Soldier & patriot James Robinson is born.
When he won a medal for bravery at the Battle of Yorktown, he was promised his
freedom for fighting with the Americans. After the war, he was sold back into
Lewis, All-American football center and graduate
of Harvard University
was born in Berkley, VA. Lewis served as assistant attorney
general of the United States
under President William H. Taft.
On his date,
we mark the birth of William T.
Francis. He was an African-American politician and lawyer.
Francis was from the state of Indiana coming
at an early age. After completing his education, he served in the legal
department of Northern Pacific Railroad. Francis opened his own law firm prior
to World War II in St. Paul. In 1920, he was president elector at the Republican State Convention.
Francis and his wife were instrumental in getting an anti-lynching law
passed in the Minnesota State Senate in the 1920s.
His deep concern about the fate of his people is summed up in these words: “The
solution of the whole problem…is simple justice; a recognition of the fact that
the rights of the humblest citizen are as worthy of protection as those of the
highest.” In 1927, he was appointed U. S.
Minister to Liberia, Africa by President Calvin Coolidge. William Francis died
there two years later of Yellow Fever.
Klux Klan trials begin in Federal District Court in South Carolina.
On this date
we celebrate the birth of Charles Alston. He was an
African-American artist and teacher.
From Charlotte, North
Carolina, Charles Henry Alston’s father died when he was three;
soon afterwards his mother moved to New
York and married Harry P. Bearden (the uncle of
artist Romare Bearden). Alston attended DeWitt Clinton High School, taught
there and graduated from Columbia University in 1929. In 1931, he received a
master’s degree from Columbia’s Teachers College. He also studied at the Pratt
Institute and traveled to Europe and the Caribbean.
Alston directed art programs and community centers in the New York area
including the Harlem Workshop; Jacob Lawrence as one of his students at Utopia
House. He directed the thirty-five artists who created the Harlem Hospital
murals for the Federal Arts Project in 1935 and 1936, painting two of the
murals himself. Many of Alston’ works were published in the New Yorker,
fortune, and Collier’s magazine. In 1950, he sold a painting to the
metropolitan Museum of Art and also became the first Black instructor at the
Art Students league. He also painted murals for the Golden State
Mutual Life Insurance Company in Los Angeles, earning the National Academy of
As a teacher, he taught at the Harlem Community Art Center, Harlem Art
Workshop, the Museum of Modern Art, and
Pennsylvania State University, while receiving many awards. He was an associate professor of painting at The City University of New
York and a muralist for the WPA during the Depression. His two-panel mural of
that period, “Magic and Medicine,” can be seen at Harlem Hospital. He will
become a full professor at City University of New York in 1973.
He also won the First Award of the Atlanta University Collection’s 1942 show for
his watercolor painting, “Farm Boy”. Alston’s best-known paintings are
Family and Walking, at the Whitney Museum and a private collection
respectively. In 1975, he was the first recipient of Columbia University’s
Distinguished Alumni Award. Charles Alston and his wife, Myra A. Logan (a
surgeon) died of cancer within months of each other in 1977. He died on April 27, 1977.
of Lewis College of Business (LCB) is
celebrated on this date. Lewis College of Business was founded at the beginning
of the Great Depression by Violet T. Lewis.
Starting with a fifty-dollar loan and determination, Dr. Lewis established Michigan’s only Historically Black College. Located in the heart of one of Detroit, LCB brings state-of-the-art, accredited, business education to its students. LCB is an open admission, two-year College presenting both academic and technical programs. Their certificates and associate degrees provide easy entry into the job market or give transfer privileges to a senior institution.
The main function of Lewis College of Business is to supply opportunities
in higher education for qualified applicants. Their commitment provides
business related curriculum in Computer Information, Business Administration,
and Office Information Systems. Granting degrees will continue to be the
long-term objective of the College. The academic program of the college
is focused on technical business skills, but the students also learn the
skills to become a world citizen.
Today, Lewis College of Business offers educational preparation in Liberal
Arts and three career areas: Business Administration, Computer Information
Systems and Office Information Systems. The academic programs at Lewis
have traditionally combined theoretical and practical methods of instruction.
During the past 70 years, over 2,500 students have graduated from Lewis
College of Business, and close to 27,000 students have attended this institution.
Upon graduation, the majority of the alumni immediately enter into the world of
work, while others continue their education. Lewis College of Business has always
impressed upon its students the value of continued growth through education.
The acceptance of this counsel is evidenced by the alumni who have earned
Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate degrees.
Berry Gordy, Jr. was born on this date. He is an African-American record producer, and the founder of the Motown record label and its subsidiaries.
From Detroit, Michigan, he was one of eight children born to the middle class
family of Berry Gordy, Sr., plastering contractor and Bertha Fuller Gordy. The
senior Gordy and family had relocated to Detroit from Milledgeville, Georgia in
1922. Gordy was brought up in a tight-knit family with strong morals. He
dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade to become a professional
boxer, a career he followed until 1950 when he was drafted by the United States
Army for the Korean War.
