GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was a veteran of WW 1, the war to end all wars. He came back from France to America only to discover that an army uniform worn by a black man meant nothing to a large majority of people in this country. Today in our History – November 11, 1918 – Charles Lewis was glad to be home.One hundred years ago on Nov. 11, a date now commemorated as Veteran’s Day — which will be observed on Thursday, Nov. 11, in 2021 — the Great War came to an end. Lewis was one of 380,000 black soldiers who had served in the United States army during the World War. A little over a month later, Lewis, after being discharged from Camp Sherman in Ohio, was back in his small town of Tyler Station, Ky.On the night of Dec. 15, a police officer stormed into Lewis’ shack, accusing him of robbery. Lewis, wearing his uniform and claiming the rights of a soldier, resisted arrest and fled. He was soon captured and jailed in nearby Hickman, but by challenging white authority a line had been crossed. Local whites were determined to teach Lewis and other black people a lesson.Around midnight, a mob of approximately 100 masked men stormed the jail. They pulled Lewis out of his cell, tied a rope around his neck and hung him from a nearby tree. As the sun rose the next morning, crowds gathered to view Lewis’ lynched body.While combat in France may have concluded with the armistice, for African Americans, the war continued. World War I transformed America and, through the demands of patriotism, brought the nation together in unprecedented ways. But these demands also exposed deep tensions and contradictions, most vividly in regard to race. African Americans fought a war within the war, as white supremacy proved to be harder to defeat than the German army was.Black people emerged from the war bloodied and scarred. Nevertheless, the war marked a turning point in their struggles for freedom and equal rights that would continue throughout the 20th century and into the 21st.In his April 2, 1917, war declaration address before Congress, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed, “The world must be made safe for democracy.” With this evocative phrase, Wilson framed the purpose and higher cause of American participation in the war. The United States had no selfish aims and, true to its creed, would fight only to ensure that the principles of democracy become enshrined on a global level.Black people immediately recognized the hypocrisy of Wilson’s words. On the eve of American entry into the war, democracy was a distant reality for African Americans. Disfranchisement, segregation, debt peonage and racial violence rendered most black people citizens in name only. A. Philip Randolph, a young socialist and editor of the radical black newspaper The Messenger, spoke for many African Americans when he wrote, “We would rather make Georgia safe for the Negro.”Nevertheless, the majority of African Americans embraced their civic and patriotic duty to support the war effort. Black people had fought heroically in every war since the American Revolution, and they would do so again. By demonstrating their loyalty to the nation as soldiers and civilians, African Americans believed they would be rewarded with greater civil rights.White supremacy tested the patriotism of African Americans throughout the war. Racial violence worsened, the most horrific example being a massacre that took place in July 1917 in East St. Louis that left over one hundred black people dead and entire neighborhoods reduced to ashes.Black soldiers also had a trying experience. The army remained rigidly segregated and the War Department relegated the majority of black troops to labor duties. Black combat soldiers fought with dignity, but still had to confront systemic racial discrimination and slander from their fellow white soldiers and officers.With the armistice, African Americans fully expected that their service and sacrifice would be recognized. They had labored and shed blood for democracy abroad and now expected full democracy at home.The death of Charles Lewis was the first ominous warning that this would not be the case.As a New York newspaper wrote after the lynching, “And the point is made that every loyal American negro who has served with the colors may fairly ask: ‘Is this our reward for what we have done?’”In the months following the armistice, racial tensions across the country increased. Black soldiers returned to their homes eager to resume their lives, but also possessing a deeper appreciation of their social and political rights. Many white Americans, both North and South, worried what this would mean for a tenuous racial status quo that was based on black people remaining subservient and knowing their place.These fears translated into violence.Throughout the summer of 1919, race riots erupted across the country, most notably in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. In Elaine, Ark., an effort by black sharecroppers to organize for better wages enraged local whites and led to a massacre that left upwards to 200 African Americans dead. The number of lynchings of black Americans skyrocketed to 76 by the end of the year, with several black veterans, some still in uniform, amongst the victims. The famed author, diplomat and civil rights leader James Weldon Johnson named these bloody months of 1919 the “Red Summer.”Despite this vicious backlash, African Americans did not surrender. The war had changed African Americans and they remained determined to make democracy in the United States a reality. A generation of “New Negroes,” infused with a stronger racial and political consciousness, would continue the fight for civil rights and lay the groundwork for future generations. They took the words of W. E. B. Du Bois to heart, when he wrote in the May 1919 editorial “Returning Soldiers”:“We return.We return from fighting.We return fighting.Make war for democracy. We saved it in France, and by the Great Jehovah, we will save it in the United States of America, or know the reason why.”A century after the armistice, African Americans, whether in the military, the halls of Congress or in local communities, continue to stand on the front lines in the fight to make democracy a reality in the United States. The lessons of World War I remain relevant today, as we still struggle to know the reason why. Research more about this great American tragity and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion had a varied communications career that took him from the East Coast to the West Coast and back again and led to his history-making appointment in 1960 as the first African American associate press secretary to the president of the United States.His service during the administrations of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson made him a participant in, as well as eyewitness to, the internal operations of the executive branch of government during a decade of great changes and upheavals in America and the world.Today in our History – November 10, 1960 – Andrew Hatcher was appointed as White House associate press secretary for President John F. Kennedy.Andrew T. Hatcher was born on June 19, 1923 in Princeton, New Jersey. As a youngster he attended the Witherspoon School for Colored Children, an educational institution founded by Betsy Stockton, a former slave, as early as 1830 in connection with the Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church. The school and church were located in the section of Princeton nicknamed African Lane for its concentration of black residents.Hatcher went on to Princeton High School, where he graduated in 1941. He continued his education at Springfield College in Massachusetts, beginning in September 1941. After the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 brought the United States into World War II, Hatcher interrupted his college studies to join the U.S. Army in November 1943.During most of the war years Hatcher was stationed at Camp Lee, Virginia, where he received basic and branch training. He also participated in the Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Camp