September 5: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Muhammad Ali
1846: John Wesley Cromwell was born on this day into slavery. He was a historian, editor, educator and lawyer. He passed away in 1927 at age 81.
1906: Sunnyland Slim was born. He was a blues pianist, singer and songwriter. He passed away in 1995 at age 88.
1916: Frank Yerby was born. He rose to fame as a writer of popular fiction tinged with a distinctive southern flavor. He was the first African American to write a best-selling novel and to have a book purchased by a Hollywood studio for a film adaptation. In 2006 he was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. He died in 1991 at age 75.
1937: Larry Neal was born. He was a scholar of African-American theater. He is well known for his contributions to the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He passed away in 1981.
1946: “Choo Choo Ch’ Boogie” by Louis Jordan & His Tympany 5 was the number one song on this day.
1946: Buddy Miles, one of the top session drummers of the ’60s and ’70s, was born. A versatile musician, Buddy provided every kind of pop and rock ‘n’ roll rhythm for Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars tours. In the mid-60s, he did his “soul thing” with Wilson Pickett’s band. By the late ’60s, he had moved into hard rock with Electric Flag and was eventually in Jimi Hendrix’s Band of gypsies.
1953: Ella Fitzgerald and the Ray Charles Singers charted with a cover of the Orioles’ classic “Crying in the Chapel.” Ella and company raced up the charts to #15, but the Orioles won the competition, having reached #11.
1953: The Spaniels entered the R&B hit list for the first time with “Baby It’s You,” reaching #10. An original deejay copy on red plastic Vee-Jay will set you back $4,500—if you can find it.
1953: The pioneering rhythm & blues vocal group Billy Ward & the Dominoes landed on the R&B hit parade with “You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down,” reaching #8. It was Jackie Wilson’s first chart hit as lead singer of the famous group after replacing Clyde McPhatter, who left to form the Drifters. An original copy of the fifty-three-year-old hit will cost you $100.
1960: Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) was awarded the gold medal for his first place in the light heavyweight boxing competition at the Olympic Games in Rome.
1963: King Curtis and his band performed at New York’s Birdland.
1969: The legendary Josh White passed away. He is widely considered to be one of the most influential blues and folk artists of all time. His singing and guitar playing electrified a generation of fans with his dazzling technique and passionate renditions of blues, folk songs and ballads.
1978: Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers member Joe Negroni died at thirty-seven. He was the third member of the group to die before the age of thirty-eight.
1991: Mariah Carey sang her famous hit “Emotions” (#1) at the eighth annual MTV Video Music Awards ceremony at the Universal Amphitheater in Universal City, CA.
1992: Irving Allen Lee passed away at age 43. He died from an AIDS related illness.
1997: Erykah Badu received four awards at the third annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards, including Best Album, Best New Artist, Best Single, and Best Song. The visibly pregnant performer co-hosted the show with one of her idols, Chaka Khan. Also honored was Janet Jackson, who received the Lena Horne Award for Outstanding Career Achievement.
1998: Sonny Knight passed away at age 64. He was a singer, songwriter and author. He wrote The Day the Music Died, a fictionalized account of racism in the American music business in the 1950s.
1999: Katie Webster passed away at age 63. She was a boogie-woogie pianist and played with Otis Redding in the 1960s. She did many European tours and recorded albums for a German record label. She suffered a stroke while touring in Greece in 1993.
2006: Hollis Gentry III passed away at age 51. He was a saxophonist and composer and a legend in San Diego.