Today in Black History, 11/21/2015 | Shaw University - The Charles H. Wright Museum Blog

Today in Black History, 11/21/2015 | Shaw University

November 21, 1865 Shaw University was founded in Raleigh, North Carolina by the American Baptist Home Mission Society as the first college for African Americans in the South. The university was named for Elijah Shaw, benefactor of Shaw Hall, the first building constructed for the college. The Leonard Medical School was established on Shaw's campus in 1881 as the first four year medical school in the South to train Black doctors and pharmacists and operated until 1918. Today, the college has a faculty of 207 with 2,700 undergraduate and 100 postgraduate students. Notable alumni include Ella Baker, James E. Cheek, Willie E. Gary, and Shirley Caesar. "Shaw's Universe: A Monument to Educational Innovation" was published in 1973. 
November 21, 1893 Granville T. Woods of New York City received patent number 509,065 for the Electric Railway Conduit. His invention provided a method of supplying electricity to a train without exposed wires or secondary batteries. This eliminated the loss of current due to leakage as well as significantly reduced the element of danger. Woods was born April 23, 1856 in Columbus, Ohio. He and his brother formed the Woods Railway Telegraph Company in 1884 to manufacture and sell telephone and telegraph equipment. He was often called the "Black Edison" and over his lifetime was granted approximately 60 patents. Despite these achievements, he died virtually penniless January 30, 1910. The Granville T. Woods Math and Science Community Academy in Chicago, Illinois is named in his honor. "Granville T. Woods: African-American Communications and Transportation Pioneer" was published in 2013. 

November 21, 1904 Coleman Randolph Hawkins, hall of fame jazz tenor saxophonist and band leader, was born in Saint Joseph, Missouri. Hawkins started playing the saxophone at nine and was playing in groups around Kansas at fourteen. He moved to New York City in 1923 and joined Fletcher Henderson's orchestra where he remained until 1934. Hawkins toured Europe from 1934 to 1937 and after returning to the United States played with many jazz giants, including Benny Carter, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Max Roach, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sonny Rollins. Albums by Hawkins as leader include "Body and Soul" (1939), "In a Mellow Tone" (1960), and "Sirius" (1966). He was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 1961. Hawkins died May 19, 1969. His single "Body and Soul" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1974 as a recording of "lasting qualitative or historical significance." His biography, "The Song of the Hawk," was published in 1990. The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor in 1995. 

November 21, 1928 Samuel Dubois Cook, educator and civil rights activist, was born in Griffin, Georgia. Cook earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Morehouse College in 1948. While at Morehouse, he served as student body president and founded the campus chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He earned his Master of Arts degree in political science in 1950 and his Ph. D. in 1954 from Ohio State University. Cook chaired the political science department at Atlanta University from 1956 to 1966. He also worked with the local NAACP chapter on voter registration. Cook joined Duke University as the first African American professor to hold a regular faculty appointment at a predominantly White college or university in the South in 1966. He taught at Duke until 1975 when he was appointed president of Dillard University. Cook served in that capacity until his retirement in 1997. He also served on the board of Duke from 1981 to 1993. Cook was the first Black president of the Southern Political Science Association and served as vice president of the American Political Science Association. The Samuel Dubois Cook Fine Arts and Communications Center at Dillard is named in his honor and the Samuel Dubois Cook Society at Duke was established in 1997 to recognize, celebrate, and affirm the presence of African Americans at Duke. "Politics, Morality and Higher Education: Essays in Honor of Samuel Dubois Cook" was published in 1997. 

November 21, 1936 James Anderson DePreist, orchestra conductor and poet, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. DePreist studied composition at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music and went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He won the Gold medal at the Dimitris Mitropoulos International Conducting Competition in 1962. He then became assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic during the 1965-1966 season. DePreist made his European debut in 1969 with the Rotterdam Philharmonic. He was permanent conductor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra from 2005 to 2008. As a guest conductor, he appeared with every major North American orchestra and had more than 50 recordings to his credit. DePreist was director emeritus of conducting and orchestral studies at the Julliard School and laureate director of the Oregon Symphony. DePreist published two books of poetry, "The Precipice Garden" (1987) and "The Distant Siren" (1989). He was awarded 13 honorary doctorate degrees and was an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. DePreist received the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor bestowed on an individual artist by the United States, from President George W. Bush November 10, 2005. DePreist died February 8, 2013. 

November 21, 1941 David Porter, hall of fame songwriter, record producer and businessman, was born in Memphis, Tennessee. Porter was the first staff songwriter for Stax Records in 1963. He partnered with Isaac Hayes in 1965 and they produced more than 300 songs for Stax artists, including Otis Redding, Carla Thomas, Wilson Pickett, and Sam and Dave. The songwriting partnership ended in the late 1960s when Hayes embarked on a solos singing career. Porter also released four albums but realized his passion was songwriting. Over the next 40 years, he wrote songs for a diverse list of artists, including Bonnie Raitt, Aretha Franklin, Waylon Jennings, Mariah Carey, and Will Smith. Porter has more than 1700 songwriter/composer credits representing more than 300 million records sold. He received the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1999 and was inducted into the National Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005. Porter also owns a blues club and music publishing company in Memphis. He founded The Consortium MMT, a non-profit with the goal of developing a talent pool of new musicians in Memphis, in 2012. 

