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.
date, Scotia Seminary was
chartered by the State of North
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.
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.
Timothy Thomas Fortune founds the “New York Freeman”, which later
becomes the “New York Age.”
The Philadelphia Tribune is founded by Christopher
J. Perry. It is the oldest continually published
non-church newspaper, first published in 1885.
The birth of
Camille Nickerson is celebrated on this date. She was an African-American musician, composer,
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.
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
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.
The Nation of Islam is founded in Detroit by Elijah Muhammad.
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.
The Miles Davis Quintet debuts with a jazz concert at Carnegie Hall in New York.
Frank Robinson becomes the first baseball player to be named “Most Valuable Player”
in both major leagues.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mike Tyson, 20 years, 4 months old, becomes the youngest to wear the world
heavyweight boxing crown after knocking out Trevor Berbick in Las
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.
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.