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1864

Ulysses S. Grant crossed the Rapidan and began his duel with Robert E. Lee. At the same time Ben Butler’s Army of the James moved on Lee’s forces. An African American division in Grant’s army did not play a prominent role in the Wilderness Campaign, but Ben Butler gave his African American infantrymen and his eighteen hundred African American cavalrymen important assignments. African American troops of the Army of the James were the first Union Soldiers to take possession of James River ports (at Wilson’s Wharf Landing, Fort Powhatan and City Point).


1864
On this date, the House of Representatives approved the
Wade-Davis Reconstruction Bill over President Abraham Lincoln’s objections. The Wade–Davis Bill of 1864 was a program proposed for the Reconstruction of the South written by two Radical Republicans, Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio and Representative Henry Winter Davis of Maryland. In contrast to Lincoln’s more lenient Ten Percent Plan, the bill made re-admittance to the Union for former Confederate states contingent on a majority in each Southern state to take the Ironclad oath to the effect they had never in the past supported the Confederacy. The bill passed both houses of Congress on July 2, 1864, but was pocket vetoed by Lincoln and never took effect. The Radical Republicans were outraged that Lincoln did not sign the bill. Lincoln wanted to mend the Union by carrying out the Ten Percent Plan. He believed it would be too difficult to repair all of the ties within the union if the bill was passed.


1891

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams founded the Provident Hospital and Training Center in Chicago, Ill, an interracial institution in Chicago where black doctors and nurses, denied access to white institutions, could receive medical training, and where members of Chicago’s growing black community could receive proper medical care. Provident hosted the first nursing school for blacks in America. Williams is best known, however, for performing the nation’s first open heart surgery on July 9, 1893. He operated on a man injured in a knife fight. The man would live for another 20 years after the surgery.


1893
Cowboy Bill Pickett invented the technique known as bulldogging—holding a cow by biting its lip.


1937

Melvin Edwards was born in Houston, Texas. He became a sculptor and had one-man exhibits at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. His work was represented in private collections as well as that of the Museum of Modern Art, the Schomburg Collection of the New York Public Library, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others.


1938
R&B Singer Tyrone Davis was born on this date in a rural community twenty miles outside of Greenville, Mississippi to Willie Branch and Ora Lee Jones. . Eager to leave the Jim Crow South, He left his hometown at age fourteen and spent most of his formative years in Saginaw, Michigan, enlisting the help from his father, who sent him a bus ticket.

In 1959, at age nineteen, Davis had settled in Chicago, where he became immersed in the city’s flourishing blues scene. He was inspired by the music of blues greats Bobby “Blue” Bland and Little Milton. He visited blues clubs regularly and eventually befriended rhythm & blues legends Freddie King, Otis Rush and Mighty Joe Young. These musicians spotted Davis’ talent and persuaded him to audition at local clubs. Throughout the 1950s, he performed in the small clubs that dotted the South Side of Chicago. During this time, he also worked as a valet/chaffeur for blues singer Freddie King.

Singing at the clubs, he was discovered by record executive/musician Harold Burrage. His early records for small record labels in the city, most particularly for the Four Brothers label for which he began in the late 60s, failed to register. Successful Chicago record producer Carl Davis (no relation) signed him in 1968 to a new label, Dakar Records that he was starting as part of a distribution deal with Atlantic. His first release, “A Woman Needs To Be Loved” was flipped when the b-side started to get radio attention. The song, “Can I Change My Mind” featured a change of vocal style for Davis with a softer, more pleading approach and tone. These early recordings received little notice until a disc jockey at a Texas radio station played the B-side of one of his singles on the air. “Can I Change My Mind?” catapulted Davis into the ranks of the Billboard charts, where it crossed over from the R&B charts, where it spent three weeks, while climbing to #5 in the Hot 100 pop charts. The song eventually sold more than 1 million copies, received gold disc recognition, and thrust Davis firmly into the limelight.

His biggest hit came in early 1970 when “Turn Back The Hands Of Time” also reached #1 in the R&B chart and went up to #3 in the Hot 100 pop chart. Written by Jack Daniels and Bonnie Thompson, this disc also sold over one million copies, and received a gold disc awarded by the Recording Industry Association of America in May 1970. Davis released about 25 singles during his seven years with Dakar, most of them big R&B sellers produced by Willie Henderson. He finally returned to the top spot with “Turning Point” in 1975.

