GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion is an American actor, producer, martial artist and entrepreneur. He was born on July 31, 1962 in Orlando, Florida to Wesley and Maryann Snipes, and grew up in the Bronx, New York. He was inclined towards becoming a dancer at first but later changed his mind when he took acting classes and began to enjoy them.He attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing but moved back to Florida and graduated from Jones High School in Orlando. He then attended the State University of New York where he graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in 1985. He also attended Southwest College in Los Angeles, California.Today in our History – July 31,1962 – Wesley Trent Snipes (born July 31,1962) was born.Snipes was born in Orlando, Florida, the son of Marian (née Long), a teacher’s assistant, and Wesley Rudolph Snipes, an aircraft engineer. He grew up in the Bronx, New York. He attended the High School of Performing Arts of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts but moved back to Florida before he could graduate.After graduating from Jones High School in Orlando, Snipes returned to New York and attended the State University of New York at Purchase. He also attended Southwest College in Los Angeles, California.At the age of 23, Snipes was discovered by an agent while performing in a competition. He made his film debut in the 1986 Goldie Hawn vehicle Wildcats. Later that year, he appeared on the TV show Miami Vice as a drug-dealing pimp in the episode “Streetwise” (first aired December 5, 1986). In 1987, he appeared as Michael Jackson’s nemesis in the Martin Scorsese–directed music video “Bad” and the feature film Streets of Gold.That same year, Snipes was also considered for the role of Geordi La Forge in the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, but the role eventually went to LeVar Burton. Snipes auditioned & lobbied hard for the role of Leroy Green in the 1985 cult classic movie The Last Dragon but the role was given to Taimak instead.Snipes’s performance in the music video “Bad” caught the eye of director Spike Lee. Snipes turned down a small role in Lee’s Do the Right Thing for the larger part of Willie Mays Hayes in Major League, beginning a succession of box-office hits for Snipes. Lee would later cast Snipes as the jazz saxophonist Shadow Henderson in Mo’ Better Blues and as the lead in the interracial romance drama Jungle Fever. After the success of Jungle Fever the Washington Post described Snipes as “the most celebrated new actor of the season”.He then played Thomas Flanagan in King of New York opposite Christopher Walken. He played the drug lord Nino Brown in New Jack City, which was written specifically for him by Barry Michael Cooper. He also played a drug dealer in the 1994 film Sugar Hill.Snipes has played a number of roles in action films like Passenger 57, Demolition Man (with Sylvester Stallone), Money Train, The Fan, U.S. Marshals and Rising Sun, as well as comedies like White Men Can’t Jump, and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar where he played a drag queen. Snipes has appeared in dramas like The Waterdance and Disappearing Acts.In 1997, he won the Best Actor Volpi Cup at the 54th Venice Film Festival for his performance in New Line Cinema’s One Night Stand. In 1998, Snipes had his largest commercial success with Blade, which has grossed over $150 million worldwide. The film turned into a series. He also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and an honorary doctorate in humanities and fine arts from his alma mater,SUNY/Purchase. In 2004, Snipes reprised his role in the third film, Blade: Trinity, which he also produced. In 2005, he sued New Line Cinema and David S. Goyer, the film’s studio and director, respectively. He claimed that the studio did not pay his full salary, that he was intentionally cut out of casting decisions, and that his character’s screen time was reduced in favor of co-stars Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel.The suit was later settled, but no details were released. He has discussed reprising the role of Blade as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Trinity was his last theatrical release in the U.S. until 2010..He later appeared in The Contractor, filmed in Bulgaria and the UK, Gallowwalkers, released in 2012, and Game of Death. Snipes was originally slated to play one of the four leads in Spike Lee’s 2008 war film Miracle at St. Anna but had to leave the film due to tax problems; his role eventually went to Derek Luke.Snipes made a comeback performance in Brooklyn’s Finest as Casanova “Caz” Phillips, a supporting character, it was his first theatrical release film since 2014. He also had to turn down the part of Hale Caesar in The Expendables because he was not allowed to leave the United States without the court’s approval. In 2014, he appeared in the sequel The Expendables 3. His comedic role-playing D’Urville Martin in Dolemite Is My Name has earned him positive reviews and a number of award nominations.In the late 1990s, Snipes and his brother started a security firm called the Royal Guard of Amen-Ra, dedicated to providing VIPs with bodyguards trained in law enforcement and martial arts. Amen-Ra is also the name of his film company. In 1996, the first film produced by Amen-Ra was A Great And Mighty Walk – Dr. John Henrik Clarke.In 2000, the business was investigated for alleged ties to the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors. It emerged that Snipes had spotted 200 acres (0.81 km2) of land near their Tama-Re compound in Putnam County, Georgia, intending to buy and use it for his business academy. Both Snipes’s business and the groups used Egyptian motifs as their symbols. Ultimately, Snipes and his brother did not buy the land, instead establishing their company in Florida, Antigua, and Africa.In 2005, Snipes entered into negotiations to fight Fear Factor host Joe Rogan on Ultimate Fighting Match, but the deal fell through.Snipes began training in martial arts when he was 12 years old. He has a 5th degree black belt in Shotokan karate and a 2nd degree black belt in Hapkido. He has also trained in Capoeira under Mestre Jelon Vieira and in a number of other disciplines including kung fu at the USA Shaolin Temple and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Kickboxing. During his time in New York, Snipes was trained in fighting by his friend and mentor Brooke Ellis.Snipes has been married twice, first to April Snipes (née Dubois), with whom he has a son Jelani, who had a cameo role in Snipes’ 1990 film Mo’ Better Blues. In 2003, Snipes married painter Nakyung “Nikki” Park, with whom he has four children.Snipes, who was raised a Christian, converted to Islam in 1978 but left Islam in 1988. During