first hospital for African Americans is founded
by whites and chartered in Savannah,
this date, we celebrate the birth of Joseph
Corbin. He was a black teacher, editor, and the highest-ranking Black
official in Arkansas Reconstruction.
From Chillicothe, Ohio and since black were excluded from
public schools, his parents educated him at fee-paying institutions in the
area. Corbin eventually earned B. A. and M. A. degrees from Ohio University.
Before the Civil War, he worked as a clerk in Cincinnati at the Bank of Ohio Valley while
editing the Cincinnati Colored Citizen newspaper. Soon after, he taught in Louisville, Kentucky.
In 1872, he came to Arkansas, worked for a brief time as a reporter for the
Little Rock Arkansas Republican, and was elected and served (1873-1874) as
superintendent of education. Corbin also taught in Missouri
in 1874 but returned to the Razorback state to become principal of Branch Normal
College (a school which
trained Black teachers) from 1875 to 1902.
Corbin was an active member of the Black Masons. After being dismissed, Joseph
C. Corbin became the principal of a Black high school in Pine Bluff. He died there in 1911.
birth of Octavia Victoria Rogers Albert is celebrated on this date. She was a black Christian teacher and writer.
She was born in Oglethorpe,
she lived in slavery until the Emancipation. Like millions of freed blacks, she
had a deep yearning for learning and, eventually, at Atlanta University, she studied to be a teacher. This steady young woman was as serious about being a stalwart Christian as she was about being a sterling teacher. While still living in Oglethorpe, she had joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which was led by the legendary Bishop Henry McNeal Turner.
Not unlike many of her contemporaries, Rogers
saw teaching as a form of worship and Christian service. Her first teaching job
was in Montezuma, Georgia. There, in 1874 she married
another teacher at this school, A.E.P. Albert, who later became an ordained
minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Soon after their marriage, the
Albert’s moved to Houma, Louisiana, where she began conducting
interviews with men and women once enslaved. These interviews were the raw
material for one of the most thought-provoking and
influential books published by a Black author prior to the Civil War and what became
her gifted collection of narratives, The House of Bondage, or Charlotte
Brooks and Others Slaves. It was was a collection of seven informal firsthand accounts of the brutality and dehumanization of slavery as
told by former slaves. Octavia Victoria Rogers Albert did not live
to see The House of Bondage reach the public.
It was shortly after her death in 1890, that the New Orleans-based Methodist
Episcopal Church newspaper the “Southwestern Christian Advocate” serialized the
work from January to December 1890.
The Knights of the Ku
Klux Klan is organized in Pulaski, Tennessee.
War segregation movement formally begins. Tennessee starts the modern segregation movement with Jim Crow railroad car laws designed to keep Blacks separate from whites as much as
possible. The Tennessee
laws centered around segregated railroad cars with “white” and “colored”
sections. Thirteen Southern and border states, Florida (1887), Mississippi
(1888), Texas (1889), Louisiana (1890), Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas and Georgia
(1891), South Carolina (1898), North Carolina (1899), Virginia (1900), Maryland
(1904), and Oklahoma (1907) immediately enacted similar laws in a bid to turn
back Black progress that had taken place during Reconstruction.
The United Order of True Reformer, an African American fraternal order, was established. It was a fraternal organization of
African-Americans founded after the Civil War and as a new period of Black
suppression known as Jim Crow was established. The True Reformers aimed to set
up independent self-help organizations for former slaves. Some groups became
prosperous business enterprises. The original mastermind was William
Methodist minister in Richmond,
this date, the exodus of 5,000 Blacks
from Edgefield County, South Carolina begins.
They become migrants, protesting exploitation and violence, finally settling in
after a week-long journey.
founding of the Black Town of
Eatonville, Florida is celebrated on this date.
Eatonville, the first incorporated black town in America possesses a rich
traditional culture and is integrally related to the African-American
traditional culture that has endured there through generations. Of the more than
one hundred black towns founded between 1865 and 1900, Eatonville is the
hometown of David Deacon Jones former professional football player and today
continues to celebrate its connection with the Zora Neal Hurston Festival;
another home girl.
