January 27: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Mahalia Jackson
1766: Haitian born philanthropist Pierre Toussaint was born. He passed away in 1853, aged 87.
1863: The 54th Regiment, a Black infantry unit, was formed.
1866: George H. Woodson was born. He was a lawyer & founder of the Iowa Negro Bar & the National Bar Association in 1925. He passed away in 1933.
1869: Will Marion Cook was a composer and violinist. He passed in 1944, aged 75.
1894: Fritz Pollard was born. He was the 1st African American head coach in the NFL. He along with Bobby Marshall were the 1st two black players in the NFL. He passed away in 1986, aged 92.
1908: Oran ‘Hot Lips’ Page was born. He was one of the best jazz trumpeters, singers and bandleaders. He died in 1954, aged 46.
1918: Elmore James was born. He was a blues guitarist, singer, songwriter & guitarist. He passed in 1963, aged 45.
1930: Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland was born. He passed away in 2013, aged 83.
1939: Happy Birthday to author, musician & photographer Julius Lester who turns 75 today.
1941: Happy Birthday to musician & composer Bobby Hutcherson who turns 73 today.
1942: Happy Birthday to comedian & actor John Witherspoon who turns 72 today.
1946: Happy Birthday to singer & former member of the Ronettes Nedra Talley who turns 68 today.
1948: Executive Order 9981, to end segregation in US Armed Forces was signed by President Harry Truman.
1952: Ralph Ellison’s powerful novel, Invisible Man, won the National Book Award.
1961: World renowned opera singer, Leontyne Price, made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera House
1962: ‘I Know (You Don’t Love Me No More)’ by Barbara George was the #1 R&B song.
1968: Happy Birthday to rapper & actor Adrian Matthews aka Tricky who turns 46 today.
1968: “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin was the #1 R&B song.
1972: The Queen of Gospel, Mahalia Jackson, passed away at age 60.
1984: Michael Jackson suffered 2nd degree burns to his scalp during the filming of a Pepsi commercial in the Shrine Auditorium.
1984: Happy Birthday to actress Davetta Sherwood who turns 30 today.
2003: The 1st selections for the Nat’l Recording Registry were announced by the Library of Congress. Dr. King’s I Have a Dream Speech was one of them.
2006: Gene McFadden passed away (cancer), aged 57. He was a singer, songwriter, record producer and 1/2 the successful team of McFadden & Whitehead.
2010: Samuel Drake passed away, aged 75. He was a minor league baseball player who with his brother Solomon became part of baseball history as the first black siblings to play in the majors.
2012: Kay Davis passed away, aged 91. She was a singer who vocalized through many of Duke Ellington’s records, often using her voice as an instrument within the orchestra (44–50), notably on the wordless “Creole Love Call.”