August 12: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Ophelia DeVore
1890: Lillian Evanti was born. She was a soprano, composer and was the first African American to perform with a major European opera company. She passed away in 1967.
1907: Gladys Bentley was born. She was a blues singer during the Harlem Renaissance. She passed away in 1960.
1920: Percy Mayfield was born. He was a songwriter famous for the songs “Hit the Road Jack” and “Please Send Me Someone to Love”, as well as a successful rhythm and blues artist known for his smooth vocal style. He passed away in 1984.
1922: Businesswoman and former model Ophelia DeVore was born. She was the first African-American model in the United States. In 1946, she helped establish the Grace Del Marco Agency, one of the first modeling agencies in America.
1922: The home of Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C. was declared a National Shrine.
1926: Joe Jones was born. He was an R&B singer, songwriter and arranger from New Orleans. He passed away in 2005.
1950: August Darnell was born. He is the founder and member of Kid Creole & the Coconuts. He turns 63 today.
1957: Billy Ward & the Dominoes’ “One Moment With You” and the Five Keys’ “Face Of An Angel” were released.
1958: Photographer Art Kane assembled 57 legendary jazz musicians, for Esquire magazine in 1958 in Harlem. Eventually this photograph would became the basis for a documentary, A Great Day in Harlem.
1962: Youree Dell Harris aka Miss Cleo was born. She is a psychic and one of the most popular queen of late-night psychic readers. She turns 51 today.
1963: Anthony Ray aka Sir Mix-a-Lot was born. He is an MC and producer. He turns 50 today.
1964: South Africa was banned from the Olympics due to the country’s racist policies.
1966: Junior Walker & the All-Stars performed at the Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, SC.
1967: Aretha Franklin headlined the first New York Jazz Festival at Downing Stadium.
1972: Teren Delvon Jones aka Del the Funky Homosapien or Del tha Funkeé Homosapien or Sir Dzl was born. He turns 41 today.
1976: Antoine Walker was born. He is a retired NBA player. He turns 37 today.
1977: Plaxico Burress was born. He is a wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL. He turns 36 today.
1978: ‘Three Times a Lady’ by the Commodores was the Number One R&B song this day.
1978: Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” reached #3 pop and #5 R&B. It would go on to earn an Academy Award for Best Song (from the film Thank God It’s Friday) in 1979.
1984: Lionel Richie performed “All Night Long” as the last song of the closing ceremonies of the XXIII Olympic Games in Los Angeles. The spectacle included 200 dancers and was seen by more than 2.5 billion people around the world.
1986: Prince performed in England for the first time in five years at London’s Wembley Arena. Unlike his last, poorly-attended performance in Britain, all three of his dates were sold out.
1988: Jean-Michel Basquiat passed away. He was an obscure graffiti artist in New York City in the late 1970s and evolved into an acclaimed Neo-expressionist and Primitivist painter by the 1980s. He died of a heroin overdose. He was 27 years old.
1994: Dionne Warwick guested on the Geraldo (Rivera) TV show, but drew criticism when she supported and sympathized with O.J. Simpson regarding the murder of his wife.
1997: Luther Allison passed away. He was a blues guitarist and worked with many of the legends. He was 57 years old.
2006: Drummer Bruce Carter passed away. He helped make the Portland high school group ‘Pleasure’ into a nationally successful band. He was 49 years old.