Black Music Month originated in 1979.  President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the month of June as Black Music Month to celebrate the wonderful music, the achievements, births, important timelines, events and to remember those we lost.

1. Nina Mae McKinney

1912: Nina Mae McKinney was born. Dubbed “The Black Garbo” in Europe, she was one of the first African-American film stars in the USA and was one of the first African Americans to appear on British television. Her debut on Broadway was dancing in a chorus line of the hit musical Blackbirds of 1928. This show starred Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and Adelaide Hall. The musical opened at the Liberty Theater on May 9, 1928 and became one of the longest-running and most successful shows of its genre on Broadway. She passed away in 1967 at age 54. (Photo: Tumblr)

2. Bill Kenny

1914: Singer, songwriter and activist Bill Kenny was born on this day. He is best known for his role as lead tenor with The Ink Spots. In 1951, he started a solo career and his recording of “It Is No Secret” became a hit on the U.S. pop charts. In 1966 Bill Kenny was the star of “The Bill Kenny Show” which aired on Canada’s CBC. He passed away in 1978 at age 63. (Photo: Tumblr)

3. Marcus Belgrave

1936: Jazz Trumpeter Marcus Belgrave was born. He has recorded with a lot of famous folks; Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dizzy Gillespie to name a few. A popular clinician and instructor, he is a frequent faculty member at Stanford Jazz Workshop and is currently visiting professor of jazz trumpet at the Oberlin Conservatory. (Photo: YouTube)

4. Lyn Collins

1948: Soul singer Lyn Collins was born. She worked with James Brown in the ’70s and recorded the influential funk single ‘Think (About It)’ in 1972. She died in 2005 at age 56 of cardiac arrhythmia. (Photo: YouTube)

5. Ben E. King

1961: ‘Stand By Me’ by Ben E. King reached #1 on the R&B chart and stayed put for four weeks. (Photo: YouTube)

6. Grandmaster Dee

1962: Grandmaster Dee (Whodini) was born. He is an award winning DJ and is internationally renowned for being able to scratch with almost every conceivable part of his anatomy! WHAT? He has also been praised for his ability to access all genres of music reaching many different demographics. (Photo: YouTube)

7. The Supremes

1965:The Number One Song was ‘Back in May Arms Again’ by the Supremes. (Photo: AP)

8. Roberta Flack

1971: Roberta Flack charted for the first time with ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ reaching #29 on the Pop Chart. (Photo: AP)

9. Afrika Bambaataa

1982:Afrika Bambaataa charted with ‘Planet Rock’ a trend-setting mixture of European electronic music that went on to sell more than a million copies. (Photo: YouTube)

10. Gene Rondo

1994: Reggae singer Gene Rondo passed away on this day at age 51. (Photo: YouTube)

11. Theresa Merritt

1998:Singer and actress of stage, film & television Theresa Merritt passed away on this day at age 75. She appeared in many theatrical productions but gained fame later in life when she starred in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. (Photo: Tumblr)

12. Shirley Witherspoon

2003: Singer Shirley Witherspoon passed away on this day of heart and kidney failure at age 62. She played her first gig with Duke Ellington’s band when she was 28 and it was at the Presidential inauguration ball for Richard Nixon in 1969. (Photo: YouTube)

13. Carl Gardner

2011: Original lead singer of the Coasters, Carl Gardner passed away on this day at age 83. Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. The Coasters had a string of hits in the late ‘50s, including “Searchin’,” “Poison Ivy,” and “Young Blood.” Their single “Yakety Yak” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 after its 1958 release; it also spent seven weeks as the No. 1 R&B song. (Photo: NewsOne)