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. September 29: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Sylvia Robinson
1908: Eddie Tolan was born. He was the first non Euro-American to receive the title of the “world’s fastest human” after winning gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters events at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He passed in 1967 at age 59.
1926: Chuck Cooper was born. He was the first African-American to be drafted by an NBA team in 1950. He passed in 1984 at age 57.
1934: Shirley Gunter was born. She was one of the first women in rock & roll and helped to pave the way for other women to lead their own groups
1945: “The Honeydripper” by Joe Liggins & His Honeydrippers was the number one R&B song on this day.
1948: Bryant Gumbel was born. He is a television journalist and sportscaster. He turns 65 today.
1956: The Marigolds’ “Juke Box Rock & Roll” ($350) was released. Lead singer Johhny Bragg and the rest of the quintet were all residents of the Tennessee State Prison, as was Bragg’s previous group, the Prisonaires.
1955: Gwen Ifill was born. She is a journalist, television newscaster and author. She is the managing editor and moderator of Washington Week and a senior correspondent for the PBS News Hour, both of which air on PBS.She turns 58 today.
1959: Little Anthony & the Imperials recorded “Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko Ko Bop” (#24 R&B, #14 pop), a song that would become their last hit for five years and a record Anthony was quoted as calling “stupid.”
1969: DeVante Swing was born. He is a record producer, singer, rapper, songwriter and founding member of the R&B group Jodeci. He turns 44 today.
1970: Jason Lewis aka AMG was born. He is a rapper from Cleveland, Ohio. He turns 43 today.
1973: Former New York model Millie Jackson nudged her way onto the Top 200 album list with “It Hurts So Good” (#175), her second of 14 hit LPs.
1975: Jackie Wilson suffered a heart attack on-stage during Dick Clark’s Good Ol’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Revue at Cherry Hill, NJ’s, Latin Casino. The Spinners and Barry White were among several acts that held benefits to raise money for his medial expenses. He was singing “Lonely Teardrops” at the time.
1976: The Penumbra Theater in St. Paul, MN opened with its first production.
1977: Debelah Morgan was born. She is a singer and songwriter. She is 36 today.
1984: Geater Davis passed away. He was a soul singer & songwriter and has been described as “one of the South’s great lost soul singers, an impassioned stylist whose voice was a combination of sweetness and sandpaper grit. He died of a heart attack at age 38.
1985: Calvin Johnson was born. He is a NFL wide receiver for the Detroit Lines. He turns 28 today.
1988: Kevin Durant was born. He is an Olympic Gold Medalist and a NBA player with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He turns 25 today.
1990: Ray Charles and B.B. King began a world tour in the Taiwan capital, Taipei.
1990: The Braxtons, a trio of teen sisters from Maryland, charted with their soul debut, “Good Life,” reaching #79 R&B. One of the siblings would soon go on to solo success: Toni Braxton signed with Arista Records in 1991.
1990: Take 6, an a cappella gospel group, did the near impossible in the rap era when they charted R&B with “I L-O-V-E U,” reaching #19.
1992: USA Today called Shabba Ranks the new Bob Marley. Meanwhile, the new Marley was accused of rape by a woman appearing in his video “Loada Girls.” It was the fourth time Shabba had been accused of rape.
1995: Kool & the Gang, the Isley Brothers, Gladys Knight, and Aretha Franklin performed at New York’s Madison Square Garden at the KISS-FM Classic Soul concert.
1998: Tom Bradley passed away at age 80. He was the 38th Mayor of Los Angeles and the only African-American mayor of that city, and his 20 years in office mark the longest tenure by any mayor in the city’s history before term limits passed by California voters in 1990 came into effect. His 1973 election made him only the second African-American mayor of a major U.S. city.
1999: China Anderson was born. She is an actress of film and television. She turns 14 today.
2001: Gloria Foster passed away at age 67. She was an award-winning actress of stage, Broadway and films.
