Today in Black History 07/15/2015 | All-Negro Comics - The Charles H. Wright Museum Blog

Today in Black History 07/15/2015 | All-Negro Comics

  • July 15, 1864 Maggie Lena Walker, hall of fame businesswoman, educator and the first female bank president, was born in Richmond, Virginia. Walker attended the Colored Normal School to be trained as a teacher and received her diploma, with honors, in 1883. After graduation, she taught for three years. Walker was elected Right Worthy Grand Secretary-Treasurer of the Independent Order of St. Luke, a Black social and civic organization, in 1899. She founded the order newspaper, St. Luke Herald, in 1902 and opened the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank with her as president November 2, 1903. The bank had loaned money to purchase 600 homes by 1920. The bank merged with two other Black owned banks in Richmond in 1930 to become the Consolidated Bank and Trust Company with Walker as chair of the board. The bank operated until 2009 when it was purchased by Premier Bank, ending it’s distinction as the oldest continuously operated Black owned bank in the country. As a result of her business acumen, the order became financially successful and had 100,000 members, 1500 local chapters, and assets of almost $400,000 by 1924. Walker served as the leader of the Independent Order of St. Luke and chairman of the bank until her death December 15, 1934. She was the founder and lifelong head of the Colored Women’s Council of Richmond which raised money for local projects and maintained a community house. She was the co-founder and vice president of the Richmond branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and served on the national board for ten years. She also served as a trustee of Hartshorn College and Virginia Union University. Her home in Richmond was designated a National Historic Landmark May 15, 1975 and was opened as a museum in 1985. The Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies in Richmond is named in her honor. Walker was posthumously inducted into the Junior Achievement U. S. Business Hall of Fame in 2001. “Maggie L. Walker and the I. O. of St. Luke: The Woman and Her Work” was published in 1927.
  • July 15, 1923 Joseph Rudolph “Philly Joe” Jones, hall of fame jazz drummer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jones started playing the drums at four. After a stint in the United States Army during World War II, he moved to New York City in 1947 and became the house drummer at Café Society. There, he played with the leading bebop players of the day, including Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Fats Navarro. He played with Tadd Dameron from the late 1940s to 1952 and Miles Davis from 1952 to 1958. Jones began to lead his own bands in 1958 and albums with him as leader include “Blues for Dracula” (1958), “Philly Joe’s Beat” (1960), “Philly Mignon” (1977), and “To Tadd with Love” (1982). He lived and taught in London, England from 1967 to 1969 and Paris, France from 1969 to 1972. Jones died August 30, 1985. He was posthumously inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 2010.
  • July 15, 1933 Webster Anderson, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Winnsboro, South Carolina. Anderson joined the United States Army in 1953 and served during the Korean War. By October 15, 1967 he was serving as a staff sergeant in Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Infantry Division during the Vietnam War. On that day, his actions earned him the medal. His citation partially reads, “During the early morning hours Battery A’s defensive position was attacked by a determined North Vietnamese Army infantry unit supported by heavy mortar, recoilless rifle, rocket propelled grenade and automatic weapon fire. The initial onslaught breached the battery defensive perimeter. Sfc. Anderson, with complete disregard for his personal safety, mounted the exposed parapet of his howitzer position and became the mainstay of the defense of the battery position. Sfc. Anderson directed devastating direct howitzer fire on the assaulting enemy while providing rifle and grenade defensive fire against enemy soldiers attempting to overrun his gun section position. While protecting his crew and directing their fire against the enemy from his exposed position, 2 enemy grenades exploded at his feet knocking him down and severely wounding him in the legs. Despite the excruciating pain and though not able to stand, Sfc. Anderson valorously propped himself on the parapet and continued to direct howitzer fire upon the closing enemy and to encourage his men to fight on. Seeing an enemy grenade land within the gun pit near a wounded member of his gun crew, Sfc. Anderson heedless of his own safety, seized the grenade and attempted to throw it over the parapet to save his men. As the grenade was thrown from the position it exploded and Sfc. Anderson was again grievously wounded. Although only partially conscious and severely wounded, Sfc. Anderson refused medical evacuation and continued to encourage his men in the defense of the position. Sfc. Anderson by his inspirational leadership, professionalism, devotion to duty and complete disregard for his welfare was able to maintain the defense of his section position and to defeat a determined attack.” Despite losing both of his legs and part of an arm, Anderson survived his wounds and retired from the army. He was presented the medal, America’s highest military decoration, by President Richard M. Nixon November 24, 1969. Anderson died August 30, 2003.
  • July 15, 1938 Ernest Eugene Barnes, Jr., former professional football player and artist, was born in Durham, North Carolina. Barnes played football and majored in art at North Carolina Central University. He was drafted by the New York Titans in the 1960 American Football League Draft and played for four years before retiring in 1964, disillusioned with aspects of the professional game. While playing, he continued painting and his most famous painting, “The Sugar Shack” (1971), was featured on the cover of Marvin Gaye’s album “I want You” and in the closing credits of the television situation comedy “Good Times.” He was named Official Artist of the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games and received the 1984 and 2004 Sports Artist of the Year Award from the American Sport Art Museum and Archives. Barnes was commissioned to produce paintings by a number of organizations, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Carolina Panthers, and the National Basketball Association. He received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree from North Carolina Central in 1990 and received The University Award, the highest honor given by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors in 1999. He published his autobiography, “Pads to Palette,” in 1995. Barnes died April 27, 2009.
