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1798
Portrait painter Joshua Johnston places an ad in the “Baltimore Intelligencer” describing himself as “a self-taught genius.” Johnston, a freeman, will paint portraits of some of the most successful merchant families in Maryland and Virginia. Only three of his subjects will be African American, among them “Portrait of an Unknown Man” and “Reverend Daniel Coker.”


1875
Carter Godwin Woodson was born on this date. He was an African-American writer, editor, journalist, educator and historian.

From a poor family in Buckingham County, Virginia, Woodson supported himself by working in the coal mines of Kentucky as a teenager and was, as a consequence unable to enroll in High School until he was 20. After graduating in less than two years, he taught high school, wrote articles, studied at home and abroad, and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1912. Woodson also studied at Berea College and the University of Chicago.

He was dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Howard University from 1919 to 1920 and at what is now West Virginia State College from 1920 to 1922.


Woodson strongly contended that Blacks had an important past and had contributed to the mainstream of civilization. As a result, he devoted his life to making “the world see the Negro as a participant rather than as a lay figure in history.” To this end, he established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. In 1921, Dr. Woodson organized and founded the Associated Publishers to make available books about Blacks, which were rarely accepted by the commercial publishers. While diligently organizing and promoting the Journal of Negro History and the Negro History Bulletin, Dr. Woodson searched for documents, collected information and compiled, edited, and wrote many books. The most popular of his books was “The Negro in Our History,” which will be used extensively in high schools throughout the United States. He also organized the first annual Negro History Week which ultimately became Black History Month. Interestingly, his efforts to popularize Black history were initially opposed by many African-American scholars of the day. They felt emphasis on Black history would alienate whites. But Woodson argued, “A people without knowledge of their history are a people without inspiration.” Among Carter G. Woodson’s many other books are The Mis-Education of the Negro Prior to 1861, History of the Negro Church, and The Rural Negro.

Dr. Woodson was the recipient of the Spingarn Medal in 1926 for his contributions to the advancements of Blacks.

Carter G. Woodson died April 3, 1950.


1886
Clementine Rubin (later Hunter) is born in Clourtierville, Louisiana. Because there were no birth certificates issued in rural Louisiana during this time, there is much controversy about her exact date of birth. Sources mention her birth in December 1886 and January 1887. The only real documentation of her earliest existence is a christening document dated March, 1887. She will become a painter in the 1930’s after spending years working on the Melrose Plantation, a haven for many rural Southern artists. Her first artistic medium will be quilt making, and her first piece will be in 1938 exhibiting the hardships of plantation life. Her first painting will be completed in 1939. In 1955, she will become the first African American artist to have a one person show at the Delgado Museum (now known as the New Orleans Museum of Art). Her folk-art style will earn her the nickname “the Black Grandma Moses.” By the time she joins the ancestors on January 1, 1988, she will be considered one of the twentieth century’s leading folk artists.


1891
Charles Randolph Uncles became the first Black Catholic priest ordained in the United States when he was ordained in Baltimore on this day. Cardinal James Gibbons ordained him at the then Cathedral of the Assumption. Uncles served as a priest for 42 years. A native of Baltimore, Uncles felt the call of priesthood early in his life and dedicated himself to acquiring an education and following the tenets of the Catholic Church. He attended Baltimore Normal School for Teachers and taught in Baltimore County public schools. He was fluent in Latin, Greek and French, and taught mainly at Epiphany College. He died on July 21, 1933.


1910
The first city ordinance requiring by law that Blacks and Whites live in separate residential areas was passed on this day. It was passed by the city council in Baltimore, MD. Similar laws were soon passed in other major cities including Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke, Greensboro, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Louisville. It would be more than 40 years later before the U.S. Supreme Court declared such laws unconstitutional.


1910
The Pittsburgh Courier was founded on this day. For years to follow, it would reign as one of the most influential Black-oriented newspapers in America.


1910
North Carolina College is founded in Durham, North Carolina.


1910
The Norfolk Journal and Guide is established under the leadership of P.B. Young Sr.


1930
James Weldon Johnson resigns as Executive Secretary of NAACP citing health reasons. This Spingarn Medalist also was a writer, diplomat, and the first Field Secretary of the NAACP.


1918
Professor Longhair was born this date. He was an African-American blues and jazz musician.

Born
Henry Roeland Byrd in Bogalusa, Louisiana, he lived in New Orleans from the age of two onward. As a child, he learned how to play on an old piano that had been left in an alley. He seriously began to master the instrument while working at a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in 1937. After a stint in the service during World War II, he returned to New Orleans and began playing at clubs like the Caledonia bar just outside the French Quarter.

