Category: 1900 – 1949

December 21 1911- Josh Gibbson

GM – FBF – Growing up in the inner city was not an easy thing, and today it is even worse for many. The part of Trenton, N.J. (East Trenton) where I grew up did not have any organized Little League Baseball teams as they did on the other parts of town and if you tried to work out and slip past them naturally they asked for your address and send us back home. So all we could do is play wall ball, stick ball or half ball.

We were happy that a young man from our church (Eddie Courtney) would takes out at on Saturday afternoons and go over fundamentals but we never played against anyone. They all changed when my brother, I and others finally got to Junior High School and tried out and make the Junior High Varsity School team all three years. The only saving grace was going to Lawnside, N.J. (Lawnside was developed and incorporated as the first independent, self-governing black municipality north of the Mason-Dixon Line in 1840. The United Parcel Service has a large depot in the borough.)

During segregation and (yes there was segregation up North) we could meet, watch and speak with many of the black entertainers of the day at my Great Uncle’s restaurant and park area. I was fortunate to meet a lot of famous people but since I loved baseball, watching and playing with some of the young baseball stars was the best because no matter the conversation it always got back to today’s story great, Enjoy!

Remember – “Playing winter ball was the best because we could finally play against some white professional baseball players and showed then that we in the Negro Leagues were just as good or even better than most of them.” – Josh Gibson

Today in our History – December 21, 1911 – Josh Gibson dies.

Josh Gibson (December 21, 1911 – January 20, 1947) was an American Negro League professional baseball player. He was born in Buena Vista, Georgia on December 21, 1911. His father had a farm there but he moved the family to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Gibson was studying to be an electrician and only attended school till the 9th grade. He did not play baseball for a team until the age of 16, when he played for an amateur team sponsored by the department store where he worked. After this he was recruited by a semi-professional baseball team called the Pittsburgh Crawfords.

The team gained professional status in 1931. Gibson himself played his first professional game in 1930. He was sitting in the stands during a Gray’s game but one of their catchers named Buck Ewing was injured and Gibson was invited to replace him.

Gibson was married to Helen Mason in 1929 at the age of 17. The next year, he was recruited by a team called the Homestead Grays, the top Negro league team in Pittsburgh. Soon after he debuted for the team, his wife went into labor and died due to complications during delivery. The twins Helen gave birth to survived, and were raised by her mother.

Josh Gibson has often been called one of baseball’s greatest home run hitters. The Negro leagues scheduled games within the league, as well as barnstorming games against semi-professional and non-league teams. Although there are no published or organized records of league scores in different seasons, Gibson’s record in both types of games have been outstanding. He had a sturdy built with a 6 foot 1 inch frame, a powerful throw and agility and speed while stopping players from stealing bases. He became the second highest paid player in the black league after Satchel Paige, another future hall of fame player. One of his records was a 580 foot home run, which almost reached the top of the bleacher. The leading sports writers of the time compared him to legends like Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.

Various statistics have been compiled from sources across the country. According to some records, Gibson hit more than 800 home runs during his league and other games. This is also what is etched on his plaque in the hall of fame. According to other sources, Gibson hit somewhere between 150 and 200 home runs in the official Negro league games. It must be noted that many games were played against much more inferior teams; therefore the recorded number of home runs may be higher due to that. However, this was countered by the fact that Negro league seasons were much shorter than regular major league seasons and they played fewer games as compared to them. Regardless of these factors, Gibson’s statistics are comparable to any of the foremost players in major league baseball.

Josh Gibson was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 31. He fell into a coma, and refused to be treated when he came out. He outlived the tumor for four years, but had constant recurring headaches. He was hospitalized on and off, and died on January 20, 1947, at the age of 35. He was buried in an unmarked grave, but a small plaque was later put there. Three months before he died, Jackie Robinson became the first black player to be inducted into the National League. Many believe it was Gibson who deserved that honor. He has since been honored with an induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Research more about the Negro baseball league and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

December 19 1941- Maurice white

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about a working professional that I had the honor to meet on several occasions. I first met him at a New Year’s Eve party at a dinner club in Philadelphia, PA. back in 1970, I was there to see one of his vocalists that I loved at the time like many others did also, Jessica Marguerite Cleaves who started with “The Friends of Distention.” Some of you youngsters may not know but Earth, Wind and Fire had two female singers in the group when they first started. As time went on they dropped the females and still produced some of the best music ever. Enjoy!

Remember – “We’ve been called the soundtrack of people’s lives. There have been lots of downs, of course but mostly ups. That EW&F is still clicking at least twenty years on and has a life of its own, that the songs have stayed alive – we’re like a good book that people go back to.” – Maurice White

Today In Our History – December 19, 1941 – Maurice White was an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and arranger. Maurice White died.

White has been described as a “musical renaissance man” by Allmusic and a “maestro” by Billboard. He was nominated for a total of 22 Grammys, of which he won seven. White was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame as a member of Earth, Wind & Fire, and was also inducted individually into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

White worked with several famous recording artists, including Deniece Williams, the Emotions, Barbra Streisand, and Neil Diamond. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the late 1980s, which led him eventually to stop touring with Earth, Wind & Fire in 1994. He retained executive control of the band and remained active in the music business until his death in February 2016.

