Week of Dec. 4-10
1783—General George Washington gives his famous farewell address to troops at Fraunces Tavern in New York City. The tavern was owned by a prominent Black businessman of French and West Indian descent named Samuel “Black Sam” Fraunces, who had aided the Americans in their bid to gain independence from England. After he became president, Washington hired Fraunces as his chief steward.
1807—Prince Hall dies. His was one of the most prominent Black names in colonial America. Hall was born (circa 1748) in Barbados in the West Indies and migrated to Boston. He became one of the leaders of the city’s Black community. He also became an abolitionist and a Mason. In fact, he is considered the “father of Black Masons.” He also fought in the American war for independence from England.
1906—Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. is founded on the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. It thus becomes the first Black Greek letter organization in America. It was established by seven Black students seeking to build stronger brotherhood ties and it began to spread to campuses around the nation.
1915—The Great Migration is said to have begun on this day as an estimated two million Southern Blacks begin moving to the North in search of jobs. The impetus was World War I (1914) which blocked Europeans from migrating to the United States. Thus, Northern industries were forced to recruit Southern Blacks to fill jobs to produce products for the war. The migration was the first major movement of Blacks out of the South since the Civil War and it changed the racial character of the nation.
1969—Black Panther Party leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark are killed during a police raid in Chicago. The raid was part of a national campaign against the Black Panthers. Initial reports said the two were killed during a shootout but as the years passed evidence mounted that they were, in effect, assassinated. It may have even been a Black police officer who fired the shot that killed Hampton.