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218 BC
Hannibal, North African military genius, crosses the Alps with elephants and 26,000 men in an expedition to capture Rome.


1805
Explorers Lewis and Clark reach the mouth of the Columbia River. Accompanying them on their expedition is a slave named York, who, while technically Clark’s valet, distinguished himself as a scout, interpreter, and emissary to the Native Americans encountered on the expedition.


1825
On this date, Sarah Jane Early was born. She was a Black teacher, abolitionist, and feminist.

From Chillicothe, Ohio Sarah Jane Woodson Early was the daughter of Thomas and Jermimma Woodson. Much of her feminist and Black community involvement took place through the African Methodist Church (AME) and a number of black educational institutions. In 1856, she earned an L. B. degree from Oberlin College, becoming one of the first Black women to receive a college degree. From 1859 to 1860, while working at Wilberforce University, Early became the first black woman college faculty member.

She taught in a number of Ohio’s Black community schools and from 1860 to 1861, was a principal of the schools in Xenia, Ohio. In 1868, Early went to teach at a school for Black girls in Hillsborough, North Carolina run by the Freedmen’s Bureau. That same year she married Rev. Jordan W. Early, a pioneer in the AME Church movement. She assisted in his ministry while teach throughout the South and in 1894, she chronicled her husbands work in the book, The Life and Labors of Re. J. W. Early.

Preaching and practicing her belief in the role of Black women in racial uplift, Early was appointed Superintendent of the Colored Division of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in 1888. Sarah Early died in August 1907.



1866
On this date, the Pilgrim Baptist Church in St. Paul, Minnesota was formally organized with its first service.

Rev. Robert Hickman and others were primarily responsible for this spiritual endeavor. That day a baptismal service on the shores of the Mississippi River was held climaxing three long years of hard effort. From the onset, it was not an easy task for the Founders of Pilgrim. Their story began in 1863, with a group of brave Black men, women and children from Missouri. These Black migrants traveled North in search of work and a new way of life. Accounts on how this group came to Minnesota are mixed but not contradictory.

One states that a group of Negroes escaped from Boone County, Missouri, received protection by Union forces and aid by the Underground Railroad. They were smuggled aboard the steamer “War Eagle” and taken north. These Blacks referred to themselves as “Pilgrims;” Hickman was among them. His prayer group held services in their homes in downtown St. Paul. Finally in November 1863, they succeeded in renting the lodge room of the God Temples in the Concert Hall Building on Third Street. Hickman sought and received mission status from the First Baptist Church of St. Paul in January 1864.

Between 1864 and 1866 the Black parishioners continued to worship separately under Hickman’s direction. It was also established with help from the Ladies Aid Society to serve the Black community of St. Paul. The charter members of Pilgrim were Rev. and Mrs. Hickman, Fielding Combs, Henry Moffitt, John Trotter, Giles Crenshaw and members of their families. This group requested the trustees of First Baptist to intercede and purchase in trust a lot costing $200.00 on which they would build Pilgrim Baptist Church. The first building was on a lot located on Sibley near Morris Street. It was built with stone and wood, with a seating capacity of 300 for $2400, including the lot. A portion of the white First Baptist Church of St. Anthony, Minneapolis, which was being razed, was used in the construction.


Their first two ministers, William Norris (1866-1868) and Andrew Torbert (1868-1877) were white. Robert Hickman, the leader and natural candidate for the position of minister was not chosen. During this time, his role was clerk of the congregation and he attended yearly denominational meetings. He was eventually licensed to preach in 1874 and ordained in 1875. Hickman’s becoming the congregation’s official minister in 1878, ended its white ministry. Pilgrim Baptist Church of St. Paul is one of the oldest African-American Churches in Minnesota. Dr. Robert L. Stephens is the current Pastor.



