Today in Black History, 06/19/2015 | Dr. Ben Carson received Presidential Medal of Freedom - The Charles H. Wright Museum Blog

Today in Black History, 06/19/2015 | Dr. Ben Carson received Presidential Medal of Freedom

  • June 19, 1845 Bruce Anderson, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Mexico, New York. Anderson was a farmer prior to enlisting in the Union Army in 1864 during the Civil War. On January 15, 1865, he was serving as a private in Company K of the 142nd New York Infantry when he participated in an attack on Fort Fisher in North Carolina. He and twelve other men volunteered to advance ahead of the main attack and cut down the palisade which blocked their path. Despite intense fire from the Confederate defenders, they were successful in destroying the obstacle. Anderson and the others were recommended for the medal but the recommendation was lost. Anderson hired a lawyer to petition for the medal and was awarded the medal, America’s highest military decoration, December 28, 1914. Not much is known of Anderson’s later life other than he died August 22, 1922.
  • June 19, 1857 Alexander Lucius Twilight, educator, minister, politician and the first Black person known to have earned a bachelor’s degree from an American college, died. Twilight was born September 26, 1795 in Corinth, Vermont. He was forced to work as an indentured servant from 8 to 21. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College in 1823. He also studied for the ministry with the Congregational Church. Twilight was hired as principal of Vermont Grammar School in 1829 and designed and built a massive four-story granite building called Athenian Hall in 1836 to serve as a dormitory for the school, the first granite public building in Vermont. The building now serves as the Orleans County Historical Society and Museum. He was elected to the Vermont General Assembly in 1836, the first African American elected to a state legislature. Twilight’s home was added to the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Brownington Village Historic District May 9, 1973 and the Alexander Twilight Auditorium at Lyndon State College and Alexander Twilight Hall at Middlebury College are named in his honor. Alexander Twilight College Preparatory Academy is located in Sacramento, California. His biography, “Alexander Twilight, Vermont’s African American Pioneer,” was published in 1998.
  • June 19, 1907 Alexander Kelly, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, died. Kelly was born April 7, 1840 in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War and by September 29, 1864 was serving as a first sergeant in Company F of the 6th United States Colored Infantry Regiment at the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm in Virginia. His citation reads, “Gallantly seized the colors, which had fallen near the enemy’s lines of abates, raised them and rallied the men at a time of confusion and in a place of the greatest danger.” For his actions, Kelly was awarded the medal, America’s highest military decoration, April 6, 1865. Kelly was honorably discharged from the army in September, 1865 and for some time served as the night watchman at the Pittsburgh police stables. Not much else is known of Kelly’s life.
  • June 19, 1912 Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial Normal School for Negroes in Nashville, Tennessee began operations with 247 students. The school gained the authority to grant bachelor’s degrees in 1922 and was known as Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State Normal College by 1924. The Tennessee General Assembly authorized an upgrade to the educational program at the college, including graduate studies leading to a master’s degree, in 1941. The school became Tennessee State University in the early 1970s. A lawsuit was filed alleging a duel system of higher education in Tennessee based on race in 1968. The case, Geier v. Tennessee, was settled July 1, 1979 with a court order merging the University of Tennessee at Nashville with TSU. Today, the university has over 7,000 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate students with 450 full-time faculty members. It offers 45 bachelor degree programs, 24 master’s programs, and awards doctoral degrees in a number of disciplines. Notable alumni include Oprah Winfrey, Richard Dent, Wilma Rudolph, Xernona Clayton, and Moses Gunn.
  • June 19, 1913 Edwin Roberts Russell, chemist and educator, was born in Columbia, South Carolina. Russell earned his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Howard University in 1937. He taught chemistry at Howard from 1936 to 1942. Russell entered the University of Chicago to pursue his Ph. D. in 1942 but ended up working on the Manhattan Project that resulted in the atomic bomb for the next five years. He focused on isolating plutonium from uranium which was necessary to build the bomb. Russell received patent numbers 2,855,629 October 7, 1958 and 2,992,249 July 11, 1961 for processes associated with isolating plutonium from uranium. He also received nine other patents. Russell served as professor and chair in the chemistry department at Allen University from 1947 to 1953 before joining E. I. DuPont as a research chemist. He retired from the DuPont Nuclear Laboratory in 1976. He received an honorary doctorate degree from Benedict College in 1974.
  • June 19, 1921 Vernon D. Jarrett, newspaper, television and radio journalist, was born in Paris, Tennessee. Jarrett earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Knoxville College in 1941. He moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1946 and began his career at the Chicago Defender. For three years beginning in 1948, he co-produced “Negro Newsfront,” the first daily radio news broadcast in the United States created by African Americans. Jarrett became the first African American syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune in 1970. Also during that time, he was a host on the Chicago ABC-TV affiliate where he produced nearly 2,000 television broadcasts. Jarrett was one of the founders of the National Association of Black Journalist in 1975 and served as the organization’s second president. He founded ACT-SO, the Afro-American Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics in 1977. He was nominated for seven Pulitzer Prizes for editorial writing before retiring in 1995. Jarrett died May 23, 2004. The Vernon Jarrett Medal for Journalistic Excellence is awarded annually by the Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies at North Carolina A&T University to honor “outstanding coverage of people of African descent and the issues that impact their lives.”
