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Today in Black History, 7/28/2012

• July 28, 1893 Charles Wilber “Bullet” Rogan, Negro League hall of fame pitcher and outfielder, was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Rogan lied about his age to enlist in the United States Army in 1911. He was honorably discharged in 1914, but re-enlisted to play for the all-black army baseball team. Rogan began his professional career in 1920 with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League and played until 1938. Over that period he won more games than any other pitcher in Negro league history and compiled the fourth highest career batting average. Casey Stengel of the New York Yankees called him “one of the best, if not the best, pitcher that ever lived.” After retiring as a player, Rogan became an umpire in the Negro American League until 1946 and then worked for the United States Postal Service. Rogan died March 4, 1967 and was posthumously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998.

• July 28, 1917 More than 8,000 African Americans marched silently down Fifth Avenue in New York City to protest the East St. Louis massacre of July 2, 1917, as well as the recent lynchings in Waco, Texas and Memphis, Tennessee. The riots in East St. Louis began when whites, angered by African Americans being employed by a factory holding government contracts, went on a rampage. At least 40 African Americans were killed and nearly 6,000 were driven from their homes. The march was organized by the NAACP and participants dressed in their finest clothes to protest the violent events against African Americans around the country.

• July 28, 1924 Cordy Tindell Vivian, minister, author and civil rights activist, was born in Howard, Missouri. Vivian’s first professional job was recreation director for the Carver Community Center in Peoria, Illinois where he participated in his first sit-in demonstrations, successfully integrating Barton’s Cafeteria in 1947. From 1955 to 1959, Vivian studied at American Baptist College where he participated in the Nashville Student Movement. He also helped found the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference and helped organize the first sit-ins in 1960 and the first civil rights marches in 1961. In 1966, Vivian founded and directed Vision, an educational program that provided scholarships for 702 Alabama college-bound students. In 1970, he authored “Black Power and the American Myth.” Later in the 1970s, Vivian moved to Atlanta and in 1977 founded the Black Action Strategies and Information Center, a consultancy on multiculturalism and race relations in the workplace and other contexts. In 1979, he co-founded the Center for Democratic Renewal, an organization to respond to white supremacy activity. His biography, “Challenge and Change,” was published in 1993. In 2008, he founded the C. T. Vivian Leadership Institute to create a model leadership culture in Atlanta. Vivian continues to speak publicly and offer workshops.

• July 28, 1932 Norma Holloway Johnson, the first African American woman to serve as a United States District Court Chief Judge, was born Normalie Loyce Holloway in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Johnson earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the District of Columbia Teachers College and was valedictorian of her class in 1955. She earned her Juris Doctorate degree in 1962 from Georgetown University Law Center. From 1963 to 1967, she served as a civil trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice and from 1967 to 1970 worked in the Office of the Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia, becoming chief of the Juvenile Division. Johnson was appointed associate judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in 1970 and served until 1980. That year, she was appointed to the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. She became chief judge in 1997 and held that position until 2001 when she took senior status. Johnson retired in 2003 and died September 18, 2011.

• July 28, 2009 Rev. Ike, minister and evangelist, died. Rev. Ike was born Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II on June 1, 1935 in Ridgeland, South Carolina. He began his career as a teenage preacher and earned his bachelor’s degree in theology from American Bible College in 1956. After serving the United States Air Force as a chaplain, he founded the United Church of Jesus Christ for All People in Beaufort, South Carolina, the United Christian Evangelistic Association in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Christ Community United Church in New York City. Rev. Ike preached the blessings of material prosperity and at its peak in the mid-1970s, his television and radio ministry reached approximately 2.5 million people across the United States. A magazine he founded, “Action!” reached more than a million readers. His slogan was “You can’t lose with the stuff I use.”

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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.