1780—Paul Cuffee organizes a demonstration by free Blacks protesting the fact that they were being taxed, but were not allowed to vote. Cuffee was a prominent whaling captain and businessman who organized the first integrated school in Massachusetts. In his later years he became frustrated with American racism and advocated the establishment of a free Black colony in the West African nation of Sierra Leone which was then controlled by the British.
1873—W.C. Handy is born in Florence, Ala. The prolific composer and publisher would become known as “The Father of The Blues.” Handy helped move the blues from just a musical genre among low income Blacks to national status. His works became so popular that his 84th birthday was celebrated at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City and drew a crowd of over 800 blues enthusiasts. Handy’s full name was William Christopher Handy.
1963—Zina Garrison is born in Houston, Texas. She would go on to win 37 professional tennis titles, an Olympic gold medal and finish runner-up at Wimbledon in 1990.
1967—Lisa Bonet is born to a Jewish mother and a Black father in San Francisco, Calif. She becomes a major actress, but is perhaps best known for her role in the 1980s television series “The Cosby Show.” Her given name was Liliquois Moon.
2001—Agbani Darego is crowned Miss World becoming the first Black African to win the coveted beauty pageant. She was from the oil-rich West African nation of Nigeria.