1. In 1766, Olaudah Equiano, writer of one of the earliest accounts of traveling on the Middle Passage, buys his freedom from a Quaker merchant in Philadephia
2. In 1905, The Niagara Movement a black civil rights organization founded by W. E. B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter. It was named for the “mighty current” of change the group wanted to effect and Niagara Falls, which was near where the first meeting took place in July 1905. The Niagara Movement was a call for opposition to racial segregation and disenfranchisement as well as policies of accommodation and conciliation promoted by African American leaders such as Booker T. Washington.
3. In 1958, Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine, youths who desegregated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, receive the Spingarn Medal for their “heroism and pioneering roles in upholding the basic ideals of American democracy in the face of continuing harassment and constant threats of bodily injury.”
4. In 1960, Ivory Coast, Dahomey, Upper Volta & Niger declare independence from their European colonial rulers.
5. In 1977, The Medal of Freedom is awarded posthumously to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a White House ceremony.
6. In 1987, Bo Jackson signs a $7.4 million contract to play football for the Los Angeles Raiders for five years. Jackson becomes a two-sport player as he continues to play baseball with the Kansas City Royals.
7. In 1992, Undeclared presidential hopeful Ross Perot, addressing the NAACP convention in Nashville, Tennessee, startles and offends his listeners by referring to the predominantly African American audience as “you people.”
8. In 2000, The Rev. Vashti Murphy McKenzie is elected the first woman bishop of the AME Church.