• September 22, 1839 Michael Augustine Healy, the first person of African descent to command a United States government ship, was born enslaved near Macon, Georgia. Although he was three-quarters European ancestry, he was considered enslaved and could not be formally educated in Georgia. Therefore, his father sent him North for education. In 1854, while in England, Healy signed on to an American East Indian clipper as a cabin boy. He quickly became an expert seaman and rose to the rank of officer. In 1864, he returned to the United States and was accepted as a third lieutenant in the Revenue Cutter Service (now the U. S. Coast Guard). He attained the rank of captain in 1880 and in 1882 was given command of the USRC Thomas Corwin. For the next twenty years, Healy was the federal government’s law enforcement presence in the Alaskan territory. Healy died August 30, 1904. The USCGC Healy was commissioned by the United States Coast Guard November 10, 1999. Healy’s biography, “Captain “Hell Roaring” Mike Healy: from American slave to Arctic hero,” was published in 2009. “Passing for White: Race, Religion, and the Healy Family, 1820-1920” was published in 2003.
• September 21, 1872 The United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland admitted the first Black midshipman, John Henry Conyers of South Carolina. After enduring ostracism and being subjected to discrimination, Conyers resigned from the academy. Two other Black midshipmen also attempted to endure the hostile environment at Annapolis but both resigned after a few months. It was not until 1949 that an African American, Wesley Brown, graduated from the academy and received his commission.
• September 20, 1664 Maryland enacted the first Anti-Amalgamation Law to specifically outlaw marriage between Black men and White women. Soon after, similar laws were passed in a number of other colonies. Prior to the laws, interracial marriages were fairly common between White indentured servants and enslaved Black people. It was not until June 12, 1967 that the United States Supreme Court, in the Loving v. Virginia case, declared all such laws unconstitutional and not until 2000 that Alabama became the last state to eliminate its law banning interracial marriages.
• September 19, 1889 Sarah Louise “Sadie” Delany, educator, author and civil rights pioneer, was born in Lynch Station, Virginia. Delany graduated from Saint Augustine’s School (now college) in 1910 and moved to New York City in 1916 where she began teaching in the public school system. She earned her bachelor and master’s degrees in education from Columbia University in 1920 and 1925, respectively. Delany was the first Black person permitted to teach domestic science at the high school level in New York City public schools. She retired from teaching in 1960. In 1993, Delany and her sister Bessie published “Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years” which dealt with the trials and tribulations the sisters had faced during their century of life. The book was on the New York Times hardcover best seller list for 28 weeks and on the paperback list for 77 weeks. In 1999, it was made into a television movie. In 1994, the sisters published “The Delany Sisters’ Book of Everyday Wisdom” and after Bessie’s death, Delany in 1997 published “On My Own At 107: Reflections on Life Without Bessie.” In 1993, Delany and her sister were included in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest authors. Delany died January 25, 1999.
• September 18, 1895 Booker T. Washington delivered his famous “Atlanta Compromise” speech at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia. Considered the definitive statement of Washington’s accommodationist strategy, it is regarded as one of the most significant speeches in American history. In the speech, Washington responded to the “Negro problem,” what to do about the abysmal social and economic conditions of Black people. Washington promised the audience that he would encourage Black People to become proficient in agriculture, mechanics, commerce, and domestic services, and to encourage them to “dignify and glorify common labor.” Washington also eased many White people’s fears about social integration by stating that both races “could be as separate at the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.” The entire speech can be easily found on the internet.
Ford Supports Second Season of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on PBS
Ford is supporting the airing of the second season of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., which debuts Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. ET
Each hour-long episode will feature a 30-second spot that looks back at the history of Henry Ford and his visionary, family-owned company
Ford will engage viewers throughout the program with several digital and social media executions, including an original digital content series
As fall arrives and new shows debut on the small screen, one television show in particular will allow viewers to learn more about the heritage and ancestries of 30 of today’s leading entertainers, athletes, chefs and media personalities, including hip-hop superstar Nas and author Stephen King.
Ford has joined forces with Public Television to bring the second season of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. back this season. The 10-part series finds Henry Louis Gates, Jr. continuing on his quest to – as he puts it – “get into the DNA of American culture.” By weaving a group of celebrity stories together, each episode takes viewers on a journey through layers of ancestral history, uncovering familial secrets.
“This is one of the most fascinating ways history is uncovered, a true example of the significance our past plays in where we are today,” said Shawn Thompson, manager, Ford Multicultural Marketing. “The role Professor Gates is undertaking to show how all Americans are connected is something we – as a company – can stand by. Ford is thrilled to be a part of this project.”
Each hour-long episode will highlight three celebrity guests bound together by an intimate, sometimes hidden link. With the help of a team of genealogists, Gates travels thousands of years into the past to discover the origins of today’s game changers.
