In February, Jeff Johnson talked about Black History Month coming to a close. He said it shouldn’t be celebrated just ONCE a year but every day or every week. He asked that we set aside at least one evening or one day a week to talk about black history and to keep it alive. We plan to honor his request with a gallery every week this month to celebrate significant events, timelines, births and to remember those who have passed away.
1. July 1: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Carl Lewis
1899: The father of Black Gospel Music, Thomas A. Dorsey, was born. He passed away in 1993. He was 93 years old.
1911: Leona P. Thurman was born. She was the 1st black female attorney to practice law in Kansas city. She passed away in 1985.
1915: Grammy award winning blues musician Willie Dixon was born. He passed away in 1992 at age 76.
1924: Soloist Roland Hayes was named soloist with Boston Symphony Orchestra
on this day. He was born in a Georgia cabin in 1887. He was the recipient of the Spingarn Medal for “so finely” interpreting the beauty of the Negro folk song.
1928: R&B, Rock&Roll musician, singer, songwriter and producer Bobby Day was born. He passed away in 1990 at age 60.
1947: Comedian & actress Shirley Hemphill was born. She died in 1999 at the age of 52 of renal failure.
1954: The Ink Spots began a stint at the Trocadero on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip.
1957: A Philadelphia radio station with only 250 watts of power began repeat plays of the Tune Weavers’ new release, “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby.” By October it was #1.
1960: The Jesters, Ben E. King, Ruth Brown, Jimmy Jones, and the Olympics performed on one of disc jockey Jocko Henderson’s Jocko’s Rocketship Revue at New York’s Apollo Theater.
1961: Olympic track and field star and the winner of many gold medals, Carl Lewis was born. He turns 53 today.
1962: Actor Andre Braugher was born. He turns 52 today.
1970: Actor Henry Simmons was born. He turns 43 today.
1971: James Brown and his entire catalog of two decades worth of recordings were signed to Polydor Records.
1971: Missy Elliott was born. She is a rapper, singer-songwriter, record producer, dancer and actress. She turns 43 today.
1972: The Trammps entered the R&B hit list with the scintillating disco cover of the Coasters’ “Zing Went the Strings of My heart,” reaching #17. The group from Philadelphia formerly recorded under the name of the Volcanoes.
1976: Kenneth Gibson, mayor of Newark, became the first Black president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
1978: Martha & the Vandellas reunited for the first time in ten years for a benefit concert for actor Will Geer in Santa Cruz, CA.
1991: Clarence Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court by President George Bush.
1992: Vanessa Williams and Dinah Washington’s goddaughter, Patti Austin, performed at a fund-raiser for the Hollywood women’s political Committee. Austin, a veteran performer since her teens, had over the years toured and performed on TV with such notables as Sammy Davis, Jr., Connie Stevens, Quincy Jones, Roberta Flack, Harry Belafonte, and Bobby Darin.
1998: The Dixie Hummingbirds, Stevie Wonder, and Paul Simon appeared on TV’s Late Show With David Letterman.
2005: Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter & record producer Luther Vandross passed away on this day. He was 54 years old.
2. July 2: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Thurgood Marshall
1822: Denmark Vesey was executed on this day in Chaleston, SC. He was an African-Caribbean who was most famous for planning a slave rebellion in the United States in 1822. Although it was not his home, the Denmark Vesey House at Charleston was named a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
1908: Thurgood Marshall was born. He was the first African American Supreme Court Justice. He passed away in 1993 at age 84.
1925: Civil Rights activist from Mississippi Medgar Evers was born. He was 37 years old when he was fatally shot in the driveway of his home in 1963.
1928: Actor of film, television and Broadway Brock Peters was born. He passed away in 2005 at age 78.
1935: Award winning Playwright Ed Bullins was born. He was also the Minister of Culture for the Black Panthers. He turns 78 today.
1948: Singer, songwriter & record producer John Whitehead was born. He was 1/2 the R&B duo McFadden & Whitehead. He passed away in 2004, age 55.
1954: Lillian Leach, one of the premier R&B lead singers of the ’50s, and her group, the Mellows, signed to Jay Dee Records.
1962: Jimi Hendrix, now a member of Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers, performed at Dante’s Inferno Club in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was previously playing with Bob Fisher & the Barnevilles, who toured America backing acts like the Impressions and the Marvelettes.
1964: President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act into law.
1966: Dionne Warwick had her first charter after a drought of three and a half years when “Trains, Boats and Planes” cruised onto the Pop Charts.
1973: R&B singer, producer and arranger Jimmy Radcliffe passed away.
1974: The man who brought bass singing into prominence in the ’40s and ’50s, Jimmy Ricks of the Ravens passed away.
1982: DeFord Bailey, the first star of the Grand Ole Opry, passed away. Known as “the harmonica wizard,” Bailey was a fixture at Nashville’s WSM Barn dance radio show in 1927 and its most popular performer.
1986: Prince’s second film, Under the Cherry Moon, debuted nationwide.
1988: Chubby Checker & the Fat Boys charted R&B with “the Twist . d been.