It was here that he was called Professor Longhair, the “professor” part being an honorary nickname bestowed on New Orleans piano wizards. He first recorded in 1949 and scored his one and only R&B chart hit Bald Head, released on Mercury Records, a year later he was signed to Atlantic Records. As a vocalist, Professor Longhair was a classic blues shouter. As a pianist, he was a unique force of New Orleans.

It was a city whose sense of festivity he celebrated with such anthems as Tipitina (now the name of the city’s most fabled music club), Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Big Chief. Longhair remained locally popular as a working musician from the late 1940s to the early 1960s, rarely venturing off his home turf. He abandoned the music business in 1964 to work odd jobs and deal cards for a living. After languishing in obscurity Professor Longhair was rediscovered and enlisted to play at the second New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 1971.

His reappearance included tours of Europe and albums for major labels as a new generation discovered his inimitable “mambo-rumba-boogie” style. All the while he remained the patron saint of his cities Jazz-fest, closing out the final show each year until his death in 1980.

1930

The NAACP’s Spingarn Medal is awarded to Henry A. Hunt, Principal, Fort Valley High and Industrial School, Fort Valley, Georgia, for his pioneering work as an educator.


1930
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, founded at Howard University in 1913, is incorporated.


1932
On this date, Joseph L. White was born. He is an African-American teacher, mentor, administrator, clinical supervisor, writer, consultant, and practicing psychologist.

From Lincoln, Nebraska, he is the son of Dorothy Lee and Joseph L. White. His family moved to Minneapolis when he was an infant, where he attended Catholic Schools and also grew up in Pillsbury Community House programs.

White finished high school with an eye on being a waiter due to his (then) perceived roles for black men in 1950. He moved to California and lived with his aunt, the Reverend Margaret Brown. Upon meeting and listening to his Uncle Bob’s wife Betty Lee’s encouragement, he enrolled at San Francisco State University. A naturally inquisitive man he noticed where doors were open for African-Americans and where they were closed. He was determined to pursue his dream regardless of the educational barriers. By the age of 25, White had a master’s degree in psychology, had finished two years in the military, and was married.

White completed his PhD at Michigan State University and began a natural path in education to teach his chosen field and the manner in which students may find a more practical road to attaining there goals in psychology. Dr. White has held faculty and administrative appointments at California State University Long Beach and San Francisco State University.

In 1968, Dr. White crated the Educational Opportunity Program for the state of California. This endeavor chose 67 black and Hispanic youth based on potential to steer them to a college education. The success of this program spread to all 23 California State colleges and in 40 years has admitted over 300,000 students who have gone on to professional careers. Also in 1968, Dr. White created the “Black Studies” program at San Francisco State University and worked as a coordinator on the Presidential campaign of Robert Kennedy. A pioneer in Black Psychology his 1970 article “Toward a Black Psychology,” in Ebony Magazine set the tone for professional consideration on the subject.

His first wife and mother of his three children was Myrtle Escort White. His second wife and partner for over thirty years is Lois White, an elementary school teacher in Irvine, California. His three daughters are Lori, Lisa, and Lynn.

As a professor he has never forgotten his roots, thus becoming a guru of sorts during his 25 years at the University of California Irvine. In 1984, he wrote The Psychology of Blacks: An African-American Perspective, this book was reprinted in 1990 and 1999. Other books by Dr. White are The Troubled Adolescent 1989, and Black Man Emerging 1999.



1933
Cicely Tyson was born on this date. She is an African-American model and actress.

From
the Village of Harlem in New York City, Tyson grew up in a sincerely religious household in Harlem. She was the daughter of immigrants from the Caribbean island of Nevis. Discovered by a fashion editor at Ebony magazine, she quickly rose to the top of the modeling world appearing on the covers of both “Vogue” and “Harper’s Bazaar at the age of 23. In 1957 she began acting in Off-Broadway productions. She had minor roles in a few feature films before her role, as Portia in the film version of Carson McCuller’s The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968). Because she was committed to presenting only positive images of Black women, Tyson did not have steady work in film and television. Her next notable role was as Rebbecca Morgan in the popular and critically acclaimed film Sounder (1972) for which she will be named best actress by the National Society of Film Critics and receive an Academy Award nomination.

In 1974 she appeared in, perhaps her best-known role, that of the title character in the television drama, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
for which she will won two Emmys. Her performance won Tyson two Emmy Awards. Later in her career, Tyson took on supporting roles in the television miniseries Roots (1977), The Women of Brewster Place (1989) and also in the film Fried Green Tomatoes (1991). She had a starring role in Hoodlum (1997). Honored by the Congress of Racial Equality, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the National Council of Negro Women, Tyson was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1977.

