In February, Jeff Johnson talked about Black History Month coming to a close. He said it shouldn’t be celebrated just once a year but everyday or every week. He asked that we set aside at least one evening or one day a week to talk about black history and to keep it alive. We plan to honor his request with a gallery every week this month to celebrate significant events, timelines, births and to remember those who have passed away.
1. October 6: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Fannie Lou Hamer
1917:Civil rights advocate Fannie Lou Hamer was born. Famous quote: “All my life I’ve been sick and tired. Now I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” She passed in 1977, aged 59.
1946:Milli Small was born. She is a Jamaican singer-songwriter.
1949:Engineer, author and inventor of the Super Soaker water gun, Lonnie Johnson was born. He is 64 today.
1949:Thomas McClary was born. He is a guitarist, singer, songwriter, and record producer best known as the co-founder and lead-guitarist of The Commodores.
1951:’Glory of Love’ by the Five Keys was the number one R&B song this day.
1955:Tony Dungy was born. He is a former football player and coach in the NFL. He turns 58 today.
1956:The Flamingos’ “The Vow” ($80), the Valentines’ “Nature’s Creation” ($100), and the El Venos’ “Now We’re Together” ($80) were released.
1958:B.B. King, known for his cutting-edge blues records, sang lead with a doo-wop group, the Vocal Chords, on the relatively sedate yet still hip single, “Please Accept My Love” released on this day. The single reached #9 on the R&B charts.
1959:Dennis Ray ‘Oil Can’ Boyd was born. He is a former starting pitcher in MLB. He turns 54 today.
1961:The Apollo Theater in New York billed tonight’s show as an all-girl revue featuring the Chantels, Big Maybelle, the Bobbettes, Tiny Topsy, and Gladys Knight.
1971:In North Carolina, the 1st legal interracial marriage took place. The couple, John A. Wilkinson & Lorraine Mary Turner was officially recognized by the State.
1977:Melinda Doolittle was born. She is a singer who finished as 3rd place finalist on the 6th season of American idol.
1981:Rick James peaked at #16 pop with the single “Super Freak (Part 1)” (#3 R&B). The song would become part of rap history when the bass line was lifted for MC Hammer’s multimillion seller, “U Can’t Touch This” in 1990.
1985:Sylvia Fowles was born. She is an Olympic Gold Medalist of the WNBA.
1991:The Scott Joplin House opened as a Missouri State Historic Site.
1991:Ray Charles: 50 Years in Music aired on FOX-TV. The musical tribute to the icon included duets with Michael Bolton (“Georgia On My Mind”), Willie Nelson (“Busted”), and Stevie Wonder (“Living For the City”), along with performances by James Ingram “(I Can’t Stop Loving You”), Michael McDonald (“I Got a Woman”), and Randy Travis (“Your Cheatin’ Hear”).
1994:Patti LaBelle debuted her own hometown night club, Chez LaBelle, in Philadelphia.
2000:Pop Staples of the Staples Singers was honored at the White House with the National Heritage Fellowship presented by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
2001:Mamie Galore Davis passed away at age 61. She was a Mississippi Delta Blues Singer.
2006:Buck O’Neil passed away. He was 1st baseman & manager in the Negro Leagues and became the first African American coach in Major League Baseball.He played a major role in establishing the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. He was 94.
2009:Iraq war veteran and NFL rookie linebacker Tony Fein collapsed and died of unexplained causes. He was 27 years old.
2. October 7: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Ben Ali, founder of Ben’s Chili Bowl
1877:Sargent C. Johnson was born. He was one of the first African-American artists working in California to achieve a national reputation. He was known for Abstract Figurative and Early Modern styles. He was a painter, potter, ceramist, printmaker, graphic artist, sculptor, and carver. He worked with a variety of media, including ceramic, clay, oil, stone, Terra-cotta, watercolor, and wood. He passed in 1967.
1931:Desmond TuTu was born and turns 82 today. He is a South African social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. He was the first black South African Archbishop of Cape Town and primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa
1934:Amiri Barka was born. He is a writer of poetry, drama, fiction, essays, and music criticism. He turns 79 today.
1941:Tony ‘Champagne’ Sylvester was born. He was a singer and founding member of the group The Main Ingredient. He passed in 2006.
1951:Táta Vega was born. She is a vocalist whose career spans theater, film, and a variety of musical genres.
1957:The Crests’ first single, “My Juanita,” was released. The record reached #86 pop, earning each of the five group members $17.50.
1957:The Penguins signed with Dootone after stints at Mercury and Atlantic had failed. meanwhile, the Harptones recorded “Cry Like I cried” and the Universals’ incredible “Again” and the Flamingos’ “My Faith in You were released.
1962:Little Richard performed on England’s Thank Your Lucky Stars TV show in his British singing debut.
