A former slave Robert Smalls became a ship’s pilot, sea captain, and politician. He even freed himself, his crew and their families from slavery on May 13, 1862, by stealing a Confederate ship, the CSS Planter, in Charleston harbor. It was do to his persuasion that President Lincoln accepted African-American soldiers into the Union Army.
Stokes began practicing law in Cleveland in 1953 and argued against the seminal “stop and frisk” case of Terry v. Ohio before the United States Supreme Court in 1968. He was elected to the house in 1968 and represented the 21st District of Ohio on Cleveland’s East Side. Stokes served 15 terms in total before retiring in 1999.
1929- Baseball great Elston Gene Howard is born.
Baseball catcher Elston Gene Howard became the highest paid baseball player in the history of the game when he signed a $70,000 contract with the NY Yankees in1965.
1965- Constance Baker Motley elected Manhattan Borough President.
Motley became the first African American woman elected to the New York State Senate in 1964. In 1965, she was named ManhattanBorough President and became the first woman in that position. In 1966, she also became the first African American woman federal court judge thanks to President Lyndon Johnson a position she held, including a term as chief judge, until her death
1995- Melvin Franklin died.
A member of the legendary Temptations, Melvin Franklin had one of the most famous bass singers of all time. In the late 1960s, he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, but managed to continue to perform with cortisone treatment. However the constant use left his immune system open to other infections and health problems. As a result Franklin developed diabetes and later contracted necrotizing fasciitis. In 1978 he was shot in the hand and the leg while trying to stop a man from stealing his car in Los Angeles.From there his health got worse and after a series of seizures, Melvin lapsed into a coma and remained unconscious until his death on February 23, 1995.
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