Charles Lenox Remond returns to
the United States after a
year and a half in Great
Britain. He had been serving as a delegate
to the world Anti-Slavery Convention in London.
He brings with him an “Address from the People of Ireland” including 60,000
signatures urging Irish-Americans to “oppose slavery by peaceful means and to
insist upon liberty for all regardless of color, creed, or country.”
The Society of
Colored People in Baltimore
is the first African American Catholic association whose documentation has been
preserved. Their notebook will begin on this date and continue until September
Frederick Augustus Douglass and Martin
Robinson Delaney began the publication of the anti-slavery
weekly “The North Star” newspaper, with financial backing received from
Douglass’ English friends. The publication began in Rochester, NY.
Douglass vowed to plead the cause of he Negro before all else. It was one of the leading abolitionist newspapers of its day.
Myrtilla Miller opened the Colored Girls School in Washington, DC on this date. Primary education and
domestic skills were taught. After the school was renamed, it merged with Wilson Teacher’s College and is now the
University of the District of
Corps, the largest all African American unit in
the history of the U.S. Army, is established by General Order #297 of the War
Department, Adjutant General’s Office. The Colored Troops of the Department of
Virginia and North Carolina
were organized into the Twenty-Fifth Corps under the command of Major General
John Swett Rock, a Massachusetts
lawyer and dentist joins the ancestors. He had become the first African
American certified to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. Chief Justice
Salmon P. Chase appointed Dr. Rock to present cases before the Supreme Court on
December 31, 1865.
Virginia constitutional convention (twenty-five Blacks and eighty Whites) met in Richmond. Because of Political and legal
complications, the Virginia
constitution was not adopted until July 6, 1869.
of ex-Confederacy president, Jefferson Davis starts, marking the first United States trial with African Americans
included in the jury.
The birth of
John Wesley Dobbs is
celebrated on this date. He was an African-American postal clerk, civic leader,
Often called the Unofficial “Mayor” of Auburn Avenue, Dobbs was born in Marietta, Georgia.
In 1897 he came to Atlanta, worked at a
drugstore, and attended Atlanta Baptist College
(Morehouse College). In 1903, Dobbs passed the US
Postal Exam to become a postal clerk and assumed a highly respected position
for a Black man at the turn of the century. Three years later he married Irene
Ophelia Thompson, together they would have six daughters.
In 1911, Dobbs was initiated into the Prince Hall Masons where within three
years he would become their Grand Warden. In 1932 he became Grand Master of the
Prince Hall Masons. Over the next thirty years Dobbs was active as a speaker
for the equality of Black America. In 1936, he spoke for 2 hours at big Bethal
AME church to awaken the political conscience of Atlanta’s 90,000 Blacks. He proposed that
night to organize the Atlanta Civic and Political League to register 10,000
voters. In 1946, he was active in the formation of the Atlanta Negro Voters
League (ANVL) This organization gathered 18,000 votes in 51 days- enough votes
to convince Mayor Hartsfield to hire 8 Black policemen.
In 1948 Dobbs and Mayor Hartsfield had the City of Atlanta Police force integrated with 8 Black
police officers. Though they were stationed in the basement of the Butler
Street YMCA they could not arrest any White citizens. John Wesley Dobbs was the
grandfather of Maynard Jackson and he died on the evening of the day the
Atlanta School System was desegregated in 1961. Twelve years after John Wesley
Dobbs passed away in 1961, his grandson, Maynard Jackson Jr., won election as Atlanta’s first Black
One of Jackson’s
last actions as mayor was to push for legislation to change the name of Houston Street to John Wesley Dobbs Avenue,
and thus pay homage to his grandfather. Houston Street was the site of the Dobbs
home, where all six Dobbs daughters grew up. The name change signified the role
that John Wesley Dobbs played in registering Black voters and nurturing Black
political power in Atlanta.
Congress (1883-85) convenes.
Only Two African Americans are included as representatives. They are James E. O’Hara of North Carolina and Robert Smalls of South Carolina.
George L. Ruffin is appointed a city judge in Boston,
The birth of
Ada Crogman Franklin is
celebrated on this date. She was an African-American instructor and administrator
in the performing arts.
From Atlanta, Georgia she was one of eight
children of Dr. and Mrs. William H. Crogman. Her father, a distinguished Black
scholar, was professor of Latin and Greek at Clark
University for 37 years and then
became the first African-American president of Clark,
serving for seven years. Mrs. Franklin, along with her two sisters and five
brothers, grew up on the Clark
Following her graduation from Clark, she entered Emerson
College in Boston majoring in dramatic art.
