October – This Month In Black American History

By Guest Blogger Yahtzeebutterfly


October 1, 1939 – Physicist and space scientist Dr. George Caruthers in Cincinnati, Ohio. He created the far ultraviolet camera/spectrograph.

Man's First Moon-Based Space Observatory-The first observatory ever operated by man from a fixed platform outside the earth was this gold-plated ultra-violet (UV) camera/spectograph.It was placed on the moon by the Apollo 16 astronauts, after they landed there April 20,1972.

Man’s First Moon-Based Space Observatory-The first observatory ever operated by man from a fixed platform outside the earth was this gold-plated ultra-violet (UV) camera/spectograph.It was placed on the moon by the Apollo 16 astronauts, after they landed there April 20,1972.

Excerpt from an article at Edubilla.

“The Far Ultraviolet Camera/Spectrograph (UVC) was one of the experiments deployed on the lunar surface by the Apollo 16 astronauts. It consisted of a telescope and camera that obtained astronomical images and spectra in the far ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

“The main goals of the Far Ultraviolet Camera/Spectrograph spanned across several disciplines of astronomy. Earth studies were made by studying the Earth’s upper atmosphere’s composition and structure, the ionosphere, the geocorona, day and night airglow, and aurorae. Heliophysics studies were made by obtaining spectra and images of the solar wind, the solar bow cloud, and other gas clouds in the solar system. Astronomical studies by obtaining direct evidence of intergalactic hydrogen, and spectra of distant galaxy clusters and within the Milky Way. Lunar studies were conducted by detecting gasses in the lunar atmosphere, and searching for possible volcanic gasses. There were also considerations to evaluate the lunar surface as a site for future astronomical observatories.”


October 2, 1800 – Nat Turner, who led a slave rebellion in 1831, was born into slavery in Southampton County Virginia.


October 3, 1856 – T. Thomas Fortune, civil rights leader, editor, and publisher of the New York Age newspaper.

In 2014 historic preservationists tried to save Mr. Fortune’s house from the bulldozer.  Apparently, this last July they were successful.

October 4, 1942 – Singer and composer Bernice Johnson Reagon.  Ms. Reagon was active in the civil rights movement and later, in 1973, formed the singing group Sweet Honey in the Rock.




October 5, 1932 – Congresswoman Yvonne Burke



October 6, 1917 – Civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer in Montgomery County, Mississippi.


Candidate poster of Fannie Lou Hamer


October 7, 1821 – Abolitionist William Still who recorded the stories of slaves who escaped using the Underground Railroad who stayed at his house, one of the stations on that railroad.  He did not publish these recorded stories until well after the end of the Civil War.




October 8, 1930 – Quilt artist and storyteller Faith Ringgold



October 9, 1895 – Eugene Bullard, the first African American military pilot, was born in Columbus, Georgia.  He fought with the French in World War I.



October 10, 1927 – Gen. Hazel Johnson-Brown in West Chester, PA.  She was the first Black chief of the U.S. Army Nurse Corp and first Black woman to become a general in the U.S. army.




October 12, 1919 – Navy hero Doris Miller in Waco, Texas. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his courageous actions during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The following video tells the story of his heroic deeds that day:


October 13, 1898 – Attorney and Edith S. Sampson in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She was the first U.S. Black delegate appointed to the United Nations and later served on the U.S. commission for UNESCO.

October 20, 1842 –  Green Currin who served in the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature.  His civil rights bill proposing penalty for racial violence failed to pass in the state senate by one vote.


October 21, 1917 – Band leader and jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie in Cheraw, South Carolina

October 26, 1911 – Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in New Orleans, Louisiana.


Mahalia Jackson, March on Washington, August 28, 1963:


October 28, 1933 – Joyce Mitchell Cook was the first African American woman to earn a PhD in philosophy.  Her specialties centered on social, political, and ethics philosophy.


October 31, 1896 – Actress and singer Ethel Waters in Chester, Pennsylvania




October 1, 1948 – The California Supreme court voided the law which had banned interracial marriages and which the court said had violated the Fourteenth Amendment.  This California decision occurred nineteen years before the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia which invalidated, nationwide, all laws that prohibited interracial marriage.

October 2, 1897 – George Washington Bright was hired by the Los Angeles Fire Department.  He was the first Black individual on the staff of the LAFD.


October 2, 1915 – Carter Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland incorporated the organization “Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.”


October 3, 1956 – Nat King Cole TV Show premieres on television.  He was the first Black musician to host his own show.


October 10, 1899 – Isaac R. Johnson patented his design for a bicycle frame which could be folded or separated easily into its components.


October 11, 1887 – Inventor Granville T. Woods patented apparatus for a telephone system.

October 14, 1964 – Martin Luther King received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Here is his acceptance speech:


October 15, 1956 – Louisiana legislature passes a law that prohibited integrated sports events.

From  Channel 3000

“The Louisiana law had roots in the 1956 Sugar Bowl contest in New Orleans where LSU lost to a University of Pittsburgh team that featured Bobby Grier, an African-American running back. The next legislative session, Louisiana state lawmakers overwhelming passed a measure to “outlaw social events and athletic contests including both Negroes and whites.”

