1. July 1: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Carl Lewis
1899: The father of Black Gospel Music, Thomas A. Dorsey, was born. He passed away in 1993. He was 93 years old.
1911: Leona P. Thurman was born. She was the 1st black female attorney to practice law in Kansas City. She passed away in 1985.
1915: Grammy award winning blues musician Willie Dixon was born. He passed away in 1992 at age 76.
1924: Soloist Roland Hayes was named soloist with Boston Symphony Orchestra on this day. He was born in a Georgia cabin in 1887. He was the recipient of the Spingarn Medal for “so finely” interpreting the beauty of the Negro folk song.
1928: R&B, Rock&Roll musician, singer, songwriter and producer Bobby Day was born. He passed away in 1990 at age 60.
1947: Comedian & actress Shirley Hemphill was born. She died in 1999 at the age of 52 of renal failure.
1954: The Ink Spots began a stint at the Trocadero on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip.
1957: A Philadelphia radio station with only 250 watts of power began repeat plays of the Tune Weavers’ new release, “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby.” By October it was #1.
1960: The Jesters, Ben E. King, Ruth Brown, Jimmy Jones, and the Olympics performed on one of disc jockey Jocko Henderson’s Jocko’s Rocketship Revue at New York’s Apollo Theater.
1961: Olympic track and field star and the winner of many gold medals, Carl Lewis was born. He turns 53 today.
1962: Actor Andre Braugher was born. He turns 53 today.
1970: Actor Henry Simmons was born. He turns 44 today.
1971: James Brown and his entire catalog of two decades worth of recordings were signed to Polydor Records.
1971: Missy Elliott was born. She is a rapper, singer-songwriter, record producer, dancer and actress. She turns 44 today.
1972: The Trammps entered the R&B hit list with the scintillating disco cover of the Coasters’ “Zing Went the Strings of My heart,” reaching #17. The group from Philadelphia formerly recorded under the name of the Volcanoes.
1976: Kenneth Gibson, mayor of Newark, became the first Black president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
1976:Happy Birthday to rapper Plies who turns 38 today.
1978: Martha & the Vandellas reunited for the first time in ten years for a benefit concert for actor Will Geer in Santa Cruz, CA.
1983:Happy Birthday to Tanya Chisholm who turns 31 today.
1991: Clarence Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court by President George Bush.
1992: Vanessa Williams and Dinah Washington’s goddaughter, Patti Austin, performed at a fund-raiser for the Hollywood women’s political Committee. Austin, a veteran performer since her teens, had over the years toured and performed on TV with such notables as Sammy Davis, Jr., Connie Stevens, Quincy Jones, Roberta Flack, Harry Belafonte, and Bobby Darin.
1998: The Dixie Hummingbirds, Stevie Wonder, and Paul Simon appeared on TV’s Late Show with David Letterman.
1998:Happy Birthday to actress Chloe Bailey who turns 16 today.
2005: Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter & record producer Luther Vandross passed away on this day. He was 54 years old.
2. July 2: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Medgar Evers
1822: Denmark Vesey was executed on this day in Charleston, SC. He was an African-Caribbean who was most famous for planning a slave rebellion in the United States in 1822. Although it was not his home, the Denmark Vesey House at Charleston was named a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
1908: Thurgood Marshall was born. He was the first African American Supreme Court Justice. He passed away in 1993 at age 84.
1925: Civil Rights activist from Mississippi Medgar Evers was born. He was 37 years old when he was fatally shot in the driveway of his home in 1963.
1928: Actor of film, television and Broadway Brock Peters was born. He passed away in 2005 at age 78.
1935: Award winning Playwright Ed Bullins was born. He was also the Minister of Culture for the Black Panthers. He turns 78 today.
1948: Singer, songwriter & record producer John Whitehead was born. He was 1/2 the R&B duo McFadden & Whitehead. He passed away in 2004, age 55.
1954: Lillian Leach, one of the premier R&B lead singers of the ’50s, and her group, the Mellows, signed to Jay Dee Records.
1962: Jimi Hendrix, now a member of Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers, performed at Dante’s Inferno Club in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was previously playing with Bob Fisher & the Barnevilles, who toured America backing acts like the Impressions and the Marvelettes.
1964: President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act into law.
1966: Dionne Warwick had her first charter after a drought of three and a half years when “Trains, Boats and Planes” cruised onto the Pop Charts.
1970:Happy Birthday to British TV personality & MC Monie Love who turns 44 today.
1973: R&B singer, producer and arranger Jimmy Radcliffe passed away.
1974: The man who brought bass singing into prominence in the ’40s and ’50s, Jimmy Ricks of the Ravens passed away.
1982: DeFord Bailey, the first star of the Grand Ole Opry, passed away. Known as “the harmonica wizard,” Bailey was a fixture at Nashville’s WSM Barn dance radio show in 1927 and its most popular performer.
1986: Prince’s second film, Under the Cherry Moon, debuted nationwide.
1988: Chubby Checker & the Fat Boys charted R&B with “the Twist . d been.
1988: “Dirty Diana” by Michael Jackson reached #1, becoming his fifth chart-topper in a row and the first time an artist had five #1s from the same album (Bad).
2002: Jazz Bassist Ray Brown passed away.
3. July 3: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Jackie Robinson
1904: Dr. Charles Drew was born. He discovered and patented a way to preserve blood in the form of plasma so it could be stored for long periods of time.
1920: Wade H. McCree Jr. was born. He was the first African American appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the second African-American Solicitor General in the history of the United States. He passed way in 1987, aged 67.
1936: John Hope, president of Atlanta University was honored in NYC by the NAACP for his achievements as an educational and civil Rights leader on this day.
1940: R&B soul singer Fontella Bass was born. She passed away in 2012 at age 72.
1948: Sarah Vaughn reached the Top 100 with “Nature Boy” on her way to #9 pop. It was the first of thirty-three hits through 1966 for the jazz vocalist known as “the Divine One.”
1949: Harold Robinson, the first black scholarship athlete in what would become the Big 12 Conference was born. He passed away in 2006.
1949: Johnnie Wilder was born. He was the co-founder and lead vocalist for the group Heatwave. He passed away in 2006 at age 57.
1953: Harry Belafonte, Janet Leigh & Tony Curtis graced the cover of Ebony Magazine. It was the first time a black person & two whites were ever featured together on a U.S. magazine cover.
1954: “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” by Joe Turner & His Blues Kings was the number one song on this day.
1956: Montel Williams was born. He is a television personality, radio & talk show host and actor. He turns 58 today.
1962: Jackie Robinson became the first African American to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
1963: LaVern Baker performed at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas. It was her first Vegas booking after fifteen years in show business and eighteen pop chart singles.
1965: Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” peaked at #21 pop, #2 R&B, becoming his first big hit. Redding wrote the song with Jerry Butler in a Buffalo, NY, hotel room.
1967: The Jimi Hendrix Experience performed at New York’s the Scene with Tiny Tim. Apparently the booking agent had never seen either act; if he had, he would have been out of his mind to pair them on the same bill.
1969: The Newport Jazz Festival opened its doors to rock and R&B artists for the first time. Taking part in the performance festivities were James Brown, Sly & the Family Stone, and others.
1970: Happy Birthday to Tony Award winning singer and actress Audra McDonald who turns 44 today.
1983: Olympic Gold medalist Calvin Smith became the fastest man alive on this day by beating the previous record set by Jim Hines.
1994: Zelma Watson George passed away at age 91. She was a well known philanthropist who was famous for being an alternate in the United Nations General Assembly and, as a headliner in Gian-Carlo Menotti’s opera The Medium, the first African American to play a role that was typically played by a white actress.
1997: Grammy Award winning songwriter & blues guitarist Johnny ‘Clyde’ Copeland passed away at age 60.
2005: Singer and member of the Orlons, Audrey Brickley, died of acute respiratory distress syndrome on this day.
4. July 4: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Edmonia Lewis
1844: Sculptor Edmonia Lewis was born. She studied in the states but worked most of her career in Rome and gained fame and recognition as a sculptor in the international fine arts world. In 2002, the scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed her on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans. She passed away at age 63.
1876: The famous African painter EM Bannister, was awarded the gold medal of the painting “UNDER THE OAKS” at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
1910: First Black heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson successfully defended his heavyweight championship by knocking out Jim “The Great White Hope” Jeffries, who had come out of retirement “to win back the title for the White race”
1938: Happy Birthday to singer, songwriter & musician Bill Withers who turns 76 today.
1960: The Voicemasters jumped onto the R&B hit list with “Everything About You,” reaching #18. The group consisted of David Ruffin (later of the Temptations), Lamont Dozier (later of Holland-Dozier-Holland fame), and three members who would go on to form the nucleus of the Originals.
1963: Ralph Bunche and Marian Anderson received the first Medals of Freedom from President John F. Kennedy, the creator of the award.
1967: Actress Ellen Bethea (One life to Live) was born. She turns 46 today.
1969: Teddy Rhodes, first African-American professional golfer, passed away at age 56.
1970: Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, the Chambers Brothers, Jethro Tull, and Rare Earth, among others, performed at the Second Atlanta International Pop Festival at the Middle Georgia Raceway near Byron, GA. The crowd reportedly numbered more than 200,000.
1974: Barry White married Glodean James, a member of the vocal group Love Unlimited, for who Barry wrote and produced.
1976: On the bicentennial of America’s birth, Bob Marley’s “Roots, Rock, and Reggae” charted, becoming his biggest pop hit at #51.
1983:Happy Birthday to Melanie Fiona who turns 31 today.
1993: The Four Tops performed at the Meadow Brook Musical Festival in Rochester, MI, for their Independence Day show.
1977: Roberta Flack performed in Boston at the Hatch Shell with the Boston Pops Orchestra.
1991: The National Civil Rights Museum officially opened at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., the site of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
1998:Happy Birthday to Malia Obama who turns 16 today.
1998: Aretha Franklin charted for the 97th time when “Here We Go Again” hit, eventually reaching #25 R&B. Her R&B chart totals included twenty #1s over the thirty-eight-year period.
1998: Lionel Richie performed at London’s Hyde Park in the Prince’s Trust Charity concert, Party in the Park.
2002: General B.O. Davis, Jr. passed away. He was the first African American to become an Air Force General. He was 89 years old.
