*******  Today in Black History –  June 26, 2016  *******   

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1893 - Lee Conley Bradley is born in Scott, Mississippi. He

        will become a prolific American blues singer, songwriter

        and guitarist, better known as "Big Bill" Broonzy. His

        career will begin in the 1920s when he plays country

        blues to mostly African American audiences. Through the

        1930s and 1940s he will successfully navigate a

        transition in style to a more urban blues sound popular

        with working-class African American audiences. In the

        1950s a return to his traditional folk-blues roots will

        make him one of the leading figures of the emerging

        American folk music revival and an international star.

        His long and varied career will mark him as one of the

        key figures in the development of blues music in the

        20th century. He will copyright more than 300 songs

        during his lifetime, including both adaptations of

        traditional folk songs and original blues songs. As a

        blues composer, he will be unique in that his

        compositions reflect the many vantage points of his

        rural-to-urban experiences. He will join the ancestors

        on August 14, 1958.


1894 - The American Railway Union, led by Eugene Debs, calls

        a general strike in sympathy with Pullman workers.


1934 - W.E.B. Du Bois resigns from the NAACP over the

        association's policies and strategies.  Du Bois had

        been editor of the association's "Crisis" magazine and

        director of publicity and research.  The resignation

        brings control of the magazine under the leadership of

        chief executive Walter White and its new editor and

        NAACP assistant secretary, Roy Wilkins.


1938 - James Weldon Johnson, joins the ancestors after

        succumbing to injuries received in an automobile

        accident near his summer home in Wiscosset, Maine.


1938 - Billy Davis Jr. is born in St. Louis, Missouri. He will

        join the 5th Dimension, then called the Versatiles, in

        1966. The group's first big hit will be with 1967's "Up,

        Up and Away", written by Jimmy Webb. The song will win

        four 1968 Grammy Awards and be the title track to the 5th

        Dimension's first hit LP. A year later the group will

        record Laura Nyro's "Stoned Soul Picnic". A medley of

        "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" (from the musical Hair)

        will reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in April

        to May 1969 and will win the Grammy for Record of the

        Year. The group's recording of Nyro's "Wedding Bell

        Blues" will top the Hot 100 in November 1969. He will

        sing the male lead on the group's singles, "Worst That

        Could Happen", "A Change Is Gonna Come/People Got To Be

        Free", and "I’ll Be Lovin' You Forever". In 1975, he and

        his wife, Marilyn McCoo, will leave the 5th Dimension and

        begin performing as a duo. Landing a contract with ABC

        Records, they will record their 1976 debut album, "I Hope

        We Get to Love in Time." The first single was the title

        track, which will be a mid-chart hit. Their follow up,

        "You Don't Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show)", will be

        an even bigger hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot

        100 in January 1977. He and McCoo will be awarded a gold

        single and a gold album as well as a Grammy Award for Best

        Rhythm & Blues Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

        They will become the first African American married couple

        to host a network television program, "The Marilyn McCoo &

        Billy Davis Jr. Show," on CBS in Summer 1977. They will

        release one more album on ABC in 1978, produced by Frank

        Wilson and containing the popular ballad, "My Reason To Be"

        by songwriters Judy Wieder and John Footman. The pair will

        sign with CBS Records the following year and release their

        last album as a duo until October 2008, when the pair

        releases "The Many Faces of Love," a collection of hit

        songs from the 1960s and 1970s. The album "Marilyn and

        Billy" will feature the track "Saving All My Love for You",

        later sung by Whitney Houston, as well as a disco hit,

        "Shine On Silver Moon." The pair will decide to go solo

        professionally in the early 1980s. In 1982 he will record

        a gospel album, "Let Me Have A Dream," with Rev. James

        Cleveland. He will follow up that project with a guest

        appearance on a jazz/pop album by Scott Scheer.


1950 - The American Medical Association seats the first

        African American delegates at its convention.


1952 - The African National Congress begins its Defiance of

        Unjust Laws campaign in South Africa.


1956 - Jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown joins the ancestors

        after being killed in an auto accident on the

        Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Founder of the Brown-Roach

        Quintet with Max Roach two years earlier, Brown had

        built a reputation as one of the finest jazz

        trumpeters of his day as a major proponent of hard bop.


1959 - Prince Edward County, Virginia, abandons (closes) the

        public school system in an attempt to prevent school



1959 - Floyd Paterson loses the Heavyweight Boxing

        Championship to Ingemar Johansson of Sweden.


1966 - The 220-mile voter registration march from Memphis,

        Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi ends with a rally of

        some thirty thousand at the Mississippi state capitol.


1970 - Frank Robinson hits 2 grand slams as Baltimore Orioles

        beat the Washington Senators 12-2.


1960 - Madagascar becomes independent from France.


1978 - "Girl," a single-sentence two page short story of a

        mother's preachy advice to her daughter, appears in the

        "New Yorker" magazine. Written by Jamaica Kincaid, the

        story will make her a literary celebrity and will be

        followed by short story collections and the novels

        "Annie John" and "Lucy".


1979 - Muhammad Ali announces that he was retiring as world

        heavyweight boxing champion. The 37-year-old fighter

        said, "Everything gets old, and you can't go on like

        years ago." The "Float like a butterfly, sting like a

        bee" act was no more.


1990 - African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela

        addresses the U.S. Congress, asking for "material

        resources" to hasten the end of white-led rule in South



1995 - During a state visit to Ethiopia, Egyptian President

        Hosni Mubarak escapes an attempt on his life.




The source for these facts are "Encyclopedia Britannica,

"Before the Mayflower", "Black Firsts" and independent

research by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry, Sr.




Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture - located in Harlem, New York City

Black History - Black History Links from the Information Man

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National Civil Rights Museum - located in Memphis, Tennessee

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History  - located in Detroit, Michigan

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture - located in Baltimore, Maryland

National Museum of African American History and Culture - located in Washington, DC


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Last Updated Sunday, June 26, 2016