*******   Today in Black History –  April 4, 2020  *******   

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1915 - McKinley Morganfield is born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. He

        will be discovered in 1941 by two music archivists from the

        Library of Congress, traveling the back roads of Mississippi

        looking for the legendary Robert Johnson. They recorded two

        of Morganfield's songs and lit a fire in the ambitious young

        man. He will leave Mississippi for Chicago two years later

        to become a blues singer better known as "Muddy Waters." He

        will join the ancestors on April 30, 1983 in Chicago,



1928 - Marguerite Ann Johnson is born in St. Louis, Missouri. She

        will become the first African American streetcar conductor

        in San Francisco, a dancer, nightclub singer, editor, and

        teacher of music and drama in Ghana and professor of

        American Studies at Wake Forest University, better known as

        Dr. Maya Angelou. She will also become noted as the author of

        a multi-volume autobiographical series, as well as several

        volumes of poetry. She will join the ancestors on May 28, 2014.


1938 - Vertamae (Vera Mae) Smart-Grosvenor is born in Hampton County,

        South Carolina. She will become a culinary anthropologist/griot,

        food writer, and broadcaster on public media. She will be known

        for her cookbook-memoir, Vibration Cooking: or, The Travel

        Notes of a Geechee Girl (1970). She will also appear in several

        films, including "Daughters of the Dust" (1992), about a Gullah

        family in 1902, at a time of transition on the Sea Islands; and

        "Beloved" (1998), based on the Toni Morrison novel.


1939 - Hugh Masekela is born in Kwa-Guqa Township, Witbank, South Africa. 

        He will become a musician and band leader. He will be a major

        force in South African Jazz, and will become known throughout

        the world. He will be known for his jazz compositions, as well as

        for writing well-known anti-apartheid songs such as "Soweto Blues"

        and "Bring Him Back Home". He will have hits in the United States

        with the pop jazz tunes "Up, Up and Away" (1967) and the number-one

        smash "Grazing in the Grass" (1968), which will sell four million

        copies. He will also appear at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967,

        and subsequently featured in the film "Monterey Pop" by D. A.

        Pennebaker. In 1974, He and friend Stewart Levine will organise the

        Zaire 74 music festival in Kinshasa set around the "Rumble in the

        Jungle" boxing match. He will play primarily in jazz ensembles, with

        guest appearances on recordings by The Byrds ("So You Want to Be a

        Rock 'n' Roll Star" and "Lady Friend") and Paul Simon ("Further to

        Fly"). In 1984, he will release the album Techno Bush. From that

        album, a single entitled "Don't Go Lose It Baby" will peak at number

        two for two weeks on the dance charts. In 1987, he will have a hit

        single with "Bring Him Back Home", which will become an anthem for

        the movement to free Nelson Mandela. A renewed interest in his

        African roots will lead him to collaborate with West and Central

        African musicians, and finally to reconnect with Southern African

        players when he sets up with the help of Jive Records a mobile studio

        in Botswana, just over the South African border, from 1980 to 1984.

        Here he will re-absorb and re-use mbaqanga strains, a style he will

        continue to use since his return to South Africa in the early 1990s.

        In the 1980s, he will tour with Paul Simon in support of Simon's album

        "Graceland," which will feature other South African artists such as

        Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Miriam Makeba, Ray Phiri, and other elements

        of the band Kalahari, with which he recorded in the 1980s. He will also

        collaborate in the musical development for the Broadway play, "Sarafina!"

        He previously recorded with the band Kalahari. In 2010, he will be

        featured, with his son Selema Masekela, in a series of videos on ESPN.

        The series, called Umlando Through My Father's Eyes, will be aired in

        10 parts during ESPN's coverage of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

        The series will focus on Hugh and Selema's travels through South Africa.

        He will bring his son to the places he grew up. It will be Selema's

        first trip to his father's homeland. On December 3, 2013, he will be a

        guest with the Dave Matthews Band in Johannesburg, South Africa. He

        will join Rashawn Ross on trumpet for "Proudest Monkey" and "Grazing in

        the Grass".


1948 - Richard Dean 'Dick' Parsons is born in Brooklyn, New York. In 1988,

        he will be recruited to serve as chief operating officer of the

        Dime Savings Bank of New York, becoming the first African American

        CEO of a large, non-minority U.S. savings institution. In 1990, he

        will become Chairman and CEO and will oversee a merger with Anchor

        Savings Bank, gaining a substantial sum when the Dime Bank was

        demutualized. In 1991, on the recommendation of Nelson Rockefeller's

        brother Laurance to the then CEO Steven Ross, he will be invited to

        join Time Warner's board. He will subsequently become president of

        the company in 1995, recruited by Gerald Levin. He will      help

        negotiate the company's merger with America Online in 2000, creating

        a $165-billion media conglomerate. In December, 2001, it will be

        announced that chief executive Gerald Levin would retire and he will

        be selected as his successor. The announcement will surprise many

        media watchers who expected chief operating officer Robert Pittman

        to take the helm. In 2003, he will announce the name change from

        AOL-Time Warner to simply Time Warner. He will become chairman

        of Citigroup on February 23, 2009.


1959 - The Federation of Mali is formed, consisting of Senegal & the

        territory of Mali in the French Sudan. It will dissolve in



1960 - Senegal and Mali gain separate independence.


1968 - Acknowledged leader of the U.S. civil rights movement, Martin

        Luther King, Jr. joins the ancestors after being assassinated

        in Memphis, Tennessee. His death will result in a national day

        of mourning and the postponement of the beginning of the baseball

        season. Over 30,000 people will form a funeral procession behind

        his coffin, pulled by two Georgia mules. King's death will also

        set off racially motivated civil disturbances in 160 cities

        leaving 82 people dead and causing $ 69 million in property

        damage. President Lyndon B. Johnson declares Sunday, April 6, a

        national day of mourning and orders all U.S. flags on government

        buildings in all U.S. territories and possessions to fly at



1972 - Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., former congressman and civil rights

        leader, joins the ancestors in Miami, Florida at the age of



1974 - Hank Aaron ties the baseball career home run record set by

        Babe Ruth, when he hits his 714th home run in Cincinnati,



1989 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar plays in his last NBA game in Seattle.


2002 - The Angolan government and UNITA rebels sign a peace treaty ending

        the Angolan Civil War.


2012 - Somalia's National Theatre is struck by a suicide bomber killing ten

        people including the presidents of the Somali Olympic Committee and

        Football Federation.




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

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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