2003: Singer, songwriter, arranger, producer and Grammy Award winner Barry White passed away at age 58. In 2004, he was posthumously inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in New York.
2005: Singer, songwriter, pianist and entertainer Al Downing passed away.
2006: Legend and former Harlem Globetrotter Bobby Joe Mason passed away.
5. July 5: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Arthur Ashe
1892: Andrew Beard was granted a patent for his rotary engine design (#478,271).
1899: Anna Arnold Hedgeman was born. She was a civil rights leader, politician, educator, writer and the first woman to serve in the cabinet of a New York City mayor. She died in 1990.,
1958: Ray Charles performed at the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, RI. Atlantic Records recorded the performance for a live album.
1961: Dick Clark’s American Bandstand welcomed a rare blues guest when Slim Harpo came on and sang “Rainin’ In My Heart.”
1962: Little Eva introduced “The Locomotion” to a national TV audience via American Bandstand, helping to take the record to #1. Before recording the song, Eva was the babysitter for songwriter Carole King.
1969: Chuck Berry performed on the same bill as the Who at the Pop Proms in the Royal Albert Hall in London. The Albert Hall banned rock ‘n’ roll after over-zealous fans charged the stage.
1969: Comedienne Moms Mabley charted with her version of “Abraham, Martin & John,” reaching #18 R&B and #35 pop. She was probably the oldest artist ever to have a hit that wasn’t posthumous, Moms was seventy-five at the time
1973: R&B singer, songwriter and record producer Joe was born. He turns 40 years old.
1975: Arthur Ashe won the men’s single championship at Wimbledon, defeating Jimmy Connors.
1980: Teddy Pendergrass’ “Can’t We Try,” from the Meatloaf film, Roadie, charted, reaching #3 R&B. His European tour had recently been cancelled due to a reported affair with the wife of Marvin Gaye, who was to tour Britain at the same time.
1986: Janet Jackson’s Control album soared to #1, making the twenty-year-old the youngest artist since thirteen-year-old Little Stevie Wonder to top the album Top 200.
1986: “There’ll Be Sad Songs” by Billy Ocean was the number one R&B song on this day.
1987: Ben E. King performed with George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Elton John at the fifth annual Prince’s Trust Rock Gala at London’s Wembley Arena.
1997: Brooklyn rapper, Lil’ Kim charted with “Not Tonight” reaching #33 R&B and #6 pop with the recording help of Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Da Brat, and Angie Martinez. Kim would go on to have twenty-two R&B hits through 2004 and a conviction for lying to a grand jury, perjury, and conspiracy in an investigation into a shooting
2001: R&B singer Ernie K-Doe passed away on this day at age 65.
2005: Raymond Davis passed away. He was the bass singer & one of the founding members of Parliament & Funkadelic.
2006: Sandra Brown passed away. She was a gospel singer and founder of the Anointed Minstrels.
2006: Blues, Jazz & R&B musician Joe Weaver passed away.
6. July 6: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Althea Gibson
1853: The National Black convention met in Rochester, New York, with 140 delegates from nine states. James W.C. Pennington of New York was elected president of this meeting which is generally considered the largest and most representative of the early Black conventions.
1853: William Wells Brown published ‘Clotel’ the first novel by a Black American.
1932: Singer and actress Della Reese was born.
1937: R&B singer & songwriter Gene Chandler was born.
1944: Lieutenant Jackie Robinson of the U.S. Army, while riding a civilian bus from Camp Hood, Texas, refuses to give up his seat to a white man
1946: Buddy Johnson & His Orchestra, with Arthur Prysock on vocals, charted with “They All Say I’m the Biggest Fool,” reaching #5 R&B.
1946: The Ink Spots entered the R&B charts with the oft-recorded “Prisoner of Love,” reaching #5 and #9 pop.
1949: R&B singer, songwriter and actress Phyllis Hyman was born.
1957: Althea Gibson won the women’s single championship at Wimbledon, England.
1963: Anita Humes & the Essex, a vocal group made up of five U.S. Marines, topped the singles with “Easier Said Than Done.” The group needed special permission from the Defense Department to perform off-base.
1963: The Cookies’ “Will Power” charted (#72 pop). Though the female trio had four pop and four R&B charters, they were mostly a backup group for the likes of Neil Sedaka, Carole King, and Little Eva. An earlier incarnation in the ’50s became Ray Charles’ background vocalists the Raelettes, but as the Cookies they reached #9 R&B with “In Paradise” in 1956.
1963: Chubby Checker, the Percells, Dee Dee Sharp, and the Earls performed at New York’s Polo Grounds prior to a Mets baseball game.
1971: Legendary jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong passed away.
1971: Henry Sampson invented a gamma-electrical cell and received a patent on this day. The basic idea of the Gamma-Electric cell was to convert powerful radiating energies into safe and useful energy sources.
1974: “Rock the Boat,” by the Hues Corporation was the Number One song on this day.
1974: The Persuasions, popularly known as a “niche” a Capella group, charted with instrumentation when “I Really Got It Bad for You” hit the R&B charts, reaching #56.
1975: Rapper, actor, entrepreneur, producer & entertainer Curtis Jackson was born.
1978: Tia & Tamara Mowry were born.
1984: The Jackson 5 began their Victory Tour at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. Actually, it was the Jackson 6, as all of the brothers shared the stage for the first time in eight years.
1991: James Brown and B.B. King performed in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, while on a European tour.
2004: Singer & songwriter Syreeta Wright passed away.
7. July 7: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Dorothea Towles Church
1851: Rev. Dr. Charles Tindley was born. He was a Methodist Minister and gospel music composer and often referred to as the Prince of Preachers. He passed away in 1933 at age 82.
1906: Leroy “Satchel” Page was born. He was a pro baseball player whose pitching in the Negro leagues and in Major League Baseball made him a legend in his own lifetime. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971, the first player to be inducted based upon his play in the Negro leagues. He passed away in 1982 at age 75.
1921: Ezzard Charles was born. He was a professional boxer and former World Heavyweight Champion. He defeated numerous Hall of Fame fighters in three different weight classes. He retired with a record of 93 wins, 25 losses and 1 draw. He passed away in 1975 at age 53.
1951: “Rocket 88″ by Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats (with Ike Turner) was the number one R&B song this day.
1956: The Teenagers’ “I Promise To remember” was released, eventually reaching #10 R&B and #57 pop.
1956: Little Richards’ “Rip It Up” charted , reaching #17 pop and becoming Richards’ second #1 R&B single. Richard was so hot that even his B-sides were becoming hits. “Reddy Teddy” made #8 R&B (#44 pop), and his last single’s flip side, “Slippin’ and Slidin’,” hit #2 R&B (#33 pop).
1957: The Coasters opened for a week at the Apollo Theater.
1961: Award winning author Eric Jerome Dickey was born. He turns 52 today.
1984: Prince topped the pop and R&B charts with “When Doves Cry,” which went on to be the best-selling single of the year.
1990: Public Enemy charted with “Brothers Gonna Work It Out,” reaching #20 R&B.
1995: The Neville Brothers played the annual Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland.
1996: Cree Summer was born. She is a singer-songwriter, voice actress and actress
1997: Michael Jackson’s Thriller album reached the 25 million sales mark, as ratified by the RIAA.
2006: Dorothea Church passed away. She was the first successful black fashion model in Paris.
8. July 8: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Nat King Cole
1805: Bill Richmond, the first African American to distinguish himself as a prizefighter, knocked out boxer Jack Holmes in a match in England.
1908: Louis Jordan, considered to be the father of rhythm and blues—-was born today. With his Tympany 5 (which actually had nine members) Jordan became the opening act for the Mills Brothers in 1938. His innovative and humorous style led him to become the most popular R&B recording act of the ’40s, with fifty-seven hits between 1942 and 1951. His jump blues and jazz fusion paved the way for R&B’s influence on rock ‘n’ roll.
1914: Legendary Jazz singer and bandleader during the swing era Billy Eckstine was born. He passed away in 1993.
1923: William Harrison “Bones” Dillard was born. He is a former track and field athlete, the only male so far to win Olympic titles in both sprinting and hurdling events. He turns 90 years old today.
1938: Julia Carson was born. She was a member of the United States House of Representatives for Indiana’s 7th congressional district from 1997 until her death in 2007. She was the first woman and first African American to represent the 7th District. She was also the second African American woman elected to Congress from Indiana.
1943: Faye Wattleton was born. She is the first African-American and youngest president ever elected to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and is also the first woman since Margaret Sanger to hold the position. She turns 71 today.
1950: Nat King Cole entered the R&B hit-list with one of his best-loved recordings, “Mona Lisa,” reaching #1 for four weeks and topping the pop charts for eight.
1960: Valarie Pettiford was born. She is a stage and television actress, dancer and jazz singer. She turns 54 today.
1963: Little Stevie Wonder performed “Fingertips, Part 2 on American Bandstand.
1965: NAACP elected Roy Wilkins as their new executive director on this day.
1967: Actor Marcus Chong was born. His best-known roles are as Tank the Operator in The Matrix, and before that, Huey P. Newton in the 1995 Mario Van Peebles movie Panther. He turns 46 today.
1972: “If Loving You is Wrong, I Don’t Wanna Be Right” by Luther Ingram was the number one song this day.
1972: The O’Jays charted with “Backstabbers,” reaching #1 R&B and #3 pop.
1991: Blues singer and drummer Willie Nix passed away. He was 68 years old.
1995: TLC’s “Waterfalls” reached #1 pop for seven weeks and #4 R&B. It was the trio’s second of four #1s, including “Creep,” “No Scrubs,” and “Unpretty.”
2001: Venus Williams won her second straight Wimbledon Women’s Singles Championship.
2007: Charles Tisdale passed away. He was the owner and publisher of Mississippi’s oldest black-owned newspaper who fought for civil rights. Tisdale purchased the Jackson Advocate in 1978 from its first owner, Percy Green. He was 80 years old.
2009: Award-winning playwright and a film and TV writer Judi Ann Mason passed away. She launched her TV career on the ‘70s sitcom Good Times and later co-wrote the 1993 movie comedy Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. She died of a ruptured aorta en route to UCLA Medical Center. She was 54 years old.
2010: Former NBA player and all-American Kentucky center, Mel Turpin passed away. He reportedly suffered from diabetes. He died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 49.
