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 everyday 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 15: This Week in Black History
FEATURED: Vivian Malone
1822: Alvin A. Coffey was born. He arrived in California in 1849 at the beginning of the Gold Rush and was one of the few Californians who left a written account, Book of Reminiscences, which described his journey to California and his subsequent history in the Golden State. In 1887 he was inducted into the California Society of Pioneers and was a member for more than 15 years prior to his death. He is the only African American to achieve that distinction. He passed away in 1902.
1822: Philadelphia opened its public schools for Blacks.
1864: Maggie Lena Walker was born. She was a teacher, businesswoman and the first black female bank president to charter a bank in the United States. She passed away in 1934 at age 70.
1869: A.J. Hayne, Black captain of a Northern occupying militia was assassinated in Arkansas.
1942: Vivian Malone Jones was born. She was one of the first two African Americans to enroll at the at the University of Alabama in 1963 and the university’s first African American graduate. She was made famous when Alabama Governor George Wallace blocked them from enrolling at the all-white university. She passed away in 2005 at age 63.
1944: Millie Jackson was born. She is an R&B/soul singer, songwriter and comedienne. Three of her albums have been certified gold by the RIAA. She turns 69 today.
1952: An eight-year-old girl won $2,000 and a gold cup for her rendition of “Too Young” on Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour. The child was Gladys Knight.
1957: The Five Satins entered the R&B hit list with their soon-to-be standard, “To the Aisle,” reaching #5 and #25 pop. The lead singer was emergency lead Bill Baker, drafted from the Connecticut group the Chestnuts, as the Satins’ regular front-man, Fred Parris, had received a draft notice, courtesy of Uncle Sam.
1957: A Harlem street group named the Charts charted with their sensuously smoking single “Desiree” (#88 pop). The same day, New York’s quintessential doo-woppers, the Jesters, charted pop with their first 45, “So Strange (#100 pop).
1961: Forest Whitaker was born. He is an Academy Award winning actor, producer and director. He turns 52 today.
1963: Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars began its cross-country tour with Big Dee Irwin, Barbara Lewis, the Crystals, Ruby & the Romantics, the Tymes, the Orlons, Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, Gene Pitney, and the Dovells, among others.
1964: Shari Headley was born. She is an actress of film and television. She turns 49 today.
1967: ‘I Was Made to Love Her’ by Stevie Wonder was the Number One R&B song this day.
1968: Eddie Griffin was born. He is an actor and comedian. He turns 45 today.
1970: James McGhee was sworn in as the first African American mayor of Dayton, Ohio.
1972 The Main Ingredient reached the R&B charts with “Everybody Plays the Fool” (#2 R&B, #3 pop), which would become their biggest of twenty R&B charters through 1990. The group’s lead singer, Cuba Gooding, is the father of actor Cuba Gooding, Jr.
1976: Jim Jones was born. He is a rapper, actor and an original member of The Diplomats. He turns 37 today.
1978: L.T.D. jumped on the R&B charts with “Holding On (When Love is Gone),” reaching #1 R&B (#49 pop). The group’s lead singer at the time would go on to have twenty-three hits of his own. His name is Jeffrey Osborne.
1997: The first Black-owned micro-brewing company was founded. Brothers Beer Company Inc. is based in Oakland California and conducts business as Brothers Brewing Company, BBC or Brothers, BBC.
2002: Barbara Randolph passed away. She was a singer and actress. She recorded for Motown in the 60s and was a member of the Platters. She was 60 years old.
2006: Rev. Joseph Boone passed away. He was a civil rights activist and organizer who marched together with Rev. Martin Luther King. He was 84 years old.
2. July 16: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Florence Joyner
1862: Ida B. Wells was born. She was a journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, sociologist and, with her husband, newspaper owner Ferdinand L. Barnett, an early leader in the civil rights movement. She was active in the women’s rights and the women’s suffrage movement, establishing several notable women’s organizations. Wells was a skilled and persuasive rhetorician, and traveled internationally on lecture tours. She passed away in 1931 at age 68.
