Your History Online VIII
Chronological History of Africans
Period: 1913 to 1928
Booker T. Washington continues his attempts to discredit the NAACP.
South African women resist the imposition of residential passes by the Orange Free State municipality, organizing passive resistance and thereby hoping to force the municipality to rescind the law. Many women are jailed.
“Unionist” gunrunning causes bloodshed at Londonderry, Ireland.
Alpha Kappa Alpha women split away and form the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
Robert Hayden, educator and poet, is born in Detroit, Michigan. He is noted for his Heart- shape in the Dust, The Lion and the Archer and A Ballad of Remembrance.
The McDowell Times is published in Keystone, West Virginia.
Woodrow Wilson, a Virginia Democrat, is inaugurated the 28th U.S. President. As the president of Princeton University, he refuses to admit African students. In order to win the African vote Wilson makes the campaign promise that he could be counted on “for absolute fair dealing, for everything by which I could assist in advancing the interests of [the African] race in the U.S.” His first Congress, however, sends to him for his signature the greatest flood of racist legislation ever introduced in Congressional history. Wilson appoints, over African protests, white men to diplomatic posts traditionally held by Africans, e.g., ambassadors to Haiti and Santo Domingo.
Harriet Tubman, the “Moses of her people” and former Civil War scout, dies in Auburn, New York.
South African miners strike at the Jagersfontein diamond mine after one of their fellow–miners is kicked to death by a white overseer. White employees suppress the strike called to protest the brutality meted out to South African mineworkers, 11 of whom are killed and 37 seriously injured.
Aimé Césaire, Caribbean author, is born in Martinique. He is the founder of the African Franco- phone “Négritude” literary movement. In 1939 he publishes his Cahier d’un retour au pays natal; in 1955 he publishes Discours sur le colonialisme; and in 1963, La tragédie du roi Christophe, his first play, is published.
Joseph Louis Barrow, better known as “Joe Louis,” heavyweight champion, is born in Lexington, Alabama. He grows up in Detroit.
The Panama Canal, situated in territory which was imperialistically “taken” from Colombia and which cost the French, the original builders, and the United States more than $639,000,000, opens on August 15. Of the 5,609 workers who die constructing the canal, 4,500 are Africans from Barbados, Trinidad and other Caribbean islands. . . .
“Officially, canal authorities brought over 31,000 West Indian men and a few women. But, in fact, between 150,000 and 200,000 men and women must have migrated during the construction era, for in most years some 20,000 West Indians were on the canal payroll, and turnover was high. . . . in 1896, Panama City had only 24,000 inhabitants and the country as a whole 400,000. The West Indian migrations to Panama constituted a demographic tidal wave . . .” As soon as the first ship passes through the canal, Zone authorities clearly indicate they want all African workers and their families to leave not only the Canal Zone but Panama altogether. See Michael L. Conniff, Black Labor on a White Canal: Panama, 1904–1981 (1985).African people live in some 1,100 different houses within a twenty–three block area of Harlem. During this year the African population of Harlem alone is 49,555 — in 1910, just four years earlier, the entire African population of Manhattan was just 60,500.
Bert Williams stars in "Dark Town Jubilee," an all–African silent film.
World War I breaks out in Europe. Several hundred thousand continental African troops fight in colonial armies. Allies expropriate German territories, including Tanganyika (modern–day Tanzania), Togo, Cameroons and South West Africa (modern-day Namibia), by 1922. The mineral riches of Africa is one of the major causes of the war.
Sigmund Lubin produces "Coon Town Suffragettes."
According to the National Negro Business League there are 40,000 African–owned busines- ses in U.S.
The Kansas City Advocate begins its 12–year publication history in Kansas.
Blaise Diagne is elected as the first African to represent Senegal in the French Chamber of Deputies in Paris.
The presentation of James Reese Europe’s all–African orchestra of 125 performers opens at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Kenneth Clark, social psychologist, is born in the Panama Canal Zone.
W.C. Handy’s "St. Louis Blues" is published by the Pace and Handy Music Company.
The Springarn Medal is instituted by the NAACP as an award for achievement in African affairs by an individual American. The Association currently has over 6,000 members. The circulation of the Crisis is 31,540.
The Omaha Enterprise begins its publication history.
The U.S. Navy bombards and occupies Vera Cruz, Mexico, on order of President Wilson, who arrogantly refers to this incident as “a war of service,” (i.e., a demonstration of American mili- tary power).
The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers is founded.
The Lafayette Stock Company, an African theatre company, is organized in Harlem.
Boley, Oklahoma, an all-African town, points with pride to its self-government with African officials, its $150,000 high school, its Masonic Temple, three cotton gins, 82 businesses, an electric light company and telephone system. Other all–African towns are Mound Bayou, Mississippi (1898); Lovejoy (Brooklyn), Illinois (1874); Kinloch, Missouri (1948); Lincoln Hts., Ohio (1946); Truxton, Virginia (1919); Robbins, Illinois (1917); Lawnside, New Jersey (1926); Fairmount Hts., Maryland (1927); Glenarden, Maryland (1939); Urbancrest, Ohio (1947); Grambling, Louisiana (1953); North Shreveport, Louisiana; Richmond Hts., Florida; Compton, California. There are many more all–African towns and villages scattered around the U.S. Many have failed to come to researchers’ attention because of the prevailing definitions used to distinguish them. According to geographers Harold Rose and Robert T. Ernst, “the term ‘all–black town’ is defined operationally as all places, incorporated and unincorporated, with populations ranging from 1,000 to 2,499, of whom 90% or more are non–white. ‘All–black city’ includes all places of 2,500 or more, of whom 90% or more are non–white.” These threshold numbers are used since data on these minimum values are kept in U.S. census records and are, therefore, readily available (see Harold M. Rose, "The All-Negro Town: Its Evolution and Function" in Robert T. Ernst and Lawrence Hugg, eds., Black America: Geographic Perspec- tives, 1976, pp. 352-367).
Ralph W. Ellison, novelist, essayist, widely acclaimed winner of numerous awards, including his collection of masterful essays in Shadow and Act (1953), is born in Oklahoma City.
Bowling Green State University opens in Ohio.
William Monroe Trotter leaves the NAACP and attacks Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois.
Wages for farm labor in the South fall to 75 cents a day.
Oscar Micheaux forms the Micheaux Film Corporation with studios in New York City.
The boll weevil, major floods, white mob violence and economic stagnation cause great migra- tion of African people to the North. Some 2,000,000 Southern Africans move to Northern U.S. industrial centers.
Twentieth Century–Fox releases "The nigger."
The Cleveland Advocate, which stops publishing in 1923, reports that for the first time “a score or so” of African American women are enrolled at Kent State Normal School (now a university) in Kent, Ohio; the school was founded in 1910.
Triangle Films produces "The Coward," one of the few silent films which sympathetically portrays African people.
Cleveland’s African community claims eight doctors, three dentists, two professionally trained nurses, twelve lawyers, and thirty school teachers.
German South West Africa is invaded by South Africa’s General Botha.
The Ku Klux Klan is revived in Georgia and spreads throughout the country to become a Northern as well as a Southern phenomenon, and at least one–third of all Klansmen are found in urban areas. By 1924 at least 1,000,000 whites have joined the organization.
M.D. Potter edits the Tampa Bulletin in Florida.
Prior to 1915 almost no Africans in Cleveland, Ohio, are employed as cabinetmakers, typeset- ters, bakers, tinsmiths, or electricians. The 1910 census lists only five black plumbers in the entire city.
Roscoe Dunjee edits the Oklahoma City Black Dispatch.
Karamu House, called Playhouse Settlement until 1927 and founded by Rowena and Russell Jellife, two white social workers from Chicago, is established at 38th and Central Avenue. “Karamu” in Kiswahili means “festive entertainment.”
The International Socialist League is formed in South Africa by the “Anti–War” internationalist section which breaks away from the white Labour Party. The League stands for full rights for all and socialism, embracing all South Africans without distinction of color or class.
Romare Bearden, famous African American artist, is born in Charlotte, North Carolina. He dies in April 1988. Click here to view some prints of Bearden's works as well as the prints of other major artists — black and white.
"Jelly Roll Blues" by Ferdinand Morton is the first publication in history of a jazz arrangement.
African people in the U.S. protest President Wilson’s order allowing the Marines to occupy Haiti. The troops stay there until 1934.
John Albert Williams edits the Omaha Monitor.