1966:Smiley Lewis passed away of cancer at age 53. He was a New Orleans R&B musician.
1967:The Staples Singers charted with a cover of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” reaching #66 pop.
1967:Grammy Award winner Toni Braxton was born. She is a R&B singer-songwriter, pianist, musician, record producer, actress, television personality, and philanthropist. She turns 46 today.
1967:’Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher & Higher’ by Jackie Wilson was the number one song on this day.
1970:Nicole Ari Parker was born. She is a former fashion model turned actress.
1973:Priest Holmes was born. He is a former football player who played 11 seasons with the NFL.
1978:It was reported by Billboard magazine that Marvin Gaye had filed for bankruptcy twice during the year, after having been more than $7 million in the hole.
1978:Alesha Dixon was born. She is an English singer, dancer, rapper, model and television presenter. She found fame in the all-female R&B/garage trio Mis-Teeq.
1979:Chaka Khan’s ”I’m Every Woman” charted, rising to become her first of four R&B #1s.
1983:Steven Ellison aka Flying Lotus was born. He is a musician, record producer, filmmaker and rapper.
1992:Ed Blackwell passed away. He was a jazz drummer born in New Orleans and known for his extensive, influential work with Ornette Coleman.
1993:Toni Morrison became the first African American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.
1995:A one-time-only reunion of LaBelle on record resulted in the #1 dance chart hit “Turn It Out” from the film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.
2002:Don Wilson Varner passed away at age 59 of a heart attack. He as a soul, R&B singer and songwriter.
2006:Pioneering columnist & Journalism teacher George McElroy passed. He was the 1st black to ear a master’s degree in journalism from the Univ. of Missouri and the 1st black columnist to write for the Houston Post.
2008:DeWayne McKinney became a successful businessman in Hawaii after serving almost 20 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. He was killed in a moped accident. He was 47.
2009:The founder of Ben’s Chili Bowl diner Ben Ali passed away. He was 82 years old.
2012:Andrew Brimmer passed away at age 86. He was a former board chairman at Tuskegee University and the longest-serving board member (since 1965) when he retired in 2010. He was also the first black person to serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System since its founding in 1913.
2012:Mervyn M. Dymally passed away at age 86. He was a one-time janitor who rose to become the first black to serve in the California Senate (66-74) and the state’s only black lieutenant governor (74-80).
3. October 8: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
1893:Clarence Williams was born. He was a jazz pianist, composer, promoter, vocalist, theatrical producer and publisher. He passed in 1965, aged 72.
1894:Norbert Rillieux passed away. He was an inventor of the multiple-effect vacuum evaporator, which revolutionized the processing of sugar.
1901:The Harlem Branch of the YMCA was established.
1930:Faith Ringgold was born. She is an artist best known for her painted story quilts. She turns 83 today.
1934:Singer, Doc Green of The Drifters fame was born. He passed away in 1989, age 54 of cancer.
1940:Fred Cash was born. He is a singer and was a member of the Impressions.
1941:Civil Rights activist and minister Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. was born.
1950:Robert ‘Kool’ Bell was born. He is a singer, songwriter, bassist and founding member of the band Kool & the Gang.
1962:Sam Cooke and Little Richard toured England. Sam would soon tour the U.S. with Jackie Wilson.
1962:Solomon Linda passed away. He was a South African Zulu musician, singer and composer who wrote the song “Mbube” which later became the popular music success “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”
1967:Teddy Riley was born. He is a Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, musician and record producer.
1968:Corey Penn aka CL Smooth was born. He is a rapper and 1/2 the duo Pete Rock & CL Smooth.
1977:Patti LaBelle had her first R&B solo chart single with “Joy To Have Your Love” (#31). She would have thirty-five more solo R&B hits through 1998.
1977:“It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me” by Barry White was the number one R&B song this day.
1977:The Emotions “Don’t Ask My Neighbors” (#7 R&B, #44 pop), the follow-up to their huge hit “Best Of my Love” (#1 R&B and pop). It was the 17TH of 30 R&B hits they would have between 1969 and 1984.
1980:Nick Cannon was born. he is a comedian, actor, television host, rapper and radio personality.
1985:Actress Kimberly Williams was born.
1988:Ziggy Marley & the Wailers tumbled onto the R&B hit list with “Tumblin’ Down,” reaching #1.
1989:Chuck Berry received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on the same day that the legend’s movie/biography Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll premiered.
1992:The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Derek Walcott, a writer & poet.
1993:Darrell Wallace, Jr. was born. He is a professional stock car racing driver.
1994:Fats Domino and Michael Bolton sang “Jailhouse Rock” at the Elvis Aaron Presley: The Tribute concert at the Pyramid Arena in Memphis, TN.