1882: Violette Anderson was born. She was an attorney, judge, magistrate and served as the first female city prosecutor in Chicago. She passed away in 1937.
1896: Evelyn Preer was born. She was a pioneering stage and screen actress and blues singer of the 1910s through the early 1930s. She was known within the black community as “The First Lady of the Screen.” She passed away in 1932 of double pneumonia. She was 36 years old.
1939: Denise LaSalle was born. She is a blues and R&B/soul singer, songwriter, and record producer. She turns 74 today.
1941: Desmond Dekker was born. He was a was a Jamaican ska, rock-steady and reggae singer-songwriter and musician. He passed away in 2006 at age 64.
1959: ‘Poison Ivy’ by the Coasters was recorded. It reached #1 R&B and #7 Pop.
1965: Actor Daryl ‘Chill’ Mitchell was born. In 2001, he was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident. With the help of family, friends, Denzel Washington and Chris Tucker, he was able to continue his career as an actor. He turns 48 today.
1968: NFL Hall of Famer Barry Sanders was born. He is considered as one of the most talented running backs in the NFL. He turns 45 today.
1969: Rain Pryor was born. She is a comedian and an actress of stage, film and television. She turns 44 today.
1972: Smokey Robinson appeared with the Miracles for the last time at a concert at the Carter Barron Center in D.C. He had been with them for 18 years.
1977: ‘Easy’ by the Commodores was the Number One R&B song this day.
1979: Bob Douglas passed away. He was the founder of the New York Renaissance basketball team. Nicknamed the “Father of Black Professional Basketball”, Douglas owned and coached the Rens from 1923 to 1949, guiding them to a 2,318-381 record. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor in 1972, the first African American enshrined. He was 96 years old.
1983: Jazz great Herbie Hancock charted with ‘Rockit’ on this day.
1988: Carl Lewis ran a wind-assisted 100 m in 9.78 sec.
1988: Florence Joyner ran 100 m in women’s world record 10.49 seconds
1988: Jackie Joyner-Kersee sets women’s heptathlete record of 7,215 pts
1992: Buck Buchanan passed away. He was a NFL Hall of Famer. He was 51 years old.
2006: Harold Scott passed away. He was stage director, actor and educator, who broke racial barriers in American theater. He became the first African-American artistic director in the history of American regional theater at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. He was 71 years old.
3. July 17: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Billie Holiday
1794: Richard Allen organized Philadelphia’s Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church on this day.
1911: Frank Snowden, Jr. was born. He was a professor emeritus of classics at Howard University, best known for his study of blacks in classical antiquity. He passed away in 2007 at age 95.
1920: Lionel Ngakane was born. He was an award winning filmmaker. He passed away in 2003 at age 83.
1935: Diahann Carroll was born. She is a television, film and stage actress and singer. Her career spanned nearly six decades. She turns 78 today.
1954: The first major league game where the majority of team was black played (Dodgers).
1959: Billie Holiday passed away at age 44. She was a legendary singer, songwriter and actress. She died from liver and heart disease.
1961: Keith Edward Elam aka Guru was born. He was a rapper, producer and actor. He passed away in 2010. He was 48 years old.
1963: Regina Belle was born. She is a singer and songwriter. Her duet with Peabo Byson ‘A Whole New World’ garnered her a Grammy Award. She is 50 today.
1967: Jimi Hendrix was the opening act for The Monkees at Forest Hills NY venue.
1967: The Cairo race riot took place with the alleged jailhouse suicide of Pvt. Robert Hunt, a young soldier on leave in his hometown of Cairo, Illinois. Police said Hunt hanged himself with his t-shirt, but Cairo’s African-American residents challenged that story. The death touched off 3 days of riots and protests, followed by a 7-year renewal of civil rights activities in the city.
1967: Jazz great John Coltrane passed away. He was a saxophonist, composer and bandleader who remains one of the most significant saxophonists in Jazz history. He died of liver cancer at age 40.