Lee and was eventually promoted to the rank of second lieutenant. Hatcher also served at the Oakland Army Base in northern California and remained there until he received his honorable discharge in June 1946 after nearly three years of active duty.Hatcher returned to Springfield College in September 1946 and was noted in the school’s 1947 yearbook as the editor of The Student, the college newspaper. As a former soldier and military officer who was a few years older than the typical college student, Hatcher was a “non-traditional student” as well as a member of a racial minority on campus. It is unclear if Hatcher graduated from Springfield, but sources indicate that in later years he served as a member of the college’s alumni council.Hatcher made the decision to return to the northern California area and became a journalist for the San Francisco Sun-Reporter, an African American newspaper. He also attended the Golden Gate Law School between 1952 and 1954, but it is unclear whether he received a degree, as available sources do not indicate that Hatcher ever actively pursued the practice of law.Hatcher soon made the transition from journalism to politics and became actively involved with the Democratic Party. As a result, he received a political appointment in 1959 as assistant secretary of labor in the administration of California governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown.Hatcher’s abilities did not go unnoticed by other leading Democrats, and he became a speechwriter for New York governor Adlai Stevenson during his two unsuccessful campaigns for president during the 1950s.Along with his close friend Pierre Salinger, Hatcher joined the presidential campaign of Massachusetts senator John F. Kennedy in 1960 as a speechwriter and member of the campaign press staff. By this time Hatcher was a veteran of the campaign trail and helped considerably with the numerous details and logistics involved in presentations by the candidate around the country.His presence on the team also helped Kennedy in his efforts to appeal to African American voters in particular, whose support provided the margin of victory over vice president Richard M. Nixon in the closely contested election.One of Kennedy’s first appointments after winning the presidency was his selection of Hatcher as White House associate press secretary on November 10, 1960. Salinger had been appointed to the President’s cabinet as press secretary, so the two friends and colleagues were able to continue to work as a team during the Kennedy administration.Hatcher was the first African American to serve in such a high-ranking position, being involved in the inner workings of the executive branch on a daily basis. The symbolic importance of this achievement was underscored when television cameras showed only Salinger and Hatcher seated behind the president during his first news conference after taking office in January 1961.He died on July 26, 1990 and is interred in Suffolk County, New York. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an African-American freed slave from Tennessee who became one of the leading manufacturers of wagons for the Oregon Trail. In the mid-19th century, his business was located at the eastern origin of the trail in Independence, Missouri, serving westward pioneers including the Forty-niners. He was called the “only colored man in the manufacturing business” and Kansas City’s first “Colored Man of Means”.He worked to free slaves, specifically purchasing them in order to preserve their families intact and then paying them wages to buy their emancipation. Though living through the American Civil War and racial segregation, he was widely respected in white society, having financed or co-signed on many of their businesses. He received generous community support when his business burned down twice, and his grave is conspicuously located among those of white people.The Kansas City Star extensively eulogized him 26 years after his death, saying “This negro fought valiantly for freedom and respectability”.Today in our History – November 9, 1812 – Hiram Young (November 9, 1812—January 22, 1882) was born.Young was enslaved from birth in Tennessee on November 9, 1812. Little is known about the enslaved period of his life beyond the fact that he married Matilda Huederson. Living in Independence, Missouri in the 1840s, the easygoing slaveowner, Judge Sawyer, allowed many privileges and paid Young a wage he kept, for extra work during his spare time. Young approached Sawyer to purchase emancipation. How much money do you want fo’ me, Marse Judge? … I’ve been talkin’ about buyin’ myself, Marse Judge. I allus wanted to own a nigga, Marse Judge, and I’se do mos’ likely one on the place. I don’t reckon how you could take dat $1,200 ob mine an’ let me pay de balance as we go ‘long? Sawyer declared a price of US$2,500 (equivalent to about $65,000 in 2020) with a down payment of $1,200, issued freedom papers, and Young “gave a mortgage on himself for $1,300”. At some point, he bought his wife’s freedom for $800 (equivalent to about $12,200 in 2020), likely before buying his own. According to the law, any child born to an African-American couple, in which one is free and the other is enslaved, inherits the status of the mother. Upon gaining his freedom, with Matilda and their daughter Amanda Jane, born 1849, he moved to Independence, Missouri around 1850. He also bought a slave woman, only referred to as “the Kentucky girl” and the “absolute love of his life”, for whom he paid $1,600 (equivalent to about $50,000 in 2020). The St. Louis Daily Globe described this as an “exorbitant amount, especially for a female slave”—double what he paid for his own wife. Young did not legally buy her freedom, as the Globe reports he never did “relinquish his right to her as chattel”. She was sent away for education in a seminary, returning to become the house maid at the Young plantation home. This arrangement made “domestic life anything but peaceful”, and he retained her ownership until the abolition of slavery. Further it states he sought divorce to Matilda but found “divorce court was not at that time either popular or convenient”. He and the Kentucky slave had several daughters, unnamed by the Globe, all of whom Young provided with an education. After the first of two devastating fires that ruined his uninsured business, he raised money by selling his wife and daughter back into slavery to a kind former master, Judge Sawyer, according to the Kansas City Star’s recollection in 1890. It is not clarified, however, if this means advanced pay for future labor, or completely enslaving them again.As his influence in the community grew, he and Matilda became founding members of the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal church in 1866 in Independence. In 1877 the church was moved to a new location, where it still operates today. Young contributed greatly to the building of the new church. He helped the fundraising and opening of what was, for decades, the only school for African-American children in Independence. Originally it was named after activist Frederick Douglass. The 1850 census lists Young as a man simply with a trade skill, though, not as mulatto or black, and notably as having no property or personal wealth. By 1851, according to his own words he had “set himself up in the manufactory of yokes and wagons—principally freight wagons for hauling government freight across the plains”. He reportedly “was a skillful worker in wood and could make anything, from an axe helve to a wagon”.Young also owned a home and plantation, complete with slaves who “both hated and feared him, for he was not the kindest of task masters and knew to a row of corn how much each slave should do as a day’s labor”. Extending his path of freedom to others, Young allowed his slaves to work for wages they kept to buy their emancipation. Only a few days after his death, the Wyandotte Gazette states that, “Before the war he, though himself a negro, owned slaves, among whom were Riley Young, his own brother, old aunt Lucy Jones, Wesley Cunningham, and others well