The month of February and Black History Month has come to a close but that doesn’t mean we have to stop celebrating Black history. Black history happens every day and we intend to keep right on celebrating as well as featuring a gallery dedicated to those who made a difference long ago and today.
1. May 1: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Chris Kelly
1884: Moses Fleetwood Walker became the first black person to play in a pro baseball game in the U.S. In 1889, when professional baseball erected a color barrier that stood for nearly 60 years he became a businessman and advocate of Black Nationalism.
1901: Poet, writer & teacher Sterling Allen Brown born (Died: 1989).
1915: Athlete & teacher Archie Williams was born. He took home Gold for the 400 meter run at the 1936 Summer Olympics. (Died: 1993)
1924: R&B singer & pianist Big Maybelle was born. Her 1956 hit single ‘Candy’ received the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999. (Died: 1972)
1926: Satchel Paige made his pitching debut in Negro Southern League.
1930: Chicago bluesman Little Walter was born. He died of coronary thrombosis. He was 37 years old.
1934: Jazz singer & pianist Shirley Horn was born (Died: 2005).
1939: Max Robinson was born. He was the 1st African American broadcast network news anchor in the US. (Died: 1988)
1944: R&B – Funk singer Marva Whitney was born. (Died: 2012)
1959: Floyd Patterson KOed Brian London in 11 for heavyweight boxing title.
1950: Poet Gwendolyn Brooks became the 1st black awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her book of poetry ‘Annie Allen.’
1951: Minnie Minoso became the 1st black to play for the White Sox.
1954: Happy Birthday to singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer & composer Ray Parker, Jr. who turns 60 today.
1965: The Supremes ‘Back in My Arms Again’ was released.
1965: Solomon Burke had his biggest hit when ‘Got to Get You off My Mind’ reached #1 R&B for three weeks.
1971: ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’ by the Jackson 5 was the #1 R&B song.
1973: ‘Marvin Gaye Day’ was declared in Washington, D.C.
1976: Happy Birthday to Darius McCrary who turns 38 today.
1976: Civil rights leader, entrepreneur and surgeon T.R.M. Howard passed away at age 68.
1983: Happy Birthday to pro wrestler Craig Williams aka Human Tornado who turns 31 today.
1985: Happy Birthday to actress Drew Sidora who turns 29 today.
1989: Police in California were called to a jewelry store after employees reported a suspicious-looking person, who turned out to be Michael Jackson shopping in disguise.
1991: Rickey Henderson of the Oakland Athletics stole his 939th base, making him the all-time leader in this category.
1992: Can we all get along? Rodney King’s appealed for calm on the 3rd day of the LA riots.
1992: Singer and actress Sharon Redd passed away at age 46 of AIDS related pneumonia.
1993: Shirley Owens Reeves of the Shirelles received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the opening of the doo-wop Hall of Fame of America in providence, RI.
1998: Writer and early leader of the Black Panther Party Eldridge Cleaver passed away, aged 62.
2001: A jury found KKK member Thomas Blanton, Jr. guilty of four counts of murder and sentenced him to four life sentences for the 1963 church bombing that killed Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair.
2003: Barry White suffered a stroke while being treated for kidney failure.
2011: President Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by US Special Forces in Pakistan.
2012: Blues & Soul guitarist Skip Pitts passed away, aged 65. He is widely considered to have been one of the architects of soul, R&B, and funk guitar.
2013: Chris Kelly died at the age of 34 of a drug overdose. He was ½ the rap duo Kris Kross.
2. May 2: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Junior Seau
1844: Inventor Elijah J. McCoy was born. (Died: 1929)
1879: Educator, orator, religious leader, civil rights activist, feminist and businesswoman Nannie Burroughs was born. (Died: 1961)
1913: Ethiopian golf wiz John Dendy was born. (Died: 1985)
1920: The first game of the Negro National League baseball was played in Indianapolis.
1925: Actor and director Roscoe Lee Brown was born. (Died: 2007)
1954: Happy Birthday to Singer, songwriter Angela Bofill who turns 60 years old today.
1960: Ben E. King left the Drifters and signed a deal with ATCO Records.
1963: In Birmingham, AL, 2,543 Civil Rights demonstrators were arrested.
1972: Happy Birthday to Dwayne ‘The rock’ Johnson who turns 42 today.
1994: Nelson Mandela claimed victory after South Africa’s first democratic elections.
1998: The Vocal Group Hall of Fame and Museum opened in Sharon, PA.
1999: A meeting between the Rev. Jesse Jackson & Yugoslav President Milosevic led to the release of three US soldiers captured a month earlier by Serbian troops.
2000: Governor Hodges (SC) signed a bill to make the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. an official state holiday. South Carolina was the last state to do so.
2008: Mildred Loving passed away. She challenged Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage that led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling striking down such laws nationwide. Loving and her white husband, Richard, changed history in 1967 when the US Supreme Court upheld their right to marry.
2012: Former NFL star Junior Seau took his life. He was 43 years old.
3. May 3: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Nina Mae McKinney (Photo: Tumblr)
1845: Macon B. Allen became the 1st African American lawyer to be admitted to the bar in Massachusetts. One year prior, he was admitted to the bar in Maine.
1907: Actor Canada Lee was born. He was also a champion of civil rights in the 1930s & 40s. He died of a heart attack at age 45.
1920: John Aaron Lewis was born. He was a jazz pianist, composer and arranger best known as the musical director of the Modern Jazz Quartet. (Died: 2001).
1921: Boxing legend Sugar Ray Robinson was born. (Died: 1989)
1926: Jazz trombonist Jimmy Cleveland was born. (Died: 2008)
1933: Grandfather of Soul, James Brown, was born. He was a Musician, Songwriter, Dancer, Choreographer, Bandleader, Record Producer and Actor. (Died: 2006)
1953: Ida Gray Nelson Rollins passed away. She was the first African American woman to earn a doctor of dental surgery degree when she graduated from the University of Michigan.
1963: The police force in Birmingham, Alabama switched tactics and responded with violent force to stop the “Birmingham campaign” protesters. Images of the violent suppression were transmitted worldwide, bringing new-found attention to the African-American Civil Rights Movement.
1967: Nina Mae McKinney passed away. She was an actress who worked internationally in theatre, film and television after getting her start on Broadway and in Hollywood. Dubbed “The Black Garbo” in Europe, she was one of the first African-American film stars in the U.S. and was one of the first African Americans to appear on British television.
1971: Happy Birthday to record producer, executive Damon Dash who turns 42 today.
1972: Happy Birthday to mixed martial artist Shonie Carter who turns 42 today.
1975: Happy Birthday to actor Dulé Hill who turns 39 today.
1977: Happy Birthday to Tyronn Jamar Lue who turns 37 today. He is a former professional basketball player and current assistant coach with the Boston Celtics of the NBA.
1981: Happy Birthday to actress, Singer & songwriter Farrah Franklin who turns 33 today. She is a former member of Destiny’s Child.
1992: Five days of rioting and looting ended in Los Angeles leaving 53 people dead.
2004: CBRL Group, Inc. said its Cracker Barrel Unit entered an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to take steps to end alleged racial discrimination at its restaurants.
