Week of October 16-22
1849—The man considered the first Black historian in America is born. His name was George Washington Williams. He was also the first African-American to serve in the Ohio legislature. He died in Blackpool, England, in August 1891.
1855—John Mercer Langston, probably the first Black elected to public office in America—wins the race for Clerk of the Brownhelm Township, Lorain County, Ohio.
1876—Race riot in Cainhoy, S.C., leaves five Whites and one Black dead.
1895—The nation’s leading African-American medical group—National Medical Association—is founded in Atlanta, Ga.
1901—Booker T. Washington becomes the first Black leader to dine at the White House with the president when Theodore Roosevelt invites him. Some Black leaders charge Washington’s invitation was a result of his policies which they charge tended to accommodate racism. Nevertheless, the invitation and dinner served to crown Washington as the Black leader of the period.
1917—One of the most unsung heroes of the Civil Rights Movement, Fannie Lou Hamer, is born in Montgomery County, Miss. Her famous and most oft-repeated quote: “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
1940—Benjamin Oliver Davis Sr. is named the first Black general in the regular U.S. Army. Davis died in 1970 at the age of 90.
1968—Sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith give the clenched-fist Black power salute when accepting their medals at the Mexico City Olympics as a protest against racism in America. Sadly, the two sprinters would become involved in a personal dispute years later. A White Australian sprinter also wore a human rights badge in support of their protest.
1973—Maynard Jackson, elected the first Black mayor of Atlanta, Ga., dies of a heart attack while on a visit to Washington, D.C., in 2003.
1984—Bishop Desmond Tutu awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end White minority rule in South Africa.
1995—Nation of Islam leader Min. Louis Farrakhan leads the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. More than a million Black men gather to “atone” and organize. No permanent organizational efforts resulted from the historic gathering.