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

Marcus Garvey in 1924-Youtube

On this day in black history in 1804, New Jersey began the process of abolishing slavery.

The New Jersey Legislature approved a law calling for "gradual" emancipation of African Americans.  By doing so New Jersey actually became the last Northern state to outlaw slavery.



On February 15th in 1948 on this day Sarah Roberts was barred from a white school in her hometown of Boston.  Her father, Benjamin Roberts, filed the first school integration suit on her behalf known as Roberts v. Boston.  The lawsuit would be the first of it's kind seeking to end racial discrimination in Boston public schools.  However, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of Boston, finding no constitutional basis for the suit.  This matter would later go before the US Supreme Court in a separate case Plessy v. Ferguson, which established the "separate but equal" law.

Separate but equal was a legal practice in the U.S., that justified systems of segregation. Under this doctrine, services, facilities and public accommodations were allowed to be separated by race, on the condition that the quality of each group's public facilities was to remain equal. The phrase was derived from a Louisiana law of 1890, although the law actually used the phrase "equal but separate.


Shadrach Minkins-youtube

Black and white abolitionists invaded Boston courtroom on February 15, 1851 and rescued Shadrach Minkins a free man of color being forced into slavery.  Here is his story.

Sale for Shadrach Minkins-Youtube



Henry Lewis-wikimedia

Henry Lewis broke racial barriers on this day in 1968, when he was named director of the New Jersey Symphony.  He became the first Black conductor and music director of a major American orchestra. He also was the first African-American to conduct at New York's world-famous Metropolitan Opera.

New York's world-famous Metropolitan Opera-Youtube

Born Oct. 16, 1932, in Los Angeles, he began studying piano at five and later played the clarinet and several string instruments.  At age 16, he became a double-bassist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and for the Seventh Army Symphony, which he also conducted in Germany while serving in the military overseas.  Lewis founded the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra after his discharge, but gained national recognition in 1961 when he was appointed assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.

When Lewis joined the New Jersey Symphony, it was a small community ensemble. He transformed it into a major orchestra, with "a $1.5 million budget, a 100-concert season and a glow of prestige that took it to Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington and other famed halls," according to The New York Times.

After a career that spanned 47 years, Lewis died on Jan. 29, 1996, at age 63.


Last but not least, nobody did it like the mighty Louis Armstrong.  It was on this day in 1964 that his legendary hit "Hello Dolly" went to number 1.  Believe it or not, this was his ONLY number one record.  Here he is performing "Hello Dolly" live!