known in Wyandotte.” The US Census of 1860 reports he was completing thousands of ox yokes and 800 to 900 wagons a year. He employed approximately 50 to 60 men between his shop on Liberty Street and his 480-acre farm east of Independence in the Little Blue Valley. Employing around 20 men, Young’s shop utilized a four-horsepower steam engine, nearly unheard of at the time, along with seven forges running non-stop. Census officials also noted 300 completed wagons worth $48,000 and 6,000 yokes worth $13,500. The business’s inventory alone was appraised at more than $50,000 (equivalent to about $1,440,000 in 2020). Young managed to prosper through the border wars of Kansas and Missouri while many other businesses were destroyed or went bankrupt. The beginning of the American Civil War created a dangerous living situation for Young’s family. The Kansas City Journal later recalled his property being looted by Civil War troops: “He managed a fine farm, had many wagons in his shop, and was comfortably fixed for life. But federal troops passed his way and he was fine picking for the men of war.” The family relocated to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1862 or 1863. There he set up his business and added a service of filling list of supplies for those traveling, especially hastily. The Wyandotte Gazette says that during the war, Young’s “colored friends entrusted him with their surplus money. He failed under that burden of responsibility.” The paper summarized his notorious success: “his goods are scattered from Texas to British Columbia and from the Mississippi to the Pacific Coast”.After the Civil War, 1868 brought Young and his family back to Independence, where he re-established his business. However, the rise of steam locomotive trains largely obsoleted westward wagons so he reshaped his business as a planing mill. April 22, 1873 brought a second fire to his business. This time it was insured for $2,500, though the damages cost $6,000 (equivalent to about $130,000 in 2020). His plight was embraced by a community campaign to purchase an engine to “assist in the speedy re-establishment of his factory”. The St. Joseph Daily Gazette lauded this solidarity as “only right”, admonishing the Independence city government to echo other cities’ past donations of untaxed land for the benefit of other “factories not so beneficial to a community as Young’s”. In 1877, he was heralded by the Kansas City Journal of Commerce as the “only colored man in the manufacturing business”.In 1879, Young launched a lawsuit against the United States government for wartime property damages, in amounts progressively increasing to $22,100 (equivalent to about $614,000 in 2020). The lawsuit continued fruitlessly even after his death, through various committees, additional testimonies, and congressional bills, until it was thrown out in 1907.By 1880 the mill had a twelve horse-power engine and the annual payroll was more than $60,000 (equivalent to about $1,609,000 in 2020). He never again reached the success of his wagon manufacturing company of pre-war years, which a study in 1973 found to have been “56 times more wealthy than the average citizen of the county”.Attempting to rebuild his business to its pre-war lucrative levels, Young died January 22, 1882, cash poor, though the estate was worth $50,000 (equivalent to about $1,440,000 in 2020). His grave is at Woodlawn Cemetery in Independence, Missouri. His wife opened a new lawsuit after his death for government reparations of losses in war. She hoped to pass the sizable reward to their daughter Amanda Jane. This claim included 7,000 bushels of corn and 37 wagons, worth a total of $10,750 plus twenty years worth of appreciation the case had been ignored in the court system. In 1908, the Kansas City Star extensively eulogized Young 26 years after his death, saying “This negro fought valiantly for freedom and respectability” and that his gravestone “perpetuates the memory of the most widely and favorably known negro of that city—one who filled a responsible position in business life for many years, and died highly respected by whites and blacks alike … his monument stands not in the portion of the cemetery commonly used by colored people, but in a conspicuous lot among white people—a very remarkable thing for Independence”.Upon Young’s death in 1882, the school that he’d helped found in Independence was renamed from Frederick Douglass school to Hiram Young school. In 2004 it fundraised $650,000 (equivalent to about $891,000 in 2020) for renovations to become a new community center providing services including “vision, hearing, diabetes, and cancer”.In December 1987, the city council of Independence passed a resolution to change the name of Lexington Park to Hiram Young Park, commemorating Young as “one of the wealthiest men in Jackson County in the 1800s”. The park includes a 50 foot wooden wagon wheel recessed into the ground surrounded by flower boxes and benches, and a large stone with a plaque dedicated to Young. The park is bordered by Hiram Young Lane, a renamed portion of Lexington Avenue. McCoy Park in Independence celebrates Young in one of three painted panels by artist Cheryl Harness, with a storybook portrayal of Oregon Trail history. Minor Park of Kansas City, Missouri bears Young’s portrait on a large decorative mural upon the Red Bridge. In 2016, The Telegraph commemorated Black History Month with an article titled “Hiram Young: Kansas City’s First ‘Colored Man of Means'”. The Santa Fe Trail Association said, “His life and career testify to the rich and vital ethnic diversity that made the American West a place of particularly new and exciting possibilities in the 19th century.” Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was was an American dancer, choreographer, and dance teacher. Born in Seattle, she drew on her African-American heritage in her original dance works. American composer John Cage wrote his first piece for prepared piano, Bacchanale (1940), for a dance by Fort. She died from breast cancer at the age of 58.Today in our History – November 8, 1875 – Syvilla Fort (July 3, 1917 – November 8, 1975) was born.Born in Seattle, Washington, Syvilla Fort began studying dance when she was three years old. After she was denied admission to several ballet schools because she was black, Fort’s early dance education took place in her home and in private lessons. By the time she was nine years old, Fort was teaching ballet, tap, and modern dance to small groups of neighborhood children who could not afford private lessons.Fort attended the Cornish School of Allied Arts in Seattle as their first black student after graduating from high school in 1932. After spending five years at the Cornish School, Fort decided to pursue her dance career in Los Angeles, and in 1939 her neighbor, black composer William Grant Still, introduced Fort to dancer Katherine Dunham. Several weeks later, Fort began dancing and touring with the Katherine Dunham Company and learning the Dunham technique, which was rooted in the dance traditions of Africa, Haiti, and Trinidad. Fort danced with the company until 1945 and was included in the well-known film Stormy Weather (1943).While dancing with the Dunham Company, Fort neglected a serious knee injury which prevented her from performing professionally by the mid-1940s. In 1948, Dunham appointed Fort as chief administrator and dance teacher of the Katherine Dunham School of Dance in New York, a position Fort retained until 1954 when the school closed because of financial problems. In 1955, Fort joined her husband Buddy Phillips to open a dance studio on West 44th Street in New York. In this studio Fort developed what she called the “Afro-Modern technique” which fused the Dunham approach with modern styles of dance that Fort learned in her early education. She continued to use this method in her work as a part-time instructor of physical education at Columbia University’s Teachers College from 1967 to 1975.The studio on 44th Street thrived until 1975 when Fort began struggling against breast cancer and was unable to solve the school’s financial problems. Her staff and students found a new studio for Fort on West 23rd Street where she taught through the summer of 1975. Fort shaped three generations of dancers and among her best-known students were Marlon Brando, James Dean, Jane Fonda, James Earl Jones, Eartha Kitt, José Limón, Chita Rivera, and Geoffrey Holder.Five days before her death from breast cancer on November 8, 1975, Fort attended a tribute to her life’s work which was organized by the Black Theater Alliance and hosted by her student Alvin Ailey and by Harry Belafonte.In 1992, Fort’s work was honored again when dancers from several companies performed an evening of her choreography at New York’s Symphony Space.Buddy Phillips’ son Sabur Abdul-Salaam, Syvilla’s stepson, has published a book, Spiritual Journey of An American Muslim, that includes additional information concerning her. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!+3
