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Gifted spiritual leader and the reluctant Bishop of Hippo, St. Aurelius Augustine, was born in North Africa in 354 AD to a pagan father and devout Christian mother, was baptized on this date (Easter) at the age of 32. St. Augustine died on August 28, 430.

The Sultan of Morocco launched his successful attack to capture Timbuktu. Timbuktu fell to the sultan’s forces and subsequently became part of the Moroccan Empire, resulting in the end of the Songhay Empire.

Black abolitionist whose zeal for Black equality and humanity led him to sue America for his freedom, Dred Scott was born a slave on this date in Virginia as property of the Peter Blow family. His unsuccessful legal recording was in the famous lawsuit Dred Scott v. Sandford which bears his name. He died from tuberculosis on September 17, 1858. He was buried in Calvary Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri.

The African Company, an All-Black theater group, performs Shakespeare in New York City.

Monrovia, the capital of Liberia as well as its largest city, was founded on this date by members of the American Colonization Society (ACS), an organization created to return U.S.-born former slaves to Africa. It is located on Bushrod Island and Cape Mesurado along the Mesurado River.

ACS representatives first arrived on the Mesurado River in 1821. The original name of Monrovia was Christopolis. In 1824 it was renamed “Monrovia” after James Monroe, who was the American President at the time as well as a supporter of the American Colonization Society. The indigenous populations of the areas surrounding Monrovia felt that the city was built on stolen land and began attacking it as early as 1822. Those attacks continued sporadically until the mid-nineteenth century.

On this date, the Mexican American War, also known as the Mexican War began.

This military conflict was primarily motivated by the business interest of expanding Slavery in America. Despite the 1836 Texas Revolution, from 1846 to 1848 in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas, which Mexico considered part of its territory. The first major battle of the Mexican-American War took place at Palo Alto, not far from the US/Mexico border in Texas on May 8, 1846. Combat operations lasted over a year to the fall of 1847. American forces quickly occupied New Mexico and California and then invaded parts of Northeastern Mexico and Northwest Mexico; meanwhile, the Pacific Squadron conducted a blockade, and took control of several garrisons on the Pacific coast further south in Baja California. Another American army captured Mexico City, and the war ended in a victory for the United States.

In the U.S., increasingly divided by sectional rivalry, the war was a partisan issue and an essential element in the origins of the American Civil War. Most Whigs in the North and South opposed it; most Democrats supported it with Southern Democrats, animated by a popular belief in Manifest Destiny. This belief supported it in hope of adding slave-owning territory to the South and avoiding being outnumbered by the faster-growing North. John L. O’Sullivan, editor of the Democratic Review, coined this phrase in its context, stating that it must be “our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.” The war officially ended on February 2, 1848.

George Washington Fields was born into slavery in Hanover County, Virginia on this date. He was one of 11 children of Martha Ann Berkley and Washington Fields. Of the children, one died in infancy, three were sold off, and one was a runaway. Fields and the others grew up on Clover Plain Plantation in northeastern Virginia.

In July 1863, during a battle between Union and Confederate soldiers on the plantation, Fields’ mother escaped along with him and five other siblings. After a few months travel, they reached the safety of Fortress Monroe near Hampton, Virginia. Fortress Monroe was one of the first Union-occupied fortifications which received escaping slaves. Those who arrived in 1861 and 1862 were labeled "contraband" and their status as free people was disputed. By the time Fields and her children reached the fort, they were granted freedom by the Emancipation Proclamation since Hanover County was still in Confederate hands.

The family settled in Union-occupied Hampton. Fields’ father arrived the next year followed soon afterwards by four siblings whom slavery had earlier dispersed. This was a rare occurrence; an entire enslaved family reunited as free people.

Fields intermittently pursued a public education in Hampton from his 1863 arrival through 1875, while working as a culler on an oyster boat, a hack driver, and as a steamboat waiter. Finally, in 1875, with his younger sister Catherine's encouragement, he enrolled at Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute at the age of 21.Three years later, in 1878, he graduated and headed north for full-time work. A series of menial jobs at famous resorts and as manservant for prominent families led to a position from 1881 through 1887 as butler for the Governor of New York, Alonzo B. Cornell. While in Cornell’s employment, he continued to educate himself through tutors and schools, studying everything from French to medicine. He settled on law as a career and as was customary at the time, he read law with a local attorney.

Fields intended to attend Yale University law school to complete his legal training. However, his employer, Alonzo Cornell, the eldest son of Cornell University's founder Ezra Cornell, persuaded him to enroll in the soon to be opened Cornell Law School. In the fall of 1887, Fields arrived in Ithaca, New York and three years later graduated as a member of the school's inaugural class and its first African American graduate.

Fields returned to Hampton to practice law, joining his older brother who was an attorney and local State Senator. Fields took the Virginia bar exam before three judges and was admitted to the Virginia bar in April 1891 at the age of 37. Fields was also active in politics, representing Elizabeth City and James City in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1889 to 1890.

On November 28, 1892, Fields married Sarah (Sallie) Haws Baker, also a graduate of Hampton Institute. Together they had two children, a boy who died in infancy, and a girl.

