Category: Males

November 18 1994- Cabell “Cab” Calloway III

GM – FBF – Today’s story spans a life time of being up front and on stage from the Big Band Era to doing a MTV Video with Janet Jackson in the 1990’s. This artist played with the best and would not change his Image for anyone. Some say he was arrogant and others a true to his race genius. Enjoy!

Remember –“A movie and a stage show are two entirely different things. A picture, you can do anything you want. Change it, cut out a scene, put in a scene, take a scene out. They don’t do that on stage.” Cab Calloway

Today in History – November 18, 1994 – Cabell “Cab” Calloway III died. He was voted the 39th out of 100 Greatest American Band Leaders (BLACK or WHITE) of “ALL – TIME”!
Cab Calloway, byname of Cabell Calloway III, (born December 25, 1907, Rochester, New York, U.S.—died November 18, 1994, Hockessin, Delaware), American bandleader, singer, and all-around entertainer known for his exuberant performing style and for leading one of the most highly regarded big bands of the swing era.

After graduating from high school, Calloway briefly attended a law school in Chicago but quickly turned to performing in nightclubs as a singer. He began directing his own bands in 1928 and in the following year went to New York City. There he appeared in an all-black musical, Fats Waller’s Connie’s Hot Chocolates, in which he sang the Waller classic “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

In 1931 he was engaged as a bandleader at the Cotton Club; his orchestra, along with that of Duke Ellington’s, became one of the two house bands most associated with the legendary Harlem nightspot. In the same year, Calloway first recorded his most famous composition, “Minnie the Moocher,” a song that showcased his ability at scatsinging. Other Calloway hits from the 1930s include “Kickin’ the Gong Around,” “Reefer Man,” “The Lady with the Fan,” “Long About Midnight,” “The Man from Harlem,” and “Minnie the Moocher’s Wedding Day.”

Calloway was an energetic and humorous entertainer whose performance trademarks included eccentric dancing and wildly flinging his mop of hair; his standard accoutrementsincluded a white tuxedo and an oversized baton. He was a talented vocalist with an enormous range and was regarded as “the most unusually and broadly gifted male singer of the ’30s” by jazz scholar Gunther Schuller. Although his band rose to fame largely on the strength of his personal appeal, some critics felt that Calloway’s antics drew focus away from one of the best assemblages of musicians in jazz.

Calloway led a tight, professional unit during the early 1930s, but many regard his band of 1937–42 to be his best. Featured sidemen during those years included legendary jazz players such as pianist Bennie Payne, saxophonists Chu Berry and Ike Quebec, trombonist-vibraphonist Tyree Glenn, drummer Cozy Cole, and trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie, Doc Cheatham, Jonah Jones, and Shad Collins. The decline in popularity of big bands forced Calloway to disband his orchestra in 1948, and he continued for several years with a sextet.

Calloway also had a successful side career as an actor. He appeared in several motion pictures, including The Big Broadcast (1932), Stormy Weather (1943), Sensations of 1945 (1944), and The Cincinnati Kid (1965). George Gershwin had conceived the role of “Sportin’ Life” in his 1935 jazz opera Porgy and Bess for Calloway; the entertainer finally got his chance at the part during a heralded world tour of the show in 1952–54. In the 1960s, Calloway appeared on Broadway and on tour in Hello, Dolly!, portraying the role of Horace Vandergelder opposite Pearl Bailey as Dolly Levi, and he again starred on Broadway in the 1970s in the hit musical Bubbling Brown Sugar.

His best-known acting performance was also his last, as a jive-talking music promoter in director John Landis’s comedy The Blues Brothers (1980). The film featured Calloway singing “Minnie the Moocher” every bit as energetically and eccentrically as he had performed it in 1931. Research more about Black American Band leaders and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 16 1780- Paul Cuffe

GM – FBF – Today’s story is not talked about or shared with you in your history books and it should. As Americans last the two weeks we participated in our mid – term elections and I hope that you voted. Well, back when this country was at its Infancy a Black man went to his local legislators and asked for the right to vote or as you may have heard the term “Taxation without Representation”. Read the story and Enjoy!

Remember – “All free people are entitled to the vote, this is a true fact. If I have too I will die for this land but let me also cast a vote for my cause” – Paul Cuffe

Today in our History – November 16, 1780 – Paul Cuffe & other black taxpayers of Massachusetts protest to the state legislator for the right to vote.

Petition for Relief from Taxation
Submitted by and for Former Slaves of Dartmouth, Massachusetts
Paul Cuffe
Paul Cuffe was born a free child in 1759, on Chuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts, the son of a Native American mother and African father. His father, Kofi, was a member of the Ashanti tribe of West Africa, who was captured and brought to America as a slave at the age of ten. A skilled carpenter, Kofi (Cuffe) earned his freedom, and educated himself. Paul refused to use the name of his father’s owner, Slocum, and adopted his father’s given name, Cuffe (or Cuffee).

