In February, Jeff Johnson talked about Black History Month coming to a close. He said it shouldn’t be celebrated just once a year but everyday or every week. He asked that we set aside at least one evening or one day a week to talk about black history and to keep it alive. We plan to honor his request with a gallery every week this month to celebrate significant events, timelines, births and to remember those who have passed away.
1. September 22: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Vesta Williams
1828:Shaka was assassinated by his two half-brothers at age 41. He was the most influential leader of the Zulu Kingdom.
1890:Henry Johnson was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, America’s highest military decoration. He was serving as a sergeant in Company D of the 9th Cavalry Regiment at Milk River, Colorado during the Indian Wars and his actions earned him the medal.
1891:Jan Metzeliger of Lynn, MA posthumously received patent number 459,899 for improvements in the lasting machine for shoes.
1922:Virginia Capers was born. She was an award winning actress of film, Broadway and television. She passed in 2004 at age 78.
1937:Larry “Big Twist” Nolan was born this day. He was the titular leader of the horn-dominated band, Big Twist and the Mellow Fellows. He passed away in 1990.
1939:G.E. Patterson was born. He was a Pentecostal-Holiness, Charismatic minister who served as the international Presiding Bishop and Chief Apostle of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), Inc. He passed in 2007, age 67.
1941:Jeremiah Wright was born. He is Pastor Emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC), in Chicago with a congregation exceeding 6,000. He turns 72 today.
1942:Marlena Shaw was born. She is a singer of jazz, blues and soul. She turns 71 today.
1946:King Sunny Ade was born. He is a popular performer of Yoruba Nigerian jùjú music and a pioneer of modern world music. He has been classed as one of the most influential musicians of all time. He is 67 today.
1954:Shari Belafonte was born. She is an actress, model, writer and singer. She turns 59 today.
1956:Doug Wimbish was born. He is considered to be a pioneer in hip hop bass playing and in the use of bass effects, alternate tunings and extended hand techniques. He is 57 today.
1956:Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers’ “ABC’s of Love” (#77 pop) was issued.
1958:The Solitaire’s classic “Please Remember My Heart” was issued. If you’ve got a copy on the original Old Town label (first pressing), it is worth about $2,000.
1958:The Quintones, one of the best of the one-hit-wonder doo-wop groups, charted with their classic “Down the Aisle of Love,” stopping at #5 R&B and #18 pop.1960:Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, the Bobbettes, Bo Diddley, Sam Cooke, the Olympics, Marv Johnson, and Dion & the Belmonts performed at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Columbus, OH, as part of the ongoing Biggest Show of Stars ’60 tour.
1959:Tai Babilonia was born. She is an Olympic Gold medalist and one of the first figure skaters of African American descent to win U.S. & World Titles. She turns 54 today.
1965:“Biz” Mackey, Negro League baseball player and manager passed away. He was regarded as the premier catcher in the Negro league in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
1970:Mystikal (Michael Tyler) was born. He is a rapper and actor from New Orleans. he is 43 today.
1973:‘Let’s Get It On’ by Marvin Gaye was the number one song this day.
1979:Swin Cash was born. She is an award winning WNBA player for the Chicago Sky. She is 34 today.
1995:Michael Jackson performed “You Are Not Alone” with the Union Temple Baptist Choir prior to being inducted into the Black Entertainment Television (BET) Walk of Fame in Washington, DC.
1998:The Isley Brothers, the O’Jays, and Earth, Wind & Fire finished their summer tour at the Virginia Beach Amphitheater in Virginia Beach, VA.
2011:Vesta Williams passed away at age 53. She was an R&B singer and actress of film and television.
2. September 23: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: John Coltrane
1863:Mary Church Terrell was born. She was one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree. She was president of NACW, an activist and author. She passed in 1954 at age 90. He passed away at age 51.
1906:Bardu Ali was born. He was a jazz and rhythm & blues singer, guitarist and musical promoter. He died in 1981 at age 75.
1907:Tiny Bradshaw was born. He was a jazz and rhythm and blues bandleader, singer, composer, pianist, and drummer
1907:Albert Ammons was born. He was a pianist and player of boogie-woogie style in the 30s and 40s. He died in 1949 at age 42.