In 1896 Fields lost his eyesight. He continued, however, to be active in civic organizations, serving on the board of the Weaver Orphan Home in Hampton and as a Trustee of the Third Baptist Church in the city and Superintendent of its Sunday School. Before his death, Fields wrote "Come On, Children": The Autobiography of George Washington Fields, Born a Slave in Hanover County, Virginia. The original unpublished manuscript was recently found in the Hampton University Archives.

On August 19, 1932, George Washington Fields died at the Dixie Hospital in Hampton after a brief illness. He was survived by two sisters, Maria and Catherine, his daughter, Inez, C. Fields Scott, and his wife Sallie, who passed away on December 19, 1944.

Black Code - Virginia - “For the prevention of that abominable mixture and spurious issue, which may hereafter increase in this dominion...whatever White man or woman being free shall intermarry with a Negro, mulatto, or Indian man or woman, bond or free shall within three months after such marriage shall be banished...forever.”

Blacks demanded to join President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession and were relegated to the tail end.

African-American social worker and community leader Minnie Lee Crosthwaite was born Minnie Lee Harris in Nashville, Tennessee. She was a product of Nashville and attended Fisk University in her hometown and taught first grade in a Nashville public school for two years. She resigned her teaching position in 1889 to marry David N. Crosthwaite, the principal of the first all-Black high school in Nashville. In 1895 they moved to Kansas City, where Crosthwaite’s husband had accepted a job teaching at Lincoln High School.

Minnie Lee Crosthwaite filled many roles during her ninety years: teacher, wife, mother, businesswoman, and community leader. She is remembered best as a pioneering social worker, a vocation she did not enter into until the second half of her long and fruitful life. Minnie Crosthwaite died in 1963.

W.B. Purvis
, inventor, patented a paper bag fastener device on this date. Patent #256,856.

John Henry "Pop" Lloyd
was born on this date in Palatka, Florida. Reportedly discovered by baseball legend Rube Foster, Lloyd began his professional career with the Cuban X-Giants, where fans would give him the nickname “El Cuchara” (“The Shovel”) due to his steady hands and ability to grab any ground ball coming at him. His tremendous play at shortstop would be matched by only one other player, Hall-of-Famer Honus Wagner, who declared “it is a privilege to have been compared to him.”

Beginning play in America in 1910 for Fosters Chicago Leland Giants, Lloyd was an amazing all-around player. On offense in the “deadball” era of baseball, Lloyd hit with skilled accuracy, but could deliver power when needed. On defense, Lloyd was the most dominating shortstop in the Negro Leagues, whose quickness and intensity could not be matched.

In 1918 Lloyd became player-manager of the Brooklyn Royal Giants, and spent the next few years jumping around teams until settling with the Hilldale Daisies in 1922. The next year Lloyd batted a sensational .418 and lead Hilldale to the inaugural pennant of the Eastern Colored League. He would move after that season, however, to the Bacharach Giants due to reported disputes with management.

Although many teams, and leagues, were short-lived in this era, Lloyd continued to display dominance in every arena. In 1928, after taking control of the Lincoln Giants in New York, Lloyd would lead the league in hitting (.564) and home runs (11), even though the Eastern Colored League would collapse early that same season.

As a coach, Lloyd was well known for the guidance he offered to young players, and affectionately earned the nickname “Pop.” John Henry Lloyd is remembered as the “grandfather of Black baseball,” and often draws comparisons to Babe Ruth, who went so far as to declare Lloyd the greatest baseball player of all time.

won right to vote in South Africa.

Doxey Alphonso Wilkerson
was born in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. He became an educator at Howard University in Washington, DC and Yeshiva University in New York City. In 1944, he published an essay in the anthology, “What the Negro Wants,” which illustrated comparisons between the Allied struggle in Europe during World War II and the civil rights struggle of African Americans in the United States. As a member of the American Communist Party, he worked as a civil rights activist. This affiliation caused him to be repeatedly investigated by the U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities. After resigning from the Communist Party in 1957, he continued to be active in civil right activities and educational pursuits until his retirement in 1984. He died on June 17, 1993 in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Barrelhouse blues pianist and singer Joe Dean was born Joseph Hensky Dean on this date o the northeast side of St. Louis, MO.

He was something of child prodigy because he displayed his musical talent at an early age. He made one recording in 1930, a 78rpm on Vocalion 1544, “I'm So Glad I'm Twenty-One Years Old Today b/w Mexico Bound Blues.” That was the tip of his career that spanned some twenty-five years.

He remained musically active on a part-time basis into the 1960's, where he also worked in a steel mill. He eventually became the Reverend Joe Dean of the St. John’s United Church of Christ on N. Grand.

He died on June 24, 1981 in his hometown of St. Louis.

Jazz, Jump Blues, and R&B saxophonist most popular in 1940s and 1950s, Earl Bostic was born Eugene Earl Bostic on this date in Tulsa, OK. He died on October 28, 1965 at the age of 52 in Rochester, NY.

