GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an American jazz vibraphonist, pianist, percussionist, and bandleader. He worked with jazz musicians from Teddy Wilson, Benny Goodman, and Buddy Rich, to Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, and Quincy Jones. In 1992, he was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, and he was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1996.Today in our History – August 31 – Lionel Leo Hampton (April 20, 1908 – August 31, 2002) dies.Lionel Hampton is one of the most extraordinary musicians of the 20th century and his artistic achievements symbolize the impact that jazz music has had on our culture in the 21st century.He was born April 20, 1908 in Louisville, Kentucky. His father, Charles Hampton, a promising pianist and singer, was reported missing and later declared killed in World War I. Lionel and his mother, Gertrude, first moved to Birmingham, Alabama, to be with her family, then settled in Chicago.He attended the Holy Rosary Academy, near Kenosha, Wisconsin, where a Dominican sister give him his first drum lessons.Later, while attending St. Monica’s School in Chicago, Lionel got a job selling papers in order to join the Chicago Defender’s Newsboys Band. At first, he helped carry the bass drum, and later played the snare drum.While in high school, Les Hite gave Lionel a job in a teenage band. Later, the 15-year-old Lionel, who had just graduated from high school, promised his grandmother he would continue to say his daily prayers and left for Los Angeles to join Reb Spikes’s Sharps and Flats. He also played with Paul Howard’s Quality Serenaders and a new band organized by Hite, which backed Louis Armstrong at the Cotton Club.In 1930, Hampton was called in to a recording session with Armstrong, and during a break Hampton walked over to a vibraphone and started to play. He ended up playing the vibes on one song. The song became a hit; Hampton had introduced a new voice to jazz and he became “King of the Vibes.”When Benny Goodman heard him play, Goodman immediately asked Hampton to record with him, Gene Krupa on drums and Teddy Wilson on piano. The Benny Goodman Quartet recorded the jazz classics “Dinah,” “Moonglow,” “My Last Affair,” and “Exactly Like You.” Hampton’s addition to the groups also marked the breaking of the color barrier; the Benny Goodman Quartet was the first racially integrated group of jazz musicians.Hampton and his wife, Gladys, were married Nov. 11, 1936. Gladys served as his personal manager, and developed a reputation as a brilliant businesswoman. She was responsible for raising the money for Lionel to start his own band.As a bandleader, he established the Lionel Hampton Orchestra that became known around the world for its tremendous energy and dazzling showmanship. “Sunny Side of the Street,” “Central Avenue Breakdown” (his signature tune), “Flying Home,” and “Hamp’s Boogie-Woogie” all became top-of-the-chart best-sellers upon release. The name Lionel Hampton became world famous overnight, and the Lionel Hampton Orchestra had a phenomenal array of sidemen.The band also initiated the first phase of Hampton’s career as an educator by graduating such talents as Illinois Jacquet, Cat Anderson, Dexter Gordon, Art Farmer, Clifford Brown, Fats Navarro, Clark Terry, Quincy Jones, Charles Mingus, Wes Montgomery, and singers Joe Williams, Dinah Washington, Betty Carter and Aretha Franklin. The Lionel Hampton Orchestra became known around the world for its first-class jazz musicianship.As a composer and arranger, Hampton wrote more than 200 works, including the jazz standards Flying Home, Evil Gal Blues, and Midnight Sun. He also composed the major symphonic work, “King David Suite.”As a statesman, he was asked by President Eisenhower to serve as a goodwill ambassador for the United States, and his band made many tours to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Far East, generating a huge international following. President George Bush appointed him to the Board of the Kennedy Center, and President Clinton awarded him the National Medal of the Arts.As a businessman, he established two record labels, his own publishing company, and he founded the Lionel Hampton Development Corporation to build low-income housing in inner cities.In his continuing role as an educator, he began working with the University of Idaho in the early 1980s to establish his dream for the future of music education. In 1985, the University named its jazz festival for him, and in 1987 the University’s music school was named the Lionel Hampton School of Music. The Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival, The Lionel Hampton School of Music, and the International Jazz Collections archives of the UI Library are all designed to help teach and preserve the heritage of jazz.Lionel Hampton passed away Saturday, August 31, 2002. 