May 15: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Diane Nash
1832: Mary Fields or ‘Stagecoach Mary’ was born. She delivered mail every day until she was 80 years old.
1904: Sigma Pi Phi, the first African American Greek-lettered organization, was founded in Philadelphia. The organization was founded by four doctors because black professionals did not have the opportunity to participate in professional and cultural associations organized by white people.
1905: Josiah Thomas Walls, the first African American congressman from Florida, died.
1910: Milton Murray Holland, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, passed away. Holland was born enslaved August 1, 1844 in Austin, Texas. Possibly the son of his owner, Holland and his two brothers were freed and sent to school in Ohio. In 1863, he joined the 5th United States Colored Troops to fight in the Civil War. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
1933: George Benton, hall of fame boxing trainer, was born in Philadelphia. He passed away in 2011.
1938: Happy Birthday to Diane Nash who turns 76 today. She was a leader & strategist of the student wing of the 1960s movement.
1942: 93rd Infantry (the 1st Black division formed during WWII) was activated and assigned to combat in the South Pacific.
1943: Songwriter, arranger, producer and conductor Freddie Perren was born. (Died: 2004)
1963: Ray Charles won the Best R&B Recording Award at the 5th annual Grammy Awards for ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You.’
1965: The Four Tops charted with ‘I Can’t Help Myself’ reaching #1 on the R&B chart and holding it for nine weeks.
1969: Happy Birthday to Emmitt Smith who turns 45 today.
1970: Philip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green were killed at Jackson State University by police during student protests.
1975: The Blanche K. Bruce House in Washington, D.C. was declared a National Historic Landmark.
1976: #1 R&B song – ‘Boogie Fever’ by the Sylvers
1983: Photographer James VanDerZee passed away.
1992: Singer Barbara Lee of The Chiffons passed away.
1992: Boyz II Men, Hammer & Jodeci performed at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
1997: Jazz trumpeter Tommy Turrentine passed away.
1997: Born on this day was Precious Doe, a pseudonym given to Erica Michelle Green upon discovery of her little body (age 3). She was discovered in 2001 but was not identified until 2005. Once she was identified, her parents were charged with the murder.
2005: R&B singer Theola Kilgore passed away.