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1834
Nun, Mother Matelda Beasley was born on this date. She died in 1903.


1854
Walter F. Craig is born in Princeton, New Jersey. He will become a violinist, organizer of Craig’s Celebrated Orchestra, and, in 1886, the first African American to be admitted to the Musician’s Protective Union.


1860
South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union. Abraham Lincoln had been elected president in November and most of the Southern slave-holding states felt he would move to bring an end to slavery. Before Lincoln officially took office in March 1861, seven states had seceded. Eventually, a total of 11 mostly Southern states would take up arms in order to maintain slavery. This act began the formation of the Confederate States of America that ultimately led to the Civil War.


1862
The founding of LeMoyne-Owen College (LOC) is marked on this date. This school is one of over 100 Historical Black Colleges and Universities in America.

LeMoyne-Owen College began before the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Lucinda Humphrey, a hospital nurse at Camp Shiloh first held candlelit instructions for groups of Blacks to teach them the alphabet. In 1863, the school was moved to Memphis and in 1866 became Lincoln School. Later, Dr. Francis Julian LeMoyne of the American Missionary Association and a prominent physician gave money to the school.

For this it was renamed in his honor as the LeMoyne Normal and Commercial School. They got their present site in 1914, and were chartered by the State of Tennessee as a four-year degree granting institution in 1934. Another school (Owen College) through the Tennessee Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention opened in 1954 named in honor of the Reverend S. A. Owen, a prominent religious and civic leader. In the fall of 1968 both institutions merged, forming LeMoyne-Owen College. LOC’s campus is in South Memphis with a diverse, multi-ethnic student body from both the United States and several foreign countries.



1870
Robert H. Wood, Mississippi political leader, is elected mayor of Natchez.


1870
The founding of Allen University is celebrated on this date. Allen University is one of more than 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States.

Established by the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, Allen University is the oldest historically Black university in South Carolina. It was established by African-Americans with the express purpose of educating African-Americans. It is a Christian Liberal Arts institution of higher education and has an illustrious history.

Allen University continues the practice of promoting spiritual growth and preparing all students to become productive leaders in society.



1870
On this date, Benedict College was established. It is one of over 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in America.

Originally Benedict Institute, it was founded under the auspices of the American Baptist Home Mission Society. Mrs. Bathsheba A. Benedict of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, provided financial support, adding to a small bequest from her husband. This purchased an eighty-acre plantation near Columbia, South Carolina, for the education of recently emancipated people of African descent. Benedict set out from humble beginnings to prepare men and women to be “powers for good in society.”

During the first 25-years of its existence, Benedict’s educational program tackled the severely limited economic and social conditions of the Blacks in the South. Their original objective was to train teachers and preachers, and its first curriculum was limited to reading, writing, and arithmetic. Later it added an industrial department offering carpentry, shoe making, printing, and painting. On November 2nd 1894, they chartered as a liberal arts college by the South Carolina Legislature and the name “Benedict Institute” was changed to “Benedict College.”

The year 1930 signaled the succession of African-American presidents at the College. Through the scope and depth of its varied programs and services, the College maintains a liberal arts tradition while meeting complex societal demands. The College currently offers bachelor degree programs in twenty-five major areas of study. Benedict College is engaged in a strategic planning process for the twenty-first century. The College is currently implementing a $42 million campus improvement plan, which includes land acquisition and the completion of a comprehensive athletic complex.

The College is celebrating over 130 years of providing quality education to its students and meritorious service to this community. Over the years, more than 10,000 graduates of this institution have succeeded in all areas of human endeavor. The productive graduates are the most important part of the success story of this premier historically Black College.



1870
Jefferson F. Long of Macon, Georgia, is elected to an unexpired term in the Forty-first Congress. Georgia Democrats carry the state election with a campaign of violence and political intimidation.


1893
Paul Lawrence Dunbar publishes “Oak and Ivy.”  Unable to afford the $125 publishing costs, he accepts a loan from a white friend. The loan will be quickly repaid through book sales, often to passengers in the elevator of the Dayton, Ohio, building where he works.


1893
The first state anti-lynching statute is approved in Georgia.


1938
Mattie Alou is born in Haina, Dominican Republic. He will become a professional baseball player like his brother Felipe. They both will play for the San Francisco Giants.


1942
Robert “Bob” Hayes is born in Florida. He will become a world class sprinter for the United States, winning the Gold Medal in the 100 meter dash in the 1964 Olympic Games. He will later become a wide receiver in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys.


