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Today in Black History, 7/22/2012

• July 22, 1903 Francis Lewis Cardozo, clergyman, educator, and the first African American to hold a statewide office in the United States, died. Cardozo was born February 1, 1836 in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1858, he graduated from the University of Glasgow in Scotland and in 1864 was ordained a Presbyterian minister. In 1865, Cardozo became superintendent of an American Missionary Association school which he turned into Avery Normal Institute. Cardozo was a delegate to the 1868 South Carolina constitutional convention and as chair of the education committee advocated for integrated public schools. Also that year, he was elected South Carolina Secretary of State, making him the first African American to hold a statewide office in the U.S. In that position, he reformed the South Carolina Land Commission which distributed land to formerly enslaved residents. In 1872, he was elected state treasurer, a position he held until 1877. From 1884 to 1896, Cardozo served as principal of the Colored Preparatory High School in Washington, D.C. which he made one of the leading schools for African Americans. Cardozo Senior High School in D.C. is named in his honor.

• July 22, 1941 George Clinton, singer, songwriter, and producer, was born in Kannapolis, North Carolina, but raised in Plainfield, New Jersey. During his teen years, Clinton formed a doo wop group called The Parliaments. The Parliaments eventually found success under the names Parliament and Funkadelic in the seventies, producing such hits as “Chocolate City” (1975), “Give Me the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)” (1976), “Flashlight” (1977), and “One Nation Under a Groove” (1978). Beginning in the early 1980s, Clinton recorded several solo albums, including “Computer Games” (1982), which contained the hit single “Atomic Dog,” and “Mothership Connection” (1986), which contained the “Nubian Nut” and “Last Dance.” In 1985, he produced the album “Freaky Styles” for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. In 1997, Clinton was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with the other members of Parliament-Funkadelic and in 2009 he received the Urban Icon Award from Broadcast Music Inc.

• July 22, 1943 Quincy Thomas Troupe, Jr., poet, journalist, and educator, was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Soon after high school, Troupe joined the United States Army where he developed his passion for writing. In 1969, he became writer-in-residence at Ohio University. In 1971, he moved to Richmond College. Over the next few years, Troupe would become a celebrity in the academic world with works such as “Snake-Back Solos: Selected Poems 1969-1977” (1979), “Miles: The Autobiography of Miles Davis” (1989), which won an American Book Award, and “Weather Reports: New and Selected Poems” (1991). Troupe has written eight volumes of poetry, three children’s books, and six non-fiction works. In 1990, Troupe moved to the University of California as a professor of literature and became a founding editor of Code Magazine. In 2002, Troupe was named California’s first Poet Laureate. That same year, he retired as professor emeritus. Troupe currently edits New York University’s Black Renaissance Noire.

• July 22, 1946 Danny Lebern Glover, actor, director, and political activist, was born in San Francisco, California. Glover earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from San Francisco State University in 1968. While attending San Francisco State, Glover was a member of the Black Student Union which led a strike to establish a Department of Black Studies. The strike was the longest student walkout in history. In his late twenties, Glover enrolled in the Black Actors Workshop at the American Conservatory Theater. Glover made his film debut in “Escape from Alcatraz” (1979), but he received notice after appearing in “Color Purple” (1985). He is best known for playing in the “Lethal Weapons” series. Other films include “Predator 2” (1990), “To Sleep with Anger” (1990), “Royal Tenenbaums” (2001), and “Dreamgirls” (2006). He made his directorial debut in 1994 with the Showtime short film “Override.” Glover is an active board member of The Algebra Project, The Black AIDS Institute, and The Jazz Foundation of America, among others. He also has a long history of union activism and opposition to the Iraq War. In 2010, Glover received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Utah State University.

• July 22, 1954 Lonette McKee, singer, songwriter, composer, and actress, was born in Detroit, Michigan. McKee was a child prodigy, writing music, singing, and playing keyboards at the age of seven. At 15, McKee wrote the title song for the film “Quadroon.” McKee began her film career in the movie “Sparkle” (1976). Other films include “Which Way is Up?” (1977), “The Cotton Club” (1984), and “Lift” (2001). McKee won critical acclaim for her Broadway debut in the musical “The First” (1981). She was the first African American to play the role of Julie in “Show Boat” on Broadway and she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance. Her performance in the one-woman show “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” also won critical acclaim. After being voted one of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” in 1995, McKee did a two year stint on the television soap opera “As the World Turns.” McKee serves as an adjunct professor at Centenary College.

• July 22, 1966 Timothy Donell Brown, former professional football player, was born in Dallas, Texas. Brown played college football at Notre Dame from 1984 to 1987 and was an All-American in 1986 and 1987. Also in 1987, he won the Heisman Trophy as the most outstanding player in college football, becoming the first wide receiver to win the award. Brown was selected by the Los Angeles Raiders in the 1988 NFL Draft. Over his 16 season career, he was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and established himself as one of the NFL’s most prolific wide receivers. Brown retired in 2004 and in 2009 was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Since 1995, Brown has served as national chairman of Athletes and Entertainers for Kids. In 2012, he received the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, given annually to individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their college athletic career, for his athletic and professional accomplishments. Brown is currently working on starting a NASCAR racing team as part of their Drive for Diversity program.

• July 22, 1975 Emlen Lewis Tunnell, the first African American inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, died. Tunnell was born March 29, 1925 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. After serving two years in the United States Coast Guard during World War II, he played college football at the University of Iowa. He played quarterback, halfback, and on defense and led the team in passing in the 1946 season and receiving in the 1947 season. In 1948, Tunnell began his professional football career with the New York Giants, the first African American to play for the team. Tunnell played in the National Football League for 14 seasons and was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection. When he retired in 1961, he held the record for career interceptions with 79. After retiring, Tunnell served as a scout and assistant coach with the Giants. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967. Tunnell published his autobiography, “Footsteps of a Giant,” in 1966.

• July 22, 1987 Natalie Leota Henderson Hinderas, pianist, composer, and educator, died. Hinderas was born June 15, 1927 in Oberlin, Ohio. She began playing the piano at the age of three and gave her first full-length recital at eight. She made her orchestral debut with the Cleveland Women’s Symphony at the age of 12. Hinderas earned her Bachelor of Science degree in music with honors from Oberlin Conservatory in 1945 and did postgraduate work at the Julliard School of Music and the Philadelphia Conservatory. In 1954, she made her Town Hall debut to critical acclaim. Hinderas toured Europe and the West Indies and did two tours of Africa and Asia sponsored by the United States State Department. In the mid-1950s, she signed a contract with NBC television to play recitals, concerts, and variety shows. In 1971, she became the first black artist to perform a subscription concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Throughout her career, Hinderas promoted and recorded works by black performers and composers. Hinderas was a professor at Temple University College of Music from 1966 to her death.

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Founded in 1965 and located in the heart of Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is the world's largest institution dedicated to the African American experience. The Museum provides learning opportunities, exhibitions, programs and events based on collections and research that explore the diverse history and culture of African Americans and their African origins.