1995:Boyz II Men performed at Camden Gardens Yards in Baltimore, MD, home of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team, as part of the welcoming ceremonies for Pope John Paul II, who was there to celebrate Mass with more than 50,000 Catholics.
1996:Micheal Jackson was denied a permit to hold a concert in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia by the local government, which refused because of the “effect it would have on the young.” what?
2004:Wangari Maathai, an ecologist from Kenya became the 1st African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
2009:Blues guitarist, singer and songwriter Abu Talib passed away at age 70. He recorded with Ray Charles & Little Walter.
2010:Dancer, choreographer, and actor Reggie Leon Battise passed away at age 55. He was also a member of the nostalgia rock group Sha Na Na for more than 20 years. He died of prostate cancer.
2010:Grammy-winning singer known as the “Queen of Gospel” Albertina Walker passed away. She was 81 years old.
4. October 9: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Nona Hendryx
1806: Benjamin Banneker passed away, age 74. He was an astronomer, mathematician, surveyor, farmer and author of the Almanac.
1895:Eugene Bullard was born. He was the first African-American military pilot and his life has been surrounded by many legends. He was one of only two black combat pilots in World War I. His was dubbed the Black Swallow of Death. He passed in 1961.
1900:Elmer Snowden was born. He was a jazz banjo/guitar play. He contributed greatly to jazz in its early days as both a player and a bandleader, and is responsible for launching the careers of many top musicians. He passed in 1973, aged 72.
1939:O.V. Wright was born. He was a singer, songwriter, musician, producer and sideman. He died of a heart attack in 1980.
1944:Nona Hendryx turns 69 today. She is a vocalist, record producer, songwriter, musician, author, and actress.
1952:The Five Keys recorded one of their most beautiful ballads, “Someday Sweetheart.”
1954:The Drifters’ “Someday You’ll Want Me To Want You” was issued, as was the Orioles’ “If You Believe.”
1954:Shirley Gunter & the Queens, a Los Angeles female quartet, hit the R&B singles survey with ”Oop Shoop.”
1960:Kenny Garrett turns 53 today. He is a Grammy Award-winning post bop jazz saxophonist and flautist who gained fame in his youth as a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra and of Miles Davis’s band.
1961:’Hit the Road Jack’ by Ray Charles was the number one song on this day.
1964:The Supremes made their first visit to England and performed on the British TV show Ready, Steady, Go!
1974:Frank Robinson became the 1st black Major League Baseball Manager.
1976:Warm-voiced West Indian vocalist Joan Armatrading hit the album Top 200 for the first time with her self-titled LP, eventually reaching #67.
1982:Diana Ross charted with “Muscles,” reaching #4 R&B and #10 pop. The song was written and produced by Michael Jackson .
1984:W. Wilson Goode became the first African American mayor of Philadelphia.
1991:Actor of film and television, Thalmus Rasulala, died of a heart attack. He was 51 years old.
1999:Milt Jackson passed away at age 76. He was a fustian, composer and bandleader.
2003:Protesters gathered to demonstrate outside an Urban Outfitters store in Philadelphia regarding a board game ‘Ghettopoly’ being sold at the store.
5. October 10: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Teresa Graves
1914:R&B pioneer Ivory Joe Hunter was born. He was a singer, songwriter and pianist. He passed in 1974.
1915:Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison was born. He was a jazz trumpeter and member of the Count Basie Orchestra. He passed in 1999, aged 83.
1917:Thelonious Monk was born. He was a jazz pianist and composer, considered one of the giants of American music. He passed in 1982, aged 64.
1926:Oscar Brown, Jr. was born. He was a singer, songwriter, playwright, poet, civil rights activist and actor. He passed in 2005, aged 78.
1929:Ed Blackwell was born. He was a jazz drummer born in New Orleans and known for his extensive, influential work with Ornette Coleman. He passed in 1992, aged 62.
1929:Elijah J. McCoy passed away. He was a black Canadian-American inventor and engineer, who was notable for his 57 U.S. patents, most to do with lubrication of steam engines.
1935:Porgy & Bess opened on Broadway. This was the 1st American folk opera about the lives of Black Americans.
1946:Ben Vereen He is an actor, dancer and singer of film, television and stage.
1953:’Shake a Hand’ by Faye Adams was the number one R&B song this day.
1958:The Dells opened a weeklong engagement headlining at New York’s Apollo Theater.
1962:Little Richard & Sam Cooke performed at the Granada Theater in Mansfield during their tour of England.
1967:Sargent C. Johnson passed away. He was one of the first African-American artists working in California to achieve a national reputation. He was known for Abstract Figurative and Early Modern styles. He was a painter, potter, ceramist, printmaker, graphic artist, sculptor, and carver. He worked with a variety of media, including ceramic, clay, oil, stone, terra-cotta, watercolor, and wood.
1972:The O’Jays’ ‘Backstabbers’ reached #3 in America while becoming their first of nine hits in England.
