Today in Black History, 7/31/2014 - The Charles H. Wright Museum Blog

Today in Black History, 7/31/2014

• July 31, 1874 Patrick Francis Healy was named president of Georgetown University, the first person of African American ancestry to be president of a predominantly White college. Healy was born enslaved February 27, 1830 in Macon, Georgia. Although he was at least three-quarters European in ancestry, he was legally considered a slave and Georgia law prohibited the education of enslaved people. Therefore, Healy’s father arranged for him to move north to obtain an education. Healy graduated from the College of Holy Cross in 1850 and entered the Jesuit order. In 1858, the order sent him to Europe to study because his African ancestry had become an issue in the United States. He earned his doctorate from the University of Leuven in Belgium, the first American of African descent to earn a Ph. D. Healy was ordained to the priesthood September 3, 1864, the first Jesuit priest of African descent. In 1866, Healy returned to the U. S. and began teaching at Georgetown. During his tenure as president, he helped transform the small 19th century college into a major university for the 20th century. He modernized the curriculum and expanded and upgraded the schools of law and medicine. He also oversaw the construction of Healy Hall which was declared a National Historic Landmark December 23, 1987. He left the college in 1882. Healy died January 10, 1910. In 1969, the Georgetown Alumni Association established the Patrick Healy Award to recognize people who have “distinguished themselves by a lifetime of outstanding achievement and service to Georgetown, the community and his or her profession.” Patrick Francis Healy Middle School in East Orange, New Jersey is named in his honor. “Passing for White: Race, Religion, and the Healy Family, 1820-1920” was published in 2003.

• July 31, 1903 St. Luke Penny Savings Bank was founded by Maggie Lena Walker, the first African American woman to establish and serve as president of a bank in the United States, in Richmond, Virginia. She started the bank because White banks would not accept deposits from Black people or organizations. By 1920, the bank had loaned money to purchase 600 homes. In 1930, the bank merged with two other Black owned banks in Richmond to become the Consolidated Bank and Trust Company. The bank continues to operate today, as the oldest continuously operating minority-owned bank in the country, with $76.2 million in assets.

• July 31, 1916 Warren Q. Marr II, co-founder of the Amistad Research Center, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Marr studied journalism and printing at Wilberforce University. After graduating, Marr worked for The Plaindealer newspaper in Kansas City, Kansas from 1939 to 1942, rising to the position of assistant editor. In 1968, Marr joined the staff of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and from 1974 to 1980 served as editor of The Crisis magazine. In 1966, Marr co-founded the Amistad Research Center as a repository for African American papers and other artifacts. The center currently houses more than 10 million items. In 1991, Marr helped found Amistad Affiliates, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation of a replica of the schooner La Amistad as a floating museum and educational center. After years of construction, the ship has sailed to ports around the world promoting peace and goodwill. Marr died April 20, 2010.

• July 31, 1918 Henry “Hank” Jones, hall of fame jazz pianist, bandleader and composer, was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi but raised in Pontiac, Michigan. Jones studied piano at an early age and by 13 was performing in Michigan and Ohio. In 1944, he moved to New York City and from 1948 to 1953 was accompanist for Ella Fitzgerald. From 1959 to 1975, Jones was staff pianist for CBS studio which included backing guests like Frank Sinatra on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Jones recorded prolifically as an unaccompanied soloist, in duos with other pianist, and with various small ensembles. His recordings include “Bop Redux” (1977), “I Remember You” (1977), “Steal Away” (1995), and “Round Midnight” (2006). In 1989, he was designated a NEA Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts, the highest honor the nation bestows on a jazz artist, and in 2003 received the Jazz Living Legend Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. On November 17, 2008, Jones was presented the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor bestowed on an individual artist by the United States, by President George W. Bush and in 2009 was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. Jones was nominated for five Grammy Awards and in 2009 received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Jones died May 16, 2010.