  • July 15, 1942 Vivian Juanita Malone, one of the first two African Americans to enroll at the University of Alabama, was born in Mobile, Alabama. Malone earned a bachelor’s degree from Alabama A&M University but the school lost its accreditation. To get an accredited degree, she applied to the University of Alabama and was admitted as a junior. When she and James A. Hood attempted to enroll June 11, 1963, Alabama Governor George C. Wallace, Jr. blocked the door to Foster Auditorium. Despite harassment, Malone became the first Black graduate of the university May 30, 1965, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in business management. She then joined the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice and retired as director of Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and director of Environmental Justice for the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1996. She received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of Alabama in 2000. Malone died October 13, 2005.
  • July 15, 1952 Johnny Lee Stallworth, hall of fame football player, was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Stallworth played college football at Alabama A&M University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration in 1974. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1974 National Football League Draft and over his 14 season professional career was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and the 1984 NFL Comeback Player of the Year. After retiring from football, Stallworth earned his Master of Business Administration degree and founded Madison Research Corporation in 1986, specializing in providing engineering and information technology services to government and commercial clients. He sold the company in 2006 and became a part-owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009. The John Stallworth Foundation was established in 1980 to annually provide scholarships to students at Alabama A&M University. Stallworth was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
  • July 15, 1953 Jean-Bertrand Aristide, former Roman Catholic priest and the first democratically elected President of Haiti, was born in Port-Salut, Haiti. Aristide graduated with honors from the College Notre Dame in 1974 and earned his Master of Arts degree from the University of Montreal in 1979. He returned to Haiti in 1982 to be ordained a priest and immediately became an outspoken critic of the Duvalier government. As a result, his order sent him into three years of exile in Montreal. Aristide returned to Haiti in 1985 and founded an orphanage for urban street children. As a leading voice for the aspirations of Haiti’s dispossessed, Aristide survived at least four assassination attempts. He was expelled from his order in 1988 and left the priesthood in 1994. Aristide was elected President of Haiti in 1990. Aristide was ousted by a military coup in 1991 and went into exile. He returned to Haiti in 1994 to complete his presidential term in office which ended in 1996. Aristide was again elected president in 2000 but again was ousted in a 2004 rebellion and forced into exile in South Africa. Aristide returned to Haiti in 2011. He has published a number of books, including his autobiography, “Aristide: An Autobiography,” in 1993 and “The Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization” in 2000.    
  • July 15, 1961 Forest Steven Whitaker, actor, producer and director, was born in Longview, Texas but raised in Los Angeles, California. While in high school, Whitaker took voice lessons, performed in musicals, and caught the “acting bug.” Whitaker was accepted into the Music Conservatory at the University of Southern California to study opera as a tenor and subsequently was accepted into the Drama Conservatory. He graduated from USC in 1982. Whitaker’s first film role of note was in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (1982). He starred in “Bird” in 1988 and it earned him the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival and won acclaim for his role in “The Crying Game” in 1992. He starred in “The Last King of Scotland” in 2006 and it earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Other films in which he has appeared include “The Great Debaters” (2007), “Hurricane Season” (2009), “Our Family Wedding” (2010), “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” (2013), and “Taken 3” (2014). Whitaker made his directorial debut in 1993 with the Home Box Office movie “Strapped.” He directed the film “Waiting to Exhale” in 1995. Other films directed by Whitaker include “Hope Floats” (1998) and “First Daughter” (2004). Whitaker was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007. He was made a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation in 2011 to support initiatives that empower youths and keep them from entering or remaining in cycles of violence. That same year, he co-founded the International Institute for Peace at Rutgers University.
  • July 15, 2012 Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma became the first female chairperson of the African Union Commission. Dlamini-Zuma was born January 27, 1949 in Natal, South Africa. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in zoology and botany from the University of Zululand in 1971, her Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees from Bristol University in 1978, and her Diploma in tropical medicine from Liverpool University’s School of Tropical Medicine in 1986. She became active in the African National Congress in the early 1970s and was elected deputy president of the South African Students Organization in 1976. After the first all-inclusive South African elections in 1994, Dlamini-Zuma was appointed Minister of Health. She served in that capacity until 1999 and during her tenure desegregated the health system and gave poor people access to free basic healthcare. She also championed the Tobacco Products Control Bill in 1999 which made it illegal to smoke in public places. Dlamini-Zuma served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1999 to 2009 and Minister of Home Affairs from 2009 to 2012. Diamini-Zuma received honorary Doctor of Law degrees from the University of Natal in 1995 and the University of Bristol in 1996.
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