recalls the birth of Joe Gans. He was an African-American professional boxer.
Born in Baltimore,
Joseph Gaines (his name at birth) was a legend in the sport. Because he was black, he
was compelled by boxing promoters to permit less-talented white fighters
to last the scheduled number of rounds with him and occasionally to defeat
him. He was also forced to fight at unnaturally low weights, and, perhaps
as a result, he was so weakened that he contracted tuberculosis and died
while a young man.
After 11 years of fighting, Gans won the world lightweight title by knocking
out Frank Erne in one round at Fort
Erie, Ontario, on May
12, 1902. On September 30, 1904, he fought a 20-round draw with the great
welterweight champion Joe Walcott. Gans was already ill when he defended his
lightweight championship against Battling Nelson at Goldfield, Nevada, on September 3,
1906. Gans, who gave one of his finest performances, won this match when Nelson
deliberately fouled him in the 42nd round. In a return bout with
Nelson in San Francisco on July 4, 1908, he was knocked out in 17 rounds.
Gans spent nearly a year in Arizona
in an unsuccessful attempt to arrest his disease. When he returned to Baltimore to die, his
train was greeted at each station by groups of boxing fans, and his impending
death was treated as a national calamity by the press. Known as the Old Master
he was perhaps the greatest fighter in the history of the lightweight division.
Joe Gans died August 10th, 1910 in Baltimore.
date, “Willie the Lion” Smith was born in
York. He was an African-American-Jewish jazz pianist and composer.
Born Bertholoff William Henry Joseph Bonaparte, Smith grew
up in Newark, New Jersey with his mother and Stepfather.
He began studying piano at the age of six, Smith was inspired by his
grandmother who played organ and banjo and by the Christian and Jewish music he
heard in Harlem and Newark. Smith was playing clubs in the same area by the age of fifteen, married
to Blanch Merrill in 1916, and served a two-year enlistment in World War
I by 1918. He was not as well known as his peers at the time, James P.
Johnson and “Fats” Waller.
In the 1930s and 1940s Smith did not record much, but in the 1950s his
material took an upsurge. At this time he made a number of records with
different labels showcasing his playing, singing and in some cases talking.
Noted as a force in music by many of the great jazz artist of the twentieth
century, Duke Ellington paid tribute to him with his composition Portrait
of the Lion. Smith, whose father was Jewish, claimed inspiration from the
music he heard in synagogues as a child.
He had his bar mitzvah in 1910 and in the 1940s became cantor of the
African-American synagogue in Harlem. Willie
the Lion Smith died in New York City
on April 18, 1973.
William Hubbard was born on this date. He was an African-American track & field athlete.
William DeHart Hubbard grew up in
the Walnut Hills section of Cincinnati,
Ohio, and was known to be the fastest kid in school. He was not only athletic
but also intelligent, with a four-year scholastic average of 90. Hubbard
was part of the Golden Age of Sports and when people started using the
word “Superstar.” He was the national long jump champion of the 1920s who
was also experienced in the sprints and triple jump.
A University of Michigan graduate, he competed in both the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Games. His long
jump victory in the 1924 Paris Olympics made him the first Black athlete
to win an Olympic gold medal in an individual event. His winning long jump
of 24 ft. — 5 inches was somewhat overshadowed by the performance of U.
S. teammate John Legendre the day before. Legendre, who had failed to make
the squad as a long jumper, set a world record with a 25 ft. 5.75 inch
leap while competing in the pentathlon. Hubbard closed out his U of M career
in 1925 with a series of spectacular performances.
He tied the world records in the 60 and 100-yard dashes. In his final appearance as a Wolverine, Hubbard broke Legendre’s long jump world record with a leap of 25 ft. — 10.85 inches. From 1927 to 1941 Mr. Hubbard worked for the Cincinnati Recreation Commission. After that, in 1942, he was appointed Racial Relations Advisor for the Federal Public Housing Authority that provided better housing for minorities.
In 1957 he was voted into the National Track Hall of Fame. William Hubbard died
on June 23, 1976.