The town’s population in 2000 was 2,432. Eatonville is located a few miles
north of Orlando
via I-4. Exit at Lee Road,
turn right, and follow it to Orlando
Avenue, then left to another left at Kennedy Boulevard,
the town’s main street. Artist Jules Andre Smith did a series of paintings
depicting life in Eatonville during the 1930s-1940s. Twelve of these works are
at the Maitland Art Center
this date we mark the birth of “Baby” Dodds. He was an
African-American musician, a leading early jazz percussionist, and one of the
first major jazz drummers on record.
Warren Dodds was from New Orleans, Louisiana.
At an early age he played drums in New
Orleans parade and jazz bands, and from 1918 to 1921
he played in Fatte Marable’s riverboat bands. In 1922 he went to San Francisco to join
King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band. Dodds recorded with Oliver in Chicago
the following year, and before the end of the decade, he appeared on classic
recordings with other ex-New Orleans
small-group leaders such as Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, and Baby’s
brother Johnny Dodds.
He also played in Johnny’s bands during the 1920s and ‘30s; during the 1940s
traditional jazz revival, he was active in New York City
as well as in Chicago,
including a period with Bunk Johnson’s popular band (1944-45). Poor health led
Dodds to perform only irregularly after 1949. Even when he was restrained by
the limitations of early recording technology, as in his recordings with
Oliver, Dodd’s distinctive qualities are evident to the listener. His style
incorporated an unusual range of sound colors; his percussion patterns
sometimes changed from chorus to chorus, and the offbeat punctuation he
provided for soloists and ensembles was often so active that it amounted to
While some of his later work was criticized as being mere showmanship, early
jazz performers and audiences admired him. He was popular with many bebop
drummers as well. Among his most valuable documents are two albums of
percussion demonstrations, with his own narration; 1940s recordings with the
revival bands of Bunk Johnson and George Lewis; and late 1920s recordings on
washboard, as well as on drum kit, with Johnny Dodds.
His reminiscences, The Baby Dodds Story, written with Larry Gara, were
published in 1959. He died on Valentines Day of that year in Chicago, Illinois.
Jabbo Smith was born on
Christmas Eve. He was an African-American musician.
From Pembroke, Georgia,
the son of a barber and church organist, after the death of his father Smith
moved at age four, to Savannah,
mother found it increasingly difficult to care for him and at age six he was
placed into the Jenkins Orphanage Home in Charleston.
His mother also found employment in the Home in order to be near to him. The
Jenkins Home placed heavy emphasis on music education and it was in this
setting that Smith took up trumpet and trombone at the age of eight and began
touring the country with a student band at the age of ten.
Smith left The Jenkins Home at the age of sixteen and headed north to make his
mark on music. He kept a promise to his mother never to work for less than one
hundred dollars a week. Smith found employment in a number of top bands; the
most important of which were Charlie Johnson’s Paradise Ten. This group
included arranger Benny Carter on alto and Duke Ellington. Smith played on the
1927 recording of Black and Tan Fantasy. He turned down an offer to join the
Ellington Orchestra that same year because of money.
Smith was stranded in Chicago
in 1929 while on the road with Keep Shufflin’ following the gangland killing of
Arnold Rothstein, the financier of the show. Smith then formed his Rhythm Aces,
a quintet with whom he recorded nineteen songs in 1929. These works attracted
the attention of Roy Eldridge, who adopted some of Smith’s speed into his own
playing. Toward the end of the 1930’s Smith gradually withdrew from serious
music activity. He led a group for a while at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York and gigged in a Newark, New Jersey
club called the Alcazar.
It was there that he encouraged a 17-year-old Newark
singer who sat in at the Alcazar from time to time to enter a talent show at
the Apollo Theater in Harlem. She won and got
her start. The Singer, The Divine One was Sarah Vaughn. From there Smith moved
where he married, did some local playing and enjoyed the security of a steady
job with a car rental agency. He faded away in quiet oblivion for twenty years.
Around 1960, Smith recorded two albums and in 1979 was a guest artist in the
musical One Mo’ Time.
He also made appearances at several Jazz festivals, toured Europe, and
performed at the West End Cafe, the Bottom Line, and the Village Vanguard, all
in New York.
One of his last public performances was in Berlin in 1986. Jabbo Smith died in January
of 1991 at age 82.
