This date marks the
commemoration of the song “The Yellow Rose of Texas.” On this date annually, the Knights of the
Yellow Rose of Texas at San Jacinto TX celebrate the song and its history.
Narrations inevitably ask question about all topics; in this case who was
Yellow Rose? Records say the song's original title was "Emily, the Maid of
Morgan's Point." And the story begins in 1830. That year, James Morgan, an
entrepreneur and slave owner from Philadelphia immigrated to Texas. He came to
capitalize on the cheap land and business opportunities in the Mexican colony
which would ultimately become Texas. He formed several partnerships with New
York speculators yet Texas did not permit slavery so Morgan got around the law
by converting his slaves into 99-year indentured servants. Morgan returned to
New York in 1835 for more workers for his settlement.
One of them was a twenty year old woman named Emily D. West, an eastern slave with extraordinary
intelligence and sophistication. West was mulatto and possibly from Bermuda
and, as was the custom for an indentured worker at the time, she changed her
last name to that of Morgan's. By the following year in 1836, the war for
Texas' independence from Mexico was in full swing. Morgan's now successful
settlement, New Washington, was located near the mouth of the San Jacinto
River. He freely gave his provisions to the Texas cause. One parcel of land
named Morgan's Point ran into San Jacinto Bay where flatboats were loaded with
supplies; Emily West Morgan was in charge of loading those flatboats. On April
18, 1836, General Santa Anna approached New Washington now mostly deserted.
On this date, in
Scotland, Frederick Douglass urged Christians to distance themselves from American
The ship Azor left Charleston, SC, on this date, on its
first trip, carrying 209 African Americans bound for Liberia. This ship was connected to
the Liberian Exodus Joint Steamship Company that ultimately failed due to lack
The first African
American municipal architect “Cap” Wigington was born Clarence
Westley Wigington on this date in Kansas City, MO and raised in Omaha, NE.
He had a talent for drawing at an early age and won first prize at the
Trans-Mississippi Worlds Fair in 1899. The first job in his career was as an
intern at a prestigious Omaha architectural firm. After six years, in 1908 he
had his first commission; a factory in Sheridan, Wyoming. Municipal Architects
generally don’t enjoy the same level of recognition as their peers in private
Their projects are designed to serve basic needs such as education, tangible
storage, or transportation. Wigington, moved to St. Paul, MN in 1913 and two
years later, after a record score on an entrance exam he was hired by that city
as one of their architects. For the next 34 years, he designed numerous
buildings and facilities. Many are Minnesota Historical Landmarks including the
Highland Park Water Tower and the Roy Wilkins Auditorium. “Cap” Wigington died
African American Longshoremen went on strike, on this
date, for higher wages in St. Louis, MI.
The Spanish-American War, a war between Spain and the U.S. over the
independence of Cuba from, was declared on this date. The U.S. aided Cuban
independence from Spain. Volunteer African American army units, including the 3rd Alabama, 3rd North Carolina, 6th Virginia, 9th Ohio, 9th Illinois, 23rd Kansas,
and 10th Cavalry
regiments, some units with African American officers, took part in the
Spanish-American War on Cuban soil. Members of the 9th and 10th further proved
their military abilities in guarding the Mexican border.
Members of the regiments participated in the battle at San Juan Hill in eastern
Cuba, near the city of Santiago de Cuba. It was the scene (July, 1898) where
Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders took part. The 10th also
served under General John J. Pershing in the expedition against Mexican
revolutionary Pancho Villa.
Some of these veterans, upon return to the United States, were treated with
parades and speeches and, in some cities, others were assaulted and even
Cuba became independent in 1902.
Dumarsais Estimé was born on this date in Verrettes, Artibonite,
Haiti. He became president of Haiti in 1946 and was regarded as a progressive
leader and statesman. He died in New York City in 1953.
On this date, Mary Thelma Morrison
(Washington) was born in Vicksburg, MS to Daisy and William
Morrison, a carpenter, who boasted to friends that his young daughter could
read the entire newspaper. Washington became the first African-American woman
to be a certified public accountant and the head of one of the largest
black-owned accounting firms in the nation.
