October 18: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Esperanza Spalding
1775: Poet Phillis Wheatley was freed from Slavery. She died nine years after being freed at age 31.
1896: The St. Agnes Hospital in Raleigh opened its doors. This was one of the 1st hospitals for blacks in America.
1919: Camilla Williams was born. She was an operatic soprano who performed both nationally and internationally. She was the 1st African American to receive a regular contract with a major U.S. opera company, The NYC Opera. She passed in 2012, aged 93.
1923: Jessie Mae Hemphill was born. She was a singer, songwriter and electric guitarist.
1926: Chuck Berry turns 87 today. He is a guitarist, singer, songwriter adn one fo the pioneers of rock & roll music.
1934: Calvin Lockhart was born. He was an actor of stage and film. He passed in 2007 at age 72.
1944: Orville ‘Hoppy’ Jones of the Ink Spots fame passed away on this day after collapsing on stage in NYC. He was 40 years old.
1945: The 30th Spingarn Medal was awarded to Paul Robeson on this day for his acting and singing achievements.
1947: Joe Morton turns 66 today. He is an actor of stage, television & film. He currently portrays Olivia Pope’s dad in the show Scandal.
1948: Ntozake Shange turns 65 today. She is an award-winning playwright and poet. As a self-proclaimed black feminist, she addresses issues relating to race and feminism in much of her work.
1951: Happy Birthday to Terry McMillan. She turns 62 today and is an author of several bestsellers as well as her books being made into movies.
1958: Thomas Hearns turns 55 today. He is a retired professional boxer and the 1st boxer in history to win world titles in four divisions.
1961: Wynton Marsalis turns 52 today. He is a trumpeter, composer, teacher, music educator, and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC.
1963: Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Memphis Slim, and Willie Dixon all performed at the American Negro Blues Festival at Fairfield Halls in Surrey, England.
1966: The Jimi Hendrix Experience made their performance debut in Paris at the Paris Olympia as the opening act for French superstar, Johnny Hollyday.
1967: Chuck Berry, the Platters, the Five Satins, and many others performed at Richard Nader’s First Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival Concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The concert ushered in the oldies revival still going on to this day.
1969: Ella Fitzgerald’s album Ella scratched the Top 200 (#196), becoming her last of eleven chart LPs. She went on to become the most honored jazz vocalist in history.
1969: ‘I Can’t Get Next to You’ by the Temptations was the number one song this day.
1969: The Jackson 5 performed on ABC-TV’s Hollywood Palace. It was their national debut. The Jackson’s father/manager, Joe Jackson, was a former guitar player for the Falcons of “You’re So Fine” fame.
1978: Wesley Jonathan turns 35 today. He is an actor of film and television.
1982: Happy Birthday Ne-Yo. He turns 31 today. He is a Grammy Award winning R&B recording artist, songwriter, record producer, dancer and actor.
1984: Esperanza Spalding turns 29 today. She is a three-time Grammy award winning jazz bassist, cellest and singer.
1986: For the first time in rock history, three females held the top three positions on the Hot 100 singles charts. They were Janet Jackson (“When I Think of You”), Tina Turner (“Typical Male”), and Cyndi Lauper (“True Colors”).
1998: B.B. King’s famous guitar “Lucille” disappeared as the tour bus it was riding on got lost on its way to a performance in Kingston, New York. The mayor ordered the police to comb the city until the bus, seen leaving town, was headed off and given a full escort to the theater.
2007: Lucky Dube was fatally shot during an apparent carjacking. He was shot twice by the assailant and crashed after trying to drive away. He was 43 years old.
2008: Dee Dee Warwick passed away, aged 63. She was a soul singer who won recognition for both her solo work and her performances with her elder sister Dionne Warwick.
2010: Marion Brown passed away at age 79. He was a saxophonist whose playing style made him a key figure in the jazz avant-garde of the ‘60s and ’70s.
2012: David S. Ware passed away at age 62. He was a jazz saxophonist whose career began in the early ‘70s; but Ware did not make a significant name for himself until 20 years later when he helped to lead a resurgence of free jazz in New York.