Irvin Charles Mollison was born in Vicksburg,
MS on this date. On November 3,
1945, he was appointed the first African American appointed to a position in
the federal judiciary that was posthumously converted into an Article III
judgeship. Judge Mollison was also the first African American to serve on the United States Customs Court.
He was appointed by President Truman.
Mollison was the son of Willis E. Mollison, one of the
pioneering African-American lawyers in Mississippi. He
attended Oberlin College
between 1916-1917 and earned his undergraduate degree in 1920 from the University of Chicago where he was a member of Phi
Beta Kappa. Three years later, Mollison earned his law degree from the University of Chicago, as well.
Judge Mollison earned admittance to the Illinois bar in 1923, and thereafter engaged
in general law practice in his father’s firm. In 1930, Judge Mollison wrote one
of the early scholarly articles on 19th century African-American
lawyers. Judge Mollison civic and legal career highlights include his term
as Secretary of Provident Hospital Board, Chicago (1942); Treasurer of the Cook
County Bar Association (1928-1930); Member of the Illinois State Bar
Association; and President of the Illinois State Conference for the Advancement
of Colored People (1938-1940). Judge Mollison was appointed by Mayor Edward J.
Kelly of Chicago for a three year term as a
Director of the Chicago Public Library (1938-1943); and in 1944, he was the
only African-American member of the Board of Education for the City of Chicago.
As an attorney, Judge Mollison was of counsel in the United
States Supreme Court case of Hansberry et al v. Lee et al, 311 U.S. 32 (1940),
which involved the validity of a restricted covenant in a title. He also served
as an attorney for Leander McCline in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh
Circuit extradition case of United States ex rel. Leander McCline v. Meyering,
75 F.2d 716 (1934).
letter to President Truman dated November 12, 1945, Judge Mollison had the
following to say regarding the significance of his appointment to the United States Customs Court:
United States Customs
201 Varick Street
New York 14
which you have bestowed is not only an honor to me as an individual but also an
important and significant recognition of the worth and usefulness of colored
I have the
honor to remain,
/s/ Irvin C.
Mollison passed the Mississippi Bar in 1887. In 1892, he was appointed a
district attorney pro tem in Vicksburg; he later became the president of Lincoln Savings Bank and owner publisher
of The National Star, an African-American newspaper. Judge Mollison died on May 5, 1962
Lee Dorsey is born in New Orleans, Louisiana.
He will become a vocalist, best known for the recording of “Working in the Coal
Count Basie makes his New York debut at the
“Mean” Joe Green is born. He
will become a football player for the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers (defensive
tackle) and win rings in Super Bowls IX, X, XIII, and XIV. He will later become
a Miami Dolphins defensive coach.
a session with the Miles Davis
All-Stars, Thelonius Monk records “Bag’s Groove,” which many will regard as his finest
Dr. Miles Vanderhurst Lynk, physician and publisher of the
Medical and Surgical Advisor, the first Black medical journal, died in Memphis, TN
on this date.
The first Black mayor of New
Orleans, LA, Ernest
Nathan “Dutch”, died on
this date at the age of 60.
Former Mississippi Democratic Congressman Alphonso Michael “Mike” Espy was appointed to serve as Secretary of the
Department of Agriculture by President-elect Bill Clinton on this day. As the
first Black Agriculture Secretary, Espy was credited with reorganizing a $65
billion agency, negotiating multilateral trade treaties to give greater access
to foreign markets for U.S.
agricultural products, and establishing the groundwork for changes in the 1995
farm law. Albert Michael Espy was born in Yazoo
City, MS, in 1953. He
received a bachelor's degree in 1975 from Howard University
and earned a law degree from the University of Santa Clara School of Law in
1978. Espy practiced in Mississippi and later
served as a Mississippi
assistant secretary of state from 1978 to 1984 and an assistant state attorney
general from 1984 to 1985. In 1987, he was elected to Congress and served until
1993 when he resigned to serve as Agriculture Secretary, a post he held until
1994. He's now a member of Butler,
Snow, O'Mara, Stevens and Cannada, the state's largest law firm, and senior
adviser for the Advisory Board for the Secretary of the U.S. Energy Department.