The “grandfather clause,” used to disfranchise Africans in the South, is held to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Jess Willard defeats Jack Johnson, who, it is rumored, is forced to throw the fight to avoid conviction for trumped–up violations of “white slavery” prohibitions in the Mann Act.
The St. Louis Clarion begins publication and continues until 1922.
Owen Dodson, novelist and playwright, is born in Brooklyn, New York. His Howard University Players tour Norway, Denmark, Germany and Sweden. His plays are also staged Off–Broadway. He dies in 1983.
John Chilembew leads a revolt against British rule in Nyasaland.
Two thousand eight hundred South African miners strike at the Van Rhyn Deep mines in an effort to redress some of their grievances.
Eleven hundred Africans in America have been lynched since 1900. See Ida B. Wells Barnett, “Our Country’s Lynching Record,” Survey, 1913.
John Hope Franklin, historian, is born in Rentiesville, Oklahoma.
The H.M.S. Lusitania is sunk off the Irish coast by a German U–boat, forcing the U.S.’s entry into World War I.
Booker T. Washington dies; he is buried on the Tuskegee Institute campus.
From 1915–1919 only eight African Americans earn Ph.Ds, four from traditionally African insti- tutions and four from predominantly white institutions.
The first annual award of the Springarn Medal is made by NAACP to Ernest E. Just for achievement in biology.
The NAACP leads protest demonstrations against showings of "The Birth of a Nation" by D.W. Griffith, with the African actors George Reed and Mme. Sul–te–wan, who are hired as stock actors for $5.00 a day. Most of the other actors are in blackface. Mme. Sul-te-wan is the daugther of a widowed Louisville, Kentucky, washwoman. She began her interest in the stage while delivering laundry to Fanny Davenport, a white actress, who adopted her as her protégé. Mme. Sul–te–wan dies in 1959 at age 83. "The Birth of a Nation" is based on Thomas Dixon’s The Clansman. When the film opens in New York City, its name is changed from "The Clansman" to "The Birth of a Nation." (See also 1918 below.)
Scott Joplin composes "Treemonisha," a ragtime opera. It is performed for the first time in 1975 in New York City.
Mobido Keita, former President of Mali, is born in Bama Ku, Mali.
Oscar de Priest is elected Alderman of Chicago’s black South Side.
The all–African National Baptist Convention of the U.S.A. is formed.
W.E.B. DuBois publishes his The Negro, which deals with African history from Egypt to the present from a Marxist point of view, i.e., it shows that both white and black workers are exploited by the system of monopoly capitalism in the Western world. DuBois writes . . .
“Already the more far–seeing [Africans] sense the coming unities: a unity of the working classes everywhere, a unity of the colored races, a new unity of men. The proposed economic solution of the . . . problem in Africa and America has turned the thoughts of [Africans] toward a realization of the fact that the modern white laborer of Europe and America has the key to the serfdom of black folk, in his support of militarism and colonial expansion. He is beginning to say to these workingmen that, so long as black laborers are slaves, white laborers cannot be free. . . . In a conscious sense of unity among colored races there is today only a growing interest. There is slowly arising not only a curiously strong bro- therhood of [African] blood throughout the world, but the common cause of the darker races against the intolerable assumptions and insults of Europeans has already found expression. Most men in this world are colored. A belief in humanity means a belief in colored men. The future world will, in all reasonable probability, be what colored men make it. . . . That such may be true, the character of the [African] race is the best and greatest hope; for in its normal condition it is at once the strongest and gentlest of the races of men: ‘Semper novi quid ex Africa!’”
Stoddard's The Rising Tide of Color.
Period: 1916 to 1928
"Realization of a Negro’s Ambition" is the first successful feature film of the African–owned Lincoln Motion Picture Company. This is the first movie to depict the African American middle class in non-stereotyped roles and initiates the era of all-black film productions. Noble Johnson, Beulah Hall, Lottie Bowles, Clarence Brooks and George Reed star in this film about a young Tuskegee graduate who seeks his fortune in the California oil fields.
Over a period of 18 months more than 350,000 American Africans migrate from the South. Out–migration from the South is so intense that Jacksonville, Florida, for instance, requires labor recruiting agents to pay a $1,000 fee.
The Chicago Fellowship Herald is first published.
The United States purchases from Denmark the West Indian Islands of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix for $25 million. With reference to guaranteeing the islands’ inhabitants fair treatment, the American minister says, the U.S. is “so well acquainted with the true character of the Negroes that they could make them more content than the Europeans.”
J. Anthony Josey begins editing the Wisconsin Enterprise Blade in Milwaukee.
Pancho Villa, Mexican revolutionary, sends 200 raiders across the U.S. border to sack Columbus, New Mexico.
After Booker T. Washington’s death, W.E.B. DuBois plans the Amenia Conference which is to reconcile the differences between various African leadership factions.
D.W. Griffith produces American Aristocracy, based on a story by Anita Loos.
John Oliver Killens, author of And Then We Heard the Thunder (1963), is born in Brooklyn, New York. He dies in 1988.
The Houston Observer begins a five–year publication history in Texas.
A punitive force of 10,000 men under Brig. General John J. Pershing crosses Mexican border in pursuit of Pancho Villa. Pershing is assisted by Lt. George “the bandit” Patton. Advancing 350 miles into Mexico within a month, Pershing’s forces clash with the Mexican army under President Carranza, whom the U.S. originally supported. Two African regiments, the 10th Cavalry (a squadron of which is commanded by Charles Young) and the 24th Infantry, are part of the American contingent.
The Kansas Elevator is published until 1918 in Kansas City.
There are at this time 67 African public schools which enroll only 20,000 students.
The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History is founded by Carter G. Woodson, who also edits the Association’s Journal of Negro History. In the 1970s the Association changes the word “Negro” in its name to “Afro–American.”
President Wilson orders U.S. military occupation of the Dominican Republic; the Marines remain until 1934.
The Chronicle is edited by Alfred Haughton in Boston.
The first solo arrangement of spirituals is published by Harry T. Burleigh.
Frank Yerby, novelist, is born in Augusta, Georgia. His novels include The Foxes of Harrow (1946), The Vixens (1947) and Pride’s Castle (1949).
General Pershing is ordered to withdraw all U.S. forces from Mexico.
A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen edit the radical Messenger magazine. It ceases publication in 1928.
Thirty–eight Africans are lynched during the year.
Approximately 5,000 Africans living in Oakland, California, publish the Colored Directory, a 140–page picture book of their homes, churches and businesses. This is one of the first “Black Pages” published in the black community to inspire respect and promote black economic solidarity.
J.J.J. Oldfield edits the Chattanooga, Tennessee Defender.
The subjugation and despoliation of Africa by European imperialism is a fresh memory. See Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1972). In response to this an infinite number of nationalist and Pan–Africanist organizations come into being in Africa, Europe, North America, the West Indies, Central and South America — everywhere African people live. All of these organizations look forward to the restoration of African independence. Garvey’s UNIA is in the vanguard.
Germany urges Mexico and Japan to declare war on the U.S., the final perturbation before the U.S. decides to enter World War I.
S.M. Makgatho is elected as the second ANC President–General.
The Russian revolution disrupts European capitalist tranquility. The Bolsheviks under Vladimir Ilyich Lenin come to power. Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna are killed, ending Romanov family rule. During their reign, both the Tsar and his consort are under the mystical influence of Rasputin, an illiterate peasant and debauchee.
The Huntsville News is published in Alabama until 1923.
Jacob Lawrence, artist, is born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He is currently on the art faculty of the University of Washington in Seattle. He is famous for his historical murals, “The Life of Toussaint l’Ouverture” and “The Life of Harriet Tubman.”
Storyville, the famous red–light district, is closed in New Orlean.
A violent race riot erupts in East St. Louis, Illinois. Estimates of number of Blacks killed range from 40 to 200. Martial Law has to be declared. See “Report of the Special Committee Authorized by Congress to Investigate the East St. Louis Riots,” House of Representatives, 65th Congress, Doc. No. 1231, July 15, 1918; and Elliott Rudwick, Race Riot in East St. Louis, January 2, 1917 (1964).
The Emancipator publishes its first issue in Montgomery, Alabama.
African soldiers of the 15th New York Infantry are refused service and assaulted in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The entire regiment is sent to Europe to avoid a repeat of the Brownsville, Texas incident.
In New York City, some 10,000 American Africans march down Fifth Avenue in silent parade protesting lynchings and racial indignities.