Madeline M. Turner
of Oakland, CA received a patent for the fruit press. Fruit, such as oranges or lemons, were passed through a feed opening, passing through cutters that severed the fruit in half then moved along between the plates where the juice was extracted. Turner’s Fruit-Press was a complex piece of engineering that in many ways foreshadowed the machines used in the food industry today. Like Turner’s prototype, the efficiency of these machines depended on their ability to execute several functions at once. Turner’s invention was in a sense an assembly line in itself: Fruits were moved along by plungers moving at different speeds. The fruit was pushed through stationary knives that cut them in half, then again passed through the presser. The pulp was allowed to drop through an opening and the juice discharged through another.

American Civil Rights Activist Esther Swirk Brown was born on this date in Kansas City, MO.

A comfortable white Jewish housewife, she was concerned with the choices that Black students had to attend school.

This was because she had a keen sense of brotherhood and social justice. The local school board had drawn up new boundaries in the South Park area so that another all-white school could be built. Black students had been gerrymandered out of the new school attendance area, and were left with a very deteriorated, dangerous building with only two teachers and outdoor plumbing! Brown knew this violated an 1896 court ruling that required “separate but equal” facilities. She assembled a legal team to file the Webb vs. Kansas case, named for the father of a Black South Park student. Thurgood Marshall, a leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and later a U. S. Supreme Court Justice, assisted.

In 1949 the U. S. Supreme Court upheld Webb v. Kansas and African-Americans entered South Park School; federal school integration was not mandated until 1954. Wholeheartedly aware of racial discrimination, Brown was active in many Jewish organizations, but went beyond her own ethnic circle. She organized the Panel of American Women; speakers of various races and religions that became a national movement with 1,400 participants. Among her many awards was the 1969 Brotherhood Award from the Kansas City Chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

Esther Brown died in 1976. A plaque in a small park at 51st and England Street in Merriam, Kansas honors this civil rights crusader.

Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, noted for her ability to improvise and “scat” while singing, was born on this date in Newport News, VA. In 1934, an awkward sixteen-year-old girl made her singing debut at the Harlem Apollo Theatre amateur night in New York City. She intended to dance, but she lost her nerve when she got on stage. “The man said, ‘do something while you’re out there, ‘the singer later recalled. “So I tried to sing ‘Object of My Affection’ and ‘Judy,’ and I won first prize.” She drew the attention of the bandleader Chick Webb. After personally coaching the shy performer, Webb introduced her at the Savoy Theatre one evening as his orchestra’s singer. That evening marked the beginning of Ella Jane Fitzgerald’s singing career. One of the great compliments paid to Ella was from Ira Gershwin who said “I didn’t realize our songs were so good until Ella sang them.”

By 1955 Fitzgerald was working with Cole Porter and Duke Ellington. During the course of her career, she was awarded 13 Grammy Awards in her career and sold over 40 million albums. Some of her hits include “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” and “Undecided.”

After a struggle with diabetes and heart surgery, Fitzgerald died in 1996.

Blues drummer who worked with plethora of artists but is best known for his work in Howlin' Wolf's band, Earl Phillips was born on this date in New York City, NY. He died on November 20, 1990 at the age of 70 in Chicago, IL.

On this date Albert King was born Albert Nelson. He was an American blues musician who created a unique string-bending guitar style that has influenced three generations of musicians.

One of the "Three Kings of the Blues Guitar," a major influence in the world of Blues guitar playing, Albert King was born on this date in Indianola, MS. He died from a heart attack at his home in Memphis, TN on December 21, 1992, two days after playing his final concert in Los Angeles December 19.

Lizzie Miles
was born on Bourbon Street and she was singing with the New Orleans Jazz bands of King Oliver, Kid Ory and A.J. Piron while she was still a teenager.

On this date in New York, NY, she recorded “
Haitian Blues” and “Sweet Smellin’ Mama (Poro Blues)” with piano accompaniments by Clarence Johnson for Columbia Records.

She was variously accompanied by Harry Brooks, Porter Grainger, Louis Hooper, Cliff Jackson, Clarence Johnson, Jelly Roll Morton, Bob Ricketts, and/or Clarence Williams on piano, Teddy Bunn on guitar, Pops Foster on bass, Charlie Grimes on alto saxophone, Harry Hicks on trombone, Charlie Holmes on clarinet and alto saxophone, Louis Metcalf and/or King Oliver on cornet, Bass Moore on tuba, Albert Socarras on alto saxophone and flute, and Elmer Snowden on banjo.

Corporate executive Earle Lacour Bradford, Jr. was born on this date in New Orleans, LA.

In 1971, Bradford’s professional career began with his first position as a senior accountant at Shell Oil Company. Bradford, later became the youngest Vice President at Consolidated Aluminum. In 1983, he joined ARCO Metals Company in Rolling Meadows, Illinois as Vice President of Marketing Development and later became Vice President of Planning and Control. Transferring to ARCO Chemical, Bradford joined the Product Management and Marketing Division and was elected an officer of ARCO Chemical and served as Vice President of Public Affairs. He also served as the Vice President of National Accounts Management and Material Management in the Americas before serving as a worldwide Director of Continuous Improvement and Commercial Services. Bradford has held several positions with major international firms including a subsidiary of Alusuisse, the Swiss aluminum company. In 2002, Bradford became President of Axum Partners, Incorporated, which is a consulting company that specializes in corporate development. In 2005, he joined the Community Council for Mental Health and Mental Retardation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as its Chief Executive Officer. He led the organization back from a loss in 2004 to a surplus in 2005.

