1919—Wealthy cosmetics empire owner, Madame C.J. Walker, dies on this day at her estate on Irvington-on-the-Hudson in New York. Walker is generally believed to have been the first Black millionaire in American history.
1926—Famed Jazz trumpeter and composer Miles Davis was born on this day in 1926.
1943—One of the largest White riots of the 1940s takes place in Mobile, Ala. The Whites were outraged because the owners of a local shipyard company had upgraded the status and pay of 12 Black workers.
1799—The famous Black Russian writer Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin is born in Moscow, Russia. Pushkin was of Russian and Ethiopian parentage. He was well educated and went on to become a prolific writer. Indeed, he is generally credited with being the “Father of Russian Literature.”
1949—Pamela Suzette Grier is born in Winston-Salem, N.C. Pam Grier becomes one of the premier Black actresses and one of the top sex symbols of the 1970s, playing in a host of so-called “Black exploitation movies.”
1958—Ernest Green graduates from Little Rock, Arkansas’ Central High School, becoming the first Black to do so. Green was a member of the “Little Rock Nine”—the group of Black students who first integrated the high school with the aid of federal troops.
2010—The Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University releases a stunning study showing that the typical White household had accumulated 20 times as much wealth as the typical Black household. According to the study, median White family wealth stood at roughly $100,000 while median Black family wealth was estimated at $5,000.
1936—Betty Shabazz, the widow of Black nationalist leader Malcolm X, was born on this day in Detroit, Mich. Shabazz was born Betty Jean Sanders and raised by foster parents. She attended Tuskegee Institute (now university) and became a registered nurse. In 1994, she created a national controversy when she linked Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan to the assassination of Malcolm X. However, she and Farrakhan reconciled in 1995 and she spoke at the historic Million Man March. She died June 23, 1997 as a result of injuries received in a house fire set by her grandson.
2010—A book is released revealing that during the mid-1970s when much of the world was lining up to help overthrow racist White minority rule in South Africa, Israel was attempting to aid the racist regime up to the point of providing it with chemical and nuclear weapons for possible use against the country’s majority Black population. The documents were discovered by American scholar Sasha Polakow-Suransky while researching the book “The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa.” Though seldom mentioned by American media, it was an open secret during the 1970s that Israel was one of the Apartheid regime’s closest allies. Apartheid is what the minority White government called its system of racial oppression.