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1831
Nat Turner was hanged for organizing and leading an armed slave insurrection in Jerusalem, Southampton County, Virginia. Captured almost two months after the uprising, he had dug a hole and remained there for weeks at a time, hiding from his would-be captures. On the morning of October 30th, Turner left his place of hiding in search of food and provisions. Soon after, a hunting dog picked up his scent and he was later take into custody. While in prison, Turner gave a detailed statement as to why he did what he did. He is said to have stated to reporters that he was called by God. He is reported to have gone ‘quietly’ and ‘calmly’ to his death by reporters, on November 11, 1831.


1890
D. McCree is granted a patent for the portable fire escape. Patent #440,322.


1895
Bechuanaland becomes part of the Cape Colony in Africa.


1895
On this date, Beulah Woodard was born. She was an African-American artist who specialized in sculpture.

From near Frankfort, Ohio, Beulah Ecton Woodard was the youngest daughter of the William P. Ecton family. In Beulah’s early years a number of people visited the family and none were more impacting on her that a native African she met when she was twelve years old, this began a lifelong interest in the culture of Africa. Ecton migrated to California and settled near Los Angeles in what is now Vernon, California. While at Polytechnic High School, she began to show interest in sculpture. Ecton developed her craft further with course at the Los Angeles Art School, the Otis Art Institute, and the University of Southern California. Felix Piano, David Edstrom, Glen Lukens, and Prince Troubesky tutored her.

After her marriage to Brady Woodard, she began to work in a studio set in the rear of their home. Her earliest work published occurred via a column in the California News along with displays in the office window of the publication. Soon after this her works was invited for display at the Vernon Branch Library and the Los Angeles Central Library downtown. This led to a one-person show in 1935 at the Los Angeles County Museum, (she was the first Black to be honored there). He popularity as a lecture grew throughout southern California from institutions ranging from elementary to University graduate schools. Woodard won a number of awards including the third All-City Art Festival in 1953.

Despite her full schedule, Woodard always found time to support community causes and promote other artist. She was an important organizer of both the Los Angeles Negro Art Association in 1937, and the Eleven Associated Artist Gallery in 1950. Prior to what was perhaps her most notable exhibition, a number of German museums, Beulah Woodard died at the age of 59, on July 13, 1955.



1901
A new constitution with a “grandfather clause” was adopted in Alabama on this date. This clause, designed to eliminate Black voters, passed with a vote of 108,613 to 81,734. In 1900, Alabama had 181,315 Black and White eligible voters.


1907
On this date, Shirley Graham DuBois was born. She was an African-American author, playwright, composer, and activist.

She was born in Evansville, Indiana, her father was a minister and her mother was a homemaker. As a child, her family moved around the country quite a bit, with Shirley’s earliest memories coming from New Orleans, as well as a beginning dose of (not) fairy tales but novels such as Ben Hur and Quo Vadis for children’s reading. Young Graham graduated from high school in Spokane, Washington, and though soon married, her husband died within three years leaving her with two sons.

Feeling a need for a better education to provide for her family, Graham moved to Paris in 1929 to study music composition, a year later she returned to America teaching at Morgan College in Baltimore for two years. She received her undergraduate and master degrees from Oberlin College in 1934 and 1935. Graham then taught music and arts at Agricultural and Industrial State College in Nashville, she also became a supervisor at the Chicago Federal Theater in 1936.

It was at this time that she wrote a number of plays, Coal Dust 1938, I Gotta Home 1939, and Dust to Earth 1941, she also wrote a play for radio Track Thirteen in 1940. Shirley Graham married W.E.B. DuBois in 1951, a man she had met as a child of thirteen and admired for many years. After many world tours with her husband, Ms. Dubois became a citizen of Ghana in 1961. After her husband died in 1963, Dubois took over a number of his unfinished projects, yet in 1967 she was forced to leave during a military take over.

Relocating to Cairo, Egypt where her son worked as a journalist, DuBois wrote and published for the rest of her life. Some of her works include: His Day is marching On 1971, Game! Abdul Nasser, Son of the Nile 1974, Julius K. Nyerere, Teacher of Africa 1975, and a novel The Zulu Heart. Shirley DuBois died from breast cancer in March 1977.



1915
Claude Clark, Sr. is born near Rockingham, Georgia. He will study at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation, and the University of California, Berkeley, and become a renowned artist whose studies of urban life and social realism will be exhibited widely, including the New York World’s Fair of 1939, the Sorbonne, the Oakland Museum, the Museum of African American Art in Los Angeles and in the major group exhibits Hidden Heritage: Afro-American Art 1800-1950 and Two Centuries of Black American Art.


1915
This date marks the founding of Xavier University of Louisiana. They are one of the over 100 Historical Black Colleges and Universities in America.

Located in New Orleans, the small liberal arts college dates back to 1915, when Mother Katharine Drexel founded the coeducational secondary school. Mother Katharine, supported by the interest of a substantial inheritance from her father, founded and staffed many institutions throughout the U.S. to help educate Native Americans and Blacks. In 1925 Xavier University became a reality when the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences was established. The first degrees were awarded three years later. In 1927, a College of Pharmacy was opened. Construction of the U-shaped, gothic administration building (now a city landmark) was completed in 1933.

Through the years, as needs dictated, the campus gradually filled out, with the addition of a library which now houses music, the gymnasium, the Norman C. Francis Academic/Science Complex, the new Library/Resource Center and College of Pharmacy addition, Xavier South, a multi-story office building, was purchased in 1990. A new residence hall (the Living/Learning Center) was opened in 1999, while an addition to the science complex is nearing completion. The Sisters remain a vital presence on campus but today, Xavier is governed by a bi-racial Board of Trustees.