Bradford is a member and chair of the Board of Directors of Catholic Health East and a member of the board of the Development Credit Fund. He has also served on the boards of the Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Lincoln University. Bradford was also a member of the Petrochemical Committee of the National Petroleum Refiners Association. He has also received several awards including the Award for Excellence in Market Development from Sales and Marketing Management magazine. In 2006, Bradford received the Wilbur Parker Distinguished Alumni Award from the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University.

Alfonzo “Lonnie” Johnson
was a pioneering Blues and Jazz guitarist and banjoist. He started playing in cafes in New Orleans and in 1917 he traveled in Europe, playing in revues and briefly with Will Marion Cook’s Southern Syncopated Orchestra.  When he returned home to New Orleans in 1918 he discovered that his entire family had been killed by a flu epidemic except for one brother. He and his surviving brother, James “Steady Roll” Johnson moved to St. Louis in 1920 where Lonnie played with Charlie Creath’s Jazz-O-Maniacs and with Fate Marable in their Mississippi riverboat bands.

On this date in St. Louis, MO, he recorded “
Baby, Will You Please Come Home,” “Blues and Trouble Has Got Me Down,” “I Done Tole You,” “South Bound Water,” “Steppin’ On The Blues,” “The Sun Will Shine In My Doorway Someday,” and “Treat ‘Em Right” for Okeh Records.

He was accompanied variously by Josh Altheimer, Lil Armstrong, John Arnold, Jimmy Blythe, Blind John John Erby, Porter Grainger, Lazy Harris, J.C. Johnson, Fred Longshaw, De Loise Searcy, Roosevelt Sykes, and/or James P. Johnson  on piano, Jimmy Foster, Jimmy Jordan and/or Victoria Spivey on vocals, Andrew Harris on string bass, James Johnson on banjo, guitar, piano, and/or violin, Lonnie Johnson on vocals, guitar, harmonium, kazoo, and/or violin, Clarence Williams on piano and/or Washboard, and/or Spencer Williams on vocals, percussion, and/or scraper.

Little is known about the life of Alberta Brown, but she made this excellent Blues record in 1928. She is backed up by members of the Halfway House Orchestra on this session.

On this date in New Olreans, LA, she recorded “
How Long?” and “Lonely Blues” for Okeh Records.

Members of the orchestra were Sidney Arodin on clarinet, Abbie Brunnies on cornet, Chink Martin on tuba, and Red Long on piano.

While the leader of this group sometimes made use of this band name in the ‘30s and ‘40s, the main version of Jimmy Bertrand’s Washboard Wizards was a recording band assembled to cut sides for the Vocalion label in the second half of the ‘20s.

On this date in Chicago, IL, the band recorded “
Isabella” and “I Won’t Give You None” for Vocalion Records.

Members of the band were Louis Armstrong and Natty Dominique on cornet, Jimmy Bertrand on washboard and wood blocks, Jimmy Blythe on piano, and Junie Cobb and Johnny Dodds on clarinet.

Blind Willie McTell
cut eight songs in Chicago, Illinois with his wife Kate McTell (Ruth Day) on one of them.

Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra
was one of the most popular bands in Jazz history and one of the driving forces of Swing style that came to dominate popular music of the 1930s and 1940s. In 1928 Armstrong began fronting Carroll Dickerson’s Orchestra and traveled east from Chicago to New York. The band became known as the Louis Armstrong Orchestra, with Dickerson acting as musical director. In 1929 Louis Armstrong was hired to play in the pit band of the popular all Black musical revue Hot Chocolates, which featured the music of Andy Razaf and Fats Waller. The show was a great success and Armstrong stole the show with his singing of “Ain’t Misbehavin’” which became his biggest selling record to date. After each night’s show he would then join the Dickerson crew at Connie’s Inn and finish the evening at the Lafayette Theater (7th Avenue at 132nd Street) next door. In 1929 he started to record quite a few of Hoagy Carmichael’s songs. Armstrong had known Carmichael back in the King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band days in Chicago through Bix Beiderbecke and they teamed up on Hoagy’s Rockin’ Chair. In 1931 he recorded three more of Carmichael’s songs, “Stardust,” “Lazy River,” and “Georgia on My Mind.” In 1934 Armstrong took over the Luis Russell Orchestra and from then on they became known as the Louis Armstrong Orchestra with Russell acting as musical director.

On this date in New York, NY, the orchestra recorded “
Confessin’ (That I Love You),” “If It’s Good (Then I Want It),” “Me And Brother Bill,” and “Our Monday Date” for Decca Records.

Rubye Smith
was born on this date. She was an African-American civil rights activist.

From Atlanta, Georgia,
Rubye Doris Smith had little direct contact with whites while she was growing up. At the age of 13, she watched television coverage of the bus system boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. The sight of large numbers of African Americans refusing to submit to racist policies made a strong impression. When Smith entered Spelman College in 1959, she soon became involved in nonviolent demonstrations to integrate Atlanta, being one of the first participants in Atlanta’s lunch counter sit-ins.