In addition, each episode will feature a 30-second spot that looks back at the history of Henry Ford and his visionary, family-owned company. For Gates, one of Henry Ford’s lasting contributions was his willingness to pay a fair wage to African American workers employed in his factories, which led Southern sharecroppers to Detroit as part of the early 20th century’s great migration.
Ford set to launch original digital content series tied to program As part of Ford’s support, the Ford brand has created an original digital content series that will launch on YouTube on Tuesday, Sept. 23. The 10-part series will highlight individual user stories as the featured guests share the impact their family history has had on their lives. In addition, Ford and THIRTEEN, the flagship station of PBS, will team up on a live online screening and chat on Sunday, Sept. 21, whereby fans of the program will have the chance to interact and receive behind-the-scenes access to the premier episode in a real-time environment.
Gates kicks off season premiere with live Q&A in Detroit
As Ford gears up for the airing of the first episode of the show, Gates will join award-winning journalist Ed Gordon on the stage for a live Q&A session tied to the program and a book signing at the 9th Biennial Awards for ExcellenceLegacy Dinner, which takes place at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. Gates will be the featured guest during the program on Saturday, Sept. 20 and will share with attendees a sneak peek of the first episode of the program.
“Our collaboration with THIRTEEN on this program is rooted in our shared commitment to empower, as well as our goals as a company to go further when it comes to not only our products, but our communities,” said Thompson. “We are very excited about the airing of the first episode, and the opportunity we have to share a slice of Ford’s rich history with the viewers of this award-winning program.”
Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. kicks off Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. ET and will run until Tuesday, Nov. 25.
Be sure to join the social conversation throughout the program by using hashtag #MyFordRoots and #FindingYourRoots.
To learn more about Ford’s newest products, log on to www.ford.com.
To learn more about the Legacy dinner, go to http://www.thewright.org/component/eventlist/details/1127-9th-biennial-awards-for-excellence-legacy-dinner
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About Ford Motor Company Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 186,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.
• September 17, 1858 Dred Scott, an enslaved Black man that unsuccessfully sued for his freedom, died. Scott was born enslaved in Southampton County, Virginia in the 1790s. In 1847, Scott sued for his freedom in a Missouri state court on the basis that he and his wife had been taken by their owner to states and territories where slavery was illegal. Scott lost that case but pursued the issue to the United States Supreme Court in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case of 1857. The Supreme Court ruled against him finding that he, nor any person of African ancestry, could claim citizenship in the United States and therefore could not bring suit in federal court. In effect, the Court ruled that enslaved people were property and not citizens and therefore had no claim to freedom. Ironically, Scott was granted his freedom by his owner less than three months after the Supreme Court decision. “Dred and Harriett Scott: A Family’s Struggle for Freedom” was published in 2004.
• September 16, 1839 James Daniel Gardner, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Gloucester, Virginia. He worked as an oysterman before enlisting in the Union Army in 1863. On September 29, 1864, Gardner was serving as a private in Company I of the 36th Regiment United States Colored Troops when his actions at the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm earned him the medal, America’s highest military decoration. Gardner’s regiment was among a division of Black troops assigned to attack the Confederate defenses. The attack was met with intense fire and over fifty percent of the Black troops were killed, captured, or wounded. Gardner advanced ahead of his unit into the Confederate fortifications, “shot a rebel officer who was on the parapet rallying his men, and then ran him through with his bayonet.” The day after the battle, Gardner was promoted to sergeant and received the medal April 6, 1865. Gardner died September 29, 1905. In 2006, a memorial commemorating him was unveiled in his hometown.
• September 15, 1830 The first National Negro Convention began in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Forty African Americans from nine states attended the meeting to consider if Black people should be encouraged to emigrate to Canada. From the meeting emerged a new organization, The American Society of Free People of Colour for Improving Their Condition in the United States; for Purchasing Lands; and for the Establishment of a Settlement in the Province of Canada. Bishop Richard Allen was named president.
• September 14, 1735 Prince Hall, the founder of “Black Freemasonry,” was born in Barbados. Not much is known of his youth and how he ended up in Boston, Massachusetts. It is known that he was a property owner and a registered voter and that he worked as an abolitionist and civil rights activist. He fought for laws to protect Black people from kidnapping by slave traders and campaigned for schools for Black children. On March 6, 1775, Hall and 14 other free Black men were initiated into Military Lodge No. 441, a lodge attached to the British Army. On July 3, 1776, the Black Masons were granted a dispensation for limited operations as African Lodge No. 1 which then served as the mother lodge to new Black lodges in other cities. In 1791, Black Freemasons formed the African Grand Lodge of North America and unanimously elected Hall Grand Master, a position he held until his death December 4, 1807. Hall was buried on Copp’s Hill in Boston and a tribute monument was unveiled next to his grave marker June 24, 1835. The African Grand Lodge was later renamed Prince Hall Grand Lodge in his honor. “Prince Hall: life and Legacy” was published in 1983. Hall’s name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.
