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

It was on this day in black history, February 26, 1869, that the Fifteenth Amendment passed.  This was extremely important because it granted African American men the right to vote.  The amendment states that the "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

Although ratified on February 3, 1870, the promise of the 15th Amendment would not be fully realized till almost a century later.  Through the use of poll taxes, literacy tests and other means, Southern states were able to effectively disenfranchise African Americans from voting.  This STILL goes on today in 2013.  None the less, it would take the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 before the majority of African Americans in the South were registered to vote.


In 1870, Wyatt Outlaw, a Black leader of the Union League in Alamance County, N.C., Lynched.  Outlaw, was believed to be the child of white merchant Chesley Faucett and Jemimah Phillips, a free black.  He served in the Union army, in the 2nd Regiment U.S. Colored Cavalry, first in Virginia with a later in Texas along the Rio Grande.  In 1866 he attended the second freedmen’s convention in Raleigh and soon after organized the Union League in Alamance as well as a school and church.  In 1868, Gov. Holden appointed him as a town commissioner in Graham and he was elected to that post the following year. The Klan was furious by this.

Gov. W W Holden-Youtube

On Feb. 26, 1870, Outlaw was the target for a Klan mob.  He was dragged out of his home (over the cries of his young son) and hanged from the limb of an elm tree in front of the courthouse.  His mouth was slashed and a note pinned to his body read: “Beware you guilty both white and black.”

Gov. Holden, acting on authority of the Shoffner Act, declared Alamance and Caswell to be in a state of insurrection, setting in motion a sequence of events leading to his impeachment and removal in 1871.



Wormley Hotel-wikimedia

On this day in1877, a conference in the Wormley Hotel in Washington featuring  representatives of Rutherford B. Hayes and representatives of the South.  They would negotiated an agreement which paved the way for the election of Hayes as president and the withdrawal of federal troops from the South.

James Wormley-youtube

James Wormley was born free in Washington and is best known as the owner and operator of the Wormley Hotel, which opened in 1871.  Though Wormley was black, his hotel catered primarily to wealthy and politically powerful white men.

The five-story Wormley Hotel was quite nice and contained a bar, a barbershop, and an acclaimed dining room where Wormley served European-style dishes using fresh ingredients he grew on his farm.

The Wormley hotel is also famous as the site of the Wormley Conference of 1877, when representatives of Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel J. Tilden brokered a deal over the contested presidential election of 1876. The eventual result was the Compromise of 1877, which led to the removal of troops from the South and the end of Federal Reconstruction.

Congressmen James O'Hara-wikimedia

On this day in 1884 North Carolina Congressmen James O'Hara was born a free in New York City to an Irish merchant and West Indian mother.  After the Civil War, he taught at freedman’s schools in New Bern and Goldsboro, North Carolina and later studied law at Howard University in D.C.

Shortly after North Carolina’s 1868 Constitutional Convention, which reorganized state government and authorized black male voting, O'Hara was elected to the North Carolina state legislature.  In 1871 he completed his law apprenticeship and passed the North Carolina bar exam.

In 1878 O’Hara won the Republican nomination for North Carolina’s heavily black Second Congressional District.  He lost his first go around in the general election to white Democrat William Hodges Kitchin.  However, four years later he faced Kitchin again, but this time won the election by 18,000 votes.  He was re-elected in 1884.

Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson-wikimedia

On this day in 1920, Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson, known as the Father of Black History, founded "Associated Publishers."  In February 1926, he announced the institution of Negro History Week, which coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.  In 1976, the observance was expanded to "National Afro-American History Month," in honor of the nation's bicentennial.


On this day the legendary "Fats" Domino was born in New Orleans.  He was the best-selling African-American singer of the 1950s and early 60s.  Thanks to his laid back,  congenial personality, he was able to succeed despite a period of deep-seated racial segregation.

Godfrey Cambridge-youtbue

On this day in 1933, actor and comedian Godfrey Cambridge was born in New York.  He was acclaimed by TIME magazine in 1965 as "one of the country's four most celebrated Negro comedians."

Andrew Brimmer gets sworn in-wikimedia

Finally, on 1966 this day, Andrew Brimmer became the first African American governor of the Federal Reserve Board when he is appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.  While at Harvard, he also worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as an economist, and later established the central bank of the Sudan.

After graduation, Brimmer became assistant secretary of economic affairs in the U.S. Department of Commerce.  It was on this day in 1966 that Brimmer began an eight-year term on the board of governors of the Federal Reserve, becoming the first African American in that position.  In 1974, he left the Federal Reserve and taught at Harvard University for two years. Thereafter, he formed his own consulting company, Brimmer & Company.  Currently, he is a trustee of the Economists for Peace and Security.