1978:Ralph Metcalfe passed away. He was a was a track & field sprinter and politician. He jointly held the world record in the 100-meter dash and placed second to Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He was 68.
1979:Mya turns 34 today. She is a Singer-songwriter, record producer, dancer, designer and actress.
1992:HBO was reported to have paid $20 million for the rights to air Michael Jackson’s recent performance in Bucharest, Romania. The show was called From Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour.
1991:Thanks to their 1977 hit ‘Brick House’ the Commodores were inducted into the national Association of Brick Distributors Brick Hall of Fame in New York.
1992:Shabba Ranks charted with ‘Slow & Sexy’ reaching number 10 R&B.
2002:Teresa Graves’ passed away at age 54. She was the first African American woman to play the lead in a police film and TV show. Her home caught fire, she was rushed to the hospital where she later died.
2003:A monument dedicated to three lynched black men; Elmer Jackson, Elias Clayton and Issac McGhie was unveiled in Duluth, Mr.
2008:Alton Ellis passed away at age 70. He was a Jamaican reggae music pioneer, known as “the Godfather of rocksteady,” who enjoyed a career revival in recent years after a string of hits in the ’60s.
2010:Solomon Burke passed away at age 70. He was a larger-than-life “King of Rock & Soul,” whose songs blended soul, gospel, country, and rhythm and blues.
2012:Actor Leo O’Brien passed away at age 41. He appeared in the cult classic ‘The Last Dragon’ in 1985.
6. October 12: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Dick Gregory
1908:Ann Petry was born. She was an author who became the first black woman writer with book sales topping a million copies for her novel. She passed in 1997, aged 89.
1916:Alice Childress was born. she was an award winning playwright, author and actress. She passed in 1994, aged 77.
1919:Dorie Miller as born. He was the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross for his bravery during the attack on Pearl Harbor. He died at age 24 when a Japanese submarine torpedoed the ship he and 900 sailors were on. There were 272 survivors.
1925:Essie Mae Washington-Williams was born. She was a writer, teacher and the oldest child of Strom Thurmond. She passed away this past February, aged 87.
1929:Napoleon ‘Nappy’ Brown was born. He was a singer, songwriter, musician and a Blues Hall of Famer. He passed in 2008, aged 78.
1931:The Mills Brothers recorded “Tiger Rag,” their debut single and the and the first of five #1 hits.
1932:Dick Gregory turns 81 today. He is a comedian, social activist, social critic, writer, and entrepreneur.
1934:James ‘Sugar Boy’ Crawford was born. He was a NOLA R&B musician and the author of ‘Jock-A-Mo’ a 1954 hit. He passed in 2012, aged 77.
1935:Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, musician Sam Moore turns 78 today. He was 1/2 the duo Sam & Dave.
1942:Melvin Franklin was born. He is a singer and was a member of The Temptations. He passed in 1995, aged 52.
1956: An incredible all-group show featuring the Flamingos, the Channels, the Velours, the Solitaires, the Dells, and the Pearls was held at the Apollo Theater.
1957: While on a tour of Australia, Little Richard renounced rock ‘n’ roll and is said to have embraced God. He later revealed that when an engine on a plane he was flying on caught fire, he vowed that if he landed safely he would change his ways.
1959:‘Sea of Love’ by Phil Phillips with the Twilights was the number on R&B song this day.
1962: The Soul Stirrers were the featured act at an all-gospel show at New York’s Apollo Theater.
1966: The Jimi Hendrix Experience was formed in London.
1974: Gladys Knight & the pips charted with “I Feel a Son In My Heart,” written and produced by Tony Camillo. The song reached #1 R&B and #21 pop, earning another gold disc for the Atlanta quartet.
1977:Rapper Jay Wayne Jenkins aka Young Jeezy turns 36 today.
1986:Marcus T. Paulk turns 27 today. He is an actor, rapper and dancer.
1994: Seal performed at Toad’s Place in New Haven, CT.
1996: Rapper/songwriter/producer Puff Daddy(Sean “Puffy” Combs) made his R&B chart debut with “No Time,” reaching #9 and #18 pop. (The record was billed “Lil’ Kim featuring Puff Daddy”). Combs would later form the successful Bad Boy record label and go on to have forty-two R&B hits through 2004.
1999:Basketball Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain passed away at age 63. He is widely considered one of the greatest and most dominant players in NBA history.
2005:C. Deloris Tucker passed away, aged 78. She was a politician and civil rights activist best known for her participation in the Civil Rights Movement and her stance against gangsta rap music.
2010:Wood Peoples passed away at age 67. He was a former Pro Bowl offensive lineman who played for the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles.
2011:Vic Miles passed away at age 79. He was a reporter and anchorman for WCBS-TV/Channel 2 in New York for 24 years