At the age of 16, following his father’s death, Paul Cuffe began his career as a common seaman on whaling and fishing boats. During the Revolutionary War he was held prisoner by the British for a time but managed afterward to start small-scale coastal trading. Despite attacks by pirates, he eventually prospered. He built larger vessels and successfully traded south as far as Virginia and north to Labrador. In later life he owned several ships which engaged in trading and whaling around the world.

Cuffe was a devout and evangelical Quaker. At his home in Westport, Massachusetts, he donated a town school and helped support the teacher. It was quite possibly the first integrated school in the young republic. Later he helped build a new meeting house. Through his connections with Quakers in other cities he became involved in efforts to improve the conditions of African Americans. Strongly opposed to slavery and the slave trade, he joined other free African Americans in the Northern states in their abolitionist campaigns.

In 1780 he and his brother John petitioned the Massachusetts government either to give African and Native Americans the right to vote or to stop taxing them. The petition was denied, but the case helped pave the way for the 1783 Massachusetts Constitution, which gave equal rights and privileges to all (male) citizens of the state. This is a transcript of the petition submitted to the Massachusetts legislature.

To the Honorable Council and House of Representatives, in General Court assembled, for the State of the Massachusetts Bay, in New England:

The petition of several poor negroes and mulattoes, who are inhabitants of the town of Dartmouth, humbly showeth,—
That we being chiefly of the African extract, and by reason of long bondage and hard slavery, we have been deprived of enjoying the profits of our labor or the advantage of inheriting estates from our parents, as our neighbors the white people do, having some of us not long enjoyed our own freedom; yet of late, contrary to the invariable custom and practice of the country, we have been, and now are, taxed both in our polls and that small pittance of estate which, through much hard labor and industry, we have got together to sustain ourselves and families withall. We apprehend it, therefore, to be hard usage, and will doubtless (if continued) reduce us to a state of beggary, whereby we shall become a burthen to others, if not timely prevented by the interposition of your justice and your power.

Your petitioners further show, that we apprehend ourselves to be aggrieved, in that, while we are not allowed the privilege of freemen of the State, having no vote or influence in the election of those that tax us, yet many of our colour (as is well known) have cheerfully entered the field of battle in the defence of the common cause, and that (as we conceive) against a similar exertion of power (in regard to taxation), too well known to need a recital in this place.

We most humbly request, therefore, that you would take our unhappy case into your serious consideration, and, in your wisdom and power, grant us relief from taxation, while under our present depressed circumstances; and your poor petitioners, as in duty bound, shall ever pray, Paul Cuffe. Research more about the early black sons of Liberty and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 15 2007- John Cross Junior

GM – FBF – Today’s Story is about John Cross Jr. who was the pastor at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL. where I had the pleasure of speaking a few years back. The 
same church that was bombed in 1963, where the killing of four girls accrued. The event was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. Enjoy!

Remember – “Only a devil with no heart would do such an act and kill babies. – Rev. John Cross Jr

Today in Our History – November 15, 2007 John Cross Jr died.
Born in Haynes, Arkansas, on January 27, 1925, John Cross Jr. became a minister, educator and civil rights activist. In 1963, he was serving as pastor at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, when a bomb killed four young girls at the church. The attack was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. At the age of 82, Cross died on November 15, 2007, in Lithonia, Georgia.

John Haywood Cross Jr. was born on January 27, 1925, in Haynes, Arkansas, where he was raised by parents John and Margie Ann. John Cross Jr. attended elementary school in his hometown, and later went to Lincoln High School in Forrest City, Arkansas.

Cross was a teenager when he gave his first sermon; his ordination took place at Springfield Missionary Baptist Church. In 1944, after completing high school, he served in the U.S. Army as an assistant chaplain. When his service ended, he taught in the Haynes public school system before enrolling at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia. Cross graduated from college in 1950 with a degree in social science.

Cross next served as a minister at Oak Grove Baptist Church in Widewater, Virginia. Wanting to pursue his theological studies, he returned to Virginia Union University and enrolled in a master’s program at the institution’s divinity school. He received his master’s degree in 1959. Staying in Richmond, he then became a pastor at the Gravel Hill Baptist Church.

In 1962, Cross was designated as pastor of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The city was the site of conflict between supporters of segregation and civil rights activists. In a 1991 article, Cross described the heightened racial tensions that he experienced upon arriving in Birmingham. When he attempted to hail a taxicab, the white driver told him, “[I] don’t drive coloreds.” Cross responded, “I’ll tell you what, I’m coming here to pastor a church. Before I leave here, you’ll be hauling anybody who wants to be hauled.”