October 19, 1960 – Marin Luther King, along with 52 others, are arrested at a lunch counter sit-in of Rich’s department store in Atlanta, Georgia.


October 28, 1981 – Edward McIntyre won the mayoral election in Augusta, George.

October 30, 1979 – Richard Arrington was elected mayor of Birmingham, Alabama


As the month continues, Yahtzeebutterfly puts additional information in the comment section.  Please feel free to join her. 

Posted on 10/11/2016, in Black History Month, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.

  1. yahtzeebutterfly

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    October 11, 1928 – Birth of first African American 4-star general Roscoe Robinson.

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  4. yahtzeebutterfly

    October 10, 1917 – Jazz pianist and composer Theolonius Monk was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

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  5. yahtzeebutterfly

    Actress and playwright Alice Childress was born on October 12, 1916 in Charleston, South Carolina. Much of her writing deals with racial issues.

    Here are some quotations of Ms. Childress:

    “Life is just a short walk from the cradle to the grave, and it sure behooves us to be kind to one another along the way.”

    “Writing is a labor of love and also an act of defiance, a way to light a candle in a gale wind.”

    “The Black writer explains pain to those who inflict it.”

    “Your soul is an inner something that is another you and hardly anybody knows what it’s really thinkin’ except you”

    “The twisted circumstances under which we live is grist for the writing mill, the loving, hating and discovering, finding new handles for old pitchers.”

    Uploaded on Oct 17, 2011 by PlayBillVideo
    “Irene Lewis directs the Arena Stage’s revival of Alice Childress’ 1955 meditation on race and the theatre, ‘Trouble in Mind’. Childress speaks from experience having been one of the first African-American women to have her plays professionally produced in New York. As the 1950s draw to a close, a newly integrated theatre company prepares to open a progressive but misguided new play about race relations on Broadway. Lead actress Wiletta Mayer (E. Faye Butler) has the opportunity to become the first leading lady of color on the Great White Way, but is she willing to compromise her beliefs to make the career leap?”


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    October 20, 1904


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    Of interest:


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    October 20, 1890


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    November 23, 1897 John L. Love patented his design for the portable pencil sharpener.


  20. yahtzeebutterfly

    “Letitia Woods Brown (October 24, 1915 – August 3, 1976) was an African American researcher and historian. Earning a master’s degree in 1935 from Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in 1966 from Harvard University, she served as a researcher and historian for over four decades and became one of the first black woman to earn a PhD from Harvard University in history.”
    ~ Wikipedia


  21. yahtzeebutterfly

    October 24, 1896 Businesswoman and humanitarian Marjorie Stewart Joyner was born in Monterey, Virginia. She invented a machine that could straighten hair or that could add curl to straight hair.


  22. yahtzeebutterfly

    More (from Wikipedia):

    “Emmett W. Chappelle (born 25 October 1925) is a scientist who made valuable contributions in the fields of medicine, philanthropy, food science, and Astrochemistry.

    “From 1950 to 1955 he served as an instructor of biochemistry at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. From 1955 to 1959, he was a research associate at Stanford University…

    “Chappelle went to work at Hazelton Laboratories in 1963 as a biochemist. In 1966, he joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, as a research chemist, and later became a remote sensing scientist, studying natural systems to improve environmental management. Chappelle retired from NASA in 2001.

    “Some of Chappelle’s most interesting work was in the area of luminescence, which is light without heat. While designing instruments for the Mars Viking spacecraft, he became interested in bio luminescence, which is warm light produced by living organisms. Chappelle used two chemicals from fireflies which give off light when mixed with ATP (adenosine triphosphate), an energy storage compound found in all living cells. This could provide a method of detecting life on Mars.

    “Chappelle proved that the number of bacteria in water can be measured by the amount of light given off by that bacteria. He also showed how satellites can monitor luminescence levels to monitor crops (growth rates, water conditions and harvest timing).”


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  24. yahtzeebutterfly

    Born on October 26, 1919 Republican Edward William Brooke III was elected to the U.S. Senate representing Massachusetts in 1966.

    Excerpt from Wikipedia:

    “By his second year in the Senate, Brooke had taken his place as a leading advocate against discrimination in housing and on behalf of affordable housing. With Walter Mondale, a Minnesota Democrat and fellow member of the Senate Banking Committee, he co-authored the 1968 Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing. The Act also created HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity as the primary enforcer of the law. President Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law on April 11, one week after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.. Dissatisfied with the weakened enforcement provisions that emerged from the legislative process, Brooke repeatedly proposed stronger provisions during his Senate career. In 1969, Congress enacted the “Brooke Amendment” to the federal publicly assisted housing program which limited the tenants’ out-of-pocket rent expenditure to 25 percent of their income.

    “During the Nixon presidency, Brooke opposed repeated Administration attempts to close down the Job Corps and the Office of Economic Opportunity and to weaken the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission—all foundational elements of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.”


  25. yahtzeebutterfly

    October 27, 1891


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    October 27, 1922


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    October 28, 1861 Lawyer and civil rights activist Fredrick L. McGhee was born a slave in Aberdeen, Mississippi.


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    October 28, 1862


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    Jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown was born in Wilmington, Delaware on October 30, 1930.


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