1978: Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin (NY Yank manager) got into a fight in the dug out.
1988: Around four Billion folks tuned in to watch Mandela’s 70th Birthday Tribute on television.
1988: Florence Griffith Joyner set the 100m woman’s record (10.49).
1990: NY Yankee Deion Sanders hit an inside park home-run.
1997: Dr. Robert C. Weaver passed away. He served as the first United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from 1966 to 1968. He was the first African American to hold a cabinet-level position in the United States. He was 89.
2005: Tiger Woods won his 10th major winning The British Open Championship by 5 strokes.
2010: Denise Jefferson passed away. She was a dance educator who served as the director of the Ailey School of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from 1984 until her death. She was 66 years old.
2011: Joe Lee Wilson passed away. He was a jazz vocalist who performed with saxophonists Sonny Rollins and Archie Shepp and trumpeters Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard and hosted a thriving loft club in New York in the ‘70s. He was 75 years old.
4. July 18: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Nelson Mandela
1753: Lemuel Haynes was born. He was an influential religious leader who argued against slavery. Haynes wrote: “Liberty is equally as precious to a black man, as it is to a white one, and bondage as equally as intolerable to the one as it is to the other”. He passed away in 1833 at age 80.
1909: Ivory Deek Watson was born. He sang tenor was a member of the Ink Spots. He passed away in 1969 at age 60.
1918: Nelson Mandela was born. He is a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He turns 95 today.
1929: Jalacy Hawkins aka Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was born. He was a musician, singer, and actor. He passed away in 2000 at age 70.
1932: Thomas S. Allen was born. Better known as ‘Papa’ Dee Allen and was a member of the R&B group War. He was a percussionist, vocalist, saxophonist, pianist and was the main writer of the hit ‘The World is a Ghetto.’ He passed away in 1989 at age 58.
1954: ‘Honey Love’ by the Drifters was the Number One R&B song this day.
1941: Martha Reeves was born. She is a singer and was the lead singer of the Motown girl group Martha and the Vandellas. She served as an elected councilwoman for Detroit from 2005-2009. She turns 72 today.
1943: The Four Vagabonds charted R&B with one of the most beautiful ballads of the ’40s, “It Can’t Be Wrong,” reaching #3. The superb quartet from St. Louis never had another hit.
1943: Calvin Peete was born. He is a pro golfer and was inducted into the African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. He turns 70 years old today.
1954: The Clovers, the Hollywood Flames, the Crows, the Chords, the Robins, and the Four Tunes appeared at the annual Rock ‘n’ Roll jubilee held at Hollywood’s Shrine Auditorium.
1959: William Wright became the first black to win a major golf tournament.
1960: Anna Marie Johnson was born. She is an actress and impressionist who has starred in film and on television. She turns 53 today.
1961: The Shirelles’ “What A Sweet Thing That Was” charted a week after it’s A-side “A Thing of the past” did the same thing.
1965: The Four Tops began their first tour of Europe with sellout shows in London. The British part of their tour was handled by Beatles manager Brian Epstein.
1967: Vin Diesel was born. he is an actor, producer, screenwriter and director. He turns 46 today.
1968: Alex Desert was born. He is an actor, singer, songwriter and a founding member of the ska band Hepcat. He turns 45 today.
1970: Willie Mays became the 10th baseball player to get 3,000 hits.
1978: A furious Billy Martin suspended Yankee’s Reggie Jackson for not bunting.
1979: Jason Weaver was born. He is an actor and singer. He turns 34 today.
1991: Little Richard was quoted in USA Today saying, “If I had been white, there never would have been an Elvis Presley.”
1994: Whitney Houston performed at the World Cup soccer finals between Italy and Brazil at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.
2011: Lillian Mobley passed away. She was a activist who fought to establish and keep open the doors of Martin Luther King Jr. Drew Medical Center and pushed to create a companion medical school. She was 81 years old.