1956 (Note that some sources state the date as December 21)
The first major victory of the modern Civil Rights Movement is officially declared by the Black residents of Montgomery, AL. The community votes unanimously to end its 385 day bus-boycott that started shortly after Rosa Parks was arrested for disobeying a city ordinance that required Blacks give up their seats on city buses to whites. Montgomery, Alabama, removes race-based seat assignments on its city’s buses. The vote to end the boycott, however, came shortly after a U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled on November 13th the city ordinance as unconstitutional. The Alabama Bus Company losses some $750,000 during the year-long boycott.


1957
Singer Anita Baker was born on this date in Detroit, MI. She has been hailed as the voice of the 90s after working her way up the ladder during the late 70s and early 80s. The granddaughter of a minister, she had a religious upbringing which included church music and gospel singing. After vocal duties with local bands she joined the semi-professional Chapter 8 in 1979 and was the vocalist on their minor US chart hit, “I Just Wanna Be Your Girl,” the following year. Several years
later she left the band and was working in an office when she persuaded the Beverly Glen label to record and release her debut album in 1983. The Songstress brought her to wider notice and after disagreements with Beverly Glen she chose to sign with Elektra Records. Her second album was partly funded by Baker herself, who also acted as executive producer, with former Chapter 8 colleague Michael Powell assisting with writing and production. Rapture, a wonderfully mature and
emotional album, saw Baker hailed as “a female Luther Vandross” and she began to win R&B awards with “Sweet Love,” “Caught Up In The Rapture,” and “Giving You The Best That I Got.” In 1987 she appeared on the Winans’ “Ain’t No Need To Worry” and in 1990 duetted with former Shalamar singer Howard Hewlett.



1959
Trent Tucker was born on this date. He was an African-American basketball player and is an educator, administrator and community humanitarian.

From Tarboro, NC, he is the youngest of four children. Tucker started playing basketball when he was 7 years old and graduated from Northwestern H.S. in flint, MI. His family life was instrumental in the values he has adopted as an adult. His mother and father were very insistent on school work and community values. Tucker enrolled at the University of Minnesota on a basketball scholarship in 1978. His team were big 10 Conference Championship in his senior year.

Drafted sixth in the first round by the NBA in 1982, Tucker started his career with the New York Knicks and played 11 seasons as a professional ballplayer. He played in 61 playoff games and holds the Chicago “Bulls” record for most 3-pointers in one game. Tucker ranks fifth in 3-point field goal percentage in the history of the entire NBA after retiring from sports in 1993.

Tucker works as a “broadcast analyst” for the Minnesota Timberwolves and is heard on KFAN radio as well. Also since his retirement Tucker has been very active in the Minnesota communities as an educator and philanthropist. His basketball camp (named after him) has been an annual event for nearly twenty years in Minneapolis as a way to serve his community.

In 1998 he started his own non-profit dedicated to empowering youth to make positive choices, increase self-respect, and develop a vision for the future. His Youth Program is an after-school program work with students in grades six to eight, utilizing corporate facilities. Students in the program meet twice weekly during the school year and go on monthly field trips. These students will remain in the program through grade eight. At-risk youth come from the inner city and the suburbs as well.

Tucker is sensitive to youth growing up in communities that do not provide opportunities to develop a vision for their future are extremely vulnerable. He believes that because of this, many youth are failing in school, becoming involved in negative activities, and, if not given opportunities to succeed, will give up hope for the future. The Trent Tucker Non-profit is making a difference in the lives of countless young people.

In 2005, he finished his degree at the University of Minnesota. In 2007, Tucker joined the University of Minnesota as a Community Outreach and Youth Development Coordinator.



1972
The founding of The National Council of Black Mayors (NCBM) is celebrated on this date.

Headquartered in Georgia, NCBM’s mission is to enhance the executive management capacity of its members for the purpose of governing viable municipalities. Following enactment of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965, the number of African-Americans elected to public office increased substantially, with the most dramatic gains coming in the South at the mayoral level. In 1972, thirteen recently elected black mayors met in Fayette, MS to discuss developing programs to benefit their respective municipalities.

A year later, a second meeting of 15 Black mayors was held in Tuskegee, AL leading to the creation of a new organization, the Southern Conference of Black Mayors (SCBM). In 1974, 20 Black mayors gathered in Santee, South Carolina and voted to officially incorporate SCBM, hiring its first executive director and opening a headquarters office later that same year. By the occasion of its first annual convention in 1975 in Grambling, Louisiana, SCBM had secured funding, conducted several economic development and water system studies, and developed an extensive technical assistance program.