2008: Milt Davis passed away at age 79. He was an all-Pro defensive back who helped the Baltimore Colts to win two NFL championships in the ’50s.
2011: Sylvia Robinson passed away at age 76. Some proclaimed her to be the mother of hip-hop and was later known as one of hip-hop’s early founders for releasing “Rapper’s Delight” rap’s first mainstream success.
2. September 30: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Johnny Mathis
1887: Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University was founded in Tallahassee, FL, on this date.
1933: Cissy Houston was born. She is a Grammy Award winning gospel singer and mother of Whitney Houston.
1935: Z.Z. Hill was born. He was a blues singer in the soul blues tradition. He died of a heart attack in 1984. He was 48 years old.
1935: Singer Johnny Mathis was born. He has sold over 350 million records worldwide with several dozen of his albums achieving gold or platinum status. He turns 78 today.
1942: Frankie Lymon was born. He was a singer and songwriter and founding member of The Teenagers. He died of a heroin overdose at age 25 in 1968.
1943: Marilyn McCoo was born. She is a singer, actress, presenter, ‘Solid Gold’ host, author and was the lead female vocalist of the Grammy Award winning group The 5th Dimension. She turns 70 today.
1946: Sylvia Peterson was born. She is a singer, songwriter and an original member of The Chiffons. She turns 67 today.
1956: Vondie Curtis-Hall was born. He is an actor of film & television and a director. He turns 57 today.
1957: ‘Mr. Lee’ by the Bobbettes was the number one R&B song on this day.
1957: The legendary girl group the Chantels’ first single, “He’s Gone,” written by Lead singer Arlene Smith, debuted on the charts, peaking at #71 pop.
1957: Little Richard’s “Keep A Knockin’ ” charted on its way to #2 R&B and #8 pop.
1957: The Val Chords’ “Candy Store Love” and the Sh-Booms’ “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire” were released. The Sh-Booms were actually the Chords of “Sh-Boom” fame.
1960: Mike Howard was born. She is a jazz/R&B singer and actress. She turns 53 today.
1962: James Meredith entered the University of Mississippi, defying segregation.
1966: Kerry G. Johnson was born. He is a cartoonist, graphic designer, caricaturist & children’s book illustrator. He turns 47 today.
1967: The Precisions entered the R&B hit list with one of the great but overlooked soul singles of the late ’60s, “If This Is Love (I’d Rather Be Lonely),” reaching #26 and #60 pop.
1972: Chuck Berry’s single “My Ding-A-Ling” charted R&B, reaching #42. It went on to reach #1 pop. It was the last of Chuck’s twenty-three hit R&B singles, and the only #1 pop he ever had.
1977: The California African American Museum was founded on this day.
1983: Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones was born. He is a NFL player. He turns 30 today.
1984: Keisha Buchanan was born. She is a British singer-songwriter and was a founding member of the BRIT Award-winning girl group the Sugababes. She turns 29 today.
1991: Diana Ross, spokeswoman for the National Children’s Day Foundation, spoke before a House Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families, in Washington, DC.
1993: Whitney Houston and husband Bobby Brown had their limousine polled over at New York’s Kennedy International Airport by nine police officers with guns drawn, looking for drugs.
1995: Mary J. Blige reached #17 in England with her recording of “Mary Jane (All Night Long),” based on “All Night Long,” the hit by the Mary Jane Girls that was written and produced by Rick James.
1995: George Kirby passed away. He was a comedian, singer and actor. He was 72.
1998: Luther Vandross performed at the Johannesburg Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.
2008: J. L. Chestnut Jr. passed away at age 77. He was the first black lawyer in Selma, Alabama and a prominent attorney in civil rights cases. Chestnut later defended blacks in major voter fraud prosecutions and helped black farmers to make financial claims against the US Department of Agriculture for regularly denying subsidies and other assistance to them because of their race.
