Today in Black History, 11/22/2015 | The Philadelphia Tribune - The Charles H. Wright Museum Blog

Today in Black History, 11/22/2015 | The Philadelphia Tribune

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, 1871 Oscar James Dunn, the first elected Black lieutenant governor of a U. S. state, died. Dunn was born around 1826 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He became a member of the Prince Hall Masons during the 1850s, eventually serving as Grand Master of one of the lodges. This provided him a power base that would be the foundation of his political career. Dunn was also a businessman, running an employment agency that assisted in finding jobs for freedmen and serving as secretary of the advisory committee of the Freedmen's Savings & Trust Company. He organized the People's Bakery in 1866. Dunn actively promoted and supported the Universal Suffrage Movement, advocated land ownership for all Black people, free public education for all Black children, and equal protection under the law. Dunn was elected Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana in 1868, a position he held until his death. During his time in office, he was president pro tempore of the State Senate and president of the Metropolitan Police, with both positions commanding million dollar budgets. Dunn also served on the board of trustees and examining committee of Straight University (now Dillard University). Dunn's funeral is reported to have been one of the largest ever in New Orleans with 50,000 people lining the streets for his funeral procession and newspapers across the nation reporting the event. 

November 22, 1880 The Baptist Foreign Mission Convention was formed when 151 people from 11 states met in Montgomery, Alabama with a mission to spread the gospel to Africa. The National Convention of America was formed six years later and the National Baptist Education Convention was formed in 1893. The three organizations merged to form the National Baptist Convention, USA in 1895. Today, that organization is the largest Black Baptist convention, with millions of members from churches across the United States and throughout the world. "A Story of Christian Activism: The History of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc." was published in 1980. 

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. He moved to the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History as a research associate in 1922 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). Taylor became professor of history at Fisk University in 1926 and remained there for the rest of his career. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1935. Taylor died June 4, 1955. 

November 22, 1898 Felix Hadley Harding of Cleveland, Ohio received patent number 614,468 for an Extension Banquet Table. His table was convertible from a round or circular table to an oblong table and could be used as a breakfast, work, or banquet table. Not much else is known of Harding's life. 

November 22, 1899 "Whistlin'" Alex Moore, blues pianist and singer, was born Alexander Herman Moore in Dallas, Texas. He taught himself to play the piano as a teenager before serving in the United States Army during World War I. Moore made his debut recordings in 1929, including "Ice Pick Blues" and "West Texas Woman." He only recorded sparingly from the 1930s through the 1970s but performed regularly at clubs and festivals around the U. S. and Europe. Moore received a National Heritage Fellowship, the United States' highest honor in the folk and traditional arts, from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1987. Moore died January 20, 1989. Recordings of his music include "Wiggle Tail" (1988), "Whistlin' Alex Moore" (1994), "From North Dallas to the East Side" (1994), and "Ice Pick Blues" (1995). 

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 in Canton, Ohio. He and his wife did most of the landscaping by hand and opened the nine-hole Clearview Golf Club in 1948. He expanded the course to 18 holes in 1978. Powell was made a life member of the Professional Golfers Association in 1999 and his course was added to the National Register of Historic Places February 16, 2001. 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, 1936 John Robert Edward Kinard, pastor, museum director and social activist, was born in Washington, D. C. Kinard 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, he worked as coordinator of eastern Africa projects for Operations 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 August 5, 1989. 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. 

November 22, 1938 Hermon L. Grimes of Detroit, Michigan received patent number 2,137,486 for Folding Wing Aircraft. His invention provided aircraft with foldable wings and the power mechanism to fold and adjust the wings. He also provided wing tips shaped in such a way that they were more effective in manipulating the plane. Folding wing aircraft were used extensively during World War II. Not much else is known of Grimes' life. 

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 in 1974 and Ph.D. in 1978 from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and his Master of Business Administration degree 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. He has received honorary doctorate degrees from a number of institutions, including Florida A&M University, Virginia State University, and Kent State University. 

November 22, 1942 Harry Edwards, sociologist and educator, was born in East St. Louis, Illinois. Edwards attended San Jose State University on a track and field scholarship and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology in 1964. He earned his Master of Arts degree in 1966 and Ph. D. in 1972 from Cornell University. He returned to San Jose State in 1967 as a visiting professor and sports coach. There he organized the Olympic Project for Human Rights to encourage athletes to boycott the 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympic Games. Although there was no boycott, it did result in the internationally famous raised black gloved Black Power Salute by Tommie Smith and John Carlos, two San Jose State athletes. Edwards became professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley in 1970 and taught there until his retirement in 2000. Edwards published "The Revolt of the Black Athlete" in 1970 and "The Struggle that Must Be: an Autobiography" in 1980. He continues to lecture on Black athletes and sports. 

