August 16: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Robert Johnson
1888: Armand J. Piron was born. He was a jazz violinist, bandleader and composer. He passed away in 1943 at age 54.
1902: Wallace Thurman was born. He was a novelist, dramatist, columnist, essayist, editor, publisher and intellectual. He passed away in 1934 at age 32 of tuberculosis.
1915: Al Hibbler was born. He was a baritone vocalist who sang with Duke Ellington’s orchestra before going solo. He passed away in 2001 at age 85.
1922: Louis Lomax was born. He was a journalist, author and the first African American television journalist.
1925: Edna Hicks passed away. She was a blues singer, musician and popular in black vaudeville. She died in a freak accident while assisting her husband to fill their auto up with gas. She was 29 years old.
1938: Blues icon Robert Johnson died in Greenwood, MS, after being poisoned by a vengeful husband four days earlier. His music and guitar style became an influence for future generations of stars to come. He was 27 years old.
1958: Angela Bassett was born. She is an award winning actress of stage, television and film. She turns 55 today.
1962: Little Stevie Wonder’s first single, “I Call It Pretty Music (But the Old People Call It Blues),” was released. It never charted but an original 45 today is an $80 collectible.
1963: The Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The stamp was designed by George Olden, who was the first African American to design a U.S. postage stamp.
1969: The Dells’ re-recording of their hit “Oh, What A Night” (#10 R&B) charted thirteen years after the original.
1969: Appearing at one of music history’s most legendary concerts, Richie Havens performed his song “Freedom” at the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival in Bethel, NY. The song became an anthem of the times and his performance was included in the movie Woodstock.
1969: The Supremes performed at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, CA, with the Jackson 5, who were making their performance debut as a Motown group.
1986: Anita Baker, former lead singer of Chapter 8, swept onto the bestseller’s list with “Sweet Love” that became her first pop hit.
1986: Run-D.M.C.’s Raising Hell became the first rap album to reach #1 on the R&B chart.
1990: ‘Upside Down’ by Diana Ross was the Number One song this day.
1995: Bobby DeBarge passed away. He was a singer, songwriter and musician. He contracted AIDS from intravenous drug use. He was 39.
1997: Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, Toni Braxton, Rod Stewart, Jon Bon Jovi, and Seal, among others, performed at London’s Wembley Stadium for the Songs & Visions: The Carlsberg Concert ’97 show.
1998: Dorothy West passed away at age 91. She was a novelist and short story writer during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. She is best known for her novel The Living Is Easy, as well as many other short stories and essays, about the life of an upper-class black family.
2007: Max Roach passed away. He was a jazz percussionist, drummer and composer. He was 83 years old.