Earth, Wind and Fire vocalist and co-founder Maurice White died in his sleep in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening. A rep for the band confirmed his passing to Rolling Stone. He was 74.

The singer had been battling Parkinson’s disease since 1992, according to TMZ. His health had reportedly deteriorated in recent months. Because of the disease, he had not toured with the pioneering soul and R&B group since 1994. He nevertheless remained active on the business side of the group.

“My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep,” White’s brother and bandmate Verdine wrote in a statement. “While the world has lost another great musician and legend, our family asks that our privacy is respected as we start what will be a very difficult and life changing transition in our lives. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes.”

“The light is he, shining on you and me,” the band added on Twitter.

White, who formed the group with Verdine in 1969, helped innovate a lush, eclectic style with Earth, Wind and Fire that drew inspiration from funk, jazz, R&B and Latin music – as well as Sly Stone and James Brown – for a unique sound that set the tone for soul music in the Seventies. The springy, elastic soul-pop of “Shining Star,” which White co-wrote, earned them their first Number One, and paved the way for hits like the joyful “Sing a Song,” the percussive and brassy “September,” their swinging cover of the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life” and the robotic disco of “Let’s Groove.” Rolling Stone included the group’s sweetly smooth 1975 single, “That’s the Way of the World,” on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Earth, Wind and Fire have sold more than 90 million albums around the world, according to The Associated Press. Several of their albums went multiplatinum, including 1975’s That’s the Way of the World, the following year’s Spirit and 1977’s All ‘n’ All. They won six Grammys over the course of their career. In 2000, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The group will be honored with a lifetime achievement award later this month at the Grammys, along with Run-DMC and Herbie Hancock.

Maurice White was born in Memphis on December 19th, 1941, the son of a doctor and grandson of a New Orleans honky-tonk pianist. He moved to Chicago with his family and sang gospel from a young age. He attended the Chicago Conservatory of Music in the mid Sixties and served as a session drummer at Chess Records, where he cut records with Muddy Waters, the Impressions and Billy Stewart. In the late Sixties, he played in the Ramsay Lewis Trio, where he learned kalimba, the African thumb piano which would become a big part of Earth, Wind and Fire’s sound.

White formed the first lineup of Earth, Wind and Fire with Verdine – who sang, played bass and performed percussion – in Los Angeles, naming the group after the elements on his astrological chart. Over the years, White would sing and play the kalimba, drums and produce. They signed to Capitol but switched to Warner Bros. within two years and put out two albums, and they didn’t garner much attention until he brought younger musicians into the lineup. Things changed with Head to the Sky, their 1973 release. It went gold and began a long streak of hits. That’s the Way of the World, the soundtrack to a Harvey Keitel flick that featured the group, contained “Shining Star,” which won them a Grammy, and propelled the band into arenas, where they put on elaborate, striking stage shows. By 1978, they were asked to appear in the movie Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, where they debuted their hit Beatles cover.

“We had a strong leader,” Verdine told The Telegraph in 2013. “We really looked up to Maurice. … You have to understand that we were 21 years old when we started our journey with Earth, Wind and Fire and Maurice was 31, and so he had done a lot more things than we had. Maurice was interested in establishing a credibility of a different morality about musicians and their lifestyles. So we were into healthy food, meditation, taking vitamins, reading philosophical books, being students of life.”

Throughout the Seventies, White also started a career as a producer, working with the Emotions, Ramsey Lewis and Deniece Williams. He released a solo album, Maurice White, in 1985 and made a hit out his cover of “Stand by Me.”
“You know how hard it is to present Afrocentric Jazz & spiritual positivity in the face of what we had to deal with in the Seventies?” Questlove wrote on Instagram. “When times were hard sometimes the only release you had was music. & if it wasn’t Stevie, you were reaching for your #EarthWindAndFirealbums.”

“In my junior high school, the white kids loved Zeppelin, the black kids loved [Parliament Funkadelic], the freaky kids loved Bowie,
but everyone loved Earth, Wind & Fire,” added Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea. “They were just undeniable.”

“Being joyful and positive was the whole objective of our group,” White once said, according to SongwriterUniverse. “Our goal was to reach all the people and to keep a universal atmosphere – to create positive energy. All of our songs had that positive energy. To create uplifting music was the objective.” Research more about this great American musical act and its co-founder Maurice White and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

December 18 1917- Ossie Davis

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about a person was an American film, television and Broadway actor, director, poet, playwright, author, and civil activist.

He was married to Ruby Dee, with whom he frequently performed, until his death in 2005.

He and his wife were named to the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame; were awarded the National Medal of Arts and were recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors. He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1994. Enjoy!

Remember – “College ain’t so much where you been as how you talk when you get back.” – Ossie Davis

Today in our History – December 18, 1917 – Ossie Davis was born.

Ossie Davis was a twentieth century renowned African-American film and television artist and Broadway actor. Besides that, he was also known for his work as a playwright, poet and author. Being an actor and author, Davis had a sensitive side which made him conscious of social problems faced by his race which he tried to bring to light as a social activist.

