1. Benjamin Banneker, self-educated scientist, astronomer, inventor, writer, and antislavery publicist. He built a striking clock entirely from wood, published a Farmers’ Almanac for 10 years, completed the design and layout of Washington, D.C., and actively campaigned against slavery. He was one of the first African Americans to gain distinction in science.
2. Dorothy Dandridge, actress and popular singer, and was the first African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. She performed as a vocalist in venues such as the Nathan Featherston and the Apollo Theater.
After several minor bit parts in films, Dandridge landed her first noted film role in Tarzan’s Peril (starring Lex Barker), in 1951. Dandridge won her first starring role in 1953, playing a teacher in a low-budget film with a nearly all-black cast, Bright Road, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
She was nominated in 1954 for an Academy Award for Best Actress and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Carmen Jones, and in 1959 she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Porgy and Bess. In 1999, she was the subject of the HBO biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, starring Halle Berry as Dandridge. She has been recognized on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
3. Dion James, Major League Baseball Player, played as left and center fielder for an eleven-year career from 1983–1985, 1987–1990, 1992–1993, 1995-1996. James starred at C.K. McClatchy High School in Sacramento, California before being selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the first round (25th overall) in the 1980 Amateur Entry Draft. He played for the Brewers, Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees all of the American League and the Atlanta Braves of the National League. James was the Brewers’ Rookie of the Year in 1984
4. Sandra Denton, known as Pepa, Is a Rapp and hip hop artist, actress, and a member of the female rap trio Salt-N-Pepa.
5. Mark Durrell Andrews, known by his stage name Sisqó, is an R&B singer and actor. He is best known as the lead singer of R&B group Dru Hill, and also for “Thong Song”, a song from his first solo LP, Unleash the Dragon, that became an international hit.
1. In 1892, More Awful Lychings, One hundred and sixty one Blacks reported lynched.
2. In 1898, The Riot of 1898, in two days of racial violence, a mob of whites, led by some of Wilmington’s most respected and influential citizens, destroyed the state’s only daily African American newspaper. Coroner reports confirm nine blacks were killed; some estimate hundreds died. Scores of others were driven from their homes…
3. In 1932, Spingarn Medal awarded to Robert R. Moton, president of Tuskegee Institute, for his “thoughtful leadership in conservative opinion and action.”
4. In 1938, Crystal Bird Fauset becomes the 1st black woman elected to a state legislature in the U.S. acquiring this distinction by being named to the Pennsylvania House of Represenatives.
5. In 1960, Otis M. Smith elected auditor general of Michigan and became the first Black chosen in a statewide election since the Reconstruction period.
6. In 1966, Edward W. Brooke elected first Black US Senator in 85 years. (Since Reconstruction)
7. In 1966, John H. Johnson, publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines, awarded Spingarn Medal “for his productive imagination…in the perilous field of publishing” and “for his contributions to the enhancement of the Negro’s self-image through his publications.”
8. In 1966, John Perry Jr. & H. F. Hunger Received Patent for Biochem fuel cell.
1. Esther Rolle, Actress actress. She was perhaps best known for her portrayal of Florida Evans on the CBS television sitcom Maude and its spin-off series Good Times.
2. Minnie Julia Riperton, Singer-songwriter best known for her vocal range of more than five octaves and her 1975 single “Lovin’ You”. She was married to songwriter and music producer Richard Rudolph from 1968 until her death in 1979; they were the parents of music engineer Marc Rudolph and actress/comedienne Maya Rudolph.
3. Alfre Woodard, film, stage, and television actress. She has been nominated once for anAcademy Award and Grammy Awards, 17 times for Emmy Awards (winning four), and has also won a Golden Globe and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.
She is known for her role in films such as Cross Creek, Miss Firecracker, Grand Canyon, Passion Fish, Primal Fear, Star Trek: First Contact, Miss Evers’ Boys, K-PAX, Radio, Take the Lead and The Family That Preys.
1. Alexa Canady, the first Woman and first African American to become a Neurosurgeon in America. From Lansing Michigan, Alexa Irene Canady is the daughter of Elizabeth Hortense (Golden) Canady and Clinton Canady Jr. Her father was a graduate of the School of Dentistry of Meharry Medical College, practicing in Lansing. Her mother was a graduate of Fiasco University was active for years in civic affairs of Lansing. She also served as national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
1. Absalom Jones, was an abolitionist and clergyman. After founding a black congregation in 1794, in 1804 he was the first African-American ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church of the United States. He is listed on the Episcopal calendar of saints and blessed under the date of his decease, February 13, in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer as “Absalom Jones, Priest, 1818”.
