For the Week of August 31-September 6
1935—Frank Robinson, the first African American to manage a major league baseball team, was born on this day in Beaumont, Texas. Robinson became player-manager of the Cleveland Indians in 1975. He kept the job for about a year. He became manager of the San Francisco Giants in 1980.
2002—Jazz great Lionel Hampton died on this day at the age of 94. Hampton gained international fame as a “big band” leader and for his amazing abilities playing the vibraphone.
1975—General Daniel “Chappie” James becomes the nation’s first Black four-star general and takes command of the North American Air Defense Command. The position made him a key player in the nation’s nuclear defense system. James was born in Pensacola, Fla., and died at the relatively young age of 57 in 1978.
1977—Legendary actress and Blues and Gospel singer Ethel Waters dies at the age of 80 in Chatsworth, Calif. Born in Chester, Pa., Waters became the second African American in history to be nominated for an Academy Award. For many Blacks, however, she was best known for her singing. The song which gained her the greatest popularity was the spiritual “His Eye is on the Sparrow…So I know He Watches Me.”