Today in Black History, 11/01/2015 | Ebony Magazine - The Charles H. Wright Museum Blog

Today in Black History, 11/01/2015 | Ebony Magazine

November 1, 1945 John H. Johnson published the first issue of Ebony magazine. The monthly magazine has published continuously since then with a current total circulation of more than 1.2 million. Ebony has always striven to address African American issues, personalities, and interests in a positive and self-affirming manner. 

November 1, 1848 Caroline Still Wiley Anderson, educator and physician, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Anderson graduated from Oberlin College in 1868, the only Black woman in her class, and returned to Philadelphia to teach. She later taught music, drawing, and elocution at Howard University. Anderson then decided to become a medical doctor and graduated from the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1878, the state's first Black female doctor. In addition to her private practice, Anderson ran the Berean Dispensary and the Berean Cottage which served poor women and children. She also helped found the Berean Manual Training and Industrial School and acted as assistant principal and taught elocution, physiology, and hygiene. Anderson helped to establish Philadelphia's first Black Young Women's Christian Association in the early 1900s. She was also treasurer for the Women's Medical College Alumnae Association, president of the Berean Women's Christian Temperance Union, and on the board of the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People of Philadelphia. Anderson died June 1, 1919. 

November 1, 1869 The 24th Infantry Regiment (the deuce four), an all-Black United States military unit, was organized. The unit was deployed to Cuba in 1898 as part of the U. S. Expeditionary Force in the Spanish-American War, deployed to the Philippine Islands in 1899 to help suppress a guerilla movement in the Philippine-American War, and guarded the U. S. – Mexican border in 1916 to keep the Mexican Revolution from spilling on to U. S. soil. Approximately 150 soldiers from the unit marched on Houston, Texas August 23, 1917 to protest racial discrimination in the city. They were met by local policemen and armed residents. In the ensuing riot, 4 soldiers and 15 civilians were killed. The soldiers were tried at court-martial and 14 were executed and 41 were given life sentences. This event is chronicled in "A Night of Violence: The Houston Riot of 1917" (1976). The 24th Infantry fought in the South Pacific Theater during World War II and occupied Okinawa, Japan from the end of the war until 1947. The 24th deployed to Korea in June, 1950 and fought throughout the Korean peninsula. The regiment received the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for their actions and two members of the regiment, Cornelius H. Charleton and William Thompson, posthumously received Congressional Medals of Honor for their actions in Korea. The experience of the 24th in Korea is told in "Black Soldier, White Army: The 24th Infantry Regiment in Korea" (1997). The 24th Infantry was deactivated October 1, 1951. 

November 1, 1898 Sippie Wallace, hall of fame singer and songwriter, was born Beulah Thomas in Houston, Texas. Wallace was singing in tent shows and developing a following as a blues singer by her mid-teens. She moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1923 and landed a recording contract. She recorded over 40 songs, many written by her, between 1923 and 1927. Her accompanist included Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Johnny Dodds, and Sidney Bechet. Wallace left show business in the 1930s and moved to Detroit, Michigan to become a church organist and choir director. For the next 30 years, she did not record secular music. Wallace launched a comeback with the 1966 album "Woman Be Wise." This was followed by "Sings the Blues" (1966), "Sippie Wallace and Victoria Spivey" (1970) and "Sippie" (1982) which was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album. Wallace died November 1, 1986. That same year, the documentary "Sippie Wallace: Blues Singer and Song Writer" was released. She was posthumously inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Blues Hall of Fame in 2003. Her name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan. 

November 1, 1898 Charles Wm. Allen of Option, Pennsylvania received patent number 613,436 for the invention of a self-leveling table. The table was designed to preserve the perfect equilibrium of the table-top without respect to the base of the table. The invention was particularly adaptable for use on vessels where the rocking of the vessel made it difficult to maintain equilibrium. Not much else is known of Allen's life. 

November 1, 1910 The Crisis magazine was started by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The magazine was edited by W. E. B. Du Bois and the first issue had 16 pages and cost 10 cents a copy. The first editorial stated that the magazine would "be first and foremost a newspaper and secondly it would serve as a review of opinion and literature." It further stated that it would "stand for the rights of men, irrespective of color or race, for the highest ideals of American democracy, and for reasonable but earnest and persistent attempts to gain these rights and realize these ideals." Circulation for the magazine was 50,000 by 1917 and it peaked at 100,000 in 1919. Today, The Crisis "is a quarterly journal of civil rights, history, politics, and culture and seeks to educate and challenge its readers about issues that continue to plague African Americans and other communities of color." 