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 jazz saxophonist.Today in our History – August 30, 1957 – Gerald Albright (born August 30, 1957) is born. Born in Los Angeles, Albright grew up in its South Central neighborhood. He began piano lessons at an early age, although he professed no interest in the instrument. His love of music picked up when he was given a saxophone that belonged to his piano teacher. It further reinforced when he attended Locke High School. After high school, he attended the University of Redlands where he was initiated into the Iota Chi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha and received a degree in business management with a minor concentration on music. He switched to bass guitar after he saw Louis Johnson in concert.After college, Albright worked as a studio musician in the 1980s for Anita Baker, Ray Parker Jr., Olivia Newton-John, and The Temptations. He joined Patrice Rushen, who was forming a band, in which he played saxophone.When the bassist left in the middle of a tour, Albright replaced him and finished the tour playing bass guitar. Around the same time, he began to tour Europe with drummer Alphonse Mouzon. He has also toured with Anita Baker, Phil Collins, Johnny Hallyday, Whitney Houston, Quincy Jones, Jeff Lorber, and Teena Marie. In addition to appearances at clubs and jazz festivals, he has been part of Jazz Explosion tours on which he played with Will Downing, Jonathan Butler, Chaka Khan, Hugh Masekela, and Rachelle Ferrell.Albright has appeared in the television programs A Different World, Melrose Place and jazz segments for Black Entertainment Television, as well as piloting a show in Las Vegas with Meshach Taylor of Designing Women. He was one of ten saxophonists to perform at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton.His saxophone work appears in the PlayStation video game Castlevania: Symphony of the Night during the theme song “I Am the Wind”, which includes keyboardist Jeff Lorber. He launched his solo career in the infancy of what became the smooth jazz format, with Just Between Us in 1987 and has been a core part of the genre with chart-topping albums, countless radio hits and as a member of many all star tours, including Guitars & Saxes and Groovin’ For Grover. In the late 90s, he fronted a big band for and toured with pop star Phil Collins and did a dual recording with vocal great Will Downing called Pleasures of the Night. Between his last two Grammy-nominated solo albums Pushing The Envelope (2010) and Slam Dunk (2014), he enjoyed hit collaborations with two huge hits – 24/7 with guitarist Norman Brown and Summer Horns by Dave Koz and Friends (including Mindi Abair and Richard Elliot), which were also Grammy-nominated for Best Pop Instrumental Albums. He toured with Brown and Summer Horns, and most recently has been on the road with South Africa gospel/jazz singer and guitarist Jonathan Butler. Albright’s other albums whose titles perfectly reflect their flow include Smooth (1994), Groovology (2002), Kickin’ It Up (2004) and Sax for Stax (2008).Because Albright’s musical muse has taken him to so many fascinating locales along the contemporary R&B/urban jazz spectrum, he’s joyfully defied easy categorizations.“Top to bottom,” Albright says, “Whether in concert, listening to my music over the radio or CD player, I always want my listeners to be taken on a musical journey with different textures, rhythms, chord progressions and moods. I want people to know where I’ve been and where I’m going, and to let them hear that I’m in a really good place in my life.” 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 centered in the “City of Brotherly Love” as Heavily armed Philadelphia police contingents swooped down on three Black Panther party centers at dawn on this day.Gunfire was exchanged in two of the raids before tear gas forced the occupants into the street.Fifteen youthful blacks, 10 men and 5 women, were taken into custody. Later that night one was released, and the 14 others were arraigned on charges of assault with intent to kill and other weapons charges. Judge Leo Weinrott ordered each of the 14 held on $100,000 bail.Three policemen were wounded, two superficially, by shot gun pellets fired from the Panther Information Center at 1935 Columbia Avenue in the black section of the near North Side.The shootings increased police casualties in the city that night to one dead and six wounded in confrontations with blacks.Today in our History – August 29, 1970 – Heavily armed Philadelphia police contingents swooped down on three Black Panther party centers.Police Commissioner Frank L. Rizzo announced at a news conference late that afternoon that 13 guns and 1,000 rounds of ammunition were confiscated in the raids. No Panther injuries were reported.The commissioner said search warrants for the raids had been based on information obtained from a suspect arrested that Saturday night and charged with the murder that day‐ of Sgt. Frank Von Colin, 43‐year‐old member of the park police unit.The suspect was Hugh S. Wil Barns, 29. Mr. Rizzo said Mr. Williams had named five “coconspirators.” Two of them, Robert and Alvin Joyner, brothers, were also arrested. Mr. Rizzo said the Federal Bureau of investigation had joined the search for the three other blacks. The commissioner said that Mr. Williams had “voluntarily” told the police that he and the five others conspired to “kill some pigs” and blow up the Cobbs Creek Park guard station manned by Sergeant Von Colin.According to the authorities, a park patrolman, James Harrington was shot in the mouth near the station shortly before Sergeant Von Colin was killed by a Negro who fired five shots from a pistol. Several un exploded hand grenades were found near the station.Mr. Rizzo said the police had learned that Alvin Joyner was a member of the Black Panther party and was reported to have displayed weapons at one of its buildings.Warrant for the searches were obtained on this basis, Mr. Rizzo said, observing that the police in other cities had been criticized for the manner of raids on Panther headquarters, Accordingly, he said he had waited until he had a sound legal basis for such al raid. He named no other city, but apparently the allusion included Chicago, where two Panther leaders were killed in a pre‐dawn raid accompanied by a hail of police bullets in 1969 (Fred Hampton killing).Mr. Rizzo, who had a reputation for being one of the nation’s toughest policemen, assailed Temple University of facial’s for granting the Panthers free use of a meeting room the following Saturday, in September, for the opening session of a three‐day national conference of Panthers and other radicals.Huey P. Newton, a top Panther leader at that time was recently released from prison in California, and was scheduled to be keynote speaker. The conference has been called to prop die constitutional revisions to guarantee rights of the oppressed.Mr. Rizzo said the meeting, was fraught with the possibility of violence.In view of the Saturday night shootings, critical wounding by blacks in the same neighborhood of two more policemen the night before, and racial conflict in two mixed sections of Philadelphia, the commissioner announced these measures:¶All days off for policemen have been canceled while the “emergency” continues.