Black History Month Facts and Accomplishments

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A Salute to Black History:

On February 1:

Feb. 1, 1865 - The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery, was adopted by the 38th Congress.

Feb. 1, 1902 - Langston Hughes, a famous poet, was born this day in Joplin, Mo.

Feb. 1, 1926 - What is now known as Black History Month was first celebrated on this date as Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson. It became a month long celebration in 1976.

On February 2:

Feb. 2, 1862 - District of Columbia abolishes slavery.

Feb. 2, 1914 - Ernest Just, genetic biologist, wins the Spingarn Medal. He received this same medal on this day in 1915 for his pioneering in cell division and fertilization.

Feb. 2, 1948 - President Truman sent Congress a special message urging the adoption of a Civil Rights program, including the creation of a fair employment practices commission.

On February 3:

Feb. 3, 1903 - Jack Johnson wins the Negro Heavyweight title.

Feb. 3, 1920 - The Negro Baseball League is founded.

Feb. 3, 1965 - Geraldine McCullough, sculptor, wins the Widener Gold Medal Award.

On February 4:

Feb. 4, 1913 - Rosa Parks (born Rosa Louise McCauley) was born on this day.

Feb. 4, 1971 - National Guard mobilized to quell rioting in Wilmington, N.C. Two persons killed.

Feb. 4, 1996 - J. C. Watts becomes the first Black selected to respond to a State of the Union Address.

On February 5:

Feb. 5, 1866 - Congressman Thaddeus Stevens offered an amendment to Freedmen's Bureau Bill authorizing the distribution of public land and confiscated

land to freedmen and loyal refugees in 40- acre lots.

Feb. 5, 1958 - Clifton R. Wharton Sr. confirmed as minister to Rumania. This career diplomat was the first Black to head a U.S. embassy in Europe.

Feb. 5, 1962 - Suit seeking to bar Englewood, N.J., from maintaining "racial segregated" elementary schools filed in U.S. District Court.


On February 6:

Feb. 6, 1820 - "Mayflower of Liberia" sailed from New York City with eighty six Blacks. Black population: 1,771,656 (18.4%)

Feb. 6, 1993 - Arthur Ashe dies. FirstAfrican American tennis player to win at Wimbledon.

Feb. 6, 1867 - Robert Tanner Jackson becomes first African American to receive a degree in dentistry.

On February 7:

Feb. 7, 1926 - Negro History Week originated by Carter G. Woodson is observed for the first time.

On February 8

:

Feb. 8, 1944 - Harry S. McAlphin, first African American to be accredited to attend the White House press conference.

Feb. 8, 1986 - Oprah Winfrey becomes the first African American woman to host a nationally syndicated talk show.

On February 9:

Feb. 9, 1944 - Novelist Alice Walker was born in Eatonton, Ga.

Feb. 9, 1952 - Author Ralph Ellison's novel Invisible Man wins the National Book Award.

Feb. 9, 1971 - Leroy "Satchel" Paige is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Feb. 9, 1995 - Bernard Harris, African- American astronaut, takes space walk.

On February 10:

Feb 10, 1927 - Leontyne Price, who became an internationally acclaimed opera singer, was born in Laurel, Miss.

Feb. 10, 1964 - After 12 days of debate and voting on 125 amendments, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by a vote of 290-130.

Feb. 10, 1966 - Economist Andrew Brimer is appointed to the Federal Reserve Board.

On February 11:

Feb. 11, 1961 - Robert Weaver sworn in as administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency, highest federal post to date by a black American.

Feb. 11, 1976 - Clifford Alexander Jr. confirmed as the first black secretary of the United States Army.

Feb. 11, 1990 - Nelson Mandela is released from a South African prison after being detained for 27 years as political prisoner.

On February 12:

Feb. 12, 1865 - Henry Highland Garnet, first black to speak in the Capitol, delivered memorial sermon on the abolition of slavery at services in the House of Representatives.

Feb. 12, 1909 - The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded. The call for the organizational meeting was issued on 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth by 47 whites and six blacks.

Feb. 12, 1948 - First Lt. Nancy C. Leftneant became the first black accepted in the regular Army Nursing Corps.

On February 13:

Feb. 13, 1923 - The first black professional basketball team, "The Renaissance," was organized.

Feb. 13, 1957 - Southern Christian Leadership Conference organized at New Orleans meeting with Martin Luther King Jr. as president.