2. Derrick Albert Bell, Jr., was the first tenured African-American professor of Law at Harvard University, and largely credited as the originator of Critical Race Theory. He was the former dean of the University of Oregon School of Law.
1. Margaret Taylor-Burroughs, Was a prominent artist and writer and a co-founder of the DuSable Museum of African American History. She also helped to establish the South Side Community Art Center, whose opening on May 1, 1941 was dedicated by the First Lady of the United States Eleanor Roosevelt . There at the age of 23 she served as the youngest member of its board of directors. Dr. Burroughs was a prolific writer, with her efforts directed toward the exploration of the Black experience and to children, especially to their appreciation of their cultural identity and to their introduction and growing awareness of art.
Dr. Burroughs is also credited as the founder of Chicago’s Lake Meadows Art Fair in the early 1950’s. At its inception, during the 1950’s, there were very limited venues and galleries for African American Artists to exhibit and sell their artwork, Dr. Burroughs, launched the Lake Meadows Art Fair which rapidly grew in popularity and The Lake Meadows Art Fair became one of the most anticipated exhibitions for artists, collectors and others throughout the greater Chicago area. After a brief hiatus beginning in the early 1980’s, the Art Fair was resurrected by Helen Y. West in 2005, and another Margaret Burroughs’ legacy lives on.
2. Gary Eugene Redus, a former professional baseball player who played in the Major Leagues primarily as an outfielder from 1982-1994. He was a career .252 batter with 90 home runs, 886 hits, 352 RBIs and 322 stolen bases over 1159 games.
1. In 1889, J. Standard received Patent for Oil stove
2. In 1929, The Stock Market collapses, ushering in the Great Depression and bringing about black unemployment rates ranging from 25 to 40 percent. The effects of the Great Depression would last until the start of World War II. The American war effort created a substantial number of war-industry jobs and a second mass migration of blacks from the South to the industrial North.
3. In 1969, Supreme Court ordered end to all school desegregation at once.
4. In 2020, Kevin Peterson Jr. was shot dead by Clark County sheriff’s deputies on Thursday in the parking lot at a US Bank branch in Hazel Dell. His mother broke down as his body lay at the murder scene for about 12 hrs.
1. In 1892, L. F. Brown received Patent for Bridle bit Patent No. 484,994.
2. In 1940, Benjamin O. Davis Sr became the first Black general in US Army.
3. In 1940, Black newspaper owner’s group, the NNPA (Negro Newspaper Publishers Association), is founded.The group later changed its name to the National Newspaper Publishers Association.
4. In 1958, An estimated 10,000 students led by Jackie Robinson, Harry Belafonte, and labor leader A. Phillip Randolph, participate in a youth march for integrated schools in Washington, D.C.
5. In 1976, A full pardon is granted to Clarence “Willie” Norris, the last known survivor of the nine “Scottsboro Boys.” The group of black men had been framed in a 1931 conviction for allegedly raping two white women.
6. In 1990, Evander Holyfield knocks out James “Buster” Douglas in the third round to become the undisputed world heavyweight champion.
7. In 1992, Cito Gaston, as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, became the first Black Manager to lead a Major League Baseball team to win a world series title, defeating the Atlanta Braves.
8. in 1994 Susan Smith (a white woman) set off a nationwide man hunt when she claimed that a Black Man had car jacked her and kidnapped her two young children. It was later revealed that she had murdered her two boys by buckling them in her car and driving them into a lake.
9. In 1997, The Million Woman March in Philadelphia at the Museum Of Art included Winnie Mandela and Maxine Waters as Keynote Speakers.
10. In 2020 Archbishop Wilton Gregory elevated to cardinal, making him the first African American appointed to the red-hat conclave.
1. Cora Calhoun (Lovie) Austin, Chicago bandleader, session musician, composer, and arranger during the 1920s classic blues era. She and Lil Hardin Armstrong are often ranked as two of the best female jazz blues piano players of the period.
2. Billy Ward, The second of three sons of Charles Williams and Cora Bates Williams, and was a child musical prodigy, winning an award for a piano composition at the age of 14. Following military service with the U.S. Army he studied music in Chicago, and at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. While working as a vocal coach and part-time arranger on Broadway, he met talent agent Rose Marks, who became his business and songwriting partner. Billy Ward and His Dominoes vocal group, one of the best-selling R&B groups of the 1950s began the careers of both Clyde McPhatter and Jackie Wilson.
