Paul Cuffe and other Black taxpayers of
Massachusetts protest to the state legislature against
taxation without representation, demanding the right to vote.
William Christopher Handy was born on
this date. He was an African-American composer, cornet player, bandmaster, and
Born in a two-room cabin in Florence,
Alabama, W.C. Handy was educated
in the public schools by his father and paternal grandfather, both of whom were
clergymen. Handy heard music wherever he turned; spirituals at his father’s
church and chants of laborers on the river. He was sent to Huntsville A&M
to get a teaching degree and from 1900 to 1902 he was a music teacher there.
Upon graduation he left for the Chicago Worlds Fair, only to find that it had
been delayed for a year.
He began his musical career as a cornet soloist and bandmaster with minstrel
shows; one of his earliest engagements was with the World’s Columbian
Exposition in Chicago in 1893 at the
Agricultural and Mechanical College in Huntsville,
Alabama. Handy turned to
composition in 1907; his first published song was “Memphis Blues”, which
in 1912 was the first recorded blues song. Unfortunately he sold it for a mere
$100 and watched it make a fortune. Vowing never to make that mistake again,
Handy founded his music-publishing house and edited and wrote several books,
including the autobiographical Father of the Blues. Other popular Handy songs are “Saint Louis Blues”, “Beale Street Blues” and “Loveless Love”.
He also formed a music publishing company with Harry Pace and became one of the most important influences in African-American music. His 1941 autobiography, “Father of the Blues,” was a sourcebook and reference on this uniquely African American musical style.
Originally, the blues were a type of Black folk song little known beyond the
southern United States.
Handy’s songs brought the blues to international attention which earned him the
nickname “Father of the Blues.” In 1931, Memphis,
TN named a public square Handy’s
Park in his honor. In his later years, he felt vigorous enough to play at
Dwight D. Eisenhower’s inaugural ball in 1953. W.C. Handy died on March 28,
1958 in New York City,
the same year “The St. Louis Blues”, an biographical movie of his life debuts.
Richard T. Greener, who was
the first African American graduate of Harvard University, is named professor
of metaphysics at the University of South Carolina.
Americans win three state offices in the
Mississippi election: Alexander K.
Davis, Lieutenant governor; James
Hill, secretary of state; T.W.
Cardozo, superintendent of education. African Americans win 55 of the
115 seats in the house and 9 out of 37 seats in the senate, 42 per cent of the
date, Ethiopia won the Battle
of Gundet over Egypt. This
conflict was carefully observed in black America due to a growing Black
Nationalist idealism and people such as Edward Blyden and Martin Delany.
Egypt emerged as a powerful force in Africa during the latter stages of the
decline of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire. In the second half of the 19th
century, an ambitious and energetic new ruler, Khedive, negotiated with the
Ottomans to take control of Egypt. He intended to create an Egyptian African
empire by swallowing up Sudan and Ethiopia. For this purpose he recruited a
large army staffed with European officers and Confederate officers from the
American Civil War, which had ended 10 years earlier. In December 1874, a force
of 1,200 Egyptian troops from Kassala, under the command of a hired Swiss
adventurer, Munzinger, occupied Keren. After withdrawing, a small defense force
was left for the protection of the Roman Catholic mission.
Owing to the presence of Turco-Egyptian troops within what he regarded as the
Ethiopian frontier, the African hired Colonel Kirkham entrenched a force of
Ethiopians at Ginda. Earlier, during the month of October, Colonel Arendup with
an Egyptian force occupied Ginda without resistance, hoisting the Turkish flag.
He then sent the Naib Muhammad of Arkiko to King John of Ethiopia with an
ultimatum, the immediate delimitation of the frontier. King John locked up the
messenger. In the meantime, reports reached the Ethiopians that the Egyptians
had crossed the frontier into Ethiopian territory on the way to Gondar. This
force under the command of Munzinger consisted of about 2,000 men. They were
ambushed, and Ethiopian tribesmen killed Munzinger and nearly all his followers
on November 7th.