Even with its special mission to serve the Black, Catholic community, today, more than 50 percent of Xavier’s students are of other religious affiliations, and close to 10 percent are of other races. Recent years have seen a growing influx of out-of-state students, yet one-half of Xavier’s 3,600 students are from the New Orleans area. The balance represents some 40 states and 20 foreign countries. Since 1986, total undergraduate enrollment has increased by 86 percent. The results of Hurricane Katrina Have caused Xavier to reopen in January 2006.



1918
The Armistice is signed, ending World War I. Official records listed 370,000 African American soldiers and 1400 African American commissioned officers. A little more than half of these soldiers served in the European Theater. Three African American regiments—the 369th, 371st, and 372nd—received the Croix de Guerre for valor. The 369th was the first American unit to reach the Rhine River (which separates France from Germany). The first American soldiers to be decorated for bravery in France were Henry Johnson and Needham Roberts of the 369th Infantry Regiment.


1925
The NAACP’s Spingarn Medal is awarded to James Weldon Johnson, former U.S. consul in Venezuela and Nicaragua and NAACP executive secretary, for his work as an author, diplomat and leader.


1925
Louis Armstrong recorded the first of Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings that influenced the direction of jazz.


1928
Ernestine Anderson is born in Houston, Texas. Her introduction to jazz singing will begin at age 12 at the Eldorado Ballroom in Houston. She will perform with Russell Jaquet, Johnny Otis, and Lionel Hampton and be known for her warm, blues-influenced vocals.


1929
On this date, LaVern Baker was born. She was an African-American singer and entertainer.

From Chicago, Delores Williams (her name at birth) began singing at an early age. The natural power of her voice like many of her peers before her came from her gospel background. Raised by her aunt, the famed Memphis Minnie also influenced young Delores. In late in 1946, as soon as she was old enough to go from singing for the Lord in choir to singing for money in a business that served liquor, she got a job at the Club De Lisa.

She used two alias’ depending on her audience. There, billed as Little Miss Sharecropper, she performed in a custom-tattered patched-sack dress. For the other clubs, she was Bea Baker, possibly derived from Memphis Minnie’s real name — Merline Baker. In 1947, seventeen-year-old Williams moved with her family to Detroit, where she sang at the Flame Show Bar. In 1949, she was heard on record for the first time, singing with the Eddie Penigar Band on RCA-Victor.

In 1950, she recorded Sharecropper’s Boogie for Columbia, with Hot Lips Page and Red Saunders, but a year later, Columbia’s Okeh released three singles by her, as Bea Baker, with Maurice King and His Wolverines. In 1952, she replaced Kitty Stevenson as the vocalist with Todd Rhodes and His Orchestra, taking the name LaVern Baker. The acclaim she gained through her singing with Rhodes was such that she was able to tour Europe successfully on her own. In 1953, upon her return, Baker set out to establish a solo, the record company she came to, Atlantic, had been in business barely five years.

Baker began recording and from that first session came Soul On Fire, penned by Atlantic’s founder Ahmet Ertegun. Her first hit, Tweedly Dee, rose in 1955 to became a Number Four R&B hit and a Top Twenty pop hit. It defined the sound of LaVern Baker’s glory, never straying far from the source in the Baptist church-light of her background. See See Rider, 1962, was Bakers last big hit. Not long after that, she left Atlantic. The times had changed. But the truth remained: hers was one of the voices that first brought rock ‘n’ roll to glory. LaVern Baker died in 1997 due to complications of diabetes.



1946
Corrine Brown is born in Jacksonville, Florida. She will receive a bachelor’s degree in 1969 and a master’s degree in 1971 from Florida A&M University. She will also receive an education specialist degree from the University of Florida in 1974 and an honorary doctorate in law from Edward Waters College. She will be a college professor, a guidance counselor, and owner of a travel agency before entering politics. In 1982 she will be elected to the Florida House of Representatives, where she will serve for ten years. In 1992 she will be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida’s Third Congressional District.


1950
Otis Armstrong is born. He will become a NFL running back and the AFC’s leading rusher in 1974 with the Denver Broncos.


1954
James Rosamond Johnson, actor and co-composer of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” died in New York City on this date. James Rosamond wrote the music and his brother, James Weldon, wrote the words to the song.


1965
Prime Minister Ian D. Smith of Rhodesia proclaims independence from Great Britain.


1968
Ronnie Devoe is born. He will become a singer with the groups “New Edition” and “Bell, Biv, and Devoe.”


1969
The image converter for detecting electromagnetic radiation was patented by George R. Carruthers making him the first Black to do so.


1972
Carl T. Rowan, journalist, becomes the first African American elected to the ‘Gridiron Club.’


1975
Angola gains independence from Portugal after 500 years of colonial rule. Angola, in southeastern Africa, had been waging guerrilla warfare against Portuguese rule since 1961. In 1974, back in Portugal, a group of young military officers overthrew the government. The new government quickly granted independence to Portugal’s colonies. Thus, on November 11, 1975 Angola officially became an independent republic.


1979
The Bethune Museum and Archives is established in Washington, DC. The goal of the museum, which is housed in the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House, is to serve as a depository and center for African American women’s history.


1984
Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. dies of a heart attack in Atlanta, Georgia. Better known as “Daddy King,” he was the father of famed civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and was himself, an early civil rights leader. The elder King was pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the center for much of his son’s civil rights activity.


1985
The city of Yonkers, New York is found guilty of segregating in schools & housing.


1989
The Civil Rights Memorial is dedicated in Montgomery, Alabama.


1995
The European Union’s 15 member states decide to pull their envoys out of Lagos to show their anger at Nigeria’s execution of human rights leaders.


1995
Nigerian author and poet Ken Saro-Wiwa is executed.


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1890

D. McCree is granted a patent for the portable fire escape. Patent #440,322.