1923:Nancy Green passed away at age 89. She was a storyteller, cook, activist, and one of the first African-American models hired to promote a corporate trademark as “Aunt Jemima”. She used her financial freedom to become an activist and engage in antipoverty programs.
1926:John Coltrane was born. He influenced innumerable musicians, and remains one of the most significant saxophonists in jazz history. He passed in 1967 of cancer. He was 40 years old.
1927:Mighty Joe Young was born. He was one of Chicago’s leading blues guitarists. He died in 1999, aged 71.
1930:The legendary Ray Charles was born. He was a Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, musician and composer. He passed in 2004 at age 73.
1943:Walter & Wallace Scott were born. They are original members of the Whispers. They turn 70 today.
1957:The Rays’ “Silhouettes” (#3 R&B and pop) was issued.
1961:The Cleftones, the Drifters, the Platters, Dee Clark, the Jarmels, Brook Benton, Gary “U.S.” Bonds, Gene McDaniels, Curtis lee, and Phil Upchurch performed at the Opera House in Chicago.
1961:President Kennedy names Thurgood Marshall to U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
1961:chi McBride was born. He is an actor, singer and songwriter.
1966:The Temptations, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Martha & the Vandellas, Jimmy Ruffin, Stevie Wonder, and a host of lesser acts started a week-long engagement at Detroit’s Fox Theater in what is historically known as the Motortown Revue.
1966:Ike & Tina Turner kicked off a tour of England with the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
1967:Aretha Franklin’s “A Natural Woman” was released, eventually reaching #2 R&B and #8 pop.
1967:LisaRaye McCoy was born. She is an actress and fashion designer. She turns 46 today.
1972:Jermaine Dupri was born. He is a record producer, songwriter and rapper. He turns 41 today.
1974:Layzie Bone was born. He is a is rapper and hip-hop artist known primarily for being a member of the group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. He turns 39 today.
1978:Solomon Burke charted with his thirty-first and last 45 when “Please Don’t You Say Goodbye to Me” hit the R&B hit list at #91.
1978:’Got to Get You Into My Life’ by Earth, Wind & Fire was the number one song this day.
1978:MLB player Lyman Bostock was fatally shot this day at age 27. He batted left-handed and threw right-handed.
1979:Baseball player Lou Brock stole 935th bases and became the all-time major league record holder.
1984:Matt Kemp was born. He is a MLB outfielder for the LA Dodgers.
1987:Dionne Warwick was praised for her philanthropic work when the city of New York honored her for raising more than a million dollars for AIDS research.
1990:Little Richard (Richard Wayne Penniman) performed in his hometown of Macon, GA, for the first time in thirty-five years when he appeared at the City Auditorium. A street was also named for him as Penniman Boulevard.
1998:Prince, Larry Graham, and Chaka Khan played the MCI Center in Washington, DC.
2000:Carl Rowan passed away on this day. He was a government official, journalist and author. He was one of the most honored reporters in the United States.
2006:Etta Baker passed away at age 93. She was a blues musician and civil rights activist. She played Piedmont Blues for ninety years, starting at the age of three when she could not even hold the guitar properly.
2011:Orlando Brown passed away at age 40. He was a former NFL player who was accidentally hit in the eye with a penalty flag and missed three NFL seasons while temporarily blinded.
3. September 24: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Patrick Kelly
1878:W.R. Davis, Jr. received a patent for the library table.
1886:The founding of Ebenezer Baptist Church is celebrated on this date. It is a unique landmark of Black civil rights in the African American community.
1893:Blind Lemon Jefferson was born this day. He was was a blues singer and guitarist from Texas. He was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s, and has been titled “Father of the Texas Blues”. He passed in 1929 at age 36.
1923:Fats Navarro was born. He was a jazz trumpet player and a pioneer of the bebop style of jazz improvisation in the 1940s. He died in 1950 at age 26 after a week in the hospital.
1924:Theresa Merritt was born. She was a singer and actress of film, television and stage. She passed in 1998 at age 75.
1935:Boxer Joe Louis became the first Black boxer to draw a million dollar gate.
1939:Wayne Henderson was born. He is a soul-jazz and hard bop trombonist, record producer and co-founder of The Jazz Crusaders.