The Ethiopian World (aka the Negro World and the World Peace Echo) is published in New York City.
Gwendolyn Brooks, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet laureate of Illinois, is born in Topeka, Kansas. She dies in 2001
East Indian immigration to British West Indies ceases after a total of 429,623 immigrants enter: 238,909 in Guyana; 143,939 in Trinidad; 36,412 in Jamaica; 4,354 in St. Lucia; 3,200 in Grenada; 2,472 in St. Vincent; and 337 in St. Kitts. East Indians deciding to remain permanently in West Indies number 163,362 in Guyana; 110,645 in Trinidad; 24,532 in Jamaica; and 6,252 in the Windward Islands.
A race riot erupts in Houston, Texas between African soldiers of the 24th Infantry Regiment and white citizens. Two Africans and 17 whites are killed. Martial Law is declared and 13 members of the regiment are sentenced to death. President Wilson commutes sentences to life imprisonment. Over the next four years, the NAACP wins the release of some and the reduction to life sentences for others. President F.D. Roosevelt releases the last prisoner in 1938.
O. Willis Cole edits and publishes the Louisville Leader in Kentucky.
Ossie Davis, actor–playwright, is born in Cogdell, Georgia.
A Supreme Court decision strikes down as unconstitutional a Louisville, Kentucky ordinance which requires Blacks and whites to live in separate residential blocks. The NAACP initiated this court battle in 1910.
John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie is born in Cheraw, South Carolina.
In an effort to meet General Leonard Wood’s challenge to recruit 200 college–educated Africans for an African officers school, the Central Commitee of Negro College Men collects 1,500 volunteers. Four months later 639 are commissioned: 106 captains, 329 1st lieutenants and 204 2nd lieutenants.
The Jazz “migration” begins when Joe Oliver leaves New Orleans and settles in Chicago where he is joined by Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong and other pioneer jazz stars.
Lena Horne, entertainer, is born in Brooklyn, New York. She stars in "Cabin in the Sky" (1943) and "Stormy Weather" (1943).
Emmett J. Scott is appointed by Newton D. Baker, the Secretary of War, as his Special Assistant for Black Affairs.
The treaty authorizing the purchase of the Danish West Indies (the U.S. Virgin Islands) is ratified. The military government set up by U.S. Marines lasts until 1931.
The Enterprise is published in Chicago.
Africans buy war bonds and stamps valued at $250,000,000 to help finance the U.S. expeditionary forces in Europe during World War I.
Oscar Micheaux produces his first film, "The Homesteaders," which is taken from his novel about his experiences as a 25–year–old rancher in South Dakota. Charles Lucas, Iris Hall and Evelyn Preer star in this film.
By this year only two of Cleveland, Ohio’s leading restaurants and hotels continue to employ African American waiters (especially headwaiters).
D.W. Griffith produces "The Greatest Thing in Life," which shows a white soldier holding and kissing a dying black comrade.
The Journal is first published in Savannah, Georgia.
The average monthly rent for white laborers in Cleveland is $13.12; for African Americans living in comparable housing the average rent is $22.50.
The anti–pass campaign conducted by South African women ends in triumph and is led by the Bantu Women’s League of South Africa — the women’s section of the ANC — formed by Charlotte Maxeke.
During this year, 58 more African Americans are lynched.
Joseph White, the famous Afro–Cuban violinist, dies.
After this year, most African American women in manufacturing lose their jobs to returning soldiers. By 1930 the overwhelming majority will again be engaged in domestic or personal service.
Civil war erupts in Russia and lasts until 1920, when the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is formed.
The Bucket Strike is organized in South Africa. African sanitary workers in Johannesburg put down their buckets and demand a 6d (approximately six cents) raise. One hundred fifty–two strikers are sentenced to two months’ hard labor for breach of contract under the Masters and Servants Act. The ANC launches a campaign for the release of the strikers, which soon turns into a campaign for a general wage increase of 1 shilling (14 cents) a day and the threat of a general strike. The strikers are released.
Chandler Owen and A. Philip Randolph are sentenced to jail for 1 to 2 1/2 years for their editorial in the Messenger, “Pro–Germanism amongst the Negroes.” The Messenger is also denied second–class mailing privileges.
A race riot takes place in Chester, Pennsylvania. Five Africans are killed. Another riot breaks out in Philadelphia where four Africans are killed and 60 or more are injured.
The NAACP now has 88,500 members and 300 branches. The sharp increase in membership since 1912 is a result of its militancy in combating racist governmental policies and practices, pointed propaganda via the Crisis, and the continuing incidence of race riots and lynchings.
The United States and Central American governments close their doors to West Indians seeking better employment opportunities.
John H. Johnson is born in Arkansas. He begins his publishing career in 1942 with the Negro Digest (later changed to Black World). He subsequently publishes Ebony and Jet maga- zines.
Armistice is proclaimed on November 11. World War I comes to an end. American Africans furnish about 370,000 soldiers and 1,400 commissioned officers. A little more than half of these troops see service in Europe. Three African American regiments — 369th, 371st and 372nd — receive from the French the Croix de Guerre for valor. The 369th is the first Ameri- can unit to reach the Rhine River which forms the border between France and Germany. Several individual black soldiers are decorated with the French Croix de Guerre for bravery. The first soldiers in the entire American Expeditionary Forces to be decorated for bravery in France are two Africans, Henry Johnson and Needham Roberts. See Emmett J. Scott, The American Negro in The World War (1919), for a contemporary and “full account of the War Work organizations of colored men and women and other civilian activities including the Red Cross, the YMCA, the YWCA and War Camp Community Service.”
Benjamin F. Vaughan and Wallace Van Jackson edit the Voice in Richmond, Virginia.
At the end of World War I, there are 50,000 Africans in military service battalions. Ten thou- sand serve as messmen in the Navy. In all some 370,000 Africans (100,000 serve in France) are drafted, which represents 11% of the American Expeditionary Forces. More than half of these troops are assigned to the 92nd and 93rd combat divisions.
George H. White, ex–Congressman from Philadelphia, dies.
“The rise of an ‘all–black’ cinema was inevitable, given the pre–World War I legal and de facto segregation of American movie houses; but black ‘Hollywood,’ like white Hollywood, was born in response to D.W. Griffith’s racist masterpiece "The Birth of a Nation" (1915). This was a film which literally galvanized the world with its stupendous artistry and explosive propaganda. Black leaders were divided as to how to respond to Griffith’s vision of crazed ex–slaves running amock, raping and killing their ‘saintly’ masters. While the six–year–old NAACP opted for the frustrating, futile path of court injunction and legal censorship, Emmett J. Scott, who had been Booker T. Washington’s secretary, raised money among the black middle class for the purpose of filming an epic refutation to Griffith’s version of history. This ambitious project (called first ‘Lincoln’s Dream’, and then ‘The Birth of a Race’) took three years to complete, plagued by inexperience and spiraling costs. Ultimately Scott was forced to seek an infusion of white [and Jewish] capital. The subsequent loss of black control, ensuing mismanagement and chicanery resulted in a film that was thematically diluted [to propagandize the ill–treatment of the Jews in Germany], technically confused, and a financial disaster” (J. Hoberman, Village Voice, November 17, 1975). “'The Birth of a Race' begins with the Kaiser and his counsellors discussing when to open hostilities. A workman, meant, it seems, to represent Christ, breaks in on the meeting and for over an hour relates the history of man since the creation, including such unrelated episodes as the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, the Jewish flight from Egypt, the crucifixion, the discovery of America by Columbus. The first part of the movie lacked, in one reviewer’s words, ‘any tangible reason and was about as easy to follow as the dictionary is to read.’ The second part, also over an hour long, is set in the World War I perod and deals in extremely melodramatic fashion with sabotage, suicide, murder, and the divided loyalties of a family of German–Americans” (Daniel J. Leab, From Sambo to Superspade, 1975). [See Seymour Stern’s “Griffith: I — ’The Birth of a Nation’” in Film Culture, No. 36, Spring–Summer 1965, for a thorough and scholarly analysis of this film’s racist theme and impact on the white psyche, nationally and internationally.] See also Thomas Cripps, The Black Film as Genre (1978) and Henry Sampson, Black in Black and White (1977) for in depth analyses of stereotypical depiction of African people in the American film industry.
The Universal Negro Improvement Association (“Conservation” was dropped from the organiza- tion’s title along the way) is incorporated under the laws of New York on July 2. The African Communities League is incorporated as a business corporation. A month or two later the Negro World appears.
