1. Henry Highland Garnet, abolitionist and orator. An advocate of militant abolitionism, Garnet was a prominent member of the abolition movement that led against moral suasion toward more political action. Renowned for his skills as a public speaker, he urged blacks to take action and claim their own destinies. Garnet was the first black minister to preach to the United States House of Representatives. *
2. Madame C.J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove on this day, starts a Black hair-care business in Denver, CO; she alters curling irons that were popularized by the French to suit the texture of Black women’s hair. She is arguably ther first woman millionaire in the U.S.
3. Frank Morgan, jazz saxophonist with a career spanning more than 50 years. He mainly played alto saxophone but also played soprano saxophone. During the 1950s he was known as a Charlie Parker successor and recorded several bebop albums. Morgan’s father was a guitarist with the vocal group The Ink Spots. Frank was playing guitar until seven when taken to see Charlie Parker play. Parker suggested starting with clarinet which he did for two years before switching to sax.
4. Ester Phillips (Esther Mae Jones), singer, known for her R&B vocals, but she was a versatile singer, also performing pop, country, jazz, blues and soul music. (Release Me\What a difference a day makes)
5. Eugene Record, Singer, was lead vocalist of Chicago based The Chi-Lites during the 1960s and 1970s. He also released three solo albums (entitled The Eugene Record, Trying to Get to You, and Welcome to My Fantasy) via the Warner Music Group before rejoining the Chi-Lites in 1980. In 1979 he had a disco hit called ‘Magnetism’. He also wrote and produced many of the group’s hits, such as “Have You Seen Her” and “Oh Girl”, frequently in collaboration with other songwriters. He also wrote and produced for other artists, including Barbara Acklin, Jackie Wilson, and The Dells. Record left the Chi-Lites again in 1988 before eventually becoming a gospel singer.
In 1978 he appeared on Saturday Night Live with Michael Palin. He performed “Have You Seen Her?” and “Trying to Get to You”.
* Correction: Henry Highland Garnet was mistakenly listed as being born on Dec. 22, after further research, found that he was actually born on Dec. 23.