October 21: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Ronald McNair
1912: Don Byas was born. He was a jazz tenor saxophonist, bebop & swing genres. He passed in 1972, aged 59.
1917: Jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie, known as the father of modern jazz, was born. He passed in 1993, aged 75.
1931: Robert Hicks aka Barbecue Bob died of TB and pneumonia at the age of 29. He was a Piedmont blues/country guitarist and singer. During his short career he recorded 68 78-rpm sides. His 1st recording ‘Barbecue Blues’ sold 15,000 in 1927.
1944: ‘Gee, Baby, Ain’t I good to You’ by the King Cole Trio was the number one song this day.
1950: The 1st NBA Black Asst. Coach and 1st Black chief scout, Earl Lloyd, became the 1st Black person to play in an NBA game (beating out Charles Cooper and Nat Clifton by a day)
1950: Lionel Hampton, the King of the Vibraphone, charted with “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool,” his fourteenth and final hit, reaching #6 R&B. The song would be a doo-wop charter for the Heartbeats seven years later.
1950: Ronald McNair was born. He was a physicist and NASA astronaut. He died during the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986. He was 35 years old.
1957: Bobby Day & the Hollywood Flames (sometimes known as the Satellites) recorded their soon-to-be hit “buzz, Buzz, Buzz” (#5 R&B, #11 pop). Also in the revolving door group at the time was the Penguins’ Curtis Williams.
1957: Sam Cooke, a former gospel singer (lead of the Soul Stirrers), debuted in the secular world with “You Send Me,” an eventual #1 R&B for six weeks and #1 pop for three weeks.
1962: Monette Moore died of a heart attack, aged 60. She was a jazz and classic female blues singer and pianist.
1964: Abebe Bikila ran the Olympic/World record marathon (2:12:11.2)
1967: English footballer Paul Ince turns 46 today. He is the first black player to captain the England team and was also the first black Briton to manage a team in the highest tier of English football.
1972: Curtis Mayfield’s soundtrack album Superfly, from the film of the same name, reached #1 pop for four weeks.
1972: Johnny Nash bounced onto the R&B hit list with ”I Can See Clearly Now,” reaching only #38 but crossing over to #1 pop for four weeks. The heavy reggae influence on the record was provided by backing musicians the Wailers, Bob Marley’s band.
1974: Nakia Burrise turns 39 today. She is a singer and actress of film and television.
1979: The Black Fashion Museum was opened in Harlem by Lois Alexander to highlight the achievements and contributions of African Americans to fashion.
1989: Bertram M. Lee and Peter C.B. Bynoe sign an agreement to purchase the NBA’s Denver Nuggets for $54 million. They became the first African American owners of a professional basketball team.
1990: Janet Jackson performed at Wembley Arena in London during her European tour.
1994: Dexter Scott King, youngest son of Martin Luther King Jr and Coretta Scott King, was named head of SCLC.
2003: Fred Berry passed away, aged 52. Actor and one of the most beloved small-screen characters ‘Rerun’ of the 1970s and was also a member of the Lockers Dance Troupe.
2011: Mildred Carter passed away, aged 90. She was Alabama’s first licensed black female pilot in 1941.
2012: Alfred Kumalo passed away, aged 82. He was a South African photographer whose work chronicled the brutalities of apartheid and the rise of Nelson Mandela.