2011: Erik Martin passed away at age 14. He was a Seattle boy with several severe health problems and a rare form of cancer. But in his imagination Erik was Electron Boy, a superhero who saved Seattle from the forces of darkness and evil. In 2010 the Make-a-Wish Foundation created the event, and a group of independent comic-book creators published a real comic book of Erik’s exploits.
2011: Marv Tarplin passed away at age 70. He was a Motown guitarist and songwriter who shaped the sound of Smokey Robinson & the Miracles and was a co-composer of “The Tracks of My Tears” and other hits.
3. October 1: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Donnie Hathaway
1840: Fannie Richards was born. She was the first black teacher and the first kindergarten teacher in Detroit, became a proponent for education while working against its policies of segregation. She passed in 1922 at age 82.
1897: Virginia Powell Florence was born. She was a trailblazer in both African-American history and the history of librarianship becoming the 2nd black to be formally trained in librarianship and the first Black woman in the U.S.to earn a degree in library science.
1929: Grady Chapman was born. He was the lead singer of doo wop group The Robins. He passed away in 2011.
1939: George Carruthers was born. He is an inventor, physicist and space scientist. He turns 74 today.
1940: Dr. Charles Drew was named medical director of the plasma project in Great Britain.
1941: The South Side Community Arts Center, founded by Dr. Margaret Burroughs, opened in Chicago.
1943: Willie L. Williams was born. He was the chief of the LAPD from ’92-’97. He was the first African-American police commissioner of both the Philadelphia Police Department and the LAPD. He is 70 today.
1945: Donnie Hathaway was born. He was a musician, songwriter, signer, arranger, conductor and producer. He took his like in 1979 at age 33.
1945: Rod Carew was born. He is a MLB Hall of Famer. He turns 68 today.
1949: ‘Baby Get Lost’ by Dinah Washington was the number one R&B song on this day.
1955: The Platters’ “Only You” charted on its way to #5, starting a streak of forty Top 100 hits over a twelve-year span.
1955: Howard Hewett was born. He is a R&B and gospel singer and former lead vocalist of the R&B group Shalamar. He turns 58 today.
1958: Little Anthony & the Imperials recorded Neil Sedaka’s ”The Diary,” which was slated to be their next single.
1971: The current home of the Tom Joyner Family Reunion, Disney World, opened near Orlando, Florida on this day.
1975: Thrilla in Manila: Muhammad Ali defeated Joe Frazier in a boxing match in Manila, Philippines.
1975: Drummer, producer & songwriter Al Jackson was fatally shot by intruders in his home. He was 39 years old. He was a founding member of Booker T. & the M.G.’s.
1986: Jurnee Smollett was born. She is an award winning actress of film and television. She turns 27 today.
1989: Colin Powell was the first African American appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
1991: Anita Baker paid $100,000 for The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley at an auction of Haley’s works on his Knoxville, TN, farm
1992: Harry Ray passed away at age 54. He was a founding member of the Moments.
1994: Actress/singer Brandy charted with “I Wanna Be Down” (#6), her first of 18 R&B hits through 2004.
2003: Rush Limbaugh resigned from ESPN after racial comments he made directed at athlete Donovan McNabb.
2008: LeJuan Simon passed away at age 27 of pulmonary hypertension. He was a Trinidadian track-and-field athlete who represented Trinidad & Tobago at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.
2008: Charles Wright passed away at age 76. He was an author who wrote three autobiographical novels about black street life in New York that seemed to predict the rise of an important literary talent but then vanished into alcoholism and despair and never published another book.
2012: Sahara Davenport born Antoine Ashley passed away at age 27 of a heart attack. He was a drag queen and reality TV personality and classically-trained dancer. He was best known as a contestant on the 2nd season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
4. October 2: This Day in Black History
October 2: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: August Wilson
1800: Nat Turner was born. He was an African American slave who led an 1831 uprising in Southampton County, VA.
1897: George Washington Bright became the first African American firefighter hired by the Los Angeles Fire Dept.