2012: John Williams passed away. He was a Los Angeles Rams lineman in the ‘70s who went to dental school during his off-seasons and started a dentistry practice in Minneapolis after he retired from football. He was 66 years old.
9. July 9: This Day in Black History
July 9: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Isabel Sanford
1868: Francis L. Cardozo installed as secretary of state of South Carolina and became the first Black cabinet officer on the state level.
1893: The first successful open heart surgery without anesthesia was performed by Dr Daniel Hale Williams at Provident Hospital in Chicago.
1901: Jester Hairston was born. He was a composer, songwriter, arranger, choral conductor and actor. He passed away in 2000 at age 99.
1941: Donald McPherson was born and was an original member of the Main Ingredient. He passed away in 1971 from the effects of leukemia. He was 29 years old.
1947: O.J. Simpson was born this day. He turns 66 years old.
1950: Gwen Guthrie was born. She was a singer, songwriter and pianist. She passed away in 1999 at age 48 of cancer.
1954: Debbie Sledge was born. She was a member of Sister Sledge.
1955: E. Frederic Morrow appointed administrative aide to President Eisenhower and became the first Black to hold an executive position on the White House staff.
1955: The Harptones’ brilliant “Life Is But A Dream” was released. Though they were never a major chart success, the group’s incredible R&B/jazz harmonies influenced dozens of groups, including the Crests, the Marcels, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
1966: The Intruders debuted with “United” (#14 R&B). They went on to have twenty-four hits through 1975, including the #1 “Cowboys To Girls” in 1968.
1977: “Best of My Love” by the Emotions was the number one song this day.
1978: One hundred thousand march in Washington, D.C. for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment took place this day.
1983: ‘In My Life’ by Jerry Butler and Patti Austin charted this day.
1998: Statues of Martin Luther King, Jr. and other Christian martyrs was unveiled in Westminster abbey in London.
1999: James Farmer passed away this day. He was the founder of the Council of Racial Equality.
2004: Isabel Sanford passed away. She was an actress of stage, film and television. In 1981, she became the first African American actress to win a Prime-time Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. She was 86 years old.
2006: Milan Williams, keyboardist and founding member of the Commodores passed away. He was 58 years old.
2009: Frank Mickens passed away. He was a no-nonsense principal who brought order and significant academic improvement to what was once one of New York’s most troubled schools. In his first seven years as principal, the graduation rate rose to 40.5% from 24.4%; in 2004, the year he retired, it was 47.5%. He was 63 years old.
2010: Actress Vonetta McGee passed away. She was very popular during the blaxploitation era of the ’70s. She died after suffering a cardiac arrest. She was 65 years old.
10. July 10: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Jelly Roll Morton
1875: Mary McLeod Bethune, educator, civil rights leader and the founder of Bethune-Cookman College and the National Council of Negro Women. She passed away in 1955 at age 79.
1889: Noble Sissle was born. He was a jazz composer, lyricist, bandleader, singer and playwright. He is noted for his collaboration with songwriter, Eubie Blake. The pair first performed in vaudeville and later produced the musicals Shuffle Along and The Chocolate Dandies. Sissle is also, famously, the only African-American artist to appear in the Pathé film archives. He passed away in 1975 at age 86.
1905: Jazz singer Ivie Anderson was born. She performed with Duke Ellington’s orchestra for over 10 years and appeared as a singer in a couple of films. She developed chronic asthma and was force to retire. She passed away at age 44.
1927: David Dinkins was born. He served as the 106th Mayor of New York City, from 1990 to 1993. He was the first and is, to date, the only African American to hold that office. He turns 86 years old today.
1933: Richard Gordon Hatcher was born. In 1968, he became the first African American Mayor of Gary, IN. He was the first elected Black mayor of a U.S. metropolitan city and the first in the state of Indiana. He turns 80 years old today.
1941: Legendary pianist Jelly Roll Morton passed away this day. He was 50 years old.
1943: Tennis legend Arthur Ashe was born this day. He passed away in 1993 at age 49 of complications from AIDs contracted from a blood transfusion he received during heart bypass surgery.
1945: Actor of stage, television and film Ron Glass was born. He turns 68 years old today.
1954: WHBQ, a Memphis radio station, began playing Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s song “That’s All Right Mama” as recorded by a young singer named Elvis Presley, thus jump-starting the career of the most successful solo act in pop history. Presley later recorded Arthur’s “So Glad You’re Mine,” which Arthur had taken to #3 R&B in 1946.
1954: Clyde McPhatter & the Drifters reached #1 R&B with “Honey Love” despite the fact that several stations banned the record, including Memphis radio WDIA, for having “overtly sexual” lyrics.
1961: ‘Tossin’ & Turnin’ by Bobby Lewis was the number one song this day.
1962: Christoper Martin was born. He turns 51 years old today.
1962: Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. Ralph Abernathy were jailed in Albany, Georgia, on charges stemming from their arrest in December 1961 during a civil rights protest.
1966: James Brown performed at the Los Angeles Sports Arena while a riot was in full swing outside because an overflow of fans was denied entry to the sold-out show.
1966: The SCLC and CCCO held a huge rally at Chicago’s Soldier Field. Approximately 35,000 activists and community members were in attendance. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke and appealed to activists to remain nonviolent. Floyd McKissick, a chief proponent of black power and president of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), asserted that CORE supported the Chicago Freedom Movement’s decision on that point.
1972: Cora Calhoun aka Lovie Austin passed away. She was a Chicago bandleader, session musician, and composer and arranger during the ’20s classic blues era. She was 84 years old.
1975: Gladys Knight & the Pips began their own four-week summer replacement TV show on NBC.
1989: The Shirelles appeared in Nashville, but not to sing in the usual sense. They were in federal court suing local Gusto Records over improper payments of royalties on reissued hits. Ten months later they won.
1993: Kenyan runner Yobes Ondieki becomes the first man to run 10,000 meters in less than 27 minutes.
1993: While on a European tour, Chaka Khan performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland, and continued on to the JVC Jazz Festival in Nice, France, and then on to the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Hague, the Netherlands.
1993: Cypress Hill charted with “Insane in the Brain,” reaching #19 pop and #27 R&B, making it the most successful single of their career. The rap trio named themselves after a Los Angeles street.
1994: Edgar Campbell passed away. He was 1/2 the soul duo Eddie & Ernie.
2010: Sugar Minott passed away at age 54. He was a singer and recording producer who helped to popularize reggae music.
2012: Maria Hawkins Cole passed away. She was the widow of Nat ‘King’ Cole and mother of Natalie. Before and after marrying the famed singer and piano player, Maria Hawkins Cole had her own long singing career, performing with greats such as Count Basie and Duke Ellington. She was 89 years old.
11. July 11: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Beverly Todd
1905: W.E.B. Du Bois and 29 individuals met at the Niagara Falls in Canada to for the Niagara Movement (a direct-action civil rights organization).
1915: Mifflin Wistar Gibbs passed away this day. He was a Little Rock businessman, a politician, and the first elected African-American municipal judge in the United States. He was 56 years old.
1946: Beverly Todd was born. She is an actress, producer and screenwriter. She turns 67 today.
1950: Bonnie Pointer was born. She is an R&B singer and member of The Pointer Sisters. She turns 63 today.
1953: The flip side of the Flamingos’ debut single (“If I Can’t Have You”), Someday, Someway,” was released.
1953: Leon Spinks was born. He is an Olympic Gold Medalist and once held the world heavyweight champion title. He turns 60 today.
1958: Kirk Whalum was born. He is a smooth jazz saxophonist and songwriter. He toured as Whitney Houston’s opening act for several years and soloed in her single “I Will Always Love You”, the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. He turns 55 today.
1959: Rossiere ‘Shadow’ Wilson passed away. He was a jazz drummer and worked with some of the greats during the swing jazz era.
1969: Kellita Smith was born. She is an actress and model. She turns 44 today.
1970: ‘The Love You Save’ by the Jackson Five was the Number One song this day.
1974: Lil’ Kim was born. She is a rapper, singer-songwriter, author, record producer and actress. She turns 39 today.
1977: Soul / R&B singer-songwriter Goapele was born. She turns 36 today.
1982: Rapper and actor Lil’ Zane was born. he turns 31 today.
1987: The Temptations sang backup vocals for actor Bruce Willis’s passable version of the Drifters’ 1964 hit “Under the Boardwalk.: Though it only reached #59 pop in America, the Brits loved it to the tune of #2.
1992: Jazz singer Patti Austin and Vanessa Williams performed at the Hollywood Women’s Political Committee fund-raiser.
1992: Herb Kenny passed away. He was was the bass singer for the Ink Spots and Bill Kenny’s twin brother. He was 78 years old.
1994: Saxophonist Charles “Lefty’ Edwards passed away this day. He was 67 years old.
1995: Donna Summer sang at the Nautica Stage in Cleveland, OH, at the start of a U.S. tour.
2002: Rosco Gordon passed away. He was a blues singer, songwriter and pianist. He was 74 years old.
2010: Walter Hawkins passed away. He was a Grammy-winning gospel singer, composer, and pastor. He was 61 years old.
12. July 12: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Beah Richards
1920: Beah Richards was born. She was an actress of stage, screen and television, a poet, playwright and author. She passed away in 2000 at age 80.
1936: Rose McClendon passed away. She was a leading Broadway actress of the 1920s. She was 51 years old.
1937: Bill Cosby was born. He is a comedian, actor, author, television producer, educator, musician and activist. He turns 76 today.
1947: Jimmie Lunceford passed away. He was a jazz alto saxophonist and bandleader in the swing era. He died of cardiac arrest at age 45 during an autograph session. There were rumors that he had been poisoned by a restaurant owner who was unhappy at having to serve a “Negro” in his establishment.
1951: “Fool, Fool, Fool” by The Clovers was recorded and would become a Number One hit.
1952: “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” by Lloyd Price & His Orchestra was the Number One R&B Song this day.
1952: The Chicago vocal quartet the Four Blazes charted with “Mary Jo,” reaching #1 R&B for three weeks. But the B-side, a smooth version of “Mood Indigo,” was the real gem.
1956: Shirley & Lee sang at the Carrs Beach Amphitheater in Maryland along with the Teenagers, the Cleftones, Carl Perkins and the Spaniels. More than 8,000 lucky fans got in to see them while an unlucky 10,000 were turned away.
1959: Actor, comedian and writer Charlie Murphy was born. He turns 54 today.