1946:Joe Greene was born. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a four-time Super Bowl Champion. He is also well known for his appearance in the “Hey Kid, Catch!” Coca-Cola commercial in 1979, widely considered to be one of the best television commercials of all time.
1954:Fashion Designer Patrick Kelly was born. He became both the first American and the first person of color to be admitted as a member of the Chambre syndicale du prêt-à-porter des couturiers et des créateurs de mode. He died in 1990 at age 35 of an AIDS related illness.
1955:The Eldorados’ doo-wop classic “At My Front Door” (#1 R&G, #17 pop) was released.
1956:The Five Satins, the Channels, the Clovers, and the Valentines headlined Dr. Jive’s week-long party at the Apollo.
1957:President Eisenhower ordered federal troops to Little Rock, Ark., to prevent interference with school integration at Central High School.
1966:The Jimi Hendrix Experience was formed in London and included drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding. Jimi, who was influenced by B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Elmore James, and Eddie Cochran, started performing when he bought a guitar from his father’s friend for five bucks.
1966:’Beauty is Only Skin Deep’ by the Temptations was the number one song this day.
1973:Eddie George was born. He is a former NFL player and College Football Hall of Famer. He turns 40 today.
1992:Luther Vandross entertained at an AIDS Research benefit in Los Angeles called the Jean Paul Gaultier in L.A. fashion benefit.
1998:Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, and Boyz II men performed at the Mentoring Big Night at the Garden benefit at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
1999:The Vocal Group Hall of Fame in Sharon, PA, held its second annual induction ceremonies with hosts Mary Wilson of the Supremes and publisher/author Jay Warner overseeing the proceedings. Among the fourteen acts enshrined were the Coasters, the Delta Rhythm Boys, the Four Tops, Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, the Jackson 5, Little Anthony & the Imperials, the Moonglows, the Spinners, the Temptations, and the Ink Spots.
2010:Richard Griffey passed away at age 71. He was the founder of the Los Angeles-based rhythm-and-blues record label Solar, once touted as “the Motown of the ‘80s.” He died of complications from quadruple-bypass heart surgery that he underwent in 2009.
2012:Charles White passed away at age 83. He was a retired assistant vice chancellor for employee relations at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences who stepped down after 50 years with the school.
4. September 25: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: The Little Rock Nine
1861:The Union Navy allowed blacks to enlist for service during the Civil War.
1894:Jay Mayo Williams was born. He was a pioneering producer of recorded blues music. He was the most successful “race records” producer of his time breaking all previous “race record” sales. He passed in 1980 at age 85.
1948:Dizzy Gillespie entered the R&B singles chart for the first and last time with “Manteca” (written by Chano Pozo), reaching #13. Dizzy, who received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989, was known as the father of modern jazz.
1951:Bob McAdoo was born. He is a retired pro basketball player who spent a fourteen-year career playing the center and power forward positions in the NBA. He won NBA championships in 1982 and 1985. McAdoo is currently an assistant coach for the Miami Heat, with whom he won three more NBA championships. He is 62 today.
1952:Bell Hooks was born. She is an author, feminist, and social activist. She turns 61 today.
1954:The Charms’ “Hearts of Stone” (#1 R&B, #15 pop) was released.
1954:Jubilee Records issued a special Four Tunes “Harmonizing Quartet” LP. The album was marked with bass, tenor, alto, and baritone so would be vocalists could sing along to its collection of standards.
1955:’Annie Had a Baby’ by the Midnighters was the number one R&B song this day.
1957: Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, was integrated by the use of United States Army troops.
1960:The Upfronts, a Los Angeles R&B group, recorded their second single, “Too Far to Turn Around,” for the local Lummtone label. The group would have six singles through 1964, and their best-known 45, “Most of the Pretty Young Girls,” was their last. With no chart success, the group soon broke up. Their bass singer, however, would stay in the business, and by the ’70s he was a household name in contemporary soul. He was Barry White.
1965:Scottie Pippen was born. He is a retired pro basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association. He is an Olympic Gold medalist and a NBA Hall of Famer. He turns 48 today.
1968:Will Smith was born. He is an actor, rapper and producer.
1973:Stevie Wonder performed with Elton John at the Boston Garden singing the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman.”