Ms. Washington began her career after high school in the 1920’s at Binga State
Bank, one of the nation’s largest black-owned banks.
She worked at the bank as an assistant to the cashier and vice president,
When virtually no white C.P.A.’s would hire blacks, Mr. Wilson provided Ms.
Washington with the requisite experience, according to an account written by
Theresa A. Hammond, who is the chairman of the accounting department at the
Carroll School of Management at Boston College.
A study by the National Association of Black Accountants found that in
1943 Ms. Washington became the first black woman to become a C.P.A. and
the 13th black C.P.A. in the country, Dr. Hammond said.
With Mr. Pittman and Lester McKeever, she founded Washington, Pittman &
McKeever in 1968, still one of the largest black C.P.A. firms. She retired from
the firm in 1985 at age 79.
Mary T. Washington died on July 2, 2005 at a nursing home in Chicago. She was
Although some say 1910 (according to the African American Registry and
others), the National Urban League
(NUL) was founded on this date. The National Urban League is a nonprofit
social service and civil rights organization with headquarters in New York
The National Urban League grew out of the 19th century Black Migrations. When
the U.S. Supreme Court declared its approval of segregation in the 1896 Plessy
v. Ferguson, what had been a trickle of African-Americans northward turned into
a flood. At that time, in the degree of difference between South and North lay
opportunity that African-Americans clearly understood. But to capitalize on
that opportunity, they would need help. That was the reason the Committee on
Urban Conditions Among Negroes was established on September 29, 1910 in New
A year later, the Committee merged with the Committee for the Improvement of
Industrial Conditions Among Negroes in New York (founded in New York in 1906),
and the National League for the Protection of Colored Women (founded in 1905)
to form the National League on Urban Conditions Among Negroes. In 1920, the
name was later shortened to the National Urban League. The mission of the
National Urban League is to assist African-Americans in achieving social and
economic equality. The NUL has used tools of scientific social work to offer
programs to help African-Americans. The organization implements its mission
through advocacy and public education regarding public policies that affect
African-Americans; efforts to promote understanding between races; publication
of research into the conditions of African-Americans; programs in job training,
education, and career development; and technical assistance to affiliates.
At its beginning, the NUL formed its social services on white charitable
organizations of the times such as settlement houses, agencies, and immigrant
aid societies; adapting them to the needs of Blacks. Adjustments were made
during the Great Migration to the north, the Great Depression, and the Civil
Rights Movement. The organization has 113 affiliates in 34 states and
Washington, D.C. The current President of the National Urban League is Hugh B.
Sara Martin began her career as a vaudeville singer around
1915 in Illinois. In 1922 she was signed to a recording contract with Okeh
Records by Clarence Williams. Williams wrote and played piano on a number of
Martin’s early records. Sarah Martin was said to have excelled as a live performer
and was a star on the TOBA circuit in the early 1920s. She had a deep,
full-bodied voice that compared favorably with Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey but
lacked the emotional punch of those two singers. She often sounded a bit
wooden, like she was reading the lyrics on her records, although her diction
She was on tour with W.C. Handy's
Orchestra when these recordings where made.
On this date in New York, NY, accompanied by W.C. Handy's Orchestra, she
recorded “Come Home Papa Blues,”
“It Takes A Long Time To Get
'Em But You Can Lose Them Overnight,” and “Laughin' Cryin' Blues” for
In addition to Martin on vocals, members of the orchestra possibly were
Sylvester Bevard on trombone, Tick Gray on cornet, Charlie Hillman on piano,
and unknown on alto and tenor saxophone, banjo, and drums.
Gospel singer and composer Clara Ward
was born on this date in Philadelphia, PA.
She began her singing and piano career at the age of six. In 1934 she was an
accompanist for the Ward Trio, a family group that included her mother,
Gertrude and her sister Willa. The group received national attention in 1943
when it sang at the National Baptist Convention. Afterwards they toured
throughout the country.