1960: Frankie Lymon sang “Little Bitty Pretty One” on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand for the first time since 1958, and without the Teenagers.
1969: Award winning actress Lisa Nicole Carson was born. She turns 44 today.
1970: Juba Kalamka was born. He is an artist and activist recognized for his work and founding member of homohop group Deep Dickollective (D/DC) and his development of the micro-label Sugartruck Recordings. He turns 43 today.
1973: Rapper Melvin ‘Magoo’ Barcliff was born. He turns 40 today.
1979: Singer & songwriter Minnie Riperton passed away from breast cancer. She was one of the first celebrities to go public with her breast cancer diagnosis and became a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society. She was 31 years old.
1980: Diana Ross bounced on to the Hot 100 with “Upside Down (#1). It was her fifth solo chart topper in ten years.
1989: The Disney Channel announced it was doing Mother Goose Rock ‘n’ Rhyme. Included in the cast was Old King Cole himself, Little Richard.
1995: The O’Jays performed at the Universal Amphitheater in a benefit called Let’s Stamp Out AIDS.
2010: Pius Njawe passed away. He was one of Africa’s most celebrated journalist and founder of the newspaper Le Messager. He was killed in an auto accident at age 53.
2012: Cleveland Elam passed away. He was a former San Francisco 49ers defensive end and a two-time Pro Bowl selection. He was 60 years old.
13. July 13: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Gerald Levert
1928: Robert N.C. Nix, Jr. was born. He was the first African American Chief Justice of any state’s highest court, and the first African American to be elected to statewide office in Pennsylvania. He passed away in 2003 at age 75.
1930: Sam Greenlee was born. He is a writer best known for his controversial novel The Spook Who Sat by the Door, first published in London in 1969, and was chosen as The Sunday Times Book of the Year. The novel was subsequently made into the 1973 movie of the same name.
1935: Earl Lovelace was born. He is an award-winning Trinidadian novelist, journalist, playwright, and short story writer.
1936: Albert Ayler was born. He was an avant-garde jazz saxophonist, singer and composer. He disappeared on November 5, 1970 and was found dead in NYC’s East River on November 25, a presumed suicide.
1946: ‘The Gypsy’ by the Ink Spots was the Number One R&B song this day.
1948: Daphne Maxwell Reid was born. She is an actress of film and television. Perhaps, best known for her role as (the 2nd) Vivian Banks on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air from 1993 until 1996. She turns 65 today.
1954: The Dominoes began a two-week stint at Las Vegas’ Sahara Hotel.
1954: Danitra Vance was born. She was an actor, comedian and was the first African American woman to become an SNL repertory player in 1985. She passed away in 1994 at age 40 of breast cancer.
1956: Michael Spinks was born. He is a retired boxer who was an Olympic gold medalist and world champion in the light-heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. He turns 57 today.
1959: The Eternals charted with their debut 45, “Rockin’ in the Jungle,” an eventual R&B novelty standard even though it only reached #78 pop.
1959: Sam Cooke’s dreamy yet bouncy ballad, “Only Sixteen” Charted.
1963: Stevie Wonder’s The Twelve Year Old Genius charted, becoming #1 pop and making Stevie the first artist to top the album, R&B singles, and Hot 100 singles charts all at the same time.
1963: ‘That’s the Way Love Is’ by Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland charted and eventually reached #11.
1963: Anthony Jerome ‘Spud’ Webb was born. He is a retired NBA point guard and was one of the shortest players in NBA history (5 feet 7 inches). He is currently the President of the Basketball Operations for the Texas Legends, the D-League team for the Dallas Mavericks in Frisco, Tx. He turns 50 today.
1966: Gerald Levert was born. He was an R&B singer, songwriter and producer. He passed away in 2006 at age 40.
1971: Tyrin Turner was born. He is an actor of film and television. He turns 42 today.
1974: Gladys Knight & the Pips’ “On and On” became their fourth consecutive gold 45 when it peaked at #5 pop. It reached #2 R&B.
1974: Deborah Cox was born. She is an R&B singer, songwriter and actress. She turns 39 today.
1985: B.B. King, Patti LaBelle, the Four Tops, Tina Turner, Lionel Richie, David Ruffin, and Eddie Kendrick were among the stars who performed at Live Aid at Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium. Teddy Pendergrass also performed. It was his first live performance since being paralyzed in a car accident in 1982.
1993: Fats Domino and Ray Charles performed at the Westfalenhalle 1 in Dortmund, Germany, on their European tour.
2010: Vernon Baker passed away. He was a soldier who belatedly received the Medal of Honor for his role in World War II. He was one of just seven black soldiers to receive it and the only living recipient. He was 90 years old.
2012: Willis Edwards passed away. He was a civil rights and political activist in Los Angeles’ black community and former leader of the Beverly Hills-Hollywood branch of the NAACP, a controversial force behind its entertainment industry Image Awards. He was 66 years old.
2012: Warren Jabali passed away. He played professionally in the ABA from 1968 to 1975 and was named rookie of the year. He was 66 years old.
14. July 14: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: George Washington Carver Monument
1885: Sarah E. Goode received a patent for the cabinet bed on this day. She was the very first African American woman to receive a patent in the United States.
1932: Rosey Grier was born. He is an actor, singer, Christian minister, and former professional American football player. As a professional player, Grier was a member of the New York Giants and the original Fearsome Foursome of the Los Angeles Rams. He played in the Pro Bowl twice. He turns 81 today.
1934: Professional Golfer Lee Elder was born. He is the first African American to play in the Masters Tournament in 1975. He turns 79 today.
1941: Maulana Karenga was born. He is a professor, philosopher, activist, author, scholar and the creator of Kwanzaa. He turns 72 today.
1951: The George Washington Carver National Monument in Joplin, Missouri becomes the first national park honoring an African American.
1952: Eric Laneuville was born. he is a director, actor and martial artist. He turns 61 today.
1954: Lillian Leach & the Meadows recorded their doo-wop standard, “Smoke from Your Cigarette,” now a $250 collector’s item.
1956: One of the first R&B vocal groups to successfully cross over to pop, The Platters charted, reaching #7.
1958: The Drinkard Singers’ (RCA) spiritual 45, “Rise, Shine,” was issued. The group consisted of Dionne Warwick, Cissy Houston (Whitney’s mother), Dee Dee Warwick (Dionne’s sister), and Judy Clay.
1975: Zutty Singleton passed away this day. He was an influential early jazz drummer. He was 77 years old.
1979: ‘Ring My Bell’ by Anita Ward was the Number One R&B song this day.
1984: Prince’s Purple Rain album, from the film of the same name, charted on its way to #1 pop for an astounding twenty-four weeks. It would go on to sell more than 10 million copies in the U.S. alone.
1984: Philippe Wynne passed away. He was an R&B, Soul & Funk singer. He died of a heart attack at age 43.
1992: Aretha Franklin sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the second night of the Democratic National Convention.
1992: The Pointer Sisters performed at the Valley Forge Music Fair in Devon, PA.
15. July 15: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Vivian Malone
1822: Alvin A. Coffey was born. He arrived in California in 1849 at the beginning of the Gold Rush and was one of the few Californians who left a written account, Book of Reminiscences, which described his journey to California and his subsequent history in the Golden State. In 1887 he was inducted into the California Society of Pioneers and was a member for more than 15 years prior to his death. He is the only African American to achieve that distinction. He passed away in 1902.
1822: Philadelphia opened its public schools for Blacks.
1864: Maggie Lena Walker was born. She was a teacher, businesswoman and the first black female bank president to charter a bank in the United States. She passed away in 1934 at age 70.
1869: A.J. Hayne, Black captain of a Northern occupying militia was assassinated in Arkansas.
1942: Vivian Malone Jones was born. She was one of the first two African Americans to enroll at the at the University of Alabama in 1963 and the university’s first African American graduate. She was made famous when Alabama Governor George Wallace blocked them from enrolling at the all-white university. She passed away in 2005 at age 63.
1944: Millie Jackson was born. She is an R&B/soul singer, songwriter and comedienne. Three of her albums have been certified gold by the RIAA. She turns 69 today.
1952: An eight-year-old girl won $2,000 and a gold cup for her rendition of “Too Young” on Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour. The child was Gladys Knight.
1957: The Five Satins entered the R&B hit list with their soon-to-be standard, “To the Aisle,” reaching #5 and #25 pop. The lead singer was emergency lead Bill Baker, drafted from the Connecticut group the Chestnuts, as the Satins’ regular front-man, Fred Parris, had received a draft notice, courtesy of Uncle Sam.
1957: A Harlem street group named the Charts charted with their sensuously smoking single “Desiree” (#88 pop). The same day, New York’s quintessential doo-woppers, the Jesters, charted pop with their first 45, “So Strange (#100 pop).
1961: Forest Whitaker was born. He is an Academy Award winning actor, producer and director. He turns 52 today.
1963: Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars began its cross-country tour with Big Dee Irwin, Barbara Lewis, the Crystals, Ruby & the Romantics, the Tymes, the Orlons, Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, Gene Pitney, and the Dovells, among others.
1964: Shari Headley was born. She is an actress of film and television. She turns 49 today.
1967: ‘I Was Made to Love Her’ by Stevie Wonder was the Number One R&B song this day.
1968: Eddie Griffin was born. He is an actor and comedian. He turns 45 today.
1970: James McGhee was sworn in as the first African American mayor of Dayton, Ohio.
1972 The Main Ingredient reached the R&B charts with “Everybody Plays the Fool” (#2 R&B, #3 pop), which would become their biggest of twenty R&B charters through 1990. The group’s lead singer, Cuba Gooding, is the father of actor Cuba Gooding, Jr.
1976: Jim Jones was born. He is a rapper, actor and an original member of The Diplomats. He turns 37 today.
1978: L.T.D. jumped on the R&B charts with “Holding On (When Love is Gone),” reaching #1 R&B (#49 pop). The group’s lead singer at the time would go on to have twenty-three hits of his own. His name is Jeffrey Osborne.
1997: The first Black-owned micro-brewing company was founded. Brothers Beer Company Inc. is based in Oakland California and conducts business as Brothers Brewing Company, BBC or Brothers, BBC.
2002: Barbara Randolph passed away. She was a singer and actress. She recorded for Motown in the 60s and was a member of the Platters. She was 60 years old.
