1810 - The Argentine national hero from Buenos Aires, Argentina,
Antonio Ruiz (El Negro Falucho), joins the ancestors, fighting
for his country.
1820 - The first organized emigration back to Africa begins when
86 free African Americans leave New York Harbor aboard the
Mayflower of Liberia. They are bound for the British colony
of Sierra Leone, which welcomes free African Americans as well as fugitive slaves.
1867 - The Anglo-American merchant George Peabody, founds the $ 2 million Peabody Education Fund. It is the first philanthropy
established in the wake of the Civil War to promote free public
education in 12 Civil War devastated southern states for whites and African Americans. The Peabody Fund will provide funding for construction, endowments, scholarships, teacher and industrial education for newly freed slaves.
1898 - Haywood Hall is born in South Omaha, Nebraska. After
relocating to Minneapolis, Minnesota with his family, he will
join the U.S. Army. He will serve with the 370th Infantry in
France during World War I. Returning to Chicago, Illinois after
the war, he will be active as a Black Nationalist, becoming a
member of the African Blood Brotherhood and the Communist Party of the USA. In 1925, he will adopt the pseudonym, Harry
Haywood. He will be a leading proponent of Black Nationalism,
self-determination, and the idea that American Blacks are a
colonized people who should organize themselves into a nation. From 1926 to 1930, he will study in the Soviet Union, where he will meet several anti-colonial revolutionaries, including
Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh. On his return to the U.S. in 1931, he
will be chosen to lead the Communist Party's Negro Department, and in 1934 will be elected a member of its politburo. The Spanish Civil War will take him to Spain in 1937, where he
will fight in a volunteer Communist brigade against General
Francisco Franco's fascist regime. During World War II, his
belief in black self-determination and territorial autonomy
will put him at odds with Communist Party policy, which had
gravitated away from support for a Black nation in the American south. His agitation on "The Negro Question" led to his
expulsion from the Party in 1959. He will remain in Chicago,
supporting Black Nationalist movements such as the Nation of
Islam. He will publish "Negro Liberation" (1948), a detailed
analysis of the national character of Black oppression,
particularly in the South. In his later years he will write
his memoirs, "Black Bolshevik: Autobiography of an Afro-
American Communist" (1978). Harry Haywood's greatest
contribution will be his central role in developing a
theoretical understanding of the Black nation in the United
States. He will join the ancestors in January, 1985.
1898 - Melvin B. Tolson, author and educator, is born in Moberly,
Missouri. Educated at Fisk, Lincoln, and Columbia
Universities, his first volume of poetry, "Rendezvous with
America," will be published in 1944. He will be best known
for "Libretto for the Republic of Liberia," published in
1931 - The Harlem Experimental Theatre Group performs its first play at St. Philips Parish House. The group's advisory board
includes famed actress Rose McClendon, author Jesse Fauset,
and Grace Nail.
1933 - Walter E. Fauntroy is born in Washington, DC. He will become a
civil rights leader and minister. He will later become the
non-voting delegate to the United States Congress for the
District of Columbia from 1971 to 1991.
1945 - Robert Nesta Marley is born in St. Ann, Jamaica to Captain
Norval and Cedella Marley. He will become a successful singer along with his group, The Wailers. Bob Marley and The Wailers were among the earliest to sing Reggae, a blend of Jamaican dance music and American Rhythm & Blues with a heavy dose of Rastafarianism, the Jamaican religion that blends Christian and African teachings. He will join the ancestors in 1981 at the
age of 36, succumbing to cancer. As a result of his
accomplishments, he will be awarded Jamaica's Order Of Merit, the nation's third highest honor, (April, 1981) in recognition
of his outstanding contribution to the country's culture. He
will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.
1961 - The "jail-in" movement starts in Rock Hill, South Carolina,
when arrested students demand to be jailed rather than pay
1993 - Arthur Ashe, tennis champion, joins the ancestors at the age of 49. He succumbs from complications of AIDS, contracted from a transfusion during a earlier heart surgery.
*Julius Lester was born on this date in 1939. He is an African American educator, musician and writer.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, he is the son of a Methodist minister. As a teenager, Lester lived in Nashville, Tennessee, spending most summers at his grandmother's farm in Arkansas. Growing up, he wanted to be a musician. In 1960, Lester graduated from Fisk University with a degree in English. Moving to New York City, he recorded two albums, performed with Pete Seeger, Phil Ochs, and Judy Collins, and worked as a radio announcer. His first book was The 12-String Guitar as Played by Leadbelly: an Instructional Manual, dealt with Black folk music.
He also was active in the Civil Rights movement, joining the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee as head of their photo department. Since then his photographs from that time have been included in an exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution and are part of the permanent collection at Howard University. Some of his photographs have been in group shows at Pivot Media, Florence, Mass., and Valley Photographers, Springfield, Mass. In 1969, Lester published two works as a children's author. They were To Be a Slave, and Black Folktales. His subsequent writings continued to show his interest in African American history, folklore, and politics.
Over the years, he has published 35 books; 7 non-fiction, 1 book of poetry, 2 novels, and 25 children's books. Among the awards these books have received are the Newberry Honor Medal, the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, National Book Award Finalist, National Jewish Book Award Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, and Boston Globe/Horn Book Award. Numerous titles have also appeared on the New York Times Outstanding Book list and American Library Association Notable Book list. Lester also has published over 200 hundred essays and reviews in such publications as the New York Times Book Review, New York Times Op-Ed Page, Boston Globe, Village Voice, The New Republic, Forward, and the Los Angeles Times Book Review.
Lester joined the faculty of the University of Massachusetts in 1971 and is currently a professor in the Judaic and Near Eastern Studies Department, and adjunct professor of History. In 1974, while on retreat at the Trappist monasteryin Spencer, Massachusetts, one of the monks told him, "When you know the name by which God knows you, you will know who you are." Lester searched with the passion of one seeking the Eternal Beloved. He found that his name was Yaakov Daniel Ben Avraham v'Sarah. And that he was a Jew; he converted to Judaism during that time.
Lester has been honored with all three of the university's most prestigious faculty awards: The Distinguished Teacher's Award, the Faculty Fellowship Award for Distinguished Research and Scholarship, and the Chancellor's Medal, the university's highest honor. The Council for Advancement and Support of Education selected him as the Massachusetts State Professor of the Year in 1988. Also for ten years he was lay religious leader of Beth El Synagogue in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.
Julius Lester has five children and lives with his wife and one cat on a secluded twelve acres in a small town in western Massachusetts.