1976:Chauncey Billups was born. He is a pro basketball guard who currently plays for the Detroit Pistons. He turns 37 today.
1978:Ryan Leslie was born. He is a record producer, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and rapper from D.C. He is the founder of the media company NextSelection Lifestyle Group.
1980:Clifford Harris, Jr. aka T.I. was born. He is an actor and rapper and CEO of Grand Hustle Records. He is 33 today.
1981:After escaping a brutal relationship with husband Ike Turner with 36 cents and a Mobil gas credit card to her name, Tina Turner began her comeback as the supporting act for the Rolling Stones’ tenth American tour, which kicked off at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. Prior to the performance, Tina was $500,000 in debt and working anywhere she could, including less-than-exotic venues in Bahrain, Yugoslavia, and Poland.
1982:Jennifer Holliday climbed the R&B charts with “I Am Changing” (#29), the song she sang in the Broadway play “Dreamgirls.”
1983:Donald Glover was born. He is a rapper, actor, writer, comedian, and producer. He turns 30 today.
1992:Roberta Flack and Dionne Warwick, known for their numerous benefit performances, once again helped out at the “Caring in Concert AIDS Benefit” TV special broadcast from the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia.
1995:Bessie Delany passed away at age 104. She was a dentist and civil rights pioneer. She was the second black woman licensed to practice dentistry in New York State.
2003:Amina Lawal, a Nigerian woman, sentenced to death by stoning was acquitted on this day.
2008:Anita Williams passed away at age 66. She was a former stage actress and mother of screen actor Terrence Howard.
2011:Wangari Maathai passed away at age 71. She was the first African woman recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for combining environmentalism and social activism.
5. September 26: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Bessie Smith
1795:Alexander Twilight was born. He was the first African-American person known to have earned a bachelor’s degree from an American college or university upon graduating Middlebury College in 1823. He passed away in 1857.
1899:William Levi Dawson was born. He was a composer, choir director and professor. He passed away in 1990.
1929:Meredith Gourdine was born. He was an athlete, engineer and a physicist. He passed in 1998.
1929:Dr. Ida Owens was born. He is a biochemist and conducted studies in the genetics of detoxification enzymes, aimed at shedding light on how the human body defends itself against poison. She is 84 today.
1935:Lou Myers was born. He was an actor and appeared in many movies, stage plays television sitcoms, and dramas. He died in February of this year at age 78.
1936:Winnie Mandela was born. She s a South African politician who has held several government positions and headed the African National Congress Women’s League. She is 77 today.
1937:“Empress of the Blues” Bessie Smith died today. Influenced by Ma Rainey, Bessie was simply the best of the classic blues singers. Her first recording in 1923, “Down Hearted Blues,” sold more than 750,000 copies in a few months. She was 43.
1953:Seven of the R&B charts Top 10 positions were occupied by vocal groups, including the Orioles, the Clovers, the “5″ Royales, the Royals, the Spaniels, the Dominoes, and the Coronets.
1957:The Montones’ immortal “Book of Love” (#3 R&B, #5 pop) was recorded.
1960:Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs charted R&B with “Stay,” reaching #3 and #1 pop.
1961:Cindy Herron was born. She is a singer and actress, who is best known as a founding member of En Vogue.
1963:Baby Washington, Sam Cooke, Freddie Scott, the Tymes, Little Willie John, and Bobby “Blue” Bland performed in New Orleans
1966:Craig Heyward was born. He was an NFL running back. In the mid-1990s, He showcased his sense of humor in a series of tv commercials for Zest body wash. He died of cancer at age 39.
1972:Shawn Stockman was born. He is a singer, songwriter, musician and a judge on ‘The Sing-Off’ a TV singing competition.
1973:Ras Kass was born. He is a rapper and producer.
1981:Patti Austin’s Quincy Jones-produced “Every Home Should Have One” album charted on its way to #36, becoming Patti’s biggest of five Top 200 albums through 1990.
1981:Serena Williams was born. She is a professional tennis player who is currently ranked No. 1 in women’s singles tennis. She turns 32 today.
1981:Christina Milian was born. She is an actress, singer and songwriter. She turns 32 today.
1981:’Endless Love’ by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie was the number one R&B song this day.
