July 25: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Emmett Till
1906: Johnny Hodges was born. He was a jazz saxophonist know for his solo work with Duke Ellington’s Big Band. He passed away in 1970 at age 63.
1925: Benny Benjamin aka Papa Zita was born. He was the primary drummer for the Motown studio band known as The Funk Brothers. He passed away in 1969 of a stroke at age 43.
1936: Ella Fitzgerald bounced onto the singles survey with “Sing Me a Swing Song (#18). It became the first of fifty-three pop hits through 1963 for the all-time jazz great, who was discovered after a winning performance on the Harlem Amateur Hour in 1934.
1937: Soul singer Darrell Banks was born. He was fatally shot by a cop in 1970 when he was 33 years old.
1941: NBA great & Hall of Famer Nate Thurmond was born. He turns 73 today.
1941: Emmett Till was born. He was murdered by a white mob in the summer of 1955 when he was 14-years-old. He was key in the Civil Rights Movement. He would have been 73 today.
1943: The first warship named for a black person, the LL Leonard Roy Harmon launched on this day in Quincy, MA.
1946: Rita Marley was born. She is a singer and the widow of reggae legend Bob Marley. She turns 68 today.
1951: Verdine White was born. He is a musician, record producer and long-time member of Earth, Wind & Fire. He turns 63 today.
1954: Walter Payton was born. He is an NFL legend and considered among the greatest running backs in football history. He died in 1999 at age 45 of a rare autoimmune liver disease
1955: Iman was born. She is a fashion model, actress and entrepreneur. She turns 59 today.
1964: Stevie Wonder peaked at #29 pop with “Hey Harmonica Man,” his first single without the “Little” Stevie Wonder moniker.
1967: Wendy Raquel Robinson was born. She is an actress of film and television. She turns 47 today.
1970: The Spinners charted with “It’s A Shame,” written and produced by Stevie Wonder, reaching #4 R&B and #14 pop.
1970: Charles Cordone won a Pulitzer Prize for his play “No Place to Be Somebody” and became the first African American playwright to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama.
1981: ‘Double Dutch Bus’ by Frankie Smith was the Number One Song
1984: Blues Hall of Famer Willie Mae ‘Big Mama’ Thornton passed away. She was a blues & R&B singer and songwriter. She was 57 years old.
1992: Prince’s sexy “Sexy M. F.” did little in America (#66 pop, #76 R&B), but it reached #4 in England, despite being banned by all radio stations there. Maybe it should have been banned in the U.S. as well.
1995: Nina Simone fired a gun at a pair of noisy teenagers playing next door to her home in southern France. She was put on 18 months’ probation and ordered to seek psychological counseling.
2006: Carl Brashear passed away. He was the first African American to become a U.S. Navy Master Diver. His life story is dramatized in the 2000 film Men of Honor, in which he was portrayed by actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. He was 75 years old.
2009: Vernon Forrest passed away. He was a boxer who held three championships and scored an upset of welterweight titleholder Shane Mosley in 2002. Forrest had fought professionally since 1992 and was considering a comeback from an injury. He was fatally shot after being robbed at a gas station in Atlanta. He was 38.
2011: Desmond Allison was a former University of Kentucky basketball player. He was fatally shot outside an apartment complex after an argument with several people. He was 31 years old.