1884
The Berlin Conference of European nations is organized by German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck to decide issues regarding the colonization of Africa. The Europeans attending the conference decide which parts of the African continent would be “owned” by the participants, “allowing” only Liberia and Ethiopia to remain free countries. Representatives from Great Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, and Belgium negotiate their claims to African territory and establish a framework for making and negotiating future claims. Obviously, there is no one representing Africans at this conference. By 1900, nearly 90 percent of African territory will be claimed by European states.


1887
Inventor Granville T. Woods patented his Synchronous Multiplier Railway Telegraph. Patent #373,383.


1894
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams founded the Freedmen’s Hospital School of Nursing on this date. The school was transferred to Howard University in 1969 and had graduated 1,700 nurses when it closed in 1973.


1897
Langston University, a public co-educational institution, is founded in Langston, Oklahoma.


1897
Voorhees College, a private co-educational institution affiliated with the Episcopal Church, is founded in Denmark, South Carolina.


1897
John Mercer Langston joins the ancestors at the age of 67, in Washington, DC.


1898
Lyda A. Newman of New York City, NY patented the Synthetic Brush, a hair brush containing synthetic bristles, which permitted easy cleaning by having a detachable unit which carried the brush and bristles. Patent #614,335.


1916
Ruth Nita Barrow was born on this date. She was a Jamaican nurse, politician, and administrator.

From Barbados at Nesfield, St. Lucy she trained as a nurse, midwife and health care administrator, holding a variety of nursing, public health and public administration jobs in Barbados and Jamaica in the 1940s and 1950s. Barrow made her contributions in several arenas; her most prominent contributions were in nursing education and with the YWCA. She worked on the professional organization of nurses and the establishment of quality nursing education.

Her accomplishments in all the areas in which she chose to work is phenomenal. One has only to look at a few of the highlights of her career. She was the first World Health Organization Nurse from the Caribbean, the first president of the Jamaica Nurses Association, the first Black Caribbean woman to be appointed to a senior post by the Colonial Office in the Caribbean and the first Black president of the World Wide YWCA in 1975.

Before her retirement in 1980, she was the first woman Director of the Christian Medical Commission (CMC), which is the health arm of the World Council of Churches. She was the convener of the 1985 NGO forum held in Nairobi, Kenya, and Barbados’ prominent representative to the United Nations and the only woman on the eminent person’s group which the commonwealth Secretariat appointed to attempt a rapprochement in South Africa. The opportunities for training were taken up as they came and Nita Barrow moved from nurse to nursing instructor at the School of Public Health in Jamaica, to consultant for the World Health Organization.

She was acclaimed all over the world for her skill, graciousness and talent in convening the Decade of Women non-governmental forum in Nairobi in 1985. There were over 1,300 workshops and thousands of women from the world over. Many of these women were on opposite sides of the political fence and Nita Barrow and her staff ensured the smooth running of this potentially volatile event.

In 1986, she was appointed Barbados’ permanent representative to the United Nations. She was in the Commonwealth’s eminent person’s group that tried to get the opposing parties in South Africa to a negotiating table. She has received two honorary doctorates, one from MacMaster University in Canada and one from the University of the West Indies, an Honorary Fellow from Royal College of Nursing, Great Britain. Barrow was the Governor-general of Barbados from Jun 1990 to her death on December 19, 1995.



1928
Roland Hayes opens his fifth American Tour at New York’s Carnegie Hall packed with admirers.


1930
Whitman Mayo was born this date. He was an African-American actor.

Mayo was born in New York City, attended Los Angeles City College and the University of California at Los Angeles. Following college, he spent seven years as a counselor at an institution for delinquent boys. He left counseling and turned to acting while pick-up odd jobs, picking grapes, working at a dairy, and as a railroad worker. He also spent a year in Mexico playing professional volleyball. Mayo moved to New York where while at the New Lafayette Theater that he landed a guest appearance as “Grady Wilson” on Sanford and Son.