1902: Alvin Coffey passed away. He was born a slave in 1822 and wrote about the Gold Rush ‘Book of Reminiscences’ was inducted into the California Society of Pioneers and was a member for more than 15 years prior to his death. He is the only African American to achieve that distinction.
1929: Moses Gunn was born. He was an Obie Award winning stage actor and co-founder of the Negro Ensemble Company in the ’60s. He died in 1993 at age 64.
1937: Johnnie Cochran was born. He was an attorney known for his skill in the courtroom and his prominence as an early advocate for victims of police brutality. He passed in 2005 at age 67.
1948: Nellie Lutcher charted with “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” reaching #13 R&B. The song was originally a #1 pop hit in 1911 for Arthur Collins and Byron Harlan.
1948: The Cecil Grant Trio of Nashville jumped on the R&B hit parade with “Another Day–Another Dollar,” stopping at 36.
1948: Avery Brooks was born. He is an actor of film, television and stage. He turns 65 today.
1953: Vanessa Bell Armstrong was born. She is a gospel singer and turns 60 today.
1956: R&B, Soul, Quiet storm singer & pianist Freddie Jackson was born. He turns 57 today.
1961: The Crystals’ debut, “There’s No Other,” was released. Produced by Phil Spector, it was the first successful single on the now legendary Phillies label.
1967: Thurgood Marshall was sworn in, becoming the first African American Supreme Court Justice.
1973: DeShaun Holton aka Proof was born. He was an actor, rapper, songwriter and record producer. He was fatally shot in 2006 when he was 32 years old.
1981: Hazel Scott passed away at age 61. She was a jazz pianist, singer and actress.
1982: ‘Love Come Down’ by Evelyn King was the number one R&B song this day.
1989: The comic strip ‘Jumpstart’ premiered in newspapers across the country. It was created by 26-year-old Rob Armstrong, the youngest African American to be in Syndication.
1991: B.B. King began a world tour in Istanbul, Turkey.
2005: Author and playwright August Wilson passed away. He was awarded two Pulitzers for Drama. He was 60 years old.
2005: Nipsey Russell passed away at age 87. He was a comedian, actor and dubbed ‘The poet Laureate of Television’ as he would recite them during game show broadcast.
2006: Tamara Dobson passed away. She was a fashion model turned actress and portrayed strong female roles. She was 59.
2009: Ashley (A. J.) Jewell, aged 34, died from massive head injuries after a fight in the parking lot at the Body Tap Club, a strip club where he worked, in Atlanta. He was the former fiancé of Kandi Burruss, a cast member of the reality TV show, The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
2009: John (Mr. Magic) Rivas passed away at age 53 of a heart attack. He was a disc jockey whose persistence in bringing once-reviled rap to mainstream radio in the ‘80s helped to pave the way for the breakout of hip-hop culture. Mr. Magic was the first host on commercial radio to devote a program exclusively to rap when his Rap Attack began broadcasting on WBLS-FM in New York in April 1983.
5. October 3: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: James Earl Jones
1856: T. Thomas Fortune was born. He was an orator, civil rights leader, journalist, writer, editor and publisher. He was the highly influential editor of the nation’s leading black newspaper The New York Age. He passed in 1928, age 72.
1879: Jesse Stahl was born. He is probably the most famous cowboy and rodeo star of color and the greatest bronco rider of all.
1881: Dudley Woodard was born. He was a highly respected Mathematician and established the Mathematics Library at Howard.
1941: Chubby Checker was born. He is a singer-songwriter and turns 72 today.
1950: The Beulah Show was broadcast for the 1st time. It was the 1st American TV situation comedy to star an African American.
1951: Keb’ Mo’ was born. He is a Grammy Award-winning blues musician, singer, guitarist, and songwriter. He is 62 today.
1956: Nat King Cole became the first Black performer to host his own TV show. The first show aired on November 5th.