2006: Earl Woods, father of Tiger, passed away.
2007: Gospel singer J. Robert Bradley passed away at age 87. His deep, swooping, octave-leaping voice and charismatic presence made him one of the most important figures in gospel music.
2012: Lloyd Brevett passed away. He was a Jamaican double bassist, songwriter, and a founding member of The Skatalites. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica, was a Rastafarian, and brother of The Melodians member, Tony Brevett.
2013: Jamaican saxophonist and flautist Cedric Brooks passed away. He was 70 year s old.
4. May 4: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Nick Ashford
1880: Richard Samuel Roberts was born. (Died: 1936) He was a still photographer and photographed realistic images of the Black South.
1938: Award winning R&B/Soul singer Tyrone Davis was born. (Died: 2005).
1942: Legendary Motown songwriter Nick Ashford was born. (Died: 2011).
1950: Happy Birthday to former actor turned pastor Hilly Gene Hicks who turns 64 today.
1951: Happy Birthday to singer & musician Jackie Jackson who turns 63 today.
1959: The 1st Grammy Awards were held to recognize musical accomplishments by performers for the year 1958 and jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald took home two.
1961: The Freedom Riders, organized by CORE left Washington DC to begin a bus trip through the South by Greyhound bus soon after the Supreme Court outlawed segregation in interstate transportation terminals.
1962: Happy Birthday to gospel, jazz, soul singer and pianist Oleta Adams who turns 61 today.
1965: Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics was honored as NBA’s most valuable player for the 4th time in five years.
1968: #1 R&B Song – ‘I Got the Feelin’ by James Brown.
1970: Happy Birthday to three-time Olympian, professional basketball player & Coach Dawn Staley who turns 44 today. She was elected to carry the U.S. flag at the opening ceremony of the 2004 Summer Olympics.
1985: The Apollo Theater reopened after a renovation that cost around 10.4 million.
2013: Civil rights activist Alton T. Lemon passed away at age 84.
5. May 5: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Darrin Dewitt Henson
1865: Pastor Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. was born. He was a founder of the Nat’l Urban League, active in the NAACP and served as trustee of several History Black Colleges and Schools. (Died: 1953)
1898: Blues singer & guitarist Blind Willie McTell was born. (Died: 1959)
1905: Robert S. Abbott published the 1st issue of ‘Chicago Defender’ newspaper.
1917: Eugene Jacques Bullard became the 1st African American aviator when he earned his flying certificate with the French Air Service.
1934: R&B, soul & gospel singer Johnnie Taylor was born. (Died: 2000).
1946: Actor, athlete and martial artist Jim Kelly was born. He passed away in 2013, aged 67.
1956: #1 R&B Song – ‘Long Tall Sally’ by Little Richard.
1966: MLB legend Willie Mays broke the national League record for home runs when he hit his 512th homer.
1972: Happy Birthday to Darrin Dewitt Henson who turns 42 today. He is a choreographer, dancer, actor, director and producer.
1983: Singer Clarence Quick passed away. He was bass singer for the Del Vikings and an inductee into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
1985: Happy Birthday to NFL cornerback Terrence Wheatley who turns 29 today.
1989: Happy Birthday to singer, dancer & actor Chris Brown who turns 25 today.
1992: Singer Barbara Alston of the group the Crystals passed away.
2007: Civil rights pioneer Ernest McBride who cofounded the Long Beach chapter of the NAACP passed away.
2007: Emma Culpepper, adoptive mom of QB Daunte Culpepper, passed away at age 92. She raised around 15 children none of them biologically hers. She adopted Daunte when he was one day old.
2009: Writer Elsie B. Washington passed away. Her 1980 book ‘Entwined Destinies’ is widely considered to be the 1st black romance novel. She was 66 years old.
2012: Artist Frederick J. Brown passed away. He explored the relationship between music and painting in portraits of hundreds of jazz & blues artists.
2012: Joseph ‘Sweet Joe’ Russell passed away. He was a tenor who spent 50 years harmonizing with the persuasions, a group widely regarded as the kings of a cappella.
6. May 6: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Willie Mays
1787: Prince Hall founded the first Black Masonic Lodge in Boston.
1816: The American Bible Society was founded by people who were committed to the word of God and to the end of slavery.
1931: Happy Birthday to baseball great Willie Mays was who turns 83 today.
1953: Happy Birthday to award winning actress Lynn Whitfield who turns 61 today.
1960: Sam Cooke performed at the Howard Theater in Washington, DC.
1972: #1 Song – ‘The First Time’ by Roberta Flack.
1983: Happy Birthday to actress Gabourey Sidibe who turns 31 today.
1985: Happy Birthday to NBA point guard Chris Paul who turns 29 today.
1990: Aaron Neville performed at the Jazz & Heritage Festival’s 21st annual show in New Orleans.
1987: Happy Birthday to rapper & songwriter Meek Mill who turns 27 today.
1992: Whitney Houston performed on her 1st network TV special “Whitney Houston – This is My Life’ on ABC.
1994: Blues singer, songwriter & guitarist Cool Papa Sadler passed away.
1997: George Clinton & the Parliament/Funkadelic Army was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
2002: Singer, songwriter pianist Otis Blackwell passed away. Throughout his lifetime he composed more than a thousand songs, garnering worldwide sales of close to 200 million records.
2007: Boogie-woogie & blues pianist ‘Big’ Joe Duskin passed away.
2009: Pop singer Viola Wills passed away. She was discovered by Barry White and later worked with Smokey Robinson and Joe Cocker before landing a hit of her own ‘Gonna Get Along Wtihout You now’ and earned the title ‘Disco Diva’ in both the US and UK.
2013: Alyne Payton passed away at age 87. She was the mother of the late NFL Hall of Fame running back Chicago Bear’s star Walter Payton.
7. May 7: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Clyde McFadder
1878: Joseph Winters received a patent for the fire escape ladder.
1939: Happy Birthday to R&B and soul singer Jimmy Ruffin who turns 75 today.
1946: Happy Birthday to Grammy Award winning singer Thelma Houston who turns 68 today.
1953: Clyde McPhatter signed with Atlantic Records as lead singer of the Drifters.
1954: Clyde McPhatter was drafted into the Army but was stationed in Buffalo, NY and on weekends, he would bus in for gigs with the group.
1955: #1 R&B Song – I’ve Got a Woman’ by Ray Charles & his Band
1968: Aretha Franklin made her 1st tour of Europe. While at the Olympia Theatre in Paris, her performance was recorded for a future album.
1974: English singer, songwriter, arranger and record producer Lynden David Hall was born. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2003 and passed away in 2006. He was 31 years old.
1984: Jesse Jackson was featured on the cover of Time Magazine ‘ The Jackson Factor’ – Black Pride, White Concerns.’
1988: Terence Trent D’Arby reached #1 on both the Pop and R&B charts with ‘Wishing Well.’
2009: Mayor Frank Melton of Jackson, Mississippi passed away at age 60.
2013: Singer Teri Moise took her life. She was 43 years old.
8. May 8: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Jackie Robinson
1901: Negro League Outfielder Norman ‘Turkey’ Stearnes was born. He passed away in 1979 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.
