothers, a nursery for children of working
mothers, a tuberculosis rest home, and (in 1902) a nursing home for elderly
African-Americans. She organized the Boys’ Improvement Club in 1904 and the
Clara White Mission for the Indigent (1928). A major achievement and fulfillment
of a lifelong dream was the dedication of the Eartha M. M. White Nursing Home
in 1967 to replace the Mercy
Hospital for the Aged. In
1970, at the age of ninety-four, she received national recognition by being
named the recipient of the 1970 Lane Bryant Award for Volunteer Service.
In 1971, White was appointed to the President’s National Center
for Voluntary Action. Eartha White died of heart failure at age ninety-seven on
January 18, 1974.
Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor is born in Indianapolis, Indiana.
He will become the world’s fastest bicycle racer for 12 years.
Horace M. Bond was born on this date. He was an
African-American teacher and administrator.
Bond worked at Fisk, Dillard, Lincoln, and Atlanta universities; and
from the 1930s through the 1960s was one of the major voices calling for equal
educational opportunities and services for Blacks. Bond wrote several classic
intellectual articles and books on Blacks and education including: The
Education of the Negro in the American Social Order 1934 and Negro Education in
Study in Cotton and Steel 1939.
Through his work with the Julius Rosenwald Fund, Bond was a powerful figure in
directing and attracting philanthropic support to African-American schools. He
was a past president of Fort Valley State College and his son, Julian Bond,
became a prominent civil rights activist, the first African-American elected to
the Georgia House of Representatives since the Reconstruction. Horace M. Bond
died on December 21, 1972.
date, Esther Rolle was born.
She was an African-American Emmy Award-winning actress.
From Pompano Beach, Florida, she was the tenth of eighteen
children. Her parents were of Bahamian decent. Rolle attended Booker T.
Washington High School in Miami, Florida and then Spelman
College for a year before moving to New York. She supported
herself by working in a pocketbook factory while auditioning for the theater.
While taking drama classes at George Washington Carver
School in Harlem, she got a
scholarship to study acting at New York’s
innovative New School for Social Research. During this
time she met and became a member of African dance master Asadata Dafora’s dance
troupe, Shogola Oloba, she became the troupe’s director in 1960.
Two years later Rolle made her acting debut as Felicity in Jean Genet’s The
Blacks. During the 1960s, she appeared in such productions as Blues for Mr.
Charlie 1964, Amen Corner and Day of Absence 1965. Rolle’s film debut was in
Nothing But the Man 1964 and in 1967, she became an original member of the
Negro Ensemble Company. While working in Melvin Van Peeble’s Don’t Play Us
Cheap 1972, she was asked to audition for the role of the maid on Maude, a
Norman Lear television show being spun off from All in the Family. After
getting the role, she took it with the understanding that her character Florida
Evans would not be a typical maid. Rolle proceeded to turn Evans into a popular
character and in 1974 her character and its husband were spun off into the
television series Good Times.
She continued to act in other roles on television and on stage throughout the
late 1970s and 80s. Rolle won an Emmy award for her performance as a housekeeper
in the 1978 TV movie Summer of My German Soldier. In 1989, she played a
housekeeper in The Member of the Wedding at the Roundabout Theater. That same
year she played the matriarch in a remake of A Raisin In the Sun, as well as
the maid in the Academy Award-winning film Driving Miss Daisy.
In 1990, Rolle became the first woman to win the NAACP chairman’s Civil Rights
Leadership Award and one year later she was inducted into the Black Filmmakers
Hall of Fame. Rolle’s last two films were Down in the Delta and Train Ride. Even
though she played characters who worked as maids, off-stage, she was a tireless
crusader against Black stereotypes in Hollywood.
Esther Rolle died in November 1998 at the age of 78. Note: At the time of her
death, her manager will give her date of birth as November 8, 1920, though some
references list the year as 1922.
Spingarn Medal is awarded to Robert R. Moton, president
of Tuskegee Institute, for his “thoughtful leadership in conservative opinion
On this date,
Minnie Julia Riperton was born.
She was an African-American singer and activist with one of widest vocal ranges
of the twentieth century.
From Chicago, the daughter of Daniel and Thelma Riperton, she was the youngest
of eight children. At the age of three she started modern dance lessons,
followed by ballet lessons at 5. Her voice lessons began at the age of nine and
she was developing her operatic chops at 11. Her goal at a very young age was
to become a famous singer. Riperton studied opera under Marion Jeffries. She
spent months and months learning how to breathe, listening to and holding
vowels. Eventually, she began singing operas and operettas with a show tune
every so often. As a pre-teen she sung in the accapella choir of Hyde Park High School as a freshman.
She left school early to make $10 a song-singing backup at local studios. Some
reports indicate that Minnie signed her first contract at 14, while others
report her to be 16. Despite her natural talent (a pure five to six octave
soprano) for opera, Riperton was more attracted to “Rock N Roll” and the
promise of a touring career. She would inevitably discontinue her classical
training to follow her dream of being a famous vocalist. It would, however, be
her classical training, which brought her the success she sought. Riperton
signed a recording contract with the “Gems” at Chess Studios and in 1967 she
joined the “rock/jazz/vocal ensemble” Rotary Connection.
