This Black History month we salute African American who made American history.

Today in black history:

The greatest basketball team you never heard of, the New York/Harlem Rens-Youtube

This Black History month we salute African American who made American history.  Today in black history:

Matilda Sissieretta Jones-Youtube
On this day in 1892 the first all African American performers of the World's Fair Colored Opera Company, appeared at Carnegie Hall.  The show featured soprano Matilda Sissieretta Jones, also known as "The Black Patti." This was not a reference to Patti LaBelle either.
The renowned singer was given the nickname as a reference to Italian opera singer Adelina Patti. The opera, including the music composition and lyrics, were written by William Mercer Cook.
New York Renaissance-wikimedia
1925 photo of New York Rens-wikimedia
In 1923, 94 Years ago Today, the First Black pro Basketball team, The Renaissance also known as the Rens or Renaissance Big Five was organized.  Founded by Robert J. Douglas, better known as the father of black basketball, the Rens were a form of entertainment at the Renaissance Casino and Ballroom.

The Rens were the first full-salaried black professional basketball team.  They were originally known as the Spartan Braves of Brooklyn, then the Spartan Five.  In 1923 they changed their name for the last time to The Renaissanceafter the famed Ballroom. The Rens were one of the most-watched traveling teams of the era.  White fans would fill auditoriums to root against them.  They would constantly insult them, throw things and sometimes spit on them.  When the games were finished, the team even had to eat their post game meal on the team bus.  Because they were black most restaurants refused to serve them.  With a 112-7 record, in 1939 and became the first all-black professional team to win a world title in any sport when they defeated the Oshkosh All-Stars of the National Basketball League in the World Pro Tournament in Chicago.

Still owned by Douglas, the Rens played their last game against the Denver Nuggets on March 21, 1949in Rockford, Illinois. Their lifetime record was 2,588-529.Unlike the enormous salaries NBA players make today, back in the day The Rens road secretary, Eric Illidge, had to carry a tabulator and personally count fans in the stands because the team was usually paid a percentage of the gate.

Believe it or not, the all-white Original Celtics -- refused to join the American Basketball League in 1925, because the league did not invite the black club to join. To those who marveled at the Rens' success amidst so much hatred and adversity, the teams security guard Eric Illidge said, "We would not let anyone -- deny us our right to make a living."

On this day, founded February 13, 1957 the Southern Christian Leadership Conference organized at a meeting in New Orleans.  The following day, Martin Luther King Jr. was named president of the organization and the rest is pretty much history.
Joeseph Searles-Youtube
On this day in 1970, Joesph Searles became the first black member of the New York Stock Exchange.  raised in Ft. Hood, Texas.  Standing at 5”11, 145 lb he was build for football.  Searles attended Killeen High School during the school’s first year of integration and became its first black player.  He continued his football career and quickly became a star player while attending Kansas State University.  After KSU, he graduated from George Washington University Law school and then headed to the pros to play for the New York Giants in the 1960s.
Searles was among the few in the league during the civil rights era, and was paid a salary of $14,000. His success, his afro and green Jaguar made a lot of white people uncomfortable.  So much so, he was asked to cut his hair and hide his car when arriving at practice.
Joesph Searles only played for the Giants until 1967. Soon after he entered politics and began working for Mayor John Lindsey.  Searles had two gubernatorial appointments as Chairman and Director of the State of New York Mortgage Agency where he was responsible for municipal housing issues totaling more than $600 million. So, he was real good with numbers.  After 3 years Searles quit his job with Lindsay and took on the NY Stock Exchange as its first black floor trader.
Frederick Douglas-youtube

In 1972, 39 Years ago Today, the last home of Frederick Douglass, located in Washington D.C.,  was dedicated as a National Shrine.

It was 38 years ago today in 1973 that Gertrude E. Downing and William Desjardin Patented the reciprocating corner and baseboard cleaning apparatus for rotary floor treatment machines. Patent No. 3,715,772

James "Cool Papa" Bell-Youtube

In 1974, 37 Years ago Today, James “Cool Papa” Bell, (Negro League Baseball Player) is named to baseball’s Hall of Fame. Bell played for the St. Louis Stars, Detroit Wolves, Kansas City Monarchs, Homestead Grays and Detroit Senators.  He was so fast, he once stole two bases on one pitch and scored second on a sacrifice fly.

James "Cool Papa" Bell-youtube

Here's the legend himself, talking with Bob Costas about a trick he played on his roommate Satchel Page.

Finally 29-years ago in 1988 Keith Sweat’s single, I Want Her, went #1.