Davis was named Raiford Chatman Davis on his birth. He was born on December 18, 1917, in Cogdell, Clinch County, Georgia. He came to known as Ossie when a country clerk mistaken R. C for Ossie upon his birth. As it was a regular occupation for white people to threaten and bully the blacks, Davis family was no less a victim of this cruelty. His father was threatened to be shot for occupying such a major work post for a black man. Despite facing the extreme racism, Davis had been able to attend school and was later sent to Howard University. However, he dropped out in 1939 in order to follow his dream career of acting but not before he finished a course at Columbia University School of General Studies.

1939 was the year when he first embarked upon his eight decade long journey of his acting career. He had to face the similar problems as all the black community did when they made any meaningful career choice, such as strong resistance from white. They were allowed to play only stereotypical and low-profile characters. Nevertheless, Davis had different plans as he wanted to play something significant following the example of Sidney Poitier. The struggle for a major role was inevitable for a beginner like himself so he was offered roles like that of a butler or porter. In order to make a difference, he took on whatever small roles came his way very seriously and made them non-stereotypical.

After experiencing career as an actor, he aspired to become a director. Eventually, Ossie Davis became one of the stellar directors of his time along with Melvin Van Peebles, and Gordon Parks. He is credited with directing some notable films including the famous action film Cotton Comes to Harlem, Black Girl and Gordon’s Work. He was one of the few African American actors who found commercial success in such a cut-throat competitive industry as Hollywood. He acted along with Sean Conner in the 1965 movie The Hill and in other films including, The Scalphunters and The Cardinal. He was successful but his success didn’t exceed to massive commercial and critical fame that his contemporaries Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier savored.

In addition to acting and directing, Davis also wrote plays for theater. His Paul Robeson: All-American was often performed in various theaters and enjoyed by the youth. It was not until his late acting career that he received recognition by working in films such as Jungle Fever, Do The Right Thing and She Hate Me. Moreover, he worked as a voice-over artist in the early 1990s CBS sitcom, Evening Shade. Having a unique personality, Davis was requested to host the annual National Memorial Day Concert from Washington, DC. His final acting project included numerous guest roles. One that stands out amongst others was the Showtime drama series The L Word. Ossie Davis passed away on February 9, 2005, in Florida. Research more about this great American talent and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

December 13 1945- Herman cain

GM – FBF – The story that I want to share with you today is about a Black man in America who ran a few businesses that you know about and I have even eaten in. He is a fellow Radio personality here in Atlanta and I have had the honor to be on his show. He ran for President of the United States and when his party saw that he was in the lead that started a smear campaign against him and he stepped out. Enjoy!

Remember -“I am an American. Black. Conservative. I don’t use African-American, because I’m American, I’m black and I’m conservative. I don’t like people trying to label me. African- American is socially acceptable for some people, but I am not some people” – Herman Cain

Today in our History – Herman Cain is born on December 13, 1945

in Memphis, Tennessee. Born to a cleaning woman and a domestic worker, Cain grew up in a poor family but learnt what he understood as the true meaning of success. Through his father’s hard work, they eventually moved to a better house in the Collier Heights neighborhood of Memphis. Cain is married to a homemaker named Gloria Cain for nearly 45 years and has two children and three grandchildren.

Cain earned a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Purdue University in 1971, interestingly working as a ballistics analyst for the U.S Navy Department at the same time. Finishing his education around the same time, he then entered the corporate sector after taking up a computer systems analyst position with The Coca-Cola Company. In 1978, he left Coca-Cola for Pillsbury, becoming a senior director here for their Restaurants and Foods group.

By age 36, Herman Cain was handling and analyzing close to 400 Burger King Restaurants, mostly in Philadelphia. During the 1980s, his presence in the Burger King franchise reaped tremendous benefits as sales began to increase. Cain’s leadership skills and determination to transform hard work in to productivity and profits lead Pillsbury to appoint him as the next CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. This was the year 1986, and Godfather’s Pizza was in trouble as far as sales, profits and customers went. Cain had a tough job ahead of him, as the once leading Pizza franchise had fallen behind on ratings as far back as 5th. By laying off extra manpower and closing around 200 restaurants, Cain returned Godfather’s Pizza to its original standing.

Cain was appointed chairman for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Omaha Branch for almost two years between 1989 and 1991, and later became a member of the Kansas Federal Reserve Bank. He left Godfather’s Pizza and then became the CEO of the National Restaurant Association, a trade group which had lobbied against increasing the minimum wage and other social schemes such as health care benefits. It was around this time that his political affiliations began to take prominent shape.

His entrance into politics was slow and usually on the sidelines, aiding the Bob Dole administration as a senior economic adviser in 1996. His presidential campaign of 2000 firmly put him in the Republican domain of politics, competing against George W. Bush for the presidential seat. While he lost the campaign, it did not deter him for having a shot at the U.S Senate Candidacy of 2004 for Georgia. He was up against Johnny Isakson and Mac Collins, and came second to Isakson’s 53.2% vote in the primary.

