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1735
Granville Sharpe was born on this date. He was a European abolitionist and philanthropist.

From Durham, England, his father was archdeacon. In 1748, Sharpe attended grammar school in Durham; moving to London to work with a Quaker merchant. Over the next ten years he taught himself Greek and Hebrew. In 1765, he began working in civil service as a minor clerk. Sharpe had a brother who was a doctor in London. One day on a visit to his office he met a Black slave, (Jonathon Strong), who had been beaten by his master and left to die. Sharpe’s brother helped the slave recover.

Two years later the master spotted his slave, secretly sold him to another slave owner trying to conspire to have Strong kidnapped and sent back into slavery in Jamaica. Strong appealed to Sharpe for help. Sharpe brought his case before the Lord Mayor of London, who decided that Strong was a free man. Sharpe’s 1769 anti-slavery publication provided legal arguments that attacked the ruling made by Yorke and Talbot in 1729 that slaves remain the property of their owners in England as well as in the colonies. Between 1765 and 1770, Sharpe also began defending “shanghai-ed” slaves and former slaves.

The courts never granted Sharpe a broad anti-slavery ruling, but the individual cases were usually decided in Sharpe’s favor. In 1772, Sharpe was involved in another legal case that is historically called the Charter of Freedom. Here it was written, “England is a soil whose air is deemed too pure for slaves to breathe in.” Sharpe also was involved in creating a colony in Africa for relocated slaves. Later known as Freetown, the colony was in present day Sierra Leone. Though the colony was not well planned, 397 Blacks sailed there; ten years later the colony was a failure.

He worked closely with Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce and opposed the British war in 1776 with the United States. A co-founder of the American Episcopalian Church, in 1787 Sharp and others formed the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. That same year he published his pamphlet, A Summary View of the Slave Trade and of the Probable Consequences of Its Abolition. After the passing of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807 Sharp and others formed the Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery.

However, Granville Sharp was not to see the final abolition of slavery, he died on July 6, 1813.



1780
The African Union Society of Newport, Rhode Island, was the first attested Black mutual aid society.


1831
On this date, the confessions of Nat Turner occurred. After (slave) Nat Turner was captured, a Baltimore lawyer, Thomas R. Gray, interviewed him in jail. Turner give in detail the how’s and why’s of his actions of August 21, 1831. On that date in a slave uprising orchestrated by him 55 Whites were killed.


1873
The founding of Wiley College is celebrated on this date. It is one of over 100 American Historical Black Colleges and Universities.

The College was founded in 1873 by the Methodist Episcopal Church and chartered by the Freedman’s Aid Society in 1882. Its mission at the time was for the purpose of providing education to the “newly freed men” and preparing them for a new life. The College is currently affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Increasingly, students of other races, as well as international students, are finding Wiley College to be an appealing place to obtain a college education.

The campus of Wiley College is comprised of 14 permanent structures for teaching, learning, and research as well as residential housing for students. Wiley College is one of three institutions of higher learning found in Marshall, Texas. The school is located in Harrison County on 63 acres of land between Dallas to the west and Shreveport to the east. This location offers access to the cities and a perfect environment for students’ learning and intellectual growth away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Initially, the purpose of Wiley College was to focus mainly on training teachers for careers at Black elementary and secondary schools.

It has since grown from a vocational college to an institution awarding Associate’s degrees and Bachelor’s degrees in 21 areas including, English, biology, business, computer science, and social sciences, etc. Also Wiley is recognized for providing higher education opportunities to non-traditional students through its management institute program. Wiley College is the first school in East Texas to issue laptop computers to its students and faculty; thus preparing its students for the marketplace.

The school has one of the best student-faculty ratios in the nation. Dr. Haywood Strickland was elected the 16th president of Wiley College on September 12, 2000.



1891
Granville T. Woods patented the electric railway.


1898
On this date, the Wilmington race riot took place. The events of that day represent a landmark in North Carolina history.

Over a century later some details are still in question. The number of victims, for example, is disputed with the total running from the coroner’s fourteen to unconfirmed reports of scores or even hundreds of deaths. All of the reported victims were African-American. Reports circulated in the midst of the violence of the shooting of a white man, Will Mayo. His fate still remains a mystery. More certain is the fact that the event marked the climax of the white supremacy campaign of 1898 and a turning point in the state’s history.

Restrictions on African-American voting followed marking the onset of the Jim Crow era of segregation. Though termed a “race riot” it has also been called a massacre, rebellion, revolt, race war, and coup d’etat. The unusual situation of the Wilmington events, involving the removal of the legally elected mayor and city council and installation of revolt leader Alfred Moore Waddell, make this last term technically correct. In the days preceding the election of 1898 Waddell, a former Confederate officer and U. S. Congressman, called for the removal of the Republicans and Populists then in power in Wilmington and proposed in a speech at Thalian Hall that the white citizens, if necessary, “choke the Cape Fear with carcasses.”

What had particularly incensed Waddell and others was the publication in August of an editorial in the Wilmington Daily Record, a local black-owned newspaper. Alex Manly, the editor, charged that, “poor white men are careless in the matter of protecting their women,” and that, “our experience among poor white people in the country teaches us that women of that race are not any more particular in the matter of clandestine meetings with colored men than the white men with the colored women.” The sexually charged editorial, reprinted across the state, provided Democrats with an issue to inflame racial tensions as election day approached. Yet the day passed without notable incident.

