Nothing will motivate a man to move forward faster than knowing what's behind Him.

Archive for April, 2011

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For this date April 30

1. Shirley Witherspoon, singer. her first gig with Duke Ellington’s band. This was at the presidential inauguration ball for Richard Nixon in 1969.

2. Isiah Lord Thomas III,  coach for the FIU Golden Panthers, and a retired professional basketball player who played point guard for the Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1981 until 1994.

3. Akon (Aliaune Badara Akon Thiam), American R&B Singer.

Events In African American History For April 30

1. In 1862,  This date celebrates the first Black newspaper in the South, L’Union in New Orleans.  During these early days of journalism working along with other groups and institutions, the free Black press strove to give voice to and unite the desires of Louisiana African Americans. L’Union was founded and circulated as a biweekly and tri-weekly. Published primarily in French, the paper ran a few issues in English beginning in 1863. Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez was  financier and Paul Trévigne its editor.

2. In 1863, Sarah Thompson Garnet becomes the first African American female principal in the New York City public school system.

3. In 1867,  W. A. Deitz received Patent for Shoe.  He was a former slave & he invented the upper to a women’s boot. It’s the same concept we use to make all women’s boots to this day

4. In 1889,  H. Peterson Received Patent for Attachment for Lawn Mower

5. In 1900,  one of America’s classic folk songs, The Ballad of Casey Jones, was written.  Wallace Saunders a black railroad laborer wrote it. It was one of three songs written by him. Very little is known about Wallace Saunders. He performed odd jobs for the railroad all his life. At the time of Jones’ accident, Saunders was an engine wiper for the railroad shop in Canton, Mississippi. Saunders wrote The Ballad of Casey Jones the day after Jones’ fatal accident.

6. In 1983,  Robert C. Maynard,  gains controlling interest in a major metropolitan newspaper when he buys the Oakland Tribune from the East Coast-based media conglomerate Gannett Company.


The Black National Anthem

Lift Every Voice and Sing

The Black National Anthem (1900)
Words: James Weldon Johnson
Music: John Rosamond Johnson

Lift every voice and sing, till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Sing a song full of faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory won.

Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet,
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered;
Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our star is cast.God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who hast by Thy might, led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee.
Shadowed beneath Thy hand, may we forever stand,
True to our God, true to our native land.


Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For this date April 29

1. Duke Ellington (Edward Kennedy Ellington), composer, pianist, and big band leader.

2. Donald Mills,  With his brothers, Herbert, Harry and John, the Mills Brothers began performing in 1922 in their hometown and over time sold an estimated 50 million records.

3. Parren James Mitchell,   Democrat, was a U.S. Congressman who represented the 7th congressional district of Maryland from January 3, 1971 to January 3, 1987. He was the first African-American elected to Congress from Maryland.

4. Carl Gardner,  singer, best known as the foremost member and founder of The Coasters. Gardner formed the group along with Bobby Nunn in 1955, after leaving The Robins at the behest of the songwriting/producing team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.  Gardner’s son, Carl Jr., officially joined The Coasters in late 2005, after Gardner semi-retired, although Carl Jr. had been touring with them since at least 1998.

5. Otis Rush, blues musician, singer and guitarist. His distinctive guitar style features a slow burning sound and long bent notes.

6. Tammi Terrell  (Thomasina Montgomery). She was an African American Rhythm & Blues singer.

7. Willi Smith, A noted designer, one of the most successful young African-American fashion designers in fashion history. He won a Coty Award winner in 1983.   Williwear Ltd. sold $25 million worth of clothing a year.

8. Master P, (Percy Miller) Hip-hop music mogul-entrepreneur and entertainer. He is the founder and CEO of P. Miller Enterprises, an entertainment and financial conglomerate and Better Black TV. Master P has signed with Priority Records and relaunched No Limit Records after bankruptcy.

Events In African American History For April 29

1. In 1845,  It was on this date in 1845, Macon B. Allen and Robert Morris Jr. became the first blacks to practice law in America.

2. In 1968,  Poor People’s Campaign began with Ralph Abernathy, SCLC president, leading delegation of leaders representing poor whites, Blacks, Indians, and Spanish Americans to Capitol Hill for conferences with cabinet members and congressional leaders.

3. In 1981,   Buffalo, N.Y., grand jury indicted Pvt. Joseph G. Christopher of the U.S. Army on murder charges stemming from the racially motivated slayings of three Blacks in September, 1980.

4. In 1992,  First day of L.A riots, sparked by acquittal of four white cops in the beating of Rodney King, which resulted in at least 50 deaths, thousands injured and estimates of up to $1 billion in property damage.  Police officials said  that they had arrested 18,000 people from April 29, the day the riots began. But prosecutors said they could not account for as many as 10,000 of those people.

