July – This Month In Black American History

By Guest Blogger Yahtzeebutterfly

Each month, Yahtzeebutterfly writes a This month in Black American History.  Throughout the month, she updates in the comment section.  Your contributions and discussions are welcomed.


July 2, 1908 – Thurgood Marshall


July 6, 1931 –   Singer and actress Della Reese



July 7, 1915 –  Writer and poet Margaret Walker

Former Georgia Court Justice Leah Ward Sears tells of the impact of Margaret Walker’s poem “For My People” and then reads the poem:


July 10, 1875 – Educator, civil rights activist, presidential advisor Mary McLeod Bethune in Mayesville, South Carolina


July 14, 1941 – Professor and activist Maulana Karena, founder of the Kwanzaa celebration


July 16, 1862 – Sociologist, journalist and anti-lynching activist and suffragist, Ida B. Wells who had been born a slave.  She was one of the founders of the NAACP.


Quotations of Ida B. Wells:

“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”

“The appeal to the White man’s pocket has been more effectual than all the appeals ever made to his conscience.”

“The White man’s victory soon became complete by fraud, violence, intimidation and murder.

July 17, 1871 – James Weldon Johnson…lawyer, poet, novelist, educator, diplomat and civil rights activist.



In 1899 James Weldon Johnson wrote “Lift Every Voice and Sing” which his brother John Rosamond Johnson set to music in 1900.


Throughout his life, James Weldon Johnson was involved in civil rights as a speaker, writer and newspaper editor.  In 1895 he started the “Daily American” newspaper “at a time when southern legislatures were passing laws and constitutions that disfranchised blacks and [also] Jim Crow laws to impose racial segregation.”(Wikipedia) Unfortunately the newspaper, which covered racial issues and political topics only lasted a year due to financial problems.

Mr. Johnson went on to become a field secretary, organizer and, later, executive secretary for the NAACP.  He organized the July 28, 1917 silent, anti-lynching protest march of 10,000 African Americans down Fifth Avenue in New York City.



July 19, 1875 – Activist, poet and journalist Alice Dunbar


July 30, 1961 – Happy Birthday, Laurence Fishburne!

One of my favorite scenes (Laurence Fishbone playing Morpheus in “The Matrix”)


July 31, 1921 – Whitney Young in Shelby County, Kentucky

According to Wikipedia, Whitney Young “spent most of his career working to end employment discrimination in the United States and turning the National Urban League from a relatively passive civil rights organization into one that aggressively worked for equitable access to socioeconomic opportunity for the historically disenfranchised.”

Laws, Judicial Decisions, Events

July 2, 1964 – The Civil Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.



July 5, 1852 – Frederick Douglass delivered his speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” at a time when around 3.5 million African Americans were enslaved.

Following is a reenactment of Frederick Douglass’ speech by Phil Darius Wallace:


July 6, 1957 – Althea Gibson won Wimbledon women’s singles tournament


July 9, 1868Adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

“The 14th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on July 9, 1868, and granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” which included former slaves recently freed.  In addition, it forbids states from denying any person “life, liberty or property, without due process of the law” or to “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”


July 17, 1862Confiscation Act of 1862

(This act formed the legal basis for Emancipation Proclamation)

July 25, 1916 – Using his invention of the gas mask, Garrett Morgan rescued men who were trapped in a tunnel 250 feet under Lake Erie.


July 26, 1948 – President Harry Truman used an executive order to desegregate the armed forces.




Posted on 07/18/2016, in Black History Month and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. yahtzeebutterfly

    July 18, 1863

    The regiment gained recognition on July 18, 1863, when it spearheaded an assault on Fort Wagner near Charleston, South Carolina. 272 of the 600 men who charged Fort Wagner were “killed, wounded or captured.”] At this battle Colonel Shaw was killed, along with 29 of his men; 24 more later died of wounds, 15 were captured, 52 were missing in action and never accounted for, and 149 were wounded.

  2. yahtzeebutterfly

  3. yahtzeebutterfly

  4. yahtzeebutterfly

    The first daily African American newspaper, The New Orleans Tribune was founded on July 21, 1864 by Dr. Charles L. Roundasez. It was published in both English and French.