After the army and as a record-store manager he moved into the creative
and entrepreneurial side of the music business. In the mid-Fifties, Gordy
married Thelma Coleman and began writing songs for local R&B acts and
quickly acquired a local reputation as a songwriter and producer. His first
break came in 1957, when Brunswick Records bought a song of his called
“Reet Petite” for Jackie Wilson. Gordy had co-written the song with his
sister Gwen and Billy Davis. Wilson recorded four more songs co-written
by Gordy over the next two years.
Gordy reinvested his songwriting successes into producing. During this time he
discovered Smokey Robinson and The Miracles and began building a portfolio of
successful artists. In January 1959 Gordy founded a new R&B label called
Tamla Records, which produced Marv Johnson’s first hit, “Come To Me.” At
Robinson’s encouragement, Gordy created Motown on December 14, 1959. Barrett
Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want),” did well in 1960. The Miracles’ hit
“Shop Around” peaked nationally at #1 on the R&B charts that same year and
at #2 on the pop charts in 1961 and established Motown as an independent
company worthy of notice. He promoted African-American artists but carefully
controlled their public image, managing dress, manners, and choreography for
His gift for identifying musical talent, along with the careful management
of his artists’ public image, made Motown a national success. Over the
next decade he signed such artists as Mary Wells, The Supremes, Marvin
Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight and The Pips, The Commodores,
The Velvelettes, The Marvelettes, Martha & the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder,
and The Jackson 5. In 1968 following the riots in Detroit, Gordy moved
to Los Angeles, California and expanded Motown’s offices there. In June
1972 he relocated the entire Motown Records Company to LA, and the following
year he reorganized the company into Motown Industries, an entertainment
conglomerate that would include record, movie, television and publishing
Gordy sold his interests in Motown Records to MCA and Boston Ventures in June
1988 for $61 million. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two
years later and published an autobiography, To Be Loved, in 1994. Gordy has
been married and divorced several times, and has seven children: Hazel Joy,
Berry, Kennedy, Kerry, Rhonda, Stefan and Terry James. Rhonda Ross Kendrick is
the daughter of Gordy and his most successful female Motown artist, Diana Ross.
Kennedy Gordy is better known as the Motown musician Rockwell. Gordy’s daughter
Hazel was once married to Jermaine Jackson.
Paul Warfield is born in Warren, Ohio. He will become an wide receiver for the
Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins. Over his career, he will catch 427 passes
for 8,565 yards and 85 touchdowns. He will have a sensational 20.1-yard per
catch average and will be All-NFL five years. He also will be named to eight
Pro Bowls. He will be enshrined in the
Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983.
F.M. Jones patented the 2-cycle
gasoline engine. Patent #2,523,273.
Chad, Congo, and & Mauritania become autonomous members of the French World Community.
Mauritania gains independence from France.
On this day, in 1960 the expatriate American writer Richard Nathaniel Wright died in Paris at the age of fifty-two. Wright’s last fifteen years in
France were a final stop in a life of migrations. As the son of an illiterate
Mississippi sharecropper his early years were spent in poverty on the farm and
then moving city to city in the South. He lived with both parents, then only
his mother; with one uncle and then another and then a grandmother. He moved to
Chicago, expecting the North would be better; he moved to New York to edit the
Daily Worker, thinking the Communist Party was the answer. He rejected
Communism, and then America; when he left for Europe he continued to travel
throughout northern Africa and Asia, now taking the international reputation
earned from his political writing and his two best-sellers—the novel Native Son (1940), the autobiography Black Boy (1945).
date, the Downtown Athletic Club awarded the
Heisman Trophy to Ernie
Davis. He was the first African American to win the
This award is given to America’s most outstanding college football player.
Playing for Syracuse University, Davis a halfback broke ten of Jim Browns
records and was a first round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns.
Davis, nicknamed “The Elmira Express,” was stricken with leukemia, never played
a professional game and died in May of 1963.
A coup occurs in Burundi
overthrowing the monarchy. A republic is
declared as a replacement form of government.
Pam McAllister Johnson was named publisher of Gannett’s
20,000-circulation afternoon daily the Ithaca (NY) Journal on this day. Johnson
became the first Black woman to head a general circulation daily in the United
States. She held the post until 1994. In 1977, Johnson earned a doctorate in
journalism and educational psychology from the University of Wisconsin. Earlier
in her career, Johnson worked as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, then for
CBS, and later for radio stations in Madison, WI. Recently, Johnson was named
the R.M. Seaton Professional Journalism Chair at Kansas State University in
In King William’s
Town, South Africa, four people are killed, about 20 injured,
when black militant gunmen attack a country club.
Former Detroit Mayor Coleman Young died on this
day. He was 79 years old. Young became Detroit’s first Black mayor and presided
over his adopted city for an unprecedented five terms. Young died at Sinai
Hospital of respiratory failure caused by advanced emphysema.