The month of February and Black History Month has come to a close but that doesn’t mean we have to stop celebrating Black history. Black history happens every day and we intend to keep right on celebrating as well as featuring a gallery dedicated to those who made a difference long ago and today.
1. April 1: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Gil Scott Heron
1895: Blues Singer, songwriter and nurse Alberta Hunter was born. She passed away in 1984, aged 89.
1917: Composer and pianist Scott Joplin passed away at age 49 dementia and other health problems.
1929: Atlanta University was established.
1936: Happy Birthday to Singer & songwriter Rudy Isley who turns 75 today.
1948: Happy Birthday to musician, singer and actor Jimmy Cliff who turns 66 today. He is the only living recipient of the Order of Merit awarded by the Jamaican government for achievement in the arts & sciences.
1949: Poet, singer, songwriter, author & musician Gil Scott Heron was born. He passed in 2011, aged 62.
1949: “Happy Pappy” premiered. It was the first all-black-cast variety show.
1950: Medical Pioneer and surgeon Dr. Charles Drew died from severe injuries sustained in an auto accident. He was 45 years old.
1956: #1 R&B song: “Drown in My Own Tears” by Ray Charles.
1960: The Four Tops performed at the Apollo Theater.
1966: First World Festival of Black Art was held in Dakar, Senegal.
1971: Happy Birthday to rapper, actor Method Man who turns 44 today.
1972: Happy Birthday to Albert & Allen Hughes who turn 42 today. The twins are film directors, producers and screenwriters.
1983: NFL player Sean Taylor was born this day. He died from injuries sustained during a robbery at this home.
1984: Singer, songwriter & musician Marvin Gaye died this day. He was 44 years old.
1985: The long-awaited album ‘We Are the World’ was finally released.
1989: B.B. King & U2 charted with ‘When love Comes to Town.’
1991: Dwight Goodin signed a $5.15 M three year contract with NY Mets.
1992: Boyz II Men & Hammer began the ‘Too Legit to Quit’ tour.
1994: The O’Jays, the Whispers & Levert performed at the Westbury Music fair in Long Island, NY.
1999: Jesse Stone passed away, aged 97. He was one of the greatest songwriters of the R&B, Rock N Roll era.
2012: Filmmaker & director Jamaa Fanaka passed away. He was 69 years old.
2. April 2: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Marvin Gaye
1870: Pioneering physician Dr. J. Edward Perry was born (Died: 1962)
1908: Thurgood Marshall was born (Died: 1993).
1911: Tap dancer Charles ‘Honi’ Coles was born (Died: 1992).
1918: Artist Charles White was born (Died: 1979)
1932: Cowboy Willie ‘Bill’ Picket passed away.
1938: Jazz trumpeter and composer Booker Little was born. He died
1939: Marvin Gaye was born in Washington, DC (Died: 4/1/1984).
1965: #1 R&B song: Got to Get You Off My Mind by Solomon Burke .
1965: Rodney King was born in Sacramento, CA (Died: 2012).
1965: Dionne Warwick performed on Britain’s Ready, Steady, Go! TV-Show Debut.
1966: Sarah Vaughan’s ‘A Lover’s Concert’ charted.
1968: Jimi Hendrix performed at the Paul Suave Arena in Montreal.
1969: The Milwaukee Bucks signed Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabaar) for a $1.4 M – five year contract.
1975: Actor/comedian Aries Spears was born.
1977: Stevie Wonder released ‘Sir Duke’ a tribute to Duke Ellington.
1983: Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ charted and reached #1 on both R&B and Pop charts.
1984: Coach John Thomas of Georgetown Univ. became the 1st Black coach to win the NCAA basketball tournament.
1993: Roberta Flack guested on the ABC-TV soap opera, ‘Loving.’
1995: Sax play, jazz composer Julius Hemphill passed away at age 57.
1998: Rob Pilaus of Milli Vanilli passed away at age 32.
2001: Mariah Carey signed a $60M deal with Virgin Records for 3 albums.
2003: Edwin Starr passed away.
3. April 3: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Carter G. Woodson
1858: Politician & physician Matthew Ricketts was born. He was the 1st African American state senator in Nebraska. (Died: 1917)
1883: Inventor Humphrey H. Reynolds received a patent for the window ventilator for railroad cars.
1928: Retired NBA player Earl Lloyd was born. He was the 1st African American to play in an NBA game.
1936: Jazz musician and bandleader Jimmy McGriff was born (Died: 2008).
1950: The ‘Father of Black History’ Carter G. Woodson passed away.
1952: Harry Belafonte recorded his first songs for RCA Victor.
1959: The BBC banned the Coasters’ ‘Charlie Brown’ over its reference to spitballs.
1961: The #1 song was ‘Blue Moon’ by the Marcels.
1961: Happy Birthday to Actor and comedian Eddie Murphy who turns 53 today.
1968: Dr. Martin Luther King gave his last speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop’ the day before he was assassinated.