Feb 13, 1970 - The New York Stock Exchange admits its first black member, Joseph Searles.

On February 14:

Feb. 14, 1817 - Frederick Douglass, "The Great Emancipator," is born.

Feb. 14, 1867 - Morehouse College organized in Augusta, Ga. The institution was later moved to Atlanta. New registration law in Tennessee abolished racial distinctions in voting.

Feb. 14, 1936 - National Negro Congress organized at Chicago meeting attended by 817 delegates representing more than 500 organizations.

On February 15:

Feb. 15, 1848 - Sarah Roberts barred from white school in Boston. Her father, Benjamin Roberts, filed the first school integration suit on her behalf.

Feb. 15, 1851 - Black abolitionists invaded a Boston courtroom and rescued a fugitive slave.

Feb. 15, 1968 - Henry Lewis becomes the first black to lead a symphony orchestra in the United States

On February 16:

Feb. 16, 1857 - Frederick Douglass elected President of Freeman Bank and Trust.

Feb. 16, 1923 - Bessie Smith makes her first recording, "Down Hearted Blues," which sells 800,000 copies for Columbia Records.

Feb. 16, 1951 - New York City Council passes a bill prohibiting racial discrimination in city-assisted housing developments.

On February 17:

Feb. 17, 1870 - Congress passed resolution readmitting Mississippi on condition that it would never change its constitution to disenfranchise blacks.

Feb. 17, 1963 - Michael Jeffrey Jordan, famed basketball player and former minor league baseball player, born in New York, N.Y.

Feb. 17, 1997 - Virginia House of Delegates votes unanimously to retire the state song, "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia," a tune that glorifies slavery.

On February 18:

Feb. 18, 1688 - First formal protest against slavery by organized white body in English America made by Germantown Quakers at monthly meeting.

Feb. 18, 1865 - Rebels abandoned Charleston. First Union troops to enter the city included twenty-first U.S.C.T., followed by two companies of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers.

Feb. 18, 1931 - Toni Morrison (born Chloe Anthony Wofford), who will win the Pulitzer Prize for her novel Beloved, was born on this day in Lorain, Ohio.

On February 19:

Feb. 19, 1919 - Pan-African Congress, organized by W.E.B. DuBois, met at the Grand Hotel, Paris. There were 57 delegates- 16 from the United States and 14 from Africa as well as others from 16 countries and colonies.

On February 20:

Feb. 20, 1895 - Death of Frederick Douglass. Douglass was the leading black spokesman for almost 50 years. He was a major abolitionist, lecturer, and editor.

On February 21:

Feb. 21, 1895 - North Carolina Legislature, dominated by black Republicans and white Populists, adjourned for the day to mark the death of Frederick Douglass.

On February 22:

Feb 22, 1979 - Frank E. Peterson Jr. named the first black general in the Marine Corps.

On February 23:

Feb. 23, 1965 - Constance Baker Motley elected Manhattan Borough president, the highest elective office held by a black woman in a major American city.

On February 24:

Feb. 24, 1864 - Rebecca Lee became the first black woman to receive an M.D. degree.

On February 25:

Feb. 25, 1870 - Hirman R. Revels of Mississippi was sworn in as first black U.S. Senator and first black Representative in Congress.

Feb. 25, 1948 - Martin Luther King was ordained as a Baptist minister.

Feb. 25, 1971 - President Nixon met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and appointed a White House panel to study a list of recommendations made by the group.

On February 26:

Feb. 26, 1869 - Fifteenth Amendment guaranteeing the right to vote sent to the states for ratification.

Feb. 26, 1926 - Carter G. Woodson started Negro History Week. This week would later become Black History Month.

On February 27:

Feb. 27, 1869 - John W. Menard spoke in Congress in defense of his claim to a contested seat in Louisiana's Second Congressional District. Congress decided against both claimants. Congressman James. A. Garfield of the examining committee said "it was too early to admit a Negro to the U.S. Congress." Menard was the first black to make a speech in Congress.


Feb. 27, 1988 - Figure skater Debi Thomas becomes the first African American to win a medal (bronze) at the winter Olympic Games.

On February 28:

Feb. 28, 1859 - Arkansas legislature required free blacks to choose between exile and enslavement.

Feb. 28, 1932 - Richard Spikes invented/patented the automatic gear shift.