I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.3 John 1:4

African-American Heritage

Suggested Reading List

Edwin Blum and Paul Harvey:   “The Color of Christ:  The Son of God sand Saga of Race in America”

James Baldwin: “Collected Essays: Note of the Native Son /Nobody Knows My Name/The Fire Next Time/ No Name in the Street/ The Devil Finds Work”

Colson Whitehead: “The Underground Railroad”

Jesmym Ward: “The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race”

Ralph Ellison: “Invisible Race”

Michelle Alexander: “The New Jim Crow”

Ta-Nehisi Coates: “Between the World and Me”

Bryan Stevenson: “Just Mercy”

Carter G. Woodson: “The Mis-Education of the Negro”

W.E.B. Dubois: “The Souls of Black Folks”

Ta-Nejisa Coates: “The Beautiful Struggle”

Laila Ibrahim: “Yellow Moore”

Cynthia Bond: “Ruby”

Henry Hampton and Steve Fayeer: “Voices of Freedom” (Companion to the acclaimed TV series “Eye on the Prize”)

James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Hilton: “Slavery and the Making of America”

November 30, 1897

J.A. Sweeting patents cigarette-rolling device.

November 29, 1908

Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall born.

November 28, 1960

Novelist Richard Wright dies.

November 27, 1990

Charles Johnson awarded National Book Award for fiction for Middle Passage.

November 26, 1970

Charles Gordone becomes the first Black playwright to receive the Pulitzer Prize (for No Place to Be Somebody).

November 25, 1975

Suriname gains independence from the Netherlands.

November 24, 1868

Pianist, Scott Joplin, the "Father of Ragtime", born.

November 23, 1897

A.J. Beard patents the "Jenny Coupler", still in use today to connect railroad cars. John L. Love patents pencil sharpener.

November 22, 1930

Elijah Muhammed establishes the Nation of Islam.

November 21, 1893

Granville T. Woods patents electric railway conduit.

November 20, 1865

Howard Seminary (later Howard University) founded in Washington, D.C.

November 19, 1953

Roy Campanella named Most Valuable Player in National League Baseball for the second time.

November 18, 1787

Abolitionist and women's right activist Sojourner Truth born.

November 17, 1980

WHHM, the first African American-operated radio station, goes on the air at Howard University.

November 16, 1981

Pam Johnson named publisher of the Ithaca (NY) Journal, becoming the first African American woman to head a daily newspaper.

November 15, 1881

Payton Johnson patents swinging chair.

November 14, 1915

Booker T. Washington, educator and writer, died.

November 13, 1894

Albert C. Richardson patents casket-lowering device.

November 12, 1941

Madame Lillian Evanti founds the National Negro Opera Company.

November 11, 1989

Civil Rights Memorial is dedicated in Montgomery, Ala.

November 10, 1983

Wilson Goode elected, becoming Philadelphia's first African American mayor.

November 9, 1731

Mathematician, urban planner and inventor Benjamin Banneker born.

November 8, 1938

Crystal Bird Faucet is elected state representative in Pennsylvania, becoming the first Black woman to serve in a state legislature.

November 7, 1989

L. Douglas Wilder is elected governor of Virginia,, becoming the nation's first Black governor since the Reconstruction.

November 6, 1901

James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson compose "Lift Every Voice and Sing", widely regarded as the Black national anthem.

November 5, 1968

Shirley Chisolm of Brooklyn, N.Y., becomes the first African American woman elected to Congress.

November 4, 1879

Thomas Elkins patents refrigeration apparatus

November 3, 1981

Thirman L. Milner elected mayor of Hartford, Connecticut, becoming first Black mayor in New England

November 2, 1954

Charles C. Diggs elected Michigan's first African American congressman.

November 1, 1991

Judge Clarence Thomas is formally seated at the 106th associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

October 31, 1950

Earl Francis Lloyd “Big Cat” played for the Washington Capitols against the Rochester Royals becoming the first African American to play in the National Basketball League. The speedy defensive-minded Lloyd, at 6’7” led West Virginia State University to two CIAA Conference and Tournament Championships in 1948 and 1949.

October 30, 1930

Jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown a.k.a. “Brownie” was born in Wilmington, Delaware. He is widely considered as one of the greatest trumpet players of all time. He died at the age of 25 in a car accident, leaving behind only four years worth of recordings.

