October 5

1867—The first Black mayor of any American city takes office. His name was Monroe Baker. The prominent businessman was appointed mayor of St. Martin, La., two years after the end of slavery.

October 6

FannieLouHamer1847—The first National Black Convention takes place in Troy, N.Y. There were over 100 delegates in attendance from at least nine states. Top items on the agenda included determining ways to help end slavery and encouraging free Blacks to refuse to purchase products produced by slave labor. Frederick Douglass frequently makes note of the convention because one of its aims was to organize independent Black power and “not depend on Whites and hope” to free Blacks.

1871—The now world famous Fisk Jubilee Singers begin their first national tour. The tours helped raise funds for Nashville, Tenn.’s, predominately Black Fisk University as well as give the school an international reputation.

1917—Activist Fannie Lou Hamer is born in Montgomery County, Miss. She goes on to become one of the major female figures in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Nevertheless, she remains one of the movement’s most effective unsung heroes. As to why she became involved in the movement for Black freedom, dignity and political rights, she would often say in reference to injustice, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

1971—The first legal interracial marriage takes place in North Carolina. A Black man, John Wilkinson, marries a White woman, Lorraine Mary Turner. The marriage came a few years after the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Loving v. Virginia, that ruled legal barriers to interracial marriage, which existed in most Southern states, were unconstitutional.

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