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion event signed on November 7, 1775 by John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore, royal governor of the British Colony of Virginia. The proclamation declared martial law and promised freedom for slaves of American revolutionaries who left their owners and joined the royal forces, becoming Black Loyalists. According to historians, the proclamation was designed for practical and militaristic reasons rather than moral reasons or humanitarianism.Formally proclaimed on November 15, its publication prompted between 800 and 2000 slaves (from both patriot and loyalist owners) to run away and enlist with Dunmore.It also raised a furor among Virginia’s slave-owning elites (again of both political persuasions), to whom the possibility of a slave rebellion was a major fear. The proclamation ultimately failed in meeting Dunmore’s objectives; he was forced out of the colony in 1776, taking about 300 former slaves with him.The 1779 Philipsburg Proclamation applied to all the colonies. During the course of the war, between 80,000 and 100,000 slaves escaped from the plantationsToday in our History – November 7 , 1775 – John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore, royal governor of the British Colonies. promised freedom for slaves of American revolutionaries who left their owners and joined the royal forces, becoming Black Loyalists.John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore, originally from Scotland, was the royal governor of the Colony of Virginia from 1771 to 1775. During his tenure, he worked proactively to extend Virginia’s western borders past the Appalachian Mountains, despite the British Royal Proclamation of 1763.He notably defeated the Shawnee nation in Dunmore’s War, gaining land south of the Ohio River. As a widespread dislike for the British crown (as a result of the American Revolution) became apparent, however, Dunmore changed his attitude towards the colonists; he became frustrated with the lack of respect towards the British Crown. Dunmore’s popularity worsened after, following orders, he attempted to prevent the election of representatives to the Second Continental Congress.On April 21, 1775, he seized colonial ammunition stores, an action that resulted in the formation of an angry mob. The colonists argued that the ammunition belonged to them, not to the British Crown. That night, Dunmore angrily swore, “I have once fought for the Virginians and by God, I will let them see that I can fight against them.”This was one of the first instances that Dunmore overtly threatened to institute martial law. While he had not formally passed any rulings, news of his plan spread through the colony rapidly. A group of slaves offered their services to the royal governor not long after April 21. Though he ordered them away, the colonial slaveholders remained suspicious of his intentions.As colonial protests became violent, Dunmore fled the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg and took refuge aboard the frigate HMS Fowey at Yorktown on June 8, 1775. For several months, Dunmore replenished his forces and supplies by conducting raids and inviting slaves to join him. When Virginia’s House of Burgesses decided that Dunmore’s departure indicated his resignation, he drafted a formal proclamation now named after him, signing it on Nov 7. It was publicly proclaimed a week later.Dunmore’s ProclamationIn the official document, he declared martial law and adjudged all revolutionaries as traitors to the crown. Furthermore, the document declared “all indentured servants, Negroes, or others…free that are able and willing to bear arms…” Dunmore expected such a revolt to have several effects. Primarily, it would bolster his own forces, which, cut off from reinforcements from British-held Boston, numbered only around 300. Secondarily, he hoped that such an action would create a fear of a general slave uprising amongst the colonists and would force them to abandon the revolution.Colonial reactionThe Virginia Convention was outraged and responded on December 14, 1775 with an unambiguous declaration that all fugitive slaves would be executed:”WHEREAS Lord Dunmore, by his proclamation, dated on board the ship William, off Norfolk, the 7th day of November 1775, hath offered freedom to such able-bodied slaves as are willing to join him, and take up arms, against the good people of this colony, giving thereby encouragement to a general insurrection, which may induce a necessity of inflicting the severest punishments upon those unhappy people, already deluded by his base and insidious arts; and whereas, by an act of the General Assembly now in force in this colony, it is enacted, that all negro or other slaves, conspiring to rebel or make insurrection, shall suffer death, and be excluded all benefit of clergy: We think it proper to declare, that all slaves who have been, or shall be seduced, by his lordship’s proclamation, or other arts, to desert their masters’ service, and take up arms against the inhabitants of this colony, shall be liable to such punishment as shall hereafter be directed by the General Convention. And to that end all such, who have taken this unlawful and wicked step, may return in safety to their duty, and escape the punishment due to their crimes, we hereby promise pardon to them, they surrendering themselves to Col. William Woodford, or any other commander of our troops, and not appearing in arms after the publication hereof. And we do farther earnestly recommend it to all humane and benevolent persons in this colony to explain and make known this our offer of mercy to those unfortunate people.”Newspapers such as The Virginia Gazette published the proclamation in full, and patrols were organized to look for any slaves attempting to take Dunmore up on his offer. The Gazette not only criticized Dunmore for offering freedom to only those slaves belonging to revolutionaries who were willing to serve him, but also questioned whether he would be true to his word, suggesting that he would sell the escaped slaves in the West Indies.The paper therefore cautioned slaves to “Be not then…tempted by the proclamation to ruin your selves.” As very few slaves were literate, this was more a symbolic move than anything. It was also noted that Dunmore himself was a slaveholder.On December 4, the Continental Congress recommended to Virginian colonists that they resist Dunmore “to the uttermost…” On December 13, the Virginia Convention responded in kind with a proclamation of its own, declaring that any slaves who returned to their masters within ten days would be pardoned, but those who did not would be ‘hanged without the benefit of clergy.’Estimates of the number of slaves that reached Dunmore vary, but generally range between 800 and 2,000. The escaped slaves Dunmore accepted were enlisted into what was known as Dunmore’s Ethiopian Regiment. The only notable battle in which Dunmore’s regiment participated was the Battle of Great Bridge in early December 1775, which was a decisive British loss.Dunmore’s strategy was ultimately unsuccessful as his forces were decimated by a smallpox outbreak less than a year later. When Dunmore ultimately