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Archive for December, 2010

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For December 31

1. Annie Holland, an educator, founder of the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) in North Carolina.

2. Selma Burke, Scuplto and educator Selma Burke was born on this day in Mooresville, North Carolina. She is commissioned to create a profile of President Franklin D. Roosevelt after a national competition sponsored by the Fine Arts Commission in Washington, D.C.; the completed project, a plaque, is unveiled and installed at the Record of Deeds Building, Washington D.C.

She initially trained as a nurse at the Women’s Medical College, NC, before studying philosophy at Columbia University, New York (1936-41). During the 1930s she became one of a few prominent black American sculptors
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3. Jonah ( Robert Elliott) Jones, was a jazz trumpeter who is perhaps best known for creating concise versions of jazz and swing standards that appealed to a mass audience. In jazz he might be best appreciated for his work with Stuff Smith. He was sometimes referred to as “King Louis II.” Started playing alto sax at the age of 12 in the Booker T Washington Community Center band in Louisville before quickly transitioning to trumpet where he excelled immediately.

Jones began his career playing on a river boat named “Island Queen” which plied between Kentucky and Ohio.

4. Odetta Holmes, Folksinger\Actress (The Autobiography of Miss jane Pittman), singer, actress, guitarist, songwriter, and a human rights activist, often referred to as “The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement”.   80  Years ago

5. Donna Summer (Adrian Donna Gaines), Queen of Disco (She works hard for her money\Hot Stuff\Bad Girls)  62  Years ago

6.  Gabrielle Christina Victoria “Gabby” Douglas an American artistic gymnast. As a member of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team at the 2012 Summer Olympics, she won gold medals in both the individual and team all-around competitions. Douglas is the first African-American and first woman of color in Olympic history to become the individual all-around champion, and the first American gymnast to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics. She was also a member of the gold-winning U.S. team at the 2011 World Championships.

Events In African American History For December 31

1. In 1777,  George Washington reverses previous policy and allows the recruitment of black soldiers in the Revolutionary War, only after deposed British governor of Virginia issued The Dunmore Proclamation promising freedom to any slave who signed up on the Royal side.

2. In 1862,   Residents of Rochester, N.Y., joined Frederick Douglass in a vigil in anticipation of the Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect at midnight.   What did they eat the next day?   Greens, Blackeyed peas w/hamhocks  and cornbread.  Yes that’s where it all began.

3. In 1935,  Marian Anderson made her Town Hall debut in New York. Her performance was described by Howard Taubman, the New York Times reviewer, as “music making that probed too deep for words.”

4. In 1953, Hulan Jack sworn in a Manhattan Borough president.

5. In 1953,   Spingarn Medal presented to Paul R. Williams for his achievements as an architect.

6. In 1966,  Sixth day of Kwanzaa, Celebrating the sixth of Seven Principles, Kuumba (Creativity)

7. In 1984,  The first nationally broadcast telethon for the United Negro College fund is held and raises 14.1 million

8. In 2011, President Obama Signs Indefinite Detention Bill Into Law

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For December 30

 1. Josiah T. Walls, Josiah Thomas Walls (1842-1905) was a United States Congressman who served three separate terms in Congress between 1871 and 1876.

Born a slave near Winchester, Virginia. He was forced to join the Confederate Army and was captured by the Union Army in 1862 at Yorktown. He voluntarily joined the United States Colored Troops in 1863 and rose to the rank of corporal. He was discharged in Florida and settled in Alachua County.


2. Bo Diddley was the stage name for Ellas Otha Bates, an American rock and roll vocalist, guitarist, songwriter, and inventor. He was known as “The Originator” because of his key role in the transition from the blues to rock & roll, influencing a host of legendary acts including Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, The Velvet Underground, The Clash,The Yardbirds, and Eric Clapton.

  He introduced more insistent, driving rhythms and a hard-edged guitar sound on a wide-ranging catalog of songs. Accordingly, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation and a Grammy Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He was known in particular for his technical innovations, including his trademark rectangular guitar.