Cain’s presidential campaign of 2012 eventually led him to construct his famous 9-9-9 plan, which aimed to reduce the business transactions tax, personal income tax and federal sales tax to 9%. What he next termed as Cain’s Solution Revolution, this was a plan to keep the 9-9-9 initiative alive. The idea behind this plan was to get approvals from Congress to support his tax-readjustment program, often gathering large crowds that supported the venture.

Herman Cain suffered from Stage IV colon cancer in 2006, and underwent chemotherapy, entering remission soon after, despite his doctor’s approximation that he had a 30% chance of survival. Research more about this this Black American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

December 12 1940- Dionne Warwick

GM – FBF – Today’s story sends us back to New Jersey, this artist has produced and sung a lot of hits over her career and we still hear them being played today. Her sister sung and her niece sung and we all know her niece. Enjoy!

Remember – “All my friends and peers keep asking me when I’m going to rest – I just tell them it’s another dirty four-letter word! Dionne Warwick

Today in our History – December 12, 1940 Dionne Warwick was born.

Dionne Warwick sang in a gospel trio before recording her first hit songs, including “Walk on By” and “I Say a Little Prayer.” After a lull in her career in the 1970s, her album Dionne (1979) sold a million copies. She went on to release the albums Heartbreaker (1982) and How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye? (1983). In 2012, Warwick celebrated her 50th anniversary in the music business with the album Now. She filed for bankruptcy the following year.
Born Marie Dionne Warrick on December 12, 1940, in East Orange, New Jersey, Dionne Warwick has enjoyed a tremendously long career as a singer. She comes from a gospel musical background as the daughter of a record promoter and a gospel group manager and performer. As a teenager, Warwick started up her group, the Gospelaires, with her sister, Dee Dee, and aunt Cissy Houston.

After finishing high school in 1959, Warwick pursued her passion at the Hartt College of Music in Hartford, Connecticut. She also landed some work with her group singing backing vocals for recording sessions in New York City. During one session, Warwick met Burt Bacharach. Bacharach hired her to record demos featuring songs written by him and lyricist Hal David. A record executive liked Warwick’s demo so much that Warwick got her own record deal.

In 1962, Warwick released her first single, “Don’t Make Me Over.” It became a hit the following year. A typo on the record led to an accidental name. Instead of “Dionne Warrick,” the label read “Dionne Warwick.” She decided to keep the new moniker and went on to greater chart success. In 1964, Warwick had two Top 10 singles with “Anyone Who Had a Heart” and “Walk On By”—both penned by Bacharach and David. “Walk On By” was also her first No. 1 R&B hit.

More hits, including many written by Bacharach and David, followed as the 1960s progressed. “Message to Michael” made the Top 10 in 1966, and her version of “I Say A Little Prayer” climbed as high as the No. 4 spot the following year. Warwick also found great success with her contributions to movie soundtracks. The theme song for the 1967 film Alfie, starring Michael Caine, was a solid success for her, as was “Valley of the Dolls,” from the 1968 movie of the same name.

In 1968, Warwick had other hits, including her trademark tune “Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” which earned Warwick her first Grammy Award. That same year, Warwick made history as the first African-American woman to perform for Queen Elizabeth II in England.

Warwick reached the top of the pop charts for the first time in 1974 with “Then Came You,” which she recorded with the Spinners. But then Warwick suffered a career slump for several years. In 1979, she made a triumphant return to the charts with the ballad “I’ll Never Love This Way Again.” She also soon became a fixture on television with the music program Solid Gold, which she hosted in the early 1980s. Warwick also had several successful collaborative efforts. In 1982, she made the charts with “Friends In Love” with Johnny Mathis, and “Heart Breaker” with Barry Gibb.

Around this time, Warwick scored one of the biggest hits of her career with “That’s What Friends Are For.” Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Gladys Knight also appeared on this 1985 No. 1 hit, which was an AIDS charity single written by Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager. “Love Power,” her duet with Jeffrey Osbourne two years later, marked her next major hit.

Warwick encountered some challenges beginning in the 1990s. It was revealed in the late 1990s that she had a lien against her for unpaid taxes. In 2002, she was arrested in a Miami airport for possession of marijuana. She lost her sister, Dee Dee, in 2008, and her cousin, Whitney Houston, four years later. Despite these personal losses, Warwick continued to perform and to record new music.

In 2012, Warwick celebrated her 50th year in music with the album Now. The recording features songs written by Bacharach and David. She once explained her longevity to Jetmagazine, saying, “I really attribute it to remaining who I am and not jumping ship, being completely cognizant of what the people … are accustomed to hearing from me.”

Warwick’s personal life overshadowed her musical talents the following year. In March 2013, she made headlines when she declared bankruptcy. Warwick owned more than $10 million in unpaid taxes, but she stated that she only $1,000 in cash and $1,500 in personal property. According to CNN, her spokesperson explained that her economic crisis was because of “negligent and gross financial mismanagement” during the late 1980s through to the mid-1990s.

