Today In Black History February 18

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Today In Black History February 18

1688 – Quakers of Germantown, Pennsylvania passed the first formal anti-slavery resolution

The history of the movement to abolish slavery is virtually coeval with the establishment of racial slavery in the New World. In the Western Hemisphere, millions of enslaved Africans were embedded in the workforces of all of the Americas and the Caribbean Islands from 1502 to 1888. Unlike slavery elsewhere in the modern world, these societies had economies dependent on chattel slavery or the labor of individuals who could be bought, sold, bequeathed, rented, or pawned as if they were inanimate property. Consequently, abolition caused tremendous dislocation in western slave societies. Between the first Quaker disavowal of slavery in Pennsylvania in 1688 and the formal abolition of bondage in Brazil in 1888, the process of abolition covered two centuries, occasioned civil war in Haiti and the United States, and led to bartering for the liberation of slave soldiers in Central America. (read more)

1865 – Rebels abandoned Charleston

Rebels abandoned Charleston. First Union troops to enter the city included Twenty-first U.S.C.T., followed by two companies of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers.

1894 – Paul Revere Williams is born

Paul Revere Williams was born in Los Angeles on February 18, 1894 to Lila Wright Williams and Chester Stanley Williams who had recently moved from Memphis with their young son, Chester, Jr. When Paul was two years old his father died, and two years later his mother died.  The children were placed in separate foster homes.  Paul was fortunate to grow up in the home of a foster mother who devoted herself to his education and to the development of his artistic talent.

At the turn of the 20th century, Los Angeles was a vibrant multi-ethnic environment.  During Williams’ youth the California dream attracted people from the world over, and they mixed together with little prejudice.  Williams later reported that he was the only African-American child in his elementary school, and at Polytechnic High School he was part of the ethnic mélange.  However, in high school he experienced the first hint of racism when a teacher advised him against pursuing a career in architecture, because he would have difficulty attracting clients in the majority white community and the black community could not provide enough work.  (read more)

1931 – Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Toni Morrison is born

Toni Morrison (b. February 18, 1931 in Lorain, Ohio) is a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed black characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest EyeSong of Solomon and Beloved. She has won nearly every book prize possible, and has been awarded honorary degrees.

1952 – Randy Crawford is born

Randy Crawford seemingly burst upon the scene singing “Street Life” when The Crusaders invited her to sing the eleven minute title song on their 1979 album “Street Life,” which remained #1 on the American jazz charts for twenty weeks. She recently in 2006 reunited with former Crusader keyboardist Joe Sample for “Feelin’ Good,” which was again a especially popular album. (read more)

1965 – Gambia gains its independence

Celebrations are held every on the 18th Februaryof each year which marks the day when Gambia gained full independence from colonial Britain in 1964. It is normally celebrated inBanjul at McCarthy Square with a march pass by school children, civil servants, the army, teachers and others in front of the President and other dignitaries. (read more)

1973 – Harlem Renaissance artist Palmer Heyden dies

On this date we celebrate Palmer Hayden’s birth in 1890. He was an African-American painter whose work became known during the Harlem Renaissance.

Born Peyton Cole Hedgeman in Wide Water, Virginia, he was a prolific artist of his era. He depicted African American life, painting in both oils and watercolors.

As a young man, Hayden studied at the Cooper Union in New York City and also practiced independent studies at Boothbay Art Colony in Maine. He created one of his first famous pieces in 1926, a still life called “Fetiche et Fleurs,” which won the esteemed Harmon Foundation’s Gold Award, prompting his patrons to support him so he could live and study in France.Over the next five years in Paris, Hayden was very productive, trying to capture elements of Parisian society.

On his return to America, Hayden began working for the United States government. He worked for the U.S. Treasury Art Project as well as the Depression-era government-funded Works Progress Administration (WPA). (read more)

1988 – Toni Morrison awarded Pulitzer Prize for her book “Beloved”

First African American woman to receive the Nobel Prize in literature receives a Pulitzer Prize for her book “Beloved”.

”Beloved,” a novel by Toni Morrison about the agonizing remembrances of a former slave in post-Civil War Ohio, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction yesterday.

Ms. Morrison’s work had been at the center of a controversy last fall when it failed to win the prestigious National Book Award, and 48 black writers wrote an open letter in January protesting that Ms. Morrison had never won that award or a Pulitzer.

The Pulitzer board at Columbia University also selected ”Driving Miss Daisy” by Alfred Uhry for the drama award and ”12 New Etudes for Piano” by William Bolcom for the prize in music.  (read more)

2 Responses to Today In Black History February 18

  1. Stephen Young February 18, 2012 at 10:27 AM


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