1911: Legendary bluesman Robert Johnson was born. He passed away at age 27. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and in 2003 he was ranked 5th in Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
1925: Asa Philip Randolph organized the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.
1932: World Heavyweight Boxing Champ Sonny Liston was born.(Died: 1970)
1943: #1 R&B Song – ‘I Can’t Stand Losing You’ by the Ink Spots.
1943: Duke Ellington & his Orchestra charted with ‘Don’t Get Around Much Anymore’ eventually reaching #1.
1950: Jackie Robinson was featured on the cover of Life Magazine.
1951: Happy Birthday to Phillip Bailey who turns 63 today. He is a R&B, soul, gospel and funk singer, songwriter, percussionist and actor, best known as one of the longtime members of the group Earth, Wind & Fire.
1968: James Brown attended a dinner at the White House at the invitation of President and Mrs. Johnson.
1972: Billy Preston became the 1st Rock Star to headline at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
1992: A monument was dedicated to ‘Muddy Waters, Master of the Blues’ in Roling Fork, MS by local officials.
1992: The Dixie Cups of ‘Chapel of Love’ fame reunited and performed at Radio City Music Hall in NYC for WCBS-FMs 20th Anniversary Concert.
1996: The 8th Annual World Music Awards in Monte Carlo, Monaco bestowed honors upon Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and TLC.
2003: Pioneering African American and Native American sportswriter, reporter, columnist, editor & TV/radio commentator Sam Lacy passed away. He was 100 years old.
2011: Studio Musician Cornell Dupree passed away. A guitarist who played on hits such as ‘Respect’ by Aretha, ‘Rainy Night in Georgia’ by Brook Benton and others.
2012: NFL wide receiver for the New York Giants Stacy Robinson passed away from Multiple myeloma. He was 50 years old.
9. May 9: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Kevin Peter Hall
1897: Rudolph Fisher was born. He was a physician, radiologist, novelist, short story writer, dramatist, musician & orator.(Died: 1934).
1937: Dave Prater of Sam & Dave fame was born. (Died: 1988)
1939: Olympic Gold Medalist Ralph Boston was born. He was the 1st person to jump 27 feet. He won three Gold, one Silver and one Bronze.
1948: Happy Birthday to NBA Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy who turns 66. Before basketball he was a world class baton twirler. His reputation as a twirler earned him invitations to perform at major sporting events & the 1964 New York World’s Fair. At the height of his basketball career in Houston, he won the Texas State Men’s Twirling Championship.
1952: Actor Canada Lee passed away. He pioneered roles for African Americans and was a champion of civil rights in the 30s and 40s. He died shortly before he was scheduled to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee. He was 45.
1955: Actor Kevin Peter Hall was born. He was 7’2″ and co-starred in Harry & the Henderson’s (as Harry) as well as the title character in the 1st two films in the Predator franchise. He passed away in 1991, aged 35, of AIDS that he contracted from a contaminated blood transfusion.
1968: Arthur Mitchell passed away. He was the 1st African American to be elected to the United States Congress as a Democrat.
1970: Happy Birthday to rapper and prominent member of the Wu-Tang Clan Ghostface Killah who turns 44 today.
1975: Happy Birthday to R&B singer & songwriter Tamia who turns 39 today.
1979: Happy Birthday to actress, singer & writer Rosario Dawson who turns 35 today.
1987: #1 R&B -‘There’s Nothing Better Than Love’ by Luther Vandross.
1992: Snoop Dogg made his R&B chart debut with ‘Deep Cover.’
2009: Gospel Singer Eugene Smith passed away.
2013: Malcolm Shabazz, aged 28, died from injuries sustained in a fight while in Mexico to advocate for more rights for Mexican workers in the U.S.
10. May 10th in Black History:
FEATURED: Nelson Mandela
1837: P.B.S. Pinchback was born. He was the 1st African American to become governor (R) of a U.S. State. He served as the 24th Governor of Louisiana for 35 days (Dec. 9, 1872, to Jan. 13, 1873) (Died: 1921).
1931: Eunice Levy, 1/2 the R&B duo Gene & Eunice was born. (Died: 2002)
1934: Jayne Cortez was born. She was a poet, activist, small press publisher and spoken-word performance artist. (Died: 2012)
1936: R&B / Rock & Roll singer, songwriter, producer & pianist Larry Williams was born. (Died: 1980)
1938: Original member of the Spinners, Henry Fambrough, was born.
1941: Award winning actor Taurean Blacque was born.
1943: Award winning dancer/choreographer Judith Ann Jamison was born.
1951: Ron Banks, founding member of the Dramatics was born. (Died 2010)
1952: Sly Dunbar 1/2 of the prolific Jamaican rhythm section and reggae production duo Sly and Robbie was born.
1960: The Queen of Track Marlene Ottey was born in Jamaica. She has won 9 Olympic Medals, 14 World championships, Six World Indoor, Six commonwealth and two Pan American Games Medals.
1960: Actress Victoria Rowell was born.
1969: The Temptations & The Turtles played the White House upon the request of Tricia Nixon.
1975: Stevie Wonder & his band Wonderlove played for 125,000 at the Washington Monument as part of Human Kindness Day.
1994: Tupac Shakur began serving a 15-day county jail term for attacking director Allen Hughes on a video set.
1994: Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first Black President.
11. May 11: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: John Whitehead
1892: Jockey Alonzo ‘Lonnie’ Clayton, age 15, became the youngest rider to win the Kentucky Derby.
1895: William Grant Still was born. He was a classical composer who wrote more than 150 compositions and often referred to as ‘the Dean’ of African American composers. (Died: 1978)
1933: Happy Birthday to the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan who turns 81 today.
1963: Racist bombings in Birmingham, Alabama disrupted nonviolence in the Birmingham campaign and precipitated a crisis involving federal troops
1968: The 1st phase of the ‘Poor People’s Campaign’ began with 9 caravans of poor people arriving in Washington, DC.
1970: Happy Birthday to politician Harold Ford who turns 44 today.
1970: Alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges passed away at age 63.
1975: Happy Birthday to actor & producer Coby Bell who turns 39 today.
1976: The Will Marion Cook House in NYC was declared a National Historic Landmark.
1976: The home of Madam C.J. Walker in New York was designated a National Historic Landmark.
1981: Reggae Superstar Bob Marley passed away at age 36.
1981: Hoyt William Fuller, editor, critic, and leading figure in the Black Arts Movement passed away.
1985: ‘You Give Good Love’ by Whitney Houston charted becoming her 1st number one.
1986: Frederick Douglass “Fritz” Pollard passed away. He was the 1st African American head coach in the NFL. Sportswriter Walter Camp ranked Pollard as “one of the greatest runners these eyes have ever seen.”
1988: Happy Birthday to rapper Ace Hood who turns 26 today.
1989: Happy Birthday to NFL Quarterback Cam Newton who turns 25 today.
1996: NFL player Rodney Culver & his wife Karen both died when ValuJet Flight 592 crashed into the Florida Everglades killing all 110 people aboard.
2004: Singer, songwriter & record producer John Whitehead passed away at age 55.
