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

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1799 - Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin is born in Moscow, Russia. His

        maternal great grandfather, Abram Gannibal, will be brought over

        as a slave from Africa and will rise to become an aristocrat. He

        will publish his first poem in the journal, "The Messenger of

        Europe" in 1814, at the age of fifteen, and will be widely

        recognized by the literary establishment by the time of his

        graduation from the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum. While under the strict

        surveillance of the Tsar's political police and unable to publish,

        He will write his most famous play, the drama "Boris Godunov." His

        novel in verse, "Eugene Onegin," will be  serialized between 1825

        and 1832. Easily offended about his honor, he will fight as many

        as twenty-nine duels, and will be fatally wounded in such an

        encounter with Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d'Anthès. He had

        accused D'Anthès, a French officer serving with the Chevalier

        Guard Regiment, of attempting to seduce the poet's wife, Natalya

        Pushkina. He will join the ancestors on January 29, 1837. Today,

        he is regarded as the Father of Russian Literature.


1899 - Aaron Douglas is born in Topeka, Kansas. He will become a world-

        renowned painter and muralist whose work will embrace the African

        ancestral arts and express pride in the African American image at

        a time when doing so was highly unpopular.  His most famous works

        will be "Aspects of Negro Life," "Let My People Go," "Judgment Day"

        and "Building More Stately Mansions." He will join the ancestors

        on February 3, 1979.


1907 - Elizabeth Keckley, seamstress and confidante to Mary Todd Lincoln,

        joins the ancestors after succumbing to a paralytic stroke in

        Washington, DC.  Keckley was the author of "Behind the Scenes or

        Thirty Years a Slave," and "Four Years in the White House" (1868),

        one of the first insider accounts of a White House Presidency.


1926 - Miles (Dewey) Davis is born in Alton, Illinois.  For over four decades,

        he will be one of the most innovative and influential jazz trumpeters,

        known for his hard bop and jazz and fusion accomplishments.  Most

        noted for the albums "Sketches of Spain," "Miles Smiles," and "Kind of

        Blue," he will also win three Grammy awards for his albums "We Want

        Miles," "Decoy," and "Tutu" and be awarded the French Legion d'Honneur

        in 1991. He will join the ancestors on September 28, 1991, but

        his music, style, and collaborators all continue to influence not

        only jazz music, but popular culture as well.


1943 - President Edwin Barclay of Liberia, becomes the first African president

        to pay an official visit to an American president, arriving at the

        White House.


1949 - Philip Michael Thomas is born in Columbus Ohio.  He will become an

        actor and will be best known for his role in the TV series, "Miami

        Vice."  He also will have roles in the movies "Homeboy," "Stigma,"

        "Streetfight," "Black Fist," "Miami Vice-The Movie," "Miami Vice 2 -

        The Prodigal Son," "A Fight For Jenny,"  "Death Drug," "A Little Piece

        Of Sunshine," "Sparkle," and "The Wizard of Speed and Time." 


1949 - Pamela Suzette "Pam" Grier is born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. 

        She will be raised on military bases in England and Germany. During

        her teen years the family will settle in Denver, Colorado, where at

        the age of 18, Grier entered the Miss Colorado Universe pageant.

        Named first runner-up, she attracted the attention of Hollywood

        agent David Baumgarten, who signed her to a contract. She will

        move to Hollywood and after struggling for a few years will

        become the reigning queen of the 1970s blaxploitation genre. She

        will be best known for her 1974 role as "Foxy Brown." She will

        make a comback in 1988 in the Steven Segal movie "Above the Law,"

        and will star in a variety of major films through year 2000.


1961 - The Freedom Ride Coordinating Committee is established in Atlanta,



1968 - Ruth A. Lucas is promoted to Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, the first

        African American woman to achieve this rank.


1968 - Arthur Ashe wins the National Men's Singles in the U.S. Lawn Tennis

        Association Open Tournament, becoming the first African American male

        to win a major tennis title.


1969 - The National Black Economic Development Conference adopts a manifesto

        in a Detroit meeting, calling for $500 Million in reparations from

        white churches.




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 Thursday, May 26, 2016