In 1948 the group began a fifteen-year career with W. Herbert Brewster. During
that time they produced “Surely God Is Able” and “I’m Climbing Higher and
Higher.” This song made them one of the most popular female gospel groups of
their time. Clara Ward was highly regarded for her ability to convey drama in
slow gospel ballads and non-metrical hymns such as “When I’ve Done the Best I
Can.” Later Ward built on her style by inserting techniques such as shrieks and
growls, moving towards what is known as “hard” gospel. Her best example of this
was the 1957 song “Packin’ Up.”
During the 1960’s Ward turned increasingly to secular music, even though her
gospel music had attracted a wide audience. This change cost her dearly in
popularity with her gospel following. In 1963 she performed in the first gospel
musical written by Langston Hughes, entitled “Tambourines to Glory.” She made
several successful tours in major U.S. settings including the Newport Jazz
Festival. Clara Ward died on January 16, 1973 at the age of 49.
George Washington Murray, congressman from South Carolina, was believed to have died in
Chicago, IL on this date.
After the breakup of King Oliver’s great Creole Jazz Band, Oliver rebounded
with the Dixie Syncopators after a brief stint with the Dave Peyton Orchestra at the
On this date in Chicago, IL, the band recorded “Deep Henderson” for Vocalion and Brunswick Records.
Members of the band variously were Ed Anderson, Bob Shoffner, and King Oliver
(who was also a band leader) on cornet, James Archey, Ed Cuffee, J.C.
Higginbotham, and Kid Ory on trombone, Paul Barbarin on drums, Paul Barnes on
soprano and alto saxophones, Barney Bigard on clarinet and soprano and tenor
saxophone, Albert Nicholas and Billy Paige on clarinet and soprano and alto
saxophones, Lawson Buford, Bert Cobb, Bass Moore, and Cyrus St. Clair on tuba,
Johnny Dodds and Darnell Howard on clarinet, Ernest Elliot on clarinet and alto
saxophone, Stump Evans on soprano saxophone, Arville Harris and Benny Waters on
clarinet and tenor and alto Saxophones, Leroy Harris, Will Johnson, and Bud
Scott on banjo, Teddy Hill on tenor saxophone, Charlie Holmes on clarinet and
alto and soprano saxophones, Willie Jackson, Richard M. Jones, Andy Pendleton,
and Georgia Taylor on vocals, Louis Metcalf on trumpet, Luis Rusell, Leroy
Tibbs, and Clarence Williams (also on vocals) on piano, Omer Simeon on clarinet
and soprano saxophone, and Johnny St. Cyr on banjo and guitar.
Perry Bradford was a
singer, songwriter, pianist and vaudeville and minstrel performer who forever
changed the sound of American popular music by convincing Okeh Records to
release the first Blues record in 1920. Bradford was sure that there was a
market for African-American music aimed at African-American consumers. He had a
hard time convincing the record companies in New York of this, but he kept at
it and managed to get Okeh records interested in the idea in 1920.
On this date in New York, NY, Perry Bradford and His Gang recorded “Just Met a Friend from My
Home Town” and “So's Your
Old Man” for Columbia Records.
Members of the band were Gus Aiken and Bubber Miley on cornet, Perry Bradford
on vocals, Gus Horsley on banjo, James P. Johnson and Leroy Tibbs on piano, and
Unknown on clarinet, alto saxophone, drums, and trombone.
Johnny Dodds was
one of the greatest clarinetist of the 1920’s. Although both Jimmie Noone and
Sidney Bechet had better technique, Dodds had a very soulful, bluesy style of
playing that was often emotionally powerful. He was a master of the New
Orleans’ ensemble style of collective improvisation. He didn’t have the flash
of Louis Armstrong, but often provided the perfect environment for Armstrong to
shine. He worked with most of the major Hot Jazz bands of the era. Dodds was in
Kid Ory’s band in New Orleans from 1912 to 1919. He played on riverboats with
Fate Marable in 1917 and moved to Chicago in 1921 to play with King Oliver.