In 1976, at the second annual convention in Atlanta, the mayors voted to expand the organization’s scope, changing the name to the National Conference of Black Mayors, Inc. That same year, NCBM presented a series of municipal management clinics in communities, and produced a many proposals and grant applications that generated millions in federal funding for badly needed public works projects across the south. Since that time, NCBM, in partnership with a number of federal agencies, has offered technical help and training in a number of areas including housing, community development, water and wastewater system development, employment training, energy management, and rural transportation. The organization has also networked effectively with other organizations such as the National Association of Black County Officials, the Conference of Minority Public Administrators, the U. S. Conference of Mayors, and others in responding to national issues.

Since 1980 the NCBM has helped promote international exchange, taking delegations of mayors to China, Taiwan, Senegal, the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Japan, and several other foreign countries. Finally, NCBM has been active as an advocate for the African-American community at-large in matters of health, social policy, economic development, and political empowerment.



1981
“Dreamgirls” opens on Broadway at the Imperial Theater. The musical, which chronicles the rise of a black female group in the 1960’s, star Jennifer Holliday, Ben Harney, and Cleavant Derricks.  Holliday, Derricks and choreographer Michael Peters will earn Tony awards for their work in the musical.


1983
Julius Erving (Dr. J) scores his 25,000th career point, becoming the ninth professional basketball player to achieve this mark.


1986
The Howard Beach Incident occurred on this date. This was a murder of a black man by a small white mob in New York.

Michael Griffith, a 23-year-old African-American, and two of his black friends, Cedric Sandiford and Timothy Grimes had their car break down near a local pizza parlor in Howard Beach, NY. They walked into New Park Pizza asked to use a phone, but were refused. They then sat down to eat a slice of pizza. A few moments later, two police officers walked into New Park Pizza, answering a call of “three suspicious Black males.” The two cops left when they realized the call was unwarranted.

A group of white men spotted and harassed Michael and his friends yelling “There’s niggers at the pizza parlor. Let’s get them.” The white men were John Lester, Scott Kern, and Jason Ladone. The black men left the pizza parlor and walked up the street, where a gang of white men were waiting for them with baseball bats and tree limbs. They beat Griffith and Sandiford, but Grimes pulled a knife on the angry white men and got away unharmed. Sandiford was knocked unconscious and Griffith was severely beaten.

Griffith then dove through a hole in an adjacent fence and he staggered onto a parkway, trying to escape the attackers. As he was attempting to get across the street and flee from the attackers he was struck and instantly killed by an automobile on the Belt Parkway. The Howard Beach incident set off a wave of protests and racial tensions in New York.



1988
Max Robinson, the first African American network TV anchor (actually co-anchor) of ABC’s World New Tonight, joins the ancestors from complications of AIDS in Washington DC at the age of 49. He co-anchored the newscast from 1978 to 1983.


1997
Robert Duncanson, painter, suffered a severe mental breakdown and ended his life on this day in the Michigan State Retreat in Detroit.


1998
Nigerian American Nkem Chukwu gives birth in Houston, Texas to five girls and two boys, 12 days after giving birth to another child, a girl. The tiniest of the babies will succumb a week later.


2002
On this date, Trent Lott (White Republican senator from Mississippi) resigned his position as Senate majority leader.

Lott’s tumble followed a tribute that he gave earlier in the month at Senator Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party. The Mississippian at the time hailed the respected South Carolinian and said he thought the nation would have been better off if Thurmond had won his campaign for the presidency in 1948. Thurmond ran as a Dixiecrat at the time, on a segregationist platform. At the Thurmond birthday party, Lott said: “I want to say this about my state. When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years either.”

The remarks drew immediate criticism from Black leaders and Democrats. They were quickly joined by conservatives worried that the comments would create a distracting publicity that would harm the White House’s and GOP’s efforts to advance their legislative agenda. Lott initially attempted to stomp out the controversy with a short press release and telephone interviews on radio and television; it began to spin out of control after President Bush issued a forceful denunciation of his remarks two weeks later.

Then, after his colleagues openly began lining up against him, he bowed to the political pressure and the Bush White House. Lott, 61, has been the Senate GOP leader since 1996, when Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., left the Senate to devote full time to his unsuccessful presidential bid.


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