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1865
The Mississippi legislature enacts “Black Codes” which restrict the rights and freedom of movement of the freedmen. The Black Codes enacted in Mississippi and other Southern states virtually re-enslave the freedmen. In some states, any white person could arrest any African American. In other states, minor officials could arrest African American “vagrants” and “refractory and rebellious Negroes” and force them to work on roads and levees without pay. “Servants” in South Carolina were required to work from sunrise to sunset, to be quiet and orderly and go to bed at “reasonable hours.” It was a crime in Mississippi for African Americans to own farm land. In South Carolina, African Americans have to get a special license to work outside the domestic and farm laborer categories.


1870
On this date, Scotia Seminary was chartered by the State of North Carolina.

As a learning institution for Black girls, Scotia was founded in 1867 as a strict prim Presbyterian school located roughly fifteen miles north of Charlotte in the cotton-mill town of Concord. In 1932, responding to the wave of interest in junior colleges and greater responsibility for black secondary education, Scotia merged with Barber College for Women in Anniston, Alabama. The transformed school, Scotia-Barber College was typical in basic functions, tuition, many secondary programs and in its private sponsorship. Yet the majority of Scotia’s faculty held masters degrees, more than half were enrolled in college programs, and all of them were women.

Scotia modeled itself after Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, Massachusetts, with its reputation of independence, permanency, and intellectual firmness. The seminary subscribed totally to the head-hand-heart approach to educating Black young people. Scotia fostered logical thinking, acquiring useful information, notably through drill for mental development. Scotia offered two curricula; a four-year grammar program of English, arithmetic, algebra, geography, science, history, and literature; and a three-year normal and scientific program that included geometry, astronomy, physics, chemistry, history, Latin, and rhetoric.

Their industrial department taught sewing and cooking, and the students were involved in a housekeeping program to lessen operating expenses. It’s the evolving pattern of post-secondary black schools their first four year degrees were awarded in 1945, two years later it counted 157 students; in 1954, 191. Scotia was the first major boarding school for Black girls in the defeated Confederacy. Past graduates from Scotia include Mary McLeod Bethune, Gertrude Brown, Mary Church Terrell, and Anne Cooper.

Existing in a time of racial segregation, discrimination, and repression, Scotia offered the highest leadership training and education available in the South.



1871
Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Oscar James Dunn, joins the ancestors suddenly in the midst of a bitter struggle for control of the state government. Dunn aides charge that he was poisoned. He was succeeded by P.B.S. Pinchback.


1884
Timothy Thomas Fortune founds the New York Freeman”, which later becomes the New York Age.”


1884
The Philadelphia Tribune is founded by Christopher J. Perry. It is the oldest continually published non-church newspaper, first published in 1885.


1888
The birth of Camille Nickerson is celebrated on this date. She was an African-American musician, composer, and administrator.

Nickerson was born into a talented musical family in the French Quarter of New Orleans. At the age of nine she was the pianist for the Nickerson Ladies’ Orchestra directed by her father. She attended Oberlin Conservatory earning a bachelor of music in 1916 and Masters in Music degree in 1932. She also was a member of Pi Kappa Lambda and the national honor society in music. While at Oberlin, she began to compose and publish Creole music.

When Love is Done was her first publication. She returned to New Orleans to teach with her father in the Nickerson School of Music and began her debut as a concert artist, playing cities including Atlanta, Birmingham and Nashville. Her stage name, “The Louisiana Lady,” was enhanced with her genuine Creole dress; audiences in the U. S. and Europe were enthusiastic about her performances.

She also collected and arranged songs to preserve her native culture. Nickerson gave up performing to become part of Howard University’s music faculty. She instructed there from 1926-1962, retiring with the title professor emeriti. Her master’s thesis, “Afro-Creole Music of Louisiana” highlighted much Creole folk music and the impressive accomplishments made by Black American musicians in the field.

She was elected President of the National Association of Negro Musicians in 1935. Some of her arrangements include Lizette, My Dearest One, Mister Banjo, and Dance Baby Dance. Camille Nickerson died in 1982.



1893
Alrutheus Ambush Taylor, teacher and historian, is born in Washington, DC. He will become Fisk University’s Dean. He and other local African American historians will come under the influence of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who spoke in Nashville on several occasions. In 1941, Taylor will publish a Tennessee study from the African American perspective. Taylor titled his study, “The Negro in Tennessee, 1865-1880.” Taylor’s book will go beyond slavery and cover Reconstruction history and various aspects of African American life, including business and politics.


1908
On this date we mark the birth of Frank Mann. He was an African-American engineer and designer.

A native of Houston, Texas, Frank Calvin Mann’s parents wanted him to become a schoolteacher; yet as a boy, he had a natural ability to fix things. At age 11, he had his own mechanic shop. As a teen-ager, he worked alongside airplane mechanics, repairing engines. By the ago of 20, he had designed and built several of his own Model-T cars. It was unheard of in the 1920s for a Black man to have anything to do with cars, trains, or airplanes. His life-long friend Howard Hughes was instrumental in opening door for his exceptional talents.

Mann attended the University of Minnesota and UCLA where he earned a mechanical engineering degree. And World War II equipment that revolutionized military weaponry would not exist if not for his involvement. What’s incredible is that few Americans are aware of Frank Mann. He was the first Black commercial pilot for American Airways. He was also a distinguished military officer. In 1935, following Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia, Frank Mann flew reconnaissance missions for the Ethiopian army.

