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This Week In Black History July 26 – August 1, 2023

Rev. Ike

  • JULY 26

1847—President Joseph J. Rob­erts declares the West African nation of Liberia an indepen­dent republic. The nation was primarily founded by former U.S. slaves returning to Africa. Roberts, himself, was born in Virginia. Three factors were behind the founding of Liberia beginning around 1821. Free Blacks were coming under in­creasing discrimination in America; pro-slavery forces felt the presence of free Blacks would encourage re­bellion within the slave population; and friendly Whites (like those in the American Colonization Soci­ety—ACS) felt Blacks would never be treated fairly in America and should return to Africa. The ACS helped more than 13,000 Blacks return to Africa with most going to Liberia.

1926—The NAACP awards its prestigious Spingarn Medal to Carter G. Woodson for his work in Black History. Indeed, Woodson be­came known as the “Father of Black History.” The historian, author and journalist founded Negro History Week—the precursor to today’s Black History Month. Woodson felt knowing true Black history would be an inspiration to people of Afri­can ancestry. He once wrote: “Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.”

  • JULY 27

1919—The infamous Chicago Race Riot of 1919 begins. It would last for several days and require 6,000 Na­tional Guardsmen to put it down. The Chicago disturbance was the bloodi­est of 25 race riots which took place in cities throughout the country. In fact, the summer of 1919 became known as the “Red Summer” because of the wide spread number of racial conflicts. In Chicago, the rioting was started by White gangs harassing the large number of Blacks who had moved to the city for wartime jobs created by World War I. In addition to harassing and beating Blacks, the White gangs invented “drive-by shooting” as they drove through Black neighborhoods firing rifles and pistols. Young Blacks formed mobs of their own and began retaliating. When it was all over 15 Whites and 23 Blacks were dead; more than 500 people had been injured and another 1,000 left homeless.

  • JULY 28

1868—The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified formally making former Black slaves citizens of the United States. Many scholars con­sider this the most important amend­ment to the Constitution. In addition to making Blacks citizens, it contains both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause. These claus­es have been used to guarantee a wide range of rights for all U.S. citizens. The 14th Amendment was passed, in part, to overturn the “Black Codes” being adopted in many Southern states after the Civil War. The Black Codes were an attempt to give Blacks official second class status in America by, among oth­er things, limiting their rights to vote, sue a White person or testify in court.

1915—United States Marines begin the first American occupation of Hai­ti. The official justification was that dis­turbances on the predominantly Black island might allow Germany’s Adolph Hitler to infiltrate troops into the Amer­icas. But the U.S. invasion was driven in large measure by a desire to put down a popular rebellion which threat­ened the rule of Haiti’s dictator and American business interests. More than 2,000 Haitians were killed in the early weeks of the occupation which did not end until August of 1934.

1917—The NAACP organizes an 8,000-person strong “silent march” down New York’s Fifth Avenue to protest lynching and other brutalities against African Americans. The march­ers were particularly outraged by the July 2, 1917 massacre of Blacks in East St. Louis, Ill. President Woodrow Wil­son (considered by many Blacks to be a racist) had just taken America into World War I under the theme of “Mak­ing the World Safe for Democracy.” Many of the marchers carried signs reading “Mr. President, why not make America safe for democracy?”


2009—Death of the flamboyant Rev. Ike is announced. At his height in the mid-1970s, Rev. Frederick J. Eikeren­koetter reached an estimated 2.5 mil­lion African Americans with his New York-based spiritual and financial betterment radio program. However, critics often described him as a “hus­tler” and a “scoundrel” who exploited poor Blacks by selling “healings” and “prayer clothes.” He died in California but was born in Ridgeland, S.C.

  • JULY 29

1870—Pioneering boxer George Dix­on is born in Nova Scotia, Canada. Lit­tle is known today but Dixon had an absolutely amazing boxing career. He pioneered much of modern boxing in­cluding training techniques such as the suspended punching bag and shadow boxing. He was the first Black person to win a world boxing title. Dixon was known as “Little Chocolate” because he stood only 5’3” tall and weighed around 90 pounds. Despite his dimin­utive size he won 78 fights—30 by knock out. He was known for his light­ning fast speed. Dixon died in New York in 1909. He is buried in Boston, Mass.

  • JULY 30

1863—President Abraham Lincoln issues his famous “eye-for-an-eye” order. The order was basically a threat aimed at stopping the Confederate practice of killing captured Black sol­diers instead of imprisoning them. Lin­coln threatened to kill one captured rebel soldier for every Black soldier killed by the Confederates. In addition, he pledged to condemn one captured rebel soldier to life in prison at hard labor for every captured Black sol­dier sold into slavery by the rebelling Southerners. The order did not stop the Confederate practice of killing captured Black soldiers, but it did have a restraining effect.


1945—Activist minister Adam Clay­ton Powell Jr. is elected to Congress from Harlem, N.Y., becoming one of only two Blacks in Congress. The other was William Dawson of Chicago. Pow­ell, however, would become the first truly powerful Black political figure on Capitol Hill. By 1961, he headed the in­fluential Education and Labor Commit­tee in the House of Representatives. Powell would steer more than 50 piec­es of legislation through Congress. He also passed legislation making lynch­ing a federal crime and bills to deseg­regate public schools and the military. In addition, he almost single handedly stopped Southern Congressmen from using the word “Nigger” during ses­sions of Congress. Despite his politi­cal influence, Powell constantly main­tained that “Mass action is the most powerful force on earth.” He died on April 4, 1972.

  • JULY 31

1874—Father Patrick Francis Healy becomes the first Black president of a major White university when he is inaugurated on this day as president of Georgetown University. Healy was also the first African American to earn a PhD. However, racial prejudice forced him to earn his degree in Europe not the United States. Healy was born in Macon, Ga., in 1834 to a Black slave woman and a White plantation owner who decided to acknowledge his five bi-racial children. They were all sent north to be educated. Although some felt he could have passed for White, Healy openly acknowledged his Afri­can ancestry. Healy died in 1910.

1960—Nation of Islam founder  calls for an all-Black state in America during a speech in New York City. Muhammad was a fear­less critic of American discrimination against and the mistreatment of Blacks and he also advocated independent, Black owned businesses, institutions and religion.

1961—One of Hollywood’s most tal­ented and versatile performers and the recipient of a truckload of NAACP Image awards, Laurence John Fish­burne III is born on this day in Augus­ta, Ga. He began his acting career in his first play, “In My Many Names and Days,” at the age of 10.

  • AUGUST 1

1619—This is possibly the day that the history of Blacks in America begins. However, no one knows for sure the ex­act day that the ship arrived in James­town, Va., carrying at least 20 Africans who were sold as indentured servants. There is some authority that the ship arrived in late August. All that appears certain is that the month was August and the year was 1619—the beginning of Black history in America.

1834Slavery is officially abolished in all British territories. It would take anoth­er 31 years and a Civil War before it was abolished in America.

1920—The national convention of Mar­cus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improve­ment Association begins at Liberty Hall in Harlem, N.Y. The next night Garvey addresses more than 25,000 Blacks at Madison Square Garden. This period represented the height of the Garvey movement and the Black nationalism (non-integration with Whites) tendency within Black America. Garvey built the largest Black mass movement in histo­ry advocating Black pride, independent Black businesses and institutions as well as a strong and united Africa. He also brought motivation and showmanship unlike that of any other Black organiza­tion before or since.

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