October 29, 1969

U.S. Supreme Court said school system must end segregation “at once” and “operate now and hereafter only unitary schools”

October 28, 1948

Actress Telma Louise Hopkins born in Louisville, Kentucky. She is most well known for her roles on television shows such as “Family Matters” and “Half and Half”. She was also a member of the singing group Tony Orlando and Dawn which had several number one songs

October 27, 1979

St. Vincent and the Grenadines gains independence from the United Kingdom.

October 26, 1911

Grammy Award winning gospel singer, civil rights activist, Mahalia Jackson born in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is most well known for her rendition of “Amazing Grace”, “Go Tell It On The Mountain” and “Nobody Knows.” Possessing a powerful contralto voice she was referred to as “The Queen of Gospel”

October 25, 1997

After a brief civil war which has driven President Pascal Lissouba out of Brazzaville, Denis Sassou-Nguesso proclaims himself the President of the Republic of the Congo.

October 24, 1964

Zambia gains independence from the United Kingdom.

October 23, 1940

R&B singer Barbara Anne Hawkins of the group the Dixie Cups born in New Orleans, Louisiana. The trio consisting of Barbara, her sister Rosa Lee Hawkins and their cousin Joan Johnson were responsible for a string of hits including “Chapel of Love”, “People Say”, and “Iko Iko.”

October 22, 1953

Dr. Clarence S. Green becomes the first African American certified in neurological surgery. He received his M.D. from the Howard University College of Medicine with distinction in 1936 and after seven years of general surgery residency and four years as a professor of surgery at Howard University, he was granted the opportunity by the legendary Wilder G. Penfield to train in neurosurgery at the world-renowned Montreal Neurological Institute from 1947-1949.

October 21, 1917

John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie born in Cheraw, South Carolina. Together with Charles Parker, he was a major figure in the development of Bebop and modern jazz. In addition to following in these epochal moments in bebop, he was instrumental in founding Afro-Cuban jazz. Among Gillespie’s most well known compositions are “A Night in Tunisia”, “Groovin High” and “ Salt Peanuts.”

October 20, 1904

Enolia Pettigen McMillan, the first female president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) born in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. She played a key role in persuading the NAACP to move the national headquarters from New York to Maryland.

October 19, 1960

Harriet Ida Pikens and Francis Wills are sworn in as the first African American females in the Navy. They graduated from the Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School (Women’s Reserve) at Northampton, Massachusetts.

October 18, 1961

Jazz trumpeter, composer and bandleader Wynton Marsalis is born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He has created and performed an expansive range of music from quartets to big bands, chamber music ensembles to symphony orchestras, tap-dance and ballet. He is among the most prominent jazz musicians of the modern era and is also a well-known instrumentalist in classical music. Wynton has produced over 80 records which have sold over seven million copies worldwide including three Gold Records.

October 17, 1956

Dr. Mae Carol Jemison, American engineer, physician and NASA astronaut is born in Decatur, Alabama. On June 4, 1987, she became the first African American woman to be admitted into the astronaut training program. Dr. Jemison became the first African American woman in space aboard the Endeavour Space Shuttle on September 12, 1992.

October 16, 1901

President Roosevelt invites Booker T. Washington to dine with him at the White House as his guest making the esteemed educator the first African American to dine at the White House as the negro guest of the President.

October 15, 1949

William Henry Hastie, Jr. is nominated to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals and becomes the first African American judge to sit on the court. He was also one of the first African American members of the Franklin Roosevelt Administration and appointed the President’s race relations advisor.

October 14, 1834

Henry Blair of Greenosa, Maryland successfully patents his corn-planting machine. The planter resembled a wheelbarrow, with a compartment to hold the seed and rakes dragging behind to cover them. The patent is one of the first filed by a black person in America.

October 13, 1898

Edith Spurlock Sampson born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She was the First African American delegate to the United Kingdom

October 12, 1932

Comedian, activist, Dick Gregory born Richard “Dick” Claxton Gregory in St. Louis, Missouri. He used his performance skills to convey to both white and black audiences his political messages on civil rights. He became a figure in the health food industry, becoming better known as a nutrition guru during the 1980’s advocating for a raw fruit and vegetable diet.

October 11, 1988

The Murant Bay Rebellion began when Paul Boyle led more than 200 black men and women into the town of Morant Bay, Jamaica in protest of an arrest. The group was fired on at the court house and the blacks then rioted killing 18 people and seizing the town. Troops were sent after Boyle and his men and in the end over 800 blacks were killed by troops and executed. The rebellion became a major turning point in Jamaican history.

October 10, 1917

Jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. He is widely considered one of the most important men of Jazz, if not only Bebop and was one of only 3 jazz musicians to be featured on the cover of Time. He is the second-most recorded jazz composer of all time and composed over 70 songs. Many of his compositions are considered as jazz standards, including “Round Midnight” and “Blue Monk”. Monk was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993, after his death, and in 2006 he was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation.

October 9, 1962

Uganda declared independence from the United Kingdom.

October 8, 2004

Kenyan ecologist Dr. Wangari Muta Maathai becomes the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace

October 7, 1897

The Honorable Elijah Mohammed born Elijah Poole in Sandersville, Georgia. One of thirteen children, his schooling only lasted until he was nine; then he had to work in the fields and on the railroad. He left home at age sixteen to travel and work at odd jobs. Mohammed is noted for his leading Black Muslims and the Nation of Islam from 1934 until his death in 1975. He was a mentor of Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan and Muhammad Ali and was a major promoter of independent, black-operated businesses, institutions and religion.

October 6, 1923

Jack Trice, the first African American athlete at Iowa State is assaulted by players from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis in an apparently racially motivated attack. The second play of the game, Trice’s collarbone was broken. Trice insisted he was alright and returned to the game. In the third quarter, Trice was trampled by three Minnesota players. Although, he claimed to be fine, Trice was removed from the game and sent to a Minneapolis hospital. The doctors declared him fit for travel and he returned by train to Ames with his teammates. On October 8, 1923, Trice died from hemorrhaged lungs and internal bleeding as a result of the injuries sustained during the game.

October 5, 1972

Seven-time NBA All-Star great athlete Grant Henry Hill born in Dallas, Texas. He is also an Olympic gold medalist, helping the USA national team to win in the 1996 Atlanta games. Now retired from basketball, he continues to excel off the court as a sports broadcaster and the co-host of NBA Inside Stuff. He is also an analyst for TNT, NBA TV and works in real estate and in the community.

October 4, 1966

Kingdom of Lesotho declares independence from Britain

October 3, 1954

Freedom Fighter Nat Turner was born. He was an enslaved African American who led a rebellion of slaves and free blacks in Southampton County, Virginia on August 21, 1831.Led by Nat Turner, rebel slaves killed from 55 to 65 people, the largest and deadliest slave uprising in U.S. history. This rebellion struck fear throughout the slaveholding south, which sought to squash his legacy

October 2, 1800

Freedom Fighter Nat Turner was born. He was an enslaved African American who led a rebellion of slaves and free blacks in Southampton County, Virginia on August 21, 1831.Led by Nat Turner, rebel slaves killed from 55 to 65 people, the largest and deadliest slave uprising in U.S. history. This rebellion struck fear throughout the slaveholding south, which sought to squash his legacy

October 1, 1952

Joseph “Joe” Black was an American right-handed pitcher in Negro League and Major League Baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Cincinnati Red legs and the Washington Senators. He was the first black pitcher to win a World Series Game in 1952

September 30, 1962

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black orders James Meredith admitted to Ole Miss.; he enrolls and a white riot ensues.

September 29, 1933

Emperor Jones, starring Paul Robeson as Brutus Jones is released by United Artists. It is Robeson's first starring movie role and the first major Hollywood production starring an African American with whites in supporting roles

September 28, 1868

White Mob in Opelousas, Louisiana killed nearly 300 Blacks Over The Right To Vote.The event is also referred to as The Opelousas Riot by some historians. There is debate as to how many people were killed. While most Reconstruction-era violence was sparked by conflicts between black Republicans and white Democrats, the initial catalyst for the Massacre was the attempt by some Opelousas blacks to join a Democratic political group in the neighboring town of Washington.

September 26, 1962

A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., becomes the first African American member of the Federal Trade Commission. He was also appointed a federal district judge and U.S. Circuit Judge of the Third Circuit.

September 25, 1961

Voter registration activist and NAACP member Herbert Lee is shot and killed by a white state legislator in McComb, Mississippi.

September 20, 1962

James Meredith is barred from becoming the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi.