a 1991 interview, Snipes said “Islam made me more conscious of what African people have accomplished, of my self-worth, and gave me some self-dignity”.Snipes’ apartment in New York City was destroyed by the collapse of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers during the September 11 attacks. He was on the West Coast at the time.On October 12, 2006, Snipes, Eddie Ray Kahn, and Douglas P. Rosile were charged with one count of conspiring to defraud the United States and one count of knowingly making or aiding and abetting the making of a false and fraudulent claim for payment against the United States. Snipes was also charged with six counts of willfully failing to file federal income tax returns by their filing dates.The conspiracy charge against Snipes alleged that he filed a false amended return, including a false tax refund claim of over $4 million for the year 1996, and a false amended return, including a false tax refund claim of over US$7.3 million for the year 1997. The government alleged that Snipes attempted to obtain fraudulent tax refunds using a tax protester theory called the “861 argument” (essentially, an argument that the domestic income of U.S. citizens and residents is not taxable). The government also charged that Snipes sent three worthless, fictitious “bills of exchange” for $14 million to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).The government also charged that Snipes failed to file tax returns for the years 1999 through 2004. Snipes responded to his indictment in a letter on December 4, 2006, declaring himself to be “a non-resident alien” of the United States; in reality, Snipes is a birthright U.S. citizen. Such tactics are common of the “Freemen”, “Sovereign Citizen”, or “OPCA” (Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument) category of litigation strategy.Snipes retained Robert Barnes as his defense attorney. On February 1, 2008, Snipes was acquitted on the felony count of conspiracy to defraud the government and on the felony count of filing a false claim with the government. He was found guilty on three misdemeanor counts of failing to file federal income tax returns (and acquitted on three other “failure to file” charges). His co-defendants, Douglas P. Rosile and Eddie Ray Kahn, were convicted on the conspiracy and false claim charges in connection with the income tax refund claims filed for Snipes.On April 24, 2008, Snipes was sentenced to three years in prison for willful failure to file federal income tax returns under 26 U.S.C. § 7203. Kahn was sentenced to 10 years in prison and Rosile was sentenced to four and one half years in prison. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed Snipes’s convictions in a 35-page decision issued on July 16, 2010.Snipes reported to federal prison on December 9, 2010 to begin his three-year sentence, and was held at McKean Federal Correctional Institution, a federal prison in Pennsylvania. On June 6, 2011, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear Snipes’s appeal. Snipes was released from federal prison on April 2, 2013, finishing his period of house arrest on July 19, 2013.On November 1, 2018, the United States Tax Court ruled that the Internal Revenue Service did not abuse its discretion in rejecting an offer in compromise made by Snipes and in sustaining the filing of a notice of federal tax lien in connection with approximately $23.5 million in Federal tax liabilities for tax year 2001 and years 2003 through 2006. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion is an American film marketing and public relations executive. She represented the Public Relations Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), known for its annual Academy Awards (Oscars), on the AMPAS Board of Governors for 21 years, until 2013. On July 30, 2013 she was elected as the 35th president of AMPAS and on August 11, 2015 she was re-elected. Boone Isaacs was the first African American to hold this office, and the third woman (after Bette Davis and Fay Kanin).Today in our History – July 30, 2013 – Cheryl Boone Isaacs was elected as the 35th president of AMPAS. Veteran publicist Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first African American to serve as President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, followed the path of her pioneering sibling as a top-tier executive in the Hollywood motion picture industry. Ashley A. Boone Jr. (1939-1994), her brother, had been the most distinguished African American working at several studios, capping his career in 1979 as president for distribution and marketing at 20th Century Fox.Born in Springfield, Massachusetts into a middle class family of four children, Isaacs’ parents stressed academic achievement. Her youthful ambition to become a musical comedy star was discouraged. She graduated from Classical High School in 1967 then moved to California and earned her political science degree in 1971 at Whittier College.Isaacs entered the film industry in 1977 as a staff publicist at Columbia Pictures working on the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In the 1980s she promoted movies at Melvin Simon Productions directing campaigns for My Bodyguard, The Stuntman, and Love at First Sight; The Ladd Company where she worked on The Right Stuff, Once Upon a Time in America, and Police Academy; and Paramount Pictures where she rose to executive vice president for worldwide publicity. At Paramount in the 1990s she promoted Ghost, Forrest Gump, and Braveheart, among others.Isaacs joined New Line Cinema in 1997 as president of theatrical marketing, thus becoming the first black woman to head a major studio’s marketing operation, encompassing media buying, publicity, advertising, market research, and product placement. Projects at New Line included Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Rush Hour. Leaving New Line in 1999, she shifted to consulting via her strategic marketing firm CBI Enterprises Inc., working on critically-acclaimed films and box office hits like Spiderman 2, The Artist, Precious, The King’s Speech, and the documentary Tupac: Resurrection.Isaacs lent her talents to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), serving on its 48-member board of governors starting in 1988. AMPAS, with a membership composed of nearly 6,000 industry professionals and craftsmen, is widely known for its televised annual Academy Awards ceremony at which “Oscars” are given for cinematic excellence. In 2002, while representing the public relations branch on the board, she began coordinating several Governors Balls where she was responsible for planning the event’s entertainment, décor, and menu.Isaacs was serving as the board’s vice president when she was elected for a one-year term as president of AMPAS on July 30, 2013, thus becoming only the third woman and the first African American to hold that position in the 86-year history of the academy. As its 35th president, she indicated her immediate priorities were facilitating member participation, insuring a successful Academy Awards ceremony, and managing the development of a multi-million-dollar film museum.Isaacs, her husband, movie producer Stanley Isaacs, and son, Cooper, live in the Wilshire/Hancock Park area of Los Angeles, south of Hollywood. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion event was a three-day conference in Boston organized by Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, a civil rights leader and suffragist. In August 1895, representatives from 42 African-American women’s clubs from 14 states convened at Berkeley Hall for the purpose of creating a national organization. It was the first event of its kind in the United States.Speakers included Margaret Murray Washington (the wife of Booker T. Washington), author and former slave Victoria Earle Matthews, anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells, scholar Anna J. Cooper, civil rights leader T. Thomas Fortune, and social reformers Henry B. Blackwell and William Lloyd Garrison. The National Federation of Afro-American Women, which became the National Association of Colored Women the following year, was organized during the conferenceToday in our History – July 29, 1895 – The First National Conference of the Colored Women of America.In 1892, Boston activist Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin founded the Woman’s Era Club, an advocacy group for black women, with the help of her daughter, Florida Ruffin Ridley, and educator Maria Louise Baldwin. It was the first black women’s club in Boston, and one of the first in the country. Its members, prominent black women from the Boston area, devoted their efforts to education, women’s suffrage, and race-related issues such as anti-lynching reform. Its slogan was “Help to make the world better”. The Woman’s Era, an illustrated monthly publication, was the club’s newspaper.In the early 1890s, when the Woman’s Era polled readers to see if there was a need for a national organization of black clubwomen, the response was overwhelmingly positive. In 1895, an obscure Missouri journalist named John Jacks sent a letter to the secretary of the British Anti-Slavery Society, Florence Belgarnie. In the letter, Jacks criticized the anti-lynching work of Ida B. Wells, and wrote that black women had “no sense of virtue” and were “altogether without character”. Outraged, Belgarnie sent the letter to Ruffin who distributed the letter to various women’s clubs in her call to organize. Soon after, Ruffin organized a national conference in Boston, and asked clubs to send delegates. The first day was to be devoted to the business of organizing, and the second and third to “vital questions concerning our moral, mental, physical and financial growth and well-being.” In the call, Ruffin explained the choice of venue:Boston has been selected as a meeting place because it has seemed to be the general opinion that here, and here only, can be found the atmosphere which would best interpret and represent us, our position, our needs, and our aims.On July 29, 1895, representatives of 42 black women’s clubs from 14 states—including the Colored Women’s League of Washington, the Women’s Loyal Union of New York, and the Ida B. Wells Club of Chicago—gathered in Berkeley Hall for the First National Conference of the Colored Women of America, with Josephine Ruffin presiding. They convened at the hall for three days, with an extra session on August 1 at the Charles Street Church. According to the New York Times, it was “the first movement of the kind ever attempted”.In her opening address, Ruffin explained:Our woman’s movement is woman’s movement in that it is led and directed by women for the good of women and men, for the benefit of all humanity, which is more than any one branch or section of it. We want, we ask the active interest of our men, and, too, we are not drawing the color line; we are women, American women, as intensely interested in all that pertains to us as such as all other American women.Several notable speakers addressed the group. Margaret Murray Washington, the wife of Booker T. Washington, gave an influential speech titled “Individual Work for Moral Elevation”. African-American women, she said, were divided into two classes: those who “had the opportunity to improve and develop mentally, physically, morally, spiritually and financially” and those who had been deprived of that opportunity by slavery. She urged members of the former class to do all they could to uplift and inspire the latter, reasoning that individual success was not enough; that only by “lifting as we climb” was it possible for the race to make progress.Ella L. Smith, the first African-American woman to receive an M.A. degree from Wellesley College, spoke about the need for higher education. Noted scholar Anna J. Cooper spoke about the need to organize. In “The Value of Race Literature”, author and former slave Victoria Earle Matthews stressed the importance of collecting literature by and about African Americans. Agnes Jones Adams gave a speech titled “Social Purity” in which she asserted that being white was not a “criterion for being American”. Civil rights leader T. Thomas Fortune and social reformers Henry B. Blackwell and William Lloyd Garrison spoke about political equality. Helen Appo Cook, president of the National League of Colored Women, read a paper on “The Ideal National Union”. Alexander Crummell, Anna Sprague (the daughter of Frederick Douglass), and anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells also spoke. Other club women gave speeches on justice, temperance, and the need for industrial training.As the convention’s chaplain, Eliza Ann Gardner of Boston gave the opening benediction. Although it was not unheard of for Christian women to preach in those days, it was unusual for a woman to be given the title of chaplain. Alice T. Miller of Boston read a poem, and singers Moses Hamilton Hodges and Arianna Sparrow gave solo performances.The National Federation of Afro-American Women (NFAAW) was organized during the conference, and its mission defined as:(1) the concentration of the dormant energies of the women of the Afro-American race into one broad band of sisterhood: for the purpose of establishing needed reforms, and the practical encouragement of all efforts being put forth by various agencies, religious, educational, ethical and otherwise, for the upbuilding, ennobling and advancement of the race; (2) to awaken the women of the race to the great need of systematic effort in home-making and the divinely imposed duties of motherhood.Delegates from the conference were elected officers for the organization, and were Margaret Murray Washington (President), Florida Ruffin Ridley (Cor. Sec.), L. C. Carter (Rec. Sec.), Libby B. Anthony (Treasurer), Mary Dickerson, Helen Crum, and Ella Mahammitt (Vice Presidents). Ruffin was nominated for treasurer but refused the position. The Woman’s Era was designated as the organization’s news outlet. The NFAAW held another conference in 1896, when it merged with other groups to form the National Association of Colored Women.