Warwick has two sons, David and Damon Elliot, from her marriage to actor and musician William David Elliot. She has worked with both of her sons on different projects over the years. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

December 11 1917-

GM- FBF – Our story today is a prelude to what is happening and will intensify more in the summer of 1919. The “bloody summer” as it will be called in many urban areas of the United States, As WWI draws to a close in America compared to the black troops in France are getting a different experience. Today’s story will be no different than East . Louis, IL. and other cities. Enjoy!

Remember – “They told us to put on the Uniform and we can show are support to this Country for the war effort, it was a lie for many of us” – Unknown Black soldier

Today in our History – On Dec. 11, 1917, 13 black soldiers were hanged for their part in a little-remembered and deadly race riot. They were condemned to death after a trial many called unjust.

Now, at a moment when the continuing impact of racism in policing and criminal justice is a topic of fraught public conversation throughout the United States, relatives on both sides of that Houston riot are uniting to preserve the memory of the event and to find some justice for those executed soldiers.

It began in July 1917, following America declaring war on Germany and entering World War I. The 3rd Battalion of the 24th United States Infantry, a predominantly black unit, was sent to guard the construction of Camp Logan — part of the new war effort — on the edge of Houston.

From the beginning, the soldiers encountered Jim Crow law and racism from police and civilians; workers constructing the camp resented their presence.

“They sent these soldiers into the most hostile environment imaginable,” says Charles Anderson, a relative of Sgt. William Nesbit, one of the hanged soldiers. “The soldiers should never have been sent there — they should have remained at their base in New Mexico until the order came to go to France.” 
Tensions mounted until around noon on Aug. 23, when the Houston police arrested a black soldier for allegedly interfering in the arrest of a black woman, triggering a rapid escalation of events leading to false rumors reaching Camp Logan by evening that a soldier had been killed and that a white mob was approaching the camp.

Soldiers grabbed rifles and headed into downtown Houston, against the orders of their superior officers. The rampage lasted two hours and involved gun battles between the soldiers and the police and local residents, with bayonets being used, leaving 16 white locals dead, including five policemen. Four black soldiers also died.

After tempers finally cooled, the soldiers returned to camp. The next day martial law was declared in Houston, and the following day the unit was dispatched back to New Mexico before three courts-martial were convened to try 118 indicted soldiers.

Sixty-four men were tried in San Antonio, charged with disobeying orders, mutiny, murder and aggravated assault, during the first court-martial that began Nov. 1 — the largest murder trial in US military history —resulting in the 13 death sentences.

“They were represented by just one lawyer and didn’t even have a chance to appeal,” says Angela Holder, great-niece of Cpl. Jesse Moore, one of the hanged soldiers, and a history professor at Houston Community College. “They were denied due process guaranteed by the Constitution.”

Not one Houstonian among the prosecution witnesses could identify a soldier as having fired shots that killed someone, while routinely referring to the accused using the n-word. Seven soldiers agreed to testify against the others in exchange for clemency.

On Nov. 28, the 13 men were found guilty and sentenced to death. Two weeks later, without an appeal, they were hanged on Dec. 11.

Shortly after the hasty executions, and in the face of condemnation from both military and civilian figures, the US Army made changes to its Uniform Code of Military Justice to prevent executions without a meaningful appeal. These changes remain in place to this day.

It was too late for the soldiers hanged from a scaffold beside the Salado Creek in San Antonio. But some in Houston say it’s not too late for some kind of justice. During the Obama presidency, soldiers’ relatives lobbied — unsuccessfully — for posthumous pardons. The petitions have now been sent to the Trump White House.

Holder was more successful in 2017 at lobbying the Veterans Association for gravestones in a Houston cemetery for two soldiers killed during the riot. And along with other local activists, she also helped organize the Aug. 23 rededication of a Texas Historical Commission marker at the former site of Camp Logan to mark the riot’s 100th anniversary.

The ceremony was attended by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who said the history of the event is “calling us today to be better,” and “for good people of all backgrounds to speak against hate and stand united.”

And it wasn’t the only 100th anniversary to help focus the minds of those familiar with the riot on the past, present and future.

“The centennial of the US entry into World War I has likely brought a heightened awareness of such events and emboldened people to address a sensitive topic,” says Lila Rakoczy, program coordinator of military sites and oral history programs at the Texas Historical Commission.

Also, recent national police controversies have struck unfortunate parallels with events surrounding the riot.
“This was a problem created by community policing in a hostile environment,” says Paul Matthews, founder of Houston’s Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, which examines the role of African American soldiers during US military history. “The soldiers were standing up for America when it wasn’t standing up for them.”

A similar perspective is shared by some relatives of those who suffered because of the rioting soldiers.
“The soldiers were 100 percent wrong for rioting, but I don’t blame them,” says Jules James, great-nephew of Capt. Bartlett James, one of the battalion’s white officers who managed to restrain a larger number of soldiers from leaving camp but died under mysterious circumstances before the court-martial, notes James, who has researched the history. “The unit had 60 years of excellent service, was full of experienced veterans but couldn’t endure seven weeks of Houston.”

Current attempts to deal with this racial tragedy brought Sandra Hajtman, great-granddaughter of one of the policemen killed, together with Holder and Anderson when they met to retrace the Houston streets taken by the rioting soldiers.
“The men did not have a fair trial,” Hajtman says. “I have no doubt about the likelihood the men executed had nothing to do with the deaths. You have to look at the whole story, why it happened, and learn from it — both sides bear responsibility.”