2006: Rev. Joseph Boone passed away. He was a civil rights activist and organizer who marched together with Rev. Martin Luther King. He was 84 years old.
16. July 16: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Florence Joyner
1862: Ida B. Wells was born. She was a journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, sociologist and, with her husband, newspaper owner Ferdinand L. Barnett, an early leader in the civil rights movement. She was active in the women’s rights and the women’s suffrage movement, establishing several notable women’s organizations. Wells was a skilled and persuasive rhetorician, and traveled internationally on lecture tours. She passed away in 1931 at age 68.
1882: Violette Anderson was born. She was an attorney, judge, magistrate and served as the first female city prosecutor in Chicago. She passed away in 1937.
1896: Evelyn Preer was born. She was a pioneering stage and screen actress and blues singer of the 1910s through the early 1930s. She was known within the black community as “The First Lady of the Screen.” She passed away in 1932 of double pneumonia. She was 36 years old.
1939: Denise LaSalle was born. She is a blues and R&B/soul singer, songwriter, and record producer. She turns 74 today.
1941: Desmond Dekker was born. He was a Jamaican ska, rock-steady and reggae singer-songwriter and musician. He passed away in 2006 at age 64.
1959: ‘Poison Ivy’ by the Coasters was recorded. It reached #1 R&B and #7 Pop.
1965: Actor Daryl ‘Chill’ Mitchell was born. In 2001, he was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident. With the help of family, friends, Denzel Washington and Chris Tucker, he was able to continue his career as an actor. He turns 48 today.
1968: NFL Hall of Famer Barry Sanders was born. He is considered as one of the most talented running backs in the NFL. He turns 45 today.
1969: Rain Pryor was born. She is a comedian and an actress of stage, film and television. She turns 44 today.
1972: Smokey Robinson appeared with the Miracles for the last time at a concert at the Carter Barron Center in D.C. He had been with them for 18 years.
1977: ‘Easy’ by the Commodores was the Number One R&B song this day.
1979: Bob Douglas passed away. He was the founder of the New York Renaissance basketball team. Nicknamed the “Father of Black Professional Basketball”, Douglas owned and coached the Rens from 1923 to 1949, guiding them to a 2,318-381 record. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor in 1972, the first African American enshrined. He was 96 years old.
1983: Jazz great Herbie Hancock charted with ‘Rockit’ on this day.
1988: Carl Lewis ran a wind-assisted 100 m in 9.78 sec.
1988: Florence Joyner ran 100 m in women’s world record 10.49 seconds
1988: Jackie Joyner-Kersee sets women’s heptathlete record of 7,215 pts
1992: Buck Buchanan passed away. He was a NFL Hall of Famer. He was 51 years old.
2006: Harold Scott passed away. He was stage director, actor and educator, who broke racial barriers in American theater. He became the first African-American artistic director in the history of American regional theater at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. He was 71 years old.
17. July 17: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Billie Holiday
1794: Richard Allen organized Philadelphia’s Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church on this day.
1911: Frank Snowden, Jr. was born. He was a professor emeritus of classics at Howard University, best known for his study of blacks in classical antiquity. He passed away in 2007 at age 95.
1920: Lionel Ngakane was born. He was an award winning filmmaker. He passed away in 2003 at age 83.
1935: Diahann Carroll was born. She is a television, film and stage actress and singer. Her career spanned nearly six decades. She turns 78 today.
1954: The first major league game where the majority of team was black played (Dodgers).
1959: Billie Holiday passed away at age 44. She was a legendary singer, songwriter and actress. She died from liver and heart disease.
1961: Keith Edward Elam aka Guru was born. He was a rapper, producer and actor. He passed away in 2010. He was 48 years old.
1963: Regina Belle was born. She is a singer and songwriter. Her duet with Peabo Byson ‘A Whole New World’ garnered her a Grammy Award. She is 50 today.
1967: Jimi Hendrix was the opening act for The Monkees at Forest Hills NY venue.
1967: The Cairo race riot took place with the alleged jailhouse suicide of Pvt. Robert Hunt, a young soldier on leave in his hometown of Cairo, Illinois. Police said Hunt hanged himself with his t-shirt, but Cairo’s African-American residents challenged that story. The death touched off 3 days of riots and protests, followed by a 7-year renewal of civil rights activities in the city.
1967: Jazz great John Coltrane passed away. He was a saxophonist, composer and bandleader who remains one of the most significant saxophonists in Jazz history. He died of liver cancer at age 40.
1978: Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin (NY Yank manager) got into a fight in the dug out.
1988: Around four Billion folks tuned in to watch Mandela’s 70th Birthday Tribute on television.
1988: Florence Griffith Joyner set the 100m woman’s record (10.49).
1990: NY Yankee Deion Sanders hit an inside park home-run.
1997: Dr. Robert C. Weaver passed away. He served as the first United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from 1966 to 1968. He was the first African American to hold a cabinet-level position in the United States. He was 89.
2005: Tiger Woods won his 10th major winning The British Open Championship by 5 strokes.
2010: Denise Jefferson passed away. She was a dance educator who served as the director of the Ailey School of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from 1984 until her death. She was 66 years old.
2011: Joe Lee Wilson passed away. He was a jazz vocalist who performed with saxophonists Sonny Rollins and Archie Shepp and trumpeters Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard and hosted a thriving loft club in New York in the ‘70s. He was 75 years old.
18. July 18: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Nelson Mandela
1753: Lemuel Haynes was born. He was an influential religious leader who argued against slavery. Haynes wrote: “Liberty is equally as precious to a black man, as it is to a white one, and bondage as equally as intolerable to the one as it is to the other”. He passed away in 1833 at age 80.
1909: Ivory Deek Watson was born. He sang tenor was a member of the Ink Spots. He passed away in 1969 at age 60.
1918: Nelson Mandela was born. He was a much-loved South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He passed away in December of 2013.
1929: Jalacy Hawkins aka Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was born. He was a musician, singer, and actor. He passed away in 2000 at age 70.
1932: Thomas S. Allen was born. Better known as ‘Papa’ Dee Allen and was a member of the R&B group War. He was a percussionist, vocalist, saxophonist, pianist and was the main writer of the hit ‘The World is a Ghetto.’ He passed away in 1989 at age 58.
1954: ‘Honey Love’ by the Drifters was the Number One R&B song this day.
1941: Martha Reeves was born. She is a singer and was the lead singer of the Motown girl group Martha and the Vandellas. She served as an elected councilwoman for Detroit from 2005-2009. She turns 72 today.
1943: The Four Vagabonds charted R&B with one of the most beautiful ballads of the ’40s, “It Can’t Be Wrong,” reaching #3. The superb quartet from St. Louis never had another hit.
1943: Calvin Peete was born. He is a pro golfer and was inducted into the African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. He turns 70 years old today.
1954: The Clovers, the Hollywood Flames, the Crows, the Chords, the Robins, and the Four Tunes appeared at the annual Rock ‘n’ Roll jubilee held at Hollywood’s Shrine Auditorium.
1959: William Wright became the first black to win a major golf tournament.
1960: Anna Marie Johnson was born. She is an actress and impressionist who has starred in film and on television. She turns 53 today.
1961: The Shirelles’ “What A Sweet Thing That Was” charted a week after it’s A-side “A Thing of the past” did the same thing.
1965: The Four Tops began their first tour of Europe with sellout shows in London. The British part of their tour was handled by Beatles manager Brian Epstein.
1967: Vin Diesel was born. he is an actor, producer, screenwriter and director. He turns 46 today.
1968: Alex Desert was born. He is an actor, singer, songwriter and a founding member of the ska band Hepcat. He turns 45 today.
1970: Willie Mays became the 10th baseball player to get 3,000 hits.
1978: A furious Billy Martin suspended Yankee’s Reggie Jackson for not bunting.
1979: Jason Weaver was born. He is an actor and singer. He turns 34 today.
1991: Little Richard was quoted in USA Today saying, “If I had been white, there never would have been an Elvis Presley.”
1994: Whitney Houston performed at the World Cup soccer finals between Italy and Brazil at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.
2011: Lillian Mobley passed away. She was a activist who fought to establish and keep open the doors of Martin Luther King Jr. Drew Medical Center and pushed to create a companion medical school. She was 81 years old.
19. July 19: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Sylvia Wood
1895: Jodie Edwards was born. He was 1/2 the comedy duo Butterbeans & Susie. They performed stage and later Vaudeville. They used their fame and influence to help younger black comedians. Moms Mabley and Stepin Fetchit are just a couple of comedians they helped.
1932: Buster Benton was born. He was a blues guitarist and singer who played guitar in Willie Dixon’s Blues All-Stars. He passed away in 1996 at age 64.
1936: Shirley Goodman was born. She was 1/2 the duo of Shirley & Lee. She also had a disco hit later in her career – Shame, Shame, Shame. She passed away in 2005 at age 69.
1944: Dr. Walter Turnbull was born. He was a musician and the founder of the Boys Choir of Harlem. He passed away in 2007 at age 63.
1958: George Treadwell, the Drifters’ manager, walked backstage at the Apollo Theater, fired his group, walked across to the dressing room of the group’s opening act, the Crowns, hired them, and then christened them the Drifters. The Crown’s lead singer was Ben E. King.
1969: “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)” by Junior Walker & the All-Stars was the Number One R&B song this day.
1973: Willie Mays named to NL all star team for 24th time (ties Musial).
1975: Esther Phillips charted with “What A Difference A Day Makes” reaching #10 R&B and #20 pop. It was her nineteenth R&B hit and her first top ten in thirteen years since “Release Me” hit no. 1 (#8 pop) in 1962.
1975: George Benson’s debut solo single, “Supership,” peaked on the R&B chart. He would go on to have twenty-five R&B charting numbers and several number ones.
1979: Patricia Harris was named US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. She was the first African American woman to serve in the United States Cabinet, and the first to enter the line of succession to the Presidency.
1990: Dionne Warwick appeared at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles alongside Johnny Mathis.
1991: Desiree Washington, a contestant in the Miss Black America pageant, accused Mike Tyson of rape. He was convicted the following February and received a six-year sentence.
1992: Ebony P. Warren was crowned the 24th Miss Black America.
1993: Red Prysock passed away. He was an R&B tenor saxophonist.He died of a heart attack at age 67.
