1. 1937-Actor Billy Dee Williams, known in such works as “Mahogany” and two “Star Wars” sequels, was born in New York City.
  2. 1931-First Scottsboro trial began in Scottsboro, Alabama. Trial of nine Black youths accused of raping two white women on a freight train became a cause celebre’.
  3. 1917-A Policy of Segregation. America entered World War I. President Wilson, who had just inaugurated a policy of segregation in government agencies, told Congress that “the world must be made safe for democracy.”
  4. 1909-Matthew Henson reached the North Pole. Traveling with the Admiral Peary Expedition, Henson, with his exceptional navigational skills managed to reach the North Pole almost 45 minutes before Peay and the rest of the men.
  5. 1869-Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett, Principal of the Institute for Colored Youth, Philadelphia, named minister to Haiti and became the first major Black diplomat and the first American Black to receive a major appointment from the United States government.
  6. 1846-Dred Scott and his wife Harriet filed suit against Irene Emerson for their freedom. The Dred Scott case was first brought to trial in 1847 in the first floor, west wing courtroom of St. Louis’ Courthouse. A black slave from Missouri who claimed his freedom on the basis of seven years of residence in a free state and a free territory.
  7. 1830-First Black Roman Catholic. James Augustine Healy, first Black Roman Catholic bishop in America, born to Irish planter and slave on plantation near Macon, Georgia.
  8. 1798- James Beckwourth, Pioneer/fur trader was born in Fredricksburg, VA to white master and Black slave mother. Moved to St. Louis as a teen and became a scout with the Rocky Mount Fur Co. In 1824 he was adopted the Crow Indian Nation and married a Crow woman. He was given two Indian names “Bloody Arm” and ‘Bulls Robe” and fought many wars with them. He later moved west and discovered Beckwourth Pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Jim-Beckwourth-stamp