Today in Black History, 11/04/2015 | Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun - The Charles H. Wright Museum Blog

Today in Black History, 11/04/2015 | Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun

November 4, 1992 Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun became the first, and currently only, African American woman elected to the United States Senate. Moseley Braun was born August 16, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois in 1969 and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Chicago in 1972. She served as a prosecutor in the U. S. Attorney's office from 1973 to 1977. She was elected to the Illinois House of Representative in 1978 and served for nine years. Moseley Braun was elected Cook County Recorder of Deeds in 1987, a position she held for four years. After serving one term in the senate, she served as U. S. Ambassador to New Zealand from 1999 to 2001. Moseley Braun was briefly a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 2004 and lost the election for Mayor of Chicago in 2011. She currently runs a private law practice and has launched a line of organic food products. Carol Moseley Braun Elementary School in Calumet City, Illinois is named in her honor.  

November 4, 1865 Wendell Phillips Dabney, newspaper editor and author, was born in Richmond, Virginia. In his senior year of high school, Dabney led a protest of the separation of Black and White students for graduation. The successful protest resulted in the first integrated graduation at the school. He spent 1883 at Oberlin College where he was first violinist at the Oberlin Opera House and a member of the Cademian Literary Club. Dabney taught at a Virginia elementary school from 1884 to 1890. He moved to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1894 and became Cincinnati's first African American license clerk in 1895. He served as assistant, and then head paymaster in the Cincinnati Department of Treasury from 1898 to 1923. Dabney founded The Union newspaper in 1907 with the motto "For no people can become great without being united, for in union there is strength." Dabney edited the paper from its founding until his death June 5, 1952. The paper was influential in shaping the political and social opinions of Cincinnati's African American citizens. Dabney also served as the first president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Cincinnati chapter when it was established in 1915. He compiled and published "Cincinnati's Colored Citizens" in 1926 and wrote "Maggie L. Walker: The Woman and Her Work" in 1927. The National Convention of Negro Publishers honored Dabney as a pioneer and leader in African American journalism in 1950. 

November 4, 1882 Robert L. "Bob" Douglas, the "Father of Black Professional Basketball," was born in Saint Kitts, British West Indies. Douglas grew up in Harlem, New York and played amateur basketball. He organized his own team in 1923 and named them the Renaissance Big Five. The Rens barnstormed throughout the United States and played any team that would play them, Black or White. The Rens won the World Professional Basketball Tournament in 1939, lost to the eventual champion Harlem Globetrotters in 1940, and finished second to the National Basketball League champion Minneapolis Lakers in 1948. Douglas owned and coached the team until 1949, compiling a record of 2,318 wins and 381 losses. The Renaissance Big Five was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1963, one of four teams inducted as a unit. Douglas was inducted into the hall in 1972 as a contributor, the first African American inducted. Douglas died July 16, 1979. The New York Rens are enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan. 

November 4, 1931 Charles Joseph "Buddy" Bolden, cornetist and a key figure in the development of ragtime music, died. Bolden was born September 6, 1877 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Not much is known of his early life but by the mid-1890s he had formed a series of bands and created a looser, more improvised version of ragtime and added blues to it. Bolden's band was the hottest group in New Orleans between 1900 and 1906. He began to show signs of mental instability in 1906 and was confined to the State Insane Asylum in 1907 where he lived the remainder of his life. There are no known surviving recordings of his performances but he is associated with several songs, including "Careless Love," "My Bucket's Got a Hole In It," and "Funky Butt." Many other New Orleans jazz musicians, including Joe "King" Oliver, were inspired by Bolden's playing. Jelly Roll Morton described Bolden as "the blowingest man since Gabriel" and several jazz historians have referred to him as "the father of jazz." Several books have been written about Bolden, including "The Loudest Trumpet: Buddy Bolden and the Early History of Jazz" (2000) and "In Search of Buddy Bolden: First Man of Jazz" (2005). 

November 4, 1933 Mildred Louise McDaniel, hall of fame track and field athlete, was born in Atlanta, Georgia. McDaniel was an outstanding high school athlete, winning state titles in basketball, the 80 yard hurdles, the high jump, and the long jump. She enrolled at Tuskegee Institute in 1952 and won the Amateur Athletic Union outdoor high jump titles in 1953, 1955, and 1956 as well as indoor high jump titles in 1955 and 1956. At the 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympic Games, McDaniel won the Gold medal in the women's high jump and set a world record. McDaniel retired from competition after the Olympics and earned her bachelor's degree in physical education in 1957. She moved to California in 1958 and taught physical education and coached until her retirement in 1993. She was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 1983. McDaniel died September 30, 2004. 

