A Dutch land grant
is issued to Lucas Santomee, son of Peter
Santomee, one of the first 11 Africans brought to Manhattan. Among the land granted to Santomee
and the original Africans is property in Brooklyn and Greenwich
A slave named Onesimus arrives in the home of Cotton Mather. The slave’s experience and
explanation of African inoculation will result in Mather’s encouragement of Dr. Zabdiel Boylston to inoculate for smallpox in 1721.
The first poetic
work by a Black person in America
was published on this day. The poet was Jupiter Hammon—a slave born in 1720. Hammon’s
poetic work was entitled “Salvation by Christ with Penitential Cries.”
In one of the
decisive battles of the Civil War, two brigades of African American troops help
crush one of the South’s finest armies at the Battle of Nashville. African American troops open the
battle on the first day and successfully engage the right flank of the rebel
line and play a key role in crushing one of the Confederacy’s finest armies. On
the second day Col. Charles R. Thompson’s African American brigade makes a
brilliant charge up Overton Hill. The 13th United States Colored Troops will sustain more
casualties than any other regiment involved in the battle.
date, William Augustus Hinton was born.
He was an African-American doctor (bacteriologist and pathologist), professor,
and the first black to publish an academic textbook.
Hinton was from Chicago, Illinois. He attended the University of Kansas
from 1900 to 1902 and then transferred Harvard University.
He graduated from Harvard
in 1912 and taught bacteriology and immunology there from 1921 to 1946, during
this time (1936), he wrote and published Syphilis and Its Treatment. He
was promoted to clinical professor in 1949, the first Black to hold such a
position at Harvard
Hinton was known world wide for his development of a flocculation method for
the detection of syphilis called the “Hinton Test.” The method was used by the
United States Public Health Service. He died in Massachusetts in 1959.
date, Kathryn Magnolia Johnson was born.
She was an African-American civil rights activist.
From Drake County
(a Colored Settlement) near Greenville, Ohio she attended public schools in New Paris, Ohio and
studied at Wilberforce
University from 1897-98
and 1901-02. She also studied at the University of North Dakota in 1908.
Johnson began teaching in 1898 in the Indiana
school system. In 1910 after moving to Kansas
City, she shifted her career to “race work,” Johnson
is credited by many as the first field worker for the NAACP.
In 1913 she made her living with commissions from the organization by building
branch memberships throughout the country beginning in the South and West. In
February 1915 she was given a small salary to go along with her commission.
Oddly she was let go by the organization (some say) due to her forceful
personality and insistence on all-Black leadership with the NAACP. Johnson and
Addie Hunton were two of three Black women who worked for the YMCA in France during
WWI to guard the rights of black American soldiers abroad.
After the War she undertook an exhausting nationwide campaign to circulate
black literature. She continued to teach, lecture, and agitate for civil rights
throughout her life. Kathryn Johnson died in 1955.
Julia Terry Hammonds receives a patent for the apparatus for holding yarn skeins.
One of the most
successful Black business women in African-American history, Maggie Lena Walker, died on this day at the age of 69
in Richmond, VA. In 1899, she took over the Independent
Order of St. Luke—a mutual aid society—when it was close to bankruptcy and
transformed it into one of the most powerful businesses complexes in the South
that bolstered the Black community in Richmond. The order owned a host of
businesses including a newspaper and a bank. Walker’s favorite advice to Black people was,
“Let us pool our resources and enjoy the benefits.” In he bank in Richmond, Walker
was the first Black woman to head a bank.
Spingarn Award is awarded to William Taylor Burwell Williams, Tuskegee dean and agent of the Jeanes and
Slater funds, for his achievements as an educator.
The birth of
Donald Woods is marked
on this date. He was a white South African journalist and activist.
A fifth-generation South African, he grew up the way most Whites of his
generation did, as a believer in apartheid. Wood was from Transkei in remote South Africa, he spoke English and
Xhosa. In 1950 after hearing a parliamentary debate, his conservative views
changed because of what he called “the great obscene lie of apartheid.” As a
law student, he later turned to journalism.
In the mid-1970s, he tried without success to persuade government officials to
talk to Steve Biko, a Black South African activist. Instead, security police
arrested Biko in September 1977. Biko (30 years old) was beaten unconscious and
driven naked in chains about 700 miles to the prison where he died. Woods’
outraged crusade after that death led to his being “banned” for five years,
which confined him to his home and prohibited him from writing or being in the
company of more than one other person. Shots were fired at his house. He
eventually fled with his family to London.