• September 13, 1856 Maria Louise Baldwin, educator and civic leader, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Baldwin graduated from the Cambridge training school for teachers in 1875 and taught in Chestertown, Maryland for two years. In 1881, she was hired to teach at the Agassiz Grammar School of Cambridge. She became principal of the school in 1889, the first African American female principal in Massachusetts. In 1916, a new school was erected, including higher grades, and Baldwin was made master, supervising twelve White teachers and 500 mostly White students. She was one of two women and the only African American master in the Cambridge school system. Baldwin served as master of Agassiz for forty years and under her leadership it was considered one of the best schools in Cambridge. She also taught summer courses for teachers at Hampton Institute and the Institute for Colored Youth (now Cheney State University). Baldwin also lectured throughout the country on women’s suffrage, poverty, and history. Baldwin died January 9, 1922. Her home in Cambridge was designated a National Historic Landmark May 11, 1976 and February 12, 2004 the Agassiz school was renamed the Maria L. Baldwin School.
• September 12, 1840 Mary Jane Patterson, the first Black woman to graduate from an established college with a four year degree, was born enslaved in Raleigh, North Carolina. Patterson’s family gained their freedom in 1852 and moved to Oberlin, Ohio in 1856. Patterson enrolled in Oberlin College in 1857 and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, with highest honors, in 1861. After graduation, Patterson taught at various schools, including the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (now Cheyney University) and the Preparatory High School for Colored Youth in Washington, D. C. (now Dunbar High School). Patterson served as the latter school’s first Black principal from 1871 to 1872. She was reappointed to the position from 1873 to 1884. During her administration, the school grew from less than 50 to 172 students. Patterson continued to teach at the school until her death September 24, 1894.
• September 11, 1854 Christopher J. Perry, Sr., founder of the Philadelphia Tribune, was born in Baltimore, Maryland but raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At 13, Perry began writing articles for the local newspapers. In 1881, he began writing for the Northern Daily and eventually became editor of the colored section of The Sunday Mercury. On November 22, 1884, Perry founded the Philadelphia Tribune which quickly became one of the leading African American newspapers in the country. Perry died in 1921 but the Tribune continues to be published and is the oldest continuously published African American newspaper in the nation.
• September 10, 1836 Caesar Carpentier “C. C.” Antoine, businessman and former Lieutenant Governor of the State of Louisiana, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Antoine attended private school as a youth and became fluent in French and English. During the Civil War, he organized Company I of the Seventh Louisiana Colored Regiment and was commissioned a captain. After the war, he moved to Shreveport, Louisiana and established a grocery business. Antoine was elected a delegate to the Louisiana Constitutional Convention and served in the Louisiana State Senate from 1868 to 1872. He also edited the semiweekly New Orleans Louisianan from 1870 to 1872. In 1872, Antoine was elected lieutenant governor, a position he held until 1876 when he was defeated for re-election. In 1880, he became president of the Cosmopolitan Life Insurance Company. Antoine also served as vice president of the citizen’s committee formed in 1890 to wage a legal battle against racial discrimination. The committee also unsuccessfully challenged a state law forbidding interracial marriage. Antoine died September 12, 1921. In 1982, a park in Shreveport was dedicated in Antoine’s honor with a six-foot monument listing his accomplishments. His home in Shreveport is a state historical site.
• September 9, 1739 The Stono Rebellion, the largest slave uprising in the British mainland colonies, began. The rebellion started with about 20 enslaved Africans at the Stono River in the colony of South Carolina. As the group marched south, they were joined by nearly 60 additional enslaved Africans. The Africans killed about 25 White people before encountering a South Carolina militia. In that battle, 20 White people and 44 Africans were killed and the rebellion was ended. In response to the rebellion, the South Carolina legislature passed the Negro Act of 1740 restricting slave assembly, education, and movement. It also enacted a 10 year moratorium against importing enslaved Africans and established penalties against slaveholders’ harsh treatment of enslaved Africans. Now known as the Stono River Slave Rebellion Site, it was declared a National Historic Landmark May 30, 1974. “Cry Liberty,” an interpretation of the events of the rebellion, was published in 2010.