Relatives continue waiting for a response to the pardon petitions. In the meantime, preserving the memory of the Houston riot and its aftermath has itself served as a kind of justice for the relatives of the soldiers and police who died because of it.

‘’Sandra Hajtman’s ancestor, who was killed, was a good policeman and would bring abandoned black children to his home where his wife would nurse them,” Anderson says. “No one should have lost their life that night had the right decisions been made. It was a very sad tragedy that did not need to happen.”

In November, the largest court-martial in U.S. military history convened at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio to try sixty-three soldiers from the Third Battalion. Thirteen of the convicted men were executed by hanging on December 11.

The following year, two additional courts-martial were held and another sixteen sentenced to hang. Responding to pressure from black leaders, President Woodrow Wilson commuted the death sentences of ten of the condemned men. In total, nearly sixty soldiers received life imprisonment for their roles in the affair. The Houston Mutiny anticipated the “Red Summer” riots of 1919 in which many African American servicemen retaliated against white mistreatment. On the other hand because of the Mutiny, the Twenty-fourth Infantry Regiment was not allowed by the U.S War Department to go to France to fight in World War I.

Houston marked an anniversary in December that some in the city would perhaps rather forget — and others demand be recalled more clearly. Research more about this and other events leading up to the “Red Summer” and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

December 7 1941- Carole Simpson

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about a Black female who was the first of her kind in television both locally in Chicago, IL and nationally on ABC news. After the federal government dropped the requirements for broadcasting in 1977 a lot of people who didn’t understand journalism and still don’t have taken a profession which I loved as a radio air personality who read the news to a Infotainment audience, Journalism as I understood it is dead. All we have now are people giving their opinion and that is not journalism. This lady was one of the last journalists on air, Enjoy!

Remember – “ I use to be proud that I did my body of work in the way it was meant to be and I still Instill this with my students to this day” – Carole Simpson

Today in our History – December 7, 1941 Carole Simpson was born.

Award-winning journalist Carole Simpson was the first black woman television reporter to broadcast radio news in Chicago. She is also the first African American woman to anchor a major television network evening newscast.

Veteran Journalist Carole Simpson, who has spent her three decades as an anchor in the network, has accumulated a lot of fan followings who seem to be mesmerized by her life behind the camera.

The American journalist Carole Estelle Simpson was born on 7 December 1941 in Chicago, Illinois. Born in Chicago, She was the daughter of Lytle Ray and Doretha Viola Simpson. She is currently 76 years of age, and the birth sign is Sagittarius.

In 1958, Carole graduated attended the University of Illinois, and after completing her graduation, she transferred to the University of Michigan where she graduated in 1962 with her B.A. degree in journalism.

Carole was the only black journalism major in her graduating class, and while pursuing her B.A. degree, she received her first media experience by working at a community newspaper during her summer breaks.

Carole, who stands at the tall height, started her first job on the radio at WCFL in Chicago, Illinois, and was later hired at WBBM.

After that, she moved to television at Chicago’s WMAQ and onto NBC News in the year 1975, becoming the first African-American woman to anchor a major network newscast.
She also became the first woman of color to moderate a presidential debate when she moderated the debate held between George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot, at Richmond, Virginia, in 1992. The same year she won the Journalist of the Year Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.

Later, she joined ABC News in the year 1982 and was an anchor for the weekend edition of World News Tonight from 1988 to 2003. Though she ended her career at ABC News but had a contract with the network until 2005.

After her retirement from ABC News in 2006, she was hired as Leader in Residence at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts in the year 2007. In 2010, her autobiography, Newslady, was published by AuthorHouse.

Her time in the network has not just rewarded her with name and fame but has also been successful financially. Being the anchor of the ABC News channel, she must have earned a huge amount of salary from her career and has a net worth estimated to be in millions.

Veteran Journalist Carole is married to her husband James Edward Marshall on 3 September 1966. However, neither Carole nor James has revealed the information regarding her wedding reception. There is also no information regarding how they met and how their relationship flourished before marriage.

However, it has come to the limelight that, the couple shares two children together, a daughter named Mallika JoyMarshall, and a son Adam Marshall. Her daughter Mallika is now a physician and her son, Adam is a junior partner in a talent firm in Los Angeles.

The couple, who currently resides in Boston, seems to be happy with their two children and three grandbabies as a family who live in suburban Wellesley. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

December 4 1942-

GM – FBF – Our story today centers around World War II and how black women changed the face of training for back women. Enjoy!

Remember – “ We were soldiers just like the men but it was heard for us just like our black brothers”

Today in our History – December 4, 1942 – 32nd and 33rd WAACS Headquarters Companies (World War II) – the army post was the largest black military post in the country.

Organized in the fall of 1942, Iowa, the all-black Thirty-Second and Thirty-third Women’s Auxiliary Army Companies would become the first contingent of WAACS assigned to a military installation in the United States during World War II. Composed of nearly 200 auxiliaries and seven officers, company members completed six weeks of intensive training in Iowa before reporting to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, on December 4, 1942. At the time, the army post was the largest black military post in the country. There, the units were assigned to the Ninth Service Command and the post headquarters, respectively.

Under the command of the first group of Fort Des Moines’s graduating class of black commissioned officers—Irma Jackson Cayton, Vera Ann Harrison, Frances Alexander, Violet Askins, Natalie Donaldson, Mary Kearney, and Corrie Sherard—auxiliaries ably performed clerical and administrative work as stenographers, typists, telephone switchboard operators, clerks, messengers, reception ists, and motor pool drivers and mechanics. The positions held by the WAACs and the duties they performed cohered with the racial and gendered employment policies developed by senior Army leaders and Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps officials, relieving the men of the U.S. Ninety-third Infantry Division also stationed at the military outpost to undergo extensive field training in the Arizona desert.

Upon their arrival, auxiliaries of the Thirty-second and Thirty-third companies quickly enhanced the training programs at Fort Huachuca. The successful performances of Auxiliaries Priscilla Taylor and Reba Caldwell while working with a Ninety-third Infantry division convoy during its desert training exercises garnered admiration and praise from the post commander, Edwin Hardy, and division personnel. And WAAC recreational officers Geraldine Bright and Mercedes Jordan created All WAAC Musical Revues, Glee Clubs, and USO comedies, providing precious moments of levity for the uniformed servicewomen and men training at the desert installation. Yet the formal presence of the WAAC company servicewomen and officers and the duties they performed while stationed at the military post were subject to intense scrutiny grounded in prevailing sexual stereotypes and innuendo at nearly every turn.

The Thirty-Second and Thirty-Third Post Headquarters Companies continued to serve at Fort Huachuca, Arizona before being disbanded in late 1945. However, many of its senior officers were subsequently reassigned to other military installations throughout the United States or deployed for overseas duty with the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion in Europe later in the war. Research more about Black Woman in the services and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 30 1912- Gordon Parks

GM – FBF – Our story today may be new to some but ask your grandparents who know of his pictures of famous black people or landscapes or maybe you watched some of his movies on television and didn’t know that was his work. If you have forgotten him, enjoy!

Remember – “At first I wasn’t sure that I had the talent, but I did know I had a fear of failure, and that fear compelled me to fight off anything that might abet it.” Gordon Parks

Today in our History – November 30, 1912 – Gordon Parks was born. He was a prolific, world-renowned photographer, writer, composer and filmmaker known for his work on projects like Shaft and The Learning Tree.

Born on November 30, 1912, in Fort Scott, Kansas, Gordon Parks was a self-taught artist who became the first African-American photographer for Life and Vogue magazines. He also pursued movie directing and screenwriting, working at the helm of the films The Learning Tree, based on a novel he wrote, and Shaft. Parks has published several memoirs and retrospectives as well, including A Choice of Weapons.

Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks was born on November 30, 1912, in Fort Scott, Kansas. His father, Jackson Parks, was a vegetable farmer, and the family lived modestly.
Parks faced aggressive discrimination as a child. He attended a segregated elementary school and was not allowed to participate in activities at his high school because of his race.

The teachers actively discouraged African-American students from seeking higher education. After the death of his mother, Sarah, when he was 14, Parks left home. He lived with relatives for a short time before setting off on his own, taking whatever odd jobs he could find.

Parks purchased his first camera at the age of 25 after viewing photographs of migrant workers in a magazine. His early fashion photographs caught the attention of Marva Louis, wife of the boxing champion Joe Louis, who encouraged Parks to move to a larger city. Parks and his wife, Sally, relocated to Chicago in 1940.

Parks began to explore subjects beyond portraits and fashion photographs in Chicago. He became interested in the low-income black neighborhoods of Chicago’s South Side. In 1941, Parks won a photography fellowship with the Farm Security Administration for his images of the inner city. Parks created some of his most enduring photographs during this fellowship, including “American Gothic, Washington, D.C.,” picturing a member of the FSA cleaning crew in front of an American flag.

After the FSA disbanded, Parks continued to take photographs for the Office of War Information and the Standard Oil Photography Project. He also became a freelance photographer for Vogue. Parks worked for Vogue for a number of years, developing a distinctive style that emphasized the look of models and garments in motion, rather than in static poses.

Relocating to Harlem, Parks continued to document city images and characters while working in the fashion industry. His 1948 photographic essay on a Harlem gang leader won Parks a position as a staff photographer for LIFE magazine, the nation’s highest-circulation photographic publication. Parks held this position for 20 years, producing photographs on subjects including fashion, sports and entertainment as well as poverty and racial segregation. He was also took portraits of African-American leaders, including Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael and Muhammad Ali.

Parks launched a writing career during this period, beginning with his 1962 autobiographical novel, The Learning Tree. He would publish a number of books throughout his lifetime, including a memoir, several works of fiction and volumes on photographic technique.

In 1969, Parks became the first African American to direct a major Hollywood movie, the film adaptation of The Learning Tree. He wrote the screenplay and composed the score for the film.