“in Africa the only independent states were the Republic of Liberia, and the King- dom of Abyssinia [Ethiopia] which, according to history, has been independent since the days of Menelek, the reputed son of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. The number of souls thus under the rule of aliens, in the case of England, France, Germany and Belgium, amounted to more than 110,000,000. During the course of the war Germany lost all four of her African colonies with a population estimated at 13,420,000. It is the question of the reapportionment of this vast number of human beings which has started the Pan–African Movement.”Dr. Charles Garvin is the first African physician to serve on the staff of any hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. As late as 1930 no hospital would admit Blacks to internships or nurses’ training programs. Jane Edna Hunter has one white physician bluntly tell her that doctors do not employ “nigger” nurses!
Cleveland’s black workers solidly back the Great Steel Strike.
M.O. Seymour publishes the Western Ideal in Pueblo, Colorado.
Frederick M. Roberts, an Ohio Republican, becomes the first African elected to the California legislature. He remains in that body until 1933. Roberts also publishes and edits The New Age, an African newspaper in Los Angeles.
Marcus M. Garvey’s Black Star Line Steamship Corporation is incorporated. In the same year Garvey is shot twice by attempted assassin George Tyler, who dies mysteriously in jail. Between 1919–1929 the UNIA will be instrumental in forming the Black Cross Navigation Co., Ltd. This Coporation over the years of its existence owns five ships: The Frederick Douglass (Yarmouth), the Shady Side, the Antonio Maceo (Kanawha), the Philiss Wheatley and the Booker T. Washington (General Goethals). African people lose $1.25 million in these navigation enterprises because of inexperience and corruption with white connivance. See Tony Martin, Race First: The Ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the UNIA (1976).
The Industrial Commercial Union of South Africa (ICU) is founded in Cape Town. At its height it embraces workers nationwide.
The National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM) is formed.
The Chicago Whip begins publishing. It expires in 1932.
The Southern Syncopated Orchestra, under the direction of Will Marion Cook, tours Europe.
White residents of Chicago’s Kenwood and Hyde Park districts oppose the African “invasion” of formerly all–white area. See Charles S. Johnson, Backgrounds to Patterns of Negro Segregation (1970), for an itemization of the racist rationalizations used by white Americans in support of the American version of apartheid.
Two African Americans, T.J. Pree and R.T. Sims, a former International Workers of the World (IWW) organizer, form the National Brotherhood of Workers of America. A. Philip Randolph is a member of the board. The AF of L fights the Brotherhood until it is disbanded in 1921.
Billed as another African American answer to D.W. Griffith’s "The Clansman," the film "Injustice" (or "Loyal Hearts") is a commercial failure when it is rejected by white audiences. This five–reel WW I drama stars Sidney Preston Dones and Thais Nehli Kalana, the Red Cross nurse, who, in the film, is attacked by the Germans on a French battle field and is rescued by Dones, her former butler.
The Houston Informer is first published. From 1931–1934 it is known as the Houston Informer and Texas Freeman.
The British Guiana (Guyana) Labor Union is organized by Hubert Critchlow.
Cuba’s African population is 323,118, or 11.1%.
G.H. Wright edits the Register in Hannibal, Missouri.
There are 26 race riots during the “Red Summer” of 1919. A race riot erupts in Longview and Gregg County, Texas, on July 13. Martial Law is declared. Six persons are killed and 150 are wounded in a Washington, DC, riot, on July 19–23. Troops are called out to put down a Chicago race riot which erupts on July 27; fifteen whites and 23 Africans are killed and 537 are injured. Five whites and 25 to 50 Africans are killed in rioting at Elaine, Phillips County, Arkansas on October 1. See Carl Sandburg, The Chicago Race Riots, July, 1919 (1919); and William M. Tuttle, Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919 (1970).
American African schools and churches are burned in Georgia.
A riot erupts in Knoxville, Tennessee where two Africans die and four are critically injured.
A race riot erupts in Omaha, Nebraska where a mob of crazed whites is numbered at several thousands. Military is called in to maintain order.
Seventy thousand South African miners strike against their work status and pig–level existence. The strike is highly disciplined and organized and an alarmed government throws police cordons around each of the compounds, preventing coordination of demands and actions. Troops break through the workers’ barricades with fixed bayonets, killing three and wounding 40. The police and armed white civilians attack a meeting of the striking miners, killing eight and wounding 80.
The NAACP holds a National Anti–Lynching Conference in New York.
Black newspapers are banned by city ordinance in Sommerville, Texas.
After African farmers in Elaine, Arkansas attempt to organize the Progressive Farmers and Household Union to fight against the low prices paid for their cotton, riots break out and over 200 Africans are killed. Seventy–nine Africans are indicted and brought to trial; 12 are sentenced to death. Six of the death sentences, however, are reversed by the Arkansas Supreme Court. See Harold Cruse, Plural but Equal (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1987).
The U.S. Government resorts to a process used earlier in the West Indies and imports 2,500 male Africans from the Caribbean to work as construction laborers in Charleston, South Carolina. Laborers are also imported from the Bahamas to work on the truck farms in Florida. Africans emigrate to U.S. from the Caribbean Islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe over the next 10–year period. Most settle in New York City. (See 1838, 1841, 1843, 1858 and passim.)
The California Voice is published in Oakland.
The federal government creates a town exclusively for African people at Truxton, Virginia. This town is near the Naval Station at Portsmouth where most of the Africans work.
The Kansas City Call is edited by C.A. Franklin.
The International League of Darker People is founded by Madam C.J. Walker at her Villa Lawaro estate in New York.
Nat “King” Cole, recording artist, is born in Chicago. He dies in 1965. Among his most well– known recordings are "Straighten Up and Fly Right," "Mona Lisa," "Nature Boy," "Somewhere Along the Way," and "Pretend."
Jackie Roosevelt Robinson, athlete, is born in Cairo, Georgia and raised in Pasadena, Califor- nia. In 1947, while playing for the “Kansas City Monarchs,” a professional black baseball team, he is signed to play for the “Brooklyn Dodgers,” breaking the racial barriers in white major league baseball. Fritz Pollard becomes the first black professional football player. Ironically Blacks can play pro–football from 1919 to 1933; however, they are excluded from the sport from 1933 to 1946.
The LaFayette Theatre opens in Harlem with E.C. Brown as manager. During this year Lester A. Walton forms a circuit of African theatres.
The Detroit Contender is first published.
Of all the girls committed to Ohio’s Girls Industrial School from Cleveland between 1920–1926, 38% are African.
The Michigan State News is published in Grand Rapids.
The first International Convention of Marcus Garvey’s Univer- sal Negro Improvement Association opens in Liberty Hall in Harlem on August 1. The next night Garvey addresses some 25,000 Africans in Madison Square Garden. Garvey’s black nationalist movement reaches the peak of its influence in 1920-21. At this convention the red, black, and green flag is adopted as the official colors of the African race: Red for “the color of the blood which men must shed for their redemption and liberty,” Black for “the color of the noble and distinguished race to which we belong,” and Green for “the luxuriant vegetation of our motherland.” The Afro–American flag is inspired by Garvey’s urge toward Nationhood and the derisive but popular song “Every Race Has A Flag but the ‘Coon,’” which is sung by whites.
The Washington Tribune is published in the District of Columbia.
Walter H. Sammons invents and patents a hot comb for grooming hair.
The section of Harlem bordered approximately by 130th Street on the south, 145th Street on the north, and west of Fifth to Eighth Avenue is predominantly African — and inhabited by 73,000 persons.
William Warfield, baritone, is born in Arkansas. He stars with the New York City Opera Com- pany in 1961 and 1964.
P.R. Jervay publishes the Carolinian in Raleigh.
Between 1890–1920, 2,000,000 Africans in America leave the South; within the ten–year period 1910–1920, more than 330,000 Africans migrate to the North and West from the South. Within this period the population of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Detroit increases by 750,000.
M.L. Collins edits the Shreveport Sun in Louisiana.
J. Walter Wills establishes himself as Cleveland, Ohio’s leading African undertaker. The “House of Wills” is located on E. 55th Street, between Woodland and Quincy Avenues.
W.E.B. DuBois editorializes in Crisis that a Race War might be inevitable.
Two new “race” papers appear in Cleveland: The Call, founded by Garret A. Morgan, and the Post founded by Norman McGhee and Herbert S. Chauncey. In 1921 the two papers merge to form the Call and Post, edited by William O. Walker. This paper will be the city’s major so-called “race” paper for the next sixty years.
Forty–six point six percent of American Africans are farm laborers.
TheColored American, which expires in 1925, is published in Galveston, Texas.
The first recording of a vocal blues rendition by an African American artist, "Crazy Blues," sung by Mamie Smith, is released in New York City.
Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane, first President of FRELIMO, Mozambique’s Liberation Front, and scholar, is born. He is assassinated in 1969.
The Northwest Enterprise is published in Seattle, Washington.
Farm property owned by Africans is valued at $2.25 billion.
Eugene O’Neill’s "Emperor Jones" opens at the Provincetown Theatre in Greenwich Village with Charles Gilpin in the title role.
W.T. Andrews edits the Herald–Commonwealth in Baltimore, Maryland.
Sixty–one American Africans are lynched this year.
A reorganized Ku Klux Klan has over 100,000 members in 27 states.
W.E.B. DuBois publishes his book of poems and essays, Dark Water.
The Gilpin Players is organized in Cleveland and eventually gains national recognition for its excellent productions.
The Supreme Life and Casualty Company is formed to insure African people. It has its headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.
James Farmer, founder of the Congress of Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.) is born in Marshall, Texas.
Charlie “Yardbird” Parker, alto-saxophonist, is born in Kansas City, Missouri. He dies in 1955 at age 34..
The Harlem Renaissance begins and lasts until 1930. Many African American intellectuals, however, do not believe this period constituted a true renaissance, for it, for the most part, continues to address African aesthetics to European cultural values. See Harold Cruse, Crisis of the Negro Intellectual (1967), Nathan Huggins, The Harlem Renaissance (1971), Alain Locke, The New Negro (1925) and Margaret Just Butcher, The Negro in American Culture (1956).
Before long Broadway helps to kill the Harlem Theatre Movement by staging musicals written by Africans, e.g., "Shuffle Along," "Goat Alley," "Strut," "Chocolate Dandies," and "Topsy and Eva."
The Colored Players Film Corporation of Philadelphia, produces "Ten Nights in a Barroom," one of the period’s most successful African films.
The National Negro Baseball League is formed.
Sixty–three Africans are lynched; only one lynching occurs in a Northern state, however.
The second UNIA International Convention is held in New York. At this time the UNIA has 859 branches: 418 chartered divisions, 422 not yet chartered, and 19 chapters.
Oklahoma's "Black Wallstreet" is the scene of an
African Holocaust that erupts on the evening of May 31 and lasted
the afternoon of June 1, 1921. There are two other versions of this
. . .
Two: “During one of the worst race riots in American history, Tulsa, Oklahoma became the first U.S. city to be bombed from the air. More than 75 persons — mostly blacks — were killed. . . . Tulsa blacks were so successful that their business district was called ‘The Negro’s Wall Street.’ Envy bred hatred of the blacks. . . . A white female elevator operator accused Dick Rowland, a 19–year–old black who worked at a shoeshine stand, of attacking her. . . . The Tulsa Tribune ran a sensational account of the incident the next day, and a white lynch mob soon gathered at the jail. Armed blacks, seeking to protect Rowland, also showed up. . . . Whites invaded the black district, burning, looting and killing . . . the police commandeered private planes and dropped dynamite. Eventually . . . martial law [was] declared. The police arrested more than 4,000 blacks and interned them in three camps. All blacks were forced to carry green ID cards” (Irving Wallace et al., Significa, 1983).
The first version is very inaccurate in most if not all of its particulars. The second version of this riot is more accurate, but it, too, is wanting. Nevertheless, it is one of the first riot accounts to record an instance of African Americans being placed in detention camps and of a “pass law” being used against African people in the U.S., antedating similar laws enacted by the avowedly racist Republic of South Africa some nine years later. (See 1906, 1913, 1918, 1926 and 1930 below.) The "Tulsa Race Riot Report of 1921" released by the Oklahoma Commission formed to study the riot (188 pp) was published on the Internet on February 28, 2001. It corroborates the Irving Wallace version of this African Holocaust and presents more complete and in depth information. The Report and more relevant information can be attained in full by clicking on the following.
All those interested in discovering the truth about African America's hidden history owe it to themselves to learn bout this race riot as well as about those that took place in Rosewood, Florida and East St Louis, Illinois.
Webmaster's Note: In the "Edit Menu"of your browser, click on "Find in Page" to search for instances of other Race Riots during the period covered in this Web page and in other periods recorded in Your History Online.
The Clarion, edited and published in Waco, Texas by Allie W. Jackson, begins its publication history.
Americans found the National Insurance Association.
Cleveland, Ohio’s first African bank, the Empire Savings and Loan Co., opens under the management of H.S. Chauncey and George Hinton.
The first all–African show on Broadway after the war, "Shuffle Along," produced by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, who hires Josephine Baker for the chorus line at age 15. Sissle was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1889 and dies in 1975.
The Bulhoek Massacre takes place at Ntabalanga, near Queenstown, South Africa, when Colonel Theodore Truter, a police commissioner, leads six squadrons, a machine gun and an artillery detachment against the Israelite religious sect collected at their annual gathering on the land of their leader and prophet, Enoch Mgijima. The slaughter takes 10 minutes and cost 190 lives. Mgijima and his two brothers are sentenced to six years. Their crime? — the refusal to demolish “huts” built on Crown land and defiance of white authority.
South Africa: A History of Massacres
"To understand the value and significance of June 26 and appreciate its meaning to millions of oppressed Africans in South Africa, it is necessary to recall that the history of white rule in South Africa is a history of rule by force, violence and massacres.Colored Feature Photo Plays, Inc., an African American film company, is formed to produce “high class photo plays featuring colored actors and actresses.”
The first black recording company, Pace Phonograph Corporation, Inc., is established by Harry H. Pace in New York City. Later the name is changed to Black Swan Phonograph Company.
Erroll Garner, pianist, is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Oscar Micheaux releases "Gonzales Mystery."
Warren Gamaliel Harding, a Republican from Ohio, is inaugurated as the 29th U.S. President. Shortly before election day in 1920, Democratic papers report that Harding “is a Negro!” William Estabrook Chancellor, professor of economics, politics and social sciences at Wooster College in Ohio, writes a book “based on interviews with aged residents of Marion, Ohio who knew the Harding family. He had affidavits from them as well as a letter from Senator Foraker, a friend of a Negro, who had written him asking him to give Harding’s sister, Mrs. Votau, employment in the public schools of Washington, DC, of which Chancellor was then superintendent. She was given employment in a Negro school, then tightly segregated. She also lived among Negroes there” (J.A. Rogers, The Five Negro Presidents, 1965). In popular white opinion the other four African presidents are supposedly Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and one whom Rogers refuses to name. Lincoln’s vice–president, Hannibal Hamlin, is also reputed to be of African descent.
Fascists under il Duce Benito Mussolini seize the Italian government.
In Cleveland the Catholic church which had made efforts to assimilate American Africans into church activities, reverses its policy and sets up a separate parish and school for African converts, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, on 79th Street between Quincy and Central Avenues. Later, in the 1940s this parish expands to include the previously all–white St. Edward’s parish and school which is located on Woodland Avenue at 69th Street. Whites who previously attended this church and school transfer to all-white Holy Trinity, which is just one block east of St. Edward’s.
The Daily Times is published by the UNIA.
The Dyer Anti–Lynching Bill passes the U.S. House of Representatives. In a supposedly democratic and civil society, isn’t it strange that a special law against the murder of African citizens needs to be enacted!
The third UNIA International Convention is held in New York.
Nobel Sissle and Eubie Blake perform in a “phonofilm,” one of the first sound movies.
The Detroit Tribune is edited by J.E. McCall.
The Lincoln Memorial is dedicated in Washington, DC; Robert Moton, President of Tuskegee Institute, participates in the ceremony.
Widespread famine hits Russia.
In Atlanta, Garvey accepts an invitation to a summit meeting with Edward Young Clarke, acting Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
The Oklahoma Eagle is published in Tulsa with Theodore Boughman as editor and Mrs. R.C. Boughman as publisher.
Mustafa Kemal, the founder of modern–day Turkey, defeats the Greeks. From 1934 on he is referred to as Kemal Ataturk.
Fifty–one Africans are lynched; 30 of these Africans are lynched while being held by police.
