1. July 8: This Day in Black HistorySource:AP Photo/David F. Smith
FEATURED: Nat King Cole
1805: Bill Richmond, the first African American to distinguish himself as a prizefighter, knocked out boxer Jack Holmes in a match in England.
1908: Louis Jordan, considered to be the father of rhythm and blues—-was born today. With his Tympany 5 (which actually had nine members) Jordan became the opening act for the Mills Brothers in 1938. His innovative and humorous style led him to become the most popular R&B recording act of the ’40s, with fifty-seven hits between 1942 and 1951. His jump blues and jazz fusion paved the way for R&B’s influence on rock ‘n’ roll.
1914: Legendary Jazz singer and bandleader during the swing era Billy Eckstine was born. He passed away in 1993.
1923: William Harrison “Bones” Dillard was born. He is a former track and field athlete, the only male so far to win Olympic titles in both sprinting and hurdling events. He turns 90 years old today.
1938: Julia Carson was born. She was a member of the United States House of Representatives for Indiana’s 7th congressional district from 1997 until her death in 2007. She was the first woman and first African American to represent the 7th District. She was also the second African American woman elected to Congress from Indiana.
1943: Faye Wattleton was born. She is the first African-American and youngest president ever elected to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and is also the first woman since Margaret Sanger to hold the position. She turns 71 today.
1950: Nat King Cole entered the R&B hit-list with one of his best-loved recordings, “Mona Lisa,” reaching #1 for four weeks and topping the pop charts for eight.
1960: Valarie Pettiford was born. She is a stage and television actress, dancer and jazz singer. She turns 54 today.
1963: Little Stevie Wonder performed “Fingertips, Part 2 on American Bandstand.
1965: NAACP elected Roy Wilkins as their new executive director on this day.
1967: Actor Marcus Chong was born. His best-known roles are as Tank the Operator in The Matrix, and before that, Huey P. Newton in the 1995 Mario Van Peebles movie Panther. He turns 46 today.
1972: “If Loving You is Wrong, I Don’t Wanna Be Right” by Luther Ingram was the number one song this day.
1972: The O’Jays charted with “Backstabbers,” reaching #1 R&B and #3 pop.
1991: Blues singer and drummer Willie Nix passed away. He was 68 years old.
1995: TLC’s “Waterfalls” reached #1 pop for seven weeks and #4 R&B. It was the trio’s second of four #1s, including “Creep,” “No Scrubs,” and “Unpretty.”
2001: Venus Williams won her second straight Wimbledon Women’s Singles Championship.
2007: Charles Tisdale passed away. He was the owner and publisher of Mississippi’s oldest black-owned newspaper who fought for civil rights. Tisdale purchased the Jackson Advocate in 1978 from its first owner, Percy Green. He was 80 years old.
2009: Award-winning playwright and a film and TV writer Judi Ann Mason passed away. She launched her TV career on the ‘70s sitcom Good Times and later co-wrote the 1993 movie comedy Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. She died of a ruptured aorta en route to UCLA Medical Center. She was 54 years old.
2010: Former NBA player and all-American Kentucky center, Mel Turpin passed away. He reportedly suffered from diabetes. He died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 49.
2012: John Williams passed away. He was a Los Angeles Rams lineman in the ‘70s who went to dental school during his off-seasons and started a dentistry practice in Minneapolis after he retired from football. He was 66 years old.
2. July 11: This Day in Black HistorySource:CLARA'S HEART, Beverly Todd, 1988, (c)Warner Bros.
FEATURED: Beverly Todd
1905: W.E.B. Du Bois and 29 individuals met at the Niagara Falls in Canada to for the Niagara Movement (a direct-action civil rights organization).
1915: Mifflin Wistar Gibbs passed away this day. He was a Little Rock businessman, a politician, and the first elected African-American municipal judge in the United States. He was 56 years old.
1946: Beverly Todd was born. She is an actress, producer and screenwriter. She turns 67 today.
1950: Bonnie Pointer was born. She is an R&B singer and member of The Pointer Sisters. She turns 63 today.
1953: The flip side of the Flamingos’ debut single (“If I Can’t Have You”), Someday, Someway,” was released.
1953: Leon Spinks was born. He is an Olympic Gold Medalist and once held the world heavyweight champion title. He turns 60 today.
1958: Kirk Whalum was born. He is a smooth jazz saxophonist and songwriter. He toured as Whitney Houston’s opening act for several years and soloed in her single “I Will Always Love You”, the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. He turns 55 today.
1959: Rossiere ‘Shadow’ Wilson passed away. He was a jazz drummer and worked with some of the greats during the swing jazz era.
1969: Kellita Smith was born. She is an actress and model. She turns 44 today.
1970: ‘The Love You Save’ by the Jackson Five was the Number One song this day.
1974: Lil’ Kim was born. She is a rapper, singer-songwriter, author, record producer and actress. She turns 39 today.
1977: Soul / R&B singer-songwriter Goapele was born. She turns 36 today.
