Today in Black History, 08/05/2015 | William Alexander Scott, II - The Charles H. Wright Museum Blog

Today in Black History, 08/05/2015 | William Alexander Scott, II

August 5, 1928 William Alexander Scott, II founded the Atlanta Daily World, the first African American daily newspaper in the United States. In the first issue, Scott stated that, “The publishers of the Atlanta World have felt the need of a Southern Negro newspaper, published by Southern Negros, to be read by Southern Negros.” On February 8, 1944 the Atlanta Daily World became the first African American paper to assign a correspondent to the White House and Harry S. McAlpin became the first African American reporter to cover the White House. Many prominent journalists began their careers at the Atlanta Daily World, including Lerone Bennett. The paper now publishes daily online and weekly in print.


  • August 5, 1763 Bill Richmond, hall of fame boxer, was born enslaved in Staten Island, New York. Richmond was taken to England in 1777 to apprentice as a cabinet maker but he took up boxing. Known as “The Black Terror,” he was one of the most accomplished and respected fighters of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Richmond retired from boxing in 1818 and established a boxing academy. Richmond died December 28, 1829. He was posthumously inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005.
  • August 5, 1895 Theodore “Tiger” Flowers, hall of fame boxer and the first African American middleweight boxing champion, was born in Camilla, Georgia. Flowers began boxing professionally in 1918 and won the World Middleweight Boxing Championship in 1926. Later that year, he lost the title in a controversial decision. Flowers died November 16, 1927 from complications from surgery to remove scar tissue from around his eyes. His career boxing record was 136 wins, 15 losses, 8 draws, and 2 no contests. His funeral in Atlanta, Georgia drew tens of thousands of mourners. Flowers was posthumously inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993. “The Pussycat of Prizefighting: Tiger Flowers and the Politics of Black Celebrity” was published in 2007.
  • August 5, 1900 James Augustine Healy, the first African American Roman Catholic priest and the first African American bishop in the United States, died. Healy was born enslaved April 6, 1830 near Macon, Georgia. Although he was three-quarters or more of European ancestry, he was considered Black. Because Georgia prohibited the education of slaves, Healy’s Irish-American father arranged for his children to move north where they could obtain an education and have better opportunities. Healy earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, and was valedictorian of his class, from the College of Holy Cross in 1849. Following graduation, he wanted to enter the priesthood but could not study at the Jesuit novitiate in Maryland as it was a slave state. Therefore, he entered Sulpician Seminary in Montreal, Canada where he earned his Master of Arts degree in 1851. He was ordained a priest June 10, 1854 at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. Healy became pastor of St. James Church, the largest Catholic congregation in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1866 and was officially ordained as Bishop of Portland, Maine June 2, 1875. For the next 25 years, he governed his diocese, overseeing the establishment of 60 new churches, 68 missions, 18 convents, and 18 schools. Today, the Archdiocese of Boston, Office for Black Catholics awards the Bishop James Augustine Healy Award to dedicated Black parishioners. Healy’s biography, “Bishop Healy: Beloved Outcast,” was published in 1954. “Passing for White: Race, Religion, and the Healy Family, 1820-1920” was published in 2003.
  • August 5, 1938 James Hal Cone, an advocate of Black liberation theology, was born in Fordyce, Arkansas. Cone earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Philander Smith College in 1958, his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in 1961, and his Master of Arts degree in 1963 and Ph. D. in 1965 from Northwestern University. His 1969 book “Black Theology and Black Power” provided a new way to articulate the distinctiveness of theology in the Black church. Other books by Cone include “A Black Theology of Liberation” (1970), “God of the Oppressed” (1975), “Speaking the Truth: Ecumenism, Liberation, and Black Theology” (1999), and “The Cross and the Lynching Tree” (2011). He has received eight honorary doctorate degrees and was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2003. Cone taught theology and religion at Philander Smith College and Adrian College and is currently the Charles Augustus Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary. His biography, “James H. Cone and Black Liberation Theology,” was published in 2001.
