September 6: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Percy Rodrigues
1848: Frederick Douglass was elected president of National Black Political Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.
1877: Known as King Bolden, and considered to be the first jazz musician, cornet player Buddy Bolden was born today. The performer was a fixture in the dance halls and clubs of early twentieth-century New Orleans, and he had an improvisational style that became legendary. In 1906, according to reports, he had a complete mental breakdown while performing in a parade and never played again. Sadly, he never recorded.
1952: With a blues singer and harmonica player for a frontman, Little Walter & His Jukes jumped on the R&B hit list with “Juke,” reaching #1 for a solid eight weeks, their biggest of fifteen hits through 1959.
1952: “Ting-A-Ling” by the Clovers was the number one song this day.
1952: Smiley Lewis charted with his first of four hits, “The Bells Are Ringing,” reaching #10 R&B.
1957: Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, Chuck Berry, the Drifters, Clyde McPhatter, Buddy Holley & the Crickets, Paul Anka, the Everly Brothers, and others kicked off the Biggest Show of Stars for 1957 package tour at the Syria Mosques, Pittsburgh, PA. As an iconic result of the anti-Black prejudice of the times, the White artists were forbidden from playing certain dates because of segregation laws that prohibited Black and White artists from performing on the same stage.
1958: The Quintones performed their hit “Down the Aisle of Love” (#18 pop, #5 R&B) on American Bandstand.
1969: Isaac Hayes charted for the first time with “Walk On By,” reaching #13 R&B and #30 pop. The song was originally a hit in 1964 for Dionne Warwick. Isaac started out playing with amateur bands like Sir Isaac & the Do-Dads. he graduated to become a member of the Stax Records house band, often playing behind Otis Redding while holding a day gig in a Memphis meatpacking plant.
1969: Macy Gray was born. She is a singer, songwriter, musician, record producer and actress. She turns 44 today.
1970: Daniele Gaither was born. She is an actress and comedienne. She does over 30 impressions including Tyra Banks, Fantasia, Beyonce, Kerry Washington, Oprah and more. She turns 43 today.
1972: Idris Elba was born. He is an actor, singer, rapper and producer. He is 41 today.
1972: Anika Noni Rose was born. She is a Tony Award winning actress of stage, film and television. She is 41 today.
1976: Naomie Harris was born. She is an award winning British actress of stage, film and television. She is 37 today.
1978: Foxy Brown was born. She is a rapper, model and actress. She is 35 today.
1986: Actress and singer Melba Moore, along with Freddie Jackson, entered the R&B charts with “A Little Bit More,” reaching #1 for her career best of thirty-two R&B hits from 1975 to 1990.
1988: Lee Roy Young became the first African American Texas Ranger in the Police forces 165-year history.
1996: Jaishon Fisher was born. He is an award winning actor of film & television. He turns 17 today.
1997: Brian McKnight with Jacksonville, FL, rapper Mase (born Mason Betha), charted R&B with “You Should Be Mine (Don’t Waste Your Time),” reaching #4 and #17 pop.
2007: Effi Barry passed away at age 63. She was a former model and the ex-wife of former Washington, DC Mayor Marion Barry, who endured her husband’s drug abuse and infidelity during his years in office. She learned she had leukemia the previous year and campaigned for more black Americans to join the registry for bone marrow transplants.
2007: Nora Ezell passed away at age 90. She was the winner of a National Endowment of the Arts award for her quilts honoring the life of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights era in Alabama, and the saga of the American Indian, among others.
2007: Percy Rodrigues passed away at age 89. He was an actor whose role as a neurosurgeon in the ’60s TV series Peyton Place broke ground because he was cast as an authority figure when relatively few black actors were given such parts. He also had a long career as a voice actor narrating movie trailers, radio and TV ads.
2008: Ruth Grace Moulon “Ruthie the Duck Girl” passed away at age 74. She was a colorful New Orleans character, an eccentric who zoomed from bar to bar on roller skates, often wearing a ratty fur coat or wedding gown and trailed by a string of her beloved ducks. She became a French Quarter fixture, achieving legendary status in a city that treasures people who live outside the mainstream.