November 1, 1915 James Milton Turner, politician and Consul to Liberia, died. Turner was born enslaved May 16, 1840 in St. Louis, Missouri. He and his parents were freed when he was young but he still had limited educational opportunities because Missouri laws restricted Black people from learning to read. Despite the legal obstacles, Turner learned to read and briefly attended Oberlin College. After the Civil War, Turner became a prominent politician known for his speaking ability. He worked for the Missouri Department of Education, establishing over 30 new schools in the state for African Americans, and providing support for Lincoln Institute (now University). President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Turner United States Minister to Liberia in 1871, the first African American to hold that position. After returning from Liberia in 1878, Turner organized the Colored Emigration Aid Association to provide assistance to Black people migrating from the South. He also fought to secure equal tribal rights for Black people formerly enslaved by the Cherokee Indians. His biography, "James Milton Turner and the Promise of America: The Public Life of a Post-Civil War Leader," was published in 1991. 

November 1, 1917 Margaret Taylor Goss Burroughs, poet, artist and educator, was born in St. Rose, Louisiana but raised in Chicago, Illinois. Burroughs earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in education from Chicago Teacher's College in 1946 and her Master of Arts degree in education from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1948. She taught in the Chicago Public School System from 1940 to 1968 and worked as a professor of humanities at Kennedy-King College from 1969 to 1979. Burroughs founded the DuSable Museum of African-American History in 1961 and served as director of the museum until 1985. That year, she was appointed a commissioner of the Chicago Park District. As a poet, Burroughs published "What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black?" in 1968 and "Africa, My Africa" in 1970. Burroughs died November 21, 2010. 

November 1, 1923 Hannah Diggs Atkins, librarian and the first African American woman elected to the Oklahoma State House of Representatives, was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Atkins earned her Bachelor of Science degree from St. Augustine College in 1943 and her Bachelor of Library Science degree from the University of Chicago in 1949. She moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1953 and worked for the Oklahoma City Public Library from 1953 to 1956 and the Oklahoma State Library from 1962 to 1968. Atkins was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1968 and served until 1980. During her tenure, she authored bills in the areas of health care, child welfare, mental health reform, and women's and civil rights. Atkins was appointed an ambassador to the United Nations by President Jimmy Carter in 1980. She served as assistant director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services from 1983 to 1987 and served in the dual roles of Secretary for Social Services and Secretary of State from 1987 to her retirement in 1991, the highest ranking woman in Oklahoma state government. Atkins earned her Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1989. Oklahoma State University established the Hannah Atkins Endowed Chair in Public Service in 1990. She received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Oklahoma in 1998 and Oklahoma State University in 2000. Atkins died June 17, 2010. 

November 1, 1926 Lou Donaldson, jazz alto saxophonist, was born in Badin, North Carolina. Donaldson attended North Carolina A&T University where he played in the marching band and earned his Bachelor of Science degree. He was drafted into the United States Navy in 1945 where he played in the Great Lakes Navy Band. Donaldson moved to New York City in 1950 and made his first jazz recordings with the Charlie Singleton Orchestra. He has recorded a number of albums as leader, including "Wailing with Lou" (1957), "Alligator Bogaloo" (1967), "Sweet Poppa Lou" (1981), and "Relaxing at Sea: Live on the QE2" (2000). Many jazz musicians, including Clifford Brown, Donald Byrd, and Horace Silver, made their first recordings as sidemen in his bands. Donaldson was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by North Carolina A&T and a scholarship in his name is awarded annually to the most gifted jazz musician at the school. He was designated a NEA Jazz Master, the highest honor the nation bestows on a jazz artist, by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2012. 

November 1, 1927 Florence Mills, cabaret singer, dancer and comedian, died. Mills was born Florence Winfrey in Washington, D. C. January 25, 1896. She began performing at four and made her vaudeville debut with her two sisters as The Mills Trio. Mills made her stage musical debut in "Shuffle Along" in 1921. She then appeared in "Plantation Revue" (1922), "Greenwich Village Follies" (1923), and "Dixie to Broadway" (1924). She became an international superstar after starring in "Lew Leslie's Blackbirds" in 1926. Mills was considered the preeminent jazz dancer of the Harlem Renaissance. Her biography, "Florence Mills: Harlem Jazz Queen," was published in 2005. 

November 1, 1946 Nancy Alene Hicks Maynard, the first African American reporter for the New York Times, was born in Harlem, New York. Maynard earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from Long Island University in 1966. She was hired by the Times in 1968 and in less than a year was promoted to full-time reporter. She left the paper in 1977 and with her husband founded the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education in Oakland, California with her as president. The Institute has been credited with training hundreds of minority students for careers in journalism. Maynard and her husband purchased the Oakland Tribune in 1983, the only major metropolitan daily newspaper owned by African Americans. After her husband died in 1993, she sold the paper. Maynard died September 21, 2008. 