In 1994 she returned to television drama as a costar in the series “Equal Justice.” Tyson’s movie resume includes Always Outnumbered, Mama Flora’s Family (1998), Aftershock: Earthquake in New York, A Lesson Before Dying (1999), Jewel (2001), and The Rosa Parks Story (2002).



1941
Maurice White is born. He will become a singer, musician (drummer) and founder of Earth, Wind & Fire. Some of his hits include “Shining Star,” “Sing a Song,”  “Got to Get You into My Life,” “After the Love Has Gone,” and “Best of My Love”.


1944
Timothy Reid is born in Norfolk, Virginia. He will become a comedian and known for his role as “Venus Flytrap” on “WKRP in Cincinnati, as well as “Frank’s Place.”


1961
Reggie White was born on this date. He was an African-American an all-pro defensive lineman and minister.

From Chattanooga Tennessee, he graduated from Howard High School winning All-State in Basketball and All-American in Football and Basketball. He was player of the Year in Chattanooga and Player of the Year in the nation with Patrick Ewing as first runner-up. White was nicknamed the “Minister of Defense” (a dual reference to his football prowess and to his Evangelical Christian ordination) was one of the American football’s most prolific defensive ends in college, the USFL and the NFL. He played football at the University of Tennessee, setting school records for most sacks in a career, season and game, records he still holds. After college, White signed on with the Memphis Showboats of the USFL, playing with them for two seasons, racking up 23.5 sacks, 192 tackles and seven forced fumbles in 34 starts.

After the USFL folded, White came to the NFL and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. He played with the Eagles for eight seasons, picking up 124 sacks and becoming the Eagles’ all-time sack leader. He also set a (then) record season best with 21 sacks in 1987. In 1993, White went to the Green Bay Packers, where he played for six more seasons. There, White notched up another 68.5 sacks, becoming the Packers’ all-time leader in that category. He also helped the Packers to two Super Bowls, as
they won the 1997 Super Bowl. He held the NFL record of 198 sacks until it was broken by Bruce Smith of the Washington Redskins in 2003. He retired from football at the end of the 1998-1999 season.

White raised controversy in 1998 when he publicly condemned homosexuality. White, an ordained minister, spoke before the Wisconsin State Assembly, saying, “We’ve allowed this sin [homosexuality] to run rampant in our nation, and because it has run rampant in our nation, our nation is in the condition it’s in today.”

He was also caught in the middle of the arson scares at predominantly African-American churches during the mid-1990s. The Inner City Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, a church where White was an associate minister, was burned to the ground in 1996. However, an outpouring of financial support, in part because of White’s celebrity, helped to rebuild the church. Following the 1998 season, White announced his retirement, but in 1999, he got the urge to play football once again and signed with the Carolina Panthers for the 2000 season. Following the season, he again retired.

It was also discovered that White was related to college football player Kevin Rollins when he arrived at one of his games. Kevin went on to play for the Miami Dolphins but broke his hand playing in Amsterdam. White had recently traveled to Israel and had begun to learn to speak Hebrew as well. He was married to Sara White and has two kids, Jeremy and Jecholia. Reggie White died of a combination of respiratory ailments, including sarcoidosis and sleep apnea, resulting in fatal cardiac arrhythmia on December 26, 2004.



1962
Nyasaland secedes from Rhodesia.


1963
On this date, Zanzibar gained its independence from Britain.

The history of Zanzibar is out of proportion with its size. Simply to mention the name Zanzibar is to conjure up an air of mystery. Sultans, ivory, slaves, spices, navigators, and explorers — words that start to tell the story of Zanzibar. These small islands have in centuries past held sway over large parts of mainland Africa and the islands of the Indian Ocean, controlling trade routes from the continental interior to the markets of Arabia, India and farther abroad.

The islands of Zanzibar have always been highly prized by empire builders, Bantu, Egyptian, Arab, Portuguese and British have all taken possession of the territory and valued it as a ‘jewel in the crown’, both for its strategic position off the East Coast of Africa, pivotal to the rich trade in slaves, ivory, ebony and gold, and because of its fresh water, fertile soils and temperate climate. It is this history above all that sets Zanzibar apart, The British kept the Sultan in position, but as the royal family bickered and squabbled amongst themselves, this became increasingly a puppet role.

As part of the British Empire, Zanzibar benefited from trade and also from a considerable amount of engineering and building works carried out in Zanzibar Town. These works included the construction of the deep water harbor and the draining of the old creek that had up until then made Stone Town an island. All the more surprising then, that when the British finally gave back Zanzibar her independence in 1963, the Sultan was re-instated as sovereign and almost all of the wealth and power was handed back to the old Arab families.