In 1961 she joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). While protesting student arrests in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Smith was arrested and, in accordance with SNCC’s “jail no bail” strategy, served a 30-day jail sentence. Following her release, she risked mob violence by joining the Freedom Riders in their mission to revoke state laws that mandated segregation on interstate travel. She was again arrested on a charge of “inflammatory” traveling. In 1964 Smith married Clifford Robinson.

Even after becoming a mother she continued to work as a professional activist and in 1966 became SNCC’s first female executive secretary. SNCC had become increasingly militant, but Robinson continued to give the organization her full support, although she was in only partial agreement with chairman Stokely Carmichael’s outspoken endorsement of violence.

In April 1967, diagnosed with leukemia she resigned her post with SNCC. Rubye Robinson died on October 9, 1967.

Dr. Frederick D. Patterson
, president of Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), wrote an open letter in the Pittsburgh Courier to the presidents of our nation’s private black colleges urging them to “pool their small monies and make a united appeal to the national conscience.” His words soon became the guiding principle for one of the world’s leading education assistance organizations. One year later, founded by Dr. Patterson, Mary McLeod Bethune, and others, the United Negro College Fund was incorporated on April 25, 1944 with 27 member colleges and a combined enrollment of 14,000 students.

George Herriman
died on this date in Los Angeles, CA at the age of 63. He had been a successful cartoonist who was the author of the comic strip “Krazy Kat.” The comic strip ran successfully from 1913 until Herriman’s death.

The United Nations was founded at the San Francisco Conference attended by African American consultants, most notably Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune, Dr. Mordecai W. Johnson of Howard University, W.E.B. Du Bois and Walter White, both of the NAACP, as official observers, and Ralph Bunche, who was an official member of the American staff.

American jazz pianist and an accomplished stride pianist Teddy Weatherford died on this date of cholera in Calcutta, India.

Weatherford was raised in neighboring Bluefield, West Virginia. From 1915 through 1920, he lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he learned to play jazz piano. He then moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he worked with such bands as that of Erskine Tate through the 1920s and with such jazz notables as Louis Armstrong and Johnny Dodds and impressed the young Earl Hines.

Weatherford then traveled, first to Amsterdam, then around Asia playing professionally. In the early 1930s, he led a band at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay (now Mumbai), India. He joined Cricket Smith's band in Jakarta, Indonesia. Weatherford took over leadership of Smith's band in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1937.

During World War II, he led a band in Calcutta, where he made radio broadcasts for the U. S. Armed Forces Radio Service. Performers with Weatherford's band included Bridget Althea Moe, Jimmy Witherspoon, Roy Butler and Gery Scott.

Born on October 11, 1903 in Pocahontas, VA, he was 41.

Jackie Robinson
joined the Brooklyn Dodgers on this date and became the first Black in the major leagues in modern times when he broke the color line in Major League Baseball (MLB).

This is not be confused with him being the first Black to play Major League Baseball. Arguably, the first was catcher Moses Fleetwood "Fleet" Walker, though some research suggests William Edward White was the first African-American baseball player in MLB. Unlike White who passed as a white man, Walker was open about his black heritage, and often faced racial bigotry prevalent in the late 19th century.

Walker made his MLB debut on May 1, 1884, for the Toledo Blue Stockings in a 5-1 loss away game against the Louisville Eclipse. White, on the other hand, made his on June 21, 1879, for the Providence Grays. Walker’s brother, Weldy, became the second black athlete to do so later in the same year, also for the Toledo ball club. Walker played just one season, 42 games total, for Toledo before injuries entailed his release.

The color line was estabhlished as a gentleman’s agreement by MLB owner in the late 19th century.

Larry Doby joined the Cleveland Indians on July 6 and became the first Black in the American League to break the color line. Three other Blacks played in the major leagues in 1947: Dan Bankhead, pitcher, Brooklyn Dodgers; Willard Brown, outfielder, St. Louis Browns; Henry Thompson, infielder, St. Louis Browns.

Cleveland Indians’ Larry Doby tied a major league record by striking out five times in one game. The Indians' right-fielder's performance didn't hurt the Tribe when they beat the Detroit Tigers at Briggs Stadium, 7-4.

At the NBA’s annual player’s draft, the Boston Celtics selected Charles “Chuck” Cooper. He is the first African American ever drafted by an NBA team. He, along with Name “Sweetwater” Clifton, played their first game on October 22, 1950, in day after Earl Lloyd became the first Black to play in an NBA game.

In almost one year from his previous session for Specialty, Mercy Dee Walton recorded “Rent Man Blues” and “Fall Guy” in Los Angeles, CA accompanied by Thelma "Lady Fox" Walton on vocals.

The British
raided Nairobi Kenya on this date. 25,000 Mau Mau suspects were arrested.

A consent judgment in a Memphis federal court ended restrictions barring voters in Fayette County, Tennessee. This was the first voting rights case under the Civil Rights Act.