The style of the Rotary Connection was very progressive — somewhere between
rock, jazz, pop, and experimental. Riperton was with the Rotary Connection when
she met the love of her life, her husband, Richard Rudolph. They had two
children, Maya and Marc whose names are included the names of two of her songs.
Maya is the name of the girl in the tale of “Love And It’s Glory” and a
personal reference to both can be found towards the end of “Lovin’ You.” She
sings to Marc in “Wouldn’t Matter Where You Are”. Riperton did backup vocal
work with Quincy Jones, Roberta Flack, Freddie Hubbard, and Etta James.
In 1969 she recorded the album “Come To My Garden” which was released in 1971,
then came “Perfect Angel” and “Adventure’s In Paradise” in 1974 and 1975,
respectively. The following year Riperton announced that she had been diagnosed
with breast cancer and had undergone a modified mastectomy. Her “experience”
(as she referred to her illness) would give her yet another reason for her
life... lending her celebrity and compassion for others to become a
spokesperson for breast cancer awareness and the need for self-examination and
the benefit of early detection.
Within weeks after her surgery, she appeared for the taping of the Ebony Music
Awards. When she received her “Ebby”, she later revealed, she was so overcome
by the thought of how lucky she was to have made it through the ordeal her and
her family had went through. Riperton continued on a crusade to get the word
out to as many women as possible. Since tennis was her game, you would find her
at almost all the celebrity tournaments for charity. In 1977 (then) President
Jimmy Carter presented her with the American Cancer Society’s “Courage Award,”
a year later Riperton would become that organization’s National Education
Aside from being a mother, wife, activist, fund raiser, lecturer, and family
member, she signed with Capitol Records; a contract that gave her the creative
freedom and production quality that she desired. During the summer of 1978
creating what would be her last album, simply entitled “Minnie”. She passed
away in her husband’s arms on July 12, 1979 at 31 years of age after succumbing
to breast cancer.
Alfre Woodard was born on this date. She is an
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, she is the youngest of three
children. She was named by her godmother, who claimed she saw a vision of
Alfre’s name written out in gold letters. A former high school cheerleader and
track star, she got the acting bug after being persuaded to audition for her
school play by a Nun at her school.
She studied drama and graduated from Boston
University, School of Fine Arts.
Woodward is a busy and highly acclaimed actress worldwide. She’s made numerous
guest appearances in TV and film. She received a Best Supporting Actress
Academy Award nomination for her 1983 performance in the movie “Cross Creek.”
Her TV credits include “Hill Street Blues,” “St. Elsewhere,” “L.A. Law” and
“Homicide: Life on the Street.” Woodward has won Emmy Awards, one, for her
television performance in “Hill Street Blues,” “L.A. Law” and, for the HBO
original television movie, “Miss Evers Boys,” She received, in addition to an Emmy
Award for Best Actress, a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television
Miniseries/Movie as well as ACE and Screen Actors Guild Awards for Best Actress. She’s also received Emmy nominations for
other performances as well. She has appeared on stage in “Map of the World” and
“A Winter’s Tale.”
Living in Santa Monica, CA with her husband, writer Roderick Spencer
they have 2 adopted children, Mavis and Duncan. Her film credits include the
following: The Trial of the Moke (1978)(TV Movie), Remember My Name (1978)(TV
Movie), Freedom Road (1979)(1979), H.E.A.L.T.H. (1979), The Sophisticated Gents
(1981)(TV Movie), The Ambush Murders (1982)(TV Movie), Rainbow Is Enuf
(1982)(TV Movie), For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the, Two
By South (1982)(TV Movie), Cross Creek (1983), Sweet Revenge (1984)(TV Movie),
The Killing Floor (1984)(TV Movie), Go Tell It On The Mountain (1984)(TV
Movie), Words By Heart (1985)(TV Movie), Unnatural Causes (1986)(TV Movie),
Extremities (1986), Mandela (1987)(TV Movie), The Child Saver (1988)(TV Movie),
Scrooged (1988), A Mother’s Courage: The Mary Thomas Story (1989)(TV Movie),
Miss Firecracker (1989).
Blue Bayou (1990)(TV Movie), Pretty Hattie’s Baby (1991), Grand Canyon (1991),
Rich in Love (1992), Passion Fish (1992), The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag
(1992), Bopha (1993), Heart & Souls (1993), Aliens for Breakfast (1994)(TV
Movie), Spike Lee’s family drama, Crooklyn (1994), Race to Freedom: The
Underground Railroad (1994)(TV Movie), Blue Chips (1994), Statistically Speaking
(1995), How to Make An American Quilt (1995), The Piano Lesson (1995)(TV
Movie), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), A Step Toward Tomorrow (1996), Primal
Fear (1996), Special Report: Journey to Mars (1996)(TV Movie), Gulliver’s
Travels (1996)(TV Movie), Secrets (1997), Follow Me Home (1997), Miss Evers
Boys (1997)(TV Movie), The Member of the Wedding (1997)(TV Movie), Brown Sugar
(1998), Down in the Delta (1998), The Underground Railroad (1999)(TV Movie),
The Wishing Tree (1999), Mumford (1999), Funny Valentines (1999)(TV Movies).