1994: Rick James was sentenced to five years plus in prison for assaulting two women and for cocaine use. He would serve his time at Folsom Prison in California.
2001: Judy Clay passed away. She was a soul and gospel singer. She did from complications received in an auto accident. She was 62 years old.
2010: Mac Foster passed away. He was a former boxer and a contender for the heavyweight championship in 1970. He died of congestive heart failure at age 68.
2012: Sylvia Wood passed away. She was a restaurateur who co-founded the landmark restaurant Sylvia’s in Harlem with her husband, Herbert Woods, in 1962. The soul food eatery is a popular gathering place for Harlem residents and tourists not far from the Apollo Theater. She was 86 years old.
20. July 20: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Luther Vandross
1919: Ernie Wilkins was born. He was a jazz arranger, writer and saxophonist and played with Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, Dizzy Gillespie to name a few. He passed away in 1999 at age 80.
1936: Billy Guy was born. He was a member of the Coasters and sang lead on several of the hit songs. He passed away in 2002 at age 66.
1937: Ed Wells was born. He was the founding member of the ‘Six Teens’ a group of six teenagers ranging from age 12 to 17 (Ed being the oldest). He passed away in 2001 at age 64.
1967: The Jimi Hendrix experience recorded at New York’s Mayfair Recording Studios with the Sweet Inspirations (Elvis Presley’s and Aretha Franklin’s background singers) doing backup vocals on “Midnight Lamp.”
1968: Nathaniel Wilson, aka Kool G Rap was born. He is a rapper and a major influence to some of hip-hop’s critically acclaimed rappers. He turns 45 today.
1968: The Soul Clan, a one-off recording by five of R&B’s top stars, including Ben E. King, Joe Tex, Don Covay, Arthur Conley, and Solomon Burke, charted R&B with “Soul Meeting.”
1971: Robert Davis, Jr. aka DJ Screw was born. He was known as a central figure in the Houston hip-hop community and was the creator of the now-famous Chopped and Screwed DJ technique. This creation led to his nickname of “The Originator”. He died at age 29 from a codeine/mixed drug intoxication overdose
1971: The Commodores were the opening act for the Jackson 5 at the Coliseum in Charlotte, NC.
1974: ‘My Thang’ by James Brown was the Number One R&B song this day.
1978: The O’Jays performed at Los Angeles’ Greek Theater on their twentieth anniversary.
1982: Percy Daggs III was born. He is an actor of film and television. He can be seen in the film ‘Veronica Mars’ due out in 2014 as Wallace Fennel, the role he portrayed in the ’04 -’07 series Veronica Mars. He turns 31 today.
1990: Luther Vandross performed at the Westbury Music Fair to a sold-out crowd.
1991: Patti LaBelle joined forces with Dionne Warwick and Gladys Knight for “Superwoman,” a cut on Gladys’ new Good Woman album, which charted today and eventually reached #45.
1994: OJ Simpson offered a $500,000 reward for evidence of his ex-wife’s killer.
1995: TLC’s album Waterfalls headed toward nine million in sales while the group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on this day.
2010: Carl Gordon passed away. He was a late-blooming stage and TV character actor.On Broadway, he created the part of Doaker, the upright uncle in The Piano Lesson (1990) by August Wilson. He was 78 years old.
21. July 21: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Barbara Ann Teer
1896: The National Federation of Afro-American Women was founded on this day.
1917: Floyd Jones was born. He was a blues singer, guitarist and songwriter. He passed away in 1989 at age 72.
1952: George Wallace was born. He is an actor and comedian. He turns 61 today.
1955: The Cadets charted with ‘Stranded in the Jungle’ their rock ‘n’ roll novelty.
1957: Althea Gibson became the first black to win a major US tennis tournament on this day.
1958: ‘Yakety Yak’ by the Coasters was the Number One song on this day.
1958: The Dell-Vikings’ cover of “You Cheated” was released, along with the Miracles’ “Money” and the Videos’ classic “Trickle, Trickle.”
1961: The Supremes’ second single, “Buttered Popcorn,” was released, with Florence Ballard singing lead. The group was still more than a year from its first chart 45, “Your Heart Belongs to Me.”
1962: 160 civil right activists were jailed after a demonstration in Albany, Ga.
1962: John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” reached #60 pop (#16 R&B), becoming his only 45 in the pop Top 100. It was also his last of nine R&B hits starting in 1949.
1979: The National Women’s Hall of Fame was dedicated in Seneca Falls, NY on this day. Some of the inductees are Marian Anderson, Barbara Jordan, Ella Fitzgerald, Bessie Coleman, Mary McLeod Bethune, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth just to name a few.
1983: A storm cut short Diana Ross’ free concert in NY’s Central Park.
1988: James Brown received a two-year suspended sentence and a $1,200 fine for resisting arrest, carrying a gun, and drug possession. (See May 18).
1989: Mike Tyson knocked out Carl Williams in 1:33 for heavyweight boxing title.
1990: En Vogue reached #2 pop with “Hold On,” their debut disc. Former Commodores member Thomas McElroy and partner Denzil Foster, who wanted to invent a funky, contemporary version of the Supremes, put the female quartet together.
1991: Sharmell Sullivan, 20, of Gary, Indiana was crowned the 23rd Miss Black America
2008: Khia Edgerton passed away. She was a disk jockey at Baltimore’s Radio One hip-hop station 92Q James (WERQ-FM) who worked under the name Club Queen K-Swift. Edgerton had established quite a following and was the first female deejay at the station. She was found unresponsive in the pool at her home in an apparent accidental drowning and was pronounced dead at a hospital. She was 29 years old.
2008: Barbara Ann Teer passed away. She was an actress, founder, and longtime chief executive of the performing arts organization National Black Theater. She appeared in several productions. She was 71 years old.
22. July 22: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Jessie Mae Hemphill
1933: Caterina Jarboro became the first black prima donna of an opera company. She sang “Aida” at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.
1937: Chuck Jackson was born. He is an R&B singer, who was one of the first artists to record material by Burt Bacharach and Hal David successfully.
1941: Estelle Bennett was born. She was a member of the girl group The Ronettes. She passed away in 2009 at age 67.
1941: George Clinton was born. He is a singer, songwriter, bandleader, and music producer and the principal architect of P-Funk. He was the mastermind of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic during the 1970s and early 1980s, and launched a solo career in 1981. He turns 72 today.
1946: Danny Glover was born. He is an actor, film director and political activist. He turns 67 today.
1957: B.B. King charted for the first time with “Be Careful With A Fool” (#95). He had already had eighteen R&B charters; it took him six years to cross over. He would go on to have thirty-six pop singles on the hit list through 1989.
1960: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, the Five Satins, Joe Turner, Ben E. King, Faye Adams, Nappy Brown, and Annie Laurie (who had an R&B hit with “Since I Fell For You” in 1947) appeared at Chicago’s Regal Theater.
1961: Keith Sweat was born. He is an American R&B/soul, singer-songwriter, record producer, radio personality and an innovator of the New Jack Swing. He turns 52 today.
1963: Sonny Liston knocked out Floyd Patterson in 1 for heavyweight boxing title.
1967: ‘Make Me Yours’ by Bettye Swann was the Number One R&B song this day.
1972: Keyshawn Johnson was born. He is a retired NFL player. He played eleven seasons. He turns 41 today.
1969: Aretha Franklin was arrested and fined $50 for creating a disturbance in a Detroit parking lot. Upon leaving, she expressed her frustration by running over a road sign
1979: Little Richard, known as Reverend Richard Penniman, spoke at a revival meeting in North Richmond, CA. He warned the congregation about the evils of rock & roll music.
1983: Diana Ross gave a free concert in New York’s Central Park after the previous night’s concert was washed out by heavy wind and rain.
1988: Duane Jones passed away. He was best known for his leading role as Ben in the 1968 horror film Night of the Living Dead. He was director of the Maguire Theater at the State University of New York at Old Westbury. He was the artistic director of the Richard Allen Center for Culture and Art in Manhattan. He was 51 years old.
1991: Bobby Womack performed at London’s Hackney Empire.
1998: Cypress Hill, Busta Rhymes, Canibus, Wyclef Jean, and Public Enemy, among others, performed at the third annual Smokin’ Grooves tour at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, Darien Center, NY.
2006: Jessie May Hemphill passed away. She was an electric guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist specializing in the primal, North Mississippi hill country blues traditions of her family and regional heritage. She was 82 years old.
2010: Phillip Walker passed away. He was a blues guitarist and singer who backed such stars as Etta James and Lowell Fulson. Walker performed for more than 50 years, recording many solo albums and touring with zydeco legend Clifton Chenier. He was 73 years old.
23. July 23: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: E. Lynn Harris
1909: Helen Martin was born. She was an actress of stage, film and television and perhaps her role and her bigger than life personality on ’227′as Pearl. She was 90 years old.
1942: Madeline Bell was born. She is a soul singer and former gospel singer. She turns 72 today.
1935: Cleve Duncan was born. His soaring tenor voice as lead singer for the Penguins helped propel the 1954 doo-wop ballad “Earth Angel into rock ‘n’ roll immortality. He passed away in 2012.
1949: ‘Trouble Blues’ by the Charles Brown Trio was the Number One Song this day.
1962: Eriq La Salle was born. He is an actor, director, writer and producer. He turns 52 today.
1962: The Shirelles charted with “Welcome Home Baby,” a logical sequel to their last hit, “Soldier Boy.”
1965: Saul ‘Slash’ Hudson was born. He is a musician, songwriter, record producer and film producer. He turns 48 today.
1967: One of the worst riots in U.S history began on 12th Street in the predominantly African American inner city in Detroit, Michigan. 43 people were killed, 342 injured and 1,400 buildings burned.
1968: Gary Payton was born. He is a former NBA player, nicknamed ‘The Glove’ for his excellent defensive ability. He turns 45 today.
1968: James Brown Day was declared in Los Angeles to honor his sellout concert at the Great Western Forum.
1971: Dalvin DeGrate was born. He is a R&B/soul musician, singer and rapper, one-quarter of the R&B group Jodeci. He is the younger brother of Jodeci’s founder DeVante Swing. He turns 42 today.
1972: Marlon Wayans was born. He is an actor, model, producer, comedian, writer, and director. He turns 42 today.
1974: Maurice Greene was born. He is an Olympic Gold Medal Track and Field sprinter (retired). He turns 40 today.