3. Kim Weston, Motown Singer,  soul singer, and Motown alumna. In the 1960s, Weston scored hits with the songs “Love Me All the Way” and “Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)”, (duet with Marvin Gaye/It Takes Two)  

 5. Sheryl Lee Ralph, Actress, Ralph began her career on the stage and was nominated in 1982 for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Deena Jones in Dreamgirls. In 1984, Ralph released her only album In the Evening, in which the title track hit peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Charts that same year. In 1988, she starred in the Disney movie Oliver & Company providing the speaking voice of Rita. Her first film leading role came as Denzel Washington’s wife in The Mighty Quinn. In 1992, she starred as Robert De Niro’s mistress in Mistress. During the ’90s she also had roles in The Flintstones, Deterrence and Unconditional Love.

 6. Ben Johnson, former sprinter from Canada, who enjoyed a high-profile career during most of the 1980s, winning two Olympic bronze medals and an Olympic gold.   He set consecutive 100 metres world records at the 1987 World Championships in Athletics and the 1988 Summer Olympics.

 7. Tiger Woods (Eldrick Tont  Woods),  an American professional golfer whose achievements to date rank him among the most successful golfers of all time. Formerly the World No. 1, he is the highest-paid professional athlete in the world, having earned an estimated $90.5 million from winnings and endorsements in 2010.

Woods has won 14 professional major golf championships, the second highest of any male player (Jack Nicklaus leads with 18), and 71 PGA Tour events, third all time.   He has more career major wins and career PGA Tour wins than any other active golfer. He is the youngest player to achieve the career Grand Slam, and the youngest and fastest to win 50 tournaments on tour. Additionally, Woods is only the second golfer, after Jack Nicklaus, to have achieved a career Grand Slam three times. Woods has won 16 World Golf Championships, and has won at least one of those events each of the 11 years they have been in existence.

 8. Tyrese Darnell Gibson, also known simply as Tyrese, is an R&B singer, songwriter, rapper, actor, former fashion model and MTV VJ. After releasing several albums, he transitioned into films, with lead roles in several Hollywood films.

In 1996, Gibson appeared on an episode of Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper. He also guest starred on the Fox sitcom Martin. Then he guest-starred on an episode of The Parent ‘Hood sitcom in 1998. He was given the role originally intended for Tupac Shakur in the 2001 film Baby Boy, and he subsequently appeared in the 2003 film 2 Fast 2 Furious (opposite Paul Walker with whom he formed a close friendship), as well as Flight of the Phoenix (2004), Four Brothers (2005) and Annapolis (2006).

Events In African American History For December 30

1. In 1890,  W. A. Martin received Patent for Lock

2. In 1892,  Dr Miles V Lynk, physician, published the first Black medical journal.

3. In 1929,  “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work” campaign began in Chicago with picketing of Chain stores on South Side, fall. The campaign spread to New York, Cleveland, Los Angeles and other cities and continued throughout the Depression.

4. In 1929,   Mordecai W. Johnson received Spingarn Medal for his work as the first Black president of Howard University.

5. In 1929,  Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority incorporated.

6. In 1959,  Colin Luther Powell Promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant:

7. In 1960,   Poet Langston Hughes presented Spingarn Medal and cited as “the poet laureate of the Negro race.”

8. In 1960,  Two U.S. courts issued temporary injunctions to prevent eviction of about seven hundred Black sharecroppers in Haywood and Fayetter counties, Tennessee for registering to vote.

9. In 1966,  Fifth day of Kwanzaa, Celebrating the Fifth of Seven Principles, Nia (Purpose)

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For December 29

 1. Robert Weaver,served as the first United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (also known as HUD) from 1966 to 1968. He was the first African American to hold a cabinet-level position in the United States. As a young man, Weaver had been one of 45 prominent African Americans appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to his Black Cabinet, where he acted as an informal adviser as well as directing federal programs during the New Deal.

2. Tom Bradley, was a five-term mayor of Los Angeles, California, serving in that office from 1973 to 1993. He was the first and to date only African American mayor of Los Angeles. His 20 years in office mark the longest tenure by any mayor in the city’s history. His 1973 election made him only the second African American mayor of a major U.S. city.

Bradley unsuccessfully ran for Governor of California in 1982 and 1986 and was defeated each time by the Republican George Deukmejian. The racial dynamics that appeared to underlie his narrow and unexpected loss in 1982 gave rise to the political term “the Bradley effect.”

3. Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Blues Guitarist and singer  Murphy played with Howlin’ Wolf in 1948; harpist Little Junior Parker was also in the band at the time.

By 1952, Murphy was in Chicago, where he began his long association with Memphis Slim by playing on his dates for United Records and Vee-Jay Records, including the album, At The Gate of Horn (1959).