At eight o’clock in the morning two days later (November 10, 1898) about 500 white men assembled at the armory of the Wilmington Light Infantry. After several others declined, Waddell led them to the Daily Record office in Free Love Hall four blocks south on Seventh Street between Nun and Church Streets. The crowd swelled to nearly 2,000 as they moved across town. Manly, in the meantime, had fled the city, as had numerous other African-Americans, in expectation of violence.

The mob broke into the building, a fire broke out, and the top floor of the building was consumed. The crowd posed for a photograph in front of the burned-out frame.



1898
The National Benefit Life Insurance Company is organized in Washington, DC by Samuel W. Rutherford. National Benefit will be the largest African American insurance company for several years.


1898
George P. White was an outspoken Republican political leader, two-term Congressman from the “Black 2nd” (northeastern North Carolina). He introduced the first anti-lynching legislation into the Congress (it was defeated), founded the first black bank, and, after leaving North Carolina in the wake of Black disenfranchisement in 1901, founded an all black community called Whiteville near Trenton, New Jersey. After White left, it would be seventy years before North Carolina sent another African American to the US Congress.


1919
Moise Tshombe is born. He will lead a secessionist movement in Katanga, the Congo’s (Zaire) richest province in 1960, following independence from Belgium. Tshombe will end his secession and accept a UN-brokered National Conciliation Plan in January 1963. Eighteen months of further negotiations will lead to him being appointed Prime Minister, but he will go into exile in 1965. He will join the ancestors in 1969.


1930
On this date, Clarence Pendleton, Jr. was born. He was an African-American politician.

From Louisville, KY, Clarence McClane Pendleton was raised in Washington D.C., attending Dunbar High School and receiving a B.S. from Howard University in 1954, and a masters degree in 1961 while coaching swimming, football, rowing, and baseball. In between he served in the medical unit of the U. S. Army for three years. From 1968 to 1972, Pendleton was employed with the Baltimore Model Cities Program, director of the Urban Affairs Department of the National Recreation and Parks Association, and head of the San Diego Model Cities Program and that city’s Urban League.

In 1980, his philosophy changed; he began to feel that African American reliance on government programs was trapping them in a cycle of dependence and welfare handouts. Pendleton believed that it was in better interest for blacks to build strong relations with the expanding private sector and give up the more familiar ties with liberal bureaucrats and philosophies. To this end he supported Ronald Reagan to the presidency and was appointed chairman of the Civil Rights Commission in 1981.

His tenure there was controversial due to his stance on affirmative action and forced busing to achieve de-segregation. Clarence Pendleton died of a heart attack on June 5th 1988.



1934
George Alexander McGurie, a Bishop who founded the African Orthodox Church, died in New York on this date.


1951
Hosea Richardson becomes the first African American jockey to ride in Florida.


1956
David Adkin is born in Benton Harbor, Michigan. He will become a comedian and actor, better known as “Sinbad.” He will get his big break on television’s “Star Search” in 1984. He will appear in the television series “Different World,” and become the emcee of “Showtime at the Apollo.” His movie credits will include “Necessary Roughness,” “The Meteor Man,” “Coneheads,” “Sinbad-Afros and Bellbottoms,” “The Frog Prince,” “The Cherokee Kid,” “Jingle All The Way,” “First Kid,” “ and “Good Burger.” He will also produce and emcee the successful “Soul Music Festivals” held annually in Caribbean countries.


1957
Charlie Sifford becomes the first African American to win a major professional golf tournament, by winning the Long Beach Open.


1960
Andrew J. Hatcher is named Associate Press Secretary to President-elect John F. Kennedy. He is the highest-ranking African American, appointed to date, in the executive branch and the first Black Press Secretary.


1968
Ida Cox, blues singer of such songs as “Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues,” joins the ancestors in Knoxville, Tennessee.


1989
The Rhythm and Blues Foundation presents its first lifetime achievement awards in Washington DC. Among the honorees are bluesmen Charles Brown, Ruth Brown, Percy Sledge (“When a Man Loves a Woman”), and Mary Wells (“My Guy”).


1994
Carmen McRae, a noted Jazz singer, died on this date.


2007
Augustus “Gus” Hawkins died on this date in Maryland of natural causes. As of the date of his death, he was the oldest living ex-member of Congress. Born on August 31, 1907, he was 100.

In 1962, Hawkins made history, becoming the first Black from California to be elected from California to be elected to Congress.

Hawkins was born in Shreveport, LA, but his family moved to Los Angeles when he was ten. Later, he earned a degree in economics from UCLA and did graduate studies at the University of Southern California’s Institute of Government.

Hawkins’ first major political victory was winning election in the mid 1930s to the California legislature, where he worked 28 years. His crowning achievement there was passage of California’s Fair Employment Practices Act in 1959. Three years later, he defeated the GOP incumbent to win his history-making seat in the U.S. Congress.

During the next 28 years in the nation’s capital, Hawkins would help create the Congressional Black Caucus and, later, become chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee and the House Administration Committee.

Representing South Los Angeles, Hawkins played key roles on several historic pieces of national legislation, including the Job Training Partnership Act and the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act. He worked tirelessly to raise the minimum wage and is best known for the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act in 1978 that was designed to reduce unemployment and inflation.

He retired from Congress in 1990 and, over his 56 years of public service, sponsored more than 300 state and federal laws.


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