John H. Sengstacke was born on this date. He was an African-American publisher of Chicago’s
Black newspaper, the Chicago Defender.
From Savannah, Georgia, he also founded the Negro Newspaper Publisher Association
in 1940. The organization is now known as the National Newspaper Publishers
Association. In 1956, took Chicago Defender from a weekly to a daily publication.
The newspaper was founded in 1905 by Sengstacke’s uncle, Robert S. Abbott
and had a strong voice in Chicago’s African-American communities and has
a circulation of about 25,000 at that time.
The paper’s Bud Billiken parade, which marches through the South Side each
August, has grown to become one of the nation’s largest African-American
community celebrations He also owned the Courier newspapers of Pittsburgh and
Miami and the Chronicle of Detroit. John Sengstacke died May 28, 1997 in
Marcus Garvey electrifies a crowd at Liberty Hall in New York City as he states the goals and principles of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA): “We represent peace, harmony, love, human sympathy, human rights and human justice...we are marshaling the four hundred million Negroes of the world to fight for the emancipation of the race and for the redemption of the country of our fathers.”
date, Etta Jones was born. She was an African-American jazz singer.
Jones was born in Aiken, South Carolina and at age three, her family moved
to New York City. With support from them, she entered a talent contest
when she was 15, didn’t win but got a job as the newest and youngest member
of a big band led by pianist Buddy Johnson. She stayed with the band for
a little over a year and in 1944 recorded her first album. Jones continued
recording with other musicians such as Barney Bigard, J.C. Heard and Earl
“Fatha” Hines. In 1952, she went solo as a singer, but often working odd
jobs as an elevator operator, a seamstress and an album stuffer in order
to make ends meet.
Jones’ big break came in 1960 with her recording of Don’t Go To Strangers, sold a million and earned her a gold record. She continued recording and touring and in 1968, while in Washington, D.C. for a gig, she was teamed up saxophonist Houston Person and his trio. Some say that the chemistry between Etta and Houston was suggestive of Billie Holiday and Lester Young. The two decided to stay together, a partnership that has lasted nearly 29 years. During the early ‘90s she surfaced from a serious bout with cancer with a new passion for life and a spirit for musical adventure.
She took more solo jobs and began collaborating with pianist Benny Green and
blues man Charles Brown. While her career spans 50 years, she never really
achieved fame and fortune. Many felt it was because she pursued singing in its
purist form Etta Jones, the productive jazz vocalist whose soulful,
blues-influenced recordings won her praise and two Grammy nominations, died on
October 16, 2001 of complications from a bout with cancer. She was 72.
Nat Adderley was born on this date. He was an African-American musician.
From Tampa, Florida, Nathaniel Adderley’s cornet was always a complementary accent
to his brother Cannonball in their popular quintet. His career ran parallel to
his older brother for many years. Adderley took up trumpet in 1946, switched to
cornet in 1950, and spent time in the military, playing in an Army band during
1951-1953. In 1954, after the service he played with Lionel Hampton, and then
made his recording debut in 1955.
He joined his brother’s quintet from 1956 to 1957, then spending time with
the groups of J.J. Johnson and Woody Herman. In 1959 Adderley joined the
Cannonball Adderley quintet again. This time the group became a major success
and Nat remained in the quintet until his brother’s death in 1975. During
this time he contributed such originals as “Work Song,” “Jive Samba,” and
“The Old Country” along with many exciting hard bop solos. Adderley was
proficient at playing solos that dipped into the sub tone index of his
He led his own quintets; his most notable sidemen were alto players Sonny
Fortune and Vincent Herring. Adderley continued recording worthwhile sessions
in the years prior to his death on January 2, 2000.
Namahyoke Sokum Curtis, who led a team of 32 African Americans to nurse yellow fever victims during the Spanish-American War, joins the ancestors. She will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Broadway Federal Bank was founded receiving its Federal Charter on this date. It is an African-American
owned financial institution in Los Angeles.