1988: “Dirty Diana” by Michael Jackson reached #1, becoming his fifth chart-topper in a row and the first time an artist had five #1s from the same album (Bad).
2002: Jazz Bassist Ray Brown passed away.
3. July 3: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Jackie Robinson
1904: Dr. Charles Drew was born. He discover and patented a way to preserve blood in the form of plasma so it could be stored for long periods of time.
1920: Wade H. McCree Jr. was born. He was the first African American appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the second African-American Solicitor General in the history of the United States. He passed way in 1987, aged 67.
1936: John Hope, president of Atlanta University was honored in NYC by the NAACP for his achievements as an educational and civil Rights leader on this day.
1940: R&B soul singer Fontella Bass was born. She passed away in 2012 at age 72.
1948: Sarah Vaughn reached the Top 100 with “Nature Boy” on her way to #9 pop. It was the first of thirty-three hits through 1966 for the jazz vocalist known as “the Divine One.”
1949: Harold Robinson, the first black scholarship athlete in what would become the Big 12 Conference was born. He passed away in 2006.
1949: Johnnie Wilder was born. He was the co-founder and lead vocalist for the group Heatwave. He passed away in 2006 at age 57.
1953: Harry Belafonte, Janet Leigh & Tony Curtis graced the cover of Ebony Magazine. It was the first time a black person & two whites were ever featured together on a U.S. magazine cover.
1954: “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” by Joe Turner & His Blues Kings was the number one song on this day.
1956: Montel Williams was born. He is a television personality, radio & talk show host and actor. He turns 57 today.
1962: Jackie Robinson became the first African American to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
1963: LaVern Baker performed at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas. It was her first Vegas booking after fifteen years in show business and eighteen pop chart singles.
1965: Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” peaked at #21 pop, #2 R&B, becoming his first big hit. Redding wrote the song with Jerry Butler in a Buffalo, NY, hotel room.
1967: The Jimi Hendrix Experience performed at New York’s the Scene with Tiny Tim. Apparently the booking agent had never seen either act; if he had, he would have been out of his mind to pair them on the same bill.
1969: The Newport Jazz Festival opened its doors to rock and R&B artists for the first time. Taking part in the performance festivities were James Brown, Sly & the Family Stone, and others.
1970: Tony Award winning singer and actress Audra McDonald was born. She turns 43 today.
1983: Olympic Gold medalist Calvin Smith became the fastest man alive on this day by beating the previous record set by Jim Hines.
1994: Zelma Watson George passed away at age 91. She was a well known philanthropist who was famous for being an alternate in the United Nations General Assembly and, as a headliner in Gian-Carlo Menotti’s opera The Medium, the first African American to play a role that was typically played by a white actress.
1997: Grammy Award winning songwriter & blues guitarist Johnny ‘Clyde’ Copeland passed away at age 60.
2005: Singer and member of the Orlons, Audrey Brickley, died of acute respiratory distress syndrome on this day.
4. July 4: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Edmonia Lewis
1844: Sculptor Edmonia Lewis was born. She studied in the states but worked most of her career in Rome and gained fame and recognition as a sculptor in the international fine arts world. In 2002, the scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed her on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans. She passed away at age 63.
1876: The famous African painter EM Bannister, was awarded the gold medal of the painting “UNDER THE OAKS” at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
1881: Institutions of Higher learning established: Booker T. Washington opened Tuskegee Institute. Also founded in 1881 was Spelman College, Morris Brown College and Bishop College.
1910: First Black heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson successfully defended his heavyweight championship by knocking out Jim “The Great White Hope” Jeffries, who had come out of retirement “to win back the title for the White race”
1938: Singer, songwriter and musician Bill Withers was born. He turns 75 today.
1960: The Voicemasters jumped onto the R&B hit list with “Everything About You,” reaching #18. The group consisted of David Ruffin (later of the Temptations), Lamont Dozier (later of Holland-Dozier-Holland fame), and three members who would go on to form the nucleus of the Originals.
1963: Ralph Bunche and Marian Anderson received the first Medals of Freedom from President John F. Kennedy, the creator of the award.
1967: Actress Ellen Bethea (One life to Live) was born. She turns 46 today.
1969: Teddy Rhodes, first African-American professional golfer, passed away at age 56.
1970: Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, the Chambers Brothers, Jethro Tull, and Rare Earth, among others, performed at the Second Atlanta International Pop Festival at the Middle Georgia Raceway near Byron, GA. The crowd reportedly numbered more than 200,000.
1974: Barry White married Glodean James, a member of the vocal group Love Unlimited, for who Barry wrote and produced.
1976: On the bicentennial of America’s birth, Bob Marley’s “Roots, Rock, and Reggae” charted, becoming his biggest pop hit at #51.
1993: The Four Tops performed at the Meadow Brook Musical Festival in Rochester, MI, for their Independence Day show.
1977: Roberta Flack performed in Boston at the Hatch Shell with the Boston Pops Orchestra.
1991: The National Civil Rights Museum officially opened at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., the site of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
1998: Aretha Franklin charted for the 97th time when “Here We Go Again” hit, eventually reaching #25 R&B. Her R&B chart totals included twenty #1s over the thirty-eight-year period.