After graduation she was employed as a dramatics specialist with the National
Playground and Recreation Association of New York. Her job was to travel
throughout the country to find African-American talent in dramatics. She became
so interested that she chose to write and to produce a pageant depicting the
history and the contributions that African-American people have made to America. Before
she began her dramatic career, Franklin taught
at the Alabama State College and Tennessee
nationally known for her production, “Milestones of a Race,” which was
presented in cities throughout the country. She developed local casts and
trained local talent for the leading roles in the pageant. During this time she
met Chester Franklin, a native of Texas.
They were married in 1925 in Atlanta and moved
to Kansas City.
Soon she began to devote her talents to the Kansas City community in general and to the
CALL newspaper in particular. After his death in 1955, Franklin continued the tradition of her
husband whose policy was to operate a clean, family newspaper.
In 1969, the Department of Journalism presented Franklin
the Curators’ Award in Journalism at Lincoln
University in Jefferson City. In 1973, she was awarded the
“NNPA Distinguished Publishers” award. In 1982, Mrs. Franklin contributed her
father’s collection of books and paintings to Clark University.
Ada Crogman Franklin died in 1983.
On this date
we remember the birth of Laura Wheeler
Waring. She was an African-American artist.
Born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1887, Laura Wheeler Waring was the daughter of
college-educated Rev. Robert Wheeler, who had for two years been pastor of the
Talcott Street Congregational Church, home of Connecticut’s first Black
congregation. Originally called the African Religious Society, the members
built their church in 1826, and housed fugitive slaves before the end of the
Civil War. The church began operating a public school in 1829, and it was the
only place in the city where Black children could learn to read and write. They
also learned their African history at a time when most black children were not
being taught to read at all.
Flooded in that illustrious past, young Waring flourished in the exposure to
her people’s culture and history. She graduated from Hartford
High School in 1906, and spent the
next six years at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, graduating in 1914 and
getting a scholarship to study in Europe. In
1924, she studied Expressionism and the Romantics at the Academie de la Grande
Chaumiere, a popular Paris
In 1928, she was among the artists displayed in the country’s first all
African-American art exhibit held by the Harmon Foundation, which 16 years
later selected Waring to paint portraits of outstanding Americans. She is best
remembered for these portraits, many of them of notable Black people such as
W.E.B. DuBois and James Weldon Johnson, as well as the lesser known Anne
Washington Derry (shown) and a portrait called “Frankie,” also known as
“Portrait of a Child.” In a time when African-American women were a silent
force in American arts, Laura Wheeler Waring quietly set standards for dignity
in portraiture. In an era when few African-American women attended school,
Waring finished high school and college.
In an era when the few sisters who escaped to Europe often stayed there, Waring
returned to America
to start an arts department in a traditionally Black college. She made several
more trips to study in Europe, but her main focus on returning home in the late
1920s was to make art education available to Black students at the historically
Black Cheyney State Teachers College in Pennsylvania, now Cheyney University.
There, she organized and directed both music and art departments until her
death in 1948.
Educator Helen Gray Edmonds is born in Lawrenceville,
date, Ralph Alexander Gardner was born.
He was an African-American scientist who specialized in the development of hard
From Cleveland, Gardner’s parents were Vivian Hicks Gardner,
a teacher and housewife, and Clarence Chavous Gardner, a musician and
government worker. His mother earned a degree from the University of Illinois.
While in the eighth and ninth grade Gardner
realized that chemistry was his direction in life. Gardner
attended the Cleveland Public Schools, graduating from John Adams High School.
He began college at the Case School of Applied Science in 1939 but grew
disillusioned with the treatment he received there. As the only black student
in their cooperative program (designed to find work for its students), he found
it demeaning to be told that the school’s efforts to find him a job in a
hospital kitchen or as a busboy were fruitless. He transferred to the University of California
Berkley, then back home to eventually graduate from the University Of Illinois School Of Chemistry in 1943. Gardner took a research post at the University of Chicago’s
Argonne National Laboratory.
For the next four and a half years he was involved on classified plutonium
research that was known as the Manhattan
Project-the making of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan in 1945.
He worked under nuclear scientist Dr. Enrico Fermi and radioactivity scientist
Dr. Nathan Sugarman. Gardner
was one of more than a dozen black scientists who were involved in research on
the atomic project. Those black scientists known to have been involved in the
metallurgical laboratories also included Lloyd Albert Quarterman, Edward A.