On this date, Premier Moïse-Kapenda Tsjombe (or Tshombe) of the Congolese province of Katanga was arrested in the Congo by the central government for complicity in the assassination of Patrice Lumumba in January of 1961.

American jazz violinist Eddie South died on this date.

South was a classical violin prodigy who switched to jazz because of limited opportunities for African-American musicians, and started his career playing in vaudeville and jazz orchestras with Freddie Keppard, Jimmy Wade, Charles Elgar, and Erskine Tate in Chicago. He studied at the Chicago College of Music alongside violinist Petrowitsch Bissing.

He was influenced by Hungarian folk music and Roma music starting with a visit to Europe in the 1920s, and adapted the music to jazz. In 1927 he started his own group, Eddie South and his Alabamians, named after the Alabam club where they played in Chicago, and, along with pianist and composer Henry Crowder, toured with them in Europe from 1928 to 1930.

On subsequent visits to Europe in the 1930s, he performed and recorded with guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinists Stéphane Grappelli and Michel Warlop. He also played in the big bands of Earl Hines from 1947 to 1949 and Michel Warlop. He also led bands that included pianist Billy Taylor and bassist Milt Hinton.

A 1951 recording for Chess Records, Eddy [sic] South and his Orchestra, credited Johnny Pate on bass and arrangements and was also the first of a series of Chess recordings on which Pate collaborated with saxophonist Eddie Johnson.

Born on November 27, 1904 in Louisiana, MO, he was 57.

Black and white Freedom Riders
through the South tested compliance with court decisions.

Paul Ramotsoane Mosaka
(born c. 1911), politician and founder of the African Democratic Party (ADP) and also an influential and notorious businessman, died on this date in Manzini, Swaziland.

On this date, Freda Payne released “Band of Gold.”

Detroit Tigers pitcher
Earl Wilson nearly scored after he struck out because Minnesota Twin catcher Paul Ratliff inadvertently rolled the ball to the mound instead off tagging the batter or throwing to first after trapping a third strike.

On this date center fielder Curt Flood made his last Major League Baseball (MLB) appearance for the Washington Senators.

Major General Frederick E. Davidson
became the first African American to lead an Army division when he was assigned command of the 8th Infantry Division in Europe.

Timothy Theodore Duncan
was born on this date on the island of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands (Caribbean.) Duncan has been an integral role in the San Antonio Spurs many NBA Championships.

The Cincinnati Reds romped to a 23-9 victory over the Braves in Atlanta. The Reds tied a National League record by scoring 12 runs in the fifth inning off three Braves pitchers. George Foster had two home runs, double, and a single resulting in seven RBIs and five runs scored. 

The South African government
for the first time allowed 20 local journalists, five correspondents of international news agencies and two official photographers to visit the prison on Robben Island where 370 men, convicted under security legislation, were held. On the island, 12km north east of Cape Town, political prisoners of the anti-apartheid movement were kept together with hardened criminals. Though Robben Island has been used as prison and a place where people were isolated, banished and exiled to for more than 300 years, the new maximum-security prison was established in the early 1960s. The living conditions were, particularly in the early years, extremely bad. Prisoners had to labour in the quarry, were not dressed sufficiently and had to sleep on thin straw mats on the stone floor. Through strikes and endless protests, more humane conditions were implemented in 1971, when the prisoners were also allowed to study.

During this visit in 1977, material conditions were considered in general to be satisfactory, but the lack of contact with the outside world was very severe.

, an internationally recognized Afro-Brazilian Carnival association, was founded on this date in Bahia, Brazil. The music of this group celebrated Black history and protested racial discrimination. The name Olodum is derived from the name of the supreme Yoruba deity, Olodumaré.

Hoping to give his pitchers an edge, Maury Wills got the Kingdome’s ground crew in Seattle to enlarge the batter box, making it a foot closer to the mound. Prior to the game, Oakland A’s skipper Billy Martin shared his suspicions with the umpire Bill Kunkel, and the exposed Mariners manager was suspended for two games.

In a 2-1 victory over Montreal at Olympic Stadium, New York Mets right-hander Dwight Gooden became the first teenager to strike out ten batters in a major league game since Bert Blyleven accomplished the feat with the Minnesota Twins in 1970. The 19 year-old rookie went on to lead the National League with 276 strikeouts that season.

granted internal self-government to Swaziland. As a result, King Mswati III (Makhosetive Dlamini), became King of Swaziland when he succeeded his late father King Sobhuza II, who had died of pneumonia in 1982. Two relatives, Queen Dzeliwe Shongwe and Queen Ntombi Thwala, served as regents until Makhosetive, who was fourteen years old when his father died, was ready to take the reigns. Queen Shongwe ruled from 1982-1983 while Queen Thwala ruled from 1983 until 1986. During that time the prospective King was pursuing his studies at the English Sherborne School.

Rioting broke out across Soweto, South Africa's largest Black township, following a police blockade of youths protesting. Fifteen students were arrested.

