July 4: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Edmonia Lewis
1844: Sculptor Edmonia Lewis was born. She studied in the states but worked most of her career in Rome and gained fame and recognition as a sculptor in the international fine arts world. In 2002, the scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed her on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans. She passed away at age 63.
1876: The famous African painter EM Bannister, was awarded the gold medal of the painting “UNDER THE OAKS” at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
1910: First Black heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson successfully defended his heavyweight championship by knocking out Jim “The Great White Hope” Jeffries, who had come out of retirement “to win back the title for the White race”
1938: Happy Birthday to singer, songwriter & musician Bill Withers who turns 76 today.
1960: The Voicemasters jumped onto the R&B hit list with “Everything About You,” reaching #18. The group consisted of David Ruffin (later of the Temptations), Lamont Dozier (later of Holland-Dozier-Holland fame), and three members who would go on to form the nucleus of the Originals.
1963: Ralph Bunche and Marian Anderson received the first Medals of Freedom from President John F. Kennedy, the creator of the award.
1967: Actress Ellen Bethea (One life to Live) was born. She turns 46 today.
1969: Teddy Rhodes, first African-American professional golfer, passed away at age 56.
1970: Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, the Chambers Brothers, Jethro Tull, and Rare Earth, among others, performed at the Second Atlanta International Pop Festival at the Middle Georgia Raceway near Byron, GA. The crowd reportedly numbered more than 200,000.
1974: Barry White married Glodean James, a member of the vocal group Love Unlimited, for who Barry wrote and produced.
1976: On the bicentennial of America’s birth, Bob Marley’s “Roots, Rock, and Reggae” charted, becoming his biggest pop hit at #51.
1983:Happy Birthday to Melanie Fiona who turns 31 today.
1993: The Four Tops performed at the Meadow Brook Musical Festival in Rochester, MI, for their Independence Day show.
1977: Roberta Flack performed in Boston at the Hatch Shell with the Boston Pops Orchestra.
1991: The National Civil Rights Museum officially opened at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., the site of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
1998:Happy Birthday to Malia Obama who turns 16 today.
1998: Aretha Franklin charted for the 97th time when “Here We Go Again” hit, eventually reaching #25 R&B. Her R&B chart totals included twenty #1s over the thirty-eight-year period.
1998: Lionel Richie performed at London’s Hyde Park in the Prince’s Trust Charity concert, Party in the Park.
2002: General B.O. Davis, Jr. passed away. He was the first African American to become an Air Force General. He was 89 years old.
2003: Singer, songwriter, arranger, producer and Grammy Award winner Barry White passed away at age 58. In 2004, he was posthumously inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in New York.
2005: Singer, songwriter, pianist and entertainer Al Downing passed away.
2006: Legend and former Harlem Globetrotter Bobby Joe Mason passed away.