Russell, Moddie Taylor, Harold Delaney, Benjamin Scott, J. Ernest Wilkins, and
Jaspar Jefferies. A second group at Columbia
George Dewitt Turner, Cecil Goldsburg White, Sydney Oliver Thompson, William
Jacob Knox, and George Warren Reid Jr. Despite his work on the atomic bomb, Gardner could not find an academic position in his field
when he left Argonne in 1947 so he worked as a
waiter until 1949.
Known throughout most of his life as “Ralph Alexander Gardner,” he added the
“Chavis” surname late in his career in recognition of his relationship to John
Chavis, the first African American to graduate from Princeton
in 1760. In 1949 he became a research chemist and project leader at the
Standard Oil Company in Ohio,
where he remained for almost twenty years. Gardner-Chavis then took a teaching
position in Cleveland
chemistry department, where he remained full-time from 1968 to 1985.
He later combined part-time teaching with work in the research lab of Molecular
Technology Corp., a private firm where he also served as the Vice President of
Research and on the board of directors. Currently, he holds emeritus status in
the CSU Chemistry Department, where he continues his research on catalysis and
molecular technology, topics on which he has published numerous scholarly
He became a pioneer chemist whose research into plastics led to the
development of so-called “hard plastics.” His innovations in the manipulation
of catalytic chemicals led to the products for the petrochemical and
pharmaceutical industries as well as plastics. Dr. Ralph
Gardner-Chavis became a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity in 1942 and AICHE
President Truman names a committee to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination
provisions in U.S.
government contracts and sub-contracts.
Wilt Chamberlain plays in his first collegiate basketball game and scores 52 points.
Edith Spurlock Sampson is sworn in as the first African American
The Spingarn Medal is presented to NAACP executive secretary Roy Wilkins for his contribution to “the advancement of the American people and the national purpose.”
Bank of Chicago is organized.
J. Raymond Jones became the first Black to chair a major Democratic group when he is
elected leader of the New York
Democratic organization (Tammany Hall).
Hosten, flight attendant and Grenada native, becomes the first African American woman to win the Miss World
celebrates the founding of The National
Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA).
That year, twelve African-American architects from different parts of the
country met during the AIA National Convention in Detroit. They saw the desperate need for an
organization dedicated to the development and advancement of minority
architects. These men were William Brown, Leroy Campbell, Wendell
Campbell, John S. Chase, D. Dodd, Kenneth
B. Groggs, Nelson Harris, Jeh Johnson, E.H.
McDowell, Robert J. Nash, Harold Williams, and Robert
Since then, NOMA has been an increasing influential voice, promoting the
quality and excellence of minority design professionals. NOMA Chapters are
on colleges and university campuses providing greater access to government
policy makers. NOMA, thrives when voluntary members contribute their time and
resources. Its mission is to continue to build a strong national organization,
strong chapters and strong members to minimize the effect of racism in their
profession. The organization builds membership one professional at a time. NOMA
is actively involved in the advancement of minority professionals, from job
placement help for college students to aiding member firms in securing
NOMA has been organized to:
Foster communications and fellowship among minority
Form a federation of existing and proposed
local minority architectural groups;
Fight Discrimination and other selection
policies being used by public and private sector clients to unfairly restrict
minority architects’ participation in design and construction;
Act as a clearing house for information and
maintain a roster on practitioners;
Promote the design and development of living,
working, and recreational environments of the highest quality; Create and
maintain relationships with other professionals and technicians whose work
affects the physical and social environment;
Encourage the establishment of coalitions of
member firms and individuals to form associate and joint venture relationships;
Speak with a common voice on public policy;
Work with local, state, and national governments on issues affecting the
physical development of neighborhoods and communities;
Be an effective source of motivation and
inspiration for minority youth.
of Southern California
running back, Charles
White, is named the Heisman Trophy winner for
1979. White, who gained a career regular season total of 5,598 yards, will play
professionally for the Los Angeles Rams.
Thomas Hearns unifies the world boxing titles in the junior middleweight division by
capturing the WBC title over Wilfredo Benitez. This is one of five weight classes that he has won a boxing title
making him the first Black to win boxing titles in five different weight
Barry Sanders wins the Heisman Trophy.
In South Africa, 11
black funeral mourners are slain in
Natal Province in an attack blamed on security forces.
“Black Art -
Ancestral Legacy: The African Impulse in African American Art” opens at the Dallas Museum of Art. United States and Caribbean artists
represented among the more than 150 works include Richmond Barthé, John Biggers, Aaron Douglas, Malvin Gray
Johnson, Sargent Johnson, and Houston Conwill.
President Clinton hosts his first
town hall meeting on America’s race relations in Akron, Ohio.