Today in Black History, 04/22/2015 | Henry Thomas Sampson, Jr. - The Charles H. Wright Museum Blog

Today in Black History, 04/22/2015 | Henry Thomas Sampson, Jr.


  • April 22, 1882 Benjamin Griffith Brawley, educator, poet and author, was born in Columbia, South Carolina. Brawley earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Atlanta Baptist College (now Morehouse College) in 1901, a second Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Chicago in 1906, and his Master of Arts degree from Harvard University in 1908. He taught English at Morehouse from 1902 to 1910, Howard University from 1910 to 1912, Morehouse from 1912 to 1920, Shaw University from 1923 to 1931, and Howard from 1931 to his death February 1, 1939. Brawley also served as the first dean at Morehouse from 1912 to 1920 and dean at Shaw from 1930 to 1931. He served as president of the Association of Colleges for Negro Youth from 1919 to 1920. Brawley was ordained a minister in 1921 and for a few years pastored a church. He wrote or edited 17 books, including “A Short History of the American Negro” (1913), The Negro in Literature and Art in the United States” (1921), and “Negro Builders and Heroes” (1937). Brawley received honorary doctorate degrees from Shaw in 1927 and Morehouse in 1937.
  • April 22, 1921 Candido de Guerra Camero, jazz percussionist, was born in Havana, Cuba. Prior to moving to the United States, Candido recorded with various Cuban bandleaders, played in the house band of a Cuban radio station, and performed in the band of a popular Cuban nightclub. He moved to New York City in 1952 and started recording with Dizzy Gillespie. Candido subsequently recorded with Billy Taylor, Stan Kenton, and Erroll Garner. Candido was the most active Latin American percussionist in jazz and pop from the late 1950s through the 1970s. He has appeared on more than a thousand albums, the most recorded conga drummer in history. As a leader, his recordings include “Candido” (1956), “Beautiful” (1970), “Dancin’ and Prancin’” (1979), and “The Master” (2014). Candido was designated a NEA Jazz Master, the highest honor the nation bestows on a jazz artist, by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2008.
  • April 22, 1922 Charles Mingus, Jr., hall of fame jazz bassist, composer and bandleader, was born in Nogales, Arizona. Mingus began writing advanced jazz pieces as a teenager. He toured with Louis Armstrong in 1943 and began recording in 1945. Mingus co-founded Debut Record in 1952 to conduct his recording career as he saw fit. During his career, Mingus recorded more than 60 albums as a bandleader, including “Pithecanthropuus Erectus” (1956), “Mingus Ah Um” (1959), “The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady” (1963), and “Three or Four Shades of Blues” (1977). He was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 1971. Mingus died January 5, 1979. He is considered one of the most important composers and performers of jazz. The Library of Congress acquired Mingus’ papers in 1993 in what they described as “the most important acquisition of a manuscript collection relating to jazz in the library’s history.” The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor in 1995 and he was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. His album “Mingus Dynasty” (1959) was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 as a recording of “historical or qualitative significance.” Mingus published his autobiography, “Beneath the Underdog: His World as composed by Mingus,” in 1971. Other biographies of Mingus include “Mingus: A Critical Biography” (1984) and “Myself When I am Real: The Life and Music of Charlie Mingus” (1994).
  • April 22, 1935 Paul Lawrence Dunbar Chambers, Jr., hall of fame jazz double bassist, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but raised in Detroit, Michigan. Chambers started studying music as a young man and started formal bass training in 1952. Soon after, he moved to New York City. He joined the Miles Davis quintet in 1955 and played on many of Davis’ classic albums, including “Kind of Blue” (1959) and “Sketches of Spain” (1960). Chambers left Davis in 1963 and played with the Wynton Kelly trio until 1968. He also played on numerous other albums, including Thelonious Monk’s “Brilliant Corners” (1956), John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” (1960), and Wes Montgomery’s “Smokin’ at the Half Note” (1965). Albums by Chambers as leader include “Chambers Music” (1956), “Bass on Top” (1957), and “1st Bassman” (1960). Chambers died January 4, 1969. He was posthumously inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 2011.
  • April 22, 1947 Catherine L. Hughes, business executive and radio and television personality, was born Catherine Elizabeth Woods in Omaha, Nebraska. Hughes started in radio as an administrative assistant at Howard University’s radio station and had risen to vice president and general manager by 1975. She and her then husband formed Radio One in 1979 and bought their first radio station in 1980. Hughes bought her second radio station in 1987 and Radio One became a publicly traded company in 1999, the first African American female owned company on the stock exchange. Today Radio One owns and/or operates 55 radio stations in 16 urban markets across the country. She launched TV One in 2004, a national cable and satellite television network which currently serves 57 million households. Hughes serves on the board of Piney Woods Country Life School.