1976: “Love Really Hurts Without You” by Billy Ocean reached #2 in England & #22 in the USA.
1976: Diana Ross’s ‘Love Hangover’ made its way on the Hot 100 chart,eventually reaching number one.
1990: Jazz legend Sarah Vaughan passed away.
1991: Queen Latifah, Big Daddy Kane & Afrika Bambaataa appeared at Rap Portraits and Lyrics of a Generation of Black Rockers in New York.
1991: Bo Jackson signed a 1-year contract with the Chicago White Sox.
1992: Prince started a tour at the Tokyo Dome, in Tokyo, Japan.
1996: Ron Brown, Secretary of Commerce, was killed in a plane crash.
1996: Carl Stokes, 1st black mayor of a major city (Cleveland) passed away.
1996: MC Hammer (former Forbes lister) filed for bankruptcy.
1998: Michael’s daughter Paris Michael Katherine Jackson was born.
2012: President Barack Obama officially secured Democratic presidential nomination.
4. April 4: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Dr. Martin Luther King
1903: Pioneering journalist, writer, and civil rights activist Marvel Cooke was born (Died: 2000).
1915: Blues legend Muddy Waters was born (Died: 1983).
1928: Maya Angelou, the most renowned and influential voices of our time was born.
1941: R&B singer Major Lance was born (Died: 1994).
1942: Businessman Richard Parsons was born (Citigroup / Time Warner)
1967: Paul McCartney told Derek Taylor (producer of the upcoming Monterey Pop Festival) about a new guitar phenomenon he had seen named Jimi Hendrix.
1968: Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated at the Loraine Motel in Memphis, TN.
1968: Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King & Buddy Guy met up for an all night blues session at a club in the states after hearing about Dr. Kings assassination.
1971: ‘Just My Imagination’ by the Temptations was the #1 song.
1972: Singer and actress Jill Scott was born.
1973: Singer Kelly Price was born.
1974: R&B singer Andre Dalyrimple was born.
1976: “Disco Lady” by Johnnie Taylor was the #1 song.
1989: Kareem Abdul Jabbar played his last NBA game in Seattle.
1998: K-Ci & Jojo started a three week run at No. 1 with ‘All My Life’
2003: 50 Cent’s ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’ sold more than 4M copies in two months.
2003: Sammy Sosa hit his 500th home run making him the 18th member of the 500 Home Run Club.
2012: Activist, Sculptor & printmaker Elizabeth Catlett died at age 96.
5. April 5: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Colin Powell
1856: Booker T. Washington was born (Died: 1915)
1928: Jazz Hoofer Will Gaines was born.
1934: Jazz Saxophonist Stanley Turrentine was born (Died: 2000)
1937: Colin Powell was born.
1967: 76er Wilt Chamberlain set an NBA record of 41 rebounds.
1968: James Brown made a national television appeal for calm in the wake of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
1968: Bobby Hutton (17) one of the original Black Panthers was gunned down by police.
1970: Blues musician Kid Thomas passed away.
1973: Pharrell Williams was born.
1975: Minnie Riperton went to No. 1 with ‘Loving You.’
1984: Marvin Gaye was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles.
1984: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar used his patented 12-foot skyhook in the 4th quarter to become NBA’s all-time scoring leader.
6. April 6: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Matthew A. Henson
1830: James A. Healy, the 1st African American Roman Catholic priest & Roman Catholic bishop in the US was born (Died: 1900).
1909: African American explorer Matthew A. Henson became the first man to reach the North Pole.
1922: Pianist extraordinaire Dorothy Donegan was born (Died: 1998)
1931: The Scottsboro trials began in Alabama.
1937: Billy Dee Williams was born.
1963: #1 song was ‘He’s So Fine’ by the Chiffons.
1973: The Stylistics’ ‘Break Up to Make Up’ received a Gold record.
1974: Earth, Wind & Fire was one of many top performances at the 1st California Jam 1 Festival with over 200,000 in attendance.
1991: Patti LaBelle performed on Bob Hope’s Yellow Ribbon Party in honor of returning troops from the first Gulf War.
1996: Mariah Carey’s ‘Always Be My Baby’ charted on its way to #1.
1998: Chubby Checker guest-starred on CBS-TV’s Murphy Brown.
1999: Actor Kwesi Boakye was born.
2001: R&B singer Charles Pettigrew passed away from cancer at age 37.
7. April 7: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Billie Holiday
1867: Johnson C. Smith University was founded.
1915: Billie Holiday was born (Died: 1959).
1919: The Kansas City Call was founded.
1938: Jazz trumpter Freddie Hubbard was born (Died: 2008).
1940: Booker T. Washington honored as 1st black featured on a U.S. postage stamp.
1947: Patricia Bennett (Chiffons) was born.
1954: NFL player Tony Dorsett was born.
1956: Prosecutor Christopher Darden was born (OJ Simpson Murder trial).
1960: Heavyweight boxing champ Buster Douglas was born.
1968: #1 song was ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ by Aretha Franklin
1965: Comedian & actor Bill Bellamy was born.