On November 16th, Colonel Arendup’s force was attacked at Gundet. His column consisted
of 2,500 infantry, armed with Remington rifles, and 12 mountain guns. There
were a number of European and American officers under his command. Possibly,
due to overconfidence at the victory at Ginda, without any resistance,
Colonel Arendup was not ready for an attack, and the fact that the Ethiopians
had rifles was a complete surprise. The Egyptian force was practically
annihilated, despite the personal bravery of its commander.
Among those killed were Colonel Arendup, Arakel Bey Nubar (nephew of the
Egyptian Prime Minister), Count Zichy, and Rustem Bey. One American officer
collected the survivors, and managed to reach Massowah.
Jesse Stone was born on this date. He was an
African-American band leader, song writer, and music producer.
From Atchison, KS, Stone was the grandson of Tennessee slaves, and began
performing when he was five years old in his family’s touring minstrel show.
During the 1920s, Stone was the leader of a jazz band that included saxophonist
Coleman Hawkins. Around 1936, Duke Ellington helped Stone get work at New York
City’s Cotton Club. During this time Stone became a staff arranger, composer,
comedy writer at the Apollo Theater. Stone musical career included working folk
concerts, dance, R&B, and rock & roll bands.
He joined the staff at Atlantic Records as a producer, songwriter, and
arranger in the late ‘40s. During that decade, Stone wrote “Idaho” which
was played by Guy Lombardo and sold three million copies. Stone understood
the racism in the industry and knew that the talent of Black Americans
in music would only break the color barrier with white artist playing Black
music. Stone, Herb Abrams, (his partner) and the Cleveland DJ Allen Freid
made a trip throughout the south, eventually finding Bill Haley & The
Comets; it was Stone who made the decision that this band was the one to
do it. He went on to record Haley performing his song “Shake Rattle and
Roll” on Decca Records.
The single sold a million copies, peaking at number seven pop on Billboard’s charts during summer 1954 and assisting in the acceptance of “Negro music” by white audiences. It was included on the album Rock Around the Clock which hit number 12 pop in early 1956 and boasted the million-selling title track that held the number one pop spot for eight weeks and hit number three R&B in spring 1955 in the 1954 Glenn Ford movie Blackboard Jungle and later used as an early opening track for ABC-TV’s ‘70s sitcom Happy Days and “Burn the Candle.”
Epic Records star Roy Hamilton played Stone’s “Don’t Let Go,” taking it
to number two R&B in early 1958. “Don’t Let Go” was also done by Issac
Hayes whose disco string and horn-laced version hit number 11 R&B in
fall 1979 and Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airman’s version charted
at number 56 pop in early 1975. Stone also wrote the classic “Flip Flop
and Fly” and “Your Cash Ain’t Nothing but Trash.” Stone, who also worked
under the pseudonym Charles E. Calhoun, was a key player in the development
of artists such as Ray Charles, Ruth Brown, Big Joe Turner, the Drifters,
and the Clovers.
At the age 97, Jesse Stone died April 1, 1999, in Altamonte Springs, FL.
Chinua Achebe was born on this date. He is an African author and educator.
From Ogidi, Nigeria, Albert Chinualumogu Achebe is one of six children
of Isaiah Okafo, a Christian churchman, and Janet N. Achebe. He attended
Government College in Umuahia from 1944 to 1947 and University College
in Ibadan from 1948 to 1953. He then received his B. A. from London University
in 1953, studied and work in broadcasting at the British Broadcasting Corp.
in London in 1956.
Around this time Nigeria witnessed a new writing style that drew issues
from both traditional oral text and from the (then) present and changing
African society. Achebe was one of the founders of this new literature,
and many consider him the finest modern Nigerian novelist writing in his
native language or in the English language. In 1961, he married Christie
Chinwe Okoli; the couple has four children: Chinelo, Ikechukwu, Chidi,
Unlike some African writers Achebe has been able to avoid imitating the trends
in English literature. Achebe has held close to the idea at the heart of the
African oral tradition: that art always was, at the service of man and that
African ancestors created their myths and told their stories for a human
purpose. He has written over 21 books which include: Things Fall Apart (1958);
popular not just in Nigeria, but throughout Africa and the rest of the world.