Encouraged by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Cross welcomed leaders of the Civil Rights Movement at his church. The house of worship was a nerve center for meetings and rallies, which resulted in Southern segregationists targeting the church. On September 15, 1963, a Sunday, a bomb was planted in the building. It went off before a youth service.

Cross was one of the people who dug through the rubble after the explosion, looking for survivors. He discovered the bodies of the four young girls who had been killed: Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley. The attack also left more than 20 other worshippers injured. The atrocity became a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement, building support for the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

Cross helped lead his parishioners through the dark days following the tragedy. He also presided over the funeral service that was held for Collins, McNair and Wesley. Approximately 8,000 people came to the service.

In 1968, Cross left the 16th Street Baptist Church to teach history and sociology at Alabama State University. He also served as director of the university’s Baptist student center. In 1972, Cross became the associate pastor of the Oakhurst Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia. A few years later, he started working as the black church relations director for the Atlanta Baptist Association. After retiring in 1989, Cross worked part-time as a minister and youth counselor.

Cross met Julia Ball at Virginia Union University. After marrying in 1949, the couple had four children: Michael, Alma, Lynn and Barbara. Cross enjoyed visiting his hometown, stating that his favorite vacation destination was Haynes, Arkansas. Having suffered a series of strokes in his later years, Cross passed away on November 15, 2007, at age 82, in Lithonia, Georgia. Research more about Black Reverends who fight/fought for civil rights and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 10 1931- Benjamin Thonton

GM-FBF- Today’s Story is about something that generation x, the millennials and especially generation z doesn’t remember. The greatest generation and us baby boomers this was new to us and many of us still do not like to use it. It is a device that the military and business embraced as a form of modern communication. You will see that it was a black man that invented this technology. Learn and enjoy!

Remember – “I didn’t know how the world would take it but it seemed logical to me” – Benjamin Thornton

Today in our History – November 10, 1931: Benjamin Thornton received a patent for an Apparatus for Automatically recording Phone messages.

The answering machine is arguably the greatest asset to modern communication of the last century. While the telephone was important, one would have to be near it in order to receive and send vital messages. The answering machine changed all of that. With this incredible invention, you could receive communications regardless of whether you took the call first hand or not, and information could be distributed far more effectively. It is almost inconceivable to imagine a world without answering machines. We have all experienced the elation of good news, or the heartbreak of a breakup message. And all of this positivity comes down to the invention, an African American inventor who literally changed the way in which we communicate.

It was 1935, and the telephone had changed the way in which people communicated, did business, and thought about the world. There was one major shortcoming though – telephone owners would have to wait around for calls, and missed calls were permanently lost. Benjamin Thornton recognized this problem, and patented a recording system that allowed people to leave the kind of messages that we all do to this very day. Thanks to the inclusion of a recording device, the caller could leave a message for the phone owner, who could then play the message back, return a call, or jot down the information. It was really a revolution. But Thornton wasn’t done yet.
The etiquette around leaving voice messages had not been developed, and novice phone owners often forgot to give complete messages in their haste and excitement. For example, an urgent message could be left, but if the speaker did not include a time or date, the urgency would be lost, and the message would be rendered ineffective. To stop this from happening, Thornton included a clock mechanism that would alert people to the time that the missed call was made, and the message left. The test of invention is in the ability to endure, and the contribution of Thornton is the epitome of this quality. This is a phenomenal concept that we would never survive without. Thank you Benjamin Thornton!

When you do a search on who invented the automatic answering machine usually the names of Willy Muller or Mueller and Benjamin Thornton come up.

This device used to record phone messages while the receiver remains on the telephone has been referred as an ansafone, an answerphone, or just simply the automatic telephone answering device.

To confuse matters just a little more about who invented the answering machine we find the following pictures on a site called Recording History with this information to support the possibility that Thomas Alva Edison should receive credit for the invention.

“Edison recognized the need right away, developing a technology designed for telephone recording in 1877, merely months later than the announcement of the telephone in 1876. Unfortunately, his first telephone recorder did not work, but fortunately it could be used for other purposes. He called it the phonograph. “

Then in 1900 a Danish inventor named Valdemar Poulson invented the telegraphone. It worked in recording phone messages but not automatically. Edison answered back (no pun intended) in 1914 with a gadget called the Telescribe. Then in the 1920’s several inventors worked on wax cylinder concepts including Truman Steven who patented what could be considered legitimate answering machines.

In 1935 Willy Mueller a Swiss inventor commercialized an innovative invention to replace the old technology used in telephone recording devices. His answering machine was based on clock technology and could both record and send messages. It was however a huge device standing 3 feet in height. Meanwhile in the US Benjamin Thornton makes his contribution in 1936. Ipsophon was introduced in 1936 and worked on a magnetic tape concept. This was the Benjamin Thornton contribution.

Thornton’s patents for the answering machine
• 1931 patent # 1831331 – apparatus for automatically recording phone messages
• 1932 patent # 1843849 – apparatus for automatically transmitting messages over a telephone line
Research more about black Inventors and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 9 1935 Robert ” BOB” Gibson

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about one of the greatest Professional Baseball players during his era. He tunned down an opportunity to Play baseball at 17 years and instead went to college. He ensured himself to being a top prospect by starting and playing baseball and basketball which was the first for his college. He chooses baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals but also played with the Harlem Globetrotters to support his income. I saw him pitch when the Cardinals came to Philly to play the Phillies. I remember the 1961 all-star game with Mays, Aaron and Clemente in the field and Gibson on the mound. What a game. Enjoy!

Remember – Why do I have to be an example for your kid? You be an example for your own kid. – Bob Gibson

Today in our History – November 9, 1935 – Robert “BOB” Gibson was born.

Famous Major League baseball pitcher Robert “Bob” Gibson was Pack and Victoria Gibson’s seventh child born November 9, 1935 in Omaha, Nebraska. Pack died three months before Bob Gibson was born. Young Gibson suffered with asthma, pneumonia, rickets, hay fever, and a rheumatic heart. He and his family lived in a four bedroom dilapidated frame house in North Omaha and later moved to a segregated government housing project.

By high school Gibson had overcome most of his childhood illnesses and become a multisport athlete at Omaha Technical High School. By his senior year, however, he concentrated on baseball, and in 1952 the Kansas City (Missouri) Monarchs attempted to sign the seventeen year old. When he graduated one year later the St. Louis Cardinals attempted to sign him to a minor league contract. He declined, opting to attend Creighton University in Omaha which extended him a scholarship to play basketball. He would become Creighton’s first African American athlete to play both varsity basketball and baseball.

Gibson joined the St. Louis Cardinals Triple-A farm club as a pitcher in 1957, signing a contract for $3,000 with a $1,000 signing bonus. In the offseason, he played for the Harlem Globetrotters, earning another $4,000 annually. In 1958 Gibson signed a contract with the Cardinals which doubled his salary and eliminated his need to play for the Globetrotters.
The next three years, until mid 1961, he would spend with the Redbird farm system in Columbus, Georgia.

He finished in the majors that year with 12 wins and 13 losses, and struck out 166 batters. He remained with the Cardinals in the Major League from 1962 to 1972 and ranked amongst the best of all major league pitchers. His most notable year was 1968, when he won 22 of the 31 games he appeared in, threw for 305 innings, had 13 shut outs, and struck out a league-leading 268 batters. He finished the season with a record breaking 1.12 ERA for a pitcher throwing for over 300 innings.

Gibson’s achievements would earn him both the prestigious Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player of the Year Award.
Although his career had slowed by 1971, due to various injuries, he continued to play until his retirement in 1975. Six years later in 1981, he was a near unanimous choice for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Gibson finished his career having pitched in 528 games with 251 wins, 174 losses, 56 shutouts, 3,117 strikeouts, and career average 2.91 ERA.

After retirement, Gibson served as pitching coach to the New York Mets in 1981, and with the Atlanta Braves from 1982 to 1984. He returned to the Cardinals organization in 1994 as assistant coach to Manager Joe Torre. In between, he served as a radio announcer for the St. Louis Cardinals, ran a restaurant, served as chair of the board of a St. Louis bank and owned interest in a St. Louis radio station. Research more about black baseball players and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 7 1989- David Dinkins

GM – FBF – I hope that you had an opportunity to vote and if you didn’t shame on you. Today’s story is about a man who hails from Trenton, NJ and rose up to become New York City’s 1st Black Mayor, Enjoy!

Remember – “ The sign on my city says “Trenton Make the World Takes” and I am here NY” – Mayor David Dinkins

Today in our History – November 7, 1989 – David Dinkins becomes NYC’s first black mayor.

In 1989, David N. Dinkins defeated his challenger, former federal prosecutor Rudolph (Rudy) Giuliani, to become the first African American mayor of New York City.

David Norman Dinkins was born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1927. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Marine Corps at 18 and served briefly in World War II. After the war, he attended Howard University, graduating with a B.A. in Mathematics in 1950. Dinkins moved to New York City and received a law degree from the Brooklyn Law School in 1956. Dinkins is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
David Dinkins’s political career began when he joined the Carver Club headed by a charismatic politician, J. Raymond Jones who was known as the Harlem Fox. Dinkins befriended three up and coming black New York politicians; Charles Rangel, Basil Paterson, Sr., and Percy Sutton.

In 1965, Dinkins won his first electoral office, a seat in the New York State Assembly. Shortly afterwards Dinkins was offered the position of deputy mayor of New York by then Mayor Abraham Beam. Dinkins could not accept the post when it was revealed he had not paid income taxes for the past four years.

Dinkins did manage to secure the position of city clerk for New York which he held from 1975 to 1985. On his third run for the office, Dinkins was elected Manhattan’s Borough President in 1985. In 1989, Dinkins decided to run for Mayor of New York. He surprised political observers by defeating three time incumbent Mayor Ed Koch in the Democratic primaries. Despite facing a strong Republican challenger in former federal prosecutor Rudolph Giuliani, Dinkins narrowly won the mayor’s race.

Dinkins presided over a city well known for its municipal crises. His term, however, was particularly turbulent because an unprecedented crack epidemic and the resulting drug wars swept through the city. Especially affected were the impoverished African American and Puerto Rican neighborhoods that formed the core of Dinkins’s constituency. The crack epidemic also spawned a crime wave that exacerbated racial tensions.

Two episodes particularly tested the Mayor’s ability to be an effective municipal leader. In 1989, shortly after Dinkins took office, a young white woman was allegedly raped and brutalized by marauding black youth in Central Park. Months later a black teenager was murdered when he ventured into a white ethnic Brooklyn neighborhood. In both episodes Dinkins calmed racial tensions and earned an image as a peacemaker. Although Dinkins presided over a decrease in crime in the city, balanced the city budget by turning a $1.8 billion dollar deficit into a $200 million surplus, and maintained racial peace after the Rodney King verdict sparked rioting in a number of cities across the nation, he never completely shed his image as an ineffective political leader. The 1993 election proved a political rematch of 1989. This time, however, Rudolph Giuliani narrowly defeated David Dinkins for the Mayor’s office.

Former Mayor Dinkins accepted a professorship at Columbia University’s Center for Urban Research and Policy in 1994. Although he has endorsed various political candidates and clashed with fellow New Yorker and Presidential aspirant Al Shapton, Dinkins has not sought elective office. Research more about Black males in politics and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 6, 1900- James Weldon Johnson

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about a man who we should know about and one of the most basic black theme songs that was introduced to you when you were young, in school or church. Some of you may have never heard the song but that is alright. He was a composer, diplomat, social critic and civil rights activist. He started a newspaper and studied law but when asked to compose a song for the late United States President Abraham Lincoln that is where his fame came from as the Father of Negro National Anthem. Enjoy!

Remember – “ I was hoping that this song would be sung by every black man woman and child and never forgotten in order that they would be proud of their race” – James Weldon Johnson

Today in our History – November 6, 1900 – James Weldon Johnson composed the song “Life Ev’ry Voice & Sing.”

James Weldon Johnson, composer, diplomat, social critic, and civil rights activist, was born of Bahamian immigrant parents in Jacksonville, Florida on June 17, 1871. Instilled with the value of education by his father, James, a waiter, and teacher-mother, Helen, Johnson excelled at the Stanton School in Jacksonville. In 1889 he entered Atlanta University in Georgia, graduating in 1894.

In 1896, Johnson began to study law in Thomas Ledwith’s law office in Jacksonville, Florida. In 1898, Ledwith considered Johnson ready to take the Florida bar exam. After a grueling two hour exam, Johnson was given a pass and admitted to the bar. One examiner expressed his anguish by bolting from the room and stating “Well, I can’t forget he’s a nigger; and I’ll be damned if I’ll stay here to see him admitted.” In 1898, Johnson became one of only a handful of black attorneys in the state. 
Johnson, however, did not practice law. Instead he became principal at the Stanton School in Jacksonville where he improved the curriculum and added ninth and tenth grades.

Johnson also started the first black newspaper, the Daily American, in Jacksonville. With his brother Rosamond, who had been trained at the New England Conservatory of Music in Massachusetts, James W. Johnson’s interests turned to songwriting for Broadway.

Rosamond and James migrated to New York in 1902 and soon were earning over twelve thousand dollars a year by selling their songs to Broadway performers. Upon a return trip to Florida in 1900, the brothers were asked to write a celebratory song in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. The product, a poem set to music, became “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” now known as the Negro National Anthem.

In 1906, Johnson became United States consul to Puerto Cabello in Venezuela. While in the foreign service he met his future wife, Grace Nail, daughter of the influential black New York city real estate speculator, John E. Nail. The couple’s first year was spent in Corinto, Nicaragua, Johnson’s new diplomatic post.

While in the diplomatic service, Johnson had begun to write his most famous literary work, The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man. This novel, published in 1912, became a work of note during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. In 1914 Johnson became an editor for the New York Age. He soon gained notoriety when W.E.B. DuBois published Johnson’s critique of D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) publication The Crisis.

In 1916, Johnson became Field Secretary for the NAACP and dramatically increased NAACP membership and the number of branches. In 1917 he organized the famous “Silent March” down 5th Avenue to protest racial violence and lynching. The march, which numbered approximately ten thousand participants, was the largest protest organized by African Americans to that point. Johnson’s participation in the campaign against lynching continued for the next two decades.

Although he was a nationally recognized civil rights leader, Johnson continued to write and critique poetry in a column for the New York Age. His “Poetry Corner” column, published in 1922 as The Book of American Negro Poetry, became an important contribution to the emerging Harlem Renaissance particularly because of its inclusion of Claude McKay’s “If We Must Die.” Johnson’s other Harlem Renaissance contributions included The Book of American Negro Spirituals (1925), God’s Trombones(1927), and Seven Negro Sermons in Verse (1927).

In 1930 Johnson published Black Manhattan, a Social History of Black New York, and three years later (in 1933) his autobiography, Along This Way, appeared. 
Johnson resigned from the NAACP in 1930 and accepted a faculty position in creative writing and literature at Fisk University. He maintained an active life in teaching and public speaking until he died in an automobile accident in Maine in 1938. Research more about black artists and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 4 1872- Pinckney Benton Stewart

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about the first Black man to sit as Governor in one of the U.S. States. This man was from Macon, GA. but found his way to the streets of New Orleans and to fame. Just like Revered S. Howard Woodson who sat in as Governor of New Jersey when as Lt. Governor the circumstances were right. This Black leader of reconstruction, civil rights, homeland defense and business. Will always be remembered as the first to sit as a Black Governor. Enjoy!

Remember – “A large number of white people feel just as sad as we do, but unfortunately for them, they dare not come out and express their opinion. They are ground down in a slavery worse than ours. They are slaves to a mistaken public opinion.” – P. B. S. Pinchback

Today in our History – November 4, 1872 – Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback was elected congressman at large from Louisiana.

Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback was born on May 10, 1837 to parents William Pinchback, a successful Virginia planter, and Eliza Stewart, his former slave. The younger Pinchback was born in Macon, Georgia during the family’s move from Virginia to their new home in Holmes County, Mississippi. In Mississippi, young Pinchback grew up in comfortable surroundings on a large plantation.

At the age of nine, he and his older brother, Napoleon, were sent by his parents to Ohio to receive a formal education at Cincinnati’s Gilmore School. Pinchback’s education was cut short, however, when he returned to Mississippi in 1848 because his father had become seriously ill. When his father died shortly after his return, his mother fled to Cincinnati with her children for fear of being re-enslaved in Mississippi. Shortly thereafter, Napoleon became mentally ill, leaving 12 year old Pinckney as sole-provider for his mother and four siblings.

Pinchback found work as a cabin boy on a canal boat and worked his way up to become a steward on the riverboats which ran the Ohio, Mississippi, and Red Rivers. He was taken under the wing of professional gamblers who worked the riverboats, and soon became a skilled swindler himself. During these years, he sent as much money as possible to Cincinnati to help support his mother and his siblings. In 1860 when he was 23, Pinchback married Nina Hawthorne, a 16 year-old from Memphis, Tennessee with whom he would have four children. When the Civil War began the following year, Pinchback ran the Confederate blockade on the Mississippi River to reach Union-occupied New Orleans, Louisiana where he raised a company of black volunteers to fight for the North. In 1863, after being passed over for promotion a number of times, Pinchback resigned from service.

At the close of the war, he moved his family to Alabama to test out their new freedom. After encountering dreadful levels of prejudice in Alabama, Pinchback moved his family to New Orleans.

Upon settling in New Orleans, Pinchback organized the Fourth Ward Republican Club, and was a member of the delegation that established a new constitution for the state of Louisiana in 1868. Later that year, he was elected to the Louisiana State Senate, and subsequently became the institution’s president pro tempore. In 1871, the Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana, Oscar Dunn, died of pneumonia and Pinchback was chosen by the state senate to succeed Dunn. He served as lieutenant governor until the winter of 1872 when impeachment proceedings were initiated against Governor Henry Clay Warmouth. From December 9, 1872, to January 13, 1873 Pinchback served as acting governor of Louisiana, making him the first person of African descent to serve as governor of any state.

Before ascending to the office of governor, Pinchback had run for both a U.S Senate seat and a seat in the U.S. Congress simultaneously in 1872. He won both contests but was barred from taking his congressional post when his opponent contested the election and was awarded the position. Pinchback was denied his seat in the senate as well as a result of charges of election fraud.

In 1887, at age 50, Pinchback decided to embark on a new career and entered law school at New Orleans’ Straight College, where he graduated in 1889. He moved his family to New York City, New York in the 1890s where he served as U.S. Marshall from 1892 to 1895, before relocating again to Washington, D.C. Pinchback remained in Washington and was active in politics until his death on December 21, 1921. Research more about blacks in politics and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 1 – Walter Payton

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about a man who could inspire you and got the best out of you in practice or in a game. He graduated in tiny Jackson State University but people knew then he was special. It always wasn’t easy for him until he had an offense line. Then the man turned in his greatness. His personal story was sad as I watched him maybe like some of you tell the world that he had cancer and would die. He broke down on the television and cried because he didn’t want to die. He will always be remembered because the NFL has a Man of The Year trophy named after him. Enjoy the story!

