******* Today in Black History – September 20, 2017 *******
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-
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
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.
EVERY MONTH SHOULD BE BLACK HISTORY MONTH! CHECK OUT THESE OTHER BLACK HISTORY SITES ON THE WEB
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture - located in Harlem, New York City
Black History - Black History Links from the Information Man
Black History - Afro-American Newspapers
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 Wednesday, September 20, 2017