This Day in Black History: January 15
FEATURED: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
1891: Biddy Mason passed away. She was a former slave who became a midwife & nurse. Saving carefully, she was one of the 1st African Americans to purchase land in Los Angeles. As a businesswoman she amassed a small fortune of nearly $300,000, which she shared generously with charities. Biddy also fed and sheltered the poor and visited prisoners. She was instrumental in founding a traveler’s aid center and an elementary school for black children.
1908: The Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority becomes the first Greek-letter organization founded and established by African American college women.
1929: Martin Luther King, Jr. was born. He was a national icon in the fight for civil rights. He was assassinated in 1968 when he was 39.
1929: Chicago Blues guitarist Earl Hooker was born. He passed away in 1970.
1953: Happy Birthday to actress Ta Tanisha who turns 61 today.
1955: LaVern Baker charted with “Tweedle Dee” (#14), her first of twenty pop Top 100 45s between 1955 and 1966. She also had twenty-one R&B hits and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.
1955: ‘Earth Angel’ by the Penguins was the #1 R&B song.
1957: Happy Birthday to actor & director Mario Van Peeples who turns 57 today.
1959: Happy Birthday to reggae singer & actress Sister Carol who turns 55 today.
1960: Little Junior Parker, Bo Diddley, Bobby Bland, Etta James, Bill Doggett, and the Isley Brothers performed at the Regal Theater in Chicago.
1961: The Supremes signed with Motown Records.
1966: Harold R Perry became the 2nd black Roman Catholic bishop in the U.S.
1971: Happy Birthday to actress Regina King who turns 43 today.
1972: Issac Hayes began a European tour with a performance in West Germany.
1972: Heavyweight boxer Joe Frazier KOed Terry Daniels.
1988: Sportscaster Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder made racist remarks about black athletes and was fired the following day.
1989: “Ain’t Misbehavin'” closed at the Ambassador Theater NYC after 176 performances.
1990: Patti LaBelle received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) awards dinner in New York.
1990: 42 year old boxer George Foreman KOed George Cooney in 2 rounds.
1990: Happy Birthday to actor Chris Warren, Jr. who turns 24 today.
1991: LL Cool J’s “Around the Way Girl” which sampled Rick James’s “All Night Long,” was certified platinum in sales.
1992: The Rock and Roll Hall of fame inducted Bobby “Blue” Bland, Jimi Hendrix, Sam & Dave, Elmore James, and Booker T & the MG.’s for the seventh Annual awards ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York.
1994: The Old School Reunion Tour began, with rappers Sugar Hill Gang, Kurtis Blow, Kool Moe Dee, and Houdini, among others.
1998: James Brown was admitted to a hospital for treatment for an addiction to painkillers at the age of 64. He was released on January 21, 1998.
1998: Musician & songwriter Junior Wells passed away, aged 63.
1990: Award winning artist & sculptor Jim Gary passed away, aged 66.
2009: Leroy Cooper passed away, aged 80. He was a jazz musician who played baritone saxophone for Ray Charles (’50s-’70s) and at times was bandleader for the rhythm-and-blues pianist.