1856—Journalist and fiery advocate for Black rights T. Thomas Fortune is born in Marianna, Jackson County, Fla. He was an orator, journalist and militant civil rights advocate. He attended school at Howard University in Washington, D.C., but later moved to New York City where he founded the New York Age newspaper. Fortune died in Philadelphia at the age of 71 in 1928.
1935—The then-independent East African nation of Ethiopia is invaded by fascist Italy in an attempt to join other European nations which had used military force to establish colonies in Africa and exploit its economic resources. Blacks throughout the world rallied to Ethiopia’s defense, in part, because the nation was viewed by many as the place on Earth where human life began. The U.S. effort was led by prominent Harlem, N.Y., minister Adam Clayton Powell Sr.
1949—One of the first Black-owned radio stations in America begins broadcasting in Atlanta, Ga. The principal organizing force behind WERD was businessman J.B. Blayton.
1995—Former professional football great O.J. Simpson is found not guilty of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman. The trial had been a national sensation. The verdict angered a majority of Whites. Polls showed that better than 80 percent of Whites surveyed felt Simpson got away with murder.
1864—What was to become the nation’s first Black daily newspaper began publishing on this day in New Orleans, La. Amazingly, the New Orleans Tribune began distribution while slavery still existed. It was founded by Dr. Louis C. Reudanez. It began as a tri-weekly but soon became a daily published in both French and English.
1969—Howard Lee and Charles Evers became the first Black mayors of Chapel Hill, N.C., and Fayette, Miss., respectively. Evers was the brother of civil rights legend Medgar Evers who was murdered by Ku Klux Klan member Byron De La Beckwith on June 12, 1963.
1988—The Martin Luther King Jr. federal building is dedicated in Atlanta, Ga. It thus became the first federal building to bear the name of the slain civil rights leader.