1975: Former NFL players Ronde & Tiki Barber born.
1975: Aisha Wonder was born.
1980: Wrestler, lawyer David Otunga was born (Jennifer Hudson’s fiance).
1985: Herschel Walker broke the single-game rushing mark in the USFL by gaining 233 yards.
1994: Singer Percy Sledge pleaded guilty to tax evasion.
8. April 8: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Arthur Ashe
1920: Jazz singer, composer, pianist, and actress Carmen McRae was born (Died: 1994).
1937: Robert L. Woodson, a community development leader, and founder and president of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise was born.
1955: NFL player Ricky Bell was born. He died in 1984 at age 29 of heart failure.
1964: Biz Markie was born.
1964: The Supremes recorded ‘Where did Our Love Go’ (their first #1 song).
1965: Lawrence Bradford (16) was the first black page appointed to the US Senate.
1974: Chino XL was born.
1974: Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run surpassing Babe Ruth’s record.
1975: Frank Robinson managed the Cleveland Indians in his 1st game as MLB’s 1st African American manager.
1992: Tennis legend Arthur Ashe announced he had AIDS acquired from blood transfusions during one of his two heart surgeries.
1993: Opera singer Marian Anderson passed away.
2002: Disney star Skai Jackson was born.
2002: Susan-Lori Parks won a Pulizer for her Broadway play, Topdog/Underdog.
9. April 9: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Paul Robeson
1816: The African Methodist Episcopal Church was founded
1866: Congress passed the Civil Rights Act.
1898: Talented actor, singer and advocate for civil rights, Paul Robeson was born (Died: 1976).
1926: A famous freak show performer ‘Zip the Pinhead’ (real name William Henry Johnson) passed away. He was born in 1842.
1939: Marian Anderson gave a free open-air concert for 75,000 people from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in DC after the DAR denied her use of Constitution Hall because of her race.
1947: The Journey of Reconciliation, the first interracial Freedom Ride began through the upper South in violation of Jim Crow laws. The riders wanted enforcement of the United States Supreme Court’s 1946 Irene Morgan decision that banned racial segregation in interstate travel.
1950: Juanita Hall won a Tony for her role as Bloody Mary in the musical South Pacific.
1968: Dr. Martin Luther King was laid to rest.
1978: George ‘The Iceman’ Gervin set a record for most points scored in a quarter.
1979: Keshia Knight Pulliam was born
1987: Jazmine Sullivan was born.
1988: Dave Prater of Sam & Dave passed away.
1988: Billy Ocean’s song ‘Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car’ went to #1.
1988: Brook Benton passed away.
1993: The Reverend Benjamin Chavis, Jr. was elected Executive Director of the NAACP.
1994: R Kelly Started a four week run at No. 1 with Bump ‘n’ Grind.
10. April 10: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Jackie Robinson
1872: The 1st National Black convention met in New Orleans.
1936: Bobbie Smith of the Detroit Spinners born (Died: 2013).
1947: Bunny Livingston of the Wailers was born.
1947: Jackie Robinson became the 1st black to play MLB (Dodgers).
1950: Baseball great Ken Griffey, Sr. was born.
1950: Eddie Hazel,guitarist for Funkadelic, Parliament & the Temptations was born (Died: 1992).
1958: R&B singer & songwriter Chuck Willis died during surgery of peritonitis. He was 30 years old. Dick Clark devoted an hour of American Bandstand in his memory.
1958: Musician, singer/songwriter, producer Babyface was born.
1960: Olivia Brown was born.
1960: Afrika Bambaataa was born.
1968: Actor/comedian Orlando Jones was born.
1970: Singer Kenny Lattimore was born.
1970: Rapper/producer Q-Tip was born.
1972: The Theme from Shaft received an Academy Award for Best Original Song in a film and Isaac Hays rec’d standing ovation during the presentation of his Oscar.
1985: Beverly Hills Cop starring Eddie Murphy made top 10 list of top-grossing motion pictures.
1988: Herschel Walker performed at the Fort Worth Ballet.
1991: Actor Kevin Peter Hall passed away at age 35 from AIDS he contracted from a contaminated blood transfusion.
1993: Jurors began deliberations in the trial of four LA police officers charged with violating Rodney King’s civil rights.
2002: James Brown was declared South Carolina’s Godfather of Soul by the State’s governor.
2003: Little Eva passed away. In 1962. Her song ‘Loco-Motion went to number 1, sold over a million copies and she was awarded a gold disc.
2007: Dakota Staton passed away at age 76.
11. April 11: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: John Lee Hooker
1881: Spelman College was founded in Atlanta, GA as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary, an institute of higher education for African American women.
1912: Jazz double-bassist John Levy was born (Died: 2012).
1933: Journalist & author Tony Brown was born.
1935: Doo wop singer Richard Berry was born (Died: 1997).
1947: Actor Meshach Taylor was born.