Johnny and his brother Baby Dodds were an important part of Louis Armstrong’s
classic Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings for Okeh. During the 1920’s he also
recorded with Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, Jelly Roll Morton and on most of Lil
Hardin-Armstrong’s sessions. Unlike many of his famous contemporaries, Dodds
and his brother stayed in Chicago and were pretty much forgotten as Jazz moved
East to New York in the Thirties. He recorded several records under his own
name in the Twenties, often with Natty Dominique on trumpet, and worked
regularly at Kelly’s Stables from 1924 to 1930. Dodds continued to play and
record in Chicago throughout the Thirties, and also ran a cab company with his
On this date in Chicago, IL, he recorded “Clarinet Wobble,” “Oh! Lizzie (A Lover’s Lament),” “San,” and “The New St. Louis Blues” for Brunswick Records.
He was accompanied by Bud Scott on guitar and Lil Hardin-Armstrong on piano.
Victoria Spivey got her start in music at age twelve when she began playing
piano in a movie theatre in Houston, Texas. From there she expanded her musical
career to playing in saloons and whorehouses. She was a big fan of the Blues
singer Ida Cox and modeled her own career after Cox’s. In 1926 at the age of
twenty she travelled to St. Louis where Okeh records was on a field trip
looking for new acts to record. She recorded her own songs Black Snake Blues
and Dirty Woman Blues which became a best selling record. Over the next two
years she was quite a hot item and recorded records almost once a month, often
with the accompaniment of great Jazz musicians like Lonnie Johnson, Louis
Armstrong, King Oliver, Clarence Williams, Luis Russell and many others,
including her sister Addie “Sweet Pease” Spivey.
On this date in New York, NY, she recorded “Dreaming ‘Bout My Man” for Victor Records.
Noble Sissle was
one of the nation’s premier composers and bandleaders, particularly in the
early days of American popular song and theater. Sissle led several bands and
visited Europe often; his traveling ways led to a split with Eubie Blake, who
preferred staying in America.
On this date in London, England, Noble Sissle and his Orchestra recorded “Basement Blues (Low-Downer
Than Any Low-Down Blues),” “Roll On,
Mississippi, Roll On,” and
“Wha’d Ya Do To Me?” for Brunswick Records.
Members of his orchestra variously were Buster Bailey and/or Ralph Duquesne on
clarinet and alto and tenor saxophones, Billy Banks and/or Lena Horne on
vocals, Sidney Bechet, Chauncey Haughton, and/or Rudy Jackson on clarinet and
alto saxophone, Clarence Brereton, Wendell Culley, Demas Dean, and/or Tommy
Ladnier on trumpet, Harry Brooks, Erskine Butterfield, and/or Lloyd Pinckney on
piano, Chester Burrill on trombone, Jack Carter and/or Wilbert Kirk on drums,
Henry Edwards on bass brass, Warren Harris on banjo, Jimmy Jones on bass, Oscar
Madera, William Rosemand, and/or Juice Wilson on violin, Jimmy Miller on
guitar, Jerome Pasqaull, Ramon Usera, and/or Gil White on tenor saxophone, and,
finally, Noble Sissle as singer and band leader.
Future Congressman and
civil rights activist Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. led a demonstration at City Hall on this date
in New York City. Powell became a U.S. Congressman representing Harlem, New
York in 1945. Powell’s demonstration urged for more doctors and better health
services in Harlem.
Benjamin Mzimkulu (Ben) Macala was born on this date in Bloemfontein, Orange Free State (now
Free State). As a young boy he tended cattle on a farm in the Free State and
drew on rocks with stones. He was largely self-taught, although he studied for
a few months under Cecil Skotnes at Jubilee Art Centre in 1964. He was also
guided by Ephraim Ngatane in the mid 1960s, and was a pupil of Bill Ainslie for
a short time. He held thirteen exhibitions from 1967-1985 in South Africa,
Europe and the US.
Macala’s chosen technique was pastel on paper, and his work has come to be
recognized by this medium. He has used other media from time to time. His subject matter of Picasso-like portraits
with huge black eyes is easily identifiable in almost all his works.
Macala was also a practicing Sangoma (traditional healer). He died in 1997.
The Harlem Suitcase Theatre
opened on this date with Langston Hughes’s play “Don’t You Want to be Free?” The
play’s star is a young Robert Earl Jones, father of James Earl Jones.