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was was an American minister and evangelist based in New York City. He was known for the slogan “You can’t lose with the stuff I use!” Though his preaching is considered a form of prosperity theology, Rev. Ike diverged from traditional Christian theology and taught what he called “Science of Living.”Today in our History – July 28, 2009 – Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II, better known as Reverend Ike (June 1, 1935 – July 28, 2009) died.Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II was born in Ridgeland, South Carolina to parents from the Netherlands Antilles, and was of African and Indo (Dutch-Indonesian) descent. He began his career as a teenage preacher and became assistant pastor at Bible Way Church in Ridgeland, South Carolina. After serving a stint in the Air Force as a Chaplain Service Specialist (a non-commissioned officer assigned to assist commissioned Air Force chaplains), he founded, successively, the United Church of Jesus Christ for All People in Beaufort, South Carolina, the United Christian Evangelistic Association in Boston, Massachusetts, his main corporate entity, and the Christ Community United Church in New York City.Known popularly as “Reverend Ike,” his ministry reached its peak in the mid 1970s, when his weekly radio sermons were carried by hundreds of stations across the United States. He was famous for his “Blessing Plan” – radio listeners sent him money and in return he blessed them. He said radio listeners who did this would become more prosperous. He was criticized for his overt interest in financial remuneration. In 1972,The New York Times described his church service: “Close your eyes and see green,” the minister exhorted. “Money up to your armpits, a roomful of money and there you are, just tossing around in it like a swimming pool.”The preacher was the Rev. Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter 2d—better known as “Reverend Ike”—urging several thousand of his devoted parishioners to think positive thoughts.From the red‐carpeted stage of what was once a Loew’s movie palace at 175th Street and Broadway, Reverend Ike evoked giggles from the predominantly black congregation. But they repeated his words obediently during a recent Sunday as, microphone in hand, he sang, “Lots and lots of money, ready for my use, oh yes, it’s ready for my use.” Rev. Ike bought the Loew’s 175th Street Theatre movie palace in the Washington Heights neighborhood for over half a million dollars, renamed it the “Palace Cathedral” – although colloquially it was known as “Reverend Ike’s Prayer Tower” – and had it fully restored. Restorations included the seven-story high, twin chamber Robert Morton organ. The “Miracle Star of Faith”, visible from the George Washington Bridge, tops the building’s cupola. In 2016, the building was designated as a landmark by the New York City Landmark Commission.Rev. Ike was also the “chancellor” of the United Church Schools, including the Science of Living Institute and Seminary (which awarded him, his wife, and his son Doctor of the Science of Living degrees); the Business of Living Institute (home of Thinkonomics); and other educational projects.Ike made a guest appearance on Hank Williams, Jr.’s single “Mind Your Own Business”, a Number One country music hit in December 1986. This song is Reverend Ike’s only chart single. In December 2005, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s personal assistant May Pang told Radio Times: At night he (John Lennon) loved to channel-surf, and he would pick up phrases from all the shows. One time, he was watching Reverend Ike, a famous black evangelist, who was saying, “Let me tell you guys, it doesn’t matter, it’s whatever gets you through the night.” John loved it and said, “I’ve got to write it down or I’ll forget it.” He always kept a pad and pen by the bed. That was the beginning of [the song] “Whatever Gets You thru the Night”.Ike and his wife, Eula M. Dent, had one son, Xavier Eikerenkoetter. Reverend Ike died in Los Angeles at age 74 on July 28, 2009, after having not fully recovered from a stroke in 2007. His son gave a moving eulogy at his father’s memorial service comparing his father to Martin Luther King and Malcolm X – as a “spiritual activist” and a liberator of minds. Xavier subsequently took over the church. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion did what no other in his position has done. It assisted our people to apply for better pay jobs, better education and housing.Today on our History – July 26, 1948 – President Harry S. Truman signs Executive Order 9981—ending discrimination in the military—on July 26, 1948.President Harry S. Truman signs Executive Order 9981—ending discrimination in the military—on July 26, 1948. Truman’s order ended a long-standing practice of segregating Black soldiers and relegating them to more menial jobs.African Americans had been serving in the United States military since the Revolutionary War, but were deployed in their largest numbers during World War II. By December 31, 1945, more than 2.5 million African Americans had registered for the military draft, and with African American women volunteering in large numbers throughout the war the U.S. Armed Forces had become the number one employer of Black people. By the time WWII ended, some 900,000 African Americans had served in the Army, Army Air Forces, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Army Nurse Corps.Black WWII veterans were eligible for a free college education under the Servicemen Readjustment Act of 1944—the GI Bill—as well as other benefits, but most faced discrimination when trying to access their benefits. This led many veterans to re-examine their poor treatment while they were in service.After witnessing racism in the service, Grant Reynolds resigned from his commission as a WWII chaplain and joined with the activist A. Philip Randolph to co-chair the Committee Against Jim Crow in Military Service and Training. By composing letters and telegrams, holding protest rallies and hearings, and threatening to conduct a nationwide draft resistance campaign, the Committee worked with groups like the Committee to End Segregation in the Armed Forces and the League for Non-Violent Civil Disobedience Against Military Segregation to demand equal treatment for Black people in the United States Armed Forces.The pressure from these groups pushed President Truman to establish a Commission on Civil Rights which, in October 1947, issued a report calling for a permanent Fair Employment Practices Commission, federal anti-lynching and anti-poll tax laws, and a bolstering of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.Truman urged the U.S. Congress to move forward with the Commission’s recommendations. When Congress rejected his pleas, Truman pushed for many of the proposals on his own. One of his most significant actions was the signing of Executive Order 9981, which states: “It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.”Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an African-American amateur golfer. Black newspapers had called her “The Queen of Negro Women’s Golf.” As stated in Arthur Ashe’s book, Hard Road to Glory, many observers called Gregory the best African-American female golfer of the 20th century. Gregory learned to play golf while her husband was away serving in the Navy during World War II. In 1948 Gregory won a tournament in Kankakee, Illinois, during which she defeated former United Golf Association champions Lucy Mitchell, Cleo Ball, and Geneva Wilson.In 1950 she won the Sixth City Open in Cleveland, the Midwest Amateur, and the United Golf Association’s national tournament, as well as tying the women’s course record at a Flint, Michigan tournament. On September 17, 1956, she began competing in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, thus becoming the first African-American woman to play in a national championship conducted by the United States Golf Association. Because she was African-American, Gregory was denied entry into the player’s banquet at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda at the conclusion of the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1959. Also, in Gary, Indiana, African-Americans were banned from playing the South Gleason Park Golf Course. However, in the early 1960s, Gregory played that course, stating, “My tax dollars are taking care of the big course and there’s no way you can bar me from it.” She was followed by other African-Americans who played the course soon after her, and the ban was ended. In 1963, Gregory was mistaken as a maid by Polly Riley, another contestant at the Women’s Amateur in Williamstown, Massachusetts. In 1971, Gregory was runner-up at the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur, making her the first African-American to finish as runner-up in a USGA women’s competition. In 1989, at age 76 and competing against a field of 50 women, she won the gold medal in the U.S. National Senior Olympics, beating her competitors by 44 strokes. In all, during her career, Gregory won nearly 300 tournaments. Gregory was also the first African-American appointed to the Gary [Indiana] Public Library Board, which occurred in 1954. A granite marker in Gregory’s memory stands at the sixth hole of the South Gleason Park Golf Course in Gary, Indiana. She was inducted into the United Golf Association Hall of Fame in 1966, the African American Golfers Hall of Fame in 2006, the National African American Golfers Hall of Fame in 2011, and the National Black Golf Hall of Fame in 2012. In 2000, the Urban Chamber of Commerce of Las Vegas began the Ann Gregory Memorial Scholarship Golf Tournament, which lasted seven yearsToday in our HISTORY – Ann Gregory (July 25, 1912 – February 5, 1990) was born.Ann Gregory was a pioneering African American female golfer. Born in Aberdeen, Mississippi, on July 25, 1912, Gregory was the middle child of five born to Henry and Myra Moore. Her parents died in a car accident when she was four, and their former employer, a white family named Sanders, took her in. Gregory graduated from high school in 1930 and moved in with her sister and brother-in- law in Gary, Indiana. She worked as a caterer and began playing tennis as a hobby, but by 1937, she entered and won the Gary Amateur City Championship.In 1938 Moore married Leroy Percy Gregory, a steel mill worker, who also enjoyed playing golf. By 1944, she was receiving lessons from Pro-golfer Calvin Ingram. The following year, she entered her first professional tournament, the 8th Annual Chicago Women’s Golf Club Tournament, and finished second place. A member of the UGA, an organization for African American Golfers formed in 1925, Gregory was often invited to play in famous tournaments, causing a media uproar as she was usually the only African American woman competing.In 1948 Gregory won her first of five Chicago Women’s Golf Club tournaments, as well as a tournament in Kankakee, Illinois, where both she and her husband competed and won in their categories. In 1950 she won six of the seven tournaments she entered that year and was dubbed “The Queen of Negro Golf.” In 1956 the Chicago Women’s Golf Club became the first African American organization to join the United States Golf Association, and Gregory soon became the first African American to play in the SGA women’s national championship.Despite her accomplishments, Gregory had to fight the racism of her era. She broke down the color barrier in Indiana at South Gleason Golf Course by demanding to play the full eighteen holes when African Americans were allowed to play only nine. Once, she was mistaken for a maid by a fellow player during a tournament, which led to a very embarrassing moment for the player when she faced Gregory on the green.Gregory took home over four hundred trophies and won over three hundred golf tournaments from all over the world in a career that spanned over five decades. She won the Pepsi Cola International Championship in Puerto Rico (1963, 1964), Nassau (1965), Jamaica (1966), Spain (1967), and Hawaii (1968), playing often alongside celebrities like Althea Gibson, Joe Lewis, and Jackie Robinson. Her golfing career ended in 1989 with a Gold Medal at the Senior Olympic Games. She died the next year on February 5, 1990 at the age of 77.Gregory was deeply involved in her community and was the first African American to be appointed as a trustee of the Gary Public Library Board, an executive member of the Gary United Fund, and a member of the St. Mary’s Medical Center advisory board. She was a member and trustee of the Delaney Memorial United Methodist Church. In 2007 the Urban Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas, Nevada, held the first of seven annual Ann Gregory Memorial Scholarship Golf Tournaments, awarding up to $200,000 to deserving college students. Gregory was inducted into the United Golf Association Hall of Fame (1966), the African American Golfers Hall of Fame (2006), the National African American Golfers Hall of Fame (2011), and the National Black Golf Hall of Fame (2012).A granite