*******  Today in Black History –  August 20, 2014  *******   

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1565 - Artisans and farmers of African descennt aid explorer

        Menendez in the building of St. Augustine, Florida.


1619 - The first group of 20 Africans is brouught by the Dutch

        to the colony at Jamestown, Virginia.  The early

        African arrivals will be considered indentured servants,

        and indeed records in the Chesapeake area will show

        many freed people of African descent. In 1650, the laws

        will be changed to make servitude permanent for Africans

        and their offspring.


1856 - Wilberforce University is established in Wilberforce,

        Ohio. It will become the nation's oldest, private

        African American university.


1931 - Donald "Don" King is born inn Cleveland, Ohio.  He will

        become a boxing promoter who will control the heavyweight

        title from 1978-1990 while Larry Holmes and Mike Tyson

        are champions. He will gain fame in 1974 by sponsoring

        the boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman

        in Zaire, popularly known as "The Rumble in the Jungle."

        He will solidify his position as an influential promoter

        the next year by sponsoring a third match for Ali against

        Joe Frazier in Manila, the capital of the Philippines,

        which King named the "Thrilla In Manila." He will also

        promote one of the final fights of Ali's career against

        Larry Holmes. He will be known for his flamboyant manner

        and outrageous hair styled to stand straight up. He will

        promote the fights of such fighters as Sugar Ray Leonard,

        Leon Spinks, Roberto Durán, Julio César Chávez, Mike

        Tyson, Evander Holyfield, and Felix Trinidad. His

        financial success will continue into the 1980s and '90s.

        In 1983, he will promote 12 world championship bouts.

        In 1994, he will promote 47 such bouts. He will be

        heavily criticized, however, for a business strategy

        that results in his control over many of the top boxers,

        especially in the lucrative heavyweight division. He will

        use a contractual clause that requires a boxer who wished

        to challenge a fighter belonging to King to agree to be

        promoted by King in the future should he win. Thus, no

        matter which boxer won, he represented the winner. Those

        who were unwilling to sign contracts with this obligatory

        clause found it very difficult to obtain fights,

        especially title fights, with boxers who were promoted by

        him. He will be the focus of a myriad of criminal

        investigations and will be indicted numerous times. In

        1999, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation seized

        thousands of records from his offices that concerned

        alleged payoffs by him to the president of the

        International Boxing Federation for the purpose of

        procuring more favorable rankings for his boxers. He will

        be a mixed blessing to the sport. On one hand, he will

        organize some of the largest purses in the history of the

        sport and creatively promote boxing and his bouts. On the

        other hand, his legal problems and controversial tactics

        will reinforce the public perception of boxing as a

        corrupt sport.


1942 - Isaac Lee Hayes is born in Covington, Tennessee.  He will

        begin his recording career in 1962, soon playing saxophone

        for The Mar-Keys. After writing a string of hit songs at

        Stax Records with songwriting partner David Porter,

        including "Soul Man" and "Hold On I'm Comin" for Sam and

        Dave, he will release his debut album "Presenting Isaac

        Hayes." A moderate success, the album will be recorded

        immediately following a wild party. The top-selling "Hot

        Buttered Soul" (1969) will be a breakthrough album, and

        establish his image (gold jewelry, sunglasses, etc) which

        eventually will become a template for much of the fashion

        of gangsta rap and similar trends in the 1980s and 90s.

        His biggest hit will be 1971's soundtrack to the movie

        "Shaft." The title song will win an Oscar (the first for

        a Black composer), and will clearly presaged disco.

        "Black Moses" (1971) will become almost as successful. By

        1975, he will leave Stax Records and form his own label

        called Hot Buttered Soul Records. A series of unsuccessful

        albums will lead to bankruptcy in 1976. The late 1970s

        will see a major comeback for him, following the release

        of "A Man and a Woman" (1977, with Dionne Warwick). In

        spite of moderate success as a singer, his records will

        not sell very well. He will also forge a career as an

        actor in TV shows and feature films. He will be inducted

        into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. On June 9,

        2005, he will be inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of

        Fame. He will also voice the character "Chef", a singing

        ladies' man and elementary school cook, on the popular

        animated sitcom "South Park" from 1997 until 2006. He will

        join the ancestors on August 10, 2008.


1954 - Albert Lincoln "Al" Roker, cco-anchor of the "Today" show,

        is born in Queens, New York. He will attend the State

        University of New York at Oswego, where he will double

        major in graphic design and broadcasting/journalism. He

        will work in television around the Cleveland and New York

        areas before becoming a weatherman for WNBC in New York.

        He will get more exposure, especially when David Letterman

        asks him to do an elevator race with him in one episode of

        his talk show, "Late Night with       David Letterman." That

        will lead to him getting a job as the weekend weatherman

        for "Weekend Today," where he will do the weather for

        nine years. He will also substitute on the weekday edition

        of "Today" when Willard Scott is ill or away. In 1996,

        Scott will announce his semi-retirement from the show, and

        Al will receive the weekday weatherman position on

        "Today." He will become popular for doing his forecasts

        outside of the studio, interviewing audience members and

        giving some of them camera time. One of his best known

        lines from the show will be "...and here's what's

        happening in your neck of the woods."


1964 - The Economic Opportunity Act is signedd by President Lyndon

        B. Johnson. The act initiates what will popularly be

        called the "War on Poverty."


1989 - The first National Black Theater Festiival closes in

        Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  Organized by Larry Leon

        Hamlin, the festival will draw over 20,000 people to

        performances of African American classical and

        contemporary plays by groups such as the Crossroads

        Theater from New Brunswick, New Jersey and the Inner City

        Cultural Center of Los Angeles. 


1993 - Dr. David Satcher is named director off the Centers for

        Disease Control.


1994 - Benjamin Chavis, Jr. is terminated as head of the NAACP

        after a turbulent 16-month tenure.


2000 - Eldrick "Tiger" Woods beats Bob May in a three-hole

        playoff to win the P.G.A. Championship. Woods is the

        first golfer since Ben Hogan in 1953, to win three major

        championships in a year. He also becomes the first repeat

        winner of the championship since 1936.


2012 - Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi,, a strongman in the

        troubled Horn of Africa and a key United States ally, joins

        the ancestors at the age of 57.




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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