On this date, for the first time in history, there were three African American women serving as presidents of four-year colleges and universities in America. They were Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, the seventh President of Spelman College in Atlanta, appointed on this date by the board of trustees and the first Black woman in the 107 year history of that institution to hold that post, Dr. Niara Sudarkasa, President of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, Georgia, the eleventh president appointed in February of 1987 and, also, the first female to that post, and Dr. Gloria Randle Scott, President of Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina appointed March, 1987.

Mswati III
was crowned king of Swaziland, succeeding his father, Sobhuza II.

If not for injustice, James Richardson would likely not be a figure in history. But after being wrongfully convicted of killing his seven children and spending 21 years in prison, the Florida fruit picker was exonerated by special prosecutor Janet Reno on this date.

On October 25, 1967, Richardson's wife, Annie, had asked neighbor Bessie Reece to serve the children their lunch while she and her husband were at work. Reece laced the beans and rice with an insecticide called parathion that left the children, aged 2 to 11, foaming at the mouth and dead within minutes.

The police suspected Richardson of killing his children after learning that he had met with a life insurance agent with whom he'd discussed getting policies for the entire family. During trial, the jury was not told that it was the salesman who had initiated the meeting or that Richardson could not afford to buy life insurance at all.

The day after the incident, Reece, who babysat the children periodically, told the police that she had seen a bag of the poison in the Richardsons' shed. The jurors also weren't told that she was on parole for the shooting death of her second husband and had been suspected of killing her first with poisoning.

Making matters worse, in exchange for a reduction in their own sentences, three convicts claimed that Richardson, in a jail-house confession to them, claimed that he'd killed the children because his wife had engaged in an affair with Reece.

Richardson was convicted after less than two hours of deliberation and sentenced to the electric chair. Four years later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the death penalty to be unconstitutional, so Richardson was given a sentence of 25 years to life.

In 1988, lawyers for Richardson, armed with affidavits stating that Reece had confessed her crime to a nursing home employee as well as evidence that prosecutors had suppressed evidence during the trial, Reno was assigned to investigate the case, which led to Richardson's exoneration. He was released from prison on May 5, 1989.

"I will carry the fear to my grave, that an innocent man, James Richardson, might have been executed," Reno said.

Richardson settled a wrongful conviction suit with DeSoto County for $150,000, but a claim against the state of Florida was denied in 2008. If a bill currently making its way through the state's legislature passes, however, he could receive up to $2 million.

Reece, who died of Alzheimer's, was never indicted.

American jazz tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon died on this date of kidney failure and cancer of the larynx in Philadelphia, PA.

He was among the earliest tenor players to adapt the bebop musical language of people such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bud Powell to the instrument. Gordon's height was 6 feet 6 inches (198 cm), so he was also known as "Long Tall Dexter" and "Sophisticated Giant". His studio and live performance career spanned over 40 years.

Gordon's sound was commonly characterized as being "large" and spacious and he had a tendency to play behind the beat. He was famous for humorously inserting musical quotes into his solos. One of his major influences was Lester Young. Gordon, in turn, was an early influence on John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. Rollins and Coltrane, in turn, influenced Gordon's playing as he explored hard bop and modal playing during the 1960s.

Gordon was known for his genial and humorous stage presence. He was an advocate of playing to communicate with the audience. One of his idiosyncratic rituals was to recite lyrics from each ballad before playing it.

A photograph by Herman Leonard of Gordon taking a smoke break at the Royal Roost in 1948 is one of the iconic images in jazz photography. Cigarettes were a recurring theme on covers of Gordon's albums.

Gordon was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in the Bertrand Tavernier film Round Midnight (Warner Bros, 1986), and he won a Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist, for the soundtrack album The Other Side of Round Midnight (Blue Note Records, 1986).

Born on February 27, 1923 in Los Angeles, CA, he was 67.

Jimi Hendrix's Fender Stratocaster
that he used to perform his famous version of the "Star Spangled Banner" at Woodstock, was auctioned off in London for $295,000.

In 1981, Dirk Coetzee, Jan Viktor, and Jac Buchner began Vlakplaas, a parliamentary hit squad, with 16 police officers.

The existence of the unit was first revealed publicly in 1988 on the eve of the execution of Almond Nofomela. Before his execution, Nofomela confessed to being part of the Security Police 'hit squad', which was headed by Dirk Coetzee. Coetzee admitted the existence of the unit in a November 1989 in an interview with Vrye Weekblad, and confirmed the story that Nofomela had told a Johannesburg weekly the previous year.

On strength of this and public pressure, the new state president, F.W. De Klerk, appointed a commission of inquiry, led by Judge Louis Harms, to investigate these allegations, and the operations of the Security Police and the Civil Co-operation Bureau (CCB).

The De Klerk government therefore set up the Harms Commission in Britain in 1990 to investigate these claims. In his testimony, Coetzee told the Harms Commission how he had watched his colleague murder the student activist Sizwe Khondile and the human rights lawyer Griffiths Mxenge. The Security Police closed ranks to lie and denounce Coetzee's revelations as fantasies, and Harms accepted their testimony. Coetzee was found to be an unreliable witness.

In Coetzee's later testimony before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Coetzee said that Khondile had been killed on August 11, 1981. After his release from detention, the police took Khondile to Komatipoort near the Mozambique border, where he was shot dead. His body was then burned for more than seven hours to obliterate evidence.

