1863—Abolitionist and “Underground Railroad Conductor” Harriet Tubman leads a force of Union Army guerrilla soldiers into Maryland and frees over 700 slaves. Tubman was one of the most noteworthy women in the anti-slavery struggle prior to the Civil War and became a leading voice in the call for the federal government to allow Blacks to fight in the war.
1899—African-Americans observe a “National Day of Fasting” to protest lynching and other racial attacks against Blacks. The day of protest was called by the National Afro-American Council.
1975—James A. Healy becomes the first Black Roman Catholic Bishop in the United States. He was consecrated at the Roman Catholic cathedral in Portland, Maine.
1904—Dr. Charles R. Drew is born. He grows up to conduct a first of its kind research in blood transfusions and the creation of blood plasma. Drew also established Britain’s first blood bank and in the United States he fought against the segregation of blood based on race. He died on April 1, 1950 as a result of injuries received in an automobile accident while driving in North Carolina.
1906—Entertainer Josephine Baker is born in St. Louis, Mo. At 16, she starred in the hit and controversial musical “Shuffle Along.” However, she did not achieve fame until she left the United States and moved to Paris, France, where her exotic dancing and singing made her an international sensation. Baker was mixed race of African-American and Native American parentage. She returned to the U.S. several times including in 1963 to speak at the Dr. Martin Luther King-led March on Washington for civil rights.