He served in the World War II Army Air Corps and was the primary civilian instructor of the famous Tuskegee Airmen in 1941. He left Tuskegee after a rift with the U. S. government, who didn’t want the Squadron, an all-Black unit, flying the same high caliber of airplanes as their White counterparts. Mann had refused to have his men fly old “World War I biplane crates,” he was angered, because his airmen had proven themselves as equals.

Though they were being given inferior equipment and materials, their Squadron never lost a plane, bomber, or pilot, and they were nicknamed the “Red Tails.” After the war, he was instrumental in the design that produced the first Buick LeSabre automobile and the first communications satellite launched for commercial use. His pride & joy was a miniature locomotive enshrined in the Smithsonian Institute, Mann also played a principal role in the Amos ‘N’ Andy radio show. He moved back to his hometown in the 1970s. Frank Mann died November 30th 1992 in Houston.



1930
The Nation of Islam is founded in Detroit by Elijah Muhammad.


1942
Guion S. Bluford, Jr., Ph.D. is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He will become a Colonel in the United States Air Force, an astronaut and the first African American to fly in space (four times - STS 8, STS 61A, STS 39, STS 53). He has a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering from Pennsylvania State University, a Master of Science, a Doctorate of Philosophy in aerospace engineering from Air Force Institute of Technology, and a Master in Business Administration from the University of Houston, Clear Lake. Presently, he is the Vice President and General Manager, Engineering Services Division, NYMA Inc., Brook Park, Ohio.


1957
The Miles Davis Quintet debuts with a jazz concert at Carnegie Hall in New York.


1961
Frank Robinson becomes the first baseball player to be named “Most Valuable Player” in both major leagues.


1965
Muhammad Ali defeats Floyd Patterson. Ali, a recent convert to the Muslim faith, taunts the former champ and ends the fight in 12 rounds to win the world heavyweight title.


1968
A portrait of Frederick Douglass appears on the cover of Life magazine. The cover story, “Search for a Black Past,” will be the first in a four-part series of stories in which the magazine examines African Americans, a review of the last 50 years of struggle and interviews with Jesse Jackson, Julian Bond, Eldridge Cleaver, Dick Gregory, and others.


1970
Thomasina Petrus was born on this date. She is an African-American actress, singer, dancer, and entertainer.

From Minneapolis, MN Petrus’ father Hugh joined the military when her mother Patricia was pregnant with Petrus’s sister Jean who is a year older; she has another sister Joyi. The family lived in Germany, Oklahoma, and Kentucky. Her parents’ family was from the South. Her Grandmother brought her father and his 5 siblings up from Charleston Mississippi. They picked cotton and didn’t have much schooling before he came up North. Her immediate family lived a very typical military life, moving every few years and losing touch with any friends. This was very hard on both Petrus and her sister, though every week in those army years she would win the Base dance contest.

After her parents separated, her mother and her daughters moved back to Minnesota. Financially strapped they spent most of their time with her Dad’s family. Her Granny “Fat” and aunt Atlen were the center of their early years and a true touchstone while her mother worked to get on her own two feet. Petrus and her sister were enrolled both many dance, gymnastics, and sports programs. Petrus first started singing publicly, at the age of three in the “Little Miss Black Minnesota” pageant. Her first exposure to sharpen herself as an entertainer came after seeing JeVetta Steele perform the “Aretha Franklin Show” and the age of twelve.

Also as an adolescent Petrus found out her mother was in a band when she was a teenager; a bass player and singer. In 1985, Thomasina sang with Cornbread Harris (Jimmy Jam Harris’ father). Her first professional performance was in 1987 in the Pneumbra Theatric production of Black Nativity. She is a self studied student of voice and theater; with many musicians and artist in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area as her mentors. For the last 14 years Petrus has also performed an annual “Daughters of Africa” show.

Petrus married in 1996 to her husband Charles and has two sons Charles Jr., Kobe Jean and she continues to “Wow” her audiences with talents.



1986
24 year-old George Branham wins the Brunswick Memorial World Open. It is the first time an African American wins a Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) title. George Branham, from Detroit defeated Mark Roth in Glendale Heights, Illinois. Branham learned the sport when he was 6 years old and turned professional in 1984. He has rolled 21 perfect games in sanctioned competition thus far and continues to tour with Pro Bowlers Association.


1986
Mike Tyson, 20 years, 4 months old, becomes the youngest to wear the world heavyweight boxing crown after knocking out Trevor Berbick in Las Vegas.


1988
Bob Watson is named assistant general manager of the Houston Astros, the team where he began his professional career in 1965. One of a select few African American assistant general managers in the sport, Watson’s spikes hang in the Baseball Hall of Fame for scoring baseball’s 1,000,000th run in 1976.


1989
On this date Col. Frederick Gregory, became the first African-American Shuttle commander aboard STS-33. His crew, in this mission, deployed a Department of Defense satellite. Previously from April 29 – May 6, 1985, as the first Black astronaut, he piloted the space shuttle Challenger (STS-51B). A veteran of three Shuttle missions he has logged over 455 hours in space.


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1890

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