1958: The Coasters began touring on the Biggest Show of Stars for 1958 tour with Buddy Holly & the Crickets, Clyde McPhatter, Bobby Darin, Bobby Freeman, and Dion. The nineteen performances were done in sixteen days.
1968: The Play, The Great White Hope, starring James Earl Jones debuted on Broadway
1970: ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ by Diana Ross was the number one R&B song this day.
1970: Nia Long was born. She is an actress of film and television. She turns 43 today.
1970: The Intern’l Asso. of Black Professional Fire Fighters was founded in Hartford CT.
1971: Tariq Trotter aka Black Thought of the group The Roots was born. He turns 42 today.
1975: India Arie was born. She is a Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, record producer and guitarist. She is 38 today.
1976: Victoria Spivey passed away at age 69. She was a blues singer and songwriter. Her career span 40 years.
1977: Michael Jackson began rehearsing for his part in the film The Wiz, based on the Wizard of Oz, in New York. The frenzy Michael created had become legendary, such as when he had to escape across the rooftop of a Woolco store in Memphis a few months earlier as more than 10,000 fans clamored for autographs.
1979: Frank Robinson became the manager of the Cleveland Indians and the 1st Black manager in MLB.
1989: Art Shell became the first African American NFL Head Coach (LA Raiders)
1990: Whitney Houston celebrated National Children’s Day by performing at the White House.
1990: Bobby Womack played the Town & Country Club in London.
1994: Whitney Houston returned to the White House, this time for a performance in the Rose Garden celebrating the visit of Nelson Mandela.
1995: O. J. Simpson was acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
1997: John Lee Hooker’s club, the Boom Boom Room, opened in Redwood City, CA.
2006: Patrice Holloway passed away at age 55 of a heart attack. She was a soul and pop singer.
2009: Laura Mae (Mama) Gross passed away at age 89. She was a Mississippi woman who moved to the West Coast and founded a club that became a staple of the Los Angeles blues scene. Also known as “Mama,” Gross opened Babe’s & Ricky’s Inn on Central Avenue in 1964 and hosted blues legends such as Bobby (“Blue”) Bland and John Lee Hooker while serving cold beer and soda to an integrated crowd.
2012: Danny Sims passed away at age 75. He was a music producer, publisher, and promoter who signed future reggae superstar Bob Marley to his first recording contract in 1968.
6. October 4: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Clifton Davis
1864: The first Black daily newspaper, The New Orleans Tribune was founded.
1872: Edward Waters College (EWC) was founded.
1927: C. Delores Tucker was born. She was a politician and civil rights activist best known for her participation in the Civil Rights Movement and her stance against gangsta rap music. She passed in 2005, age 78.
1942: Bernice Johnson Reagon was born. She is a singer, composer, scholar, and social activist, who founded the a Capella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock in 1973. She is 71 today.
1945: Clifton Davis was born. He is an actor, songwriter and minister. He turns 68 today.
1952: Anita DeFrantz was born. She is an Olympic Athlete (rowing), member of the International Olympic Committee, and former Vice-President of FISA.
1957: Russell Simmons was born. He is a business magnate and co-founder of Def Jam. He turns 56 today.
1958: George Goldner, owner of End Records, signed the Flamingos. They would have their most productive period at End with hits like “I Only Have Eyes For You,” “Lovers Never Say Goodbye,” and “Mio Amore.”
1963: A.C. Green was born. He is a retired NBA player who played in more consecutive games than any other player in NBA and ABA history. He turns 50 today.
1969: “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin,” a remake of the Righteous brothers hit by Dionne Warwick, charted, reaching #13 R&B and #16 pop.
1975: Quincy Jones, featuring the Brothers Johnson, entered the R&B Top 100 with “Is It Love That We’re Missin’, ” peaking at #18.
1975: ‘This Will Be’ by Natalie Cole was the number one R&B song on this day.
1980: Me’Lisa Barber was born. She is a three-time Gold Medalist World Champ in Track & Field. She is 33 today.
