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. October 27: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Jayne Kennedy
1891: Inventor D.B. Downing received a patent for the Street Letter Drop Box.
1923: Ruby Dee turns 89 today. She is an award winning actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist and activist.
1933: Happy Birthday to Pumpsie Green. He turns 80 today. He is a former MLB infielder and the 1st black player to play for the Red Sox.
1941: Ernest Just passed away. He was a pioneering black biologist. He was the 1st recipient of the Spingarn Medal and the founder of Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
1943: Weldon Irvine was born. He was a composer, playwright, poet and pianist. He passed in 2002.
1951: Jayne Kennedy turns 62 today. She is an award-winning actress, beauty pageant titleholder and sportscaster.
1954: Benjamin O. Davis Jr. became the 1st African American general in the United States Air Force.
1956: ‘Ain’t Got No Home’ by Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry was released.
1956: Charles S. Johnson passed away, aged 63. He was the 1st black president of Fisk University and a lifelong civil rights advocate.
1958: ‘Topsey, Part II’ by Cozy Cole was the number one R&B song this day.
1958: The Flamingos’ first single for End Records, “That Love Is You,” was released, but its flip side, “Lovers Never Say Goodbye,” became the classic hit.
1960: Ben E. King began his solo career after leaving the Drifters when he recorded four songs including “Spanish Harlem” and “Stand By Me.”
1960: Tina Turner gave birth to Ronald Renelle Turner, her 2nd child, while touring in Los Angeles.
1962: Dionne Warwick’s debut disc “Don’t Make Me Over,” was released, rising to #5 R&B and #21 pop.
1964: ‘Come See About Me’ by the Supremes was released.
1966: Ike & Tina Turner’s “A Love Like Yours (Don’t Come Knocking Every Day)” charted in England reaching #16.
1973: Gladys Knight & the Pips reached #1 R&B (four weeks) and #1 pop (two weeks) with “Midnight Train To Georgia.”
1992: Bo Diddley sued the estate of his former manager for $75,000 in misappropriated funds.
1994: Musician Robert White of the Funk Brothers passed away, aged 57 of complications from open heart surgery.
1998: Aaron Neville sang “Amazing Grace” at the New Orleans wedding of actor John Goodman.
2007: Freddie Jefferson passed away at age 71. She was the 1st black woman to sit on the editorial board of the Palm Beach Post. Jefferson wrote a column under the name Stebbins Jefferson.
2008: Es’kia Mphahlele passed away, aged 88. He was a South African writer, advocate and activist for human and civil rights.
2009: Olympic Weightlifter Judith Chacon, age 23, died from pregnancy-related complications.
2010: James Wall passed away at age 92. He was a former vaudevillian who played Captain Kangaroo’s neighbor “Mr. Baxter” on the children’s show and was a longtime stage manager for CBS News.
2012: Terry Callier passed away at age 67. He was a Chicago singer and songwriter who in the ‘70s developed a style that combined soul, folk, and jazz sounds.
2. October 28: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Michael Jackson
1892: Dink Johnson was born. He was a dixieland jazz pianist, clarinetist and drummer. He passed in 1954.
1914: Omega Psi Phi Fraternity was founded at Howard University.
1918: Edward Bouchet passed away. He was the 1st black to earn a Ph.D.from a U.S. University and the 1st to graduate from Yale University in 1874.
1927: Dame Cleo Laine turns 86 today. She is the only female performer to have received Grammy nominations in the jazz, popular and classical music categories.
1937: Lenny Wilkens turns 76 today. He is a retired NBA player and coach and a 3-time inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
1948: In St. Louis, MO, Chuck Berry married his first and only wife, Themetta “Toddy” Suggs.
1948: Telma Hopkins is 65 today. She is an actress and singer. She is currently on the sitcom Are We There Yet? as Marilyn Persons.
1949: Actress Tracy Reed turns 64 today. She was a regular cast member on ‘Love American Style’ back in the 70s.
1965: The studio recording of “My World Is Empty Without You” was made by the Supremes.
1965: Jazz and R&B saxophonist Earl Bostic passed away at age 53 of a heart attack.
1967: Diana Ross and the Supremes’ LP Greatest Hits hits #1
1969: Happy Birthday to Ben Harper who turns 44 today. He is a 2-time Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter & multi-instrumentalist.
1972: Diana Ross became the proud parent of her second daughter, Tracee, her first from husband Robert Ellis Silberstein.
1972: ‘I’ll Be Around’ by the Spinners was the number one R&B song this day.