marker in her memory stands at the sixth hole of the South Gleason Golf Course in Gary, Indiana. Gregory is survived by her daughter Jo Ann and three grandchildren. Research more this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an American and later British actor and playwright who made his career after 1824 largely on the London stage and in Europe, especially in Shakespearean roles. Born in New York City, Aldridge is the only actor of African-American descent among the thirty-three actors of the English stage honoured with bronze plaques at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon.He was especially popular in Prussia and Russia, where he received top honours from heads of state. At the time of his sudden death, while on tour in Poland, he was arranging a triumphant return to America, with a planned 100-show tour to the United States. Aldridge married twice, once to an Englishwoman, once to a Swedish woman, and had a family in England. Two of his daughters became professional opera singers.Today in our History – July 24, 1807 – Ira Frederick Aldridge (July 24, 1807 – August 7, 1867) was born.Ira Frederick Aldridge was the first African American actor to achieve success on the international stage. He also pushed social boundaries by playing opposite white actresses in England and becoming known as the preeminent Shakespearean actor and tragedian of the 19th Century.Ira Frederick Aldridge was born in New York City, New York on July 24, 1807 to free blacks Reverend Daniel and Lurona Aldridge. Although his parents encouraged him to become a pastor, he studied classical education at the African Free School in New York where he was first exposed to the performance arts. While there he became impressed with acting and by age 15 was associating with professional black actors in the city. They encouraged Aldridge to join the prestigious African Grove Theatre, an all-black theatre troupe founded by William Henry Brown and James Hewlett in 1821. He apprenticed under Hewlett, the first African American Shakespearean actor. Though Aldridge was gainfully employed as an actor in the 1820s, he felt that the United States was not a hospitable place for theatrical performers. Many whites resented the claim to cultural equality that they saw in black performances of Shakespeare and other white-authored texts. Realizing this, Aldridge emigrated to Europe in 1824 as the valet for British-American actor James William Wallack.Aldridge eventually moved to Glasgow, Scotland and began studies at the University of Glasgow, where he enhanced his voice and dramatic skills in theatre. He moved to England and made his debut in London in 1825 as Othello at the Theatre Royal Covent Garden, a role he would remain associated with until his death. The critic reviews gave Aldridge the name Roscius (the celebrated Roman actor of tragedy and comedy). Aldridge embraced it and began using the stage name “The African Roscius.” He even created the myth that he was the descendant of a Senegalese Prince whose family was forced to escape to the United States to save their lives. This deception erased Aldridge’s American upbringing and cast him as an exotic and almost magical being.Throughout the mid-1820s to 1860 Ira Aldridge slowly forged a remarkable career. He performed in London, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Bath, and Bristol in King Lear, Othello, Macbeth, and The Merchant of Venice. He also freely adapted classical plays, changing characters, eliminating scenes and installing new ones, even from other plays. In 1852 he embarked on a series of continental tours that intermittently would last until the end of his life. He performed his full repertoire in Prussia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, and Poland. Some of the honors he received include the Prussian Gold Medal for Arts and Sciences from King Frederick, the Golden Cross of Leopold from the Czar of Russia, and the Maltese Cross from Berne, Switzerland.Aldridge died on August 7, 1867 while on tour in Lodz, Poland. He was 60 at the time of his death. Aldridge had been married twice and left behind several children including a daughter named Luranah who would, in her own right, go on to become a well-known actress and opera singer. There is a memorial plaque at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stafford-upon-Avon, in honor of his contributions to the performing arts. In 2014 a second plaque was unveiled in Lodz, Poland to honor his memory and legacy. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an American surgeon and civil rights activist. In his position at Harlem Hospital he was the first African-American on the surgical staff of a non-segregated hospital in New York City. He was influential for his medical research as well as his efforts pushing for racial equality in medicine and involvement with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which he served as chairman for nearly two decades.Today In Our HISTORY – July 23,1891 – Louis Tompkins Wright, MD, FACS (July 23, 1891 – October 8, 1952) , was born in LaGrange, Georgia.Born in LaGrange, GA, Louis Tompkins Wright, MD, FACS, was exposed to the harsh realities of being African American in the southern United States during a turbulent, racially charged time in U.S. history. But Dr. Wright was also exposed to the presence of achievement within his own family. His father, Ceah Ketcham Wright, MD, was born a slave, but pursued education and received a medical degree—as valedictorian of his class—from Meharry Medical School, Nashville, TN. After Dr. Louis Wright’s father died, his mother, Lula, remarried another African American physician, William Fletcher Penn, MD, who was the first African American medical graduate from Yale University, New Haven, CT.With encouragement from his stepfather, Dr. Wright applied to Harvard Medical School Boston, MA. However, his experience in seeking admission to the institution was not free from controversy. Upon visiting the school for his interview, the interviewer—Channing Frothingham, MD—realized that the applicant was African American and had attended “Clark University in Atlanta, a school that offered elementary, high school, and university instruction to blacks—not the Clark University in Worcester, MA.”1 After convincing Dr. Frothingham to have his abilities tested, tests that deemed the future Dr. Wright as having “adequate chemistry for admission to this school,” he was admitted and earned a medical degree—cum laude and graduated fourth in his class.1Following medical school, his internship applications at three major Boston medical institutions were rejected, which led him to take a position at Washington, DC’s Freedman’s Hospital, now Howard University Hospital. He eventually went on to join the U.S. Army, and served as