September 20, 1829

The first National Negro Convention met in Philadelphia

September 18, 1895

Booker T. Washington delivered the "Atlanta Compromise" speech at the Cotton States International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia.

September 17, 1883

Vanessa L. Williams was crowned Miss America 1984 on September 17, 1983, becoming the first African American to win the title.

September 15, 1963

On this date, a stick of dynamite was thrown into the basement of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The blast killed four African – American girls.

September 13, 1886

Alain Leroy Locke. Locke was the first black Rhodes Scholar in 1907, first black Harvard graduate in philosophy in 1918, was born.

September 12, 1973

A commemorative stamp is issued by the U.S. Postal Service to honor Henry Ossawa Tanner, the first African American artist elected to the National Academy of Design

September 12, 1992

Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to go into space.

September 8, 1957

Althea Gibson, becomes the first Black athlete to win a US national tennis championship

September 7, 1859

John Merrick was born, he would become the co-organizer or North Carolina Mutual life Insurance Company Durham NC, it is the oldest & largest Life Insurance Company owned & Operated by African – American

September 6, 1988

Lee Roy Young became the first African – American Texas Ranger in the 165 year history of the police force.

September 5, 1859

Harriet E. Adams Wilson self-published Our Nig. or Sketches From the Life of a Free Black. This was the first novel written by an African – American female to be published in the United States.

September 4, 1781

46 settlers from Mexico founded Los Angeles, California. 26 of these pioneers were recorded as being mulattos – of mixed African, Spanish, & Native American descent in varying amounts.

September 3, 1922

Bessie Coleman made her 1st flight in an American airplane at an exhibition honoring the all African – American 15th Infantry Regiment of the New York National Guard. She was the 1st African – American as well as the 1st American woman, to get an international pilot’s license

September 1, 1904

George Coleman Poage became the first African American athlete to win a medal in the Olympic Games, winning the two bronze medals (200-meter and 400-meter hurdles) at the games in St. Louis.

August 31, 1962

Trinidad & Tobago gained joint independence from England.

August 30, 1983

Lt. Col. Guion S. Bluford Jr. was the first African American Astronaut aboard the space shuttle Challenger which blasted off in the dark from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

August 29, 1958

Michael Jackson was born. This African American singer, songwriter, dancer, and philanthropist was dubbed the "King of Pop". He was one of the most popular entertainers in the world, and was the best-selling music artist at the time of his death.

August 28, 1963

More than 250,000 persons participated in March on Washington demonstration, the largest single demonstration in US History at the time.

August 27, 1970

Actress Gail Fisher won an Emmy for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Drama she was the first African American Woman to win an Emmy.

August 26, 2843

Norbert Rillieux registered Patent No. 3327 for Vacuum-Pan Evaporator. The Rillieux Evaporator revolutionized the sugar industry worldwide.

August 25, 1746

Lucy Terry Prince is credited with writing the first poem by an African American. Her work "Bars Fight" is a ballad about an attack upon two white families by Native Americans.

August 21, 1831

Nat Turner was an enslaved African American who led a rebellion of slaves and free blacks in Southampton County, Virginia. The rebels went from plantation to plantation, gathering horses and guns, freeing other slaves along the way, and recruiting other blacks who wanted to join their revolt.

August 20, 1856

Wilberforce University was founded as the first private African American University. Named after 18th century Abolitionist William Wilberforce.

August 19, 1964

Ralph Bunche, the first African American to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950, was name Undersecretary of the United Nations in 1964 on this date.

August 18, 1963

James Meredith, was the first African American to graduate from the University of Mississippi, with a degree in Political Science. He was also the first African American to enroll in the school.

August 17, 1887

Marcus Garvey, Black Nationalist, Pan Africanist, and founder of the United Negro Improvement Association was born in Saint Ann’s Bay Jamaica

August 16, 1963

Georg Olden’s Emancipation stamp went on sale on this date in 1963. Olden an internationally renowned graphic artist, became the first African American person to design a U.S. postage stamp

August 15, 1938

Maxine Waters the second African American Congresswoman from California was born, in St. Louis, MO.

