Black History Month originated in 1926, founded by Carter G. Woodson and was created to celebrate achievements, births, important timelines, events and to remember those we lost.
1. Todd Duncan
1903: Todd Duncan, the first African American singer to perform in the New York City Opera was born on this day in Danville, KY. He passed away in 1998 at age 95. (Photo: Youtube)
2. Roberta Martin
1907: Roberta Martin was a gospel singer, composer, pianist, arranger, choral organizer and help launch the careers of many other gospel artists through her group “The Roberta Martin Singers.” She was born on this day in Helena, AR. She passed away in 1969. (Photo: YouTube)
3. The NAACP was Founded
1909: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded. The purpose and the focus of the NAACP is “To ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.”
4. Bill Russell
1934: Bill Russell, former NBA player and one of the most successful and decorated athletes in North American sports history was born on this day in Monroe, LA. (Photo: AP)
5. Gene McDaniels
1935: Singer and songwriter, Gene McDaniels, was born on this day in Kansas City. He passed away in 2011 at age 76. (Photo: YouTube)
6. WW II Army Vet Isaac Woodard
1946: WW II Army veteran Isaac Woodard was beaten and permanently blinded after a run-in with the South Carolina police. During his radio show, Orson Welles read an affidavit sent to him by the NAACP, signed by Woodard. Welles promised to root out the officer responsible, and made the case a major focus of his weekly show. The events and outcome of the Woodard case partially inspired Welles’ 1958 film, Touch of Evil. Woody Guthrie later recalled “I sung ‘The Blinding of Isaac Woodard’ in the Lewisohn Stadium one night for more than 36,000 people, and I got the loudest applause I’ve ever got in my whole life.”
7. Arsenio Hall
1955: Actor, comedian and former talk show host Arsenio Hall was born on this day in Cleveland, OH. (Photo: Retna)
8. ‘Shop Around’ by the Miracles
1961: ‘Shop Around’ by the Miracles became Motown’s first million selling single on this day. (Photo: YouTube)
9. ‘Uptight’ by Stevie Wonder
1966: Stevie Wonder reached #1 for five weeks and #3 Pop charts with ‘Uptight, Everything is Alright’ on this day. (AP)
10. Jimi Hendrix
1968: Jimi Hendrix returned home to Seattle and was given an honorary high school diploma and a key to the city on this day. (Photo: AP)
11. ‘Soul on Ice’
1968: ‘Soul on Ice’ a memoir written by Eldridge Cleaver was published on this day. (Photo: AP)
12. Al Green
1972: Al Green’s ‘Let’s Stay Together’ went to number one on the US Singles Chart on this day. (Photo: YouTube)
13. Eubie Blake
1983: Eubie Blake passed away, aged 96. He was a composer, lyricist and pianist of ragtime, jazz, and popular music. In 1921, Blake and long-time collaborator Noble Sissle wrote the Broadway musical Shuffle Along, one of the first Broadway musicals to be written and directed by African Americans.
14. Prince Michael Jackson
1997: Michael Jackson’s wife Debbie gave birth to a son named Prince Michael Jackson on this day. The National Enquirer paid $2 million for photo rights of the baby. (Photo: AP)
15. Jalacy Hawkins aka Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
2000: Jalacy Hawkins aka Screamin’ Jay Hawkins passed away, aged 70. He was a musician, singer, and actor. Famed chiefly for his powerful, operatic vocal delivery and wildly theatrical performances of songs such as “I Put a Spell on You”, Hawkins sometimes used macabre props onstage, making him an early pioneer of shock rock.
16. ‘We Are The World’
2010: More than 80 artists gathered to record the remake of “We Are The World”. Janet Jackson laid down her version of Michael Jackson’s part and the song was premiered at the opening of the Winter Olympics on this day.