ELLA FITZGERALD

Week of April 19-25

April 19

1910—The National Urban League is formed in New York City. It was born out of a merger of the National League for the Protection of Colored Women, National League on Urban Conditions among Negroes and remnants of the Niagara Movement which had earlier help found the NAACP. Among the leading organizers were Ruth Standish Baldwin and George Edmund Haynes. The organization was founded in part to be more focused on economic issues affecting Blacks than the NAACP. Today, it is generally considered the nation’s second most powerful civil rights organization after the NAACP.

WALTER FAUNTROY

1971—Walter Fauntroy becomes the first elected Congressional representative from the predominantly Black District of Columbia since Reconstruction. However, Fauntroy did not have voting rights. Indeed, down to this day, the Congressional Representative from Washington, D.C., is still not allowed to vote on major legislation. This bar was once common among capitol cities. But today, America stands virtually alone among major nations in barring the residents of its capitol city from having a voting representative in its national legislature. Critics argue that the bar continues because the city is majority African-American.

MAX ROBINSON

1978—Max Robinson becomes the first African-American anchor of a major network television news program when he begins co-anchoring ABC nightly news from Chicago. The Richmond, Va., native died of AIDS in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 20, 1988.

April 20

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DUKE ELLINGTON

1871—The Third Enforcement Act is enacted. The Act was designed to give the president greater powers to suppress the actions of terrorist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, as they attempted to stop Blacks from voting. In some instances, the racist groups used armed force to drive out integrated governments in several Southern cities. Under the Act, the president could declare such activities “rebellion against the government” and employ federal troops to restore order.

1899—Jazz great Edward “Duke” Ellington is born in Washington, D.C. Ellington was perhaps the greatest of the Jazz pioneers, popularizing Jazz with his performances, composing and his role as a bandleader. Ellington died in 1974.

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