November 22, 1966 Leonard J. Julien, Sr. of Donaldsonville, Louisiana received patent number 3,286,858 for a Cane Planter. His invention consisted of a number of overhead conveyors positioned above a cane cart. Each conveyor had a number of grabs for gripping the cane stalks in the cart and depositing them in furrows in the ground. His cane planter was attached to a tractor or other open-topped vehicle. Prior to Julien's invention, sugar cane was planted manually. His planter was faster and required less labor. Julien was born January 21, 1910 in Modeste, Louisiana. Other than the fact that he owned a 450-acre farm and received this patent, not much else is known of his life. 

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. She won the 1991 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 1991 to 1996 and was an assistant coach at the University of Detroit Mercy from 2003 to 2006. She is currently an assistant coach of the women's basketball team at Auburn University. 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 drummer in a speakeasy band at 15 and had his own band by the 1930s. Crothers moved to California in 1948 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, 1986 George Branham III, became the first African American to win a championship on the Professional Bowlers Association tour when he won the Brunswick Memorial World Open tournament. Branham was born November 21, 1962 in Detroit, Michigan but raised in San Fernando Valley, California. He started bowling at six and joined the PBA tour at 23. 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. He currently operates a bowling center in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

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. Blackston organized a meeting of other welfare recipients to protest these invasions in 1963. 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. 

November 22, 2000 The West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania home of Paul LeRoy Bustill Robeson was declared a National Historic Landmark. Robeson lived in the home from 1966 to his death. Robeson was born April 9, 1898 in Princeton, New Jersey. He won a full academic scholarship to Rutgers University, the third African American student accepted at Rutgers. Although he was the only Black student on campus during his time there, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1919 as the class valedictorian. He also was named All-American in football in 1917 and 1918. Robeson earned his Bachelor of Laws degree from Columbia Law School in 1923 and began to find fame as an actor and singer with his bass voice and commanding presence. Early stage roles included "The Emperor Jones" (1924), "All God's Chillun Got Wings" (1924), and "Porgy" (1927). Robeson's rendition of "Ol' Man River" in "Show Boat" is considered the definitive version of the song. His Broadway run in "Othello" is the longest of any Shakespeare play. Robeson's first film was "Body and Soul" (1924) and he appeared in eleven films between 1925 and 1942, including "Song of Freedom" (1936) and "King Solomon's Mines" (1937). At the height of his fame, Robeson became a political activist, speaking out against fascism and racism in the United States and abroad. He co-founded the Council on African Affairs January 28, 1937 to focus on providing pertinent and current information about Africa to African Americans. The CAA was charged with subversion in 1953 and the organization disbanded in 1955. Robeson traveled throughout the world and was conversant in 20 languages and fluent in 12. He was the 1945 recipient of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Spingarn Medal. His passport was revoked from 1950 to 1958 and he was under surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Central Intelligence Agency until his death January 23, 1976. Robeson's only book, "Here I Stand," was published in 1958. Robeson's posthumous recognitions and honors number in the thousands and include three buildings on the Rutgers campus named in his honor, 1995 induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998, and a 2004 commemorative postage stamp issued by the United States Postal Service. There are numerous biographies of Robeson, including "Paul Robeson The American Othello" (1968) and "Paul Robeson: The Years of Promise and Achievement" (2001). His name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan. 

November 22, 2012 Joaquim Benedito Barbosa Gomes was sworn in as the first Black Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Brazil. Barbosa was born October 7, 1954 in Paracatu, Minas Gerais, Brazil. He earned his law degree from the University of Brasilia in 1979. He earned his Master of Laws degree in 1990 and his Doctor of Laws degree in 1993 from the University of Paris. After graduating from law school, Barbosa served three years at the Brazilian embassy in Finland. He also taught law at Rio de Janeiro State University and was a visiting scholar at the Human Rights Institute at Columbia University Law School and the University of California, Los Angeles Law School. Barbosa was appointed to the Supreme Court of Brazil in 2002. He is fluent in French, Spanish, Portuguese, English, and German. He was included on Time magazine's 2013 list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.


John Robert
Edward Kinard

Pastor, museum director, social activist, and co-founder of African American Museum Association. 

Daedra Janel Charles

Hall of fame basketball player and coach. 

Felix Hadley Harding

Awarded patent for an extension banquet table. 

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