November 21, 1944 Vernon Earl Monroe, hall of fame basketball player known as "Earl the Pearl," was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Monroe was a playground legend at an early age known as "Thomas Edison" because of the many moves that he invented. While playing for Winston-Salem State University, he earned the 1967 National Collegiate Athletic Association College Division Player of the Year. That same year, Monroe was selected by the Baltimore Bullets in the National Basketball Association Draft and won the 1968 NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Over his fourteen season professional career, Monroe was a four-time All-Star and won the 1973 NBA Championship. His number 15 jersey was retired by the New York Knicks in 1986 and his number 10 jersey was retired by the Washington Wizards in 2007. Monroe was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990 and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. Monroe serves as a commentator for Madison Square Garden and as commissioner of the New Jersey Urban Development Corporation. He also owns a record label and candy company. Monroe has been active in various community programs, including the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Health. He has received honorary doctorate degrees from Manhattanville College and Winston-Salem State. His autobiography, "Earl the Pearl: My Story," was published in 2013. 

November 21, 1954 Vincent W. Patton, III, the first African American Master Chief Petty Officer in the United States Coast Guard, was born in Detroit, Michigan. Patton enlisted in the Coast Guard soon after graduating from Cass Technical High School in 1972. While on active duty, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Pacific College in 1976, his Bachelor of Science degree in social work from Shaw College, his Master of Arts degree in counseling psychology from Loyola University in 1979, and his Doctor of Education degree from American University in 1984. After serving in a number of capacities in the Coast Guard, Patton was appointed Master Chief Petty Officer, the service's most senior enlisted ranking position, in 1998. Patton served in that capacity until his retirement in 2002. After retiring, he earned a Master of Theology degree in applied religious studies from the Graduate Theological Union and became an adjunct professor at the University of California. He is currently executive director for the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Educational Foundation. Patton serves on several boards, including the National Coast Guard Museum Association and the U. S. Naval Institute. 

November 21, 1962 George Branham, III, the first African American to win a championship on the Professional Bowlers Association tour, was born in Detroit, Michigan but raised in San Fernando Valley, California. Branham started bowling at six and joined the PBA tour at 23. He won the Brunswick Memorial World Open, the first African American to win a PBA championship, November 22, 1986. Branham won the Tournament of Champions, professional bowling's most prestigious title, in 1993. Branham retired at the end of the 2003 tour, having rolled 23 perfect games and won three additional titles. Branham currently operates a bowling center in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

November 21, 1971 Michael Anthony Strahan, hall of fame football player and television personality, was born in Houston, Texas. Strahan played college football at Texas Southern University where he set the school record with 41.5 career quarterback sacks and was named 1992 Black College Defensive Player of the Year. He was selected by the New York Giants in the 1993 National Football League Draft and over his 15 season professional career was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and 2001 Defensive Player of the Year. Strahan set the NFL record for number of quarterback sacks in a single season that year with 22.5. Strahan began a career in television after retiring from football in 2008. He has done a number of commercials, appeared on the "Fox NFL Pregame Show" since 2008, and co-hosted the talk show "Live! With Kelly and Michael" since 2012. Strahan was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Texas Southern in 2014. "Inside the Helmet: My Life as a Sunday Afternoon Warrior" was published in 2007). 

November 21, 1983 William Boyd Allison Davis, anthropologist and researcher, died. Davis was born October 14, 1902 in Washington, D. C. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, as class valedictorian, from Williams College, his Master of Arts degree in English in 1925 and his Master of Arts degree in anthropology in 1932 from Harvard University, and was the first African American to earn a Ph. D. from the University of Chicago in 1942. Davis became the first African American to become a tenured professor at a major White university in 1948 when he joined the Department of Education at the University of Chicago. Davis was known for groundbreaking field studies such as "Children of Bondage" (1940) and "Deep South" (1941) which used anthropological techniques to explore how race and social class influenced education and learning among children. The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor in 1994. 

November 21, 2002 Hadda Brooks, pianist, vocalist and television show host, died. Brooks was born Hattie L. Hapgood in Los Angeles, California October 29, 1916. She studied classical piano as a child. She began to play the piano professionally in the early 1940s and made her first recording, "Swingin' the Boogie," in 1945. Brooks appeared in a number of films during the late 1940s and early 1950s, usually as a lounge piano player and singer, including "Out of the Blue" (1947), "In a Lonely Place" (1950), and "The Bad and the Beautiful" (1952). She hosted "The Hadda Brooks Show" for 26 half-hour episodes in Los Angeles in 1957. Brooks was based in Australia where she hosted her own television show for most of the 1960s. She resumed her recording career in 1994 with the album "Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere." This was followed by "Time Was When" (1996) and "I've Got News for You" (1999). She received the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1993. A documentary, "Queen of the Boogie," was released in 2007. 

November 21, 2006 Robert Lockwood, Jr., hall of fame blues guitarist, died. Lockwood was born March 27, 1915 in Turkey Scratch, Arkansas. He started playing the organ at eight and learned the guitar from Robert Johnson in his early teens. Lockwood was playing professionally throughout the Mississippi Delta by 17. He began a partnership with Sonny Williamson II in 1941 to perform on the daily "King Biscuit Time" radio program. Lockwood moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1950 and played and recorded with a number of blues bands. He moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1961 and played regularly with his band at numerous local venues up to his death. Albums by Lockwood as leader include "Steady Rollin' Man" (1970), "Hangin' On" (1979), "Delta Crossroads" (2000), and "The Legend Live" (2003). Lockwood also played on "Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen: Live in Dallas" (2004) which won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1989 and received the National Heritage Fellowship Award, the United States' highest honor in the folk and traditional arts, in 1995. He received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Cleveland State University in 2002. Robert Lockwood Jr. Way in Cleveland is named in his honor. 

November 21, 2010 Margaret Taylor Goss Burroughs, poet, artist and educator, died. Burroughs was born November 1, 1917 in St. Rose, Louisiana but raised in Chicago, Illinois. She 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.

Granville T. Woods

​Engineer and inventor.

George Branham, III

The first African American to win a Professional Bowlers Association tour championship. 

Margaret Taylor Goss Burroughs

Artist, educator, poet, and found of DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, IL.

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