August 14, 1908

On the evening of August 14,1908, a race war broke out in the Illinois capital of Springfield. Angry over reports that a black man had sexually assaulted a white woman, a white mob wanted to take a recently arrested suspect from the city jail and kill him. They also wanted Joe James, an out-of-town black who was accused of killing a white railroad engineer, Clergy Ballard, a month earlierFor all this, however, one good thing emerged from the Springfield race riot. In 1909, northern white and black reformers, outraged by the violence in Lincoln's hometown, called a small meeting. Out of this meeting grew the first strong national organization to fight for African-American rights: the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which has fought many long years to end anti-black discrimination and violence.

August 13, 1911

James Benton Parsons, the first African American to serve as a United States federal judge in US District Court, being appointed to United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. (1961), was born on August 13, 1911.

August 12, 1922

The home of Frederick Douglass, located in Washington DC home, s declared a national shrine, 1922.

August 11, 1965

Watts Riots of 1965, series of violent confrontations between Los Angeles police and residents of Watts and other predominantly African American neighbourhoods of South-Central Los Angeles that began August 11, 1965, and lasted for six days. The immediate cause of the disturbances was the arrest of an African American man, Marquette Frye, by a white California Highway Patrol officer on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. The riots resulted in the deaths of 34 people, while more than 1,000 were injured and more than $40 million worth of property was destroyed. Many of the most vivid images of the riots depict the massive fires set by the rioters. Hundreds of buildings and whole city blocks were burned to the ground. Firefighters were unable to work, because police could not protect them from the rioters.

August 10, 1981

Operation Push ended a boycott against Coca-Cola, which led the beverage giant to donate over $34 million to Black-owned businesses and hire more Black workers. Push launched the “National Withdrawal of Enthusiasm” campaign against Coca-Cola based on the lack of diversity in its corporate and distribution divisions. Jackson noted that the company had no Black wholesalers, no black bottlers, and no Black people on its board of directors.

August 9, 1987

Beatrice International Holdings in 1987, was purchased through junk bond financing for $985 million by Reginald Lewis, a corporate attorney, creating TLC Beatrice International. TLC Beatrice International became the largest business in America run by an African American and the first company to reach a billion dollars in sales, with a black man at its head. TLC Beatrice sold the Canadian operations; Beatrice Foods Canada, Ltd., in 1990 to Onyx and then Beatrice Foods, Inc. later ended up in the hands of Parmalat in 1997.

August 8, 1865

African-American inventor, William C. Carter, patented an umbrella stand (U.S. patent#323,397).

August 7, 1904

Ralph Bunche, born in 1904, was the first lack man to be awarded the Peace Prize. He received it for having arranged a cease-fire between Israelis and Arabs during the war which followed the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

August 6, 1965

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Voting Rights Bill which authorized the suspension of literacy tests and the sending of federal examiners in the South.

August 5, 1864

John Lawson, while serving on a six-man gun crew aboard Hartford during the Battle of Mobile Bay, famous for Admiral Farragut's orders "Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead", remained at his station and continued to see to his duties after a shell had wounded him in the leg and killed or wounded the rest of his crew. John Lawson was one of twelve men awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism that day.

August 4, 1964

The remains of three civil rights workers whose disappearance on June 21 garnered national attention are found buried in an earthen dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi. Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, both white New Yorkers, had traveled to heavily segregated Mississippi in 1964 to help organize civil rights efforts on behalf of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The third man, James Chaney, was a local African American man who had joined CORE in 1963. The disappearance of the three young men led to a massive FBI investigation that was code-named MIBURN, for “Mississippi Burning.”

August 3, 1970

As 3,000 black people met in Atlanta, Georgia, on Labor Day weekend in 1970 to found the Congress of African People, both black self-determination and Pan-Africanism were central themes. While the Atlanta Pan-African summit was aimed at black people in the African diaspora, the gathering also embraced other oppressed peoples in the spirit of the Bandung Conference.

August 2, 1982

Jackie Robinson is honored by the U.S. Postal Service with a commemorative stamp, the fifth in its Black Heritage USA series. There were three (3) stamps issued by the US Postal Service to commemorate baseball giant and civil rights activist, Jackie Robinson.

August 1, 1943

William Johnson depicted the riot in his c. 1943–1944 painting Moon Over Harlem On August 1 and 2 of 1943, a race riot took place in Harlem, New York City, after a white police officer, James Collins, shot and wounded Robert Bandy, an African American soldier who inquired about a woman's arrest for disorderly conduct and sought to have her released.