5. July 19: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Sylvia Wood
1895: Jodie Edwards was born. He was 1/2 the comedy duo Butterbeans & Susie. They performed stage and later Vaudeville. They used their fame and influence to help younger black comedians. Moms Mabley and Stepin Fetchit are just a couple of comedians they helped.
1932: Buster Benton was born. He was a blues guitarist and singer who played guitar in Willie Dixon’s Blues All-Stars. He passed away in 1996 at age 64.
1936: Shirley Goodman was born. She was 1/2 the duo of Shirley & Lee. She also had a disco hit later in her career – Shame, Shame, Shame. She passed away in 2005 at age 69.
1944: Dr. Walter Turnbull was born. He was a musician and the founder of the Boys Choir of Harlem. He passed away in 2007 at age 63.
1958: George Treadwell, the Drifters’ manager, walked backstage at the Apollo Theater, fired his group, walked across to the dressing room of the group’s opening act, the Crowns, hired them, and then christened them the Drifters. The Crown’s lead singer was Ben E. King.
1969: “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)” by Junior Walker & the All-Stars was the Number One R&B song this day.
1973: Willie Mays named to NL all star team for 24th time (ties Musial).
1975: Esther Phillips charted with “What A Difference A Day Makes” reaching #10 R&B and #20 pop. It was her nineteenth R&B hit and her first top ten in thirteen years since “Release Me” hit no. 1 (#8 pop) in 1962.
1975: George Benson’s debut solo single, “Supership,” peaked on the R&B chart. He would go on to have twenty-five R&B charting numbers and several number ones.
1979: Patricia Harris was named US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. She was the first African American woman to serve in the United States Cabinet, and the first to enter the line of succession to the Presidency.
1990: Dionne Warwick appeared at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles alongside Johnny Mathis.
1991: Desiree Washington, a contestant in the Miss Black America pageant, accused Mike Tyson of rape. He was convicted the following February and received a six-year sentence.
1992: Ebony P. Warren was crowned the 24th Miss Black America.
1993: Red Prysock passed away. He was an R&B tenor saxophonist.He died of a heart attack at age 67.
1994: Rick James was sentenced to five years plus in prison for assaulting two women and for cocaine use. He would serve his time at Folsom Prison in California.
2001: Judy Clay passed away. She was a soul and gospel singer. She did from complications received in an auto accident. She was 62 years old.
2010: Mac Foster passed away. He was a former boxer and a contender for the heavyweight championship in 1970. He died of congestive heart failure at age 68.
2012: Sylvia Wood passed away. She was a restaurateur who co-founded the landmark restaurant Sylvia’s in Harlem with her husband, Herbert Woods, in 1962. The soul food eatery is a popular gathering place for Harlem residents and tourists not far from the Apollo Theater. She was 86 years old.
6. July 20: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Luther Vandross
1919: Ernie Wilkins was born. He was a jazz arranger, writer and saxophonist and played with Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, Dizzy Gillespie to name a few. He passed away in 1999 at age 80.
1936: Billy Guy was born. He was a member of the Coasters and sang lead on several of the hit songs. He passed away in 2002 at age 66.
1937: Ed Wells was born. He was the founding member of the ‘Six Teens’ a group of six teenagers ranging from age 12 to 17 (Ed being the oldest). He passed away in 2001 at age 64.
1967: The Jimi Hendrix experience recorded at New York’s Mayfair Recording Studios with the Sweet Inspirations (Elvis Presley’s and Aretha Franklin’s background singers) doing backup vocals on “Midnight Lamp.”
1968: Nathaniel Wilson, aka Kool G Rap was born. He is a rapper and a major influence to some of hip-hop’s critically acclaimed rappers. He turns 45 today.
1968: The Soul Clan, a one-off recording by five of R&B’s top stars, including Ben E. King, Joe Tex, Don Covay, Arthur Conley, and Solomon Burke, charted R&B with “Soul Meeting.”