November 1, 1956 Tommy Johnson, hall of fame blues guitarist and singer, died. Johnson was born in 1896 near Terry, Mississippi but moved to Chrystal Springs, Mississippi around 1910. He learned to play the guitar and was playing at local parties with his brothers by 1914. He had become an itinerant musician by 1920 playing around the South. Johnson only recorded in 1928 and 1929. His recordings include "Cool Drink Of Water Blues," "Canned Heat Blues," "Lonesome Home Blues," and "I Want Someone To Love Me." Those recordings established him as the premier Delta blues vocalist of his day. Johnson continued to perform around Mississippi through the 1930s and 1940s. His style influenced later blues singers such as Robert Nighthawk and Howlin' Wolf. Johnson was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1986. The Tommy Johnson Blues Festival is held annually in Chrystal Springs. 

November 1, 1989 Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, the first African American woman to receive a Ph. D. in the United States, died. Alexander was born January 2, 1898 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1918, her Master of Science degree in economics in 1919, and her Ph. D. in economics in 1921 from the University of Pennsylvania. Alexander became the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and be admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1927. From 1919 to 1923, Alexander served as the first national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She served as assistant city solicitor for the City of Philadelphia from 1928 to 1930 and 1934 to 1938. She was appointed to President Harry S. Truman's Committee on Human Rights in 1947 and served on the Commission on Human Relations of the City of Philadelphia from 1952 to 1968. Alexander retired in 1982. The Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania Partnership School, is named in her honor. 

November 1, 1989 The Mayfair Mansions in Washington, D. C. were added to the National Register of Historic Places. The apartments were built between 1942 and 1946 and were among the first federally subsidized housing projects for African Americans in the United States. Construction of the project was spearheaded by African American radio and television evangelist Lightfoot Solomon Michaux and the project was designed by Albert I. Cassell, one of the first professionally trained African American architects. The 411-unit complex was rehabilitated in 2009. 

November 1, 1999 Walter Payton, hall of fame football player, died. Payton was born July 25, 1954 in Columbia, Mississippi. He played college football at Jackson State University where he was an All-American in 1973 and 1974 and Black College Player of the Year in 1974. Payton earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in communications in 1975. He was selected by the Chicago Bears in the 1975 National Football League Draft. Over his 13 season professional career, Payton was a nine-time All-Pro and the 1977 NFL Most Valuable Player. Payton held the league's records for most career rushing yards, touchdown carries, and many other categories when he retired in 1987. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996. Payton posthumously received the 2006 Doak Walker Legends Award which "recognizes a running back whose extraordinary college football career has been bolstered by an exemplary record of leadership in the community." The Walter & Connie Payton Foundation was established to "help abused, neglected, and underprivileged children in the state of Illinois." The Walter Payton Recreation and Wellness Center is located on the campus of Jackson State. Payton's autobiography, "Sweetness," was published in 1978. 

November 1, 2001 Theodore Martin Alexander, Sr., founder of the first Black-owned multi-line insurance company, died. Alexander was born March 7, 1909 in Montgomery, Alabama. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration, with honors, from Morehouse College in 1931. That same year, he founded his own insurance agency, T. M. Alexander & Company. Alexander established the Southeastern Fidelity Fire and Casualty Company in 1951, the first Black-owned multi-line insurance company, and served as executive vice president and managing officer until the company was sold in 1967. He also served as an adjunct professor of insurance at Howard University. Alexander served on the boards of Morehouse College and the Atlanta University Center. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Morehouse College in 1970. 

November 1, 2013 A statue of William Felton "Bill" Russell was unveiled at City Hall Plaza in Boston, Massachusetts. The statue is surrounded by ten granite blocks for a total of eleven elements, representing the number of National Basketball Association championships won by Russell. Each block features a word and corresponding quotation that highlights his accomplishments on and off the court. Russell was born February 12, 1934 in West Monroe, Louisiana but raised in Oakland, California. He led the University of San Francisco to National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball championships in 1955 and 1956 and also earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1956. That same year, he won a Gold medal at the Melbourne Summer Olympic Games as captain of the United States men's basketball team. Russell was selected by the St. Louis Hawks in the 1956 NBA Draft but traded to the Boston Celtics in what was later called "one of the most important trades in the history of North American sports." Over his 14 season professional career, Russell was a 12-time All-Star and 5-time Most Valuable Player. His team's 11 championships are the most by any athlete in a North American sports league. He was the first African American player to achieve superstar status in the NBA. He also served as player/coach of the Celtics from 1966 to 1969, the first African American NBA coach. Russell was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1974, was an inaugural inductee into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, and was inducted into the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Hall of Fame in 2007. The NBA established the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his honor in 2009 and he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, by President Barack H. Obama February 15, 2011. Russell has authored four books, "Go Up for Glory" (1966), "Second Wind" (1979), "Russell Rules" (2001), and "Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend" (2009).

​Publication of the NAACP

​The first African American NBA coach.

The first federally subsidized 

housing for African Americans.

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