12. April 12: This Day in Black History:
FEATURED: Josephine Baker
1864: The Fort Pillow massacre: Confederate forces killed most of the African American soldiers that surrendered at Fort Pillow, TN.
1892: Jazz musician Johnny Dodds was born (Died: 1940).
1912: Singer, songwriter, guitarist Hound Dog Taylor was born (D:1975).
1940: Herbie Hancock was born.
1947: Alex Briley (Village People) was born.
1948: Lois Reeves (Martha & the Vandellas) was born.
1964: Chubby Checker married former Miss World, Catherina Lodders.
1967: Jim Brown made his TV acting debut in ‘Cops & Robbers.’
1968: Jimi Hendrix dueted with Dusty Springfield on ‘Mockingbird’ during her British TV show, It Must Be Dusty.
1969: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In by the 5th Dimension went to #1.
1969: #1 R&B song was ‘Only the Strong Survive’ by Jerry Butler.
1971: Jamaican Jazz pianist Wynton Kelly passed away.
1973: Claudia Jordan was born.
1973: Stevie Wonder made an appearance on Sesame Street.
1975: Josephine Baker passed away.
1978: Aretha Franklin & Glynn Turman got married.
1980: ‘Working My Way Back to You’ by the Spinners was #1 in the UK
1981: Boxer Joe Louis passed away.
1989: Boxer Sugar Ray Robinson passed away.
1993: Lisa Bonet filed for divorce from Lenny Kravitz.
1997: ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ by R Kelly was #1 in the UK.
13. April 13: This Day in Black History:
FEATURED: Sydney Poitier
1891: Novelist Nella Larsen was born (Died: 1964).
1946: Al Green was born.
1951: Peabo Bryson was born.
1954: Hank Aaron debuted for the Milwaukee Braves.
1957: Wayne Lewis (Atlantic Stars) was born.
1961: Private 1st Class John Bennett became the last person executed by the U.S. military. He was convicted of rape and attempted murder of an 11-year-old girl. He was 26 years old.
1963: Sidney Poitier (the 1st Black) won an Oscar for ‘Lillies of the Field’ as Best Actor Award.
1966: Andrew F. Brimmer was nominated by President Johnson to serve as a Governor of the Federal Reserve System.
1973: Actor Bokeem Woodbine was born.
1974: #1 R&B song: ‘Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me’ by Gladys Knight & the Pips.
1985: ‘We Are the World’ went to #1 and stayed for four weeks.
1997: Tiger Woods became the youngest golfer to win the Masters Tournament.
1997: Notorious B.I.G. was at No. 1 with ‘Life After Death album.
1999″ VH-1s Divas Live Show featured performances by Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, TLC and Cher.
2005: Blues musician Johnnie Johnson passed away.
14. April 14: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Stevie Wonder
1865: President Abraham Lincoln was shot in Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth. He died the following day.
1924: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was born (Died: 1987).
1925: Saxophonist Gene Ammons was born (Died: 1974).
1945: #1 R&B song was ‘Tippin’In’ by Erskine Hawkins & Orchestra.
1948: Larry Ferguson (member of ‘Hot Chocolate) was born.
1955: Elston Howard became the 1st black man to play for the NY Yankees.
1956: ‘Little Girl of Mine’ by the Cleftones was released.
1969: Student Afro-American Society seized the Columbia College Admissions Office and demanded a special admissions board and staff.
1970: Milwaukee Buck’s Lew Alcindor was named NBA Rookie of the Year.
1974: Da Brat was born.
1976: Motown Records and Stevie Wonder announced the largest contract renewal to date worth $13 million.
1993: Burnell Taylor, singer from New Orleans and currently one of the Top 8 finalist on American Idol was born.
2001: Sean Combs was arrested in Miami for riding a scooter in South Beach on a suspended driver’s license.
2002: Ashanti’s Foolish started a 10 week run at #1.
2002: Tiger Woods won his 2nd straight Masters Gold Championship and his 3rd overall at Augusta, GA.
15. April 15: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Elizabeth Catlett
1889: A. Philip Randolph was born (Died: 1979).
1894: Bessie Smith ‘The Empress of the Blues’ was born (Died: 1937).
1896: Booker T. Washington received an Honorary degree from Harvard University.
1915: Sculptor and artist Elizabeth Catlett (Died: 2012).
1922: Harold Washington, the 1st African American Mayor of Chicago was born (Died: 1987).
1928: Architect Norma Merrick Sklarek was born (Died: 2012).
1939: ‘If I Didn’t Care’ by the Ink Spots charted at #2.
1940: MLB center fielder Willie Davis was born (Died: 2010).
1942: The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was founded.
1947: Jackie Robinson played his 1st major league game with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
1966: Jimi Hendrix performed at the Blackpool Odeon.
1968: Aretha Franklin recorded ‘Think.’
1970: Actor Flex Alexander was born.
1972: ‘First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ by Roberta Flack was #1.
1978: Thomas W. Turner passed (founder of the Federation of Colored Catholics).
1978: #1 R&B song was ‘Too Much, Too Little, Too Late’ by Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams
1985: Marvin Hagler knocked out Thomas Hearns in three.
1989: Tone Loc went to #1 with ‘Loc-ed After Dark.’
1995: This Is How We Do It by Montel Jordan started a 7 week run at #1.
2001: Janet Jackson started a 6 week run at #1 with ‘All For You.’
16. April 16: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Nelson Mandela
1921: Biochemist Marie Daly was born. She was the first African American woman in the US to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry. (Died 2003).
1924: Don Redman performed the first recorded scat vocals.
1929: Singer, songwriter, producer Ed Townsend was born (Died: 2003).
1929: R&B singer Roy Hamilton was born (Died: 1969).
1947: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was born.
1963: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pens his letter from Birmingham Jail while incarcerated for protesting against segregation.
1965: Martin Lawrence was born.
1966: ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’ by Percy Sledge charted, reaching #1 on both Pop & R&B.
1968: Rufus Stokes patented the Exhaust Purifier.
1969: Desmond Dekker’s single ‘The Israelite s’ went to #1 in the UK.
1970: NBA (retired) Walt Williams was born.
1971: Singer, Songwriter, producer Akon was born.
1973: Leila Smith Foley became the 1st Black woman elected mayor of a US city (Taft, OK).
1974: Actress Valarie Rae Miller was born.
1977: Sudanese Super model Alek Wek was born.
1977: #1 R&B song – ‘At Midnight’ by Rufus featuring Chaka Khan.
1988: “Parents Just Don’t Understand’ by D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince landed on the R&B hit list.
1990: Nelson Mandela made an appearance at a huge pop concert held in his honor during a visit to Britain.
2005: The Rosa Parks – OutKast court case was settled.
17. April 17: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: August Wilson
1890: Harris-Stowe State College was founded.
1947: Jackie Robinson got his 1st major league hit.
1956: Box Sugar Ray Leonard was born.
1961: #1 R&B song was ‘One Mint Julep’ by Ray Charles.
1964: Actress Lila Rochon was born.
1967: MLB (former) Marquis Grissom was born.
1967: Actress Kimberly Elise was born.
1970: MC, rapper, DJ, record producer & actor Redman was born.
1972: ‘Betcha by Golly, Wow’ by the Stylistics got a gold record.
1976: Reggae musician Sizzla Kalonji was born.
1990: August Wilson won his 2nd Pulitzer for drama with the play ‘The Piano Lesson.’
1990: Rev. Ralph David Abernathy passed away.
1996: Actress Dee Dee Davis was born (she played Baby Girl on the Bernie Mac Show).
2000: Gloria Gaynor guested on television show ‘Ally McBeal.’
2003: Earl King passed away.
18. April 18: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Etta James
1813: James McCune Smith (physician, apothecary, abolitionist & author) was born. He finished 1st in his class and was the 1st African American to run a pharmacy in the US.
1868: Hampton University was founded
1881: Actor & producer Noble Johnson was born (Died: 1978).
1904: Comedian & entertainer Pigmeat Markham was born (Died: 1981).
1922: Jack Johnson received a patent for the wrench.
1924: Blues great Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown was born (Died: 2005).
1953: #1 R&B song – ‘Hound Dog’ by ‘Big Mama’ Thornton.
1965: Marian Anderson ended her 30-year singing career with a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
1966: Bill Russell was named coach of the Boston Celtics.
1974: James Brown rec’d a gold record for the single ‘The Payback.’
1977: Alex Haley was awarded a Pulitzer for ‘Roots.’
1983: Marvin Gaye began what would become his last tour starting in San Diego, CA.
1984: Michael Jackson had scalp surgery in LA to repair damage done after his hair caught fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial.
1987: Aretha Franklin & George Michael started a 2 week run at #1.
1997: ‘Murder at 1600’ starring Wesley Snipes opened in theaters.
2003: Etta James got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1993: B.B. King, Millie Jackson and Bobby Blue Bland performed at the Westbury Music Fair in New York.
19. April 19: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Keith ‘Guru’ Elam
1914: Cora M. Brown was born. She was the 1at African-American woman elected to a United States state senate, winning a seat in the Michigan State Senate in 1952. (Died: 1972).
1936: R&B/Soul singer Ruby Johnson was born (Died: 1999).
1944: Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Bernie Worrell (founding member of Parliament-Funkadelic was born.
1956: Clyde McPhatter of the Drifters was discharged from the Army and began his solo career.
1959: Harry Belafonte appeared in a charity benefit at Carnegie Hall.
1962: Paula Abdul was born.
1965: The film T.A.M.I. (Teen-Age Music International) featuring the Supremes, Four Tops, James Brown & Smokey Robinson & the Miracles opened in London.
1965: Suge Knight was born.
1969: Over 80 members of the Afro American Society took over Willard Hall-Cornell University Student Union.
1969: #1 Song was ‘Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In’ by the 5th Dimension.
1974: Trina was born.
1974: The Movie ‘Truck Turner’ starring Isaac Hayes & Nichelle Nichols was released.