November 4, 1942 Patricia Era Bath, hall of fame ophthalmologist and inventor, was born in Harlem, New York. Bath earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Hunter College in 1964 and her Doctor of Medicine degree, with honors, from Howard University School of Medicine in 1968. She was the first female ophthalmologist at the prestigious Jules Stein Eye Institute and the first African American female surgeon at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center. Bath co-founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness in 1977 "to protect, preserve, and restore the sense of sight." Bath received patent number 4,744,360 for an apparatus for ablating and removing cataract lenses May 17, 1988, the first African American female doctor to receive a patent for a medical purpose. Today the device is used worldwide. Bath retired from the UCLA Medical Center in 1993. She received patent number 5,843,071 for a method and apparatus for ablating and removing cataract lenses December 1, 1998, patent number 5,919,186 for a laser apparatus for surgery of cataractous lenses July 6, 1999, and patent number 6,544,254 for a method she devised for using ultrasound technology to treat cataracts April 8, 2003. She has lectured internationally and authored over 100 papers. Bath was inducted into the International Women in Medicine Hall of Fame in 2001. 

November 4, 1952 Cora Mae Brown was elected to the Michigan State Senate, the first African American woman elected to that body. Brown was born April 16, 1914 in Bessemer, Alabama but raised in Detroit, Michigan. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Fisk University in 1935. While at Fisk, she participated in demonstrations after the 1933 lynching of a young African American accused of attempted rape. It was the beginning of her life long campaign against injustice and inhumanity. After graduation, Brown returned to Detroit where she worked as a social worker and as a policewoman from 1941 to 1946. Brown earned her Bachelor of Laws degree from Wayne State University School of Law in 1948. After two unsuccessful attempts, Brown was elected to the Michigan State Senate where she served two terms, leaving office in 1957. While in the Senate, Brown co-sponsored a bill that would revoke or suspend all state and local licenses held by businesses that discriminated on the basis of race. The bill passed in 1956, the same year that she was selected as the Outstanding Woman Legislator. Brown was appointed special associate general counsel of the United States Postal Service in 1957, the first Black woman on the post office's legal staff. She was appointed to the Michigan Employment Security Commission in 1970, the first Black woman referee in 35 years. Brown died December 17, 1972. She was posthumously inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 1992. 

November 4, 1969 Sean John "Diddy" Combs, rapper, record producer, fashion designer, actor and entrepreneur, was born in Harlem, New York. Combs attended Howard University but dropped out after becoming a top executive at Uptown Records. He established Bad Boy Records in 1993 and signed and produced The Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, Mariah Carey, and many others. Three albums produced by Combs, The Notorius B. I. G.'s "Ready to Die" (1994) and "Life After Death" (1997) and Mary J. Blige's "My Life" (1994), are on Rolling Stone's list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Combs recorded his first commercial song in 1997. The single "Can't Hold Me Down" spent six weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and his debut album, "No Way Out," won the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. Combs also won Grammy Awards for "I'll Be Missing You" (1998) and "Shake Ya Tailfeather" (2004). Combs started the Sean John clothing line in 1998 and it won the Council of Fashion Designers of America Award for Menswear Designer of the Year in 2004. He appeared in the hit movie "Monster's Ball" in 2001 and starred in the Broadway revival of "A Raisin in the Sun" in 2004. Combs was included on Time magazine's 2006 list of 100 Most Influential People in the World. Combs was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2008. That same year, he co-produced the VH1 television show "I Want to Work for Diddy" which ran for two seasons. His last album was "Last Train to Paris" (2010) and last film was "Draft Day" (2014). Forbes magazine estimates Combs' net worth at $735 million, making him the richest person in hip hop. Combs founded Daddy's House Social Programs, an organization to help inner city youth, in 1995. 

November 4, 1982 Rayford Whittingham Logan, historian and Pan-African activist, died. Logan was born January 7, 1897 in Washington, D. C. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College in 1917 and enlisted in the United States Army. He requested, and was granted, a discharge because of his dissatisfaction with the treatment of African Americans in 1919. For the next five years, he lived and worked in Europe. Logan returned to the U. S. in the mid-1920s and earned his Master of Arts degree in history from Williams College in 1929. He went on to earn another Master of Arts degree in 1932 and his Ph. D. in 1936 from Harvard University. Logan was best known for his study of the post-Reconstruction period of the United States. He was appointed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Black Cabinet in 1932 and drafted the executive order prohibiting the exclusion of Black people from the military in World War II. He was the chief advisor to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on international affairs in the late 1940s and served as the director of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History from 1950 to 1951. He was also a long-standing scholar and professor at Howard University. Logan was awarded the 1980 NAACP Spingarn Medal. His biography, "Rayford W. Logan and the Dilemma of the African American Intellectual," was published in 1993. 