  • June 19, 1923 Andrew T. Hatcher, the first African American associate press secretary to the President of the United States, was born in Princeton, New Jersey. Hatcher served in the U. S. Army from 1943 to 1946, rising to the rank of second lieutenant. After leaving the army, he moved to San Francisco, California where he became a journalist for the San Francisco Sun Reporter, an African American newspaper. Hatcher also served as a speechwriter for Adlai E. Stevenson, II during his two unsuccessful campaigns for the presidency during the 1950s. He was appointed California assistant secretary of labor in 1959. Hatcher served as a speechwriter for John F. Kennedy during his 1960 campaign for the presidency. After winning the election, Kennedy appointed Hatcher associate press secretary November 10, 1960. Hatcher resigned the position after the assassination of Kennedy in 1964. Hatcher received an honorary doctorate degree from Miles College in 1962 and was one of the founders of One Hundred Black Men of America in 1963. Hatcher died July 26, 1990.
  • June 19, 1948 Phylicia Rashad, stage, television and screen actress and singer, was born Phylicia Ayers-Allen in Houston, Texas. Rashad earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, magna cum laude, from Howard University in 1970. She initially gained recognition on the stage with a string of Broadway credits, including “The Wiz” from 1975 to 1979. She appeared in the television soap opera “One Life to Live” from 1981 to 1983. Rashad is best known for her role on the television situation comedy “The Cosby Show” from 1984 to 1992. Rashad received two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for that role. She also appeared in the follow-up comedy, “Cosby,” from 1996 to 2000. Rashad became the first African American to win the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her role in the revival of “A Raisin in the Sun” June 6, 2004. She was nominated for the same award in 2005 for her performance in “Gem of the Ocean.” Rashad appeared in the television adaptation of “A Raisin in the Sun” in 2008 and received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. She starred in the films “For Colored Girls” (2010) and “Good Deeds” (2012). Rashad has received honorary doctorate degrees from Brown University and Spelman College. She was named the first Denzel Washington Chair Professor in Theater at Fordham University in 2011.
  • June 19, 1960 John Lee “Johnny” Gray, hall of fame track and field athlete, was born in Los Angeles, California. Gray attended Santa Monica College.  He competed in the 800 meter race at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games, the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympic Games, the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympic Games where he won the Bronze medal, and the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Games. Gray set the United States 800 meter outdoor record in 1985 and the indoor record in 1992. Both records still stand. He was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2008. Gray is currently an assistant track and field coach at the University of Central Florida.
  • June 19, 1960 Charles W. Anderson, Jr., the first African American elected to a southern state legislature in the 20th century, died. Anderson was born May 26, 1907 in Louisville, Kentucky. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wilberforce University in 1927 and his Juris Doctor degree from Howard University in 1931. He was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1935 and served until 1946. During his tenure, he worked to improve African Americans access to education. One of his accomplishments was to provide $7,500 annually to African American college students who were forced to attend college out of state because of Kentucky’s segregated system. He also championed legislation to provide $100 to any Black student who was forced to travel outside of their home county to attend segregated schools. Anderson was appointed Assistant Commonwealth Attorney for Jefferson County in 1946, the highest judicial position held by an African American in the South at that time. He was appointed an alternate delegate to the United Nations by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1959. Anderson also served as president of the Louisville Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Kentucky chapter of the National Bar Association.
  • June 19, 1979 Dunbar Hospital in Detroit, Michigan was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Dunbar, the first hospital for Black people in Detroit, was incorporated May 20, 1918. Prior to that, Black physicians had to get permission to admit Black patients to the White hospitals and often they were denied. The Allied Medical Society, a group of 30 Black physicians, purchased what had been the home of a real estate developer and opened it with 27 beds and an operating room. It also housed a nursing school. The hospital was named for the Black poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar. Demand forced the hospital to be moved to a larger facility in 1928 and the building was bought by Charles C. Diggs who later became the first African American Michigan State Senator. The Detroit Medical Society bought and restored the building in 1978 and made it their administrative headquarters.
  • June 19, 1993 James Benton Parsons, the first African American appointed to a lifetime federal judgeship in the United States, died. Parsons was born August 13, 1911 in Kansas City, Missouri but raised in Decatur, Illinois. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Millikin University in 1934 and his Master of Arts degree in political science from the University of Chicago in 1946. Parsons served in the U. S. Navy from 1942 to 1945 and earned his Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1949. From that time to 1961, he was in private practice as well as serving in several public capacities in Illinois. Parsons was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to a federal judgeship on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois August 30, 1961. He served on that court until his retirement in 1992. Parsons Elementary School in Decatur and the ceremonial courtroom in the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago, Illinois are named in his honor.
  • June 19, 2010 Manute Bol, former professional basketball player and human rights activist, died. Bol was born October 16, 1962 in Turalei, Sudan. He started playing basketball in 1978 and was selected by the Washington Bullets in the 1985 National Basketball Association Draft. Bol was one of the tallest players to play in the NBA and over his ten season career was known for his shot blocking skills. He is the only player in NBA history to have more blocked shots than points scored. While he was playing, Bol established the Ring True Foundation to support various causes in Sudan. He gave most of his NBA earnings to this cause. After his death, tributes to his basketball career and charitable works came from around the world, including a salute on the floor of the United States Senate. His biography, “Manute: The Center of Two Worlds,” was published in 1993.
Today in Black History, 06/18/2015 | Nicodemus
Detroit Native Vivian Carpenter releases debut nov...
Powered by EasyBlog for Joomla!