¶All policemen will work 12‐ hour shifts to keep more of them on the streets.¶The police will work in pairs rather than singly in all vehicle and foot patrols.¶Isolated park stations such as the one manned by Sergeant Von Colin will be closed.Mr. Rizzo said that Mayor James H. J. Tate authorized him today to fill 599 vacancies in, the police force for which no funds had been available previously. This will bring the force to its authorized strength of 7,600.At a news conference a Panther spokesman who gave his name as Big Man and described himself as nation al minister of information charged that “the whole purpose of today’s raids was to suppress the Black Panther constitutional convention.”“We are still going forth with our plenary session,” he said. “If Rizzo wants to murder Panthers there will be Panthers around this week end. Fascism won’t stop us.”Other Panthers said they were outraged at the way the Panthers were lined up against the outside of buildings and stripped while the police searched them.An Ad Hoc Group of Concerned Organizations, saying it represented 30 black and antiwar groups, issued a statement supporting Big Man’s charges. It said the raids “were made in a climate deliberately created by the police.” Mr. Rizzo, would go on to be one of Philadelphia’s most beloved Mayor’s with a staute of him outside of Philadelphia’s Municipal Services Building. In May 2020, the statue was vandalized and on the night of June 2, the statue was removed.Research more about this great American tragedy and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion event was a devastating day for all who lived in the Parishes surrounding New Orleans and the Gulf Cost of Mississippi and Alabama. Black people were hit the worst because they had little resources to leave the areas and depended on the local government for support and the rest you know. As of today 16 years later they are being hit again what a birthday party.Hurricane Katrina was a large Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that caused over 1,800 deaths and $125 billion in damage in August 2005, particularly in the city of New Orleans and the surrounding areas. It was at the time the costliest tropical cyclone on record, and is now tied with 2017’s Hurricane Harvey. The storm was the twelfth tropical cyclone, the fifth hurricane, and the third major hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, as well as the fourth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record to make landfall in the contiguous United States.Katrina originated on August 23, 2005 as a tropical depression from the merger of a tropical wave and the remnants of Tropical Depression Ten. Early the following day, the depression intensified into a tropical storm as it headed generally westward toward Florida, strengthening into a hurricane two hours before making landfall at Hallandale Beach on August 25. After briefly weakening to tropical storm strength over southern Florida, Katrina emerged into the Gulf of Mexico on August 26 and began to rapidly intensify. The storm strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico before weakening to Category 3 strength at its second landfall on August 29 over southeast Louisiana and Mississippi.Flooding, caused largely as a result of fatal engineering flaws in the flood protection system known as levees around the city of New Orleans, precipitated most of the loss of lives. Eventually, 80% of the city, as well as large tracts of neighboring parishes, were inundated for weeks. The flooding also destroyed most of New Orleans’ transportation and communication facilities, leaving tens of thousands of people who had not evacuated the city prior to landfall stranded with little access to food, shelter, or other basic necessities. The scale of the disaster in New Orleans provoked massive national and international response efforts; federal, local, and private rescue operations evacuated displaced persons out of the city over the following weeks. Multiple investigations in the aftermath of the storm concluded that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which had designed and built the region’s levees decades earlier, was responsible for the failure of the flood-control systems, though federal courts later ruled that the Corps could not be held financially liable because of sovereign immunity in the Flood Control Act of 1928. The emergency response from federal, state, and local governments was widely criticized, resulting in the resignations of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director Michael D. Brown and New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Superintendent Eddie Compass. Many other government officials were criticized for their responses, especially New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, and President George W. Bush, while several agencies, including the United States Coast Guard (USCG), National Hurricane Center (NHC), and National Weather Service (NWS), were commended for their actions. The NHC was especially applauded for providing accurate forecasts well in advance. Katrina was the earliest 11th named storm on record before being surpassed by Tropical Storm Kyle on August 14, 2020.Today in our History – August 28, 2005 – Hurricane Katrina hit the people of New Orleans. On August 27, the storm grew to a Category 3 hurricane. At its largest, Katrina was so wide its diameter stretched across the Gulf of Mexico.Before the storm hit land, a mandatory evacuation was issued for the city of New Orleans, which had a population of more than 480,000 at the time. Tens of thousands of residents fled. But many stayed, particularly among the city’s poorest residents and those who were elderly or lacked access to transportation. Many sheltered in their homes or made their way to the Superdome, the city’s large sports arena, where conditions would soon deteriorate into hardship and chaos.Katrina passed over the Gulf Coast early on the morning of August 29. Officials initially believed New Orleans was spared as most of the storm’s worst initial impacts battered the coast toward the east, near Biloxi, Mississippi, where winds were the strongest and damage was extensive. But later that morning, a levee broke in New Orleans, and a surge of floodwater began pouring into the low-lying city. The waters would soon overwhelm additional levees.The following day, Katrina weakened to a tropical storm, but severe flooding inhibited relief efforts in much of New Orleans. An estimated 80 percent of the city was soon underwater. By September 2, four days later, the city and surrounding areas were in full-on crisis mode, with many people and companion animals still stranded, and infrastructure and services collapsing. Congress issued $10 billion for disaster relief aid while much of the world began criticizing the U.S. government’s response.The city of New Orleans was at a disadvantage even before Hurricane Katrina hit, something experts had warned about for years, but it had limited success in changing policy. The region sits in a natural basin, and some of the city is below sea level so is particularly prone to flooding. Low-income communities tend to be in the lowest-lying areas.Just south of the city, the powerful Mississippi River flows into the Gulf of Mexico. During intense hurricanes, oncoming storms can push seawater onto land, creating what is known as a storm surge. Those forces typically cause the most hurricane-related fatalities. As Hurricane Katrina hit, New Orleans and surrounding parishes saw record storm surges as high as 19 feet.An assessment from the state of Louisiana confirmed that just under half of the 1,200 deaths resulted from chronic disease exacerbated by the storm, and a third of the deaths were from drowning. Hurricane death tolls are debated, and for Katrina, counts can vary by as much as 600. Collected bodies must be examined for cause of death, and some argue that indirect hurricane deaths, like being unable to access medical care, should be counted in official numbers.Hurricane Katrina was the costliest in U.S. history and left widespread economic impacts. Oil and gas industry operations were crippled after the storm and coastal communities that rely on tourism suffered from both loss of infrastructure and business and coastal erosion.An estimated 400,000 people were permanently displaced by the storm. Demographic shifts followed in the wake of the hurricane. The lowest-income residents often found it more difficult to return. Some neighborhoods now have fewer residents under 18 as some families chose to permanently resettle in cities like Houston, Dallas, and Atlanta. The city is also now more racially diverse, with higher numbers of Latino and Asian residents, while a disproportionate number of African-Americans found it too difficult to return.Rebuilding part of New Orleans’s hurricane defenses cost $14.6 billion and was completed in 2018. More flood systems are pending construction, meaning the city is still at risk from another large storm. A series of flood walls, levees, and flood gates buttress the coast and banks of the Mississippi River.Simulations modeled in the years after Katrina suggest that the storm may have been made worse by rising sea levels and warming temperatures. Scientists are concerned that hurricanes the size of Katrina will become more likely as the climate warms.Studies are increasingly showing that climate change makes hurricanes capable of carrying more moisture. At the same time, hurricanes are moving more slowly, spending more time deluging areas unprepared for major flooding. Research more about this great American tragedy and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Tragedy is a 1915 American silent drama film directed by D. W. Griffith and starring Lillian Gish. The screenplay is adapted from Thomas Dixon Jr.’s 1905 novel and play The Clansman. Griffith co-wrote the screenplay with Frank E. Woods and produced the film with Harry Aitken.The Birth of a Nation is a landmark of film history. It was the first 12-reel film ever made and, at three hours, also the longest up to that point. Its plot, part fiction and part history, chronicling the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth and the relationship of two families in the Civil War and Reconstruction eras over the course of several years—the pro-Union (Northern) Stonemans and the pro-Confederacy (Southern) Camerons—was by far the most complex of any movie made up to that date. It was originally shown in two parts separated by another movie innovation, an intermission, and it was the first