1977: Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” reached #1 in England and would soon be #3 pop in America.
1980: Michelle Williams was born. She is a singer, songwriter, record producer, former member of the group Destiny’s Child and actress. She turns 34 today.
1983: Rick James charted with “Cold Blooded,” reaching #1 R&B for six weeks and earning him his biggest R&B hit of twenty-seven singles through 1989.
1983: “All Night Long” by the Mary Jane Girls charted, eventually reaching #11 R&B. It was a busy and productive year for Rick James, who wrote and produced the record.
1984: Vanessa Williams becomes the first Miss America to resign when she surrenders her crown after nude photos of her appeared in Penthouse magazine.
1988: After a twenty year hiatus, the original Danleers of “One Summer Night” fame regrouped at the Westbury Music Fair on Long Island.
1995: Floyd McDaniel passed away. He was a singer, guitarist and a member of the Five Blazes. He was 80 years old.
2009: E. Lynn Harris passed away. He was a pioneer of gay black fiction and a literary entrepreneur who rose from self-publishing to best-selling status. He was 54 years old.
24. July 24: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Adele Addison
1807: Ira Frederick Aldridge was born. He was a stage actor who made his career largely on the London stage and in Europe, especially in Shakespearean roles. He is the only actor of African-American descent among the 33 actors of the English stage honored with bronze plaques at the Shakespeare Memorial Theater at Stafford-Upton-Avon. He passed away in 1867 at age 60.
1914: Kenneth B. Clark was born. He and his wife were both psychologists and conducted important research among children and were active in the Civil Rights Movement. He died in 2005 at age 91.
1914: Frank Alvin Silvera was born. He was a Jamaican-born American character actor and theatrical director. Silvera was known as “the man with a thousand faces” because of his ability to play a wide array of roles. He died in 1970 at age 55.
1925: Adele Addison was born. She was an acclaimed lyric soprano in the classical music world during the 50s and 60s. She turns 89 today.
1937: Alabama drops rape charges against the so-called “Scottsboro Boys”.
1948: Louis Jordan & His Tympany 5 charted with “All For the Love of Lil,” reaching #13 R&B.
1954: The Orioles’ “In the Chapel of the Moonlight” and the Vibranaires’ rarer-than-rare “Doll Face” ($2,500) were issued.
1954: Mary Church Terrell passed away. She was the daughter of former slaves and one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree. She was an activist and worked for civil rights and suffrage. She was 90 years old.
1963: Karl Malone “The Mailman” was born. He is a retired Hall of Famer NBA power forward. He turns 51 today.
1964: Barry Bonds was born. He is a former MLB player who played 22 seasons. He turns 50 today.
1965: Kadeem Hardison was born. He is an actor and played Dwayne Wayne on ‘A Different World.’ He turns 49 today.
1969: Rick Fox was born. He is a retired Pro basketball player turned actor. He turns 44 today.
1969: Muhammad Ali was convicted for refusing induction in US Army on appeal.
1971: “Mr. Big Stuff” by Jean Knight was the Number One Song this day.
1989: Ernie Morrison passed away. He was a child actor who performed under the stage name “Sunshine Sammy.” Morrison was the only black member of the East Side Kids, and was also an original Our Gang kid, a sidekick to Harold Lloyd and Snub Pollard, a silent screen comedian, a vaudevillian, a dancer, and band leader. He was 76 years old.
1995: Public Enemy postponed its televised farewell concert in Great Britain because Flava Flav broke his arm in a scooter accident.
1995: Boyz II Men and New Kids on the Block played a benefit basketball game at the Clark Athletic Center of the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
1998: Stevie Wonder performed at Kingsmead Stadium in Durban, South Africa, to celebrate nelson Mandela’s eightieth birthday. Thirteen years earlier, Stevie’s records had been banned by South African radio due to a dedication Stevie made to Mandela after receiving an Oscar.
25. July 25: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Emmett Till
1906: Johnny Hodges was born. He was a jazz saxophonist know for his solo work with Duke Ellington’s Big Band. He passed away in 1970 at age 63.
1925: Benny Benjamin aka Papa Zita was born. He was the primary drummer for the Motown studio band known as The Funk Brothers. He passed away in 1969 of a stroke at age 43.
1936: Ella Fitzgerald bounced onto the singles survey with “Sing Me a Swing Song (#18). It became the first of fifty-three pop hits through 1963 for the all-time jazz great, who was discovered after a winning performance on the Harlem Amateur Hour in 1934.
1937: Soul singer Darrell Banks was born. He was fatally shot by a cop in 1970 when he was 33 years old.
1941: NBA great & Hall of Famer Nate Thurmond was born. He turns 73 today.
1941: Emmett Till was born. He was murdered by a white mob in the summer of 1955 when he was 14-years-old. He was key in the Civil Rights Movement. He would have been 73 today.
1943: The first warship named for a black person, the LL Leonard Roy Harmon launched on this day in Quincy, MA.
1946: Rita Marley was born. She is a singer and the widow of reggae legend Bob Marley. She turns 68 today.
1951: Verdine White was born. He is a musician, record producer and long-time member of Earth, Wind & Fire. He turns 63 today.
1954: Walter Payton was born. He is an NFL legend and considered among the greatest running backs in football history. He died in 1999 at age 45 of a rare autoimmune liver disease
1955: Iman was born. She is a fashion model, actress and entrepreneur. She turns 59 today.
1964: Stevie Wonder peaked at #29 pop with “Hey Harmonica Man,” his first single without the “Little” Stevie Wonder moniker.
1967: Wendy Raquel Robinson was born. She is an actress of film and television. She turns 47 today.
1970: The Spinners charted with “It’s A Shame,” written and produced by Stevie Wonder, reaching #4 R&B and #14 pop.
1970: Charles Cordone won a Pulitzer Prize for his play “No Place to Be Somebody” and became the first African American playwright to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama.
1981: ‘Double Dutch Bus’ by Frankie Smith was the Number One Song
1984: Blues Hall of Famer Willie Mae ‘Big Mama’ Thornton passed away. She was a blues & R&B singer and songwriter. She was 57 years old.
1992: Prince’s sexy “Sexy M. F.” did little in America (#66 pop, #76 R&B), but it reached #4 in England, despite being banned by all radio stations there. Maybe it should have been banned in the U.S. as well.
1995: Nina Simone fired a gun at a pair of noisy teenagers playing next door to her home in southern France. She was put on 18 months’ probation and ordered to seek psychological counseling.
2006: Carl Brashear passed away. He was the first African American to become a U.S. Navy Master Diver. His life story is dramatized in the 2000 film Men of Honor, in which he was portrayed by actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. He was 75 years old.
2009: Vernon Forrest passed away. He was a boxer who held three championships and scored an upset of welterweight titleholder Shane Mosley in 2002. Forrest had fought professionally since 1992 and was considering a comeback from an injury. He was fatally shot after being robbed at a gas station in Atlanta. He was 38.
2011: Desmond Allison was a former University of Kentucky basketball player. He was fatally shot outside an apartment complex after an argument with several people. He was 31 years old.
26. July 26: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Allen Hoskins
1865: Patrick Francis Healy became the first black awarded a Ph.D. at Louvain in Belgium.
1914: Erskine Hawkins, known as the “Twentieth-Century Gabriel” due to his trumpeting prowess, was born.
1922: Dorothea Church was born. She was the first successful black fashion model in Paris. She died in 2006 at age 84.
1937: Al Banks was born. He was a singer and an original member of The Turbans, a doo-wop group from Philly.
1940: Dobie Gray was born. He was a singer and songwriter whose musical career spanned soul, country, pop, and musical theater. His 1973 hit ‘Drift Away’ sold over one million copies. He passed away in 2011 at age 71.
1941: Darlene Love was born. She is a singer and actress. She turns 71 years old today.
1941: Brenton Wood was born. He is a singer and songwriter. He turns 72 today.
1948: Bob Howard became one of the first Black male hosts on television. The New York CBS affiliate hired the Black entertainer to star in The Bob Howard Show. It ran for a year.
1954: Willie Mays was on the cover of Time Magazine.
1963: “Mickey’s Monkey” was released by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
1969: Dionne Warwick charted two albums (“Odds and Ends” #43 in 1969 and “No Night So Long,” #23 in 1980) on the same day, eleven years apart.
1969: Billy Davis Jr. and Marilyn McCoo of the Fifth Dimension got married and are still married today.
1970: Jimi Hendrix was given an honorary diploma by his alma mater, Garfield High School in Seattle, even though he never graduated.
1975: ‘Fight the Power, Part I” by the Isley Brothers as the Number One Song this day.
1975: Jazz stylist Nancy Wilson hit the Top 200 with her LP “Come Get to Thee” (#119). It was the thirty-first of thirty-four chart albums for the veteran vocalist between 1962 and 1984.
1979: Tamyra Gray was born. She is a singer, songwriter and actress. She turns 34 today.
1980: Allen Hoskins passed away this day at age 59 of cancer. He was a child actor most famous for portraying the character of Farina in 105 ‘Our Gang’ short films from 1922-1931.
1984: Prince’s movie “Purple Rain” premiered in Hollywood, CA.
1992:Singer Mary Wells passed away. She died from cancer, aged 49.
1992: The Whispers and the O’Jays performed at two sold-out shows at the Valley Forge Music Fair in Devon, PA.
2006: Louise ‘Miss Lou’ Bennett passed away. She was a Jamaican poet, folklorist, writer, and educator. She was 87 years old.
2006: Floyd Dixon passed away. He was a rhythm and blues pianist and singer. He was 77 years old.
27. July 27: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Reggie Lewis
1847: After departing New York Port in 1820 the first group of freed blacks landed first in Sherbro Island in Sierra Leone and later moved on to Bushrod Island in what is today in Monrovia and established a state. By 1847 the country declared its independence. This was the first Republic set up by freed slaves!!!
1917: Moses Rascoe was born. He was a blues singer and guitarist. Rascoe’s guitar picking style was essentially an individuated variant of melodic-alternating-thumb finger picking. He passed away in 1994 at age 77.
1929: Harvey Fuqua was born. He was an R&B singer, songwriter, record producer and record label executive. He passed way in 2000 at age 80.
1940: Billboard Magazine began publishing its best seller charts of albums and singles on this day.