3. Brook Benton, singer and songwriter who was popular with rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and pop music audiences during the late 1950s and early 1960s, when he scored hits such as “It’s Just A Matter Of Time” and “Endlessly”, many of which he co-wrote.
He made a comeback in 1970 with the ballad “Rainy Night in Georgia.” Benton scored over 50 Billboard chart hits as an artist, and also wrote hits for other performers.
4. Freda Charcilia Payne, singer and actress best known for her million selling, 1970hit single, “Band of Gold”. She was also an actress in musicals and film, as well as the host of a TV talk show. Freda is the older sister of former Supremes member, Scherrie Payne. Starred in Black Horror movie “Rag Doll”
5. Nile Gregory Rodgers, musician, composer, arranger, and guitarist. Rodgers began his career as a session guitarist in New York, touring with the Sesame Street band in his teens, and then working in the house band at Harlem’s world famous Apollo Theater, playing behind Screaming Jay Hawkins, Maxine Brown, Aretha Franklin, Ben E. King,Betty Wright, Earl Lewis and the Channels, Parliament Funkadelic, and many other legendary R&B artists.
Nile met bassist Bernard Edwards in 1970. Together they formed The Big Apple Band that backed R&B act New York City (“I’m Doing Fine Now”). The band’s one hit allowed them to tour extensively, even opening for The Jackson 5 on the American leg of their first world tour in 1973. The band dissolved after their second album failed to yield a hit, but Nile and Bernard joined forces with drummer Tony Thompson, and worked and recorded as a Funk Rock band called The Boys, which played numerous gigs up and down the East Coast. Despite major label interest in their demos, they could not get a record deal when the record companies discovered they were black; the excuse was that black rock artists would be too hard to promote. The band continued playing mostly local bars.
As The Big Apple Band, Rodgers and Edwards worked with Ashford & Simpson, Luther Vandross and many others. Since another New York artist, Walter Murphy, had a band also called The Big Apple Band, Rodgers and Edwards were forced to change their band’s name to avoid confusion. Thus, in 1977 the band was renamed as Chic. Between gigs they recorded their first album with then-boss Luther Vandross, who provided background vocals on the group’s early recordings. The band scored numerous top ten hits and helped propel disco to new levels of popularity. Chic’s chart-topping songs “Le Freak”, “I Want Your Love”, “Everybody Dance”, “Dance, Dance, Dance”, “My Forbidden Lover”, and “Good Times” have become club/pop/R&B standards. “Le Freak” is Atlantic Records’ only triple platinum selling single and “Good Times” shot to the #1 spot.
The success of Chic’s first singles led Atlantic to offer Rodgers and Edwards the opportunity to produce any act on its roster. They chose Sister Sledge, whose 1978 album, We Are Family, peaked at #3 and remained on the charts well into 1979. The first two singles, “He’s the Greatest Dancer” and the title cut “We Are Family” both reached #1 on the R&B chart, and #6 and #2, respectively on the Pop chart. “He’s the Greatest Dancer” was sampled in 1998 to create Will Smith’s “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”.
6. Kevin Hooks, actor, and a television and film director; he is notable from his roles in Aaron Loves Angela & Sounder, but may be best-known as Morris Thorpe from TV’s The White Shadow.
In 1986, he starred in the short-lived ABC sitcom He’s the Mayor. He directed Wesley Snipes in Passenger 57 and also Laurence Fishburneand Stephen Baldwin in Fled. Hooks worked as a director and producer on the series Prison Break. He also directed two episodes from the first season of Lost, “White Rabbit” and “Homecoming”.
In 2003, Hooks revisited Sounder. He directed ABC’s Wonderful World of Disney’s TV remake of the film, with Paul Winfield, his co-star from the original, playing a different role.
Hooks was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Yvonne, a state employee, and Robert Hooks, a director and actor who starred in many films in the 1970s. Kevin’s nickname amongst his friends is “King Royal”.
7. Sanaa McCoy Lathan, Actress and voice actress. She has starred in numerous movies, including the box-office hits Love & Basketball, Alien vs. Predator, Something New, and The Family That Preys. Lathan was nominated for aTony Award for her performance on Broadway in A Raisin in the Sun. In 2010 she starred in the all-black performance of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Novello Theatre in London.
8. María de la Soledad Teresa O’Brien, television personality. She is currently the host of the “In America” documentary unit on CNN, and is best known for anchoring the CNN marquee morning newscast American Morning from July 2003 to April 2007, with Miles O’Brien. Their common surname is coincidental.