1978: ‘Le Freak’ by Chic charted on its way to #1 Pop for 5 weeks and #1 R&B for 6 weeks.
1978: Justin Guarini turns 35 today. He is a singer, songwriter & actor. He was the runner-up on the 1st American Idol.
1978: ‘MacArthur Park’ by Donna Summer reached #5 in Britain. It would also chart at #1 Pop and #8 R&B in the U.S.
1979: Natina Reed was born. She was a rapper, singer, songwriter & beatboxer. She was struck and killed by a car in 2012. She was 32.
1981: Edward M. McIntyre was elected as the 1st Black mayor of Augusta, GA.
1987: Happy Birthday to Frank Ocean who turns 26 today. He is a singer, songwriter and rapper.
1989: The Gap Band charted with ‘All of My Love’ eventually reaching #1 R&B.
1993: George Benson & Patti Austin performed at London’s Wembley Arena kicking off a five-date British Tour.
1994: Seal performed as the opening act for the Rolling Stones at the Oakland-Alameda County Stadium in Oakland, CA.
1999: Terrell Davis (Denver Broncos) made his debut as a hip-hop artist when he performed with rapper Legit.
2003: Oliver Sain passed away, aged 71. He was a saxophonist, songwriter, bandleader, record producer and drummer.
2003: Supermodel Iman and husband David Bowie signed up as the new spokesmodels for Tommy Hilfiger.
2008: Rosa Broadous passed away at age 89. She was a community leader, matriarch both of a prominent San Fernando Valley family with 10 children and of the Baptist church she cofounded with her husband, Rev. Hillery T. Broadous, in 1955.
2010: Michael Jackson’s “THIS IS IT” opened in theaters.
3. October 29: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Muhammad Ali
1902: The Dinwiddie Colored Quartet recorded for the first time, consequently becoming the first Black voices on record.
1916: Queen of Boogie, Hadda Brooks, was born. She was a pianist, singer and composer. She passed in 2002, aged 86.
1923: ‘Runnin’ Wild’ opened at the Colonial Theater/Broadway. Miller & Lyles Productions introduced the Charleston to NYC and the World.
1924: Dixie to Broadway, the 1st real revue by Blacks opened at Broadhurst Theater in NYC with Florence Mills in lead role.
1945: Happy Birthday to Melba Moore who turns 68 today. She is a singer, songwriter and actress.
1949: Alonzo G. Moron became the 1st black president of Hampton Institute in the State of Virginia.
1955: The first R&B show held at Carnegie Hall in New York included Etta James & the Peaches, the Five Keys, Gene & Eunice, the Clovers, and Big Joe Turner.
1960: Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) won his 1st professional fight in Louisville, KY.
1961: Randy Jackson turns 52 today. He is a musician, singer, songwriter, dancer and youngest son in the Jackson family.
1969: Jazz musician Pops Foster passed away on this day at age 77.
1969: The Supreme Court ordered the end of segregation ‘at once’ in schools.
1972: Actress Tracee Ellis Ross turns 41 today.
1972: Actress and former model Gabrielle Unions turns 41 today.
1973: Olympic Gold Medal bobsledder Vonetta Flowers turns 40 today.
1974: Muhammad Ali regained the world heavyweight boxing title.
1977: The disco group Chic charted for the first time with “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)” on their way to #6 R&B and pop.
1979: Michael Jackson’s album Off the Wall reached # 3 and would go on to sell more than 10 million copies around the world.
1982: Andrew Young was elected Mayor of Atlanta, GA.
1983: ‘All Night Long’ by Lionel Richie was the number one R&B song on this day.
1983: Lionel Richie Day was proclaimed by he mayor of Lionel’s hometown, Tuskegee, AL.
1985: Major General Samuel K. Doe was announced the winner of the 1st multi-party election in Liberia.
1990: The inductees for the sixth annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced, a list which includes Wilson Pickett, Ike and Tina Turner, The Byrds, The Impressions, LaVern Baker, Jimmy Reed, and John Lee Hooker.
1991: Interstate highway 55 in Jackson, MS, was renamed B.B. King Freeway.
1997: The O’Jays filed a copyright infringement suit for $1.5 million against rapper Master P for his use of their 1978 hit “Brandy” in his “I Miss My Homies.”
1998: Apartheid: In South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission presents its report, which condemns both sides for committing atrocities.
2008: Mae Mercer passed away, aged 76. She was a North Carolina-born blues singer who spent much of the ’60s performing at a blues bar in Paris and touring Europe before launching an acting career back home in films and TV.