Soon afterwards, in 1976, Davis switched to the industry behemoth Columbia record label and recorded seven albums over the next five years with producer Leo Graham and arranger James Mack who had collaborated with him for “Turning Point”. While with Columbia, Davis made some of his most inspired recordings, which also include ballads such as “In the Mood” (#6), “Close to You” “Give It Up(Turn It Loose)” (#2), “This I Swear” (#6), and “Heart Failure.” Some of his major albums have been “Without You In My Life” and “It’s All In The Game.”


1982 brought a change of label to the newly-established independent, Highrise and another major hit, “Are You Serious” (#3 R&B, #57 pop), again produced by Leo Graham. When Highrise closed the following year, Davis switched to a tiny Los Angeles label Ocean Front which lacked promotional muscle to get behind arguably one of his best performances, “Let Me Be Your Pacifier.” Davis’ days as a major chart act were over but he continued to be a popular live attraction and finally signed in 1996 with Malaco Records, the southern-based blues label recording him on a number of albums.

Davis has performed for thirty years and was a vital force on the recording and touring circuit. His backup group, the Platinum Band, was among Chicago’s most-respected ensembles. Together they scored yet another hit in 1991 with the song “Mom’s Apple Pie.” Since that first success, Davis enjoyed a long and successful career as a musician. His phenomenal body of recordings includes more than fifty hit songs. A Billboard survey taken in the late 1980s placed Davis thirtieth on the All-Time Top R&B Charts. In 1998, Tyrone Davis was awarded the R&B Foundation’s prestigious Pioneer Award for his lifetime of work.

A stroke in October 2004 curtailed his career and, following complications, he died in a Chicago hospital February 9, 2005 at the age of 66. He left a widow, Ann, to whom he had been married for over 40 years, and several children and grandchildren.


1939
The first African American owner of a major international sports organization, Mannie Jackson, was born on this date in Illmo, Missouri. Jackson was born in a converted railway boxcar that housed twelve members of his extended family. Jackson and his family moved to Edwardsville, Illinois when he was three years old, where his father worked at an auto plant, and his mother and grandmother cleaned houses. Jackson graduated from Edwardsville High School before obtaining his B.A. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his M.A. degree from the University of Detroit.

During the course of Jackson’s four years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he and childhood friend Governor Vaughn became the first African American basketball players to start for the university’s varsity basketball team. Despite the oppressive racist atmosphere that shrouded the University of Illinois campus, Jackson became the first African American All-American player and the captain of the Illini basketball team.

After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1960, Jackson traveled to New York to try out for the NBA’s New York Knicks. Although Jackson did not make the team, within the same year, he was accepted in an alternative professional team, the Harlem Globetrotters, whom he played for until 1964.

After leaving the Globetrotters, Jackson settled in Detroit and received his M.A. degree in marketing and economics from the University of Detroit in 1968. From there, Jackson launched his business career, becoming the Director of Labor Relations for the Honeywell Corporation in Minnesota, where he worked for thirty years. Then, in 1986, Jackson helped found The Executive Leadership Council and later became its president until 1992.

In 1993, Jackson sought to invest money into the Harlem Globetrotters after the franchise reached a low point, eventually becoming the owner and president of the team. Under Jackson’s leadership, the Globetrotters’ image was completely revamped, and the team amassed an impressive list of national sponsors, expanded countries visited to 118 with attendance of over two million people annually and topped the Sports Q ratings as the most liked and recognized team in the world in 1999, 2000 and 2002.

For his work with the Harlem Globetrotters, as well as his impressive business history, Jackson has received numerous awards including Black Enterprise Magazine’s “Most Powerful Black Executives,” the National Conference of Community and Justice’s Humanitarian of the Year Award and the Effa Manley Sports Executive of the Year Award.

1942

Nickolas Ashford was born on this date in Fairfield, South Carolina. He became a songwriter who, with his partner and wife Valerie Simpson, wrote such hits as “Reach out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand),” “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Becoming a solo act in 1973, Ashford and Simpson had a string of successful albums including “Send It,” “Solid,” and “Real Love.” He and wife Valerie performed at Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday celebration in London in 1988, sang for President Clinton at the 52nd Presidential Inauguration in 1992, performed at the White House for the CISAC 39th World Congress, and in April of 1996 they were awarded ASCAP’s highest honor: The Founder’s Award, at the Motown Cafe in New York.

 

1943

Norman Blann Rice, born on this date in Denver, Colorado, was the 49th mayor of Seattle, Washington. Rice was Seattle’s first and only African American mayor. Rice is the youngest son of Irene Hazel Johnson (1913-1993) and Otha Patrick Rice (1916-1993). Rice’s father worked as a porter on the railroads and for the United States Postal Service. He was also the owner and operator of Rice’s Tap Room and Oven in Denver. Rice’s mother was a caterer and a bank clerk. Rice’s parents divorced when he was a teenager. His grandmother, Reverend Susie Whitman (1895-1989), Assistant Pastor at Seattle’s First A.M.E. Church, was one of the first western women ministers in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. After graduating from Denver’s Manual High School in 1961, Rice attended the University of Colorado at Boulder. Distressed by the segregated housing and meal facilities and frustrated by the work load, he dropped out in his second year and went to work. Between 1963 and 1969, Rice held jobs as a hospital orderly, a meter reader and an engineer’s assistant. Rice arrived in Seattle in 1969 and restarted his education at Highline Community College and received his A.A. degree in 1970. Then, he attended the University of Washington through the Economic Opportunity Program (EOP). By 1972, Rice had earned his B.A. degree in communications and in 1974 his M.A. degree in public administration at the University of Washington.

Before entering city government, Rice worked as a reporter at KOMO-TV News and KIXI Radio, served as Assistant Director of the Seattle Urban League, was Executive Assistant and Director of Government Services for the Puget Sound Council of Governments and was employed as the Manager of Corporate Contributions and Social Policy at Rainier National Bank. Rice was first elected to the Seattle City Council in 1978 and reelected in 1979, 1983 and 1987, serving eleven years in all. Rice served as Mayor of Seattle from 1990 to 1997. Because of his warm personality and easy smile, he was affectionately known as “Mayor Nice.” From 1995 to 1996, Mayor Rice served as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, an association of more than a thousand of America’s largest cities.

After nineteen years of public service in Seattle city government, Rice served as president of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle from 1998 to 2004. Rice was also Vice Chairman of Capital Access, LLC. Rice returned to academia in 2007 as a visiting professor at the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington, where he is to lead a series of public seminars on Civic Engagement for the 21st Century.

Rice married Constance Williams on February 15, 1973. They have one adult son, Mian Rice, and one grandchild, Sekoy Elliott Rice.


1943
William Vacanarat Shadrach Tubman was elected president of Liberia.

In December of 1942, Liberia was faced with the question of the succession of President Edwin Barclay. Six candidates then applied, including two favorites: Tubman and Foreign Minister Clarence L. Simpson. Without much opposition from Simpson, Tubman was elected at the age of 48, and was inaugurated January 3, 1944. He served for seven consecutive terms, spanning 28 years. He was the 19th President of Liberia from 1944 until his death on July 23, 1971.


1946
Billy Eckstine charted with “Prisoner of Love,” reaching #3 R&B and #10 pop. The song would be later passionately revived in James Brown’s electric version.

1951

Sigmund Esco Jackson was born on this date in Gary, Indiana. Better known as “Jackie,” he became the oldest of the pop group, “The Jackson Five” and later “The Jacksons.”


1959
On this date, the first Grammy Award was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Beverly Hills Hotel. There were 28 award categories… In the category of Best Performance, Ella Fitzgerald won her 1st Grammy Award. In doing so, she is the first African American singer to do so.


1961
South Africa ANC-leader John K. Nkadimeng was arrested on this date. Nkadimeng, who had retained strong connections with his people in Sekhukhuniland and had been refused permission to visit his mother there, was arrested for entering the proclaimed area without a permit. He was detained until 1 July, convicted and fined £25.


1961

Thirteen CORE-sponsored Freedom Riders began a bus trip in Washington, DC of what became their first series of protest rides to cities throughout the South to New Orleans to test Southern compliance with a 1960 U.S. Supreme Court ruling outlawing segregation in interstate transportation facilities and to force desegregation of those terminals. They were soon joined by hundreds of other “Freedom Riders” of all ages and races. Despite the court’s decision, dozens of Freedom Riders were arrested. Ten days later, the bus was bombed and its passengers attacked by white segregationists near Anniston, Alabama. Founded by James Farmer and students from the University of Chicago, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) is based on the non-violent Gandhi’s principles.


1962
The latest edition of the Biggest Show of Stars 1962 tour began at Pittsburgh’s Syria Mosque, Featuring Fats Domino, Don & Juan, Brook Benton, the Impressions, and Gene Chandler.


1965
On this date, San Francisco Giants outfielder Willie Mays, the “Say Hey Kid,” hit his 512th career home run to right field in Candlestick Park against the Los Angeles Dodgers Claude Osteen to break former New York Giants great Mel Ott’s National League record for home runs. At the time, it put him fourth on the all-time list. The Giants beat the Dodgers 6-1. Mays would finish his career with 660 home runs, good for third on the all-time list at the time of his retirement.