2006: Olympic Gold medal Heavyweight Champion boxer Floyd Patterson passed away at age 71.
2011: Jazz trumpeter Snooky Young passed away at age 92.
2011: NBA player Robert DeShaun ‘Tractor’Traylor passed away at age 34 from an apparent heart attack.
12. May 12: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Ron Springs
1902: Joe Gains became the 1st Black to win a world boxing crown.
1928: Henry Cosby a songwriter & record producer for Motown was born. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006. (Died: 2002)
1951: Oscar DePriest passed away. He was the 1st African American elected to Congress (20th century).
1955: Sam ‘Toothpick’ Jones became the Black 1st pitcher to toss a no-hitter in major league baseball.
1957: MLB great Sweet Lou Whitaker was born. 5x All-Star, World Series Champion (1984), 3X Golden Glove Award, 4X Silver Slugger Award, 1978 AL Rookie of the year.
1959: Happy Birthday to actor Ving Rhames who turns 55 today.
1963: Happy Birthday to actress Vanessa A. Williams who turns 51 today.
1963: R&B singer Charles Pettigrew was born. He was 1/2 the duo of Charles & Eddie. (Died: 2001)
1968: Jimi Hendrix was arrested for possession of hashish and heroin when he crossed the Canadian border for a concert in Toronto. He claimed the drugs were planted and he was later exonerated.
1969: Happy Birthday to actress, producer, director Kim Fields who turns 45 today.
1970: Ernie Banks (Chicago Cubs) hit his 500th home run.
1976: Gospel singer & composer Sister Wynona Carr passed away.
1982: George Bledsoe (Ink Spots) passed away.
1985: An honorary Doctor of Music degree was given to Lionel Richie from his alma mater Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
1992: Happy Birthday to actor Malcolm David Kelley who turns 22 today.
2001: Eight of the original ‘Freedom Riders’ reenacted their 1961 bus ride.
2002: At Miami International Airport, Dionne Warwick was arrested when baggage screeners found 11 joints inside her lipstick container.
2005: Poet & Novelist Al Young was named Poet Laureate of California by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
2011: Former Dallas Cowboys running back Ron Springs passed away. He was 54 years old.
2011: Jamaican drummer who helped develop the ska beat (member of The Skatalites) Lloyd Knibb passed away. He was 80 years old.
2013: William Miles, aged 82, passed away. He was a self-taught filmmaker whose documentaries revealed untold stories of Black America and life in Harlem where he grew up.
2013: Pastor Nimrod Q. Reynolds, aged 82, passed away. He was a civil rights leader and pastor of Anniston’s 17th Street Baptist Church for 48 years.
13. May 13th in Black History:
FEATURED: Stevie Wonder
1911: Jazz singer Maxine Sullivan was born. Her career spanned five decades. She passed in 1987.
1914: Boxing legend Joe Louis was born. He passed in 1981.
1943: Singer Mary Wells (signature hit ‘My Guy’) was born. She passed in 1992.
1944: Singer, songwriter & Aretha’s sister, Carolyn Franklin was born. She passed in 1988.
1949: Happy Birthday to actor & comedian Franklyn Ajaye who turns 65 today.
1950: Happy Birthday to singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer Stevie Wonder who turns 64 today..
1955: R&B singer Brandi Wells was born. She died of cancer in 2003, aged 47.
1961: Retired NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman turns 53 today.
1964: Pro bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman was born. He is an eight time Mr. Olympia winner. He turns 50 years old today.
1966: Happy Birthday to award winning singer & songwriter Darius Rucker who turns 48 today.
1967: Singer Melanie Thornton was born. She died in a plane crash at age 34.
1967: #1 R&B song – ‘Jimmy Mack’ by Martha & the Vandellas.
1971: James Charles Evers was elected as the 1st Black Mayor of Fayette, MS.
1971: On Stevie Wonder’s 21st birthday he was to be paid all of his childhood earnings ($30 M) but only received $1 M resulting in new negotiations with the Berry Gordy Co. and the establishment of his on publishing and production companies.
1985: The FBI & City of Philadelphia dropped a C4 bomb on MOVE organization’s Osage Avenue home where the members of the radical group lived. Ramona Africa and a 12 yr. old boy escaped through a basement window. 11 members (five were children) burned to death.
1989: Stevie wonder spent his 39th birthday on stage at Wembley Arena in London.
1990: George Augustus Stallings became the 1st bishop of the African American Catholic Church, a breakaway group from the Roman Catholic Church.
1996: Patti LaBelle taped a TV special with the Boston Pops Orchestra.
2013: Chuck Muncie passed away, aged 60. He was a pro bowl running back. He created the Chuck Muncie Youth Foundation in Los Angeles whose mission was to offer mentoring, educational assistance and counseling.
14. May 14th in Black History
FEATURED: Tamara Dobson (Photo: Tumblr)
1890: Rosa Jinsey Young, “the mother of Black Lutheranism in Alabama,” was born in Rosebud, Alabama. She passed in 1971.
1897: Jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer, Sidney Bechet, was born. He died on his birthday in 1959 at age 62.
1898: Arthur James “Zutty” Singleton was born. He was an influential early jazz drummer. He passed away in 1975.
1913: Clara Stanton Jones was born. She was the 1st African American president of the American Library Association. (Died: 2012)
1927: Artis Lane was born. She is an award-winning Canadian sculptor and painter.
1928: The Coasters bass singer, Will ‘Dub’ Jones was born. (Died: 2000)
1947: Model & actress Tamara Dodson was born. She passed in 2006.
1961: The Freedom Riders’ bus was fire-bombed near Anniston, AL and the civil rights protesters were beaten by an angry mob.
1963: Tennis great Arthur Ashe, age 22, became the 1st African American to make the U.S. Davis Cup Tennis Team.
1966: Happy Birthday to singer, songwriter, musician & producer Raphael Saadiq who turns 48 today.
1966: Fab Morvan was born. He is a French singer-songwriter, dancer and model. He was half of the pop duo Milli Vanilli, with Rob Pilatus,
1969: John B. McLendon became coach of the Denver Nuggets.
1970: Charles Calvin Rogers received the Congressional Medal of Honor, America’s highest military decoration from President Richard M. Nixon for his actions during the Vietnam War.
1972: Happy Birthday to rapper Freaky Tah who turns 28.
1973: Happy Birthday to R&B singer Shanice Wilson who turns 41 today.
1977: Happy Birthday to Hip Hop recording artist Pusha T who turns 37 today.
1978: Happy Birthday to NBA player Eddie House who turns 36 today.
1983: #1 R&B song – ‘Candy Girl’ by New Edition.
1984: Michael Jackson received a Presidential Humanitarian Award at the White House from President & Mrs. Reagan. Jackson wore a military-styled uniform jacket to the event, which he asked for and was given by an elevator operator in NYC.
1994: While visiting the Great Wall of China, B.B. King was on hand to open the 1st Hard Rock Cafe in Beijing.
1994: Janet Jackson was the musical guest on SNL.
2009: Jazz pianist Charles ‘Buddy’ Montgomery passed away at age 79.