  • April 22, 1949 Silas Herbert Hunt, the first African American student admitted for graduate or professional studies at an all-White southern university, died. Hunt was born March 1, 1922 in Ashdown, Arkansas. He entered the Agricultural, Mechanical, and Normal School (AM&N) in 1941 but his studies were interrupted when he was drafted into the United States Army. He served as a construction engineer in Europe before being wounded at the Battle of the Bulge. After being discharged, Hunt returned to AM&N and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1947. Hunt was admitted to the University of Arkansas School of Law February 2, 1948 but had to attend segregated classes in the basement of the school. Hunt’s studies were cut short by his death. The University of Arkansas awards the Silas Hunt Distinguished Scholar Award to deserving Black students and the University of Arkansas School of Law awarded him a posthumous degree in 2008. A sculpture honoring Hunt was unveiled on campus August 29, 2012.
  • April 22, 1949 Spencer Haywood, retired basketball player, was born in Silver City, Mississippi but raised in Detroit, Michigan. Haywood led Pershing High School to the 1967 Michigan State Basketball Championship. Haywood was the leading scorer on the United States’ Gold medal winning team at the 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympic Games. Later that year, he transferred to the University of Detroit and in the next season led the nation in rebounding while scoring 32.1 points per game. After that season, Haywood decided to turn professional but National Basketball Association rules prohibited him from joining the NBA until his college class graduated. As a result, he joined the American Basketball Association and in his rookie year led the league in scoring and rebounding and was named Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player. Haywood challenged the NBA eligibility rule in 1970 and the case went to the United States Supreme Court before the NBA agreed to a settlement that allowed him to play immediately. Over his 10 season NBA career, Haywood was a four-time All-Star. Haywood’s number 24 jersey was retired by the Seattle SuperSonics in 2007. He published his autobiography, “Spencer Haywood: The Rise, The Fall, The Recovery,” in 1992. Haywood is now a successful businessman primarily involved with real estate.
  • April 22, 1950 Charles Hamilton Houston, former dean of Howard University Law School and litigation director at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, died. Houston was born September 3, 1895 in Washington, D. C. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, as valedictorian of his class, from Amherst College in 1915. He served in the United States Army with the American Expeditionary Forces in France from 1917 to 1919. Houston earned his Bachelor of Laws degree, cum laude, in 1922 and Doctor of Laws degree in 1923 from Harvard University School of Law. He also was the first African American editor of the Harvard Law Review. Over his career, Houston played a role in nearly every civil rights case before the U. S. Supreme Court between 1930 and 1950 and was known as “the man who killed Jim Crow.” He also trained future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Houston was posthumously awarded the 1950 NAACP Spingarn Medal. The main building of the Howard University School of Law was dedicated as Charles Hamilton Houston Hall in 1958 and the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School opened in 2005. The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor in 2009. His biography, “Groundwork: Charles Hamilton Houston and the Struggle for Civil Rights,” was published in 1983.
  • April 22, 1983 Earl Kenneth “Fatha” Hines, hall of fame jazz pianist, died. Hines was born December 28, 1903 in Duquesne, Pennsylvania. As a youth, he took classical piano lessons and played the organ at the local Baptist church. He left home to take a job playing in a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania nightclub at 17. Hines made his first recordings in 1923 and moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1925. He began to direct Louis Armstrong’s band in 1927 and together they recorded what are often regarded as some of the most important jazz records ever made, including their 1928 duet “Weatherbird.” Hines began leading his own band in 1928 and for the next eleven years they were “The Band” in The Grand Terrace Café which was controlled by Al Capone. Hines was considered Capone’s “Mr. Piano Man.” Hines led his big band until 1948. Hines retired to Oakland, California in 1960 and opened a tobacco shop. He was rediscovered in 1964 and inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 1965. From then until his death, he recorded a series of well received albums, including “West Side Story” (1974) and “The Father of Modern Jazz Piano” (1977). On his tombstone is the inscription “Piano Man.” His biography, “The World of Earl Hines,” was published in 1977.
  • April 22, 2002 Judith Anna Jamison received the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor bestowed on an individual artist by the United States, from President George W. Bush. Jamison was born May 10, 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She began studying dance at 10 and made her New York City debut in the ballet “The Four Marys” at the American Ballet Theater in 1964. She joined the Alvin Ailey Company in 1965 and soon became a principal dancer for the company. Among her notable roles were “The Prodigal Prince” (1967), “Masakela Language” (1969), and “Cry” (1971). Jamison left the company in 1980 to star in the Broadway musical “Sophisticated Ladies.” Also during the 1980s, she began to choreograph her own works. Jamison was named artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1989, a position she held until her retirement in 2011. Jamison received Kennedy Center Honors in 1999 and won the 1999 Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography and the American Choreography Award for Outstanding Choreography for the PBS special, “A Hymn for Alvin Ailey.” She was included on Time magazine’s 2009 list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Jamison published her autobiography, “Dancing Sprit,” in 1993.
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