You may recall Woods from the 1987 film “Cry Freedom.” Directed by Richard
Attenborough, the film starred Kevin Kline as Woods and Denzel Washington as
“Black Consciousness” movement leader Steve Biko. As editor of a
30,000-circulation newspaper in coastal East
London, South Africa,
Woods’ attacks against apartheid, his country’s now-defunct system of racial
segregation, made him the nation’s most famous charismatic and controversial
Woods lived long enough to return to his homeland as an honored man after
apartheid fell. Donald Woods died in London
after a long fight with cancer on August 19, 2001. He was 67.
Cynthia Ann “Cindy” Birdsong is born in Mount Holly Township, New Jersey.
She will become a singer with Patti LaBelle and the Bluebells and Diana Ross
and the Supremes.
Lena Horne records the torch classic for Victor Records that will become her
signature song: “Stormy Weather.”
Thomas W. “Fats” Waller joins the ancestors, outside Kansas City, Missouri
at the age of 39, from pneumonia. The self-taught piano player began recording
as a teenager and became one of a small group of African American pianists to
make piano rolls for the growing player piano industry. Waller’s first solo
recording in 1926 led to his own radio show and three tours of France. Waller
was known for such popular songs as “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “I’m Gonna Sit Right
Down and Write Myself a Letter,” and “Honeysuckle Rose.” He also wrote music
for the stage and the movies, most notably “Stormy Weather.”
The San Francisco Sun-Reporter is established. Its co-founder, Thomas Fleming will be its editor and a working
journalist into his nineties.
Spingarn Medal is presented to William H. Hastie “for his distinguished career as a
jurist and as an uncompromising champion of equal justice.”
opened its entertainment doors.
One of the top venues for jazz performances in the world, it is also an
evolution in African-American musical history. Launched in New
York City as a result of the top musicians of the United States moving to New
York in the mid-to-late 1920s, Birdland has been the jazz Mecca. It was Charlie
Parker, who served as the inspiration for Birdland, their opening night on
Broadway, a few blocks west of 52nd
For the next fifteen years, the club’s survival recipe was built upon terrific
double and triple shows, beginning at 9 p.m. and sometimes lasting ‘til
sunrise. In addition to Bird, Count Basie and his big band made Birdland their New York headquarters,
eventually recording George Shearing’s “Lullaby of Birdland” live at the club.
John Coltrane’s classic Quartet regularly appeared there in the early 1960s,
and Symphony Sid Torin made a name for himself broadcasting live from the club
to radio listeners up and down the east coast. In its first five years, almost
one-and-a-half million people paid the $1.50 admission to the cabaret section
the listening bullpen to hear fabulous music and one-of-a-kind atmosphere.
Birdland’s booking history reads like a who’s who of jazz: Parker, Gillespie,
Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Coltrane, Bud Powell, Stan Getz, Lester Young,
Erroll Garner, and many, many others.
Regular patrons to the club included Gary Cooper, Marilyn Monroe, Frank
Sinatra, Joe Louis, Marlene Dietrich, Ava Gardner, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Sugar
Ray Robinson. As Rock & Roll emerged, Birdland’s affluence declined in the
60’s and its doors were closed on Broadway and 52nd in 1965. In
1986, Birdland awoke in uptown at 2745 Broadway, on the corner of 105th Street.
This uptown Birdland was triangular. The stage was in the narrow center, and as
the triangle widened, there was a bar with small tables. No musician would deny
the unique acoustics this setup produced.
In ten years, more than 2,000 emerging artists performed at the club. Now, in
the twenty-first century, the Birdland banner resides in midtown. This Birdland
offers top-flight jazz in a world class setting, good sight lines and
acoustics, elbowroom, and a menu seasoned with award winning Southern Cuisine.
Midtown Manhattan Birdland has treated customers to some of the best jazz on
It has presented musicians Michael Brecker, Pat Metheny, Roy Haynes, Lee
Konitz, Tony Williams, Mark Murphy, Diana Krall, Michel Petrucciani, John
Scofield, Kevin Mahogany, Dave Holland, and Tito Puente, as well as the big
bands of Chico O’Farrill, Toshiko Akiyoshi, and Maria Schneider and others.
Ezzard Charles knocks out Nick Barone to retain his heavyweight boxing title.
The Netherlands Antilles become a co-equal part of the
Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Donna Brazile was born on this date. She is an
African-American author, educator, and political activist and strategist
affiliated with the Democratic Party.