1982: Rapper and actor Lil’ Zane was born. he turns 31 today.
1987: The Temptations sang backup vocals for actor Bruce Willis’s passable version of the Drifters’ 1964 hit “Under the Boardwalk.: Though it only reached #59 pop in America, the Brits loved it to the tune of #2.
1992: Jazz singer Patti Austin and Vanessa Williams performed at the Hollywood Women’s Political Committee fund-raiser.
1992: Herb Kenny passed away. He was was the bass singer for the Ink Spots and Bill Kenny’s twin brother. He was 78 years old.
1994: Saxophonist Charles “Lefty’ Edwards passed away this day. He was 67 years old.
1995: Donna Summer sang at the Nautica Stage in Cleveland, OH, at the start of a U.S. tour.
2002: Rosco Gordon passed away. He was a blues singer, songwriter and pianist. He was 74 years old.
2010: Walter Hawkins passed away. He was a Grammy-winning gospel singer, composer, and pastor. He was 61 years old.
3. July 13: This Day in Black HistorySource:John Ricard / Retna Ltd.
FEATURED: Gerald Levert
1928: Robert N.C. Nix, Jr. was born. He was the first African American Chief Justice of any state’s highest court, and the first African American to be elected to statewide office in Pennsylvania. He passed away in 2003 at age 75.
1930: Sam Greenlee was born. He is a writer best known for his controversial novel The Spook Who Sat by the Door, first published in London in 1969, and was chosen as The Sunday Times Book of the Year. The novel was subsequently made into the 1973 movie of the same name.
1935: Earl Lovelace was born. He is an award-winning Trinidadian novelist, journalist, playwright, and short story writer.
1936: Albert Ayler was born. He was an avant-garde jazz saxophonist, singer and composer. He disappeared on November 5, 1970 and was found dead in NYC’s East River on November 25, a presumed suicide.
1946: ‘The Gypsy’ by the Ink Spots was the Number One R&B song this day.
1948: Daphne Maxwell Reid was born. She is an actress of film and television. Perhaps, best known for her role as (the 2nd) Vivian Banks on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air from 1993 until 1996. She turns 65 today.
1954: The Dominoes began a two-week stint at Las Vegas’ Sahara Hotel.
1954: Danitra Vance was born. She was an actor, comedian and was the first African American woman to become an SNL repertory player in 1985. She passed away in 1994 at age 40 of breast cancer.
1956: Michael Spinks was born. He is a retired boxer who was an Olympic gold medalist and world champion in the light-heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. He turns 57 today.
1959: The Eternals charted with their debut 45, “Rockin’ in the Jungle,” an eventual R&B novelty standard even though it only reached #78 pop.
1959: Sam Cooke’s dreamy yet bouncy ballad, “Only Sixteen” Charted.
1963: Stevie Wonder’s The Twelve Year Old Genius charted, becoming #1 pop and making Stevie the first artist to top the album, R&B singles, and Hot 100 singles charts all at the same time.
1963: ‘That’s the Way Love Is’ by Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland charted and eventually reached #11.
1963: Anthony Jerome ‘Spud’ Webb was born. He is a retired NBA point guard and was one of the shortest players in NBA history (5 feet 7 inches). He is currently the President of the Basketball Operations for the Texas Legends, the D-League team for the Dallas Mavericks in Frisco, Tx. He turns 50 today.
1966: Gerald Levert was born. He was an R&B singer, songwriter and producer. He passed away in 2006 at age 40.
1971: Tyrin Turner was born. He is an actor of film and television. He turns 42 today.
1974: Gladys Knight & the Pips’ “On and On” became their fourth consecutive gold 45 when it peaked at #5 pop. It reached #2 R&B.
1974: Deborah Cox was born. She is an R&B singer, songwriter and actress. She turns 39 today.
1985: B.B. King, Patti LaBelle, the Four Tops, Tina Turner, Lionel Richie, David Ruffin, and Eddie Kendrick were among the stars who performed at Live Aid at Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium. Teddy Pendergrass also performed. It was his first live performance since being paralyzed in a car accident in 1982.
1993: Fats Domino and Ray Charles performed at the Westfalenhalle 1 in Dortmund, Germany, on their European tour.
2010: Vernon Baker passed away. He was a soldier who belatedly received the Medal of Honor for his role in World War II. He was one of just seven black soldiers to receive it and the only living recipient. He was 90 years old.
2012: Willis Edwards passed away. He was a civil rights and political activist in Los Angeles’ black community and former leader of the Beverly Hills-Hollywood branch of the NAACP, a controversial force behind its entertainment industry Image Awards. He was 66 years old.
2012: Warren Jabali passed away. He played professionally in the ABA from 1968 to 1975 and was named rookie of the year. He was 66 years old.
4. July 18: This Day in Black HistorySource:Landmark / PR Photos
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 was a much-loved South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He passed away in December of 2013.
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 HistorySource:AP Photo/Seth Wenig
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 HistorySource:AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian
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.