Chicago blues guitarist, singer and songwriter Eddie King was born Edward Lewis Davis Milton in
Talladega, AL on this date. Living Blues magazine stated that "King is a
potent singer and player with a raw, gospel-tinged voice and an aggressive,
thick-toned guitar sound." He was noted as creating a
"straightforward style, after Freddie King and Little Milton."
King died in Peoria, IL on March 14, 2012, at the age of 73. In October 2012,
the Killer Blues Headstone Project, a nonprofit organization, placed a
headstone on King's unmarked grave at the Lutheran Cemetery in Peoria.
Souleymane Cissé was born on this date in Bamako, Mali. He
became a filmmaker, graduating from the State Institute of Cinema in Moscow in
1969. He became one of the most popular filmmakers in Africa.
James Napier, lawyer, politician, banker, civic leader, and
President of the National Negro Business League, died in Nashville, TN on this
date. Napier organized the Citizen’s Bank, the first Black-owned bank in
Soul singer deeply rooted in gospel and doo wop whose career emerged in
1950s and was revived carrier in the late 1980s was short-lived, Bobby McClure was born on this date in
Chicago, IL. He died on November 13, 1992 of aneurysm in Los Angeles, CA at the
age of 50.
Overturning Erskine Hawkins and His Orchestra with "Tippin'
In," Louis Jordan
went on No. 1 with "Mop! Mop!"
on US R&B chart for one week.
Pedro Albizu Campos died on this date at the age of 71 in San Juan,
Puerto Rico. Campos was a Puerto Rican of African descent who advocated Puerto
Rico’s independence and condemned United States imperialism and the 1898
invasion and occupation of Puerto Rico. Some Puerto Ricans refer to him as “Don
Pedro,” and one of the fathers of Puerto Rican national identity.
On this date on the steps of the White House, President Lyndon B.
Johnson posthumously awarded Private First Class
Milton Lee Olive, III of Company B of the 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam with the Medal of Honor to his father and stepmother. With this, he became the first African American to win the medal for bravery during the Vietnam War
On October 22, 1965, while moving through the jungle with four fellow soldiers
in Phu Cuong, Olive sacrificed his life by smothering an enemy-thrown grenade
with his body.
Also in attendance were two of the four men whose lives were saved by Olive's
His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie visited Kingston, Jamaica,
where he was revered by the Rastafarians, who believe he is the only true God.
This date has since become a holy day for Rastafarians known as Grounation Day.
A state of emergency was declared in Trinidad in response to the Black Power Revolution. Fifteen “Black Power” leaders
"A virtuoso among guitar players," influential Chicago Blues
guitarist, Earl Hooker
died on this date from complications due to tuberculosis in Chicago, IL. Born
on January 15, 1929 in Quitman County, MS, he was 41.
Haitian president Francois Duvalier,
known as “Papa Doc,” died in Port-au-Prince, Haiti at the age of 64 after 14
years in power. He had been president-for-life of Haiti from 1957 to 1971. He
was succeeded in power by his son, Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier.
Blues and vaudeville keyboard player, Tiny Crump died on this date in San Francisco, CA. Born
Jesse Crump in Paris, TX on January 15, 1897, he was 77. He was husband of
Blues singer Ida Cox.
By winning the Monsanto Open in Pensacola, Florida, Lee Elder became the first African
American professional golfer to qualify for the Masters Tournament. It was one
of four PGA tour victories for the Dallas, Texas, native, including the Houston
Open in 1976 and the Greater Milwaukee Open and Westchester Classic in 1978.
Elder’s career earnings of $2 million placed him among the top three African
American golfers, along with Calvin Peete ($2.3 million and 12 PGA tournament
victories) and Charlie Sifford ($1 million).
Singer who performed with Blues and jazz musicians, Blanche Thomas died on this date in her
hometown of New Orleans, LA. Born on October 16, 1922, she was 54.
The Coloured schools' boycott was joined by pupils at a
number of Indian schools in Pretoria and Natal. Black Consciousness groups also
pledge support. It was widely observed by approximately 100,000 students from
seventy schools for three weeks.