Brazile was born in New Orleans,
LA to Lionele and Jean Brazile,
the third of nine children. She became interested in politics when at age nine
a local candidate for office promised to build a neighborhood playground. After
graduating from Louisiana State University,
Brazile worked for several advocacy groups in Washington, D.C.,
and was instrumental in the successful campaign to make Martin Luther King,
Jr.’s birthday a federal holiday.
Brazile has worked on several presidential campaigns for Democratic candidates,
including Jimmy Carter-Walter Mondale in 1976 and 1980, Rev. Jesse Jackson’s
first historic bid for the presidency in 1984, Walter Mondale-Geraldine Ferraro
in 1984, and for U.S. Representative Richard Gephardt in the 1988 Democratic
primary. After Gephardt lost the primary in 1988, Brazile served as deputy
field director of the Michael Dukakis general election campaign.
During this time unsubstantiated rumors of an extra-marital affair involving
George H.W. Bush where reported by Brazile and she said he needed to “’fess up”
about it. The Dukakis campaign immediately disavowed her remarks and, at the
suggestion of campaign manager Susan Estrich, Brazile resigned the same day.
Estrich has recently claimed that “I fired her 16 years ago because she
wouldn’t follow Mike Dukakis’ orders to go easy on George Bush”.
In the 1990s, Brazile served as Chief of Staff and Press Secretary to
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton where she helped guide the District’s
budget and local legislation on Capitol Hill. She advised Bill Clinton’s
campaign for the presidency in 1992, and for re-election in 1996. In 2000,
Brazile was appointed campaign manager of the 2000 presidential campaign of
Vice-President Al Gore, becoming the first African-American woman ever to run a
major presidential campaign. After the post-election fight over votes in Florida, Brazile was
appointed Chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Voting Rights Institute.
She also served as a lecturer at the University
of Maryland, College
Park, a fellow at Harvard University’s Institute
of Politics, and as an Adjunct
Professor of Government at Georgetown
University. Brazile is a
weekly contributor and political commentator on CNN’s Inside Politics and
American Morning. In addition, she is a columnist for Roll Call and a
contributing writer for Ms. Magazine. In 2004, Brazile published Cooking
With Grease, her memoir of her life and work in politics.
Dr. Kenneth B. Clark, psychologist and educator, is
awarded the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal for pioneering studies that influenced the
Supreme Court decision on school desegregation.
Police use tear
gas and leashed dogs to stop a mass demonstration by fifteen hundred African
Americans in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Dave Winfield signs a ten-year contract with the
New York Yankees, for somewhere between $1.3 and $1.5 million. He will become
the wealthiest player in the history of U.S. team sports. The total package
for the outfielder is said to be worth over $22 million dollars.
The “Sonning Prize” for musical
excellence was awarded to trumpeter Miles
Davis on this date. The jazz legend was also presented with a $9,000 cash
prize during the ceremony held in Copenhagen,
Businessman J. Bruce Llewellyn and former basketball star Julius Erving become owners of Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling, the fourth-largest African American
business in the United
Clark, civil rights activists, died on St. John’s Island, SC
on this date. Her credits include the “Living Legacy Award” from President
R&B singer Rufus Thomas, know for songs
such as “Do the Funky Chicken” and “Walking the Dog,” died on this date. He was
On this date,
Strom Thurmond’s family
acknowledged a California
woman’s claim that she is his illegitimate black daughter.
This announcement came from Columbia,
SC where the former South
Carolina Senators family’s lawyer, J. Mark Taylor, said: “As J. Strom Thurmond
has passed away and cannot speak for himself, the Thurmond family acknowledges Ms. Essie Mae Washington-Williams’ claim to
her heritage. We hope this acknowledgment will bring closure for Ms. Williams.”
Williams (at that time) was a 78-year-old retired teacher living in Los Angeles. Thurmond
died in June 2003 at age 100. Williams had long been rumored to be Thurmond’s
child, though she had previously denied it. She said she waited to go public
because she didn’t want to embarrass herself or hurt Thurmond’s career. In
seven decades of politics, Thurmond gained fame and infamy as an
arch-segregationist, but he later came to support a holiday for the slain civil
rights leader Martin Luther King.
Williams claims Thurmond fathered her when he was a 22-year-old living in his
parents’ home in Edgefield. Her mother, Carrie Butler, 16, had been working as
a maid in the Thurmond’s’ home. Raised by an aunt, Williams said she first met
Thurmond around 1941, when she was 16, and Thurmond called her a “very lovely
daughter.” She told the newspaper she received money at least once a year in
sessions arranged by Thurmond’s Senate staff.