• July 31, 1921 Whitney Moore Young, Jr., civil rights leader, was born in Lincoln Ridge, Kentucky. Young earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Kentucky State University in 1941 and his Master of Arts degree in social work from the University of Minnesota in 1947. Young served in the United States Army from 1942 to 1945, rising to the rank of first sergeant. In 1961, Young became executive director of the National Urban League where he served until 1971. During that time, he worked to end employment discrimination in the United States and turned the NUL from a relatively passive civil rights organization into one that aggressively fought for equitable access to socioeconomic opportunity for the historically disenfranchised. He also expanded the organization from 38 employees to 1,600 and the annual budget from $325,000 to $6,100,000. Young also served as the president of the National Association of Social Workers from 1969 to 1971. On January 20, 1969, President Lyndon B. Johnson honored Young with the country’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. On March 11, 1971, Young drowned while swimming in Lagos, Nigeria. Hundreds of schools and other sites are named in his honor. In addition, Clark Atlanta University named its School of Social Work in his honor and the Boy Scouts of America created the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award. The Whitney M. Young Birthplace and Boyhood Home in Simpsonville, Kentucky was designated a National Historic Landmark April 27, 1984. Young authored “To Be Equal” in 1964 and “Beyond Racism: Building an Open Society” in 1969. His biography, “Whitney M. Young, Jr. and the Struggle for Civil Rights,” was published in 1989.

• July 31, 1931 Kenneth Earl Burrell, jazz guitarist, was born in Detroit, Michigan. Burrell began playing guitar at 12 and while still a student at Wayne State University made his debut recording as a member of Dizzy Gillespie’s sextet in 1954. In 1955, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in music composition and theory from Wayne and the next year moved to New York City. Burrell has recorded about 40 albums as leader, including “Midnight Blue” (1967), “Soft Winds” (1993), “Lotus Blossom” (1995), “Lucky So and So” (2001), “Be Yourself: Live at Dizzy’s” (2010), and “Tenderly” (2011). In 2005, Burrell was designated a NEA Jazz Master, the highest honor the United States bestows upon a jazz artist, by the National Endowment for the Arts. Besides continuing to perform, Burrell is the founder and director of the jazz studies program at the University of California, Los Angeles as well as president emeritus of the Jazz Heritage Foundation.

• July 31, 1954 Flora Jean “Flo” Hyman, hall of fame volleyball player, was born in Inglewood, California. By 17, Hyman was 6 feet 5 inches in height. She attended the University of Houston as that school’s first female scholarship athlete and was a three-time All-American volleyball selection. In 1984, Hyman was a member of the United States volleyball team that won the Silver medal at the Los Angeles Olympic Games. Hyman was the most famous volleyball player of her time with a spike that traveled up to 110 miles per hour. She died January 24, 1986 while playing in Japan from an aortic dissection resulting from previously undiagnosed Marfan Syndrome. In 1987, the Women’s Sports Foundation established the annual Flo Hyman Award which is given “to a female athlete who captures Hyman’s dignity, spirit and commitment to excellence” and in 1988 she was posthumously inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame.

• July 31, 1956 Deval Laurdine Patrick, the first African American Governor of Massachusetts, was born in Chicago, Illinois. Patrick earned his Bachelor of Science degree, cum laude, in English and American literature from Harvard College in 1978 and his Juris Doctor degree, with honors, from Harvard Law School in 1982. From 1984 to 1986, he worked for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and from 1986 to 1994 was in private practice. From 1994 to 1997, he served as assistant attorney general in charge of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division where he worked on issues including racial profiling, fair lending enforcement, and discrimination based on gender and disability. In 1997, Patrick was appointed chairman of Texaco Corporation’s Equality and Fairness Task Force to oversee implementation of the terms of a race discrimination settlement at Texaco. After serving in that capacity for two years, he was appointed vice president and general counsel for the company. From 2000 to 2004, he worked as executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary for the Coca Cola Company. In 2006, Patrick was elected Governor of Massachusetts and was re-elected in 2010. Patrick published his autobiography, “A Reason to Believe: Lessons from an Improbable Life,” in 2011. In 2013, the State of Illinois named a portion of Wabash Avenue in Chicago Duval Patrick Way.