5. In 2017,  Jordan Edwards 15, was fatally shot by police officer Roy Oliver in Balch Springs, Texas, within the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.   He was shot in the back of the head while riding in the front passenger’s seat of a vehicle driving away from officers that attempted to stop it.   He was unarmed during the encounter.   Oliver was fired from the department and arrested on May 5, 2017. On August 28, 2018, he was found guilty of murder.  On August 29, 2018, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.


Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For this date April 28

1. William H. Crogman, African-American educator. In 1870, Crogman became a teacher in Claflin University, the first Black to be regularly employed by the Freedmen’s Aid Society in education. He stopped teaching long enough to take a full course at Atlanta University and in 1876 he joined the faculty of what is now Clark University.

2. Jeremiah Haralson, Politician who served in the House of Representatives. Born a slave near Columbus, Georgia, he was taken to Alabama and kept in bondage until 1865. After attaining his freedom, Haralson taught himself  how to read and write.

3. Wilber “Bullet Joe” Rogan was one of the best and most versatile players in the history of the Negro Baseball League.

4. Earl Lloyd, Nicknamed “The Big Cat”, he was one of three African-Americans to enter the NBA at the same time. It was only because of the order in which the teams’ season openers fell that Lloyd was the first to actually play in an NBA game.

5. Madge Sinclair, Actress (Trapper John, Coming To America, Roots, Gabriel’s Fire, Me and the Boys, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek: The Next generation’s “interface”.

6. Barry Larkin, retired Major League Baseball player. Larkin played shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds from 1986 to 2004 and was one of the pivotal players on the 1990 Reds’ World Series championship team. He played his college baseball at The University of Michigan, and will have his number retired by the school in 2010.

Events In African American History For April 28

1. In 1891,  George Toliver received Patent for Propeller for vessels

2. In 1924,  Don Redman, musical prodigy, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, vocalist and bandleader, was the first musician to use the oboe as a jazz instrument in a solo he performed in a recording of “After the Storm,” with Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra. The piece was recorded by Pathe Actuelle in New York.

3. In 1941, Supreme Court ruled in railroad Jim Crow case brought by Congressman Arthur Mitchell that separate facilities must be substantially equal.

4. In 1957, W. Robert Ming, Chicago lawyer, elected chairman of American Veterans Committee. He was the first Black to head a major national veterans organization.

5. In 1967,  Mrs. Robert W. Claytor elected president of the YWCA, the first Black president of the organization.

6. In 1967, World Boxing Association and New York State Athletic Commission withdrew recognition of Muhammad Ali as world heavyweight boxing champion because of his refusal to serve in the U.S. armed forces.

7. In 1971,  Samuel L. Gravely, Jr. became the first African American Admiral in the United States Navy.

8. In 1983,  Two African American women, Alice Walker and Gloria Naylor, win prestigious American Book Awards for fiction. Alice Walker’s novel “The Color Purple” will be dramatized as a theatrical movie starring Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, and Oprah Winfrey. Naylor’s first novel, “The Women of Brewster Place,” will be made into a made-for-television movie and series starring Oprah Winfrey, Jackee’, and Paula Kelly.

9. In 1992,  Mutinous troops in Freetown, Sierra Leone, overthrow the government of president Joseph Momoh.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For this date April 27

1. Hubert Harrison, orator, educator, critic, and radical socialist political activist based in Harlem, New York. He was described by activist A. Philip Randolph as “the father of Harlem radicalism”.

Coretta Scott King

2. Coretta Scott King, author, activist, and civil rights leader. The widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King helped lead the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.  Mrs. King’s most prominent role may have been in the years after her husband’s 1968 assassination when she took on the leadership of the struggle for racial equality herself and became active in the Women’s Movement.

Cuba Gooding, Sr.

3. Cuba Gooding Sr., Rhythm and Blues Artist, lead singer of the soul group The Main Ingredient, most notable for its  hit song, “Everybody Plays the Fool

August Wilson

4. August Wilson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and playwright. His literary legacy is a ten play series, The Pittsburgh Cycle, for which he received two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. Each is set in a different decade, depicting the comic and tragic aspects of the African-American experience in the twentieth century.

Ann Peebles

5. Ann Peebles,  singer and songwriter, best known for her Memphis soul albums of the 1970s on the Hi Records label. Two of her better known songs are “I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down” and “I Can’t Stand the Rain“.