to have a musical score for an orchestra. It pioneered close-ups, fade-outs, and a carefully staged battle sequence with hundreds of extras (another first) made to look like thousands. It came with a 13-page “Souvenir Program”. It was the first American motion picture to be screened in the White House, viewed there by President Woodrow Wilson.The film was controversial even before its release and has remained so ever since; it has been called “the most controversial film ever made in the United States”. Lincoln is portrayed positively, unusual for a narrative that promotes the Lost Cause ideology. The film portrays African Americans (many of whom are played by white actors in blackface) as unintelligent and sexually aggressive toward white women. The film presents the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) as a heroic force necessary to preserve American values and a white supremacist social order. In response to the film’s depictions of black people and Civil War history, African Americans across the nation organized and participated in protests against The Birth of a Nation. In places such as in Boston where thousands of white people viewed the film, black leaders tried to have it banned on the basis that it inflamed racial tensions and could incite violence. The NAACP spearheaded an unsuccessful campaign to ban the film. Griffith’s indignation at efforts to censor or ban the film motinated him to produce Intolerance the following year. In spite of its divisiveness, The Birth of a Nation was a huge commercial success and profoundly influenced both the film industry and American culture. The film has been acknowledged as an inspiration for the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan, which took place only a few months after its release. In 1992, the Library of Congress deemed the film “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. Today in our History – August 27, 2015 – The NPR Staff Critic, 100 Years Later, What’s The Legacy Of ‘Birth Of A Nation’?As the house lights dimmed and the orchestra struck up the score, a message from director D.W. Griffith flickered on the screen: “This is an historical presentation of the Civil War and Reconstruction Period, and is not meant to reflect on any race or people of today.”But its effects on race relations were devastating, and reverberations are still felt to this day.The Birth of a Nation is three hours of racist propaganda — starting with the Civil War and ending with the Ku Klux Klan riding in to save the South from black rule during the Reconstruction era.”[Griffith] portrayed the emancipated slaves as heathens, as unworthy of being free, as uncivilized, as primarily concerned with passing laws so they could marry white women and prey on them,” Dick Lehr, author of The Birth of a Nation: How a Legendary Filmmaker and a Crusading Editor Reignited America’s Civil War, tells NPR’s Arun Rath.At the time, much of the storyline was accepted as historically accurate.”Griffith thought he was, in a way, reporting history about the Civil War and Reconstruction, and it was widely accepted at the time — which has been completely debunked since — that Reconstruction was a disaster … and that former slaves were some kind of lower form of life,” Lehr says.”That was the embedded, bigoted, racist state of mind of the time.”Griffith, looking at what he saw as history, was motivated by artistic ambition, Lehr says.”He wanted to do something very big,” says Lehr. “He was a man of the South from Kentucky. His father had fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. What bigger story to tell as a breakout, epic film than the story of America’s Civil War and its aftermath?”Griffith’s understanding of the past was based on a twisted account, and today it’s easy to imagine that a movie like his would flop and be forgotten. But The Birth of a Nation, far from falling into oblivion, led to the birth of Hollywood.Lehr says the film was the Avatar or Star Wars of 1915: It was a runaway hit.After the first screening in Los Angeles, the film got a big thumbs-up. “The critics were raving. People were on their feet cheering at the climax of the film, when the Klan is seen as a healing force — restoring order to the chaos of the South during Reconstruction,” Lehr says. “They were in awe of seeing for the first time a feature film of this length. There’s one critic [who] said, ‘The worst thing about The Birth of a Nation is how good it is.’ “”There’s one critic [who] said, ‘The worst thing about “The Birth of a Nation” is how good it is.’ “The film’s initial success drowned out the voices of those who tried to protest. The civil rights movement was still quite young at the time; the NAACP had just incorporated a few years earlier. So the Los Angeles screenings were successful in spite of the outrage, as were New York City’s. It even became the first movie ever to be screened at the White House. Woodrow Wilson reportedly called it “history written in lightning.”But in Boston, newspaper editor William Monroe Trotter organized protests that involved the Boston branch of the NAACP. He organized mass demonstrations where several thousand protesters, mostly black, turned out to say the film was not accurate.Trotter was arrested at a demonstration in front of a theater where the movie was playing.”For me, as an author and a researcher reconstructing this great drama,” Lehr says, “I kept scratching my head going, ‘What year is this?!’ This is 1915, but it’s so 1960-ish in terms of its protest strategy.”Despite the protests, the Boston screenings did go on as scheduled — but the protesters set a template for other cities to follow.After Boston, theater owners in other towns demanded significant edits to the film before they’d screen it; in other places, it was banned outright. Research more about this great American Tragedy and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was the first African American teacher and principal hired in the Los Angeles public school system.Today in our History – August 26, 1968 – Bessie Bruington Burke (March 19, 1891 – August 26, 1968) died.Bessie Bruington Burke’s parents left Kansas in a covered wagon in 1887, settling in North Hollywood, California. Their daughter would become Los Angeles’s first African American teacher, and the first African American principal.Burke attended local public schools, and graduated in 1911 from the Los Angeles State Normal School, which would ultimately become UCLA. At the time of her graduation Los Angeles schools were segregated and there were no African American teachers. Driven by her passion for education, Burke scored well on the Teacher’s Exam, placing 7th out of 800 test takers. Her high scores and pressure from the community led to her being hired. She received a placement at 51st Street School, later renamed Holmes Elementary, the first school built in a black neighborhood. She taught for eight years, and was promoted to principal, and went on to serve as principal of four schools. Burke’s career spanned 44 years until she retired in 1955. In an LA Times article, a former student recalls, “Mrs. Burke used to make us toe the line. She was one of those principals who didn’t have to say much. She would just look at you. You weren’t even allowed to giggle in the hall.”In addition to her work as a teacher and administrator, Burke volunteered for a number of civic organizations and was active in the community. She passed away in 1968, and is buried in Angelus Rosedale Cemetery; her tombstone simply lists her name beneath the word “Educator.”Bessie Burke is associated with the Historic Resources Associated with African Americans in Los Angeles Multi-Property Submission (MPS). It was approved and listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 17, 2009. 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 concert bass-baritone singer and actor. One of his earliest professional engagements was in Marc Blitzstein’s Broadway opera, Regina. His breakthrough came when he gave his recital debut in New York’s Town Hall in 1950. He went on to produce a highly acclaimed album of selections from Porgy and Bess with Leontyne Price in 1963’ Today in our History – August 25, 2002 – William Caesar Warfield (January 22, 1920 – August 25, 20020 died.Concert bass-baritone singer, actor, and teacher William Caesar Warfield was born on January 22, 1920 in West Helena, Arkansas to a family of sharecroppers. When Warfield was a young child, his family moved to Rochester, New York, where his father served as a pastor for Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in that city.After graduating from high school, Warfield studied at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester and received a Bachelor of Music in 1942. After college, Warfield served overseas in the United States Army during World War II. In 1946, he returned to Rochester and to the Eastman School of Music for his graduate studies under Otto Herzm, Yves Tinayre, and Rosa Ponselle.In 1950, at the age of thirty, Warfield debuted in New York’s Town Hall. He won rave reviews for his performance and that same year he began a concert tour of Australia. A year later, Warfield returned to New York where he sang the role of Joe in Oscar Hammerstein’s musical Show Boat. In 1952, Warfield performed in George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess during a U.S. State Department sponsored tour of Europe. While on tour, Warfield met and married his wife, opera star Leontyne Price. He also made concert tours of Africa, the Middle East, and a repeat tour of Europe in 1956. He then performed in Asia in 1958. Throughout his career Warfield visited six continents, earning the unofficial title of “America’s Musical Ambassador.”Warfield also appeared in various film and television projects. He reprised the part of Joe in MGM’s 1951 color remake of Show Boat and played the character De Lawd in the 1951 Hallmark Hall of Fame live television production of the controversial Marc Connelly play The Green Pastures.In 1974, Warfield and his wife Leontyne Price divorced. That same year he accepted a teaching position at the University of Illinois. In 1984, Warfield was elected the president of the National Association of Negro Musicians, a position he held until 1990. In 1996, Warfield became involved with the controversial Schiller Institute founded in 1984 in Wiesbaden, Germany by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the wife of American political activist Lyndon LaRouche. There he worked with acclaimed vocal coach, Sylvia Olden Lee, on a project to preserve the tradition of the Negro Spiritual. He also taught voice training master-classes at Schiller.In 1999, the singer joined forces with fellow baritones Robert Sims and Benjamin Matthews to form the “Three Generations” trio. William Warfield passed away on August 25, 2002 in Chicago, Illinois. Warfield’s legacy lives on in the form of the William Warfield Scholarship Fund which continues to give money to young African American classical singers to pursue their studies at the Eastman School of Music. 