1998: Lionel Richie performed at London’s Hyde Park in the Prince’s Trust Charity concert, Party in the Park.
2002: General B.O. Davis, Jr. passed away. He was the first African American to become an Air Force General. He was 89 years old.
2003: Singer, songwriter, arranger, producer and Grammy Award winner Barry White passed away at age 58. In 2004, he was posthumously inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in New York.
2005: Singer, songwriter, pianist and entertainer Al Downing passed away.
2006: Legend and former Harlem Globetrotter Bobby Joe Mason passed away.
5. July 5: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Arthur Ashe
1892: Andrew Beard was granted a patent for his rotary engine design (#478,271).
1899: Anna Arnold Hedgeman was born. She was a civil rights leader, politician, educator, writer and the first woman to serve in the cabinet of a New York City mayor. She died in 1990.,
1958: Ray Charles performed at the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, RI. Atlantic Records recorded the performance for a live album.
1961: Dick Clark’s American Bandstand welcomed a rare blues guest when Slim Harpo came on and sang “Rainin’ In My Heart.”
1962: Little Eva introduced “The Locomotion” to a national TV audience via American Bandstand, helping to take the record to #1. Before recording the song, Eva was the babysitter for songwriter Carole King.
1969: Chuck Berry performed on the same bill as the Who at the Pop Proms in the Royal Albert Hall in London. The Albert Hall banned rock ‘n’ roll after over-zealous fans charged the stage.
1969: Comedienne Moms Mabley charted with her version of “Abraham, Martin & John,” reaching #18 R&B and #35 pop. She was probably the oldest artist ever to have a hit that wasn’t posthumous, Moms was seventy-five at the time
1973: R&B singer, songwriter and record producer Joe was born. He turns 40 years old.
1975: Arthur Ashe won the men’s single championship at Wimbledon, defeating Jimmy Connors.
1980: Teddy Pendergrass’ “Can’t We Try,” from the Meatloaf film, Roadie, charted, reaching #3 R&B. His European tour had recently been cancelled due to a reported affair with the wife of Marvin Gaye, who was to tour Britain at the same time.
1986: Janet Jackson’s Control album soared to #1, making the twenty-year-old the youngest artist since thirteen-year-old Little Stevie Wonder to top the album Top 200.
1986: “There’ll Be Sad Songs” by Billy Ocean was the number one R&B song on this day.
1987: Ben E. King performed with George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Elton John at the fifth annual Prince’s Trust Rock Gala at London’s Wembley Arena.
1997: Brooklyn rapper, Lil’ Kim charted with “Not Tonight” reaching #33 R&B and #6 pop with the recording help of Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Da Brat, and Angie Martinez. Kim would go on to have twenty-two R&B hits through 2004 and a conviction for lying to a grand jury, perjury, and conspiracy in an investigation into a shooting
2001: R&B singer Ernie K-Doe passed away on this day at age 65.
2005: Raymond Davis passed away. He was the bass singer & one of the founding members of Parliament & Funkadelic.
2006: Sandra Brown passed away. She was a gospel singer and founder of the Anointed Minstrals.
2006: Blues, Jazz & R&B musician Joe Weaver passed away.
6. July 7: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Dorothea Towles Church
1851: Rev. Dr. Charles Tindley was born. He was a Methodist Minister and gospel music composer and often referred to as the Prince of Preachers. He passed away in 1933 at age 82.
1906: Leroy “Satchel” Page was born. He was a pro baseball player whose pitching in the Negro leagues and in Major League Baseball made him a legend in his own lifetime. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971, the first player to be inducted based upon his play in the Negro leagues. He passed away in 1982 at age 75.
1921: Ezzard Charles was born. He was a professional boxer and former World Heavyweight Champion. He defeated numerous Hall of Fame fighters in three different weight classes. He retired with a record of 93 wins, 25 losses and 1 draw. He passed away in 1975 at age 53.
1951: “Rocket 88″ by Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats (with Ike Turner) was the number one R&B song this day.
1956: The Teenagers’ “I Promise To remember” was released, eventually reaching #10 R&B and #57 pop.
1956: Little Richards’ “Rip It Up” charted , reaching #17 pop and becoming Richards’ second #1 R&B single. Richard was so hot that even his B-sides were becoming hits. “Reddy Teddy” made #8 R&B (#44 pop), and his last single’s flip side, “Slippin’ and Slidin’,” hit #2 R&B (#33 pop).
1957: The Coasters opened for a week at the Apollo Theater.
1961: Award winning author Eric Jerome Dickey was born. He turns 52 today.
1984: Prince topped the pop and R&B charts with “When Doves Cry,” which went on to be the best-selling single of the year.
1990: Public Enemy charted with “Brothers Gonna Work It Out,” reaching #20 R&B.
1995: The Neville Brothers played the annual Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland.
1996: Cree Summer was born. She is a singer-songwriter, voice actress and actress
1997: Michael Jackson’s Thriller album reached the 25 million sales mark, as ratified by the RIAA.
2006: Dorothea Church passed away. She was the first successful black fashion model in Paris.