6. Herbie Murrell, Rhythm and Blues Artist (The Stylistics), The Stylistics were one of the best-known groups of the 1970s.   Composed of lead Russell Thompkins, Jr., Herbie Murrell, Airrion Love, James Smith, and James Dunn. All of their US hits were ballads, graced by the soaring falsetto of Russell Thompkins, Jr. and the lush yet graceful productions of Thom Bell, which helped make the Stylistics one of the most successful soul groups of the first half of the 1970s,  Stylistics in 1980. From left to right: Airrion Love, Herbie Murrell, Russell Thompkins, Jr., and Raymond Johnson.

Shahrazad Ali,  is an author, responsible for books such as The Blackman’s Guide to Understanding the BlackwomanAre You Still a Slave? and How Not to Eat Pork (Or Life without the Pig).

William Nelson Hallwas the first black person, first Nova Scotian, and third Canadian to receive the Victoria Cross. He received the medal for his actions in the Siege of Lucknow.

Events In African American History For April 27

1. In 1903,  Eighty-four Blacks reported lynched in this year.

2. In 1903,  Maggie Lena Walker Became the first woman to head a bank when she became President of the St Luke’s Penny Bank in Richmond, Va.

3. In 1903, U.S. Supreme Court upheld clauses in Alabama constitution which disfranchised Blacks.

4. In 1960,  Togo becomes independent.

5. In 1961,  Sierra Leone proclaimed independence.

6. In 1964, 46 Years ago Today, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merge to become the East African Nation of Tanzania.

7. In 1974,  “I’m Falling in Love With You,” by Little Anthony and the Imperials, enters the R&B chart,  it will peak at #34. It is the group’s last single to make the R&B Top Forty.

8. In 1994,  The first “Freedom Day” takes place in South Africa.

9. In 2007, Barbara Hillary became the first black woman to trekked to the North Pole.


Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For this date April 26

Ma Rainey

1. Ma Rainey (Gertrude Rainey), one of the earliest known American professional blues singers and one of the first generation of such singers to record.[2] She was billed as The Mother of the Blues. She did much to develop and popularize the form and was an important influence on younger blues women, such as Bessie Smith, and their careers.

William L. Dawson

2. William Levi Dawson, first African American to chair a regular House of Representatives committee. Became one of Chicago’s most influential politicians, serving as an elected representative and a political power broker in that city. In this way, he parallels the rising significance of African Americans in Democratic politics of the twentieth century. Three years after he graduated magna cum laude from Fisk University  (1912),  studied law at Northwestern University; once finished, entered politics.

Johnny Shines

3. Johnny Shines, blues musician, one of the last of the original Delta blues-men who had traveled and performed with Robert Johnson and whose style, in large part, remained untouched by more modern blues sounds. Over the years Shines was repeatedly asked to tell Johnson stories, play Johnson songs, and work out on guitar what only Johnson himself was capable of playing. Somewhat reluctantly, Johnny became one of the carriers of the Johnson legacy.

Maurice Williams

4. Maurice Williams,  had his first experience with music in the church, where his mother and sister both performed. By the time he was six, Williams was performing regularly there. With his childhood friend Earl Gainey, Williams formed the gospel group ‘The Junior Harmonizers‘, but as rock and roll and doo-wop became their primary interest, the Junior Harmonizers changed their name to ‘The Royal Charms‘.     The band changed its name to The Gladiolas in 1957 and The Excellos in 1958, before finally settling on “The Zodiacs” in 1959.   In the spring of 1959, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs performed at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. Around that time, the group split and reformed. The members were Williams, Gatson, Wiley Bennett, and Charles Thomas. Later, Little Willie Morrow and Albert Hill were added. One month later, in the early summer of 1959, the band recorded in a Quonset Hut on Shakespeare Road in Columbia. The recording engineer, Homer Fesperman, recorded several tracks that the band had hoped would fetch them a hit. One of the last tracks that they recorded that day was “Stay,” a song that Williams had written a couple of weeks before.

After taking the demo of “Stay” to Al Silver at Herald Records in New York City, the song was pressed and released in early 1960. “Stay” is the shortest recording ever to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States  (1:39, though the label read 1:50[citation needed]). Later versions of “Stay” by The Four Seasons (1964) and Jackson Browne(1978) also reached the Top 20, each selling over one million copies in the United States alone. The inclusion of “Stay” on the soundtrack to the film Dirty Dancing in 1987 led to the song selling more records than it had during its original release.

5. Curt Wilkerson  (Curtis Vernon Wilkerson), made his Major League debut on September 10, 1983 for the Texas Rangers. In 1984, his rookie year, he hit .248 with 1 home run and 26 RBI. Wilkerson played for the Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals over the course of his 11 year career.


6. T-Boz, Rapp (Tionne Tenese Watkins), Rapp Artist, Actress,  song-writer, and a member of the group TLC.

7 . Marianne Raigipcien Jean-Baptiste  actress and singer of Antiguan and St. Lucian heritage.

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