    From article at this link – http://www.blackpast.org/aah/la-tribune-de-la-nouvelle-orleans-1864-1868 :

    “The Tribune supported the aspirations and interests of the free black community of New Orleans in the final year of the American Civil War and the early years of Reconstruction. The editors supported what would eventually be known as Congressional Reconstruction and proposed, among other things, that the South’s plantations be divided and given to the former slaves. The Tribune also promoted the right of African American children to access public education and the right of newly freed farm workers to decent wages and working conditions.”

    From https://roudanez.com/the-new-orleans-tribune/ :

    “Readership was largely in the Afro-Creole community of New Orleans, but the newspaper made a point of its distribution to newly freed people, with whom it recognized the necessity of being “united in a common thought: the actual liberation from social and political bondage.’ ”

  5. This is awesome. Thank you!

  6. yahtzeebutterfly

    July 22, 1946 Happy Birthday Danny Glover!

    [Taped in 2003]
    In this edition of African American Legends, Host, Dr. Brown sits down with screen and stage actor Danny Glover to talk about the work he has just completed in New York. Mr. Glover focuses on the themes of change and struggle and talks about these concepts in terms of South Africa.

  7. yahtzeebutterfly

    On July 23, 1962 Jackie Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

  8. yahtzeebutterfly

    Charles Spurgeon Johnson ( July 24, 1893 – October 27, 1956) was an American sociologist and college administrator, the first black president of historically black Fisk University, and a lifelong advocate for racial equality and the advancement of civil rights for African Americans and all ethnic minorities. He preferred to work collaboratively with liberal white groups in the South, quietly as a “sideline activist,” to get practical results.
    ~from Wikipedia

  9. yahtzeebutterfly

    Football running back Walter Payton was born on July 25, 1953 in West Point, Mississippi.

  10. Today, July 25, 2016, would have been Emmett Till’s 75th birthday.

  11. yahtzeebutterfly

    July 16, 1984 Premiere of Prince’s Purple Rain

  12. yahtzeebutterfly

    On July 27, 2004 Barack Obama (then Illinois State Senator) delivered his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. That November, he was elected to the U.S.Senate.

  13. yahtzeebutterfly

    From http://afroamhistory.about.com/od/timelines/a/Timeline-Of-The-Naacp-1909-To-1965.htm :

    “1917: On July 28, the NAACP organized the largest civil rights protest in United States’ history. Beginning on 59th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City, an estimated 800 children, led a 10,000 silent marchers. The marchers moved silently up the streets of New York City holding signs that read, “Mr. President, why not make America safe for democracy?” and “Thou Shall Not Kill.” The purpose was to highlight the importance of bringing an end to lynching, Jim Crow laws and violent attacks against African-Americans.”

  14. yahtzeebutterfly

    July 29, 1940, For the first time African-American tennis players played in interracial tennis matches in New York City.”

    “Jimmy McDaniel: In 1940, McDaniel was part of a tennis match that is considered by many to be one of the most significant sporting events in history…few people know about the historic 1940 tennis match in New York City between the undisputed white world champion of tennis Don Budge and the undisputed black champion of tennis Jimmie McDaniel.”


  15. yahtzeebutterfly

    July 30, 1936 Blues guitarist and singer Buddy Guy was born in Lettsworth, Louisiana.

    From Wikipedia:

    While Guy’s music is often labelled Chicago blues, his style is unique and separate. His music can vary from the most traditional, deepest blues to a creative, unpredictable and radical gumbo of the blues, avant rock, soul and free jazz that changes with each performance.

    Happy Birthday Buddy Guy! 🙂

  16. yahtzeebutterfly

    July 31, 1921 Birth of Whitney Young, who served as a dynamic executive director of the Urban League

    “Whitney understood power, he understood politics, and most of all he understood people. They said Martin was in the streets, Roy and Thurgood were in the courts, and Whitney was in the boardroom. One could not have been successful without the other.”
    ~Vernon Jordan

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