Remember – “I am happy to say that everyone that I have met in my life, I have gained something from them; be it negative or positive, it has enforced and reinforced my life in some aspect.” – Walter Payton

Today in our History – November 1 – Walter Payton dies from cancer.

Former Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton, the NFL’s all-time rushing leader and a man who ran with gritty determination and defiance that belied his nickname “Sweetness,” died from cancer of the bile duct.

Payton, looking shockingly frail and gaunt, announced at an emotional news conference Feb. 2 he was suffering from primary sclerosing cholangitis, a rare liver disease he said at the time could be cured only by a transplant.

But Greg Gores, a liver specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said today at a news conference at Bears headquarters in Lake Forest, Ill., that further evaluation of Payton’s illness had indicated “a diseased malignancy of the bile duct.”

Gores said Payton had undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatment in recent months in an attempt to stem the cancer. He added that because of the “aggressive nature” of the malignancy and its spread to other areas, “a liver transplant was no longer viable. . . . He made an informed decision regarding additional therapy.”

Surrounded by his wife, Connie, and two children, Jarrett and Brittney, Payton died shortly after noon at his home in Barrington, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, the city he captivated with his on-field heroics for 13 seasons, including a Super Bowl championship at the end of a 15-1 season in 1985.

“He’s the best football player I’ve ever seen. At all positions, he’s the best I’ve ever seen,” said Mike Ditka, who coached Payton for six of current Saints coach’s 11 years with the Bears, including the 1985 Super Bowl season. “There are better runners than Walter. But he’s the best football player I ever saw. To me, that’s the ultimate compliment.”

In a career that began with a debut of minus-eight yards in eight carries in the first game of his rookie season,
Payton rushed for 16,726 yards, breaking the record held by fellow Hall of Famer Jim Brown and a record as revered in his sport as Hank Aaron’s 744 home runs in baseball.

Payton was named to the Hall of Fame in January 1993 –– first year of eligibility – and was believed to be a unanimous choice by selectors.

Payton, 5 feet 10 and 200 pounds, was an awesome physical specimen who came into the league in 1975 as the Bears’ first-round choice out of Jackson State in Mississippi, the fourth overall pick that year. He finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in a year when Ohio State running back Archie Griffin won it for the second straight season. Payton got little support, mostly because Jackson State, a predominately black school, played a weaker Division I-AA schedule.

Payton gained 3,563 yards and scored 66 touchdowns over his college career and once scored 46 points in a game. He led the nation in scoring in 1973 with 160 points, and his 464 career points were an NCAA record.

But that was merely a prelude to a remarkable NFL career that ended in early 1988, when the Washington Redskins knocked the Bears out of the playoffs for the second straight season.
“My first year coaching with the Rams, we played the Chicago Bears in the [NFC] championship game, and I got to see first-hand what a great player Walter Payton was,” said Redskins Coach Norv Turner. “He was obviously much, much more than that – what a role model for anyone who ever wanted to play in this league or anyone who wanted to compete, and what a role model on and off the field.”

Payton was a driven athlete, a player who conditioned himself for the rigors of the game by running up steep hills in the offseason to the point of total exhaustion. He had arms like anvils, the thighs of Mr. Universe and an iron will. He missed only one game because of injury in his entire career when a coach, over Payton’s protest, rested him because of a sore ankle his rookie season.

As a rookie, Payton started seven games and rushed for 679 yards and seven touchdowns. The next season, he had the first of what would be 10 1,000-yard seasons, rushing for 1,390 yards and 13 touchdowns.

In ’77, only his third season in the league, Payton won the first of two MVP awards with the most productive season of his career. He rushed for 1,852 yards and 14 touchdowns, both career highs. His 5.5 yards per carry also was the best of his career.

In the Bears’ Super Bowl season, Payton gained 1,551 yards and had nine rushing touchdowns and also caught 49 passes, with two more for scores. In the Bears’ 46-10 rout of the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, Payton didn’t score a touchdown, a sore point with him that even caused Ditka to apologize to him afterward for what he said was simply an oversight.

Payton retired after the 1987 season and immediately launched himself into a successful business career that included part ownership of an Arena Football league team, several restaurants and a number of other businesses.
When Payton was inducted into the Hall of Fame, he asked 12-year-old Jarrett to be the first son to present his father at the ceremonies in Canton, Ohio. “Not only is he a great athlete, he’s a role model – he’s my role model,” said Jarrett, now a running back at the University of Miami who came home last Wednesday to be with his ailing father.