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 a fugitive slave from Kentucky who had settled in Lorain, Ohio. He is listed in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census with no indication of race, Stone lived with African Americans Sarah Baker from Vermont and Godfrey Gaskins who was also from Kentucky. In the 1860 Census, Stone is married and has several children. There is no indication of race for the entire family. James Stone would pass for white and join the Union Army. He fought as a soldier in Kentucky and was injured and soon after died. After his death, it was revealed that Stone was African American. He is recognized as the first African American Union Soldier; Stone enlisted two years before African Americans were allowed to join the Union Army. According to his U.S. Civil War Record, Stone enlisted on August 23, 1861 in the Ohio 1st LA Battery E Light Artillery Battery. He was mustered out on his death date October 30, 1862; Stone died at the General Hospital in Nashville, TN. He is buried in the Nashville National Cemetery in South Madison, TN, Section B Site 6657 [source: National Cemetery Administration, U.S. Veterans Gravesites]. James Stone’s wife and children were listed as Mulattoes in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. Today in our History – August 23, 1861 – James Stone enlisted in the Army. The first black to do so.Two years before black people were allowed to join the Union forces during the Civil War, James Stone, who was a light-complexioned black man, had already enlisted in the Union Army.Passing as a white man when he enlisted to fight with the Union forces, Stone’s racial identity was never discovered until after his death.Born around 1829, Stone was a slave in Kentucky who escaped to the north and settled in Lorain, Ohio, with another black family. He would later marry a mixed woman in 1860 and have children, according to accounts.Historical records of his life, however, state that the light-skinned black man and his family never revealed their race on census records.The fugitive slave would later pass for white and get by the rule that African-Americans cannot join the Army.On August 23, 1861, Stone joined the First Fight Artillery of Ohio to join the Union forces in battling the Confederate soldiers, making him the first black Civil War enlistee.A year later, on October 30, Stone died from injuries he suffered in the war. An examination of his body would reveal that he was indeed Black.“It can be safely assumed that Stone and the family he stayed with kept their true racial identity secret to remain free as fugitive slaves such as himself yielded high rewards to owners in the South,” an article by blackamericaweb.com stated.Records state that Stone’s wife and children were listed as Mulattoes in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census.The Civil War, which began in 1861 and lasted for four years, was fought between the Union states (Northern states) and the states of the Confederacy (Southern states).Causes of the war, which killed over 650,000, included differences between northern and southern states on the idea of slavery, as well as states’ rights, trade, and tariffs.It is documented that black soldiers were eager to enlist in the Union Army as they were willing to join the fight against slavery.Many of them believed that military service would “allow them to be seen as equals and prove their right to equality.”But it was not until 1862 that the Union Army finally accepted black soldiers.This was after it had suffered so many defeats at the hands of the Confederates and was no more attracting white volunteers as morale among the officers had dropped.Opinions about blacks being allowed to fight, therefore, changed towards their favour.Meanwhile, scores of Union generals had already tried to establish black regiments even though they did not have government approval.These included General Benjamin Butler in New Orleans, General James Lane (1814-1866) in Kansas, and General David Hunter (1802-1886) in South Carolina’s Sea Islands.Black men were eventually officially allowed to serve as soldiers in the Union Army after the U.S. Congress on July 17, 1862, passed two laws to that effect.Still, black soldiers were only allowed to join special all-black units led by white officers.The first black regiment (unit), the First South Carolina Volunteers, was formed in August 1862.As black troops continued to achieve success in battle, several more black regiments were organized, including the well-known 54th Massachusetts. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American was a rebellion of enslaved Virginians that took place in Southampton County, Virginia, in August 1831, led by Nat Turner. The rebels killed between 55 and 65 people, at least 51 of whom were white. The rebellion was put down within a few days, but Turner survived in hiding for more than two months afterwards. The rebellion was effectively suppressed at Belmont Plantation on the morning of August 23, 1831. There was widespread fear in the aftermath, and militias organized in retaliation to the rebels. The state executed 56 enslaved people accused of being part of the rebellion, and many non-participant enslaved individuals were punished in the frenzy. Approximately 120 enslaved people and free blacks were killed by militias and mobs in the area. State legislatures passed new laws prohibiting education of enslaved people and free black people, restricting rights of assembly and other civil liberties for free black people, and requiring white ministers to be present at all worship services.Today in our History – August 22, 1831 – Nat Turner’s Rebellion (also known as the Southampton Insurrection)On the evening of August 21–22, 1831, an enslaved preacher and self-styled prophet named Nat Turner launched the deadliest slave revolt in the history of the United States. Over the course of a day in Southampton County, Turner and his allies killed fifty-five white