1967
The Jimi Hendrix Experience peaked at #3 with “Purple Haze” on the British charts, their second Top 10 hit in a row.

 

1969

No Place to Be Somebody opened at the Public Theatre in New York City. Charles Gordone’s powerful play earned its author the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

 

1975
Kimora Lee Simmons, fashion model, author, business woman, and the head of design for Baby Phat, KLS was born Kimora Lee Perking on this date in St. Louis, MO. Being of Japanese and African-American descent, her mother, Joanne Perkins, was adopted by an American serviceman during the Korean War and renamed Joanne. She renamed herself by the Japanese name “Kyoko,” to which Simmon’s mother asserts was her “full blooded Japanese mother’s name. Her father is Vernon Whitlock, Jr., who previously worked as a federal marshal, a social security administrator, and then a barber.

Kimora began her career as a fashion model at the early age of 13 when she was personally chosen by fashion czar Karl Lagerfeld to model for the esteemed house of Chanel in Paris. Her success as a runway model gave Kimora an innate sense of style which propels her as a fashion designer. As the instrumental force behind the brand’s creative designs, ad campaign strategy and marketing concepts, Kimora has taken her astute business acumen and passion for her work to spearhead numerous brand extension ventures with companies including Mattel, Motorola, Lancaster and M. Fabrikant & Sons which include bedding, home products, candles, fragrance and cosmetics.

Having made her mark on the fashion industry, it wasn’t long before Hollywood came calling. Kimora appeared as a judge on season on of UPN’s America’s Next Top Model, and went on to co-host Sony Television’s syndicated talk show Life & Style. She has also Executive Produced and starred in projects including StarTrekking with Kimora Lee Simmons for MSN.com and specials for VH-1 (InsideOut: Kimora Lee Simmons presents NY Fashion Week) and Style (Party Fabulous with Kimora Lee Simmons). Kimora is currently in production with a new Style series, Fabulosity to debut Fall 2007. She has appeared in Ginuwine’s video for “In Those Jeans” with mod Devon Aoki and Usher’s video for “Nice & Slow.” Lee is also a playable character in the fighting game “Def Jam: Fight for New York.” A book written by Simmons, “Fabulosity: What It Isa and How to Get It,” was published by Harper Entertainment in February, 2006. The book was set to function as a “lifestyle manual” on everything from spirituality and finances to fashion and beauty.

She is the head of design for Baby Phat, KLS and became the CEO of Baby Phat after her ex-husband Russell Simmons stepped down.



1977
Eunice Rivers Laurie, R.N., who served as a liaison between the syphilitic subjects and the researchers, revealed in an oral interview that she was vital to the “Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment” because the men trusted her, calling her group “Miss Rivers’ Lodge.”


1985

The famed Apollo Theatre, once the showcase for the nation’s top African American performers, reopened after a renovation that cost $10.4 million. The landmark building on West 125th Street in New York was the first place The Beatles wanted to see on their initial visit to the United States. Ed Sullivan used to frequent the Apollo in search of new talent for his CBS show.


1990

The South African government and the African National Congress concluded historic talks in Cape Town with a joint statement agreeing on a “common commitment toward the resolution of the existing climate of violence.”


1991
Crystal Waters, niece of legendary vocalist Ethel Waters, vaulted onto the Top 100 with “Gypsy Woman.”


1993
In order to get his battered girlfriend to drop charges against him, Wilson Pickett paid a $6,500 fine along with $3,500 to the battered women’s shelter she was staying in.


1994
Toni Braxton was named the World’s Best-Selling R&B Newcomer of the Year at the sixth annual World Music Awards in Monte Carlo, Monaco, while Whitney Houston received the World’s Best-Selling pop Artist of the Year, Female recording Artist of the Year, American Recording Artist of the Year, R&B Artist of the Year, and Overall recording Artist awards.

1996
Dr. Neil de Grasse Tyson, who directed the Rose Center for Earth and Space, containing the rebuilt Hayden Planetarium, was appointed to the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City.


1999

Five New York police officers went on trial for the torture of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima. One officer later pled guilty; a second officer was convicted; and three were acquitted.


2002
On this date, in the first inning at AT&T Park, San Francisco, off his first pitch from Jimmy Haynes, Barry Bonds slammed his 400th home run as a San Francisco Giant to right field, leading his team to a 3-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds. Bonds was the first player to hit 400 homers for one team and 100 with another.


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