On this date, Jean Baptiste Pointe
DuSable, frontier trader, fur trapper, farmer, businessman, and the founder of
the settlement that would grow to become the city of Chicago, sold his property for $1,200 and
left the settlement. The Haitian-born frontier trader and businessman would die
almost penniless 18 years later in St.
date, Mary Mahoney was born.
She was an African-American nurse, the first Black woman to hold that position
in the United States.
Born in the Dorchester section of Boston,
she was the oldest of three children. At eighteen, she began working at the New England Hospital for Women and Children as a
cook and cleaning woman. Mahoney was always interested in becoming a nurse and
in 1878, at the age of 33, she was accepted as a student nurse in the hospital.
It was a rigorous program and on August 1, 1879, Mary was one of only four to
graduate out of forty-two entries.
After registration with the Nurses’ Directory at the Massachusetts Medical
Library and plenty of positive referrals from clients and patients, Mahoney’s
reputation for proficiency grew. Her alma mater took note of her success and
began admitting other Negro women despite the vicious racism at nursing schools
By 1899, her school had produced and graduated five other African-American
Black nurses were not given the same opportunities as White nurses so Mahoney
became involved in the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN)
in 1908. Never married, she treated her patients like family, often cooking for
those in her care. In 1911, Mahoney moved to New York
for a year, heading the Howard Orphan Asylum for Black children in Kings Park, Long Island.
In her post-retirement years, she supported the women’s suffrage movement and
in 1921, became one of the first women in Boston
to vote. Mary E. Mahoney died on January 4, 1926.
American demonstrators stage a ride-in to protest segregation on New Orleans streetcars. Similar demonstrations
occur in Mobile, Alabama, and other cities.
of the Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University
(A&M) is celebrated on this date.
University is one of over 100
Historically Black Colleges and Universities in America. Alabama A&M of Huntsville is a
land-grant university supported by state and federal funds. Its first
president, Dr. William Hooper Councill, an ex-slave, established this
university. The Huntsville
Normal School opened on
this date in 1875 with an appropriation of $1,000 per year and an enrollment of
61 pupils and two teachers.
Industrial education was introduced about 1878, with such success that the
State Legislature authorized a name change to the “State Normal Industrial
School of Huntsville. In 1891, the school received a Federal Land Grant Fund
and its name was then changed to The State Agricultural and Mechanical College
for Negroes. In 1919, the institution became a junior college. In 1939, the
institution was permitted to offer work on the senior college level.
The first class since 1920 received bachelors’ degrees in Alabama Agricultural
and Mechanical College. A&M received a “Class A” rating by the Southern
Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in August 1946, and became a
fully accredited member of the Association in December of 1963.
On June 26, 1969, the Alabama State Board of Education adopted a resolution
changing the name of the institution to Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical
Black inventor, Joseph R. Winters, receives a
patent for his design of the fire escape
ladder. Patent #203,517.
Henrietta Vinton Davis performs scenes from Shakespeare with Powhatan Beaty at Ford’s Opera House in Washington, DC, site of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Vinton’s career will span a total of 44 years and will include her involvement with Marcus Garvey’s UNIA, including a vice-presidency of Garvey’s Black Star Line.
Dr. John E. W. Thompson, a graduate of the Yale University Medical School, is named minister to
The birth of
Ellis Wilson, an African
American artist, is celebrated on this date.
He was born in a segregated neighborhood known as “The Bottom” in Mayfield,
KY., one of six children of Frank and Minnie Wilson. His father, a barber, was
also an amateur painter. Wilson said that he got his artistic talent from his
father and the desire for an education from his mother. The family cherished
two paintings in particular of the elder Wilson’s. “If they would be around
today, they would be considered primitives,” the younger Wilson said. His
father gave up painting after he married—it was a luxury he could not afford as
he tried to support a growing family.
While still very young, Wilson started taking odd jobs to help out with the
family, in Mayfield. He once drew a portrait in cleaning soap on the store’s
window, which attracted the attention of passersby. The delighted store owner encouraged
him to make weekly drawings. Wilson’s formal education began in The Bottom at
the Mayfield Colored Grade School. He attended the all-black Kentucky Normal
and Industrial Institute in Frankfort (which has since evolved into Kentucky
State University) for two years, but could study only agriculture and
education. Ellis wanted to study art, so, at 19, he left Kentucky for Chicago
to attend the School of the Art Institute.
He won national acclaim in the art world during the 1930s and 1940s. Wilson painted
through the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in New York in the 1930s and
won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1944. In the 1950s, he traveled to Haiti.
His major exhibitions include a Retrospective Exhibition at Fisk University,
Nashville, 1971. His work can be found in the collections of many museums,
including the Smithsonian’s National Gallery of Art, and his painting “Funeral
Procession” received national exposure on the set of Bill Cosby’s 1980s
television show. Yet Kentucky-born artist Ellis Wilson remains relatively
unknown in his hometown of Mayfield and in his home state. Ellis Wilson died in
critic and editor Darwin Turner is born in Cincinnati, Ohio. His major works will include “Black American Literature: Essays, Poetry Fiction and Drama” (1969) and “Voices
from the Black Experience: African and Afro-American Literature” (1972).
Jimmy Ruffin is born in Colinsville,
Mississippi. The older brother of the Temptations’ lead singer David Ruffin, he
will become a singer on the Motown label and will best known for the hit “What
Becomes of the Brokenhearted.” He will also record “Hold on to My Love,” “There Will Never be Another You,” and “I’ll Say Forever My Love.”
“Natural Man,” a play by Theodore Browne, premieres in New York City. It is a production of the American Negro
Theatre, founded by Abram Hill and Frederick O’Neal.
The Liberty Ship, George Washington
Carver, was launched on this date.
owner Branch Rickey announces the organization of the United States Negro Baseball League, consisting of six teams.
William Henry Hastie is inaugurated as the first African American governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Woodrow “Woody” Strode became the second
Black professional football player when he signed with the Los Angeles Rams on
Clement becomes the first Black woman named “American Mother of the
Year” by the Golden Rule Foundation.
93,103 fans pack the Los Angeles Coliseum for an exhibition game between the Los
Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees. It is “Roy Campanella Night.” The star catcher for the Dodgers,
paralyzed in an automobile accident, is honored for his contributions to the
team for many years. “Campie” will
continue to serve in various capacities with the Dodger organization for many
Fannie Lou Hamer addresses
the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Institute in New York describing the achievements
of her “Freedom Farm”.
date, the first Black jockey in 79 years rode in the Kentucky Derby.
Marlon St. Julien was the
first Black jockey since 1921 to ride in the world’s most famous horse race.
St. Julien rode Curule, a 50-to-1 long shot who earned a spot in the 19-horse
field when another horse, Harlan Traveler, pulled out.
Curule is owned by Godolphin Racing, which represents two sheiks who are
members of Dubai’s ruling family. St. Julien finished 7th in the
2000 Kentucky Derby.