This Black History month we salute African American who made American history.
Today in black history:
On this day in 1892 the first all African American performers of the World’s Fair Colored Opera Company, appeared at Carnegie Hall featuring soprano Matilda Sissieretta Jones. The opera, including the music composition and lyrics were written by Will M Cook.
In 1923, 88 Years ago Today, the First Black pro Basketball team, The Renaissance was organize. Founded by Robert J. Douglas, now referred to as the father of black basketball, the Rens were the first full-salaried black professional basketball team. The New York or Harlem Rens, as they were commonly called, was originally known as the Spartan Braves of Brooklyn, then became the Spartan Five and finally in 1923 emerged as the Renaissance. They named the team after the famed Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem. The Rens one of the most-watched traveling teams of the era. However, 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 had to eat their post game meal on the team bus because most restaurants at the time refused to serve them because they were black. The Rens posted 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.
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.
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
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.
Here’s the legend himself, talking with Bob Costas about a trick he played on his roomate Satchel Page.
Finally, In 1988 23 Years ago Today, Keith Sweat’s “I Want Her” is the #1 Black chart single.
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