It was no surprise however that the people of Zanzibar rose up against this unfairness, a year later, in a bloody revolution, installing Sheik Abeid Amani Karume as President — the first African leader in Zanzibar for at least 500 years. By the time of its independence the economy of Zanzibar, which had been in steady decline for decades, was not very healthy. Over the next twenty years, a combination of unfortunate price collapses in the prices of cloves and copra, the two primary exports, combined with some rather naive and interventionist government policies brought the country to its knees.

Only during the 1990’s, after the government became more moderate, was the new primary industry of Zanzibar able to get started. Tourism, although relatively speaking still small scale, is by far and away the primary earner now for the country and is expected to continue, under the responsible and ecologically sound policies of President Salmin Amour. In 1963 Britain finally granted Zanzibar its independence, handing over power to the alliance government and reinstating the Sultan as constitutional monarch. Unfortunately Sultan Abdullah failed to live long enough to take power, dying in the autumn after having had both legs amputated and his son Jamshid instead took the throne.

At the same time, the coastal strip was ceded to Kenya, which obtained independence two days later.



1977
Jimmy Rogers, a bluesman who played guitar for the original Muddy Waters band and who will be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1994, joins the ancestors in Chicago at the age of 73. He succumbs to colon cancer. He recorded a string of solo hits beginning in the 1950s, including “Walking by Myself,” “Chicago Bound” and “Sloppy Drunk.” He played with Water’s Band in Chicago clubs and in the studio for about a decade. In 1996, he won the W.C. Handy award for male traditional blues artist.


1989
Police in Jacksonville, Florida, disarm a parcel bomb at the local NAACP office, the fourth in a series of mail bombs to turn up in the Deep South. One bomb kills a Savannah, Georgia, alderman, and another a federal judge in Alabama. Walter L. Moody Jr. will be convicted in both bombings.


2002
On this date, a New York judge dismissed the convictions in the “Central Park Jogger” rape case.

All four young black men and one Latino man had served years in prison for the 1989 rape and beating of a White woman jogger in Central Park, a crime that re-exposed the city’s racial tensions and made national headlines. On this date the courtroom, filled with the family and friends of the defendants, burst into cheers and applause as state Justice Charles Tejada announced his decision. His ruling surprised attorneys and came two weeks after the District Attorney Robert Morgenthau recommended dropping all the convictions in the case.

The prosecutor cited new DNA evidence that implicated a convicted rapist who has confessed to the Central Park assault though lawyers from the police detectives’ union unsuccessfully tried to block the decision. The primary evidence in the case had been the (then) children’s confessions made to detectives. Supporters of the five have said those statements were coerced. The defendants were age 14 to 16 when they were arrested for the April 19, 1989 attack. No forensic evidence linked any of them to the crime scene. In addition, there was a DNA match with serial rapist Matias Reyes, who confessed to the jogger attack earlier this year. The five, now ages 28 to 30, completed prison sentences ranging from 5 to 13 years on their convictions. Their lawyers have said they are considering lawsuits.

The jogger, a 28-year-old White investment banker, was found near death in the north end of the park. She was in a coma for 12 days but recovered. She now lives in a Connecticut suburb, works for a nonprofit organization and is expected to have a book out in 2003. Besides rape and assault convictions in connection with the incident, the five also were convicted on charges including assault, robbery, and sex abuse plus rioting stemming from allegations they attacked and harassed other people in the park that night. Four of the five children confessed on videotape. A detective testified at trial that the fifth who made incriminating admissions to him but never on videotape.

Here is a register of convictions and time served by the five defendants in the Central Park jogger case:
Antron McCray: Arrested at age 14. Convicted as a juvenile of first-degree rape and robbery. Released in 1996 after serving six years. Now 28, Kevin Richardson: Arrested at age 14. Convicted as a juvenile of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree sodomy, first-degree rape, and first-degree robbery. Released in 1997 after serving 6½ years. Now 28. Yusef Salaam: Arrested at age 14. Convicted as a juvenile of first-degree rape and robbery. Released in 1997 after serving 6½ years. Now 28. Raymond Santana: Arrested at age 14. Convicted as a juvenile of first-degree rape and robbery. Released in 1998 after serving nearly eight years. Incarcerated again in 1999 on charges of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Scheduled to be released July 26, 2003. Now 28.

The ruling could clear the way for the release of Santana, who is currently imprisoned on an unrelated drug charge. Based on his conviction in the jogger case, he was sentenced as a prior felon.
Kharey Wise: Arrested at age 16. Convicted as an adult of first-degree sexual abuse, first degree-assault, and first-degree riot. Released August 12, 2002, after serving 11½ years. Now 30.


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