September 14: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Constance Baker Motley
1895: Trixie Smith was born. She was a blues singer, recording artist, vaudeville entertainer, and actress. She made four dozen recordings. She passed away in 1943, after a brief illness, aged 48.
1921: Constance Baker Motley was born. She was a civil rights activist, lawyer, judge, state senator, and Manhattan Borough President, New York City. She died in 2005 at age 84.
1928: The Dunbar Hotel opened. The Dunbar became known in the 1930s and 1940s as “the hub of Los Angeles black culture,” and “the heart of Saturday night Los Angeles.”
1955: Little Richard finished his first recording session for Specialty Records, cutting “Tutti Frutti” (#17 pop, #2 R&B).
1963: The O’Jays made their chart album debut with a classic doo-wop single, “Lonely Drifter” (#93 pop). They named themselves after their mentor, Cleveland deejay Eddie O’Jay, but recorded some terrific harmony sides as the Mascots (King Records), such as “Lonely Rain” in 1961. Before King, they auditioned for Decca records and were turned down.
1963: Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles charted pop with “Down the Aisle (Wedding Song),” reaching #37 and becoming their first of eleven R&B charters (#14) as both the Bluebelles and, later, LaBelle. The group formed in 1961 from two school groups, the Del Capris and the Ordettes.
1970: Stevie Wonder married Syreeta Wright. Wright, previously a secretary at Motown Records, would have the hit “With You I’m Born Again” in 1980 (#4) with Billy Preston
1973: Nas was born. He is an rapper, actor and entrepreneur. He turns 40 today.
1974: Eric Clapton reached #1 pop with the Bob Marley song “I Shot the Sheriff.”
1974: “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” by Barry White was the number one song this day.
1978: Tanisha Lynn was born. She is an actress of film and television. She turns 35 today.
1988: Prince began a tour at the Met Center in Bloomington, MN. The twenty performances were his first tour in four years.
1989: Shirley Alston Reeves of the Shirelles joined with members of the Five Satins, the Silhouettes, the Jive Five, and the Falcons in a doo-wop performance outside Boston’s Berklee Performance Center to promote the formation of the doo-wop Hall of Fame of America.
1990: Disney chairman Michael Eisner presented Michael Jackson with the Michael Jackson Good Scout Humanitarian Award on behalf of the Los Angeles Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
1992: British songstress Joan Armatrading appeared on NBC-TV’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
1998: Johnny Adams passed away at age 66. He was a blues, jazz and gospel singer, known as “The Tan Canary” for the multi-octave range of his singing voice, his swooping vocal mannerisms and falsetto.
2000: Beah Richards passed away at age 80. She was an actress of stage, screen and television. She was a poet, playwright and author.
2002: LaWanda Page passed away at age 81. She was a comedienne and actress of film and television.
2003: Yetunde Price was fatally shot in a drive-by shooting. She was the half-sister and personal assistant to Venus & Serena Williams. She was 31 years old. The intended victim was her boyfriend who was driving the SUV.
2009: Lily Tembo passed away. She was a Zambian singer-songwriter, popularly known as Lily T, who won international acclaim at the Ngoma Awards, nominated for best female recording artist and the best music video award for the title track of her self-titled debut album in 2004. She suffered from severe gastritis and died at age 27.