2009: John M. O’Quinn, age 68, died in an auto accident in Houston, Tx. He was a well-known Houston lawyer who won billions in verdicts against makers of breast implants, pharmaceuticals, and tobacco products.
4. October 30: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Jam Master Jay
1831: Nat Turner, the leader of a slave revolt, was captured on this day.
1916: Baseball Hall of Famer Leon Day was born. He passed away in 1995, aged 78.
1930: Clifford Brown aka Brownie was born. He was a jazz trumpeter. He died in an auto accident at age 25.
1936: Merri Dee turns 77 today. She is a philanthropist and former TV journalist.
1939: Eddie Holland turns 74 today. He was 1/3 of the amazing songwriting & production team Holland-Dozier-Holland.
1941: Otis Williams turns 72 today. He is a singer, songwriter, producer and a founding member of The Temptations.
1945: Jackie Robinson of the Kansas City Monarchs signed a contract for the Brooklyn Dodgers to break the baseball color barrier.
1952: The 5 Royales recorded their biggest hit, “Baby, Don’t Do It” this day.
1954: The Midnighters’ “Annie’s Aunt Fannie” and the Rivileers’ “Eternal Love” were released.
1954: The Defence Department announced the elimination of all segregated regiments in the armed forces.
1963: Happy Birthday to Michael Beach who turns 50 today. He is an actor of film and television.
1965: Charnelle Brown turns 53 today. She is an actress, producer and singer.
1965: ‘Rescue Me’ by Fontella Bass was the number one song on this day.
1966: Huey Newton & Bobby Seale, students at a California college create the Black Panther Party for Self Defence.
1970: Nia Long turns 43 today. She is an award-winning actress of film and television.
1971: Michael Jackson charted with his solo hit, “Got To Be here,” reaching #4 on both the R&B and pop hit lists.
1971: “You Are Everything” by the Stylistics hit the R&B charts
1974: The Rumble in the Jungle boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman took place in Kinshasa, Zaire.
1976: Rev. Joseph H. Evans was elected president of the United Church of Christ.
1979: Richard Arrington was elected as the 1st black mayor of Birmingham, AL.
1985: Eva Marcille turns 29 today. She is an actress, TV host and fashion model.
1991: BET Holdings, Inc. was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, the 1st Black company listed on Wall Streets ‘Big Board’.
1992: Tequan Richmond is 21 today. He is an actor and musician.
1994: Little Richard performed at Washington, DC’s Ford Theater at the Gala for the President with a beaming President Clinton looking on.
1998: The Vocal Group Hall of Fame and Museum in Sharon, PA, held its inaugural induction. Among the 14 groups enshrined were the Platters, the Drifters (with Clyde McPhatter), the Supremes, the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, the Ravens, the Mills Brothers, the Golden Gate Quartet, and Sonny Til & the Orioles.
2002: Jam Master Jay from Run-DMC was murdered by an assassin’s single bullet at his recording studio in Queens, New York.
2006: Mose Tolliver passed away at age 82. He was a folk artist and his work has been exhibited in the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, and at the Philadelphia College of Art, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.
2011: George Roundtree passed away at age 61. He was a key behind-the-scenes associate of the Four Tops who worked as the Motown quartet’s musical director for more than 30 years and played keyboard.
5. October 31: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Booker T. Washington
1896: Ethel Waters was born. She was a Grammy Hall of Fame enductee, singer and actress. She passed in 1977, age 80.
1893: William Henry Lewis, the 1st African-American college football player was selected as an All American in the sport.
1899: W.F. Burr received a patent for a railway switching device.
1902: Julia Lee was born. She was a blues & dirty blues singer and pianist. She passed away in 1958, aged 56 from a heart attack.
1922: Illinois Jacquet was born. He was a pioneer of the honking tenor saxophone. He passed in 2004, aged 81.
1945: Booker T. Washington was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Great Americans.
1950: Earl ‘Big Cat’ Lloyd became the 1st African American to play in an NBA game.
1952: Pianist Johnnie Johnson hired 26 year old Chuck Berry as a guitarist in his band. While playing evening gigs in the St. Louis area, Berry kept his day job as a hairdresser for the next three years.
1952: Bernard Edwards was born. He was a bass player and record producer, both as a member of the funk/disco band Chic and on his own. He died of pneumonia while touring in Japan in 1996. He was 44.
1957: Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell turns 56 today. He is an actor of stage, film and television.
1964: The Supremes started a four week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Baby Love’.