1976: Percy Julian passed away.
1982: Astronaut Guion Bluford, Jr. became 1st Black selected for US missions.
1986: Prince started a 2 week run at No. 1 with ‘Kiss.’
1986: Michael Spinks beat Larry Holmes in 15 rounds.
1986: WNBA Candace Parker was born.
2010: Rapper, producer & actor Keith Elam aka Guru passed away.
20. April 20: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Luther Vandross
1906: E. Frederic Morrow was born. He was the 1st African American to hold an executive position at the White House. (Died: 1994).
1908: Jazz musician Lionel Hampton was born (Died: 2002).
1939: Billie Holiday recorded the 1st Civil Rights song ‘Strange Fruit.’
1951: Luther Vandross was born (Died: 2005).
1970: Actor Shemar Moore was born.
1972: Stephen Marley was born.
1985: ‘We Are the World’ went to #1 in the UK.
1990: Janet Jackson was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at the start of ‘Janet Jackson week’ in LA.
1992: Michael Jordan scored a record 63 points in the Playoffs.
1992: Blues singer and guitarist Johnny Shines passed away.
2007: Jazz pianist & composer Andrew Hill passed away.
2010: Dorothy Height (Civil Rights/Women’s Rights Activist, Educator & Administrator) passed away.
21. April 21: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Nina Simone
1892: Black Longshoremen went on strike for higher wages in St. Louis, Missouri.
1911: National Urban League was founded.
1924: Gospel great Clara Ward was born (Died: 1973).
1954: ‘Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight’ by the Spaniels hit the Top 10.
1956: Singer & actress Amii Stewart was born.
1958: #1 R&B song was ‘Twilight Time’ by the Platters.
1966: Poet, musician & composer Michael Franti was born.
1966: Milton Olive, Jr. was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery in Vietnam.
1970: Blues musician Earl Hooker passed away.
1973: Actor Brian J. White was born.
1974: Lee Elder became the 1st black pro golfer to qualify for the Masters Tournament.
1974: The Pointer Sisters became the 1st pop act to ever perform at the San Francisco Opera House.
1977: Natalie Cole was a guest on Frank Sinatra’s ABC-TV Special ‘Frank Sinatra & Friends.’
1997: Babyface was named among the 25 most influential people in Time Magazine.
2003: Singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist Nina Simone passed away.
22. April 22: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Huey Newton
1892: Minister & civil rights leader Vernon Johns was born (Died: 1965).
1922: Jazz great Charles Mingus was born (Died: 1979).
1935: Jazz double bassist Paul Chambers was born (Died: 1969).
1950: Civil rights attorney Charles Hamilton Houston passed away.
1960: Actress, model & Dancer Tatiana Thumbtzen was born. Best known for portraying Michael Jackson’s love interest in the video ‘The Way You Make Me Feel.’
1961: Comedian and TV producer Byron Allen was born.
1967: Sherri Shepherd was born.
1978: 30,000 attended the One Love Peace Concert in Kingston headlined by Bob Marley to raise money for kids.
1978: ‘On Broadway’ by George Benson was released.
1983: Jazz great Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines passed away.
1988: James Ross (Drag Queen) was born.
1989: Co-founder of the Black Panther Party Huey Newton passed away.
2007: Juanita Millender-Mcdonald passed away. She served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1996 until her death.
23. April 23: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Whitney Houston
1856: Inventor Granville T. Woods was born (Died: 1910) He held more than 50 patents and is also the 1st black to be a mechanical and electrical engineer after the Civil War.
1857: Creole musician and composer Edmond Dédé was born (Died: 1903). He moved to Europe to study in Paris in 1857 and settled in France. His compositions include Quasimodo Symphony, Le Palmier Overture, Le Serment de L’Arabe and Patriotisme.
1872: Charlotte E. Ray became the 1st Black woman admitted to practice law before the District Supreme court.
1894: Singer & boogie woogie piano player Charles Edward ‘Cow Cow’ Davenport was born (Died: 1955).
1895: Jazz Clarinetist Jimmy Noone was born (Died: 1944).
1924: Retired MLB player Chuck Harmon was born. In 1954, he was the 1st Black to play with Cincinnati.
1940: The Rhythm Club fire aka The Natchez Dance Hall Holocaust was a fire in Natchez, MS that killled 209 people and severely injured many others. Hundreds of people became trapped inside the one-story steel-clad wooden building. The victims were mostly African Americans.
1951: Barbara Johns, a 16-year-old girl led students from her overcrowded, segregated school in a civil rights protest.
1952: Producer, drummer, singer/songwriter Narada Michael Walden born.
1955: ‘Whatever Lola Wants’ by Sarah Vaughn was released.
1956: ‘Hold on, I’m Coming’ by Sam and Dave was #1 song.
1971: Former English glamor model (and soft-core porn) Charmaine Sinclair was born.
1977: Former MLB player and award winning Andruw Jones was born.