1985: Shontelle Layne was born. She is a singer and songwriter. She turns 28 today.
1986: The Commodores charted with “Goin’ To the Bank,” which they cashed in at #2 R&B. It was the last of sixteen Top 10 hits for the band between 1974 and 1988, when they last made it onto the charts.
1988: NBA player Derrick Rose was born. He currently plays for the Chicago Bulls. He is 25 today.
1988: Bill & Camille Cosby made a $20 million gift to Spelman College in Atlanta.
1989: Lil Mama was born Niatia Kirkland. She is a rapper, singer, songwriter, dancer and actress. She is 24 today.
1993: Varetta Dillard passed away at age 60. She was a blues singer of ‘Mercy, Mr. Percy’ a big hit.
1995: Actress Ambrosia Kelley was born. She turns 18 today.
1996: Gladys Knight and the O’Jays performed at the Universal Amphitheater in Universal City, CA.
1999: Art Farmer passed away. He was a well-known jazz trumpeter and flugelhorn player.
2003: An African Burial Ground in New York City was re-established.
2012: Stan Mudenge passed away at age 71. Zimbabwe’s former foreign minister for 10 years. A loyalist of President Robert Mugabe’s party, Mudenge at his death was higher education minister in charge of universities and colleges.
7. October 5: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Bernie Mac
1932: Yvonne Burke was born. She was the first African-American woman to represent the West Coast in Congress. In 2012, President Obama nominated her to serve as Director of the Amtrak Board of Directors. She turns 81 today.
1942: Richard Street was born. He was a singer, dancer, songwriter and member of the Temptations. He passed this past February, aged 70.
1957: Bernie Mac was born. He was a comedian and an actor of film and television. He passed away in 2008, aged 50.
1959: ‘Poison Ivy’ by the Coasters was the number one R&B song on this day.
1959: The Miracles charted for the first time with “Bad Girl,” reaching 393 pop. The new group out of Detroit was originally called the Matadors.
1963: The Impressions charted on their way to their biggest hit when “It’s All Right” reached #11 R&B and #4 pop. The group created the song backstage at a Nashville concert.
1963: Little Richard performed on a British tour with the Everly Brothers.
1972: Grant Hill was born. He is a former NBA player and Olympic Gold Medalist. He turns 41 today.
1974: Heather Headley was born. She is a Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, record producer and actress. She is 39 today.
1974: The Pointer Sisters single “Fairytale” charted, reaching #13 pop and #37 country. The group was on tour at the time and by no small coincidence wound up playing at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry.
1977: Kele Le Roc was born. She is a British Pop, UK garage & R&B Singer. She is 36 today.
1982: Brandi Williams was born. She is an actress, singer and songwriter. She is most notable for singing in the R&B trio Blaque. She is 31 today.
1984: Brooke Valentine was born. She is a singer, songwriter, model and actress. She is 29 today.
1985: Comedian Eddie Murphy charted with “Party All the Time,” the dance/novelty classic written and produced by Rick James, reaching #8 R&B and #2 pop.
1922: Eddie Kindrick passed away at age 52. He was a singer, songwriter and a member of the Temptations and one-time lead singer.
1995: Wu-Tang Clan, Mary J. Blige, Jodeci, Brandy, Salt-N-Pepa, Run-D.M.C., and the Notorious B.I.G., among others, performed in an all-star show at Madison Square Garden in New York.
2001: Barry Bonds surpassed Mark McGuire’s single-season home run total with his milestone 71st and 72nd home runs.
2011: Derrick Bell passed away at age 80. He was a legal scholar who worked to expose the persistence of racism in America through his books and articles and his career moves. Bell gave up a Harvard Law School professorship to protest the school’s hiring practices.
2011: Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth passed away at age 89. He was a blunt-speaking preacher and civil rights leader who survived beatings and bombings in Alabama 50 years ago as he fought against racial injustice alongside Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.