first lieutenant in the Army Medical Corps, stationed in France, where he was given charge of the surgery wards at a field hospital. At the end of his military career, he was discharged as a captain and was given a Purple Heart after a phosgene gas–based German assault.Dr. Wright went on to have an illustrious career, serving at Harlem Hospital in New York City for more than three decades, from 1919 to 1952. During that period—the height of the Jim Crow era—he was a trail blazer for the rights of African American medical personnel. For both his scientific work and his civil rights activism, he received many honors and awards.Dr. Wright’s affiliation with the American College of Surgeons (ACS) began in 1934 when he was admitted as a Fellow of the organization—an admission that brought much debate and division among ACS leadership and members. While African American surgeons did apply for Fellowship in the College and for membership in other national surgical and medical societies, issues of race often resulted in controversy and discord.However, the cause of getting African American surgeons into the ACS was one that Dr. Wright was willing to face and he became part of a group that actively worked to assist the process of admitting more black surgeons into the College. Ultimately, the effort was successful and by the end of 1950, at least 38 black surgeons had gained ACS Fellowship. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an African American member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, best known for being the “Richest Colored Girl in the world” or the “millionaire girl a member of the race”Today in our History – July 22, 1967 – Sarah Rector (March 3, 1902 – July 22, 1967) dies.Sarah Rector was born in 1902 near the all-black town of Taft, located in the eastern portion of Oklahoma, in what was then Indian Territory. She had five siblings. Her parents, Rose McQueen and her husband, Joseph Rector (both born 1881) were African descendants of the Muscogee Creek Nation Creek Indians before the Civil War and which became part of the Muscogee Creek Nation after the Treaty of 1866. As such, they and their descendants were listed as freedmen on the Dawes Rolls, by which they were entitled to land allotments under the Treaty of 1866 made by the United States with the Five Civilized Tribes.Consequently, nearly 600 black children, or Muscogee Freedmen minors as they were called, were granted land allotments, and Sarah Rector was allotted 159.14 acres (64 hectares). This was a mandatory step in the process of integration of the Indian Territory with Oklahoma Territory to form what is now the State of Oklahoma. Sarah’s father Joseph was the son of John Rector, a Muscogee Freedman. John Rector’s father Benjamin McQueen, was enslaved by Reilly Grayson who was a Muscogee Creek Indian. John Rector’s mother Mollie McQueen was enslaved by Muscogee leader, Opothole Yahola who fought in the Seminole wars and split with the tribe, moving his followers to Kansas.The parcel allotted to Sarah Rector was located in Glenpool, 60 miles (97 km) from where she and her family lived. It was considered inferior infertile soil, not suitable for farming, with better land being reserved for white settlers and members of the tribe. The family lived simply but not in poverty; however, the $30 annual property tax on Sarah’s parcel was such a burden that her father petitioned the Muskogee County Court to sell the land. His petition was denied because of certain restrictions placed on the land, so he was required to continue paying the taxes. To help cover this expense, in February 1911, Joseph Rector leased Sarah’s parcel to the Standard Oil Company. In 1913, the independent oil driller B.B. Jones drilled a well on the property which produced a “gusher” that began to bring in 2,500 barrels (400 m3) of oil a day. Rector began to receive a daily income of $300 from this strike. The law at the time required full-blooded Indians, black adults, and children who were citizens of Indian Territory with significant property and money, to be assigned “well-respected” white guardians.Thus, as soon as Rector began to receive this windfall, there was pressure to change Rector’s guardianship from her parents to a local white resident named T.J. (or J.T.) Porter, an individual known to the family. Rector’s allotment subsequently became part of the Cushing-Drumright Oil Field. In October 1913, Rector received royalties of $11,567. As news of Rector’s wealth spread worldwide, she began to receive requests for loans, money gifts, and marriage proposals, despite the fact that she was only 12 years old. Given her wealth, in 1913 the Oklahoma Legislature made an effort to have her declared white, under the guise of allowing Rector to reap the benefits of her elevated social standing, such as riding in a first class car on the trains. More importantly, however, as a white woman, white men could legally propose to, marry, and seize control of Rector’s land and finances, thereby appropriating her wealth to the white community. In 1914, an African American journal, The Chicago Defender, began to take an interest in Rector, just as rumors began to fly that she was a white immigrant who was being kept in poverty. The newspaper published an article claiming that her estate was being mismanaged by her family and that she was uneducated, and had a poor quality of life. This caused National African American leaders Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. DuBois to become concerned about her welfare. In June of that year, a special agent for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), James C. Waters Jr, sent a memo to Dubois regarding her situation. Waters had been corresponding with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the United States Children’s Bureau over concerns regarding the mismanagement of Rector’s estate. He wrote of her white financial guardian:Is it not possible to have her cared for in a decent manner and by people of her own race, instead of by a member of a race which would deny her and her kind the treatment accorded a good yard dog?This prompted Dubois to establish the Children’s Department of the NAACP, which would investigate claims of white guardians who were suspected of depriving black children of their land and wealth. Washington also intervened to help the Rector family. In October of that year, she was enrolled in the Children’s School, a boarding school at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, headed by Washington. Upon graduation, she attended the Institute. Rector was already a millionaire by the time she had turned 18. She owned stocks, bonds, a boarding house, businesses, and a 2,000-acre piece of prime river bottomland. At that point, she left Tuskegee and, with her entire family, moved to Kansas City, Missouri. She purchased a house on 12th Street, that is still there and known as the Rector House. The house has been purchased by a local nonprofit with the intention of restoration and historical and cultural preservation. Soon after moving to Kansas City she married a local man, Kenneth Campbell. The wedding was a very private affair, with only her mother and the bridegroom’s paternal grandmother present. The couple had three sons before divorcing in 1930. Rector lived a comfortable life, enjoying her wealth. She had a taste for fine clothing and cars. She had lavish parties, entertaining celebrities such as Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Rector died on July 22, 1967, at the age of 65. Her remains were buried in the city cemetery of her hometown of Taft. 