1924—The sensational Jazz singer Sarah Vaughn was born on this day in Newark, N.J.
1970—Mariah Carey was born on this day in Long Island, N.Y. Her parents are of Irish/African-American/Venezuelan background. Carey came to prominence after releasing her self-titled debut studio album “Mariah Carey” in 1990; it went multiplatinum and spawned four consecutive number one singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Under the guidance of Columbia Records executive and later husband Tommy Mottola, she continued booking success with followup albums “Emotions” (1991), “Music Box” (1993), and “Merry Christmas” (1994), Carey was established as Columbia’s highest-selling act. In 1998, she was honored as the world’s best-selling recording artist of the 1990s at the World Music Awards. She married actor/comedian Nick Cannon in 2008. She lists Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder as her favorite singers.
1900—The British demand the Ashanti Golden Stool. Ironically, the Ashanti had been one of the tribes which had actually benefited from slavery by capturing and selling their fellow Africans. But when the slave trade ended, the British turned on the Ashanti in a bid to colonize the Gold Coast (now Ghana). In an apparent attempt to demoralize and humiliate the Ashanti, the British demanded that they turnover one of their greatest symbols—the Golden Stool. The demand led to war. The Ashanti were led by Queen Yaa Asantewa. Her fighters kept the British at bay for several months. But with superior fire power, the British eventually prevailed.
1972—The two surviving Soledad Brothers are found not guilty by an all White jury in the alleged killing of a White guard at the California prison. The other Soledad Brother, revolutionary writer George Jackson, had been killed during an August 1971 Marin County Courthouse escape attempt, which also led to charges against college professor and communist Angela Davis. Davis was also eventually acquitted.
1984—Dr. Benjamin Mays dies. The president of Atlanta’s Morehouse College had been one of the leading Black educational figures in America during the 20th century.
1981—Dr. Eric Williams, prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, dies in Port of Spain at the age of 79. Williams was a historian and his classic work was “Capitalism and Slavery.”