Parks’s next film, Shaft, was one of the biggest box-office hits of 1971. Starring Richard Roundtree as detective John Shaft, the movie inspired a genre of films known as blaxploitation. Isaac Hayes won an Academy Award for the movie’s theme song. Parks also directed a 1972 sequel, Shaft’s Big Score. His attempt to deviate from the Shaft series, with the 1976 Leadbelly, was unsuccessful. Following this failure, Parks continued to make films for television, but did not return to Hollywood.

Parks was married and divorced three times. He and Sally Alvis married in 1933, divorcing in 1961. Parks remarried in 1962, to Elizabeth Campbell. The couple divorced in 1973, at which time Parks married Genevieve Young. Young had met Parks in 1962 when she was assigned to be the editor of his book The Learning Tree. They divorced in 1979. Parks was also romantically linked to railroad heiress Gloria Vanderbilt for a period of years.

Parks had four children. His oldest son, filmmaker Gordon Parks Jr., died in a 1979 plane crash in Kenya.

The 93-year-old Gordon Parks died of cancer on March 7, 2006, in New York City. He is buried in his hometown of Fort Scott, Kansas. Today, Parks is remembered for his pioneering work in the field of photography, which has been an inspiration to many. The famed photographer once said, “People in millenniums ahead will know what we were like in the 1930’s and the thing that, the important major things that shaped our history at that time. This is as important for historic reasons as any other.” Research more about this great American hero and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 27 1928- Majorie Stewart Joyner

GM – FBF – Many of you might have heard of Madame C.J. Walker, business woman and first black female millionaire. Well today’s story is about the woman who carried on the empire. She also invented a device that helped both black and white women style their hair, which should have made her one of the richest women in America at the time but all of the proceeds went to Madame C.J. Walker’s estate. So she worked with Mary Bethune McLeod in education and founded both a Sorority and Fraternity. Enjoy!

Remember – ““There is nothing a woman can’t do. Men might think they do things all by themselves but a woman is always there guiding them or helping them.” –―Marjorie Joyner

Today in our History – November 27, 1928 – Marjorie Stewart Joyner receives patent # 1,693,515 for a permanent wave machine which could wave the hair of both white and Black people.

Marjorie Stewart Joyner was born in Monterey, Virginia on October 24, 1896, the granddaughter of a slave and a slave-owner. In 1912, an eager Marjorie moved to Chicago, Illinois to pursue a career in cosmetology. She enrolled in the A.B. Molar Beauty School and in 1916 became the first Black women to graduate from the school. Following graduation, the 20 year old married podiatrist Robert E. Joyner and opened a beauty salon.

She was introduced to Madame C.J. Walker, a well-known Black businesswoman, specializing in beauty products and services. Walker supplied beauty products to a number of the most prominent Black figures of the time, including singer Josephine Baker. With her fame, Ms. Walker was able to open over 200 beauty salon shops across the United States. After Madame Walker’s death in 1919, Marjorie was hired to oversee the Madame C.J. Walker Beauty Colleges as national supervisor.

A dilemma existed for Black women in the 1920’s. In order to straighten tightly-curled hair, they could so so only by using a stove-heated curling iron. This was very time-consuming and frustrating as only one iron could be used at a time. In 1926, Joyner set out to make this process faster, easier and more efficient. She imagined that if a number of curling irons could be arranged above women’s head, they could work at the same time to straighten her hair all at once. According to the Smithsonian Institute, Joyner remembered that “It all came to me in the kitchen when I was making a pot roast one day, looking at these long, thin rods that held the pot roast together and heated it up from the inside. I figured you could use them like hair rollers, and then heat them up to cook a permanent curl into the hair.” Thus, she sought a solution to not only straighten but also provide a curl in a convenient manner.

Joyner developed her concept by connecting 16 rods to a single electric cord inside of a standard drying hood. Women would thus wear the hood for the prescribed period of time and her hair would be straightened or curled. After two years Joyner completed her invention and patented it in 1928, calling it the “Permanent Waving Machine.” She thus became the first Black woman to receive a patent and her device enjoyed enormous and immediate success. It performed even better than anticipated as the curl that it added would often stay in place for several days, whereas curls from standard curling iron would generally last only one day.

In addition to the success found in Madame Walker’s salons, the device was a hit in white salons as well, allowing white patrons to enjoy the beauty of their “permanent curl” or “perm” for days. Although popular, the process could be painful as well, so Marjorie patented a scalp protector that could be used to make the experience more pleasant. This too proved to be a major success. Despite her accomplishments and success, Marjorie received none of the proceeds of her inventions as the patents were created within the scope of her employment with Madame Walker’s company, which therefore received all patent rights and royalties. Undeterred, in 1945 Joyner co-founded the United Beauty School Owners and Teachers Association along with Mary Bethune McLeod.

She tirelessly helped to raise money for Black colleges and founded the Alpha Chi Pi Omega Sorority and Fraternity in an effort to raise professional standards for beauticians. In 1973, at the age of 77, she was awarded a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Marjorie Joyner died on December 7, 1994 at the age of 98. She left behind her a legacy of creativity, ingenuity and selflessness that served to inspire many generations. Research more about Black female business leaders and Inventors and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!