October 13: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Leona Mitchell
1898: Edith Sampson was born. She was a lawyer, judge and the first black U.S. delegate appointed to the United Nations. She passed in 1979.
1902: Arna Bontemps was born. He was a poet and a noted member of the Harlem Renaissance. He passed away in 1973.
1909: Art Tatum was born. He was a jazz pianist and virtuoso. He passed away at age 47 of kidney failure.
1938: Shirley Caesar turns 75 today. She is a Grammy Award winning Gospel singer, songwriter and recording artist, known as the ‘First Lady of Gospel Music.’
1949: Leona Mitchell turns 64 today. She is an operatic soprano and an Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame Inductee.
1951: John Lee Hooker scored on the R&B charts with his 78 “I’m in the Mood,” his sixth hit. In the next few years, it would sell more than one million copies, as would his first single, “Boogie Chillen.’ ‘
1952: Beverly Johnson turns 61 today. She is a model, actress and businesswoman. She was the 1st black model to appear on the cover of Vogue in 1974.
1956: The Heartbeats’ standard, “A Thousand Miles Away” (#5 R&B, #53 pop), was released. The group’s lead singer, James Sheppard, wrote the standard while lounging in his bathtub.
1956: The Chips’ “Rubber Biscuit” ($100), the Cleftones’ “String Around My Heart” ($40), and the Cadillacs’ “The Girl I Love” ($100) were all issued.
1957: Specialty Records, upon hearing of Little Richard’s plan to leave rock ‘n’ roll, scheduled a quick eight-song recording session before the rocker could enter a theological seminary.
1958: ‘It’s All in the Game’ by Tommy Edwards was the number one R&B song this day.
1961: Doc Rivers turns 52 today. He is a former NBA player and current head coach & Sr. VP of Basketball Operations for the LA Clippers.
1962: T’Keyah Crystal Keymah turns 51 today. She is an actress, director, producer and writer.
1962: Jerry Rice turns 51 today. He is a former NFL wide receiver who played twenty seasons and considered to be the greatest in NFL history.
1963: Brook Benton followed the Beatles on Sunday Night at the London Palladium, his British TV debut. In essence, The Beatles opened for him.
1968: Tisha Campbell Martin turns 45 today. She is an actress of film and television and a singer.
1970: Mel Jackson turns 43 today. He is an actor, producer, spoken word artist and R&B musician.
1973: Brian Dawkins is 40 today. He is a former NFL safety who played for 16 seasons.
1977: Orlons member Shirley Brickley was shot to death by an intruder in her home in Philadelphia. The Orlons were one of the hottest dance music groups of the early ’60s, They formed as a group in high school in the late 1950s, and were known as an all-girl quintet called Audrey and the Teenettes, before they became the Orlons. Shirley was a member through all nine of their Top 100 hits. She was only thirty-two.
1979: Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” reached #1 pop and R&B. It was his first solo #1 in seven years and reached #3 in England and #2 in Germany.
1979: The Sugar Hill Gang charted R&B with “Rapper’s Delight,” reaching #4 and #36 pop. They became the first pop success on the rap scene with what turned out to be their biggest hit.
1980: Ashanti Douglas turns 33 today. She is a singer, songwriter, dancer and actress.
1990: Fifty-two years after his death, Robert Johnson finally made the charts. A meticulously and lovingly compiled collection of Jonson’s recordings titled The Complete Recordings started a thirty-one week run and earned platinum status despite only reaching #80 pop
1993: Wade Flemons passed away at age 53 of cancer. He was a singer and was a member of Earth, Wind & Fire for several years.
2005: Vivian Malone Jones passed away. She one of the first two African Americans to enroll at the University of Alabama in 1963 and the university’s first African American graduate. She was 63.
2009: Cullen Bryant passed away, aged 58. He was a running back in the NFL. He played for the LA Rams for 11 seasons and was on their 1980 Super Bowl Team.
2009: Oraine Simpson, age 26, was fatally stabbed to death during a dispute with a neighbor. He was a Jamaican international football (soccer) player.
2010: General Norman Johnson passed away, aged 67. He was a songwriter, producer and the lead singer of the soul group Chairmen of the Board.