November 4, 1999 Daisy Lee Gatson Bates, journalist and civil rights leader, died. Bates was born November 11, 1914 in Huttig, Arkansas. Bates and her husband started a local Black newspaper, The Arkansas State Press, in 1941 which was an avid voice for civil rights. She was elected president of the Arkansas State Conference of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People branches in 1952. Bates guided and advised the nine students, known as the Little Rock Nine, when they attempted to desegregate Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Her involvement in that resulted in the loss of most advertising revenue for their newspaper and it was forced to close in 1959. Bates and the Little Rock Nine were recipients of the 1958 NAACP Spingarn Medal. Bates moved to New York City in 1960 and wrote her memoir, "The Long Shadow of Little Rock," which won a 1988 National Book Award. The Daisy Bates Elementary School in Little Rock is named in her honor and the 3rd Monday of February is designated Daisy Gatson Bates Day, an official Arkansas state holiday. The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in her honor in 2009.  

November 4, 2005 Reginald A. Gammon, Jr., artist, printmaker and educator, died. Gammon was born March 31, 1921 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He served in the United States Navy with an all-Black unit stationed in Guam from 1944 to 1946. He moved to New York City in 1948 and worked odd jobs during the day and devoted his evenings and weekends to painting. Gammon and Benny Andrews formed the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition in 1969 to protest the exclusion of Black artists and curators at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of Modern Art. Gammon taught at Western Michigan University from 1970 to 1991 and retired as Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts and Humanities. After retiring, he moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where he was artist-in-residence at the Harwood Art Center from 1992 to his death. Gammon's works depict the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, the dignity of unsung heroes, jazz and blues musicians, and observations of everyday life. His works are in the collections of a number of museums, including the Albuquerque Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the New Orleans Museum of Art. 

November 4, 2008 Barack Hussein Obama was elected the first African American President of the United States. Obama defeated John McCain 52.9% to 45.7% in the popular vote and 365 to 173 in the electoral-college vote. Following the announcement of Obama's victory, spontaneous celebrations broke out in cities across the United States and around the world. Obama was born August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science with a specialty in international relations from Columbia University in 1983. He worked as a community organizer for the Developing Communities Project from 1985 to 1988. Obama earned his Juris Doctor degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1991 and was elected the first Black president of the Harvard Law Review. He taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996 and served there until 2004 when he was elected to the U. S. Senate. He served in the senate until he was elected president. Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people." Obama was re-elected president in 2012. Major accomplishments during his presidency include the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, and ending the war in Iraq. He was listed as one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2005 and each year from 2007 to 2015. Obama has authored several books, including "Dreams From My Father" (1995), and "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream" (2006). 

November 4, 2009 Lyman S. Park, Sr., the first African American Mayor of Grand Rapids, Michigan, died. Parks was born in 1917 in southern Indiana. He graduated from Wilberforce University and Payne Theological Seminary in 1944. Park served as pastor to several congregations in the Midwest before moving to Grand Rapids in 1966 as pastor of First Community AME Church. He was elected the first African American member of the Grand Rapids City Commission in 1968. He was selected by his fellow commissioners to fill a mayoral vacancy in 1971 and elected mayor in 1973. He lost his re-election bid in 1976 and returned to ministerial duties until his retirement in 1999. A seven and one-half foot statue of Park was unveiled in front of Grand Rapids City Hall July 17, 2013.

November 4, 2014 Mia Love became the first Haitian American and the first Black female Republican elected to Congress when she was elected to the United States House of Representatives. Love was born Ludmya Bourdeau December 6, 1975 in Brooklyn, New York. She earned her bachelor's degree in fine arts from the University of Hartford in 1998. After graduating, she moved to Utah and was elected to the Saratoga Springs, Utah City Council in 2003. Love served two terms on the council before being elected Mayor of Saratoga Springs in 2009. During her tenure, she reduced expenses and Saratoga Springs gained the highest bond rating possible for a city of its size. Love ran for Congress in 2012 but lost. She became a member of the Republican National Committee's National Advisory Council on African American outreach in 2014. Love serves on the House Financial Services Committee.

​The first African American man elected as president of the United States.

​The first African American woman elected to the Michigan Senate.

The first African American mayor for the city of Grand Rapids, MI.

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