Bessie Coleman becomes the first African woman to earn a pilot’s license. Since U.S. laws prohibit Africans from entering flight school, Coleman learns to fly in Europe.
Bert Williams, a famous African vaudeville star, dies in New York City.
The governor of Lousiania confers with the President on Ku Klux Klan violence in the state.
On May 6, Three African Americans — John Curry, "Shap" Curry and one unidentified black man — are burned at the stake in the Public Square of Kirvin, Texas as 500 whites look on. All three men had been in police custody. No trial was held. The suspects were dragged from the county jail, tied to a plow and burned alive. A month of race-related violence followed. Between 1868-1955, more than 200 African Americans, among them entire families, were lynched or murdered in Texas.
Women of Africa, Haiti, Ceylon, the West Indies and the U.S. meet in Washington, DC, to form the International Council of the Women of the Dark Races.
Noble Johnson appears as Friday in the film version of Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.
A letter from Trinidad to Jamaica takes five and one half months to arrive; Jamaican letters to Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana are usually sent via New York, Halifax, and England! A simi- lar situation is in evidence in Africa.
The liberation of Haiti is advocated by the NAACP.
Egypt becomes “independent,” but British troops still occupy the country.
The Journal of Negro History receives $50,000 from the Carnegie Corporation and the Rockefeller Memorial Fund.
The Irish Free State is established.
William J. Robinson edits the Independent in Detroit.
The former German colonies become League of Nations mandates: (1) Togo and the Cameroons go to France, (2) South Africa becomes the mandatory power of South West Africa (Namibia), and (3) Britain gains control of Tanganyika (Tanzania). The mandatory powers are “responsible for the peace, order and good government of the territory . . . to promote to the utmost the material and moral well–being and the social progress of its inhabitants.”
Charles C. Diggs, congressman, is born in Detroit.
Dorothy Dandridge, film star, is born in Cleveland.
President Lowell of Harvard says, “If Harvard were faced by the alternative of either admitting Negroes to the Freshman Halls where white students are compelled to go or of excluding Negroes altogether, it might be compelled like other colleges, to adopt the other alternative.” President Lowell’s ruling is rescinded by the Harvard Corporation in 1923.
The Michigan Independent is first published. After 1935 it changes its title to the North Western News.
Floyd McKissick, who succeeds James Farmer as director of CORE in 1966, is born in Asheville, North Carolina.
Oscar Micheaux releases "The Dungeon," about a wife–murderer, with William E. Fountaine, Shingzie Howard, J. Kenneth Goodman, W.B.F. Crowell, Earle Browne Cook and Blanche Thompson.
D.W. Griffith introduces the stereotype of the African as lazy, foolish, superstitious and cowardly in the film, "One Exciting Night."
Charles Mingus, bassist and composer, is born in Nogales, Arizona. He dies in 1982.
“Throughout his term of office (1923–1929), he averaged 10 hours of sleep a day, but barely four hours of work. Rising around 6 o’clock, Coolidge rarely settled down to work before 9 A.M. He broke for lunch and a two–hour nap at 12:30, then resumed the duties of State in the late afternoon. Seldom did he work past 6 or retire after 10. Coolidge was also the most vacation–minded President. Each summer he would knock off for 2 l/2 – 3 months and hole up in one of a number of favorite havens — the Black Hills of South Dakota, White Pine Camp, New York, [or] Swamp–Scott, Massachusetts. He once went to New England for a vacation and would not allow a telephone to be installed where he was staying. He ran the country without a telephone for three months!” (Irving Wallace et al., Significa, 1981).DuBois is chosen to represent the United States at the inauguration of President King of Liberia. William H. Lewis, an African attorney from Boston, suggests this to President Calvin Coolidge. DuBois exults in this official “gesture of courtesy.” What he does not know is that he is being used by the Republican Party, as Lewis puts it, to “insure the support of the Crisis, if it should come out against us,” in the upcoming elections.
The Little Rock, Arkansas Survey is edited by P. Dorman.
Colonel Charles R. Young, who held the highest rank by an African during World War I, dies while on an expedition to Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
A third Pan–African Congress is called by W.E.B. DuBois and is held in London and Lisbon.
The Oakland Times begins its publication history in California.
The fourth International UNIA Convention is held in New York.
The Memphis, Tennessee Index begins publication.
Eight so–called African American leaders (socialists and avowed integrationists)write and publicize widely a letter to U.S. Attorney General asking that Marcus Garvey be deported. This is one of the strangest episodes in African American history. The signatories were: Harry H. Pace, George W. Harris, Chandler Owen, Robert W. Bagnall, Robert S. Abbott, William Pickens, Dr. Julia P. Coleman and John E. Mail. Here we have African petty bourgeois leaders requesting assistance from the racist U.S. government to destroy their major African rival! See Amy Jacques Garvey, The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey (1923, 1925).
Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life is edited by Charles S. Johnson and published by the National Urban League.
Whites in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) are granted “self–governing colony” status. This entitles them to establish their own government and defense force.
Twenty–nine African Americans are lynched.
The Governor says Oklahoma is in a “state of rebellion and insurrection” because of Ku Klux Klan activities and declares martial law.
The Miami Times is edited by H.E.S. Reeves.
"The Bull–Dogger," co–starring Anita Bush, the “Mother of Black Drama,” testifies to the black cowboy. The film, produced by the Norman Film Company of Jacksonville, Florida features Bill Pickett, who invented bull–dogging. Pickett is an active rodeo entertainer well into his seven- ties, when he is kicked by a horse and dies from his injuries in 1932. See Nat Love’s autobiography, The Life and Adventures of Nat Love (l988) and William Loren Katz, The Black West (1973).
From 1923–1927 the death rate is 42% higher in Harlem than in the rest of the city. The death rate of mothers in childbirth is 111 per thousand.
Almost 500,000 African Americans leave the South during the previous 12 months.
Marcus Garvey is convicted of mail fraud, sentenced to five years in prison, and fined $1,000. He is given four months to appeal. When interviewed in the “Tombs” in New York City, Garvey says, “Most of my troubles are the result of the efforts of opponents of the colored race. They are light–colored Negroes who think that the Negro can always develop in this country. They also resent the fact that I, a black Negro, am a leader.”
"Runnin’ Wild" opens at the Colonial Theatre on Broadway. This Miller and Lyles production introduces the “Charleston,” a popular African American dance, to New York and the world.
A vicious white terrorist mob massacres 40 Africans in Rosewood, Florida.
Paramount Records issues the first recordings of an African American jazz band, King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band.
Abyssinian Baptist Church is constructed in Harlem on 138th Street at a cost of $300,000. The Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., has been its pastor since 1908.
A violent earthquake hits Tokyo, Japan, killing more than 140,000 people in a little more than five minutes.
The Juilliard Graduate School of Music opens in New York. It merges with the Institute of Musical Art in 1926.
The Julius Rosenwald Fund reports that it contributed 19.3% of the $6.2 million it took to build 1,700 schools and 49 teachers’ homes in Southern states. African people contributed 25.6%; whites, 5.6%; public funds 44%.
The Micheaux Film Corporation releases "Deceit" with Evelyn Preer, William E. Fontaine, George Lucas, Norman Johnston and Cleo Desmond.
Wes Montgomery, jazz guitarist, is born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He dies in 1968.
Jelly Roll Morton records with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, a white band.
Jackie “Moms” Mabley, comedienne, has her first night club success at Connie’s Inn in New York City.
The Micheaux Film Corporation releases "Birthright" with J. Homer Tutt, Evelyn Preer, Salem Tutt Whitney, Lawrence Chenault, and W.B.F. Crowell.
In South Africa, Z.R. Mahabane is elected to his first term as the third ANC President–General.
The National Negro Bankers Association is founded.
James Baldwin, novelist, civil rights activist, known for his rich, eloquent style in Notes of a Native Son, Nothing Personal (with Richard Avedon), The Fire Next Time, and many other published works, is born in New York City. He dies in 1988 in France.
The All–Race Sanhedrin Conference is called to Chicago by Professor Kelly Miller of Howard University; 50 of 61 African organizations attend.
Kenneth Kaunda, President of Zambia, is born in Lubwa, Zambia.
The People’s Elevator is published in Independence, Kansas.
25th Anniversary of National Negro Business League that was founded by Booker T. Washington. Since 1900 black businesses increase from 20,000 to 65,000. During same period realty holdings increase in value from $300,000,000 to $1.7 billion.