1988: Whitney Houston became the 1st artist to hit #1 on US Hot 100 with seven consecutive singles.
1989: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played his last game as a Laker.
1992: Marion Berry (former mayor of D.C.) was released from prison.
1992: Singer, producer & DJ Syd tha Kyd (more recently) Syd was born.
1997: The Four Tops received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
24. April 24: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Cowboy Bill Pickett
1778: William Cuffay was born (Died: 1870) Cuffay was the leader of the 1st mass political movement of the British working class.
1884: The African American Medical Society was founded.
1889: Lafayette A. Tillman was born (Died: 1914). He was a soldier, a scholar and one of the 1st African-Americans to be appointed to the Kansas City police force.
1922: Double bassist Aaron Bell was born (Died: 2003).
1970: Otis Span passed away. A blues musician whom many consider to be the leading postwar Chicago blues pianist.
1937: Jazz saxophonist Joe Henderson was born (Died 2001).
1944: Cowboy Bill Pickett passed away.
1964: Actor, comedian and director Cedric the Entertainer was born.
1964: Actor and former fashion model Djimon Housou was born.
1972: James M. Rodger, Jr. the 1st Black named National Teacher of the year was honored at a White House ceremony.
1972: Robert Wedgeworth became the 1st African American Director of the American Library Association.
1974: Actor Derek Luke was born.
1976: ‘Love Hangover’ by Diana Ross was released.
1982: Stevie Wonder’s duet with Paul McCartney ‘Ebony & Ivory’ reached #1 in Britain & remained there for seven weeks.
1992: Iman and David Bowie got married.
2004: Roy Veal was found hanged from a tree in Mississippi. He lived in Washington but went to Mississippi to settle a land dispute. The land had been in his family for decades. The case went cold.
25. April 25: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopez
1799: Dred Scott was born, an African American slave who sued for his freedom and that of his wife and daughters. Known as the Dred Scott Decision (a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court). (Died: 1585).
1872: Minnie Lee Crosthwaite was born. She was one of the 1st African American social workers in Kansas City and spent decades working to improve life in her community. (Died: 1963).
1917: Jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald was born (Died: 1996).
1923: Blues guitarist and singer Albert King was born. He was a major influence in the world of blues. (Died 1992).
1932: The Clown Prince of Basketball Meadowlark Lemon was born. He toured for 22 years with the Harlem Globetrotters.
1944: United Negro College Fund incorporated.
1950: Charles ‘Chuck’ Cooper became the 1st black ever drafted by an NBA team.
1969: Actress Gina Torres was born.
1969: Hall of Famer and retired NFL player Darren Woodson was born.
1970: ‘Band of Gold’ by Freda Payne was released.
1981: ‘Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)’ by Ray Parker Jr released.
1990: Jazz Tenor (bebop) Dexter Gordon passed away.
1997: ‘Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk’ opened on Broadway at the Ambassador Theater in NYC.
1997: Seattle Mariner Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 250th home-run.
2002: Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopez was killed in a car accident.
26. April 26: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Alex Haley
1844: Explorer Jim Beckwourth discovered a path through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Beckwourth Pass is named in his honor.
1886: ‘Mother of Blues’ Ma Rainey was born (Died: 1939).
1892: Sarah Boone received a patent for the ironing board.
1897: J.A. Joyce received a patent for the ore bucket.
1915: Blues singer & guitarist Johnny Shines was born (Died: 1992).
1938: Music Hall of Fame singer Maurice Williams was born.
1941: R&B musician, singer & composer Claudine Clark was born.
1957: Harry Belafonte dubbed the King of Calypso, signed for the (then-unheard-of sum) of $1 million with RCA Records.
1962: Comedian & actress Debra Wilson was born.
1967: British actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste was born. She was the 1st black Brit to receive an Academy Award nomination in the U.S.
1969: #1 R&B song: It’s Your Thing’ by the Isley Brothers.
1970: Tionne ‘T-Boz’ Watkins was born.
1974: Comedian & Actress Shondrella Avery was born.
1978: R&B singer/songwriter Avant was born.
1981: Award winning British recording artist, rapper, songwriter & record producer Ms.Dynamite was born.
1984: Jazz musician, bandleader and composer Count Basie passed away.
1991: Maryann Bishop Coffey was name the 1st woman co-chair of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
1992: Alex Haley received the Ellis Island Award, posthumously.
1992: Ozzie Smith stole his 500th base.
27. April 27: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Cory Booker
1882: Editor, poet, essayist and novelist Jessie Fauset was born. She was the editor of the NAACP magazine The Crisis. She also was the editor and co-author for the African American children’s magazine Brownies’ Book. (Died: 1961).
1903: ‘The Souls of Black Folks’ by W.E.B. DuBois was published.
1903: Maggie L. Walker was named President of Richmond’s St. Luke Bank & Trust Co.
1906: Alice Dunnigan was born. She was a journalist, civil rights activist and author and the 1st African-American female correspondent to receive White House credentials, and the 1st black female member of the Senate and House of Representatives press galleries. (Died: 1983).