Murphy did not have a band of his own until 1982, but played with many famous bands. Among them (more or less chronologically): Howlin’ Wolf, Little Junior Parker, Ike Turner, Memphis Slim, James Cotton, Otis Rush, Etta James, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Chuck Berry, Joe Louis Walker andThe Blues Brothers.

He played with some of these bands for many years (for example, 20 years in a row with Memphis Slim), while others were just sessions during his work at Chess Records.

 4. Devon White,  nicknamed “Devo”, is a former Major League Baseball center fielder, best known for his defensive ability at that position. He is currently an outfield coordinator for the Washington Nationals. His daughter, Davellyn White, plays basketball at the University of Arizona.

 5. Mekhi Phifer, Actor (Soul Food Original Movie), He is perhaps best known for his multi-year role as Dr. Greg Pratt on NBC’s long-running medical drama ER and his co-starring role opposite Eminem in the feature film 8 Mile. He was a regular on the Fox crime show Lie to Me, up until season 3.

Events In African American History For December 29

1. In 1845,  Texas Admitted as a Slave State,  joined the United States as the 28th state. The state’s annexation set off a chain of events that caused the Mexican–American War in 1846.

2. In 1966,   Fourth day of Kwanzaa, Celebrating the Forth of seven Principles, Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For December 28

1.Earl Kenneth Hines, universally known as Earl “Fatha” Hines was one of a small number of pianists whose playing shaped the history of jazz.

2. Billy Williams, singer, who had a successful cover recording of Fats Waller’s “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter” in 1957. The record sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.   His trademark hook for his songs was to shout “Oh, Yeah” at the end of lyrics.

3. Pop (Roebuck) Staples, was a Mississippi-born Gospel and R&B musician.  A “pivotal figure in gospel in the 1960s and 70s,”  he was an accomplished songwriter, guitarist and singer. He was the patriarch and member of singing group The Staple Singers, which included his son Pervis and daughters Mavis, Yvonne, and Cleotha.

4. Johnny (John Veliotes) Otis, was a musician, bandleader, arranger, songwriter, producer, booking agent, tour promoter, road manager, record label operator, publisher, disk jockey, and television personality. In his spare time, away from the music world he was a author, columnist, politician, actor, printer, painter, sculptor, and even bred rare birds.

5. Charles Neville, Singer/Musician, the second oldest Neville brother, has the most diverse musical background. His experience on saxophone has included rhythm & blues, funk, jazz, be-bop, popular and even American Indian music. He cites as influences Louis Jordan, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Professor Longhair. He is also the only brother that lived away from New Orleans for long periods of time, making places like New York, Memphis and Oregon his home.

6. Denzel Washington,  actor, screenwriter, director and film producer. He has garnered much critical acclaim for his work in film since the 1990s, including for his portrayals of real-life figures, such as Steve Biko, Malcolm X, Rubin Carter, Melvin B. Tolson, Frank Lucas, and Herman Boone.

Washington has been awarded two Golden Globe awards, a Tony Award and two Academy Awards for his work.  He is notable for winning the Best Supporting Actor for Glory in 1990; and the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2002 for his role in the film Training Day.

7. John Stephens, better known by his stage name John Legend, is an American recording artist, musician and actor. He is the recipient of six Grammy Awards, and in 2007, he received the special Starlight award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Prior to the release of his debut album, Stephens’ career gained momentum through a series of successful collaborations with multiple established artists. Stephens added his voice to those of other artists, assisting in them reaching chart-topper hits. He lent his voice to that of Kanye West, on Slum Village’s “Selfish”, and Dilated Peoples’ “This Way”. Other artists included Jay-Z’s “Encore”, and sang backing vocals on Alicia Keys’ 2003 song “You Don’t Know My Name” and Fort Minor’s “High Road.” Stephens played piano on Lauryn Hill’s “Everything Is Everything.”

8.  Nichelle Nichols (born Grace Nichols)  Actress, singer and voice artist. She sang with Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton before turning to acting. Her most famous role is that of communications officer Lieutenant Uhura aboard the USS Enterprise in the popular Star Trek television series, as well as the succeeding motion pictures, where her character was eventually promoted in Starfleet to the rank of commander. In 2006, she added executive producer to her résumé.

Events In African American History For December 28

1. In 1816,  American Colonization Society organized, It was the primary vehicle for proposals to return Slaves to greater freedom in Africa, and helped to found the colony of Liberia in 1821–22, as a place to send people who were formerly enslaved.