  • August 5, 1946 Shirley Ann Jackson, physicist and the first female and African American president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was born in Washington, D. C. Jackson earned her Bachelor of Science degree in 1968 and Ph. D. in 1973 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was the first African American woman to earn a doctorate degree from MIT. After earning her Ph. D., she studied and conducted research at a number of physics laboratories in the United States and Europe. Jackson worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories from 1976 to 1991 and her research helped in the development of a number of products, including touch tone telephones, portable faxes, caller ID, and call waiting. She served as professor of physics at Rutgers University from 1991 to 1995. President William J. Clinton appointed Jackson chairman of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 1995, the first female and the first African American to hold that position. She was appointed president of Rensselaer July 1, 1999. Jackson has received many honors, including being elected a member of the American Physical Society and the American Philosophical Society, induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998, receiving the Richtmyer Memorial Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers in 2001, and the Vannevar Bush Award for “a lifetime of achievements in scientific research, education and senior statesman-like contributions to public policy.” She was named one of the 50 Most Important Women in Science by Discover magazine in 2002. President Barack H. Obama appointed Jackson to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in 2009. Jackson serves on the board of directors of many organizations, including IBM Corporation, FedEx Corporation, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Brookings Institution. She has received 53 honorary doctorate degrees and was inducted into the U. S. News STEM Leadership Hall of Fame in 2014.  
  • August 5, 1960 Upper Volta, now known as Burkina Faso, gained independence from France. The country was renamed in 1984 to mean “the land of upright people” in their native language. Burkina Faso is located in Western Africa and is bordered by Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and the Ivory Coast to the southwest. The country is approximately 106,000 square miles in size with a population of approximately 13,200,000. The capital and largest city is Ouagadougou. Approximately 60% of the population practices Islam, 24% maintain traditional indigenous beliefs and 17% practice Roman Catholicism. The official language is French.
  • August 5, 1962 Patrick Aloysius Ewing, hall of fame basketball player, was born in Kingston, Jamaica. Ewing played college basketball at Georgetown University and led them to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament Championship game three out of his four years, winning the championship in 1984. He was awarded the 1985 Adolph F. Rupp Trophy as the top player in men’s Division I NCAA Basketball. Ewing also earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in fine arts that year.  He was selected first overall by the New York Knicks in the 1985 National Basketball Association Draft. Over his 18 season professional career, Ewing was the 1986 NBA Rookie of the Year and an 11-time All-Star. He also won Gold medals as a member of the men’s basketball team at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games and the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympic Games. ESPN named Ewing the 16th greatest college basketball player of all time and the NBA named him one of the 50 Greatest Basketball Players of All Time in 1996. Ewing was also the chairman of the New York Knicks’ “Stay in School” program in 1991 and 1992 and served as president of the NBA Players Association in 1997. The Knicks retired his jersey number 33 in 2003 and he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. Ewing was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012. He is currently the associate head coach with the NBA Charlotte Hornets.
  • August 5, 1967 Emlen Lewis Tunnell became the first African American inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Tunnell was born March 29, 1925 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. After serving two years in the United States Coast Guard during World War II, he played college football for the University of Iowa. He played quarterback, halfback, and on defense and led the team in passing in the 1946 season and receiving in the 1947 season. He began his professional football career with the New York Giants in 1948, the first African American to play for the team. Tunnell played in the National Football League for 14 seasons and was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection. When he retired in 1961, he held the record for career interceptions with 79. After retiring, Tunnell served as a scout and assistant coach with the Giants. Tunnell died July 22, 1975. His autobiography, “Footsteps of a Giant,” was published in 1966.
  • August 5, 1976 James Cleveland “Jessie” Owens was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by President Gerald R. Ford. Owens was born September 12, 1913 in Oakville, Alabama but raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He first came to national attention when he equaled the world record of 9.4 seconds in the 100 yard dash and long jumped 24 feet 9 ½ inches at the 1933 National High School Championships. Owens attended Ohio State University where he won a record eight individual National Collegiate Athletic Association championships. Despite that success, he had to live off campus and was never offered a scholarship to the university. At the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympic Games, Owens won the Gold medal in the 100 and 200 meter races, the 4 by 100 meter relay, and the long jump. While in Germany, Owens was allowed to travel with and stay in the same hotels as White people, a right that was denied him in the United States. After a New York City ticker-tape parade in his honor, Owens had to ride the freight elevator to attend his own reception at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Owens was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 1974. USA Track & Field created the Jessie Owens Award, given annually to the country’s top track and field athlete, in 1981. Owens died March 31, 1980. The Congressional Gold Medal was presented to his widow by President George H. W. Bush in 1990. The United States Postal Service issued commemorative postage stamps in his honor in 1990 and 1998. A statue of Owens in Huntington Park in Cleveland was unveiled in 1982 and Ohio State dedicated the Jessie Owens Memorial in 2001. The Jesse Owens Memorial Park and Museum in Oakville was dedicated June 29, 1996. Owens published his autobiography, “Blackthink: My Life as a Black Man and White Man.” His name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.
