For the week of April 16-22
1862—President Abraham Lincoln signs a bill ending slavery in Washington, D.C. Approximately nine months later he would issue the Emancipation Proclamation which had a highly emotional and symbolic impact but actually freed very few slaves when it was first pronounced. The Proclamation targeted slaves in the South. But at the time, Lincoln had virtually no control over the rebellious slave-owning Southern states.
1929—The now little known, but one of the grandest voices in African-American history is born on this day in Leesburg, Ga.—Roy Hamilton. Hamilton’s baritone voice made him a hit during the 1950s. His most memorable songs were “Unchained Melody” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
1947—Basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is born Lewis Alcindor in New York City. His over seven-foot frame would make him a dominant player in professional basketball.
2010—The National Center for Health Statistics releases a report showing that a whopping 72.3 percent of Black babies are born to unmarried women. The same report revealed that Hispanic women had the highest birthrate in the nation (98.6 births per 1,000 women) followed by Asian American women (71.4); Black women (71.2) and White women (59.6).