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GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) infielder who played with the Boston Red Sox (1959–62) and New York Mets (1963). A switch-hitter who threw right-handed, he was listed as 6 ft (1.83 m) tall and 175 lb (79 kg).He had the distinction of being the first black player to play for the Red Sox, the last pre-expansion major-league club to integrate. In his Boston tenure, he was used mostly as a pinch runner or day-off replacement for infielders Pete Runnels and Don Buddin. He made his debut on July 21, 1959, pinch-running in a 2–1 loss against the Chicago White Sox.Today in our History – July 21, 1959 – the Boston Red Sox became the last major league baseball team to racially integrate their roster. Elijah Jerry “Pumpsie” Green (October 27, 1933 – July 17, 2019) was a Boston Red Sox.Green was born in Boley, Oklahoma, the eldest of five children. One brother, Cornell Green, was a long-time safety for the Dallas Cowboys. Another brother, Credell Green, played football at the University of Washington and was drafted by the Green Bay Packers.Green was named Elijah, after his father, but his mother called him “Pumpsie” from an early age, though Green related that he didn’t know the origin of the name. Green grew up in Richmond, California, and was a three-sport athlete at El Cerrito High School.Since major-league baseball had not yet expanded to the West Coast, Green grew up a fan of the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League. Green later stated that he may have been even better at basketball, but chose to play baseball when he was offered a baseball scholarship at Fresno State University. However, Green decided to attend Contra Costa College when Gene Corr, his high school baseball coach, became the baseball coach there and promised Green he would play shortstop if he attended. In Green’s final year of college, he tried out for the Oaks, and was signed to a contract.In 1954, Green batted .297 in his second season with the Wenatchee Chiefs, an affiliate of the Oaks. In 1955, he was promoted to the Stockton Ports, the Oaks’ top affiliate. Green’s contract was purchased by the Boston Red Sox during the 1955 season, but he was allowed to finish the season with Stockton before playing the 1956 season with the Albany Senators, a Red Sox affiliate. Green spent the 1957 season with the Oklahoma City Indians and San Francisco Seals, and the 1958 season with the Minneapolis Millers.In 1959, Green was invited to the Red Sox’s major league spring training camp. Despite playing well and receiving much media attention, Green was sent back to Minneapolis. However, after hitting .320 through 98 games, he was promoted to the major league Red Sox. Green made his MLB debut on July 21, 1959, against the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park, entering the game in the top of the eighth as a pinch runner for Vic Wertz and playing shortstop in the bottom of the eighth and becoming the Sox’s first black player.He started the next day at second base, batting second and going 0-for-3. His first MLB hit came in his fourth game, on July 28 in Cleveland when he singled off of Jim Perry. That same day, pitcher Earl Wilson made his MLB debut, becoming the Red Sox’ second black player. Green’s first at bat at Fenway Park was on August 4 against the Kansas City Athletics; he hit a triple off the Green Monster. Green played 50 games for the 1959 Red Sox, batting .233 and playing second base almost exclusively. Green enjoyed a much more full-time role in 1960, playing 133 games, 69 at second base, and 41 at shortstop; he batted for a .242 average. Green may have had his best season in 1961, posting career highs in home runs (6), RBI (27), doubles (12), and stolen bases (4); however, he also had the most errors of his career in 1961, with 16. Despite a hot start to the season, Green developed appendicitis in Washington, D.C. in May, which put him out of the lineup for about four weeks and kept him from playing at full strength for even longer. In 1962, after a weekend of humiliating losses to the New York Yankees, Green along with Gene Conley got off the bus in the middle of a traffic jam in The Bronx. Conley was not spotted until three days later by a New York Post sports reporter at the Idlewild International Airport trying to board a plane for Israel, with no passports or luggage. After the 1962 season, Green was traded to the New York Mets along with Tracy Stallard and Al Moran in exchange for Felix Mantilla. Green played the majority of the 1963 season with the Buffalo Bisons but also played 17 games with the Mets. He played his final major league game with the Mets on September 26, 1963.Green played two more seasons in the minor leagues before retiring after the 1965 season. In a five-season major league career, Green was a .246 hitter with 13 home runs and 74 RBI in 344 games. His 196 career hits also included 31 doubles and 12 triples.Following his retirement from playing baseball, Green worked at Berkeley High School in Berkeley, California for over 20 years, serving as a truant officer, coaching baseball and teaching math in summer school. Green lived in El Cerrito, California, since seven years after his retirement from baseball. He was married to Marie for over 50 years. On April 17, 2009, Green was honored by the Red Sox in a first-pitch ceremony, in recognition of 50 years since his breaking of the Red Sox color barrier. In February 2012, Green was honored by the city of El Cerrito, and presented with a proclamation honoring his “distinguished stature in baseball history.” In April 2012, he threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Jackie Robinson day at Fenway Park, and also attended Fenway’s 100th anniversary celebrations later that month. In May 2018, Green was Inducted to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame. On July 17, 2019, Green died at the age of 85. No cause was given. Research more about this great American Champion day!