1964: Ray Charles was arrested by Logan Airport customs officials in Boston and charged with possession of heroin. He entered rehab and kicked the habit.
1968: Antonio Davis turns 45 today. He is a retired NBA player and currently an ESPN studio analyst for NBA broadcasts.
1970: ‘Motown Chartbusters Vol 4′ went to No.1 on the UK album chart. The album featured tracks from The Jackson Five, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, The Four Tops, The Supremes, The Temptations and Smokey Robinson & The Miracles.
1977: Eva Taylor passed away at age 82. She was a blues singer and stage actress.
1987: Forbes Magazine listed the Top 40 American entertainment earners from 86-87 and Whitney Houston came in at #8 with $44 million.
1990: Happy Birthday to Lil’ JJ who turns 23 today. He is a stand-up comedian, musician, dancer adn actor.
1991: Garvin Bushell passed away, aged 89. He was a jazz and classical music on clarinet, alto clarinet, oboe, english horn, flute, saxophone, bassoon, and contrabassoon.
1992: Boyz II Men were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘End Of The Road’, taken from the film ‘Boomerang’.
1995: Rosalind Cash passed away at age 56 of cancer. She was a singer and actress of stage, screen and television.
1996: Slash announced he was no longer in Guns N’ Roses and stated that he and Axl Rose had only been civil to each other on two occasions since 1994.
1997: Virgil Garnett Trice, Jr. passed away, aged 71. He was a well respected chemical engineer and official with the U.S. Department of Energy.
2004: R. Kelly was kicked off a tour with Jay-Z, a day after claiming he was attacked with pepper spray by a member of the rapper’s entourage.
2007: 22-year-old X Factor winner singer Leona Lewis helped boost UK online music downloads to a record 1.7 million in one week making it the biggest week ever for download sales. Lewis sold more than 106,000 downloads of her track ‘Bleeding Love.’
2010: Artie Wilson passed away, aged 90. He was a shortstop in the Negro leagues who batted .402 for the Birmingham (Ala.) Black Barons in 1948. Wilson twice led the Negro American League in batting and became a mentor and friend to a teenage teammate, Willie Mays.
2010: Maurice Lucas passed away, age 58, after a recurrence of bladder cancer. He was an All-Star forward known as “the Enforcer” who helped to take the Portland Trail Blazers to their only NBA championship in 1977.
6. November 1: This Day in Black History
Featured: Florence Mills
1875: Alexander P. Ashburne received a patent for the biscuit cutter.
1894: ‘Billboard Advertising’ was published for the first time. It later became known as “Billboard.”
1898: C.W. Allen received a patent for the Self Leveling Table.
1898: Sippie Wallace was born. She was a blues & jazz singer, pianist and songwriter.
1910: W.E.B. Dubois began publication of the NAACP monthly magazine ‘Crisis’.
1926: Lou Donaldson turns 87 today. He is a jazz alto saxophonist, bandleader and composer.
1927: Florence Mills passed away at age 32 from complications of TB. She was known as the “Queen of Happiness” and was a cabaret singer, dancer, and comedian known for her effervescent stage presence, delicate voice, and winsome, wide-eyed beauty.
1932: Theophilus received a patent for an Automactic Blow-off.
1942: John H. Johnson published the 1st issue of Negro Digest.
1945: The 1st issue of Ebony magazine was published by John H. Johnson.
1946: Dr. Charles S. Johnson became the 1st black president of Fisk University.
1950: Charles Cooper became the 2nd black to play in the NBA (Boston Celtics)
1951: Jet Magazine was founded this day by John H. Johnson.
1951: Ronald Bell turns 62 today. He is a saxophonist, composer, singer, songwriter, arranger, producer and was a founding member of Kool & the Gang.
1955: R&B group The Famous Flames, lead by singer James Brown, cut their first demo of ‘Please, Please, Please’ at a radio station in Macon, GA. It would lead to their signing with King Records.
1959: Ray Charles left his old label, Atlantic, for ABC-Paramount Records.
1970: Rapper Mac Dre was fatally shot on this day. He was 34 years old.
1981: LaTavia Robertson turns 32 today. She is a 2-time Grammy Award–winning contralto singer-songwriter. She was an original member of Girl’s Tyme which later became Destiny’s Child.
1986: Jazz & blues singer, songwriter and pianist Sippie Wallace passed away (her birthday) at age 88.
1987: The first of three shows at the Hammersmith Odeon featuring; LL Cool J, Eric B & Rankin and Public Enemy.
1991: After having a cancerous lung removed, former Temptation Eddie Kendricks was released from an Atlanta hospital.