Achebe has also won acclaim for Arrow of God, which is winner of the New
Statesman-Jock Campbell Award, Christmas in Biafra, joint winner of the first
Commonwealth Prize, and Anthills of the Savannah (1987), a finalist for the
prestigious Booker Prize in England.
Achebe’s feel for the African context separates his work fro others. During
the Nigerian countrywide persecution of the Igbo in 1966, Achebe was forced
to leave Lagos for eastern Nigeria. He took an active part in the struggle
for independence. Achebe became the director of African Studies at the
University of Nigeria and edited Okika, a Nigerian literary journal.
He lectured at America from 1971 to 1976 and again from 1987 to 1988. Achebe
also has taught at the University of Nigeria, where he headed the English
Department until 1981 and served as professor emeritus from 1984. In 1986, he
became the pro-chancellor of Anambra State University of Technology. Achebe’s
last book, Hopes and Impediments, was published in 1988.
Hubert Sumlin is born on a farm near Greenwood,
Mississippi. Sumlin will leave home at seventeen to tour clubs and taverns
throughout the South with his childhood friend James Cotton. The Jimmy Cotton
band will record for the Sun label in Memphis from 1950 to 1953. In 1954,
Sumlin will join the Howlin’ Wolf band and move to Chicago. It will be Howlin’
Wolf who mentors Sumlin, prodding and encouraging him to find his own style and
develop as a performer. He will perform with Howlin’ Wolf for twenty five
Wilt Chamberlain of the NBA
San Francisco Warriors scores 73 points against the New York Knicks.
date, Zina Garrison Jackson was born.
She was an African-American tennis professional and is an activist for
From Houston, Texas Garrison began playing at the age of 10 on the city courts
of her hometown. She turned professional in 1982 and first appeared at No. 29
in world rankings. Seven years later, she reached a career high No. 4 and
became the first Black woman since Althea Gibson to reach a Grand Slam final in
1990. At Wimbledon, Garrison upset Monica Seles and Steffi Graf in back-to-back
matches before dropping the final to Martina Navratilova, 6-4, 6-1. Three years
later Garrison became only the 12th women to win 500 professional
matches. She earned her 14th career singles title in 1995 at
Birmingham, England, defeating good friend Lori McNeil in the final.
One of the finest doubles players in the game’s recent history, Garrison
captured 20 major championships. With Pam Shriver, she earned the 1988 Olympic
Gold Medal in Seoul, Korea. Garrison continues to live in Houston as one of the
most prominent citizens of Texas’ largest city. She heads the Zina Garrison
Foundation which provides funds and support for the homeless, youth
organizations, anti-drug groups and other charitable organizations. She also
founded the Zina Garrison All-Court Tennis program in 1992, providing inner
city kids the opportunity to build self-esteem through tennis.
She actively jogs, plays softball, and does artwork, including designing her
own painted T-shirts. In 1997, Garrison was inducted into the Texas Women’s
Hall of Fame. In 2001, she took office as director at large of the United
States Tennis Association. Garrison is serving a two-year term on the USTA’s
15-member board of directors. Garrison’s future hopes include the establishment
of a homeless shelter and additional Texas junior tennis programs.
Dwight Gooden, professional baseball pitcher (New
York Mets) was born on this date in Tampa, FL. Known as “The Doctor”, he set
the record for most strikeouts in a rookie season in 1984 and became the
youngest player in National League history to be named Rookie of the Year. He also
became the youngest to player to be chosen to the All-Star Game and the
youngest to receive the Cy Young Award, which he did in 1985.
A one-man showing of 48 paintings by Henry Ossawa Tanner is
presented at the Grand Central Galleries in New York City. The presentation of
the canvases, not in the best of condition, is criticized by The New York Times
as an “injustice to a proud man.” He was a painter of
biblical, landscape and genre subjects, was the first black artist elected to
full membership in the National Academy. Pennsylvania-born Tanner studied at
the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and in France, where he settled. He
developed a fine reputation, based principally on his biblical paintings, on
both sides of the Atlantic.
On this date,
Lisa Bonet was born.
She is an African-American Actress and model.
From San Francisco, Lisa Bonet was born to a Jewish mother and a Black father.