Jarrett Payton read a brief statement at the news conference at Halas Hall today, thanking well-wishers from around the world for their support and encouragement as well as the medical personnel who treated his father since his illness was first diagnosed.

“These last 12 months have been extremely tough for me and my family,” he said. “We’ve also learned about love and life.”
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue today called Payton “one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. . . . Walter was an inspiration in everything he did. The tremendous grace and dignity he displayed in his final months reminded us again why ‘Sweetness’ was the perfect nickname for Walter Payton.”
Mike Singletary, a fearsome middle linebacker who played with Payton from 1981 to ’87, said today he spent the weekend praying and reading scripture with Payton and saw him again Monday before he died.

“With all the greatest runs, the greatest moves I saw from him, what I experienced was by far the best of Walter Payton that I’ve seen,” Singletary said at Lake Forest. “As a football player, he was really the first running back I ever met that I truly respected in terms of how he prepared. . . . He was the first running back I had ever seen that I thought would be a great defensive player.

“His attitude toward life, you wanted to be around him. If you were down, he would not let you stay down. It was his duty to bring humor and light to any situation. No matter how tough it was, Walter could always make you feel great about playing the game and playing for the Chicago Bears. He was definitely a bright spot wherever darkness appeared.” Research more about this great American Hero an share with your babies. I will be speaking at Dacula High School about the Blacks who served during WWI and how Blacks on the home front lived. November 11, 2018 will be the 100th Anniversary of the end of WWI. I won’t be able to respond to any posts. Make it a champion day!

October 31 1950- Earl ” Big Cat” Lloyd

GM – FBF – Today’s story is a man who was a trailblazer because he did what no other had done before him. He was the first Black man to play in the NBA and the sad thing about it a lot of basketball players who are playing or watching the professionals, college or High Schools never heard of him.

The excuse is that basketball wasn’t as popular back then as it is now but that is no excuse for not knowing who paved the way for the rest. Learn and enjoy and pass the story on.

Remember – “Here I am, a young black kid — from kindergarten right through graduating from college, I never had a white classmate. And you’re born and raised in the den of segregation; you’ve been treated third-class all your life. So you tend to believe that you’re inferior. And when you walk into a pro training camp … the first thing you ask yourself, very quietly, [is] ‘Do I belong here?’ And at training camp, where it’s on, and you start scrimmaging these guys and playing against them, you know — then the bulb lights up, and tells you that you belong.”- Earl “Big Cat” Lloyd

Today in our History – October 31, 1950 – Earl ‘Big Cat’ Lloyd became the 1st African American to play in an NBA game.

Earl “Big Cat” Lloyd, who broke color barriers on the basketball court, is being remembered for more than the game following his death this week at the age of 86.
“The one thing that I think we all really realize when we had the opportunity to meet Earl Lloyd is that, more than a basketball player, he was a great human being. He was a true gentleman,” said Brian Hemphill, president of West Virginia State University.

Lloyd played for West Virginia State in Kanawha County beginning in 1947 when it was called West Virginia State College. During his sophomore year, the Yellow Jackets went 33-0. He lead State to two CIAA Conference and Tournament Championships.

“The best teachers I ever had were those guys,” Lloyd said of his State teams during a guest appearance last year on MetroNews “Hotline.” “They took care of me and I said, ‘Look, this is a once in a lifetime shot, so you better do the best you can.’”

His best got him to the NBA. Lloyd said he found out the Washington Capitols had drafted him from a classmate who stopped him on the Institute campus to tell him that she’d heard it on the radio.

“The NBA family has lost one of its patriarchs,” Adam Silver, NBA commissioner, said in a statement. “Earl Lloyd, the first African-American to play in an NBA game, was as inspirational as he was understated. He was known as a modest gentleman who played the game with skill, class and pride.”

Lloyd’s first 1950 game for the Washington Capitals was scheduled ahead of those for Sweetwater Clifton and Chuck Cooper, two other black men who were drafted the same year as Lloyd.

Lloyd later played for the Syracuse Nationals and Detroit Pistons.
In addition to being the first black man to ever play in an NBA game, he was the first black man to win an NBA championship and the first black man to be named an NBA assistant coach and bench coach.

He returned to West Virginia State, his Alma Mater, last year when the Earl Francis Lloyd Lobby and a statue of him were unveiled at the new West Virginia State University Convocation Center.

“We had an opportunity to have him back on campus last year and really acknowledge him and thank him for all that he gave West Virginia State, but also all that he gave for anyone that he ever encountered,” Hemphill said.

Several NBA stars were part of the event. “They all acknowledged and paid tribute to the person who started it all, who opened the door for each of them,” said Hemphill on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

Research more about Black Basketball Athletes and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!