*******  Today in Black History –  July 23, 2016  *******   

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1891 - Louis Tompkins Wright is born in LaGrange, Georgia.  He

        will graduate from Harvard Medical School in 1915, and

        subsequently serve in World War I as an officer in the

        United States Army Medical Corps.  He will become the

        first African American doctor to be appointed to the

        staff of a New York City municipal hospital in 1919 when

        he begins seeing patients at the Harlem Hospital out-

        patient clinic.  He will be, at one point, the only

        African American member of the American College of

        Surgeons.  He will be a brilliant medical doctor and

        specialist in fractures and head injuries and will make

        strides in multiple directions in the field of medicine.

        His greatest accomplishments will include the perfection

        of an intradermal smallpox vaccination, the use of

        Aureomycin for lymphogranuloma venereum (a viral venereal

        disease), the treatment of humans with antibiotic

        chlortetracycline, the invention of a brace to cushion

        head and neck injuries, a blade plate for the treatment

        of knee fractures, and drug therapy for cancer. From 1948

        to 1952, he will have eighty-nine scientific publications

        to his credit. With grants from       the National Cancer

        Institute and Damon Runyon Fund, he will found the Harlem

        Hospital Cancer Research Foundation where he will deal

        with the effectiveness of chemotherapeutic agents. He will

        publish fifteen papers dealing with his investigation of

        the effects of cancer-fighting drugs. Dr. Wright will also

        be an active civil rights advocate and leading member of

        the NAACP which will recognize him as a champion of human

        rights with the Spingarn Medal in 1940. Harlem Hospital

        will rename its library after him shortly before he joins

        the ancestors on October 8, 1952, after succumbing to a

        heart attack.


1892 - Lij Tafari Makonnen is born in Ejarsa Goro, Ethiopia. When

        Menilek II's daughter becomes empress in 1917, Ras (Prince)

        Tafari will be named regent and heir apparent to the throne.

        In 1923 he will have a conspicuous success in the admission

        of Ethiopia to the League of Nations. In the following year

        he will visit Rome, Paris, and London, becoming the first

        Ethiopian ruler ever to go abroad. In 1928 he will assume

        the title of negus (“king”), and two years later, when

        Zauditu joins the ancestors, he will be crowned emperor

        (Nov. 2, 1930) and take the name of Haile Selassie I

        (“Might of the Trinity”). In 1931 he will promulgate a new

        constitution, which strictly limits the powers of

        Parliament. From the late 1920s on, Haile Selassie in

        effect will be the Ethiopian government, and, by

        establishing provincial schools, strengthening the police

        forces, and progressively outlawing feudal taxation, he

        will seek to both help his people and increase the

        authority of the central government. When Italy invades

        Ethiopia in 1935, he will lead the resistance, but in May

        1936 he will be forced into exile. He will appeal for help

        from the League of Nations in a memorable speech that he

        delivers to that body in Geneva on June 30, 1936. With the

        advent of World War II, he will secure British assistance

        in forming an army of Ethiopian exiles in the Sudan.

        British and Ethiopian forces will invade Ethiopia in

        January 1941 and recapture Addis Ababa several months

        later. Although he will be reinstated as emperor, he will

        have to recreate the authority he had previously exercised.

        He will again implement social, economic, and educational

        reforms in an attempt to modernize Ethiopian government

        and society on a slow and gradual basis. The Ethiopian

        government will continue to be largely the expression of

        his personal authority. In 1955 he will grant a new

        constitution giving him as much power as the previous one.

        Overt opposition to his rule will surface in December 1960,

        when a dissident wing of the army secures control of Addis

        Ababa and is dislodged only after a sharp engagement with

        loyalist elements. He will play a very important role in

        the establishment of the Organization of African Unity in

        1963. His rule in Ethiopia will continue until 1974, at

        which time famine, worsening unemployment, and the

        political stagnation of his government prompts segments of

        the army to mutiny. They will depose him and establish a

        provisional military government that espouses Marxist

        ideologies. He will be kept under house arrest in his own

        palace, where he will spend the remainder of his life.

        Official sources at the time will attribute his death to

        natural causes, but evidence will later emerge suggesting

        that he had been strangled on the orders of the military

        government. He will be regarded as the Messiah of the

        African ace by the Rastafarian movement. He will join the

        ancestors on August 26, 1975.


1900 - The Pan-African Congress meets in London, England.  Among

        the leaders of the Congress are H. Sylvester Williams, a

        West Indian Lawyer with a London practice, W.E.B. Du Bois,

        and Bishop Alexander Walters.


1920 - British East Africa is renamed Kenya.


1947 - Spencer Christian is born in Charles City, Virginia. He

        will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English

        and a minor in journalism from Hampton University. He will

        teach English at the Stony Brook School in Long Island,

        New York, for one year before launching his television

        career. He will begin a broadcasting career in 1971 in

        Richmond, Virginia, as a news reporter, covering state and

        local politics, the public school system, and landmark

        cases in the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He will

        become a weathercaster in Baltimore, Maryland from 1975-

        1977, where he will also host "Spencer's World," a weekly

        half-hour talk show. He will go       on to become weather

        forecaster for "Good Morning America" for thirteen years

        and sportscaster and weatherman for WABC-TV in New York

        for nine years. He will then join the ABC7 News team in

        San Francisco as weather anchor in 1999. He is the author

        of a series of children's books under the general heading

        "Spencer Christian's World of Wonders." The first four

        books are titled: "Can It Really Rain Frogs?," "Shake,

        Rattle, and Roll," "What Makes the Grand Canyon Grand?,"

        and "Is There a Dinosaur in Your Backyard?." He will be

        inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame in

        April 1993, and named Virginian of the Year by the

        Virginia Press Association in July, 1993.


1948 - Progressive party convention, meeting in Philadelphia,

        nominates Henry Wallace for President.  The New Party

        makes a major effort to attract African Americans. 

        Approximately 150 African American delegates and

        alternates attend the convention. The keynote speaker is

        Charles P. Howard, and attorney, publisher and former

        Republican from Des Moines, Iowa.  Thirty-seven African

        Americans will run for state and local offices on the

        party ticket. Ten Blacks will run for Congress.  The

        party attracts few Black voters, but forces the

        Democratic party to make serious gestures to hold the

        African American vote.


1967 - Forty-three persons are killed in a racially motivated

        disturbance in Detroit, Michigan. Federal troops are

        called out for the first time since the Detroit riot of

        1943, to quell the largest racial rebellion in a U.S.

        city in the twentieth century.  More than two thousand

        persons are injured and some five thousand are arrested.

        Police report 1,442 fires. Disturbances will spread to

        other Michigan cities.


1968 - An alleged black radical ambush of a Cleveland police

        detail sparks two days of disturbances that will result

        in 11 deaths, including three policemen.  The Ohio

        National Guard will be mobilized to control the



1984 - Vanessa Williams, the first African American Miss America,

        relinquishes her crown after publication of nude

        photographs taken before her entry in the pageant. 

        Replacing her is Suzette Charles, first runner-up in the



1987 - Billy Williams is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame

        in Cooperstown, New York.




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

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Last Updated Saturday, July 23, 2016