2013: Former baseball player Stephen Martin, Sr., aged 66, passed away. He was the first black athlete to play any varsity sport in the Southeastern Conference.
15. May 15: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Diane Nash
1832: Mary Fields or ‘Stagecoach Mary’ was born. She delivered mail every day until she was 80 years old.
1904: Sigma Pi Phi, the first African American Greek-lettered organization, was founded in Philadelphia. The organization was founded by four doctors because black professionals did not have the opportunity to participate in professional and cultural associations organized by white people.
1905: Josiah Thomas Walls, the first African American congressman from Florida, died.
1910: Milton Murray Holland, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, passed away. Holland was born enslaved August 1, 1844 in Austin, Texas. Possibly the son of his owner, Holland and his two brothers were freed and sent to school in Ohio. In 1863, he joined the 5th United States Colored Troops to fight in the Civil War. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
1933: George Benton, hall of fame boxing trainer, was born in Philadelphia. He passed away in 2011.
1938: Happy Birthday to Diane Nash who turns 76 today. She was a leader & strategist of the student wing of the 1960s movement.
1942: 93rd Infantry (the 1st Black division formed during WWII) was activated and assigned to combat in the South Pacific.
1943: Songwriter, arranger, producer and conductor Freddie Perren was born. (Died: 2004)
1963: Ray Charles won the Best R&B Recording Award at the 5th annual Grammy Awards for ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You.’
1965: The Four Tops charted with ‘I Can’t Help Myself’ reaching #1 on the R&B chart and holding it for nine weeks.
1969: Happy Birthday to Emmitt Smith who turns 45 today.
1970: Philip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green were killed at Jackson State University by police during student protests.
1975: The Blanche K. Bruce House in Washington, D.C. was declared a National Historic Landmark.
1976: #1 R&B song – ‘Boogie Fever’ by the Sylvers
1983: Photographer James VanDerZee passed away.
1992: Singer Barbara Lee of The Chiffons passed away.
1992: Boyz II Men, Hammer & Jodeci performed at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
1997: Jazz trumpeter Tommy Turrentine passed away.
1997: Born on this day was Precious Doe, a pseudonym given to Erica Michelle Green upon discovery of her little body (age 3). She was discovered in 2001 but was not identified until 2005. Once she was identified, her parents were charged with the murder.
2005: R&B singer Theola Kilgore passed away.
16. May 16: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Stokely Carmichael
1826: John Russwurm became the 1st African American College graduate in recorded history receiving his degree from Bowdoin College in Maine.
1929: Grammy award winner Betty Carter, hall of fame jazz singer, was born. She passed away in 1998.
1929: Happy Birthday to Congressman & co-founder of the CBC John Conyers, Jr. who turns 85 today.
1964: Actor, talk show host & retired NBA Player John Thomas Salley was born. He was the 1st player in NBA history to play on three different championship-winning franchises.
1966: Happy Birthday to Grammy Award winning singer and actress Janet Jackson who turns 48 today.
1966: Stokely Carmichael was named Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
1968: Happy Birthday to R&B singer, actor & producer Ralph Tresvant who turns 46 today.
1969: W.C. Handy was the 1st Black Blues musician on a postage stamp.
1973: Happy Birthday to rapper & actor Special Ed who turns 42 today.
1975: Happy Birthday to singer, songwriter, actor, multi-instrumentalist, rapper, dancer, producer, and activist B. Slade who turns 39 today.
1975: Lawrence Wendell Bottoms became the 1st Black moderator of the Presbyterian Church.
1979: Civil rights & labor union leader A. Philip Randolph passed away.
1981: #1 R&B song – ‘A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do) by Rayper Jr. & Raydio.
1990: Entertainer, singer & actor Sammy Davis, Jr. passed away.
1991: Ray Charles became one of the first celebrities to be enshrined at the Atlanta Celebrity Walk.
1992: Stevie Wonder began his European Natural Wonder tour in Switzerland.
1993: Singer, songwriter & pianist Marv Johnson passed away.
2010: Henry “Hank” Jones, hall of fame jazz pianist, bandleader and composer, passed away.
2012: Chuck Brown, guitarist and singer who was affectionately called “the Godfather of Go-go” passed away at age 75.
17. May 17: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Donna Summer
1875: The 1st Kentucky Derby is won by Oliver Lewis, an African American jockey riding the horse Aristides.
1893: Inventor Frederick McKinley Jones was born. He was an entrepreneur, winner of the National Medal of Technology, inductee of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and granted over 40 Patents. (Died: 1961)
1903: James Thomas “Cool Papa” Bell was born. He is considered by many to have been one of the fastest men ever to play the game. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. (Died: 1991)
1937: Hazel O’Leary was born. she is the first and only woman and first and only African American to hold the position as the U.S. Secretary of Energy.
1938: Pervis Jackson of The Spinners was born. (Died: 2008)
1942: Grammy Award winning Blues singer & Musician Taj Mahal was born.
1947: #1 R&B song – ‘I Want to Be Loved’ by Savannah Churchill & the Sentimentals.
1954: U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Board of Education the landmark decision which declared that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.
1955: Guitarist, R&B group Surface David Townsend was born. (Died: 2005)
1956: Former boxing champ and actor Sugar Ray Leonard was born.
1963: Author James Baldwin was featured on the cover of Time Magazine.
1966: Actor, activist & author Hill Harper was born.
1976: Kandi Burruss, R&B singer-songwriter, actress, record producer, and Reality star, was born.
1979: Donyale Luna, the 1st African American model to appear on the cover of British Vogue, passed away.
1982: NBA player Tony Parker was born.
1983: NFL player Chris Henry was born. He died in 2009 at age 26 from injuries suffered in an auto accident.
1986: Actor Tahj Mowry was born.
1988: Dr. Patricia Bath became the 1st African American female doctor to receive a patent for a medical invention, a laser device for the removal of cataracts.
1996: Blues/Funk singer Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson passed away.
2006: Johnnie Wilder, Jr. co-founder & lead vocalist of the R&B/funk group Heatwave passed away.
2012: Award winning singer & songwriter Donna Summer passed away.
18. May 18: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Reggie Jackson
1652: Rhode Island passed the first law in English-speaking North America making slavery illegal.
1848: William Alexander Leidesdorff, one of the earliest black settlers in California and often called the first black millionaire, passed away.
1896: The United States Supreme Court rules in Plessy v. Ferguson that the “separate but equal” doctrine is constitutional.
1911: Blues singer, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Big Joe Turner was born. His career spanned over six decades. He passed away in 1985.
1912: S. African activist & politician Walter Sisulu born. He passed away in 2003.
1923: Hugh Shearer former P.M. of Jamaica was born. He passed away in 2004.
1946: Happy Birthday to baseball legend & Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson who turns 68 today.
1948: Happy Birthday to Butch Tavares who turns 68 today. He is a R&B singer & member of the musical family The Tavares Brothers.
1950: Rod Milburn was born. He was one of track and field’s greatest high hurdlers and a gold medalist. He passed away in 1997.
1955: Educator & civil rights leader Mary McCloud Bethune passed away.
1959: #1 Song – ‘Kansas City’ by Wilbert Harrison.