left the colony in 1776 he took 300 of the former slaves with him.In 1779, British General Sir Henry Clinton issued the Philipsburg Proclamation, which freed slaves owned by revolutionaries throughout the rebel states, even if they did not enlist in the British Army. It resulted in a significantly larger number of runaways. It is estimated that up to 100,000 attempted to leave their owners and join the British over the course of the entire war. At the end of the war, the British relocated about 3,000 former slaves to Nova Scotia. Even though the numbers were small compared to the total slave population, more American slaves found their freedom through these proclamations than any other means until the Civil War. Research more about this great American event and share it with your babies and make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an American musical theatre and film actress. She is remembered for her roles in the original stage and screen versions of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals South Pacific as Bloody Mary – a role that garnered her the Tony Award – and Flower Drum Song as Madame Liang.Today in our History – November 6, 1901- Juanita Hall (née Long, November 6, 1901 – February 29, 1968) was born.Born in Keyport, New Jersey, to an African-American father and Irish-American mother, Hall (along with three siblings) was raised by her maternal grandparents after her mother’s death. She attended Bordentown Industrial School and graduated from Keyport High School. She also received classical training at the Juilliard School. Soon after she finished high school, Hall worked in the Lincoln settlement house in East Orange, New Jersey, teaching music to children during the day and to an adult chorus at night. In the early 1930s, she was a special soloist and assistant director for the Hall Johnson Choir. A leading black Broadway performer in her day, she was personally chosen by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II to perform the roles she played in the musicals South Pacific and Flower Drum Song, as a Tonkinese woman and a Chinese-American, respectively.In 1950, she became the first African American to win a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Bloody Mary in South Pacific[ starring Ezio Pinza and Mary Martin. She also won a Donaldson Award for playing that role. She played the role for 1,925 performances on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre beginning on April 7, 1949. She also starred in the 1954 Broadway musical House of Flowers in which she sang and danced Harold Arlen’s Slide Boy Slide. In addition to her role in South Pacific, she was a regular performer in clubs in Greenwich Village, where she captivated audiences with her renditions of “Am I Blue?”, “Lament Over Love”, and Langston Hughes’ “Cool Saturday Night”.Before her acting roles, she assembled her own chorus group,The Juanita Hall Choir, and kept busy with performances in concert, on records, in films, and on the air. She auditioned for Talent 48, a private review created by the Stage Manager’s Club. Later, she performed on radio in the soap opera The Story of Ruby Valentine on the National Negro Network. The serial was broadcast on 35 stations, and sponsors of the broadcast included Philip Morris and Pet Milk. In 1958, she recorded Juanita Hall Sings the Blues (at Beltone Studios in New York City), backed by a group of jazz musicians that included Claude Hopkins, Coleman Hawkins, Buster Bailey, Doc Cheatham, and George Duvivier. In 1958, she reprised Bloody Mary in the film version of South Pacific, for which her singing part was dubbed. “Rodgers decreed her vibrato was now frayed, so her songs would be dubbed by Muriel Smith, Broadway’s original Carmen Jones.” Smith had played the role in the London production. (Music director Alfred Newman and director Joshua Logan thought that it was unnecessary to dub her.) The same year, Hall starred in Flower Drum Song, another Broadway show by Rodgers and Hammerstein. She also toured in the road show version of Flower Drum Song, but she had to leave it in early 1962 because of illness. Hall married actor Clement Hall while in her teens, when they both were performing in the Broadway production Lew Lefile’s Blackbirds. They had no children and eventually were divorced. In her later years, diabetes led to blindness. Because she had little money, the Actors Fund of America supported her in its Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey, and in hospitals when she needed treatment. Hall died at Southside Hospital from complications of her illness. She had been living at the Percy William Actors home in East Islip, New York. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an American musician, bandleader, songwriter, arranger, talent scout, and record producer. An early pioneer of 1950s rock and roll, he is best known for his work in the 1960s and 1970s with his then-wife Tina Turner as the leader of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue.A native of Clarksdale, Mississippi, Turner began playing piano and guitar as a child and then formed the Kings of Rhythm as a teenager. His first recording, “Rocket 88” (credited to Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats), is considered a contender for the distinction of first rock and roll song. During the 1950s, Turner also worked as a talent scout and producer for Sun Records and Modern Records. He was instrumental in the early careers of various blues musicians such as B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, and Bobby “Blue” Bland. In 1954, Turner relocated to East St. Louis where his Kings of Rhythm became one of the most renowned acts in Greater St. Louis. He later formed the Ike & Tina Turner Revue in 1960, which over the course of the decade became a soul/rock crossover success.Turner’s cocaine addiction and legal troubles, together with accounts by Tina Turner of domestic violence (published in her 1986 autobiography I, Tina and the 1993 film adaptation What’s Love Got to Do with It), impacted his career in the 1980s and 1990s. Addicted to cocaine for at least 15 years, Turner was convicted of drug offenses and served 18 months in prison. After his release in 1991, he remained drug-free until he relapsed in 2004, which was the cause of his death in 2007. During the last decade of Turner’s life, he revived his career as a frontman by returning to his blues roots. He released two award-winning albums, Here and Now and Risin with the Blues.Hailed as a “great innovator” of rock and roll by contemporaries such as Little Richard and Johnny Otis,[ Turner received critical acclaim as well. Rolling Stone magazine editor David Fricke ranked Turner No. 61 on his list of 100 Greatest Guitarists and noted, “Turner was one of the first guitarists to successfully transplant the intensity of the blues into more-commercial music.”Turner won five Grammy Awards, including two competitive awards and three Grammy Hall of Fame Awards. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Tina Turner in 1991. He is also inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame, the Clarksdale Walk of Fame, the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame, the Blues Hall of Fame, and the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.Today in our History – November 5, Izear Luster “Ike” Turner Jr. (November 5, 1931 – December 12, 2007) was born.Ike Turner was a popular twentieth century African-American musician, bandleader and lyricist. He was also a record producer and is given credit for introducing rock and roll in 1950s. Turner came to stardom in 1960s and 1970s with his former wife Tina Turner and their record label.Ike Wister Turner was born on November 5, 1931 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. His mother was a seamstress and father was a Baptist minister. In his childhood, Turner witnessed his father being tortured and left for dead by white mob.Upon his father’s death, his mother remarried and his step-father turned out to be an abusive alcoholic. Turner and his step-father often had arguments and fights and once he hit him a wooden piece and ran away. He had a quite rough childhood before he visited local Clarksdale radio station and gained his first job related to music. He soon was offered a Disc Jockey job by the station manager and the job meant he had access to all the new releases.Turner taught himself to play guitar on blues records. In his high school he joined a local rhythm ensemble called The Tophatters. The band played music around Mississippi. By then Turner had learned to play by ear and was still unable to read the music notes. When the band reached over thirty members it split into two; The Dukes of Swing and the Kings of Rhythm. The former played jazz while the latter was led by Turner himself, which played blues and boogie-woogie. The early performances of Kings of Rhythm were based on latest jukebox hits. They were recommended to Sun Studio by another musician and their music was on-aired on a few radio stations.Morover, early in his music career, Turner became part of road crew of Robert Nighthawk, who often performed at WROX. He played blues to support Nighthawk on several radio stations in Clarksdale. This opportunity provided him the chance of gaining music experience with the professionals. He also did a few gigs for some blues artist, such as Sonny Boy Williamson II, Elmore James, Little Walter and Muddy Waters. Finally the band got the much anticipated break when they recorded the track “Rocket 88”. The Chess Brothers introduced their band as “Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats”. Turner came up with the introduction and first verse of the song while the band collaborated on the rest. As it turned out the number became a smashing hit and made a record, selling about half a million copies.With the success of their new release arose the tension in the band as everyone struggled to claim glory and assert their importance. The band was on verge of falling apart when Brenston took few original members with him to pursue a solo career. Turner being the bandleader disbanded the Kings of Rhythm for a few years, as he was met disappointment when he missed a chance at successful music career. However, he landed a job of production assistant for Philips and the Bihari Brothers and became a session musician. Bihari Brothers exploited Turner binding him under the contract and used his written material.In 1951, Ike Turner came to success as first rock and roll artist. Shortly after, he met singer Anna Mae Bullock and renamed her Tina Turner and formed The Ike & Tina Turner Revue with her. He won two Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. However, his career took a downfall when his wife accused him of domestic violence and drug abuse and he was later convicted for drug offences. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an American ophthalmologist, inventor, humanitarian, and academic. She was the inventor of laser cataract surgery. Her invention was called Laserphaco Probe. She also became the first woman member of the Jules Stein Eye Institute, first woman to lead a post-graduate training program in ophthalmology, and first woman elected to the honorary staff of the UCLA Medical Center.Bath was the first African-American person to serve as a resident in ophthalmology at New York University. She was also the first African-American woman to serve on staff as a surgeon at the UCLA Medical Center. Bath was the first African-American woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical purpose. The holder of five patents, she also founded the non-profit American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness in Washington, D.C.Today in our History – November 4, 1942 – Dr. Patricia Era Bath (November 4, 1942 – May 30, 2019) was born.Born 1942, in Harlem, New York, Patricia Bath was the daughter of Rupert and Gladys Bath. Her father was an immigrant from Trinidad, a newspaper columnist, a merchant seaman and the first black man to work for the New York City Subway as a motorman. Her father inspired her love for culture and encouraged her to explore different cultures. Her mother was descended from African slaves and Cherokee Native Americans. Throughout her childhood, Bath was often told by her parents to “never settle for less than [her] best” and had been encouraged by their support of her education.Her mother, encouraging her dreams and love of science, had bought her her first chemistry set. By the time she had reached high school, Bath was already a National Science Foundation scholar. This led to her cancer research earning a front page feature in the New York Times. Patricia and her brother attended Charles Evans Hughes High School where both students excelled in science and math.Inspired by Albert Schweitzer’s work in medicine, Bath applied for and won a National Science Foundation Scholarship while attending high school; this led her to a research project at Yeshiva University and Harlem Hospital Center studying connections between cancer, nutrition, and stress. In this summer program, led by Rabbi Moses D. Tendler, Bath had studied the effects of streptomycin residue on bacteria. Through this, she was able to conclude that cancer, itself, was a catabolic disease and tumor growth was a symptom. She had also discovered a mathematical equation that could be used to predict cancer cell growth.The head of the research program realized the significance of her findings and published them in a scientific paper. Her discoveries were also shared at the International Fifth Congress of Nutrition in the fall of 1960.In 1960, at the age of eighteen years old, Bath won a “Merit Award” of Mademoiselle magazine for her contribution to the project.Bath received her Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Manhattan’s Hunter College in 1964. She then relocated to Washington, D.C. to attend Howard University College of Medicine. Her freshman year at Howard coincided with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.She co-founded the Student National Medical Association and became its first woman president in 1965. At Howard, she was awarded a Children’s Bureau National Government Fellowship Award to do research in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in the summer of 1967, where her research focused on pediatric surgery. The highlight of the award ceremony was the meeting of Earl Warren, chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, at the US Embassy in Belgrade. Bath graduated with honors from Howard University College of Medicine in 1968. She was awarded the Edwin Watson Prize for Excellence in Ophthalmology by her mentor, Lois A. Young.The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., in 1968, caused Bath to dedicate herself to achieving one of the dreams of King, namely the empowerment of people through the Poor People’s Campaign. She organized and led Howard University medical students in providing volunteer health care services to the Poor People’s Campaign in Resurrection City in the summer of 1968.Bath returned to her Harlem community and interned at Harlem Hospital Center, which had just become affiliated with Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. During her internship, she observed large proportions of blind patients at Harlem Hospital in comparison to patients at the Columbia University Eye Clinic.Prior to beginning her ophthalmology residency study at NYU in 1970, she was awarded a one-year fellowship from Columbia University to study and contribute to eye care services at Harlem Hospital. She began to collect data on blindness and visual impairment at Harlem Hospital, which did not have any ophthalmologists on staff.Her data and passion for improvement persuaded her professors from Columbia to begin operating on blind patients, without charge, at Harlem Hospital Center. Bath was proud to be on the Columbia team that performed the first eye surgery at Harlem Hospital in November 1969.She served her residency in ophthalmology at New York University, from 1970 to 1973, the first African American to do so. She got married and had a daughter, Eraka, in 1972.Bath died on May 30, 2019, at a University of California, San Francisco medical center from cancer-related complications, aged 76. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an American country blues singer and guitarist.Raised in Avalon, Mississippi, he taught himself to play the guitar around the age of nine. He worked as a sharecropper and began playing at dances and parties, singing to a melodious fingerpicked accompaniment. His first recordings, made for Okeh Records in 1928, were commercial failures, and he continued to work as a farmer.Dick Spottswood and Tom Hoskins, a blues enthusiast, located him in 1963 and persuaded him to move to Washington, D.C. He was recorded by the Library of Congress in 1964. This helped further the American folk music revival, which led to the rediscovery of many other bluesmen of his era.He performed on the university and coffeehouse concert circuit with other Delta blues musicians who were brought out of retirement. He also recorded several albums for Vanguard Records.He returned to Mississippi, where he died, in Grenada, a year later.Material recorded by him has been re-released by many record labels. His songs have been recorded by Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, Jerry Garcia, Beck, Doc Watson, John McCutcheon, Taj Mahal, Bruce Cockburn, David Johansen, Bill Morrissey, Gillian Welch, Josh Ritter, Chris Smither, Guthrie Thomas, Parsonsfield, and Rory Block. Today in our History – November 2, 1966 – John Smith Hurt (March 8, 1893 – November 2, 1966), died.Hurt was born in Teoc, Carroll County, Mississippi, and raised in Avalon, Mississippi. He taught himself to play guitar at the age of nine, stealthily playing the guitar of a friend of his mother’s, who often stayed at the Hurt home while courting a woman who lived nearby. As a youth, he played old-time music for friends and at dances. He worked as a farmhand and sharecropper into the 1920s.His fast, highly syncopated style of playing was meant for dancing. On occasion, a medicine show would come through the area. Hurt recalled that one wanted to hire him: “One of them wanted me, but I said no because I just never wanted to get away from home.” In 1923, he played with the fiddle player Willie Narmour as a substitute for Narmour’s regular partner, Shell Smith.When Narmour got a chance to record for Okeh Records as a prize for winning first place in a 1928 fiddle contest, he recommended Hurt to Okeh producer Tommy Rockwell. After auditioning “Monday Morning Blues” at his home, Hurt took part in two recording sessions, in Memphis and New York City (see Discography below). While in Memphis, he recalled seeing “many, many blues singers … Lonnie Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Bessie Smith, and lots, lots more.” Hurt described his first recording session as follows:… a great big hall with only the three of us in it: me, the man [Rockwell], and the engineer. It was really something. I sat on a chair, and they pushed the microphone right up to my mouth and told me that I couldn’t move after they had found the right position. I had to keep my head absolutely still. Oh, I was nervous, and my neck was sore for days after.Hurt attempted further negotiations with Okeh to record again, but his records were commercial failures. Okeh went out of business during the Great Depression, and Hurt returned to Avalon and obscurity, working as a sharecropper and playing at local parties and dances.Hurt’s renditions of “Frankie” and “Spike Driver Blues” were included in The Anthology of American Folk Music in 1952 which generated considerable interest in locating him. When a copy of “Avalon Blues” was discovered in 1963, it led musicologist Dick Spottswood to locate Avalon in an atlas, and ask Tom Hoskins, who was traveling that way, to enquire after Hurt. When Hoskins arrived in Avalon the first person he asked directed him to Hurt’s cabin.Avalon, my home town, always on my mind / Avalon, my home town.— Mississippi John Hurt, “Avalon Blues”Hoskins persuaded an apprehensive Hurt to perform several songs for him, to ensure that he was genuine. Hoskins was convinced and, seeing that Hurt’s guitar playing skills were still intact, encouraged him to move to Washington, D.C., and perform for a broader audience. His performance at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival caused his star to rise in the folk revival occurring at that time. He performed extensively at colleges, concert halls, and coffeehouses and appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He also recorded three albums for Vanguard Records. Much of his repertoire was also recorded for the Library of Congress. His fans particularly liked the ragtime songs “Salty Dog” and “Candy Man” and the blues ballads “Spike Driver Blues” (a variant of “John Henry”) and “Frankie”.Hurt’s influence spanned several music genres, including blues, spirituals, country, bluegrass, folk, and contemporary rock and roll. A soft-spoken man, his nature was reflected in the work, which consisted of a mellow mix of country, blues, and old-time music.Hurt died on November 2, 1966, of a heart attack, in hospital at Grenada, Mississippi. His last recordings had been done at a hotel in New York City in February and July of that year, and were not released until 1972 on the Vanguard LP Last Sessions.Hurt used a fast, syncopated fingerpicking style of guitar playing that he taught himself. He was influenced by few other musicians, among whom was an elderly, unrecorded blues singer from the area where he lived, Rufus Hanks, who played twelve-string guitar and harmonica.He also recalled listening to the country singer Jimmie Rodgers. On occasion, Hurt would use an open tuning and a slide, as he did in his arrangement of “The Ballad of Casey Jones”. According to the music critic Robert Christgau, “the school of John Fahey proceeded from his finger-picking, and while he’s not the only quietly conversational singer in the modern folk tradition, no one else has talked the blues with such delicacy or restraint.”There is a memorial to Hurt in Avalon, Mississippi. It is parallel to RR2, the rural road on which he grew up.The American singer-songwriter Tom Paxton, who met Hurt and played on the same bill with him at the Gaslight in Greenwich Village around 1963, wrote and recorded a song about him in 1977, “Did You Hear John Hurt?”, which he still frequently plays in live performances.The first track of John Fahey’s 1968 solo acoustic guitar album Requia is “Requiem for John Hurt”. Fahey’s posthumous live album, The Great Santa Barbara Oil Slick, also features a version of the piece, entitled “Requiem for Mississippi John Hurt”.The British folk and blues artist Wizz Jones recorded a tribute song, “Mississippi John”, for his 1977 album Magical Flight.The Delta blues artist Rory Block recorded the album Avalon: A Tribute to Mississippi John Hurt, released in 2013 as part of her “Mentor Series”.The New England singer-songwriter Bill Morrissey released the Grammy-nominated album Songs of Mississippi John Hurt in 1999.In 2017, John Hurt’s life story was told in the award-winning documentary series American Epic. The film featured unseen film footage of Hurt performing and being interviewed, and radically improved restorations of his 1920s recordings. Director Bernard MacMahon stated that Hurt “was the inspiration for American Epic”. Hurt’s life was profiled in the accompanying book, American Epic: The First Time America Heard Itself. 