1927: Civil Rights activist Coretta Scott King was born (Died: 2006).
1938: Dr. Vincent Porter became the 1st certified plastic surgeon.
1944: Cuba Gooding, Sr. was born.
1945: Pulitzer Prize recipient August Wilson was born (Died: 2005).
1947: R&B singer/songwriter Ann Peeples was born.
1952: NBA player George ‘The Iceman’ Gervin was born.
1957: #1 R&B song – ‘Lucille’ by Little Richard.
1963: ‘Take These Chains from My Heart’ by Ray Charles was released.
1968: ‘Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing’ by Marvin Gaye released.
1969: Politician & Mayor of New Jersey Cory Booker was born.
1990: B.B. King was hospitalized due to diabetes-related problems.
1993: A plane carrying all the members of the Zambia Nat’l football team and several coached crashed killing all 30 passengers, including 18 players and a number of coaches.
1994: The 1st democratic general election in South Africa took place in which black citizens could vote.
28. April 28: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Ray Charles
1841: Educator, lecturer, college president William H. Crogman was born (Died: 1931).
1847: George B. Vashon became the 1st Black to enter NY State Bar. He was also the 1st black professor at Howard University.
1846: Clergyman, politician, orator and talented debater Jeremiah Haralson was born (Died: 1916). He served in the Alabama House of Representatives.
1891: George Toliver was awarded a patent for the ship propeller.
1891: Charley Patton considered by many to be the “Father of the Delta Blues’ was born (Died: 1934).
1924: Don Redman was the 1st musician to use the oboe as a jazz instrument in a solo of ‘After the Storm.’
1957: W. Robert Ming became the 1st black elected chairman of the American Veterans Committee.
1962: # 1 R&B song was ‘Mashed Potato Time’ by Dee Dee Sharp.
1963: Ray Charles performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
1966: Rapper, actor and producer Too Short was born.
1967: Mrs. Robert W. Claytor became the 1st black elected president of the YMCA.
1967: Muhammad Ali refused induction in to the Army and was stripped of his boxing titles.
1971: Samuel L.Gravely Jr. became the 1st black admiral in the US Navy.
1983: Alice Walker and Gloria Naylor won American Book awards for fiction.
1990: MC Hammer charted with ‘U Can’t Touch This.’
1991: CORE Chairman Floyd McKissick passed away.
1992: Iceberg Slim, a reformed pimp and author of urban fiction passed away. Described as a savagely gifted storyteller whose paperback novels sold in unprecedented numbers in black communities.
1995: Barry White performed at the Safari Park Garden Theater in Nairobi, Kenya, becoming the 1st Westerner to do so.
2005: Jazz bassist Percy Heath passed away.
29. April 29: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Tammie Terrell
1845: Macon B. Allen and Robert Morris, Jr. became the 1st blacks to practice law in the U.S.
1899: Composer, pianist & bandleader Duke Ellington was born (Died:1974).
1928: Singer Carl Gardner of The coasters was born (Died: 2011).
1926: Congresswoman Carrie P. Meek was born. She introduced a bill to criminalize stalking.
1934: Singer, guitarist Otis Rush was born.
1935: Blues singer, songwriter and pianist Leroy Carr passed away at age 30 of nephritis (kidney failure).
1945: Singer Tammi Terrell was born (Died: 1970).
1945: Author Richard Wright’s book Black Boy became an instant best-seller upon its publication.
1952: Former MLB shortstop Ronald Washington was born. Current manager of the Texas Rangers.
1967: Blues guitarist, singer and songwriter J.B. Lenoir passed away.
1967: Producer, rapper, actor Master P was born.
1983: Harold Washington was sworn in as Chicago’s 1st black mayor.
1992: Los Angeles riots began following the acquittal of police officers charged with excessive force in the beating of Rodney King. Over 3 days 53 people were killed and hundreds of buildings destroyed.
1993: Barry White (animated) was a guest on The Simpsons.
1995: Tupac Shakur and Keisha Morris got married.
30. April 30: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Zola Taylor
1862: The 1st black newspaper in the South (L’Union) was founded.
1863: Sarah Thompson Garnet became the 1st African American female principal in the New York City public school system.
1900: Railroad worker Wallace Sanders wrote the Ballad of Casey Jones.
1923: Jazz musician Percy Heath was born (Died: 2005).
1961: Isiah Thomas was born.
1962: Willie Mays hit four home runs.
1963: The Bristol Bus Boycott held in protest against Bristol Omnibus Company’s refusal to employ Black or Asian bus crews in the UK.
1967: Turbo B was born.
1982: Lloyd Banks was born.
1984: Blues legend Muddy Waters passed away.
1992: The 208th & final episode of the Cosby Show aired.
2007: Zola Taylor passed away. She was the original female member of The Platters from 1954 to 1962.
2007: Former NFL linebacker Kevin Mitchell passed away. He was 36 years old.
2012: Member of African National Congress Sicelo Shiceka passed away.