Speak Truth to Power (2000), Holiday Heart (2000)(TV Movie), Lost Souls (2000),
Love & Basketball (2000), What’s Cooking (2000), K-PAX (2001), American
Exile (2001)(Narrator), Baby of the Family (2002), The Wild Thornberry’s (2002)(Voice),
A Wrinkle In Time (2003)(TV Miniseries), Radio (2003), The Core (2003), The
Forgotten (2004), Night Train (2005), Beauty Shop (2005) and 42.4 Percent
Some of her
other film credits include “Primal Fear” opposite Richard Gere, the ensemble
film “How to Make An American Quilt,” Dr. Maya Angelou’s “Down in the Delta”
starring Wesley Snipes, and “Passionfish,” for which she will receive a 1998
Golden Globe Nomination for Best Actress. In 1984, she received an Academy
Award nomination for her performance in Martin Ritt’s “Cross Creek.”
of the Minneapolis Lakers scores 64 points and sets a National
Basketball Association scoring record.
Otis M. Smith is elected auditor general of Michigan and becomes the
first African American chosen in a statewide election since Reconstruction.
Edward William Brooke
(Republican, Massachusetts), is elected to the U.S. Senate and becomes the
first African American senator the eighty five years since Reconstruction and
the first African American senator elected by popular vote.
Frank Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles, the
American League’s batting and home-run champion, is named the league’s Most Valuable
John H. Johnson, publisher of Ebony and Jet
magazines, is awarded the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal “for his productive
imagination...in the perilous field of publishing” and “for his contributions
to the enhancement of the Negro’s self-image through his publications.”
W. Wilson Goode of Philadelphia,
Gantt of Charlotte, North
Carolina, and James A. Sharp,
Jr. of Flint, Michigan, are the first African Americans
elected mayor of their respective cities.
On this date,
the first African American officially qualified to run for President of the United States of America.
Dr. Lenora Fulani of the New
Alliance Party ran in the general election, passing the minimum 70,000 votes in
every state and the District of
Columbia to run. She received 217,221 of the popular
vote that year. Dr Fulani focused on issues concerning unemployment, health
care, and homelessness and officially ran again in 1992.
Bernard Shaw was inducted
into the National Broadcasters and Cable Hall of Fame on this date. Shaw joined
CNN in 1980.
In a special
meeting of the Corporation of Brown University, Ruth J. Simmons was unanimously elected as the school’s 18th President. Mrs.
Simmons became the first Black to head an Ivy League university. Simmons had
been President of Smith College since 1995.
On this date,
elected the nation’s first Muslim member of Congress.
African-American Keith Ellison easily won
a Minneapolis-area district Republicans had not carried since 1962. Ellison
also is Minnesota’s first nonwhite
representative in Washington.
He said those things were only of secondary importance. Ellison said “I think
the most important thing about this race is we tried to pull people together on
things we all share, things that are important to everyone. We all need peace,
and this Iraq
policy is dangerous to our country.” He has called for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Ellison said his campaign united labor, minority communities, peace activists. “We
were able to bring in Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists,” he said. “We
brought in everybody.” Ellison focused on issues that resonate in the urban,
liberal-leaning 5th District in Minneapolis. By favoring gay rights and legal
abortion, Ellison cut a path away from many Muslims. Hayat Hassan, 30, a single
mother and a Muslim, said she voted for Ellison because of his positions on
health care and education.
On this date,
elected the first black person to win the state’s highest office in its
218-year history. Deval Patrick defeated
Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, the Republican nominee, as well as independent Christy
Mihos and Grace Ross of the Green-Rainbow Party.
In addition to the state distinction, the victory made Patrick just the second
African-American governor in the nation since Reconstruction. The first, L.
Douglas Wilder of Virginia,
left office more than a decade ago, in 1995.
Patrick 50 years old said, “I believe in a grass-roots strategy to campaign. I
believe in a grass-roots strategy to govern.” “Our biggest challenge is how we
transfer that energy and that excitement and willingness of people to connect
and check back in into day-to-day governing and into a revived civic life.”
this date, Jamaican-born American actor, rapper, record producer, singer and
former leader of Heavy D & the Boyz, Dwight Arrington Myers, better known as Heavy D, died in Los Angeles, California at the age of 44.
He collapsed outside his Beverly Hills home and was taken to Cedars-Sinai
Medical Center. It has been reported that his death was due to respiratory
distress and that no foul play was involved.