1959: ‘Along Came Jones’ by the Coasters charted.
1960: Happy Birthday to retired tennis champ & singer Yannick Noah who turns 54 today.
1963: Running back Ernie Davis passed away (leukemia). He was the 1st African American athlete to win the Heisman Trophy.
1967: Happy Birthday to Hip hop artist Rob Base who turns 47 today.
1985: ‘Smooth Operator’ by Sade charted at #5 on both R&B & Pop Charts.
2004: Jazz drummer & bandleader Elvin Jones passed away.
2009: Rapper & model Dolla was fatally shot to death. He was 21.
19. May 19th in Black History
FEATURED: Malcolm X
1925: Malcolm X was born. He was a human rights activist, Muslim minister and considered one of the greatest and most influential blacks in history. (Died: 1965)
1930: Playwright, writer, director and activist Lorraine Hansberry was born. She died of pancreatic cancer at age 34 in 1965.
1948: Singer-songwriter, actress & entertainer Grace Jones was born.
1960: Ben E. King recorded his last two songs with the Drifters before going solo.
1962: #1 song – ‘Soldier Boy’ by the Shirelles.
1965: President Lyndon Johnson chose Patricia Harris to become the U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg. She was the first African American woman named as an American envoy.
1968: The Fifth Dimension performed ‘Stone Soul Picnic’ on The Ed Sullivan Show.
1969: Coleman Hawkins one of the 1st prominent jazz musicians passed away at age 64.
1973: ‘You Are the Sunshine of My Life’ by Stevie Wonder went to #1 on the Pop Chart & #3 on the R&B chart.
1976: Kevin Garnett was born. NBA player drafted out of High School. In 2000 his team won Olympic Gold.
1984: On the 3rd anniversary of his death, Island Records issued the Boy Marley compilation album ‘Legend’ and it reached #1 in Britain and stayed on the charts for 129 weeks.
1991: Willy T. Ribbs qualified as a driver for the Indianapolis 500.
2003: Rapper Camouflage was gunned down outside a recording studio. He was only 21 years old.
2006: The University of San Francisco gave an honorary degree to its undefeated 1951 football team. This tribute was for a game never played. The team sacrificed glory for honor when during an era of segregation, they refused to leave the two black players behind.
2012: NBA player Bob Boozer passed away. He won gold in the 1960 Summer Olympics.
20. May 20th in Black History
FEATURED: Malik Sealy (Photo: Tumblr)
1896: Country blues harmonica player, guitarist & singer Jaybird Coleman was born. (Died: 1950)
1926: Randy Jones, bass singer, the Meadlowlarks was born. (Died: 2002)
1936: Singer with the Drifters Rudy Lewis was born. He died in 1964 at age 27.
1940: Singer, songwriter, musician & record producer (Motown’s Soul Records) Shorty Long was born. He drown in 1969 at age 29.
1955: ‘Mama, He treats Your Daughter Mean’ by Ruth Brown was banned in Britain. The BBC felt it might encourage wife beating.
1957: ‘I Really Love You’ by The Channels was released.
1960: Sam Cooke, The Flamingos & The Crests performed at the Tivoli Theater in Chicago.
1961: The Freedom Riders arrived at the Montgomery bus terminal and were attacked by an angry mob of around 300. They were beaten and one rider was covered with kerosene and set on fire. Bobby Kennedy sent Federal Marshalls to the city.
1972: #1 R&B song – ‘I’ll Take You There’ by the Staple Singers.
1972: Rapper, actor & producer Busta Rhymes was born.
1984: Singer, songwriter, rapper & actress Naturi Naughton was born.
1987: NBA forward Julian Wright was born.
1988: Dancer & actress Comfort Fedoke was born.
2000: NBA player Malik Sealy was killed by a drunk driver (going in the wrong direction). He was only 30 years old.
21. May 21st in Black History:
FEATURED: Katherine Dunham
1904: Jazz pianist, composer, singer and writer of ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ Fats Waller was born. (Died: 1943)
1923: Legendary Basketball coach Clarence ‘Big House’ Gaines was born. (Died: 2005)
1938: Blues Singer Lee ‘Shot’ Williams was born. (Died: 2011)
1941: Singer/songwriter, musician, producer & actor Ron Isley was born.
1952: Actor Mr. T was born.
1963: Stevie Wonder recorded what would become his 1st hit ‘Fingertips’ Pt. 2.’
1972: Talented & gifted rapper Notorious B.I.G. was born. He was murdered in 1997 at age 24.
1977: #1 Song – ‘Sir Duke’ by Stevie Wonder.
1977: Former NFL running back Ricky Williams was born.
1981: Reggae legend Bob Marley was laid to rest in his hometown of Kingston, Jamaica. He was buried with full state honors.
1983: ‘No more Tears’ by Anita Baker debuted on the R&B Chart.
1985: Singer, songwriter, record producer & rapper Kano was born.
1996: Babyface was named Songwriter of the Year for ‘I’ll Make Love to You’ at the BMI’s 4th Annual Pop awards ceremony in La.
2006: Dancer, choreographer, author, educator, and social activist Katherine Dunham passed away at age 96.
2012: Otis Clark passed away at age 109. He was the oldest living survivor of the 1921 Tulsa race riots considered to be the worst in American history. He moved to California and found work as a butler for movie stars Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, and Joan Crawford. He later became an evangelist traveling the U.S. and the world on behalf of the Church of God in Christ. He traveled to Zimbabwe for a 3 week mission when he was 104. He was in good health until his passing . . . no medications, no hearing aids or walking canes.
22. May 22: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Johnny Gill
1862: Mary Patterson became the 1st African American in the U.S. to earn a Master’s Degree.
1914: Composer, bandleader, musician, poet & philosopher Sun Ra was born. He passed in 1993.
1939: Film, stage & TV actor Paul Winfield was born. The best (and my favorite) narrator for the A&E true crime series ‘City Confidential’ which he did from 1998 until his death in 2004.
1942: Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Calvin Simons was born. He was a member of the bands Parliament & Funkadelic.
1954: #1 R&B Song-‘Work With Me Annie’- Hank Ballard & the Midnighters.
1966: Bill Cosby received an Emmy Award for Best Actor in a Television Series (I Spy).
1966: Happy Birthday to singer, songwriter and actor Johnny Gill who turns 48 today.
1967: Poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist Langston Hughes passed away at age 65.
1970: Happy Birthday to super model Naomi Campbell who turns 44 today.
1973: Happy Birthday to R&B singer, songwriter & record producer Donell Jones who turns 41 today.
1976: Donna Summer charted with ‘Could It Be Magic’ originally covered by Barry Manilow.
1978: Happy Birthday to actor J.D. Williams who turns 36 today.
1980: Electric Ladyland Studios was robbed of four gold albums, all belonging to Jimi Hendrix.
1993: Salt-N-Pepa performed at a benefit to raise money for AIDS patients called LIFEbeat’s Counteraid.
2002: Barry Bonds hit his 583rd career home run.
2002: A jury in Birmingham convicted former KKK member Bobby Frank Cherry of the 1963 murders of four girls in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.
2004: Stage & TV actor Richard Biggs passed away at age 44.