1971: Robert Davis, Jr. aka DJ Screw was born. He was known as a central figure in the Houston hip-hop community and was the creator of the now-famous Chopped and Screwed DJ technique. This creation led to his nickname of “The Originator”. He died at age 29 from a codeine/mixed drug intoxication overdose
1971: The Commodores were the opening act for the Jackson 5 at the Coliseum in Charlotte, NC.
1974: ‘My Thang’ by James Brown was the Number One R&B song this day.
1978: The O’Jays performed at Los Angeles’ Greek Theater on their twentieth anniversary.
1982: Percy Daggs III was born. He is an actor of film and television. He can be seen in the film ‘Veronica Mars’ due out in 2014 as Wallace Fennel, the role he portrayed in the ’04 -’07 series Veronica Mars. He turns 31 today.
1990: Luther Vandross performed at the Westbury Music Fair to a sold-out crowd.
1991: Patti LaBelle joined forces with Dionne Warwick and Gladys Knight for “Superwoman,” a cut on Gladys’ new Good Woman album, which charted today and eventually reached #45.
1994: OJ Simpson offered a $500,000 reward for evidence of his ex-wife’s killer.
1995: TLC’s album Waterfalls headed toward nine million in sales while the group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on this day.
2010: Carl Gordon passed away. He was a late-blooming stage and TV character actor.On Broadway, he created the part of Doaker, the upright uncle in The Piano Lesson (1990) by August Wilson. He was 78 years old.
7. July 21: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Barbara Ann Teer
1896: The National Federation of Afro-American Women was founded on this day.
1917: Floyd Jones was born. He was a blues singer, guitarist and songwriter. He passed away in 1989 at age 72.
1952: George Wallace was born. He is an actor and comedian. He turns 61 today.
1955: The Cadets charted with ‘Stranded in the Jungle’ their rock ‘n’ roll novelty.
1957: Althea Gibson became the first black to win a major US tennis tournament on this day.
1958: ‘Yakety Yak’ by the Coasters was the Number One song on this day.
1958: The Dell-Vikings’ cover of “You Cheated” was released, along with the Miracles’ “Money” and the Videos’ classic “Trickle, Trickle.”
1961: The Supremes’ second single, “Buttered Popcorn,” was released, with Florence Ballard singing lead. The group was still more than a year from its first chart 45, “Your Heart Belongs to Me.”
1962: 160 civil right activists were jailed after a demonstration in Albany, Ga.
1962: John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” reached #60 pop (#16 R&B), becoming his only 45 in the pop Top 100. It was also his last of nine R&B hits starting in 1949.
1979: The National Women’s Hall of Fame was dedicated in Seneca Falls, NY on this day. Some of the inductees are Marian Anderson, Barbara Jordan, Ella Fitzgerald, Bessie Coleman, Mary McLeod Bethune, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth just to name a few.
1983: A storm cut short Diana Ross’ free concert in NY’s Central Park.
1988: James Brown received a two-year suspended sentence and a $1,200 fine for resisting arrest, carrying a gun, and drug possession. (See May 18).
1989: Mike Tyson knocked out Carl Williams in 1:33 for heavyweight boxing title.
1990: En Vogue reached #2 pop with “Hold On,” their debut disc. Former Commodores member Thomas McElroy and partner Denzil Foster, who wanted to invent a funky, contemporary version of the Supremes, put the female quartet together.
1991: Sharmell Sullivan, 20, of Gary, Indiana was crowned the 23rd Miss Black America
2008: Khia Edgerton passed away. She was a disk jockey at Baltimore’s Radio One hip-hop station 92Q James (WERQ-FM) who worked under the name Club Queen K-Swift. Edgerton had established quite a following and was the first female deejay at the station. She was found unresponsive in the pool at her home in an apparent accidental drowning and was pronounced dead at a hospital. She was 29 years old.
2008: Barbara Ann Teer passed away. She was an actress, founder, and longtime chief executive of the performing arts organization National Black Theater. She appeared in several productions. She was 71 years old.