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
Carter Godwin Woodson was born on
this date. He was an African-American writer, editor, journalist, educator and
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
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
Dr. Woodson was the recipient of the
Spingarn Medal in 1926 for his contributions to the advancements of Blacks.
G. Woodson died April 3, 1950.
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
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.
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
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.
North Carolina College is founded in Durham, North
The Norfolk Journal and Guide is established
under the leadership of P.B. Young Sr.
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.
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.
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.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, founded at Howard University
in 1913, is incorporated.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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”.
Timothy Reid is born in Norfolk, Virginia.
He will become a comedian and known for his role as “Venus Flytrap” on “WKRP in
well as “Frank’s Place.”
Reggie White was born on
this date. He was an African-American an all-pro defensive lineman and
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.
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
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.
Nyasaland secedes from Rhodesia.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.