Week of October 23-29

October 23

1775—The Continental Congress approves a resolution barring free Blacks from the army fighting for American independence from England. The resolution came even though many free Blacks were already fighting in the war. The motive behind the resolution came from Southern slave colonies which feared that by fighting in the war for American independence, Blacks would also demand an end to slavery.

1911—The National Urban League is formed. Next only to the NAACP, it becomes the second oldest and second largest Black self-help organization in America. It grew out of the spontaneous 20th-Century Freedom Movement for freedom and opportunity that came to be called the Black Migrations. Central to the organization’s founding were two remarkable people: Mrs. Ruth Standish Baldwin and Dr. George Edmund Haynes, who would become the Committee’s first executive secretary.

1947—The NAACP files an “Appeal To The World” with the newly found United Nations concerning racial injustice in America. For its day, the filing was a bold move on the part of the NAACP and it angered many liberal and conservative Whites.

October 24

1892—More than 25,000 Black workers are said to have joined a workers strike in New Orleans to protest working conditions, lynching and other social ills.

LangstonHughes21935—Fascist Italy invades Ethiopia—at the time, one of only two independent countries in Africa. U.S. Blacks were among thousands protesting worldwide. Powerful Harlem, N.Y., Pastor Adam Clayton Powell Sr. was among those seeking aid for Ethiopia. Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie spoke at his church.

1935—“Mulatto” opens on Broadway in New York City. The play written by famed Black poet Langston Hughes becomes the first long-run Black play on Broadway. Written during the summer of 1930, “Mulatto” is Hughes’ first full-length play. Opening on Oct. 24, at the Vanderbilt Theatre, “Mulatto” ran on Broadway for more than a year and toured for two seasons.

1948—Kweisi Mfume is born Frizzel Gray in Baltimore, Md. He became a congressman, head of the NAACP but later lost a bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

1964—The African nation of Zambia becomes independent from White colonial rule.

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