1946: Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan entered the R&B hit list with “Petootie Pie,” reaching #3—pretty good for a B-side. The A-side was the huge #1 hit “Stone Cold Dead in the Market.”
1959: “There Goes My Baby” by the Drifters was the Number One Song this day.
1962: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested for the third time in Albany, GA.
1972: Maya Rudolph was born. She is a comedian and actress. She turns 41 today.
1974: Dionne Warwick teamed with the Spinners on “Then Came You,” which charted today. It became her first #1 after forty hits in twelve years.
1976: Tina Turner filed for a divorce from Ike.
1984: Prince’s film Purple Rain premiered across America. The motion picture was loosely based on the artist’s life, with emphasis on his romantic involvements.
1984: Rev. C.L. Franklin passed away. He was a preacher and Aretha’s dad.
1985: Whitney Houston’s solo single debut, “You Give Good Love” peaked at #3. A year earlier, the then-unknown singer recorded a duet with Teddy Pendergrass, “Hold Me,” which only reached #46.
1991: When Natalie Cole brought the idea of singing a duet album with her late father Nat King Cole’s old recordings to her label, EMI refused. She signed with Electra Records, recorded the album, titled Unforgettable. . .With Love, and today topped the album charts.
1993: Reggie Lewis passed away. He was a player for the Boston Celtics. He suffered a sudden cardiac death on the court during an off-season practice. He was 27 years old.
1995: Eddie Floyd’s “Knock On Wood” was finally certified gold twenty-eight years after its release. More than sixty versions of the song had been recorded through 1995, and Floyd, an avid collector of his own hit, has a copy of every one of them.
1996: “Elevators (Me & You)” by OutKast jumped on the R&B Top 100, reaching #5 and #12 pop.
2011: Charles L. Gittens passed away. He was the first black US Secret Service agent. Gittens joined the Presidential protection outfit in 1956 in the Charlotte, NC office and later mentored young blacks like himself who were coming up through the ranks. He was 82 years old.
28. July 28: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Roy Wilkins
1915: 10,000 protesters marched on 5th Avenue in NYC in protest of lynchings.
1924: C.T. Vivian was born. He is a minister, author, and was a close friend and lieutenant of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. during the American Civil Rights Movement. He turns 89 today.
1930: David ‘Junior’ Kimbrough was born. He was a blues guitarist and singer. He passed away in 1998 at age 67.
1956: ‘Treasure of Love’ by Clyde McPhatter was the Number One R&B Song this day.
1956: The Avons’ “Our Love Will Never End”, the Drifters. “Soldier of Fortune”, the Moonglows’ “See Saw”, and the Coasters. “Brazil” were all released this day.
1956: Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers charted with “I Promise To Remember,” reaching #10 R&B and #57 pop
1958: The Quintones’ doo-wop classic, “Down the Aisle of Love,” was issued. It reached #18 pop, and #5 R&B.
1958: Jerry Butler & the Impressions’ “For Your Precious Love” charted, reaching #3 R&B (#11 pop).
1965: Delfeayo Marsalis was born. He is a jazz trombonist and record producer. He turns 48 today.
1973: Barry White’s sultry single, “I’ve Got So Much To Give” charted, reaching #5 R&B and #32 pop.
1977: Roy Wilkins turned over NAACP leadership to Benjamin L. Hooks.
1979: The Crusaders, a much heralded jazz, blues, and R&B band, had their biggest success with the single “Street Life.”
1988: Winnie Mandella’s home in Soweto, South Africa was destroyed by arson.
1990: DeAndre Cortez Way aka Soulja Boy was born. He turns 23 today.
1994: Patti LaBelle, Ruth Pointer, and Bette Midler performed “Over The Rainbow” at the Harbor Lights Pavillion in Boston during LaBelle’s current tour.
1995: Michael Jackson’s video “You Are Not Alone” was premiered.
1995: Jimi Hendrix’ father James Al Hendrix won back the rights to his son’s name, likeness, image and music after a number of companies had profited from them over the years.
2009: Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II aka Reverend Ike passed away. He was best known for the slogan “You can’t lose with the stuff I use!” His preaching is considered a form of prosperity theology. He was 74 years old.
29. July 29: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Dr. Bernard A. Harris
1885:The 1st National Convention of Black Women was held in Boston, MA.
1900:Jazz musician, arranger, bandleader and composer Don Redman was born. He passed in 1964.
1909:Chester Himes was born. He was a prolific writer whose career spanned 50 years. He passed away in 1984, aged 75.
1916:Jazz guitarist Charlie Christian was born. He was an important early performer on the electric guitar, and a key figure in the development of bebop and cool jazz. In the late 1930s he contracted tuberculosis and died in 1942 at age 25.
1919:The 1st Convention of the National Association of Black Musicians was held in Chicago with the 1st scholarship awarded to Marion Anderson.
1957:“Short Fat Fannie” by Larry Williams was the Number 1 R&B song this day.
1959:The Drifters recorded the samba-style “Dance with Me” heralding the Latin influence on Jay & the Americans, Tony Orlando & Dawn, and future Drifter hits.
1959: The Isley Brothers recorded the immortal “Shout.” The song was an adaptation of Jackie Wilson’s perpetual classic, “Lonely Teardrops.”
1965:The Supremes performed at the world-famous Copacabana in New York at the start of a three-week stay, portions of which would be recorded for a future album.
1971:Happy Birthday to actress Monica Calhoun who turns 43 today.
1973:Happy Birthday to singer Wanya Morris who turns 41 today.
1977:Happy Birthday to musician, songwriter and producer Danger Mouse who turns 37 today.
1978:Prince’s debut chart single, “Soft and Wet,” reached #12 R&B and #92 pop. He was named after the Prince Rogers Trio, a jazz ensemble, and was inspired to become a performer after seeing a James Brown concert in 1968, when he was ten. He went on to learn more than twenty instruments.
1978: Earth, Wind & Fire charted with the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life” from the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, reaching #1 R&B and #9 pop. The (often) ten-member group was considered one of the most exciting live performance acts of the ’70s and ’80s. The band also managed to have forty-eight R&B chart singles through 2004.
1987:Four Tops Day was declared by Michigan Governor James Blanchard to honor the quartet’s contributions to music. The group performed at the governor’s meeting with guest sax player, Arkansas governor and future president Bill Clinton, backing the act on-stage.
1988:The anti-apartheid film ‘Cry Freedom’ was banned by the South African government.
1991:Selected by NASA in January 1990, Dr. Bernard A. Harris became an astronaut on this day.
30. July 30: This Day in Black History
Featured: Carl Lewis
1936:Happy Birthday to one of the best blues guitarists of the ’50s, Buddy Guy who turns 78 today.
1949 Lucky Millender & His Orchestra charted with “Little Girl, Don’t Cry,” peaking at #15 R&B. Big John Greer did the vocals on what is now a $50 collectible.
1955 Chuck Berry’s classic first single “Maybellene” was released.
1955 Muddy Waters charted with “Mannish Boy,” reaching #5 R&B. The tune was actually the same as Bo Diddley’s “I’m A Man.”
1956:Happy Birthday to professor, attorney and an advocate for women’s rights Anita Hill who turns 58 today.
1957:Happy Birthday to former head coach (Bulls) and NBA player Bill Cartwright who turns 57 today.
1961:Happy Birthday to award winning actor Laurence Fishburne who turns 53 today.
1964:Happy Birthday to actress & producer Vivica A. Fox who turns 50 today.
1968:Happy Birthday to actor Terry Crews who turns 46 today.
1970:MC Trouble was a rap artist, and the first female rapper signed to Motown Records. She passed away in 1991, aged 21. LaTasha Sheron Rogers died from complications of a brain tumor.
1983: “She Works Hard For the Money” by Donna Summer was the number 1 R&B song this day.
1989 John Lee Hooker performed at the Newport Folk Festival’s Thirtieth Anniversary Show with Leon Redbone, Pete Seeger, and Theodore Bikel, among others.
1991 Arsenio Hall’s entire TV program was devoted to Patti LaBelle.
1993: Saxophonist Don Myrick was fatally shot at age 53. He was a member of Earth Wind & Fire’s original horn section.
31. July 31: This Day in Black History
Featured: Whitney M. Young, Jr.
1907:R&B & jump blues singer, drummer & bandleader Roy Milton was born. He passed away in 1983, aged 76.
1918:Jazz pianist, bandleader, arranger & composer Hank Jones was born. He passed away in 2010, aged 91.
1921: Civil Rights leader Whitney M. Young was born. He spent most of his career working to end employment discrimination in the U.S. He died of a heart attack at age 49.
1948: The only time in music history that two brothers charted on the same day with separate singles on separate labels happened when Joe Liggins jumped on the R&B hit parade with “Dripper’s Blues,” reaching #9, while Jimmy Liggins entered the charts with “Teardrop Blues,” rising to #7.
1954: The Castelles’ “Over A Cup Of Coffee” ($1,000) was released.
1956:Happy Birthday to Governor Deval Patrick who turns 58 today.
1961: The group that sang backup for most of Chubby Checker’s hits finally hit with one of their own when the Dreamlovers’ “When We Get Married” charted (#10 pop).
1962:Happy Birthday to actor Wesley Snipes who turns 52 today.
1965: Motown Records was in such a rush to get a new Four Tops single in the marketplace after the tremendous success of “I Can’t Help Myself” that they recorded the group on a Thursday singing “It’s The Same Old Song” and had the 45 in stores by next Monday.
1967: Janis Joplin played a benefit for the Free Clinic with Blue Cheer and the Charlatans (with Bill Cosby on drums).
1969:Happy Birthday to film, television & theater actor Shawn Michael Howard who turns 45 today.
1976: George Benson’s Breezin’ album reached #1, selling more than a million copies for the jazz-soul artist.
1976: Natalie Cole secretly married her producer, Marvin Yancy Jr., but they did not announce it until seven months later (on Valentine’s Day) when she also announced she was pregnant.
1976: “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine” Lou Rawls was the number 1 R&B song.
1982:Happy Birthday to NFL player Demarcus Ware who turns 32 today.
1986: With apparently no limits to his talent, Stevie Wonder was nominated for an Emmy for his performance on Bill Cosby’s The Cosby Show.
1988: Will Stargell became 200th man inducted into the Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
1996:Rapper Seagram Miller was fatally shot this day. He was 26 years old.