23. May 23: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Hal Jackson
1900: Civil War hero Sgt. William H. Carney became the 1st African American to receive the Medal of Honor (37 yrs. after the Battle of Fort Wagner).
1910: Actor, singer, dancer & musician Scatman Crothers was born. He passed away in 1986.
1921: ‘Shuffle Along’ became the 1st African American Broadway musical by Eubie Black & Noble Sissle.
1941: R&B singer, songwriter & record producer General Johnson was born. He was also the frontman of Chairmen of the Board. (Died: 2010)
1954: Happy Birthday to retired boxing great Marvin Hagler who turns 60 today.
1960: ‘Mack the Knife’ by Ella Fitgerald charted.
1964: #1 Song – ‘My Guy’ by Mary Wells.
1964: Millie Small charted with her soon-to-be hit ‘My Boy Lollipop.’
1972: Happy Birthday to R&B singer, songwriter Lorenzo Smith who turns 42 today.
1973: Happy Birthday to singer, songwriter & producer Maxwell who turns 41 today.
1975: Comedienne Moms Mabley passed away at age 81.
1994: Professional wrestler Ray Candy passed away. He was 42.
1995: Donna Summer performed in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
2005: Rapper Fat Tone was fatally shot at age 24.
2010: Jamaican police began a manhunt for drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke, after the U.S. requested his extradition, leading to three days of violence during which at least 73 bystanders were killed. He is currently serving 23 years in prison.
2012: Hal Jackson, a D-jay, sports announcer and radio personality who broke a number of color barriers in American radio broadcasting passed away at age 96.
24. May 24th in Black History:
FEATURED: Heavy D
1854: Lincoln University was founded.
1916: Actor Noble Johnson and his brother George, a postal worker in Omaha, founded the Lincoln Motion Picture Company. This was the 1st movie company controlled by Black filmmakers.
1937: Happy Birthday to Jazz saxophonist Archie Shepp who turns 77 today.
1944: Happy Birthday to The original Diva Ms. Patti LaBelle who turns 70 today.
1945: Singer, songwriter & guitarist Terry Callier was born. He passed in 2012, aged 67.
1950: Sweetwater ‘Nat’ Clifton’s contract was purchased by the New York Knicks.
1956: Happy Birthday to singer, songwriter, record producer, arranger & actor Larry Blackmon who turns 58 today.
1961: Freedom Riders were arrested in Jackson, MS for disturbing the peace after disembarking from their bus.
1962: Dancer, actor & choreographer Gene Anthony Ray was born. He passed away in 2003 at age 41.
1963: ‘King of the Slide Guitar’ Elmore James passed away at age 45.
1967: Rapper & actor Heavy D was born. He passed away in 2011, aged 44.
1974: Composer, pianist, and big-band leader Duke Ellington passed away, aged 75.
1975: #1 Song – ‘Shining Star’ by Earth, Wind & Fire.
1981: Happy Birthday to actor Jerod ‘Big Time’ Mixon who turns 33 today.
1989: Jazz Drummer Steve McCall passed away at age 56.
2002: Actress Susie Garrett passed away. She played Ms. Betty Johnson on the TV series Punky Brewster.
2008: Acclaimed blues organist Jimmy McGriff passed away at age 72.
25. May 25: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Jamaica Kincaid
1878: Dancer & actor of stage & film, Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson was born. He passed away in 1949.
1919: Entrepreneur & the first Black female millionaire in the U.S. Madame C.J. Walker passed away.
1935: Athlete Jesse Owens set six world records in 45 minutes at the Big Ten Championship in Ann Arbor.
1943: Happy Birthday to actress & singer Leslie Uggams who turns 71 today.
1949: Happy Birthday to writer, novelist & teacher Jamaica Kincaid who turns 65 today.
1949: Clarence Burke, Jr. of the Five Stairsteps was born. He passed away in 2013, age 62.
1951: The 1st R&B hit to crossover to the pop Top 20 was ‘Sixty Minute Man’ by Billy Ward & the Dominoes (#17)
1956: Jamaican reggae singer, producer and sound-system operator Sugar Minott was born. He passed away in 2010, aged 54.
1956: BITE YOUR TONGUE – British Band leader Ted Heath stated upon his return from a U.S. tour that Rock n Roll is mainly performed by colored artists for colored people and is therefore unlikely to ever prove popular in Britain.
1959: Dinah Washington made her pop chart debut with ‘What a Difference a Day Makes.’
1963: #1 Song – ‘If You Wanna Be Happy’ by Jimmy Soul.
1963: Otis Redding charted with his 1st release of ‘These Arms of Mine’
1973: Happy Birthday to actor & TV host Cory Tyler who turns 41 today.
1975: Happy Birthday to singer-songwriter, rapper and actress Lauryn Hill who turns 39 today.
1990: Barry White began his 1st world tour in 7 years starting in St. Louis, MO along with a 32 piece orchestra.
2006: The Dance Theater in Harlem received a $1 million grant from the Ford Foundation through its education and community outreach program.
2011: Oprah Winfrey aired her last show after a 25 year run of the Oprah Winfrey Show.
26. May 26: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Michael Jackson & Lisa Marie Presley
1857: Dred Scott was emancipated by the Blow family, his original owners.
1883: Vaudeville singer, dancer, pianist and actress Mamie Smith was born. She entered blues history by being the first African American artist to make vocal blues recordings in 1920. (Died: 1946)
1926: Renowned trumpet player, composer, arranger and bandleader Miles Davis was born. He passed away in 1991.
1949: Happy Birthday to actress and author Pam Grier who turns 65 today.
1949: Happy Birthday to actor & singer Philip Michael Thomas who turns 65 today.
1956: Althea Gibson won the French Open Tennis Tournament becoming the 1st African American player to win a major tennis title.
1964: Happy Birthday to singer, songwriter, musician and actor Lenny Kravitz who turns 50 today.
1967: Sgt. Clide Brown Jr. was featured on the cover of Time Magazine with the heading ‘The Negro in Vietnam.’
1968: R&B singer, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Little Willie John passed away.
1968: The Jackson Five signed on to Motown Records.
1973: #1 R&B song – ‘I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More’ By Barry White.
1977: Billy Powell (O’Jays) passed away.
1990: Michael Jackson received Billboard Magazines’ Music of the ’80s poll awards.
1994: The Stylistics performed at the Apollo Theater Hall of Fame concert.
1994: Michael Jackson & Lisa Marie Presley got married.
2006: Reggae singer Desmond Dekker passed away.
2010: Former NFL player Jarvis Williams passed away.
2012: Jamaican singer Roy Wilson passed away.
27. May 27th in Black History:
FEATURED: Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes (Photo: Tumblr)
1932: Blues Hall of Famer Junior Parker was born. (Died: 1971)
1935: Happy Birthday to Grammy Award winning jazz composer & pianist Ramsey Lewis who turns 79 today.
1936: Happy Birthday to Oscar winner Lee Gossett, Jr. who turns 78 today.
1950: Happy Birthday to Grammy award winning jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater who turns 64 today.
