This Day in Black History: February

This Day in Black History: February

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February 1

1902 – Langston Hughes, in full James Mercer Langston Hughes, (born February 1, 1902, Joplin Missouri, died May 22, 1967, New York, New York), American writer who was an important figure in the Harlem Renaissance and made the African American experience the subjects of his writings, which ranged from poetry and plays to novels and newspaper columns.

2009 — Mike Tomlin becomes the second Black head coach in the National Football League to win the Super Bowl when his Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals on this date in 2009.



February 2

1904 – Nun Sister Constance Murphy was born on this date.

1955 – In August 1955 at the age of 20, Raven Wilkinson became the first African American woman to receive a contract to dance full time with a major ballet company.


February 3

2013 – Destiny’s Child reunited for a few songs during Beyonce’s halftime show at Super Bowl XLVII.

1965 – Geraldine McCullough wins the Widener Gold Medal for Sculpture for her steel and copper.


February 4

1913 – Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks was born today.

1957 – Ambassador Dwight Bush was born today.


February 5

1958 – The United States Embassy to Romania becomes the first to be headed by an African American with the appointment of Clifton.

1884 – Willis Johnson patented a device made of a handle attached to a series of spring-like whisk wires used to help mix ingredients. Prior to his egg beater, all mixing of ingredients were done by hand.


February 6

1992 – John Singleton becomes the first African American director to be nominated for an Academy Award for best direction for this film, Boyz N the Hood.

1945 – Singer Bob Marley was born.

1950 – Singer Natalie Cole was born.


February 7

2013 – Dr. Ben Carson became a nationally recognized political figure when he gave a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. that was critical of President Barack Obama’s policies – especially Obamacare – with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were seated just a few feet away.

1961 – Congressman Allen West was born. West became the first African American Republican to represent Florida in Congress since Rep. Josiah T. Walls, who served during Reconstruction. Before his political career, Congressman West is a retired Lieutenant Colonel.


February 8

1968 – Actor Gary Coleman, known for his role on Different Strokes, was born.

1979 – Sitcom Good Times premiered on CBS. The show was a spin off from Maude and All In The Family.


February 9

1944 – Writer Alice Walker was born. Walker is best known for her 1982 novel, The Color Purple.

1919 – Civic leader Ethel Bradley was born on this date in Tyler, Texas.

1995 – NASA astronaut Bernard Harris becomes the first African American to perform a space walk.


February 10

2007 – U.S. Senator Barack Obama announces his candidacy for the Democratic nomination on this date in Springfield, Illnois.

1932 – Photojournalist Paul Brock was born today.


February 11

1990 – Nelson Mandela released from prison after 27 years.

1977 – Clifford Alexander is named Secretary of the Army during President Jimmy Carter’s administration, and becoming the first African American to hold this office.


February 12

1909 – The NAACP was established on this day.

1938 – Journalist Bea L. Hines was born on this day.


February 13

1905 – President Theodore Roosevelt gave a tribute speech to Abraham Lincoln, which allowed him to express his contemporary views of race in the U.S.

1957 – Author and music therapist Freddi Evans was born on this day.


February 14

1989 – Michael Jackson’s Rock With You short film was released today. The video was later ranted number six in a list of the 20 Greatest Michael Jackson Videos by Rolling Stone.

1997 – Rodney Slater was named the Secretary of Transportation by President Bill Clinton.


February 15

1944 – Broadcast journalist Paul Berry was born on this day.

1965 – Singer Nat King Cole passed away.


February 16

1952 – R & B Singer James Ingram was born on this day.

1958 – Rapper Tracy Marrow (better known as Ice T) was born on this day.

1858 – Frederick Douglass was elected President of Freedman Bank and Trust.


February 17

1891 – African American inventor A.C. Richardson invented the churn on this day.

1963 – Legendary basketball player Michael Jordan was born on this day in Brooklyn, New York.


February 18

1931 – Author Toni Morrison was born on this day in Lorain, Ohio.

2006 – Chicago native Shani Davis becomes the first American male to win a gold medal in Winter Olympics history on this date in Turino, Italy.


February 19

1940 – Singer Smokey Robinson was born on this day in Detroit.

1919 — Pan-African Congress, organized by W.E.B. Du Bois, met a Grand Hotel, Paris. There were fifty-seven delegates sixteen from the United States and fourteen from Africa form sixteen countries and colonies. Blaise Diagne of Senegal was elected president and Du Bois was named secretary.


February 20

1929 – Writer Wallace Thurman’s play ‘Harlem’ opens in NYC, and is the first successful play by an African American playwright.

1963 – Basketball player Charles Wade Barkley was born on this day in Leeds, Alabama.


February 21

1998 – Julian Bond, former Georgia state senator, was named chairman of the NAACP on this day.

1965 — Malcolm X (39) assassinated in Audubon Ballroom at a rally of his organization. Three Blacks were later convicted of the crime and sentenced to life imprisonment.



February 22

1938 – Poet Ishmael Reed was born today.

1989 – DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince win the first rap Grammy for the hit single, “Parents Just Don’t Understand.”


February 23

1925 — Louis Stokes, former mayor of Detroit, Michigan, and member of the US House of Representatives, was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Stokes was the first African American elected to the House from Ohio.

1868 – William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B.) DuBois was born on this day in Barrington, Massachusetts.


 February 24

1952 – Sergeant Maj Alford McMichael was born on this day in Hot Spring, Arkansas.

1922 – Dr. Alvin Blount, JR. was born on this day in Raleigh, North Carolina.


February 25

1928 — “One-Man Show of Art by Negro, First of Kind Here, Opens Today,” read the headline of a front-page article in ‘The New York Times’ on this day. The article announced the opening of Archibald J. Motley, Jr’s show at the New Gallery on Madison Avenue. This was the first time in History that an artist had made the front page of ‘The New York Times’ and it was the second one-person show by an African-American artist (the first being Henry O. Tanner). African scenes, voodoo dances, and African-Americans at leisure were themes presented by the artist.

1989 – Boxer Mike Tyson becomes the undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the Word by defeating challenger Frank Bruno of England.


February 26

1985 — On this day at the Grammy Awards ceremony, African-American musicians won awards in several categories. Lionel Richie’s ‘Can’t Slow Down’ won best album of 1984. Tina Turner’s ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It’ took the best record slot and earned her the title Best Female Pop Vocalist. The Pointer Sisters won best Pop Group for ‘Jump.’

1869 — Fifteenth Amendment guaranteeing the right to vote sent to the states for ratification.


February 27

2013 — Yityish “Titi” Aynaw was crowned Miss Israel on February 27, 2013.  She made history when she became the first Miss Israel of African ancestry.  Born in Gondar Province, Ethiopia, Aynaw arrived in Israel in March 2003 along with her older brother and grandparents at the age of 12 after the death of her mother in 2002.  Her father died when she was two years old.

1869 – Congress adopts 15th Amendment, which makes it illegal for the U.S. – or any single government – to deny someone the right to vote due to “race, color or previous condition of servitude.”


February 28

1871 – Second Enforcement Act gives federal officers and courts control of registration and voting in congressional elections.

1704 – Frenchman Elias Neau opened a school for blacks in New York City.


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