2. In 1897,  C. V. Richey Received Patent for Fire Escape Bracket Patent No. 596,427

3. In 1918,   Sixty Blacks were reported lynched in 1918.

4. In 1918,  Spingarn Medal awarded to William Stanley Braithwaite, poet, literary critic and editor, for distinguished achievement in literature.

5. In 1966,  Third day of Kwanzaa, Celebrating the third of seven principles, Ujima (Collective Work And Responsibility)

6. In 1977,  Karen Farmer becomes the first African American member of the Daughters of the American Revolution when she traces her ancestry back to William Hood, a solider in the Revolutionary War.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For December 27

1. William A. Harper, student of Henry O. Tanner at the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the most gifted African American artist of the early 20th century.  A sculptor and painter, William Harper was the “first African-American artist to achieve significant critical success at the Art Institute of Chicago’s annual juried exhibition.” (Kennedy 119). Chicago newspapers provided much coverage of this event, describing his career as “meteoric” when in 1905, he won a blue ribbon from the Municipal Art League for their exhibition at the Institute.

2. Thelonious Sphere Monk,  jazz pianist and composer considered “one of the giants of American music”.  Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including “Epistrophy”, “‘Round Midnight”, “Blue Monk”, “Straight, No Chaser” and “Well, You Needn’t”. Monk is the second most recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington, which is particularly remarkable as Ellington composed over 1,000 songs while Monk wrote about 70.

Often regarded as a founder of bebop, Monk’s playing later evolved away from that style. His compositions and improvisations are full of dissonant harmonies and angular melodic twists, and are consistent with Monk’s unorthodox approach to the piano, which combined a highly percussive attack with abrupt, dramatic use of silences and hesitations.

3. John Amos,  actor and former football player. His television work includes roles in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Good Times, the miniseries Roots, and a recurring role in The West Wing. He has also appeared on Broadway and in numerous motion pictures in a career that spans four decades. He has received nominations for a Primetime Emmy Award and NAACP Image Award.

4. Theresa E. Randle, stage, film and television actress.  In 1987, she got her first big-screen break with Maid To Order. For the next three years, she appeared (in small roles) in movies such as Easy Wheels (1989) and Heart Condition (1990), with Denzel Washington. She continued in small roles by directors like Abel Ferrara (King of New York (1990)) and Spike Lee (Jungle Fever (1991) and Malcolm X (1992)). She co-starred in CB4 (1993) with Chris Rock, Bad Boys (1995) with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, and its sequel Bad Boys II. In 1996, Theresa earned her first starring role in Spike Lee’s film Girl 6, playing a young out-of-work actress who gets caught up in the seductive yet dark world of phone sex.

5. Eva Maria LaRue, model and actress. She is best known as Doctor Maria Santos on All My Children, and is now a cast regular on CSI: Miami, portraying Detective Natalia Boa Vista of the Miami-Dade Police Department.


Events In African American History For December 27

1. In 1870,   H. Spears Received Patent for Portable shield for infantry

2. In 1887,  Stewart & Johnson received Patent for Metal bending machine

3. In 1892,  The first black football game was played by Biddle University in Charlotte, NC (now Johnson C. Smith University) against Livingstone College  in Salisbury, N.C. The Golden Bulls earned their first historic victory in what today is called the Commemorative Classic, an annual tradition at JCSU.

4. In 1904,  Monroe Nathan Work marries Florence Evelyn Hendrickson. Greatly assisted by his wife, Work will publish “The Negro Year Book”, and annual encyclopedia of African American achievement. He will later publish “A Bibliography of the Negro in Africa and American” (1928) with over 17,000 entries.

5. In 1941,  Pioneer of blood plasma research, Dr Charles Richard Drew, establishes a pioneer blood bank in New York City.

6. In 1956,  Federal Judge Dozier Devane granted temporary injunction restraining city officials from interfering with integration of Tallahassee, Fla., city buses and said “every segregation act of every state or city is as dead as a doornail.”

7. In 1956,  Spingarn Medal awarded Jack Roosevelt (“Jackie”) Robinson, first Black in the major leagues, for his conduct on and off the baseball field.

8. In 1966,  Second day of Kwanzaa, celebrating the second of seven principles, Umoja (Unity), Created by Dr.Maulana Karenga.

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