*******  Today in Black History –  February 1, 2015  *******   

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1810 - Charles Lenox Remond is born in Salem, Massachusetts to free

        parents.  He will become one of the most prominent of the

        African American abolitionist crusaders. Charles Remond will

        begin his activism in opposition to slavery while in his

        twenties as an orator speaking at public gatherings and

        conferences in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New York

        and Pennsylvania. In 1838 the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery

        Society, will choose him as one of its agents. As a delegate

        from the American Anti-Slavery Society, he will go with William

        Lloyd Garrison to the World's Anti-Slavery Convention in London

        in 1840. He will have a reputation as an eloquent lecturer and

        reported to be the first Black public speaker on abolition.

        He will recruit Black soldiers in Massachusetts for the Union

        Army during the Civil War, particularly for the famed 54th and

        55th Massachusetts Infantry. He will also be active in recruiting

        for the U.S. Colored Troops. After the Civil War ends, he will

        work as a clerk in the Boston Customs House, and as a street lamp

        inspector. He will later purchase a farm in South Reading (now

        Wakefield), Massachusetts. He will join the ancestors on December

        22, 1873.


1810 - The first insurance company managed by African Americans, the

        American Insurance Company of Philadelphia, is established.


1833 - Henry McNeal Turner is born in Newberry Courthouse, South Carolina. 

        He will become one of the first Bishops in the African American

        Episcopal Church.  He will also be an army chaplain, political

        organizer, magazine editor, and college chancellor. He will be

        inspired by a Methodist revival and swear to become a pastor. In

        1858, he will transfer his membership to the African Methodist

        Church and study the classics, Hebrew and divinity at Trinity

        College. In 1880, he will become a bishop in the African Methodist

        Episcopal Church. During the American Civil War, he will be

        appointed a Chaplain to one of the first Federal regiments of Black

        troops (Company B of the First United States Colored Troops). He

        will be the first of only 14 Black Chaplains to be appointed during

        the Civil War. This appointment will come directly from President

        Abraham Lincoln in 1863. He will also be appointed by President

        Andrew Johnson to work with the Freedman's Bureau in Georgia during

        Reconstruction. Following the Civil War, he will become steadily

        more disenchanted with the lack of progress in the status of the

        country's African Americans. During this time, he will move to the

        state of Georgia. It is here that he will become involved in Radical

        Republican politics. He will help found the Republican Party of

        Georgia. After attempts to overcome certain Supreme Court decisions,

        he will become disgusted and end his attempts to bring equality to

        the United States. Instead, he will become a proponent of the "back

        to Africa" and "African American colonization" movements. He will

        travel to Africa and be impressed by the differences in the attitude

        of Africans who have never known the degradation of slavery. He will

        organize four annual conferences in Africa. He will write extensively

        about the Civil war and about the condition of his parishioners. He

        will join the ancestors while visiting Windsor, Ontario on May 15, 1915.

        He will be highly regarded in the Afro-American and the Afro-Canadian

        community and a large number of churches will be named in his honor.

        He will join the ancestors on May 8, 1915 while visiting Windsor,

        Ontario, Canada.


1865 - John S. Rock becomes the first African American attorney

        allowed to practice before the United States Supreme Court.

        Due to his poor health, he never actually argued a case

        before the court, succumbing to tuberculosis at the age of



1870 - Jonathan Jasper Wright is elected to the South Carolina

        Supreme Court. He is the first African American to hold a

        major judicial position.


1871 - Jefferson Franklin Long, Republican congressman from Georgia,

        makes the first speech by an African American on the floor

        of Congress.  His text is to oppose leniency to former      



1902 - Langston Hughes is born in Joplin, Missouri.  He will be

        known as one of the most prolific American poets of the

        20th century and a leading voice of the Harlem Renaissance.

        In addition to his poetry,  Hughes will achieve success as

        an anthologist and juvenile author, write plays and

        librettos, found theater groups, and be a widely read

        columnist and humorist.  Among his honors will be the

        NAACP's Spingarn Medal in 1960. He will join the ancestors

        on May 22, 1967.


1938 - Sherman Hemsley is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He

        will become an actor and will known for his roles in the TV

        shows "All in the Family," "The Jeffersons," and "Amen." He

        will join the ancestors on July 24, 2012.


1948 - James Ambrose Johnson, Jr. is born in Buffalo, New York.  He

        will become a singer, songwriter, producer, and musician

        working under the name "Rick James."  He will be best known

        for his recording of "Super Freak" and produce Teena Marie,

        the gold-certified Mary Jane Girls, Eddie Murphy, and others.

        He will join the ancestors on August 6, 2004.


1957 - P.H. Young becomes the first African American pilot, flying on

        an United States scheduled passenger airline.


1960 - Four African American college students from North Carolina A&T

        College in Greensboro, North Carolina sit at a "whites-only"

        Woolworth's lunch counter and refuse to leave when denied

        service, beginning a sit-in protest.


1963 - Nyasaland (now Malawi) becomes a self-governing nation.


1965 - More than seven hundred demonstrators, including Dr. Martin

        Luther King Jr., are arrested in Selma, Alabama.


1965 - Ruby Dee becomes the first African American thespian to play a

        major role at the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford,



1978 - The first stamp of the United States Postal Service's Black

        Heritage USA series honors Harriet Tubman, famed abolitionist

        and "conductor" on the  Underground Railroad.


1982 - The nations of Senegal & Gambia form a loose confederation

        named Senegambia.


1991 - President F.W. de Klerk of South Africa, states that he will

        repeal all apartheid laws.


1992 - Barry Bonds signs baseball's highest single year contract to

        date ($4.7 million).


1997 - BET Holdings and Encore Media Corp. launch BET Movie/Starz,

        the first 24 hour African American movie channel.


2003 - Lt. Colonel Michael P. Anderson, NASA astronaut, joins the

        ancestors at the age of 43, when the Space Shuttle Columbia

        explodes during re-entry.


2003 - Ramon "Mongo" Santamaria, joins the ancestors in Miami,

        Florida from stroke complications at the age of 85. He had

        been considered one of the most influential percussionists of

        his generation.


2012 - Don Cornelius, the founder of the "Soul Train" television show,

        joins the ancestors, succumbing to an apparent self-inflicted

        gunshot wound to his head, at the age of 75.





The source for these facts are "Encyclopedia Britannica,

"InfoBeat," "I, Too, Sing America - The African American

Book of Days," "Before the Mayflower", "Black Firsts" and 

independent research by Rene’ A. Perry.




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