  • August 5, 1989 John Robert Edward Kinard, pastor, museum director and social activist, died. Kinard was born November 22, 1936 in Washington, D. C. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Livingstone College in 1960 and his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Hood Theological Seminary in 1963. After graduating, Kinard worked as coordinator of eastern Africa projects for Operation Crossroads. He returned to D. C. in 1964 and was appointed assistant pastor of a church in 1966. Kinard was named the first director of the Anacostia Community Museum in 1967, a position he held until his death. His vision for the museum was that it could not be divorced from the problems of the neighborhood around it. Kinard was a co-founder of the African American Museum Association in 1978 and served as treasurer from 1982 to 1983 and president from 1987 to 1988. Livingstone College has established the John R. Kinard Scholarship for Leadership and Academic Excellence in his honor.
  • August 5, 1998 The former R. R. Moton High School in Farmville, Virginia was designated a National Historic Site and now houses the Robert Russa Moton Museum. Moton was born August 26, 1867 in Amelia County, Virginia. He graduated from Hampton Institute in 1890. Moton served as an administrator at Hampton from 1891 to 1915. After the death of Booker T. Washington, he was named principal of Tuskegee Institute in 1915, a position he held until his retirement in 1935. Moton was awarded the 1932 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Spingarn Medal. He published two books, “Finding a Way Out” in 1920 and “What the Negro Thinks” in 1929. Moton died May 31, 1940. Moton Field, the initial training base for the Tuskegee Airmen, and Robert Russa Moton Charter School in New Orleans, Louisiana are named in his honor.
  • August 5, 2000 Dudley Randall, founder of Broadside Press, died. Randall was born January 14, 1914 in Washington, D. C. but raised in Detroit, Michigan. At 13, his first published poem was printed in the Detroit Free Press newspaper. After serving in the military during World War II, Randall earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Wayne State University in 1949 and his Master of Arts degree in library science from the University of Michigan in 1951. Randall founded Broadside Press in 1965 and over the years published many leading African American writers, including Sonia Sanchez, Gwendolyn Brooks, Haki Madhubuti, and Sterling Brown. Poems written by Randall include “Ballad of Birmingham,” “Booker T. and W.E.B.,” “Roses and Revolutions,” and “The Profile on the Pillow.” Randall was named Poet Laureate of the City of Detroit in 1981. Two months after his death, the University of Detroit Mercy established the Dudley Randall Center for Print Culture.
  • August 5, 2007 Oliver White Hill, Sr., civil rights attorney, died. Hill was born May 1, 1907 in Richmond, Virginia. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University in 1931 and his Juris Doctor degree from Howard’s School of Law in 1933. Hill won his first civil rights case in 1940 in Alston v. School Board of Norfolk, Virginia which gained pay equity for Black teachers. He joined the United States Army in 1943 and served in Europe until the end of World War II. He became the first African American to serve on the Richmond City Council since the late 19th century in 1949. Hill led the case of Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County in 1951 which became one of the five cases decided under Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. He retired in 1998. Hill earned many awards during his life, including the 1959 Lawyer of the Year from the National Bar Association, the 1993 American Bar Association Justice Thurgood Marshall Award, and the 2005 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Spingarn Medal. Hill was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by President William J. Clinton August 11, 1999. The Oliver Hill Courts Building in Richmond is named in his honor and the Oliver W. Hill Building in Virginia’s Capitol Square is the first state owned building to be named for an African American. Hill’s autobiography, “The Big Bang: Brown v. Board of Education, The Autobiography of Oliver W. Hill, Sr.,” was published in 2000.
  • August 5, 2011 Hazel Winifred Johnson-Brown, nurse, educator and the first Black female brigadier general in the United States Army, died. Johnson-Brown was born October 10, 1927 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. She decided to become a nurse as a teenager however her application to the West Chester School of Nursing was rejected because of her race. As a result, she moved to New York City and graduated from the Harlem Hospital School of Nursing. She joined the army in 1955 and served as a staff nurse in Japan and chief nurse in Korea. While in the army, she continued her formal education, earning her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Villanova University in 1959, her Master of Science degree in nursing education from Columbia University in 1963, and her Ph. D. in education administration from Catholic University of America in 1978. Johnson-Brown served as assistant dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing from 1976 to 1978. She became the first Black female brigadier general in the army in 1979 and commanded 7,000 nurses in the Army National Guard and Reserves. She was also the director of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Nursing. After retiring from the army in 1997, Johnson-Brown headed the American Nursing Association’s government relations unit and directed George Mason University’s Center for Health Policy.
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