Bonet’s parents divorced when she was young, and her formative years were spent
mostly in New York City and L.A. At age 11, she started auditioning for
commercials, and after several years of ads and walk-on TV parts, she landed a
coveted role in NBC’s The Cosby Show. The show was an immediate hit, and
Bonet quickly asserted herself as one of the most memorable kids in the
Huxtable clan, the outspoken teenager Denise.
Bonet shared her character’s defiant persona and left TV in 1987 for a racy
part opposite Mickey Rourke in the gothic thriller Angel Heart. The role
required the 19-year-old Bonet to appear in several graphic sex scenes, some of
which had to be cut for mainstream American release. The part did little to
further her big-screen career, and by the end of the year she would return to
episodic TV in The Cosby Show spinoff series A Different World.
Also in 1987, Bonet married rocker Lenny Kravitz, whose impulsive free spirit
and bi-racial upbringing paralleled hers.
The Cosby-produced World was a hit, but Bonet lost interest often showing up
late to the set or not at all. Within two years she was gone spending more time
with her newborn daughter Zoë. Bonet spent the remainder of the
1980s making infrequent appearances on The Cosby Show, and she made a conscious
decision not to act in the early 1990s. In 1993, her marriage to Kravitz fell
apart, and to make ends meet in the mid-‘90s, she accepted roles in made-for-TV
and straight-to-video productions.
Around this time, Bonet legally changed her name to Liliquois Moon, and claimed she would continue to use her birth
name for her acting career. She had another child with boyfriend and former
yoga instructor Brian Kest before returning to the big screen with a memorable
supporting role in 1998’s Enemy of the State. It appeared that her Hollywood
career was once again on-track when director Stephen Frears cast her as a
sultry one-night-stand in High Fidelity (2000). She also appeared in other films such as Bank Robber, New
Eden, and Dead Connection.
Despite her spotty film work, Lisa Bonet remains one of the more intriguing
young character actresses in Hollywood, enjoying a longevity that few former
child stars can claim.
The Louisiana National Guard mobilizes
after Baton Rouge, LA police officers kill two students, Denver A. Smith and Leonard
Douglass Brown, in a confrontation between Blacks and the police during
demonstrations on the campus of Southern
Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears rushes for 105
yards in a game against the San Francisco ‘49ers. It will be Payton’s first
game of 100 plus yards. He will repeat this feat over 50 times throughout his
career and add two 200-yard games.
Arthur S. Fleming, Chairman of the
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, was fired by President Ronald Reagan on this
date. It was reported that Fleming was fired for vocally supporting Affirmative
Action. He was replaced by Clarence M. Pendleton, Jr.
South African President F.W. de Klerk announces
the scrapping of the Separate
Amenities Act, opening up the country’s beaches to all races.
On this date, two police officers
were charged with murder, and one with manslaughter, in the beating death of Malice Green, a 35 year old Black man from Detroit, MI. Green was beaten 11 days
earlier in an incident similar to the Rodney King beating.
Texaco agrees to pay $176.9 million dollars
to settle a two-year old race discrimination class action suit.
The Supreme Court rules that
union members can file discrimination lawsuits against employers even when labor
contracts require arbitration.
Oprah Winfrey, talk show
hostess, received the 85th NAACP Spingarn Medal on this date for her
achievements and contributions as an actress, producer, educator, publisher,
Representing Nigeria, 18 year old Agbani Darego was crowned
Miss World in Sun City, South Africa on this
date. She was the first black African to win the title. Miss Aruba,
Zerelda Lee and Miss Scotland, Juliet-Jane Horne, were first and second runners
On this date, Condoleezza Rice became the first African-American woman Secretary of State in America.
She was appointed by President George W. Bush. The former National Security
Adviser since 2001 is the second Black (after Colin Powell) and second female
(after Madeleine Albright) Secretary of State.
On this date, Barry Bonds, formerly of the San Francisco
Giants, was indicted in California for lying to a grand jury about anabolic
steroid use, this, two and half months after he broke Hank Aarons all-time home
run record in San Francisco. From this indictment, as of this date, he could
face up to 30 years of imprisonment.