• September 8, 1807 Horace King, the most respected bridge builder in Alabama, Georgia, and northeastern Mississippi during the mid-1800s, was born enslaved in the Chesterfield District of South Carolina. In 1830, King was purchased by a contractor who taught him bridge building skills. Soon, the pupil became more skilled than the teacher. Between 1838 and 1840, King supervised the construction of toll bridges over the Chattahoochee River. During the early 1840s, he designed and constructed bridges in Alabama and Mississippi. In 1846, King earned his emancipation. In the early 1850s, the state of Alabama hired King to do carpentry work, including construction of the circular staircases at the new capitol building in Montgomery. During the Civil War, King was forced by Confederate officials to build blockades on the Apalachicola River and Alabama River to prevent Union navigation. He was also forced to build a large mill to supply wood products for Confederate naval facilities. After the war, King served in the Alabama House of Representatives from 1870 to 1874. King died May 28, 1885. In 1989, a historical marker honoring King was unveiled in LaGrange, Georgia.
• September 7, 1854 Free Frank McWorter, the first African American to incorporate a municipality in the United States, died. McWorter was born enslaved August 11, 1777 in South Carolina. In 1795, his owner moved to Kentucky and took him along to build and manage his holdings and to lease him out to work for others. McWorter used his earnings to create a successful saltpeter production operation. By 1817, he had earned enough to buy the freedom of his wife and two years later his own. In 1830, McWorter and his family moved to Pike County, Illinois and in 1836 he founded the town of New Philadelphia, Illinois. By the time of his death, McWorter had bought the freedom of 16 members of his family. McWorter’s gravesite was listed on the National Registry of Historical Places April 19, 1988 and a portion of I-72 in Pike County is designated the Frank McWorter Memorial Highway. The New Philadelphia town site was listed on the National Registry of Historical Places in 2005 and designated a National Historic Landmark January 16, 2009. McWorter’s biography, “Free Frank: A Black Pioneer on the Antebellum Frontier,” was published in 1983.
• September 6, 1877 Charles Joseph “Buddy” Bolden, cornetist and a key figure in the development of ragtime music, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Not much is known about Bolden’s early life but by the mid-1890s he had formed a series of bands and created a looser, more improvised version of ragtime and added blues to it. Between 1900 and 1906, Bolden’s band was the hottest group in New Orleans. In 1906, Bolden began to show signs of mental instability and in 1907 was confined to the State Insane Asylum where he died November 4, 1931. There are no known surviving recordings of his performances but he is associated with several songs, including “Careless Love,” “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It,” and “Funky Butt.” Many other New Orleans jazz musicians, including Joe “King” Oliver, were inspired by Bolden’s playing. Jelly Roll Morton described Bolden as “the blowingest man since Gabriel” and several jazz historians have referred to him as “the father of jazz.” Several books have been written about Bolden, including “The Loudest Trumpet: Buddy Bolden and the Early History of Jazz” (2000) and “In Search of Buddy Bolden: First Man of Jazz” (2005).
• September 5, 1846 John Wesley Cromwell, historian, educator and lawyer, was born enslaved in Portsmouth, Virginia. After his father gained the family’s freedom, Cromwell graduated from the Institute for Colored Youth (now Cheney University) in 1864. In 1873, he graduated from Howard University Law School and the next year was admitted to the District of Columbia bar. In 1876, Cromwell founded the weekly paper The People’s Advocate. On December 22, 1887, Cromwell became the first African American lawyer to argue a case before the Interstate Commerce Commission when he served as counsel for the plaintiff in William H. Heard v. Georgia Railroad Company. A gifted organizer, Cromwell helped organize the Virginia Educational and Historical Association and the National Colored Press Association. He was a founder of the Bethel Literary and Historical Association and in 1897 was a founding member of the American Negro Academy, an organization created to stimulate and demonstrate intellectual capabilities among African Americans. In 1914, Cromwell published his most influential work, “The Negro in American History: Men and Women Eminent in the Evolution of the American of African Descent” which influenced Carter G. Woodson to found the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History the following year. Cromwell also published “The First Negro Churches in The District of Columbus” in 1917. Cromwell died April 14, 1927. “Unveiled Voices, Unvarnished Memories: The Cromwell Family in Slavery and Segregation, 1692 – 1972” was published in 2006.
• September 4, 1845 Lewis Morrison, one of the most prominent stage actors of his time, was born Morris W. Morris in Kingston, Jamaica. Morrison immigrated to the United States as a youth. When the Civil War began, he joined the 1st Louisiana Native Guard, the first official Black regiment of the Confederacy, and rose to the rank of lieutenant. When the Louisiana legislature banned people of color from serving in the Confederate Army, Morrison joined the Union Army. After the war, he made his stage debut in New Orleans. In 1874, he moved to San Francisco where he performed for the next three years. By the 1880s, Morrison had moved back east and was playing leading roles opposite famous stage actors of that time. Morrison formed his own touring company and in 1889 began portraying Mephistopheles in “Faust.” He played that role for the next 15 years and became a worldwide icon. Morrison died in 1906.