Week of November 2-8, 2016
1889—The last great African king is crowned. Menelik II became “Negusa Nagast” (King of Kings) of Abyssinia (Ethiopia). At that time Abyssinia included not only present day Ethiopia, but parts of Kenya, Somalia and the Sudan. European colonialism would weaken and reduce the size of the kingdom. Menelik could trace his heritage back to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba of the Christian Bible.
1903—Maggie L. Walker opens the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond, Va. Walker was one of the most accomplished business women in Black American history having founded a bank, a newspaper, other businesses and a political party known as the Lily Black. Constant refrain in her speeches was “Let us put our money together…and reap the benefits.”
1930—Haile Selassie is crowned emperor of Ethiopia after the death of Ethiopian Empress Zawditu. Tracing his lineage back to the Bible’s King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, some Blacks (most notably the Jamaican Rastafarians) consider him a god. Selassie’s name prior to being crowned emperor was Raz Tafari.
1983—Conservative Republican President Ronald Reagan signs the law that designates the third Monday in January as Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Shortly after the signing, he angers some Blacks when in response to a reporter’s question he suggests that King may have been a communist.