Broadway Federal Bank was created as a mutual savings and loan by a group
of civic-minded people interested in creating a financial institution that
would serve the economic needs of African-Americans residing in Los Angeles
after WWII. With an opening capitalization of $150,000, the Bank’s Founders
opened Broadway’s doors to welcome the first savers on January 11, 1947.
H. A. Howard, a real estate broker and investor, was their first manager.
In 1949, Dr. Claude Hudson a dentist and community leader chaired the Board of Directors and supervised the management of the Bank for the next 23 years. In April of 1972, leadership of Broadway was passed to Dr. Hudson’s son, Elbert Hudson ten years after this Broadway’s board elected Paul Hudson as President and Chief Executive Officer. Elbert Hudson continues to chair the Board and the Executive Committee of the Board. The original Bank building consisted of a three-room office at 4329 South Broadway.
In 1954 Broadway acquired from Woolworth’s department store. They hired
architect and fellow Board member, Paul R. Williams to redesign the building.
In 1955, BFB moved into the new headquarters at 4501 South Broadway. Branch
expansion began in January of 1967. Currently, Broadway operates four full
service-banking facilities, three in the City of Los Angeles and one in
the City of Inglewood with assets in excess of $175 million. Broadway’s
mission is to serve the credit and depository needs of the communities
in which its branches are located. It has also maintained a broader commitment
to employ, train and mentor community residents, to contract for services
with community businesses, to volunteer civic and community leadership,
and to provide contributions of money and meeting space to community and
The Bank’s community orientation has been greatly influenced by its
long-standing partnership with community churches. In 1998, Broadway received
the coveted Social Compact Award for its innovative community development
partnership with the Inglewood Neighborhood Housing Services, and was
recognized again in 1999 as a recipient of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San
Francisco’s Community Partnership Award. Broadway Financial Corporation is the
parent holding company for Broadway Federal Bank. Broadway Financial is a
publicly traded stock company whose common stock is traded on the NASDAQ small
cap market under the symbol “BYFC”.
“Bojangles” Robinson, dancer, died in New York City on this date
at the age of 71.
Dr. Ralph J. Bunche receives the Spingarn Medal for his contributions to the Myrdal study
and his achievements as UN mediator in the Palestine conflict.
Louis chapter of CORE presses a
sit-in campaign designed to end segregation in downtown St. Louis facilities.
The Interstate Commerce Commission bans segregation
in interstate travel. The law affects buses and trains as well
as terminals and waiting rooms.
The South American nation of Suriname gained its
independence on this date.
Harold Washington, the first African American mayor of Chicago, Illinois, joins the ancestors,
in office at the age of 65.
Robinson, of Grambling State University, coaches his
last game as head coach. This will close out a career spanning 57 years. He has
the NCAA record for wins at 402. The closest to Eddie Robinson’s record is ‘Bear’
Bryant of the University of Alabama at 323 wins.
Wilson joins the ancestors in Malibu, California,
at the age of 64.
Pop singer Melanie
Thornton, 34, was killed in a jet crash in
Switzerland. Thornton sang lead with the pop-dance duo LaBouche. Hit songs
included “Be My Lover” and “Sweet Dreams.” At the time of her death she was
pursuing a solo career.
date, The National Football Leagues Baltimore Ravens formally named Ozzie Newsome as their general manager (GM) and executive vice president.
Newsome thus became the first Black GM in the sport. The contract agreement
will keep him with the team for the next five years. Newsome has worked
in the game/business on every level, from a rookie tight end when the Cleveland
Browns drafted him in 1978 to the highest personnel and administrative
level. Newsome, the only Black GM in the league, was born in Muscle Shoals,
Alabama eight years before the Civil Rights Act.
Yet the University of Alabama and Cleveland Brown standout tight end said his
advancement is just a part of a bigger picture. “You have to go back to timing.
John Mitchell had to be that first Black to play at Alabama. Hank Aaron, in
doing what he did, and any of the other things that happened through the years,
somebody had to be the first.” Newsome also said “But when you get that
opportunity, that’s what it’s all about. When John got that opportunity, he
made the best of it. Hank’s made the best of it. Hopefully, I’ll continue to
make the most of it.”