Mayo modeled the character after his own grandfather and few viewers realized that Mayo was actually only in his early 40s. The role quickly turned into a recurring character and was eventually spun-off (for television) as the star of the short-lived Grady. Mayo went on to appear on shows such as Different Strokes, Hill Street Blues, and ER. In his later years, Mayo was on the faculty of Clark Atlanta University, where he taught acting. Whitman Mayo died on May 22, 2001.



1937
Yaphet Kotto was born on this date. He is an African American actor.

Yaphet Frederick Kotto was born in New York City. His father was an Igbo Jewish man from Cameroon and Kotto is a practicing Jew by faith. His father was royalty in Cameroon making Yaphet the son of the Crown Prince of the Royal Bell family of the Doualla region of West Africa’s Cameroon.

He recently claimed to have uncovered proof that he is the great-great-great-grandson of Britain’s Queen Victoria. According to Kotto, the queen’s son Prince Albert Edward VII had an illicit affair with Princess Nakande, daughter of King Doualla Manga Bell, producing the light-skinned Alexander Bell, Kotto’s great-grandfather, but the deputy press secretary to Queen Elizabeth categorically refuted the story saying, “... Edward VII never visited Cameroon.”

Kotto got his start in acting on Broadway, where he appeared in The Great White Hope, among other productions. His film debut was in 1963 in an unaccredited role in 4 For Texas, but his first big break came in Nothing But a Man in 1964. Later, he landed the role of the James Bond villain Mr. Big in Live and Let Die, as well as roles in Across 110th Street and Truck Turner.

He also starred as an auto worker in Blue Collar. The following year he played one of his best-known roles, as Parker in the successful film Alien. He also played a Baltimore police Lieutenant Al Giardello in the television series Homicide: Life on the Street. Kotto’s son Fredrick is a police officer with the city of San Jose, California. He also starred in other productions such as
Brubaker, the made for television movie, Raid on Entebbe, where he played Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, Eye of the Tiger, the historic and landmark television mini series, Roots, and Midnight Run.


1950
Dr. Arthur Dorrington, a dentist, becomes the first African American in organized hockey to suit up, a member of the Atlantic City Seagulls of the Eastern Amateur Hockey League. He was a native of Nova Scotia. After U.S. Army service, he signed with New York Rangers with one of team’s farm clubs in 1950 but chose instead to play for Atlantic City Seagulls of Easter League. He led them to league championship in 1951. After a career-ending injury, he built a second profession as officer in Atlantic County Sheriff’s Department.


1951
Willie Mays, New York Giants’ center fielder, was named National League “Rookie of the Year” by the Baseball Writers Association of America.


1960
Elgin Baylor, of the Los Angeles Lakers scores 71 points against the New York Knicks.


1969
The Amistad Research Center is incorporated as an independent archive, library, & museum dedicated to preserving African American & ethnic history and culture. The center collects original source materials on the history of the nation’s ethnic minorities and race relations in the United States (over 10 million documents). The Amistad was organized by the Race Relations Department of Fisk University and the American Missionary Association in 1966. The library is now located in Tilton Hall on the campus of Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.


1976
The Plains Baptist Church, home church of President Jimmy Carter, votes to admit African American worshipers. The church had been under pressure to admit African Americans since Reverend Clennon King had announced his intentions to join the congregation.


1979
The Nobel Prize in economics is awarded to Professor Arthur Lewis of Princeton University.  He is the first African American to receive the coveted prize in a category other than peace.


1979
The NAACP’s Spingarn Medal is awarded to Rosa L. Parks, who was the Catalyst in the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott of 1955-56.


1989
President George Bush signs a bill to rename a Houston, Texas, federal building after George Thomas “Mickey” Leland, the Houston congressman who died in a plane crash earlier in the year.


1990
On this day, the US Golf Association banned racial & gender discrimination.


1998
Kwame Ture succumbs to prostate cancer in Guinea and joins the ancestors at age 57. He was born Stokely Carmichael in the country of Trinidad (1941) and in 1966 coined the phrase, “Black Power.”


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1890

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