*******   Today in Black History –  September 20, 2017  *******   

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1664 - Maryland enacts the first anti-amalgamation law to prevent

        widespread intermarriage of English women and African

        American men. Other colonies passed similar laws:

        Virginia, 1691; Massachusetts 1705; North Carolina, 1715;

        South Carolina, 1717; Delaware, 1721; Pennsylvania, 1725.


1830 - The National Negro Convention, a group of 38 free African

        Americans from eight states, meets in Philadelphia,

        Pennsylvania, at the Bethel A.M.E. Church, with the

        express purpose of abolishing slavery and improving the     

        social status of African Americans. They will elect

        Richard Allen president and agree to boycott slave-

        produced goods.


1847 - William A. Leidesdorff is elected to San Francisco town

        council receiving the third highest vote. Leidesdorff,

        who was one of the first African American elected

        officials, becomes the town treasurer in 1848.


1850 - Slave trade is abolished in Washington, DC, but slavery

        will be allowed to continue until 1862.      


1890 - Ferdinand Joseph La Menthe ("Jelly Roll" Morton) is born

        in Gulfport (New Orleans), Louisiana. He will become a

        renown jazz pianist and composer. Morton, whose fabulous

        series of 1938 recordings for the Library of Congress are

        a gold mine of information about early jazz, was a

        complex man. Vain, ambitious, and given to exaggeration,

        he was a pool shark, hustler and gambler, as well as a

        brilliant pianist and composer. His greatest talent,

        perhaps was for organizing and arranging. The series of

        records he made with his "Red Hot Peppers" between 1926

        and 1928 stands, alongside King Oliver's as the crowning

        glory of the New Orleans tradition and one of the great

        achievements in Jazz. He will join the ancestors on

        July 10, 1941.


1915 - Hughie Lee-Smith is born in Eustis, Florida. He will

        become a painter known for such surrealistic landscapes

        as "Man with Balloons", "Man Standing on His Head" and

        "Big Brother". He will join the ancestors on February 23,



1943 - Sani Abacha is born in Kano, Nigeria. After being educated

        in his home state, will become a soldier and go to England

        for advanced military education. He will achieve many

        promotions as a soldier and by the mid-1980s, will enter

        Nigeria's military elite. In 1983 he will be among those

        who will overthrow Shehu Shagari, leader of the Second

        Republic, in a coup which will lead to the military rule of

        Muhammadu Buhari. In 1985, hw will participate in a second

        coup, which will replace Buhari with General Ibrahim

        Babangida. As head of state, Babangida will announce that

        free elections will be held in the early 1990s. In 1993,

        however, after Babangida nullifies the results of these

        belated free elections, he will stage a third coup and oust

        his former ally. His regime will be characterized by a

        concern with security that verges on paranoia. He will

        schedule elections for August, 1998, but months beforehand,

        all five legal parties nominate him as their "consensus

        candidate."  On June 8, 1998, he will join the ancestors when

        he succumbs unexpectedly to a heart attack.


1958 - Martin Luther King Jr. is stabbed in the chest by a deranged

        African American woman while he is autographing books in a

        Harlem department store. The woman is placed under mental



1962 - Mississippi's governor, Ross Barnett, personally refuses to

        admit James Meredith to University of Mississippi as its first

        African American student. (Meredith is later admitted.)


1962 - The Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) is banned in an

        order issued by Sir Edgar Whitehead, the prime minister of

        Southern Rhodesia.


1973 - Willie Mays announces his retirement from major league baseball

        at the end of the 1973 baseball season.


1979 - A bloodless coup overthrows Jean-Bedel Bokassa, self-styled

        head of the Central African Empire, in a French-supported coup

        while he is visiting Libya.


1984 - NBC-TV debuts "The Cosby Show". Bill Cosby plays Dr. Heathcliff

        (Cliff) Huxtable. His lovely wife, Clair, is played by Phylicia

        Rashad. The Huxtable kids were Sondra, age 20 (Sabrina Le Beauf),

        Denise, age 16 (Lisa Bonet), Theodore, age 14 (Malcom-Jamal

        Warner), Vanessa, age 8 (Tempestt Bledsoe) and Rudy, age 5 (Keshia

        Knight Pulliam). The premiere is the most watched show of the week

        and the show goes on to become an Emmy Award-winner and one of the

        most popular on television for eight years. The series, which had

        been rejected by other network television executives, will become

        one of the most popular in television history.


1987 - Alfre Woodard wins an Emmy for outstanding guest performance in the

        dramatic series "L.A. Law". It is her second Emmy award, her first

        having been for a supporting role in "Hill Street Blues" in 1984.


1987 - Walter Payton scores the NFL record 107th rushing touchdown.


1999 - Lawrence Russell Brewer becomes the second white supremacist to be

        convicted in the dragging death of James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, Texas.

        He will be later sentenced to death.


2015 - Viola Davis wins an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama

        Series (How to Get Away With Murder), becoming the first African

        American to do so.




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


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Last Updated Wednesday, September 20, 2017