1957: #1 R&B song – ‘School Day’ by Chuck Berry
1958: Ernest Green became the 1st black student to graduate from Central High School in Little Rock, AR
1960: Jackie Wilson broke the attendance record at Apollo Theater.
1965: Happy Birthday to actor Todd Bridges who turns 49 today
1968: Actor Dondre Whitfield was born.
1971: Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes was born. She died in an auto accident in 2002, age 30.
1975: Happy Birthday to musician, songwriter, rapper, actor & dancer Andre 3000 who turns
1975: Happy Birthday to rapper Judakiss who turns 39 today.
1975: Professional boxer and former World Heavyweight Champion Ezzard Charles passed away.
1990: B.B. King performed at the Valley Forge Music Fail in Devon, PA before a sold out crowd.
1997: Guitarist Willie Wood of Jr. Walker & the All Stars passed.
2006: Former NFL player Craig Heyward passed away.
2011: Poet, author, songwriter, singer Gil Scott Heron Passed away.
28. May 28th in Black History:
1863: The 1st black regiment left Boston to fight in the Civil War.
1900: Classic Jazz trumpeter Tommy” Ladnier was born. (Died: 1939)
1910: T-Bone Walker, a critically acclaimed blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist was born. (Died: 1975)
1934: Civil rights activist Betty Shabazz was born. (Died: 1997)
1944: The Empress of Soul Gladys Knight was born.
1949: Wynonie Harris charted with ‘Drinkin’ Wine, Spo-Dee-o-Dee’ reaching #4 on the R&B chart.
1961: Actor & lead singer of Fine Young Cannibals Roland Gift was born.
1962: The Miracles performed on American Bandstand.
1966: #1 Song – ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’ by Percy Sledge.
1968: Rapper Chubb Rock was born.
1981: Jazz pianist, composer & arranger Mary Lou Williams passed away.
1983: Actress Megalyn Echikunwoke was born.
1983: ‘Save the Overtime (for Me)’ by Gladys Knight reached #1 R&B.
1984: D’Urville Martin actor & director in both film & TV passed away.
1988: NFL wide receiver Percy Harvin was born.
1988: Jazz arranger, trumpeter, composer, singer & bandleader Sy Oliver passed away at age 77.
2007: NFL defensive end Marquise Hill drown after falling from a jet ski in Lake Pontchartrain.
2010: Actor Gary Coleman passed away.
29. May 29th in Black History:
FEATURED: Aaron McGruder (Photo: The Urban Daily)
1851: Sojourner Truth delivered her famous ‘Ain’t I a Woman?’ speech at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention.
1943: #1 R&B song – ‘Don’t Get Around Much Anymore’ by Duke Ellington and his Orchestra.
1943: ‘Paper Doll’ by the Mills Brothers charted reaching #2 R&B and #1 pop for 12 weeks.
1950: Rebbie Jackson was born.
1958: ‘Tears on My Pillow’ was recorded by Little Anthony & the Imperials and became their 1st million seller.
1961: ‘Quarter to Three’ by Gary U.S. Bonds was recorded. It went on to sell over a million copies.
1962: Buck O’Neil became the 1st black coach of the Chicago Cubs.
1965: ‘When a Boy Falls in Love’ by Sam Cooke was released on this day, six months after his death.
1968: Businessman and former NBA player Tate George was born.
1973: Tom Bradley was elected the 1st black Mayor of Los Angeles.
1974: Aaron McGruder of ‘Boondocks’ fame was born.
1975: Rapper Playa Poncho was born.
1975: Singer, dancer, actor & host Mel B was born.
1980: Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. President of the Nat’l Urban League was critically injured in a attempted assassination on his life.
1984: NBA star Carmelo Anthony was born.
1989: Actor, dancer, singer, rapper Brandon Mychal Smith was born.
1993: Janet Jackson’s album ‘Janet’ reached #1 in England.
30. May 30th in Black History
FEATURED: B.B. King
1902: Stepin Fetchit was born this day. His real name was Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry. He was an actor, comedian and dancer. He parlayed the Fetchit persona into a successful film career, eventually becoming a millionaire, the first black actor in history to do so. He was also the first black actor to receive a screen credit. (Died: 1985)
1903: Poet & leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance Countee Cullen was born.(Died: 1946)
1910: Olympic Gold medalist & politician Ralph Metcalfe was born. He was known as the world’s fastest human from 1932 – 1934. (Died: 1978)
1943: Civil rights worker James Earl Chaney was born. He along with Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were murdered by the KKK in Mississippi in 1964. He was only 21.
1943: Gale Sayers was born. His friendship with fellow Chicago Bear Brian Piccolo was the basis for the 1971 movie Brian’s Song. He is a successful entrepreneur in the information technology field and an active philanthropist.
1960: #1 R&B song – ‘Doggin Around’ by Jackie Wilson.
1961: Tony Award winning actor Ralph Carter was born.
1964: Dionne Warwick made her debut in England appearing on BBC-TV’s Top of the Pops.
1965: Vivian Malone became the 1st African American student to graduate from the University of Alabama.
1971: Willie Mays scored his 1,950th home run.
1974: Singer/songwriter, pianist, producer Cee Lo Green was born.
1974: Rapper Big L. was born. He was fatally shot in 1999, age 24.
1978: Actor and comedian Kevin Hart was born.
1981: Rapper & songwriter Remy Ma was born.
1990: B.B. King was honored at the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s 21st annual induction dinner with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
1992: Michael Jackson granted his 1st interview in 6 years with Ebony Magazine.
1993: Poet, musician, bandleader Sun Ra passed away.
2011: Actress Clarice Taylor (The Cosby Show) passed away.
31. May 31st in Black History
FEATURED: Chuck Berry
1909: The NAACP held its first conference in NYC. Over 300 blacks and whites attended. Ida B. Wells was a keynote speaker.
1921: The Tulsa Race riot took place. It is considered to be the worst in American history.
1924: Trailblazer & politician Patricia Harris was born. (Died: 1985)
1931: Operatic mezzo-soprano Shirley Verrett was born. (Died: 2010)
1954: Actress & singer Vicki Sue Robinson was born. (Died: 2000)
1961: Chuck Berry opened his own amusement park outside St. Louis called Berry Park.
1963: Wesley Willis was born. He was a singer-songwriter and visual artist from Chicago. He is best known for his simple but unique music that featured his humorous, bizarre, and frequently obscene lyrics. (Died: 2003)
1964: Happy Birthday to Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels who turns 52 today.
1967: Gifted composer, pianist & arranger Billy Strayhorn passed away.
1970: Wilson Pickett charted with ‘Born to Be Wild’ his 25th hit.
1972: Happy Birthday to Jazz bassist Christian McBride who turns 42 today.
1986: #1 R&B song – ‘On My Own’ by Patti LaBelle & Michael McDonald.
1987: Happy Birthday to actor Curtis Williams who turns 27 today.
1995: Luther Vandross performed at the Summer Pops bowl Amphitheater in Sand Diego, CA.
2000: Johnnie Taylor, “The Philosopher of Soul” passed away.
2006: Songwriter Lula Mae Hardaway passed away. She was also Stevie Wonder’s mom. She co-wrote “I Was Made to Love Her” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” with Stevie.