• July 31, 1966 Earl Rudolph “Bud” Powell, hall of fame jazz pianist, died. Powell was born September 27, 1924 in New York City. At an early age, Powell learned classical piano but by eight became interested in jazz and by 15 was playing in his brother’s band. His debut recording was with Cootie Williams’ band in 1944. In 1947, he made his debut recording as a leader with the album “Bud Powell Trio.” Other albums by Powell include “The Amazing Bud Powell” (1951), “Blues in the Closet” (1956), and “Bud Powell in Paris” (1963). Many people referred to Powell as “the Charlie Parker of the piano.” Powell suffered from mental illness throughout his later life. In 1966, he was posthumously inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. Powell’s biography, “Dance of the Infidels: A Portrait of Bud Powell,” was published in 1986 and was the basis for the movie “Round Midnight” (1986).

• July 31, 1974 Jonathan Phillip Ogden, hall of fame football player, was born in Washington, D. C. Ogden participated in track and field as well as football at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1995, he was a unanimous first-team All-American and won the Outland Trophy as the best college football interior lineman. In 1996, he won the National Collegiate Athletic Association indoor track championship in the shot put. He also earned his bachelor’s degree in business economics. Ogden was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the 1996 National Football League Draft and over his 12 season professional career was an 11-time Pro Bowl selection. Ogden retired from football after the 2007 season. He was named to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 2000s. Ogden was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013. In 1996, he established the Jonathan Ogden Foundation to benefit inner city schools and help student-athletes take responsibility for their futures through lessons learned on the playing field, in the classroom, and throughout their local communities.

• July 31, 1986 Theodore Shaw “Teddy” Wilson, hall of fame jazz pianist, died. Wilson was born November 24, 1912 in Austin, Texas but raised in Tuskegee, Alabama. He studied piano and violin at Tuskegee Institute. In 1935, Wilson joined the Benny Goodman Trio, the first Black musician to perform in public with a previously all-White group. Wilson recorded 50 hit records with various singers, including Lena Horne and Billie Holliday. His albums include “I Got Rhythm” (1956), “Pres and Teddy” (1956), and “With Billie in Mind” (1972). Wilson was designated a NEA Jazz Master, the highest honor the United States bestows upon jazz artists, by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1986 and was posthumously inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 1987. He is considered one of the most influential jazz pianist of his time.

• July 31, 2011 Dorothy Edwards Brunson, the first African American woman to own a radio station, died. Brunson was born March 13, 1938 in Glensville, Georgia but raised in Harlem, New York. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business and finance from Empire State College. In 1973, Brunson joined the Inner City Broadcasting Company, which was $1 million in debt, as general manager. She reduced staff, restructured the debt and bought another radio station. By 1978, the company had grown from $500,000 in annual revenue to $23 million in annual revenue with radio stations in seven major markets. Brunson left Inner City Broadcasting in 1979 and bought a radio station in Baltimore, Maryland. She later bought radio stations in Atlanta, Georgia and Wilmington, North Carolina. In 1990, she sold the radio stations for $3.6 million and bought a television station in Burlington, New Jersey, the first African American woman to establish a television station. Brunson sold that station in 2004.

• July 31, 2011 The Chicago White Sox unveiled a life sized bronze statue of Frank Edward Thomas, Jr. on the outfield concourse of U. S. Cellular Field. Thomas was born May 27, 1968 in Columbus, Georgia. He played baseball at Auburn University and was selected by the White Sox in the 1989 Major League Baseball Draft. He made his major league debut in 1990 and over his 19 season professional career was a five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and American League Most Valuable Player in 1993 and 1994. He won the American League batting title in 1997 and was named American League Comeback Player of the Year in 2000. Thomas is also the only major league player in history to have seven consecutive seasons with a .300 batting average and at least 100 walks, 100 runs, 100 runs batted in, and 20 home runs. Thomas retired from baseball in 2010 and the White Sox retired his uniform number 35 that year. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014. Thomas currently serves as founder and chief executive officer of W2W Records.

Today in Black History, 7/30/2014
Today in Black History, 8/1/2014
Powered by EasyBlog for Joomla!