men, women, and children as the rebels made their way toward Jerusalem, Virginia (now Courtland). Less than twenty-four hours after the revolt began, the rebels encountered organized resistance and were defeated in an encounter at James Parker’s farm. Following this setback, Turner and other rebels scrambled to reassemble their forces. The next day, a series of defeats led to the effective end of the revolt. Whites quickly and brutally reasserted their control over Southampton County, killing roughly three dozen blacks without trials. Within a few days of the revolt, white leaders in Southampton became increasingly confident that the revolt had been suppressed and worked to limit the extralegal killing of blacks. Instead, white leaders made sure that the remaining suspected slaves were tried, which also meant that the white slave owners would receive compensation from the state for condemned slaves, a benefit that the state did not extend to slave owners who owned suspected rebels killed without trials. This effort, which reached a climax with the declaration of martial law in Southampton a week after the revolt began, meant that Southampton court system would ultimately decide what to do with suspected slave rebels. Trials began on August 31, 1831, and the majority of trials were completed within a month. By the time that the trials were finished the following spring, thirty slaves and one free black had been condemned to death. Of these, nineteen were executed in Southampton: Governor John Floyd, following the recommendations of the court in Southampton, commuted twelve sentences. Turner himself had eluded whites throughout September and into October when two slaves spotted him close to where the revolt began. Once detected, Turner was forced to move, but he was unable to elude the renewed manhunt. He was captured on October 30. While in jail awaiting trial, Turner spoke freely with whites about the revolt. Local lawyer Thomas R. Gray approached Turner with a plan to take down his confessions.The Confessions of Nat Turner was published within weeks of the Turner’s execution on November 11, 1831, and remains one of the most important sources for historians working on slavery in the United States. The revolt had important ramifications outside of Southampton, as several southern communities feared that slaves in their community were part of the revolt. In Richmond, Thomas Jefferson Randolph—the grandson of Thomas Jefferson—tried but failed to convince the General Assembly to enact a plan that would have put the state on the path to gradual emancipation. Abolitionists remembered the revolt as an important example of both slaves’ hate for the system of slavery and their bravery. The cultural legacy of the revolt is still vibrant; the revolt remains the clearest example of overt resistance in the United States to the system of slavery. 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 actor, filmmaker, playwright, novelist and composer.He is most well-known for creating and starring in the film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. He is the father of actor and director Mario Van Peebles.Today in Black History – August 21, 1932 – Melvin Van Peebles was born.Filmmaker, author, and actor Melvin Van Peebles was born on August 21, 1932, in Chicago, Illinois. Growing up during World War II, he spent his adolescence with his father, a tailor.Van Peebles graduated from Township High School in Phoenix, Illinois, in 1949 and spent a year at West Virginia State College before transferring to Ohio Wesleyan University where he earned his B.A. degree in English literature in 1953.During the late 1950s, Van Peebles served three and a half years as a flight navigator in the United States Air Force. After the military, he lived briefly in Mexico and San Francisco where he wrote his first book, The Big Heart, which was about the life of San Francisco’s cable cars and their drivers. Moving to the Netherlands, he studied at the Dutch National Theatre before moving to France in the early 1960s. During this time, Van Peebles wrote several published novels in French, including La Permission in 1967. He filmed this story under the title, The Story of the Three-Day Pass, and it was selected as the French entry in the 1968 San Francisco Film Festival. It earned critical acclaim, which helped him obtain a studio contract with Columbia Pictures. In 1969, Van Peebles returned to the U.S. to direct and score his first Hollywood film Watermelon Man.The film was released in 1970, followed by his independent feature Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, probably his best known work. Some of his other films include Don’t Play Us Cheap in 1973, Identity Crisis in 1989, Gang in Blue in 1996 and Le Conte du ventre plein in 2000.As a playwright and composer, Van Peebles wrote two Broadway hit plays: Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death in 1971 and Don’t Play Us Cheap in 1972, for which he earned a Tony Award nomination. As an actor, Van Peebles has appeared in several films including Robert Altman’s O.C. and Stiggs in 1987 and Mario Van Peebles’ Panther in 1995, which he also wrote and co-produced. In 2005, Van Peebles was the subject of a documentary entitled How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It). He has been honored with numerous awards, including a Grammy and a Drama Desk Award. He received the Children’s Live-Action Humanitas Prize for The Day They Came to Arrest the Book in 1987, and in 1999, he was awarded the Chicago Underground Film Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award.Van Peebles resides in New York City. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies.