September 25: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: The Little Rock Nine
1861: The Union Navy allowed blacks to enlist for service during the Civil War.
1894: Jay Mayo Williams was born. He was a pioneering producer of recorded blues music. He was the most successful “race records” producer of his time breaking all previous “race record” sales. He passed in 1980 at age 85.
1948: Dizzy Gillespie entered the R&B singles chart for the first and last time with “Manteca” (written by Chano Pozo), reaching #13. Dizzy, who received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989, was known as the father of modern jazz.
1951: Bob McAdoo was born. He is a retired pro basketball player who spent a fourteen-year career playing the center and power forward positions in the NBA. He won NBA championships in 1982 and 1985. McAdoo is currently an assistant coach for the Miami Heat, with whom he won three more NBA championships. He is 62 today.
1952: Bell Hooks was born. She is an author, feminist, and social activist. She turns 61 today.
1954: The Charms’ “Hearts of Stone” (#1 R&B, #15 pop) was released.
1954: Jubilee Records issued a special Four Tunes “Harmonizing Quartet” LP. The album was marked with bass, tenor, alto, and baritone so would be vocalists could sing along to its collection of standards.
1955: ‘Annie Had a Baby’ by the Midnighters was the number one R&B song this day.
1957: Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, was integrated by the use of United States Army troops.
1960: The Upfronts, a Los Angeles R&B group, recorded their second single, “Too Far to Turn Around,” for the local Lummtone label. The group would have six singles through 1964, and their best-known 45, “Most of the Pretty Young Girls,” was their last. With no chart success, the group soon broke up. Their bass singer, however, would stay in the business, and by the ’70s he was a household name in contemporary soul. He was Barry White.
1965: Scottie Pippen was born. He is a retired pro basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association. He is an Olympic Gold medalist and a NBA Hall of Famer. He turns 48 today.
1968: Will Smith was born. He is an actor, rapper and producer. He turns 45 today.
1973: Stevie Wonder performed with Elton John at the Boston Garden singing the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman.”
1976: Chauncey Billups was born. He is a pro basketball guard who currently plays for the Detroit Pistons. He turns 37 today.
1978: Ryan Leslie was born. He is a record producer, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and rapper from D.C. He is the founder of the media company NextSelection Lifestyle Group. He is 35 today.
1980: Clifford Harris, Jr. aka T.I. was born. He is an actor and rapper and CEO of Grand Hustle Records. He is 33 today.
1981: After escaping a brutal relationship with husband Ike Turner with 36 cents and a Mobil gas credit card to her name, Tina Turner began her comeback as the supporting act for the Rolling Stones’ tenth American tour, which kicked off at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. Prior to the performance, Tina was $500,000 in debt and working anywhere she could, including less-than-exotic venues in Bahrain, Yugoslavia, and Poland.
1982: Jennifer Holliday climbed the R&B charts with “I Am Changing” (#29), the song she sang in the Broadway play “Dreamgirls.”
1983: Donald Glover was born. He is a rapper, actor, writer, comedian, and producer. He turns 30 today.
1992: Roberta Flack and Dionne Warwick, known for their numerous benefit performances, once again helped out at the “Caring in Concert AIDS Benefit” TV special broadcast from the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia.
1995: Bessie Delany passed away at age 104. She was a dentist and civil rights pioneer. She was the second black woman licensed to practice dentistry in New York State.
2003: Amina Lawal, a Nigerian woman, sentenced to death by stoning was acquitted on this day.
2008: Anita Williams passed away at age 66. She was a former stage actress and mother of screen actor Terrence Howard.
2011: Wangari Maathai passed away at age 71. She was the first African woman recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for combining environmentalism and social activism.