Dirk Coetzee was granted amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on August 4, 1997. In 1997, Eugene de Kock, a former commander of Vlakplaas, was convicted for attempting to murder Coetzee.

In a terrorist spree aimed at disrupting South Africa’s first interracial election (also called the last day of white rule), a car bomb went off at 8:45 am at a crowded tax stand in Germiston, a suburb of Johannesburg, used by black commuters, killing 10 and wounding at least 36. As the death toll went up to 19, it has been described as “last day of white rule.”

Two Catholic Hutu nuns in Rwanda ordered frightened Tutsis out of their Benedictine compound into the hands of Hutu soldiers. In 1997, Sister Gertrude (Consolata Mukangango) and Sister Maria Kisito (Juliene Makubutera), having escaped to Belgium, were accused by witnesses of aiding Hutu soldiers who slaughtered some 600 Tutsis. In 2001, a Belgian court found them guilty of having participated in the massacre of more than 7,600 people at the Sovu convent in Butare. Gertrude was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Kisito was sentenced to 12 years. Two others were also convicted and sentenced: Alphonse Higaniro was sentenced to 20 years and Vincent Ntezimana was jailed for 12 years.

Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk,” opened at Ambassador Theater in New York City on this date. “Noise Funk” is a musical revue telling the story, through tap, of black history from slavery to the present. The musical numbers were presented along with supertitles, projected images and videotapes and with continuing commentary. The show was conceived and directed by George C. Wolfe, and featured music by Daryl Waters, Zane Mark and Ann Duquesnay; lyrics by Reg E. Gaines, George C. Wolfe and Ann Duquesnay; and a book by Reg E. Gaines. Wolfe took the rap words of Reg E. Gaines and turned them into “tap/rap (tap dancing informed by hip-hop and funk rhythms).”

On the opening night at Ambassador Theater, the cast included Jeffrey Wright, Savion Glover, the production’s choreographer, Duquesnay, and Dulé Hill. Again directed by Wolfe, with sets and lighting by the off-Broadway team, costume design was by Paul Tazewell. Glover left the show but returned for 40 performances from December 8, 1998 through January 10, 1999. Glover returned and toured with the musical in 2002.

Senior members of the Zulu royal family
were attacked in a royal residence near Durban.

On this date, in a 13-8 Seattle Mariners victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at the SkyDome, center fielder Ken Griffey, Jr. hit three home runs, two off Roger Clemens and one off Mike Timlin. The blast barrage gave Junior 13 homers during this month, breaking the record for the most round-trippers hit in April. It was also his 250th career home run.

Millions of Nigerians
boycotted legislative elections billed by the ruling junta as a first step toward democracy.

Waldoxy Records released “Hoochie Man,” an album by Bobby Rush, nominated for 2001 W.C. Handy Blues Awards in Soul Blues Album of the Year category.

Cannonball Records released “Leavin' This Old Town,” an album by Charles Walker, nominated for 2001 W.C. Handy Blues Awards in Comeback Blues Album category.

Rev. Leon Sullivan
, a Civil Rights Activist who wrote an international code of business conduct called the Sullivan Principles, died on this date in Scottsdale, AZ. His principles pressured American corporations to divest from South Africa.

Rickey Henderson
broke the career walks record established by Babe Ruth in 1935 when he received his 2,063rd base on balls. The 42 year-old San Diego Padres outfielder took his historic stroll leading off the ninth inning on a free pass issued by Philadelphia Phillies' Jose Mesa in the team's 5-3 loss at Qualcomm Stadium.

Telarc released Son Seals' album “Lettin' Go,” winner of 2001 W.C. Handy Blues Awards in Traditional Blues Album of the Year category. Album was also nominated for 2001 W.C. Handy Blues Awards in Blues Album of the Year category.

The Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who arrived in Pretoria for the 10th anniversary of a free South Africa and the inauguration of President Thabo Mbeki, was housed in a guesthouse after two 5-star hotels refused to accommodate him because of human rights abuses in his country. Zimbabwean ambassador in South Africa, Simon Moyo, glossed it over by saying that Mugabe stayed at a guest house out of choice.

Rounder Select released “After The Rain,” a 2007 Grammy winning album in Best Contemporary Blues Album category by Irma Thomas. Album also won 2007 Blues Music Awards in Soul Blues Album of the Year category and was nominated was Album of the Year category.

LaToya Jackson
’s quietness was mistaken for weakness on the Donald Trump’s reality show, “Celebrity Apprentice.”

On this day, drama free LaToya Jackson was eliminated from “Celebrity Apprentice” although she surpassed the expectations of Trump and impressed the executives of the challenges. Even though she got the work done and satisfied her employers, she was not rambunctious enough for television ratings and she had to go!

Oddly after Jackson outperforms the other cast members, Trump confesses that he did not believe she was ready for the intense challenges ahead and without her the women could possibly beat the men.

On this date in the Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center in New York City, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, America’s preeminent film presentation organization, honored Academy Award Winner Morgan Freeman with the 43rd Chaplin Award.

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