NFL football player Carnell Williams
was born on this date in Gadsden, AL. Carnell Lamar "Cadillac"
Williams is a running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A Group Areas Amendment Bill, introduced on March 7,
1982 and enacted on this date maintained the existing commitment to the
principle of separate residential areas, schools and amenities for different
races, but excluded sports venues from its provisions. It is assumed that this
step was taken in an effort to ease restrictions on participation of South
African sportsmen in international games.
In the greatest extra-inning comeback in major league history,
Pittsburgh scores six in the bottom of the 11th inning to erase a five-run Cubs
lead built in the top of the inning on Andre Dawson's grand slam. The Pirates had rallied
earlier from a 7-2 deficit to tie the game in the ninth.
First reports of Rwandan genocide
are starting to appear. The International Red
Cross estimated that tens, perhaps
hundreds of thousands of Rwandans had been killed.
In the Metrodome, Cleveland Indians switch-hitting DH Eddie Murray hit home runs from both
sides of the plate in the Cleveland Indians' 10-6 win over the Minnesota Twins.
“Steady Eddie” has gone deep batting both left-handed and right-handed in the
same game eleven times, breaking the previous record established by Yankee
legend Mickey Mantle in 1964. The two homers also move Murray past Dave Kingman
into 20th place on the all-time list with 444.
Rebels in a military complex in Monrovia, Liberia,
released more foreigners while African peacekeeping troops fanned out in the
capital to police a truce.
Kenya’s Lamuck Aguta
won the 101st Boston Marathon.
Black Top released “Blues After Sunset,”
an album by Henry Butler,
nominated for 1999 W.C. Handy Blues Awards in Acoustic Blues Album of the Year
Red House Records released “You Don't Know My
Mind,” an album by Guy Davis,
nominated for 1999 W.C. Handy Blues Awards in Acoustic Blues Album of the Year
and Traditional Blues Album of the Year categories.
Song stylist Nina Simone,
“High Priestess of Soul,” died in Bouches-du-Rhône (South of France) at the age
of 70. As she wished, her ashes will be spread in different African countries.
She gained fame in the 1960s for her civil rights songs.
The former African National Congress (ANC) Gauteng provincial secretary
and South African high commissioner to Uganda, Bavumile Vilakazi, died on this date of a heart attack in
Kampala. He was on his way back from the airport to fetch Deputy President
Jacob Zuma. Vilakazi was the first mayor of the Ekurhuleni Metro on the East
Rand before he was posted to Uganda. He was tried in the United Democratic Front
(UDF) 1985 Delmas treason trial, which also included former Premier of North
West Province Popo Molefe and current minister of Defence Mosiuoa Lekota.
Eric Burdon and War
were reunited for the first time in 37 years to perform a concert at the Royal
Albert Hall in London.
Raisin Music released “Chicago Blues: A
Living History,” a 2009 Grammy nominated compilation album of
Chicago Blues by Billy Boy Arnold, Lurrie Bell, Billy Branch, and John Primer in Best Traditional Blues
Legendary singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and actor Prince Rogers Nelson died on this date at his
Paisley Park recording studio and home in Chanhassen, MN near Minneapolis after
suffering flu-like symptoms for about two weeks prior to his death.
Prince had postponed two performances from his “Piano & A Microphone Tour”
on April 7, 2016, at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, stating that he was
"battling the flu." On April 15, the artist's private jet was forced
to land in Illinois so that he could seek medical treatment for influenza-like
symptoms, after performing the rescheduled Atlanta concert the day before. He
was seen in public the following evening in Minneapolis, when he stopped at the
Electric Fetus on Record Store Day, and made a brief appearance at a dance
party at his Paisley Park Records recording studio complex in Chanhassen,
Minnesota, stating that he was feeling okay. He died on this date at 10:05 am,
having been found unresponsive in an elevator that morning at his Paisley Park
Prince was renowned as an innovator and was widely known for his eclectic work,
flamboyant stage presence, and wide vocal range. He was widely regarded as the
pioneer of Minneapolis sound. His music integrated a wide variety of styles,
including funk, rock, R&B, soul, hip hop, disco, psychedelia, jazz, and
Born on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, MN, he was 57.