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GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an American journalist, historian, writer, orator, civil rights activist and Pan-African nationalist. He was born a slave in Maryland; as an adult, he founded numerous newspapers along the East Coast, as well as co-founding (with Arthur Alfonso Schomburg) the Negro Society for Historical Research in New York.Today in our History – November 1, 1877 – John Edward Bruce, also known as Bruce Grit or J. E. Bruce-Grit (February 22, 1856 – August 7, 1924) – Made his speech “Reasons Why the Colored American Should Go to Africa.Bruce was born a in 1856 in Piscataway, Maryland, to enslaved parents Robert and Martha Allen (Clark) Bruce. When he was three years old, his father was sold to a slaveholder in Georgia and Bruce never saw or heard from him again. He and his mother fled to Washington, D.C. and later to Connecticut, where Bruce enrolled in an integrated school and received his first formal education. Traveling back to Washington later, he received a private education and attended Howard University for a three-month course. After that, he never pursued formal education again, and was mostly self-taught.In 1874, at the age of 18, Bruce earned a job as a messenger for the associate editor of the New York Times’ Washington office. His duties included getting information for the next day’s paper from Senator Charles Sumner, a Republican who supported civil rights for African-Americans. As African Americans increasingly realized that Reconstruction would not usher in permanent citizenship rights and in fact did not protect them from violence, some black leaders began to call for alternative approaches. Not surprisingly a some again urged African American colonization in Africa. In October, 1877 journalist John Edward Bruce added his voice to the colonization movement in a speech outlining why African Americans should return to the ancestral homeland. The speech which was first published in the Christian Recorder on November 1, 1877, appears below.I shall endeavor to show tonight why the colored American should emigrate to Africa first, because Africa is his fatherland; secondly, because, before the war, in the South he was a slave, and in the North, a victim of prejudice and ostracism; and thirdly, because, since the close of the war, although he has been freed by emancipation and invested with enfranchisement, he is only nominally free; and lastly, because he is still a victim of prejudice, and practically proscribed socially, religiously, politically, educationally, and in the various industrial pursuits.First, then, he should emigrate to Africa because it is his fatherland. Africa is a country rich in its productions, offering untold treasures to the adventurer who may go there. It has a peculiar claim upon the colored American in this country, and that claim is as just and as equitable as any could be. One hundred and fifty millions of our people are on the other side of the broad Atlantic, groveling in darkness and superstition; five millions are on this side surrounded by all the advantages that could be desired in the march toward civilization. It is our duty to carry to those benighted, darkened minds a light to guide them in the march toward civilization. For centuries the colored race has not been highly educated. This has not always been the fact, and history, which shows what has been done, proves what may yet be. The Africans held possession of southern Egypt when Isaiah wrote, “Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.” When the Queen of Sheba brought added wealth to the treasures of Solomon, and when a princely and learned Ethiopian became a herald of Christ before Paul the Hebrew, Cornelius, or the European soldiers were converted. The race to whom had been given the wonderful continent of Africa, can be educated and elevated to wealth, power and station among the nations of the earth.Secondly, why the colored American should emigrate to Africa is because before the war, in the South he was a slave and in the North a victim of prejudice and ostracism. During the cruel days of slavery the colored American had no right which the white American was bound to respect; he was a nonentity before the law an automaton with an immortal soul. “Old Massa” had full power and control over him and his posterity. His relatives, children and friends who were dear to him were snatched up any time by “Old Massa” and sold into slavery, driven into misery everlasting, woe and discontentment. So much for slavery.Thirdly, why the colored American should emigrate to Africa is because, since the war, although he has been freed by emancipation and invested with enfranchisement, he is only nominally free. His rights are abridged; he is an American only in name. The doors of the public schools are closed against his children, notwithstanding the fact that he is taxed to support them. The common carriers, hotels and places of amusement, refuse to recognize him as a free man; no matter what his rank or station may be, he cannot enjoy the privileges which the Constitution (the supreme law of the land) guarantees to the humblest citizen. The atrocious massacre of unoffending colored men during the past five years in the states of Mississippi, South Carolina and Louisiana have blackened the page of American history and cast a gloom over the whole civilized world. Innocent men and women were butchered in cold blood by the inhuman wretches who glory in the name “American citizen.” These brutal murders were committed in defiance of all law and justice. Men can never forget them. The blood of thousands of our race cries aloud unto the God of justice, and the day of retribution is not far distant.And lastly, why the colored American should emigrate to Africa is because he is still a victim of prejudice, and practically proscribed socially, religiously and politically. He cannot enter a hotel and obtain accommodations without paying a double price, should he be successful in entering at all. If he go to the church of God in this Christian land, he is thrust into the gallery. If he wants to go South, he is packed in the car nearest the engine so that he will be the first killed in case of a collision. Politically he is a failure and cannot begin to compete with his white brother. He is used by him in all dirty jobs to advance his interests to fill his pockets with ill gotten gains; he is virtually a tool and a scapegoat in this respect, and he is regarded as an indispensable auxiliary in time of elections by these unscrupulous and unprincipled demagogues, who axe a disgrace and a curse to such a republic as this claims to be.And now Mr. President, I think I have shown why the colored American should emigrate to Africa. It is to his interest and his gain to do so. He is surrounded on every hand by prejudice and opposition, and it remains for him to carve out for himself a destiny among the nations of the earth. In Harlem and Yonkers, Bruce became involved with the emerging community of intellectuals, including newly arrived immigrants from the Caribbean. In 1911, with Arthur Schomburg from Puerto Rico, he founded the Negro Society for Historical Research, first based in Yonkers, to create an institute to support scholarly efforts. For the first time it brought together African, West Indian and Afro-American scholars. This later became the foundation for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library, on Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem.Bruce also was a mentor to Hubert Henry Harrison, the young migrant from St. Croix who became influential in black socialism and black nationalism.Bruce’s belief in an independent national destiny for blacks in the United States led him in the period around 1919 to embrace Jamaican Marcus Garvey’s Pan-African nationalism. As a member of Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), Bruce wrote for the movement’s Negro World and the Daily Negro Times.Despite his productivity, Bruce found that to sustain himself he had for most of his adult life to work for the Port of New York Authority. After he retired in 1922, he received a small pension until his death in New York City’s Bellevue Hospital two years later.Bruce was given an impressive state funeral at the UNIA Liberty Hall in New York City on August 10, 1924, and was buried in Oakland Cemetery in Yonkers. More than 5,000 people attended three services conducted that day honoring him.Bruce was a Prince Hall Mason, member of the Humane Order of African Redemption and the African Society of London, now the Royal African Society.Bruce married Florence A. Bishop of Cleveland, Ohio, on September 10, 1885, in Washington, DC. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!