This Day in Black History: February 17th


On this day in Black history…

1. 1997 – Virginia retires state song
Virginia House of Delegates votes unanimously to retire the state song, “Carry me back to old virginia” , a tune which glorifies slavery.

2. 1982 – Jazz Pianist Thelonious Monk dies.

3. 1973 – Naval Frigate named after African American
The Navy frigate USS Jesse L. Brown was commissioned. The ship was named for Ensign Jesse L. Brown, the first African American naval aviator killed in combat over Korea.

4. 1967 – Ronald De Voe’s Birthday
Ronald De Voe, Singer of Bell Biv DeVoe Born Boston, MA, February 17, 1967.

5. 1963 – Michael Jeffrey Jordan’s Birthday
Michael Jeffrey Jordan,  Basketball player, former minor league baseball player, born New York, New York, February 17, 1963

6. 1942 – Black Panther Party Founder Born
An illiterate high-school graduate, Newton taught himself how to read before attending Merritt College in Oakland and the San Francisco School of Law, where he met Seale. In Oakland in 1966 they formed the Black Panther group in response to incidents of police brutality and racism and as an illustration of the need for black self-reliance. At the height of its popularity during the late 1960s, the party had 2,000 members in chapters in several cities. In 1967 Newton was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the death of a police officer, but his conviction was overturned 22 months later, and he was released from prison. In 1971 he announced that the party would adopt a nonviolent manifesto and dedicate itself to providing social services to the black community. In 1974 he was accused of another murder and fled to Cuba for three years before returning to face charges; two trials resulted in hung juries.

Newton received a Ph.D in social philosophy from the University of California at Santa Cruz (1980); his dissertation, “War Against the Panthers” was subtitled “A Study of Repression in America.” Succumbing to factionalism and pressure from government agencies, the party disbanded in 1982. In March 1989 Newton was sentenced to a six-month jail term for misappropriating public funds intended for a Panther-founded Oakland school. In August of that year he was found shot dead on a street in Oakland.

7. 1936 – James Nathaniel Brown’s Birthday
James Nathaniel Brown, 63, Pro Football Hall of Fame Fullback, born February 17, 1936 in St. Simons Island, GA

8. 1918 – Rep. Charles A. Hayes born
Birthday of Rep. Charles A. Hayes, D-Illinois, who was born in Cairo, Illinois. In 1989, Hayes was re-elected to a fourth term in the House of Representatives. He was first elected Sept. 12, 1983.

9. 1902 – Opera singer Marian Anderson born
Opera singer Marian Anderson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Anderson was entered in the New York Philharmonic Competition at age 17 by her music teacher, and placed first over 299 other singers. Awarded a Rosenwald Fellowship in 1930, Anderson went to Europe for a year of study. She returned briefly to the United States but went back to Europe in 1933 to debut in Berlin and again, in 1935, in Austria. In 1933, Anderson performed 142 concerts in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. On Easter Sunday in 1939, Anderson performed an open air recital at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The performance was scheduled for the concert hall controlled by the Daughters of the American Revolution but was cancelled when the DAR refeused to allow Anderson to sing there. In 1955, Anderson signed with New York’s Metropolitan Opera Company.

10. 1891 – Churn Invented
A. C. Richardson, a black inventor, invented the churn, patent #466,470

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