1993: Fats Domino’s album “Christmas Is a Special Day” was released on EMI/Right Stuff. It was his first major-label album in 25 years.
1993: Flavor Flav (Public Enemy) was arrested for allegedly trying to shoot another man in a dispute over a woman.
1995: South Africans voted in their 1st all-race local government elections, completing the destruction of the apartheid system.
1999: Football Hall of Famer Walter Payton died, aged 45, from a rare liver disease.
2004: Jazz, blues and gospel musician Lady Byron passed away at age 74. Her career spanned six decades.
2004: Mark Ledford died of heart disease at age 44. He was a multi-instrumentalist and singer.
2008: Shakir Stewart fatally shot himself in the bathroom of his home in Atlanta. He worked as a music promoter and was a vice-president of Def Jam Music Group.
2008: Nathaniel Mayer passed away at age 64. He was a Detroit soul singer who enjoyed a minor hit single in 1962 with “Village of Love” but largely abandoned the recording business until 2004, when he made the album I Just Want to Be Held for Fat Possum Records.
2010: Shannon Tavarez, age 11, passed away. She was an actress who starred on Broadway in The Lion King and whose battle with leukemia won the hearts of many, including Alicia Keys, Rihanna, and 50 Cent. She played the young lion Nala. A perfect bone marrow match could not be found but had received an umbilical-cord blood transplant in August.
7. November 2: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Mississippi John Hurt
1880: Powell Johnson received a patent for an Eye Protector.
1886: Henry Brown received a patent for a Receptacle for Storing & Preserving Papers.
1902: James L. Wells was born. He was a painter and printmaker with numerous exhibits in galleries and museums worldwide. He passed in 1993, aged 90.
1903: Business and civic leader, Maggie L. Walker, opened the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond, VA.
1937: Earl ‘Speedo’ Carroll was born. He was the lead singer of the group The Cadillacs. He passed in 2012, aged 75.
1952: Maxine Nightingale turns 61 today. She is a British R&B, soul and disco singer.
1954: Charles C. Diggs, Jr. of Detroit was elected as Michigan’s 1st Black congressman.
1954: Dr. Theodore K. Lawles was awarded the Spingarn Medal for his research on skin-related diseases.
1956: Police used tear gas to break up a riot that broke out during a Fats Domino concert in Fayetteville, NC. Fats and three of his sidemen suffered minor injuries.
1957: Carter Beauford turns 56 today. He is a drummer, percussionist and founding member of Dave Matthews Band.
1958: Willie McGee turns 55 today. He is a 3-time Gold Glove Award wining MLB player currently serves as Special Asst. to the St. Louis Cardinals G.M.
1966: Mississippi John Hurt passed away at age 73. He was a singer and guitarist. His songs have been covered by Taj Mahal, Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan, Beck, etc.
1968: “For Once In My Life” by Stevie Wonder was released.
1968: Ultra Naté turns 45 today. She is a singer, songwriter, record producer, promoter and DJ.
1973: CBS aired the Barbra Streisand TV special, featuring special guest Ray Charles.
1974: Stevie Wonder went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘You Haven’t Done Nothin’, the singers 4th US #1. It featured The Jackson Five on backing vocals.
1974: Happy Birthday to Nelly who turns 39 today. He is a rapper, singer, songwriter, entrepreneur & actor.
1976: Seventeen Black congressmen were re-elected.
1983: President Reagan signed a law designating the 3rd Monday in January will be Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
1984: The Rev Marvin Gaye Sr. was sentenced to five years in prison for the manslaughter of his son, Marvin Gaye.
1985: Stevie Wonder went to #1 on the US singles chart with ‘Part-time Lover’, his 9th US #1, a #3 hit in the UK.
1995: Soul Train celebrated its 25th year on the air with guest appearances by Al Green, Diana Ross, Bill Withers, and Patti Labelle.
1999: Anthony Brown received a patent for a Severe Weather Detector & Alarm.
1999: Jackie Davis passed away, aged 78. He was a jazz / soul jazz musician, singer and bandleader.
2003: Fatman Scoop with Crooklyn Clan went to #1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Be Faithful.’ The New York hip-hop producer, club DJ and radio DJ had recorded the track some 5 years earlier.
2007: Julia Agnes Washington Bond passed away at age 99. She was the mother of Julian Bond, former chairman of the NAACP and cofounder of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
2012: Milt Campbell passed away, age 78. He was the 1st black to win the Olympic decathlon, in 1956, who later played pro football and became a motivational speaker.