Today in Black History, 11/22/2012 - The Charles H. Wright Museum Blog

Today in Black History, 11/22/2012

• November 22, 1880 The Baptist Foreign Mission Convention was formed when 151 persons from 11 states met in Montgomery, Alabama with a mission to spread the gospel to Africa. Six years later the National Convention of America was formed and in 1893 the National Baptist Education Convention was formed. In 1895, the three organizations merged to form the National Baptist Convention, USA. Today, that organization is the largest black Baptist convention, with millions of members from churches across the United States and throughout the world.

• November 22, 1884 The Philadelphia Tribune, the oldest continually run African American newspaper, was founded by Christopher James Perry, Jr. Today, the tribune is published five days a week and has a readership of approximately 223,500. They also publish the Tribune Magazine, Entertainment Now!, Sojourner, The Learning Key, and the Sunday Tribune.

• November 22, 1893 Alrutheus Ambush Taylor, historian, was born in Washington, D.C. Taylor earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan in 1916 and taught at Tuskegee Institute until 1922. In 1922, he moved to the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History as a research associate and began researching the role of African Americans in the South during Reconstruction. Out of that research came the trilogy “The Negro in South Carolina During the Reconstruction” (1924), “The Negro in the Reconstruction of Virginia” (1926), and “The Negro in Tennessee, 1865-1880” (1941). In 1926, Taylor became professor of history at Fisk University where he remained for the rest of his career. In 1935, he earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Taylor died June 4, 1955.

• November 22, 1916 William J. Powell, the first African American to design, build, and operate his own golf course, was born in Greenville, Alabama, but raised in Minerva, Ohio. Powell attended Wilberforce University and played on the golf team. After serving in the United States Army Air Force in England during World War II, he returned to Minerva in 1946. Powell was banned from playing on the all-white public golf courses and turned down for a bank loan to build his own course. With financing from two African American doctors and a loan from his brother, Powell purchased a 78 acre dairy farm. He and his wife did most of the landscaping by hand and in 1948 opened the nine-hole Clearview Golf Club. In 1978, he expanded the course to 18 holes. In 1999, Powell was made a life member of the Professional Golfers Association and in 2001 his course was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Powell received the 2009 PGA Distinguished Service Award which honors outstanding individuals who display leadership and humanitarian qualities, including integrity, sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the game of golf. Powell died December 31, 2009.

• November 22, 1942 Guion “Guy” Bluford, Jr., engineer and hall of fame astronaut, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bluford earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Pennsylvania State University in 1964, his Master of Science degree and Ph.D. from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1974 and 1978, respectively and his Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston in 1987. Bluford earned his pilot wings in 1966 and flew 144 combat missions, including 65 over North Vietnam. He became an astronaut with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1979 and served on four space missions, logging more than 688 hours in space. Bluford left NASA in 1993 and is currently president and general manager of Aerospace Technology, an engineering consulting organization. Bluford was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1997 and the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2010.

• November 22, 1968 Daedra Janel Charles, hall of fame basketball player, was born in Detroit, Michigan. Charles played high school basketball at St. Martin de Porres and college basketball at the University of Tennessee. In 1991, she won the Margaret Wade Trophy as the best player in women’s college basketball and was a finalist for the Woody Hayes Award as the nation’s most outstanding student-athlete. Charles also earned her bachelor’s degree in child and family studies that year. From 1991 to 1996, Charles played professional basketball overseas. From 2003 to 2006, she was an assistant coach at the University of Detroit Mercy. She is currently director of character development for the University of Tennessee’s women’s basketball team. Charles was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

• November 22, 1986 Benjamin Sherman “Scatman” Crothers, actor, singer, and musician, died. Crothers was born May 23, 1910 in Terre Haute, Indiana. He started his career as a 15 year old drummer in a speakeasy band and by the 1930s had his own band. In 1948, Crothers moved to California and made his film debut in the 1953 movie “Meet Me at the Fair.” Other films that he appeared in include “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975), “Silver Streak” (1976), and “The Shining” (1980). Crothers also made guest appearances on many television shows, including “Dragnet” (1967), “Ironside” (1973), “Sanford and Son” (1974), and “Magnum P. I.” (1980).

• November 22, 1995 Johnnie Tillmon Blackston, welfare reformer, died. Blackston was born April 10, 1926 in Scott, Arkansas. The daughter of sharecropper’s, she never finished high school. When things went bad in Arkansas, she left her first husband and moved to Los Angeles, California with her six children. There she worked in a laundry and received Aid to Families with Dependent Children. During that time, welfare inspectors routinely invaded the privacy of recipients, checking on their possessions and ensuring that they were not living with a man. In 1963, Blackston organized a meeting of other welfare recipients to protest these invasions. Out of that meeting came a statewide organization, Aid to Needy Children Mothers Anonymous. That organization inspired the creation of the National Welfare Rights Organization with Blackmon as executive director. The NWRO successfully campaigned for reforms that removed many of the system’s paternalistic trappings. After the NWRO closed in 1974, Blackmon worked as a legislative aide and served on state and local committees concerned with welfare.

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Today in Black History, 11/23/2012
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