1992:Bobby Brown appeared as the performing guest on the season opener of NBC-TV’s “Saturday Night Live.”
1998:Betty Carter passed away at age 69. She was a jazz singer known for her improvisational technique, scatting and other complex musical abilities that demonstrated her vocal talent.
2007:Rev. George Brooks Sr. passed away at age 81. He was a longtime civil rights activist in Phoenix who founded a church, served in the Arizona state Legislature, and led the Maricopa County NAACP chapter in the ’60s. He founded Southminster Presbyterian Church, helped to bring Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to Phoenix in the ’60s, and championed the first Meals on Wheels and Head Start programs in south Phoenix.
2011:Jessy Dixon passed away at age 73. He was a singer and songwriter whose travels helped to popularize gospel music outside the US. His career span more than five decades.
6. September 27: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: R.B. Greaves
1827:Hiram Revels was born. He was a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and a politician. He was the first person of color to serve in the United States Senate, and in the U.S. Congress overall. He passed away in 1901.
1905:The first published blues composition hit the streets of America. W. C. Handy’s “Memphis Blues” went on sale in Memphis, TN.
1933:Greg Morris passed away. He was an actor of film and television. He was 62 years old.
1936:Don Cornelius was born. He was a television show host and producer and the creator of the nationally syndicated dance/music franchise Soul Train. He passed in 2012.
1952:The son of a former Memphis preacher, Johnny Ace (actually John Alexander Jr.) hit #1 today on the R&B charts with his first single, “My Song.” His “song” would stay there for nine weeks. Sixteen years later (1968), Aretha Franklin would reenergize “My Song” to the tune 0f #10 R&B (#31 pop).
1953:Robbie Shakespeare was born. He is a Jamaican bass player and producer. He turns 60 today.
1954:Keith Barrow was born. He was a R&B singer and composer. He died 1983 at age 29 from AIDS related illness.
1968:The Jackson 5, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers, and Shorty Long performed at a benefit for the Mayor of Gary, IN, at the Gilroy Stadium in Gary.
1969:The Originals’ “Baby I’m For Real” (#1 R&B, #14 pop) was released. Freddie Gorman of the quartet had penned the Marvelettes hit “Please Mr. Postman” eight years earlier.
1969:’Oh, What a Night’ by the Dells was the number one R&B song this day.
1970:Actress Tamara Taylor was born. Her most famous role is that of Dr. Camille Saroyan, head of the Forensic Division, on the forensic crime drama Bones. She is 43 today.
1972:Sylvia Crawley was born. She is a former professional women’s basketball forward, licensed minister and motivational speaker.
1982:Lil Wayne was born. He is a rapper, producer and CEO.
1982:Darrent Williams was born. He was a NFL player for the Denver Broncos. He was fatally shot in a drive-by shooting in 2007 at age 24.
1987:Marvin Gaye received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1992:The Neville Brothers performed in Luciano Pavarotti’s horse stable in Modena, Italy (now there’s an interesting venue), as a fund-raiser to benefit leukemia research.
1994:George Benson sang a duet with the Muppets for the “Kermit Unpigged” album, which was issued today.
2000:Frank Wills passed away. He was the night watchman who found evidence of a break-in at the Watergate Hotel.
2003:116 Black African boys were rescued from a slave labor camp in Nigeria. Police rescued the boys, who were as young as four years old who had been put to work in the granite quarries in Southwest Nigeria.
2004:Louis Satterfield passed away. He was a bass and trombone player primarily as a session musician. He was 67.
2008:George “Wydell” Jones passed away at age 71. He was a rock musician who wrote the doo-wop hit “Rama Lama Ding Dong” and performed it as a member of The Edsels.
2010:Ed Wiley Jr. passed away at age 80. He was a jazz and blues saxophonist who recorded the 1950 hit “Cry, Cry Baby” and was considered an early influence in rock ‘n’ roll.
2012:R. B. Greaves passed away at age 68. He was a rhythm and blues singer whose 1969 hit “Take a Letter, Maria” reached No. 2 on the Billboard pop chart.
2012:Frank Wilson passed away at age 71. He was a Motown record producer and songwriter who worked with the Supremes, the Temptations, and Marvin Gaye.