The appropriations for public education in South Carolina, as reported in the Charleston News and Courier, are:
For White People: [35,000]
"Dixie to Broadway," the first real revue by Africans, opens at the Bradhurst Theatre in New York City, with Florence Mills in the starring role.
President Calvin Coolidge is re–elected.
Paul Robeson stars in O’Neill’s The Emperor Jones.
The Ku Klux Klan has 4.5 million members.
Fletcher Henderson, an African American, is the first musician to make a name with a big jazz band, when he opens at Roseland Ballroom on Broadway.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the most powerful man in the USSR, dies in Moscow.
Sixteen African Americans are lynched during the year.
Abd–el–Krim proclaims the “Rif Republic,” a mountainous region on the Mediterranean coast of Spanish Morocco, and defeats a Spanish army. He is overthrown by the French and sent into exile.
The National Negro Finance Corporation, an auxiliary of the National Negro Business League, is capitalized at $1,000,000.
Africans from the U.S. mainland and the Virgin Islands meet in New York City to demand that Congress establish a permanent form of self-government in the Virgin Islands to insure Civil Rights to all Islanders and to remove barriers to trade and commerce.
The Immigration Act excludes persons of African descent from entry into the U.S.
Tuskegee and Hampton Institutes receive $1,000,000 apiece from the Eastman Kodak Company of Rochester, New York.
Sidney Poitier, Academy–Award–winning actor, is born in Miami, Florida; but he is brought up in the Bahamas.
The American Federation of Negro Students names George Washington Carver, James Weldon Johnson, Henry Ossawa Tanner, W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Col. Charles Young, Booker T. Washington, Mme. C.J. Walker and Robert S. Abbott as the “greatest living African Americans.”
Jan Smut’s racist South African Party is defeated in Parliamentary elections. A Nationalist– Labour coalition government is established under J.B.M. Hertzog.
John W. Williams is born in Hinds County, Mississippi. He is the author of several books which include This Is My Country, Too (1964), The King God Didn’t Save (1969) and The Man Who Cried I Am (1967), in which he reveals the . . .
“King Alfred Plan” designed to extirpate African radicalism from the United States. See Public Law 831 – 81st Congress, Title II, Sec. 102, 103 and 104 (HUAC’s original Internal Security Act [McCarran Act], 1953), which reads in part: “EMERGENCY DETENTION: In the event of . . . insurrection . . . the President is authorized to make a public proclamation . . . of an ‘Internal Security Emergency’ . . .” and “. . . acting through the Attorney General, is . . . authorized to apprehend and . . . detain . . . each person as to whom there is reasonable ground to believe . . . PROBABLY WILL CONSPIRE with others to engage in acts . . . of sabotage. . . . Persons apprehended . . . shall be confined in . . . places of detention . . . prescribed by the Attorney General.” See also those sources referred to in Allen R. Bosworth's America's Concentration Camps (1968). This book relates how the U.S. government, during World War II, forced a non-white people, namely 110,000 Japanese American citizens, out of their homes and businesses and herded them into compounds fenced off by barbed wire and policed by armed guards.The National Ethiopian Art Theatre School opens in Harlem under the direction of Anne Wolter. This school is sponsored by the Harlem Community Theatre Organization and holds classes in stagecraft, acting and dance.
Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake compose "Chocolate Dandies," a musical revue, which introduces Josephine Baker as a dancer. Sissle and Blake split up in the late 1920s, each forming his own independent orchestra and touring the country.
Paul Robeson stars as an evil preacher in Oscar Micheaux’s "Body and Soul" with Julia Theresa Russell and Mercedes Gilbert.
H.C. Chacey begins editing the Wyandotte Echo in Kansas City, Kansas.
The twentieth anniversary of the Chicago Defender is celebrated.
The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters is organized by A. Phillip Randolph.
The Gary American is first published in Indiana.
From 1905–1925 the IWW issues 100,000 memberships to African workers.
Micheaux Films releases "The Brute," starring Evelyn Preer and Lawrence Chenault.
The Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowships for improvement in the Arts and Education are initiated. All Americans, regardless of race, are eligible.
The National Urban League organizes a Trade Union Committee for Organizing Negroes.
N.J. Frederick edits and G.H. Hampton publishes the Palmetto Leaderin Columbia, South Carolina.
Marcus Garvey starts serving his sentence for alleged mail fraud at a federal prison in Atlanta.
The NAACP trys once again to have U.S. troops removed from Haiti.
Ossian Sweet, prominent Detroit doctor, and others are arrested on a murder charge stemming from firing into a white mob in front of Sweet’s home in a previously all–white area. Sweet is defended by Clarence Darrow who wins an acquittal in a second trial. During the same year, a racist Detroit mob stones the home of Dr. Alex T. Turner; his house is in a white area, too.
In St. Louis, George W. Holt is forbidden to move into his house or to sell it to another African.
John Scopes goes on trial in Dayton, Tennessee for teaching evolution. The so-called “Monkey Trial” sets the stage for a continuing battle between fundamentalist and liberal Christians. The issue ultimately involves national conservative politics and continues to be a hot issue in the 1980s. For more information on this trial, read Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, Inherit the Wind, a play written in 1955.
The tomb of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen is unearthed. Many scholars seek to prove that Tutankhamen and other Pharaohs as well are black. See E.L. Jones, Tutankhamen, Son of the Sun, King of Upper and Lower Egypt (1978). See also E. Wallis Budge, Tutankhamen, Amenism, Atenism and Egyptian Monotheism (1923); Yosef Ben–Jochannan, Black Man of the Nile and his Family (1981); Africa: Mother of Western Civilization (1971); and Black Man of the Nile (1970).
Louis Armstrong records first of Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings which influence direction of jazz.
Malcolm X is born (with the slave name Little) on May 19. After his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1964, he changes his name to el–Hajj Malik el–Shabazz. Malcolm is assassinated on February 21, 1965. See The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley (1964).
Fisk University students demand the resignation of President Avery McKenzie, a white man, who, in the college’s business affairs, favors his white friends, administers the university autocratically, and bars from the campus all newspapers critical of him.
More than 1,200 students at Howard University riot and go out on strike in protest of compulsory military training and the so–called “twenty cut” rule, which allows for dismissal of any student not regularly attending classes. Faculty members, e.g., Kelly Miller, Alain Locke and Alonzo Brown, are dismissed for sympathizing with the students.
"La revue nègre" opens in Paris with Josephine Baker as the lead dancer.
Thirteen states have passed anti–lynching legislation as of this year.
The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Kansas v. Brown that anti–discrimination statutes do not apply to restaurants as they do to inns, hotels and boarding houses.
Tuskegee Institute reports the lynching of only 16 American Africans during the course of the year.
Elberta “Doc” Robertson of Nashville, Tennessee dies after years of legal battles with railroad companies over patent rights to his inventions: the chilled groove wheel, the third rail used in elevated railroads, and a mold for concrete pillars. For his chilled groove wheel the U.S. Supreme Court orders the Chicago Railway Company to pay him $13,000,000 in royalties.
The New Negro is published by Alain Locke.
Manhattan has a population density of 223 people per acre; the African districts of New York City have a population density of 336.
Octavius Roy Cohen produces the all–African “Florian Slappey” film series.
Clarence Muse appears in MGM’s "The Road to Mandalay."
The Carolina Tribune is published in Raleigh.
Of the 12,000,000 African Americans, only five million attend church. In New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, Detroit, Cleveland, Boston and Buffalo approximately 66% have no religious affiliation.
Oscar Micheaux produces "The Devil’s Disciple" with Evelyn Preer and Lawrence Chenault.
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture opens on 135th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem. “Nowhere is there a larger, more comprehensive or more heavily–used collection documenting the history, literature and art of peoples of African descent. The Schomburg Collection contains representative works of every major black author, some of the earliest books and manuscripts dating back to the sixteenth century. Of equal significance, the Center’s holdings include a collection of rare African art works — sculpture, wood carvings, weaponry, religious artifacts, musical instruments, jewelry — exhibited side by side with a superb group of works by noted contemporary black artists. Thus is the total continuity of black cultural expression demonstrated and uniquely experienced at Schomburg.” Arthur Schomburg is a Puerto Rican of African descent who came to the U.S. in 1891. He was a zealous collector of African art and printed materials. The motivating force behind his life–long interest in collecting is attributed by him to a remark a teacher of his made in Puerto Rico that the African had no history, an assertion he spends this life and personal earnings attempting to disprove.
One hundred African women go out on strike in Chicago against the Moras Suffed Date Factory because of salary cuts.
Laura Wheeler Waring, an outstanding portrait painter and illustrator, is exhibited at the Philadelphia Exposition. She dies in 1948.
Andrew Billingsley, educator, internationally known worker for social welfare, and author of Black Families in White America (1968), is born.
The Colour Bar Act in South Africa secures a monopoly on skilled jobs for white mine– workers.
Foreign born American Africans are affiliated with the following number of churches: African Orthodox Church, 13; African Orthodox Church of New York, 3; Christian Church, 1,044; United Lutheran Church, 3,650; Wesleyan Methodist, 619; Moravians, 127; Episcopalian, 7,366; Catholic, 16,940; Seventh Day Adventist, 1,981.
The nation’s railroads employ 136,065 Africans; 95,713 are laborers; 20,224 are Pullman and train porters.
John “Trane” Coltrane, jazz musician (tenor saxophone) and composer, is born on September 23. He dies in 1967.
The Commission on Slavery reports to League of Nations that “It has been notorious for years that the cotton crop of the Southern states is raised and harvested by a system of enforced labor in which members of the [African] race are held in virtual slavery.”
The William E. Harmon Foundation awards for achievement by an individual African American are instituted.
Carter G. Woodson establishes “Negro History Week” (February 7 to February 12) for the awakening of American Africans to their heritage. Professor Woodson writes that . . .
“The tentative program suggested proved to be popular. This included exercises emphasizing the importance of the African background, the Negro in the discovery and exploration of America, the laborer, the inventor, the soldier, the poet, the artist, the spokesman, the press, the business man, the professional class, the educator, and the minister. . . . One high school principal said that as a result of the effort the pupils of his schools were showing unusual interest in their background. A teacher said: ‘The celebration improved my children a hundred per cent. I wish we could have Negro History Week throughout the year. Let the good work go on . . .’” (“Negro History Week,” Journal of Negro History, Vol. XI, No. 2, April 1926).It is claimed that Robert Pritchard introduced Black History Month in 1968. It is the author's recollection and belief that one of the first, if not the first "month-long Black History Celebration" was conducted at Kent State University in 1970. Black Student Unions and Black Faculty and Staff Associations are organized on university campuses around the country and make plans to celebrate Black History Month. These activist scholars and students also hope African History will eventually be celebrated for a year, then for a decade, and better yet, for a lifetime.
Twenty–three American Africans are lynched this year.
Harry Butler, charged with violating a white girl, is convicted in Georgetown, Delaware and sentenced to death after an all–white jury deliberates only eight minutes!
An angry white mob terrorizes Aiken, South Carolina when the second trial for the murder of a sheriff results in a not–guilty verdict for two African men and a woman.
White mobs burn churches and attack African people in Carteret, New Jersey following the indictment of Robert Duncrest, who is accused of murdering a white boxer.
The home of Dr. Charles Garvin of Cleveland, Ohio is bombed after a group of whites unsuccessfully attempt to keep him from moving into it.
Langston Hughes publishes his essay “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” in which he states, in effect, the Credo of the Harlem Renaissance . . .
“We younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark–skinned selves without fear. If white people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, it doesn’t matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too. The tom–tom cries and the tom–tom laughs. If colored people are pleased, we are glad. If they are not, their displeasure doesn’t matter either. We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain, free within ourselves” (in Addison Gayle, The Black Aesthetic, 1971).After a devastating hurricane in southern Florida, the U.S. Marines force African people in the state to work on reclamation projects.
In Daytona Beach Florida, Africans are forced to carry identification passes if they are in the City after dark, anticipating by three or four years the enactment of similar regulations in South Africa. (See also 1921.)
John D. Rockefeller buys a city block in Harlem containing 60 lots, bounded by 7th and 8th Avenues between 149th and 150th Streets. These lots are a step in Rockefeller’s plans to provide low–cost housing for the African newcomers.
With H. Houston as its editor and publisher the Post starts publishing in Charlotte, North Carolina.
James Stanley Durkee, a white man, resigns as the President of Howard after a string of strident protests against him by students and alumni. Bishop Gregg, former President of Wilberforce University, succeeds him and becomes the first black President–elect of Howard. He later declines the position and the presidency goes to Mordecai Johnson, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Charlestown, West Virginia. See Rayford Logan, Howard University: The First Hundred Years (1969).
William Saunders Scarborough, President of Wilberforce University in Ohio from 1908–1920, dies at age 74. He became head of Wilberforce’s Classics Department in 1877.
Bessie Coleman, an African woman aviator is killed when her plane crashes in Jacksonville, Florida.
Miles Davis, jazz trumpeter, is born in Alton, Illinois. He is responsible in 1949 for the “Birth of the Cool” in modern jazz.
The New Jersey Hearld News is edited by Dr. Marc Mooreland.
Clarence Darrow tells Tuskegee Institute students that “cash money” is the key to power.
Dr. J.H. Presnell edits the Knoxville, Tennessee Herald.
Charles Waddell Chesnutt’s House behind the Cedars is released by Micheaux Films with Andrew S. Bishop, Shingzie Howard, William Crowell, Lawrence Chenault and Douglas Griffin.
The Chattanooga outrage occurs when a mob of white devils raids a peaceful meeting of the Chattanooga, Tennessee UNIA Division and kill, wound and imprison several Garveyites. Attacks of this nature are common throughout UNIA history. (See “Interview with Queen Mother Moore,” Black Scholar, 1973, for a description of another such outrage that occured in New Orleans in 1920.) The U.S. Government also does whatever it can to embarrass the UNIA’s leadership. Black folk organized is contrary to U.S. policy and its concept of law and order.
The Houston Sentinel is first published.
The Rodman Wanamaker Musical Composition Prizes for African American musicians are instituted.
In South Africa, J.T. Gumede is elected as the fourth ANC President– General.
The Julius Rosenwald Fund contributes $25,000 toward development of an endowment for Howard University’s Medical School.
The Omaha Guide begins its publication history in Nebraska.
White soft coal miners and the UMW lose control of mines in Pennsylvania and West Virginia when companies bring in African laborers from the South.
Harry Belafonte, Jr., inimitable singer, composer and actor in films and on Broadway, is born in New York City.
Sixteen more Africans are lynched.
A Supreme Court decision strikes down a Texas law barring Blacks from voting in a “white” primary.
The House of Representatives confers citizenship on the 23,000 inhabitants of the U.S. Virgin Islands, most of whom are of African descent. Approximately 3,500 Virgin Islanders live in New York City.
Hubert Harrison, a gifted street orator, dies after he has been for ten years one of the most–listened–to persons in Harlem. Hundreds of Harlemites gathered around his soap box to listen to him exhort them to seek economic freedom. Marcus Garvey appointed him UNIA Commissioner of Education and editor of the Negro World.
Leontyne Price, opera singer, is born in Laurel, Mississippi and educated at Central State College in Ohio.
The Ira Aldridge Players is formed in St. Louis by Frederick O’Neal.
William Grant Still’s "Darker America" is performed by the Rochester Symphony Orchestra.
Universal International Pictures produces the sixth and last version of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which Charles Gilpin describes as a slur on all African people in America.
The Harlem Globetrotters is organized by Abe Saperstein.
Duke Ellington opens at the Cotton Club.
In Coffeeville, Kansas, whites tell African residents they intend to lynch the African who is accused of assaulting a white girl and to march on the African community. Armed with rifles, pistols, axes and other weapons, the Africans dig trenches at the entrance to their community and stop the white mob which fights for two days. Ten white men are killed.
The Chicago Urban League organizes a boycott of white–owned businesses in the African community that do not hire African people.
W.E.B. DuBois’ fourth Pan–African Congress convenes in New York City.
Marcus Garvey is released from prison and deported as an undesirable alien; he returns to Jamaica. Even though he had been eligible for parole since October 1926, his release is not ordered by President Coolidge until six months later, after a petition with 200,000 signatures had been sent to him on Garvey’s behalf.
The Kansas City American is published in Missouri.
Lerone Bennett, Jr., historian and author of Confrontation: Black and White (1965), What Manner of Man (1968), Before the Mayflower (1964) and Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream (2000), is born in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
Jamaica–born John Sommerville, California’s first African American dentist even though he is not allowed to practice, opens in Los Angeles the first luxury hotel for Africans west of the Mississippi River. After the Great Depression, Sommerville sells his hotel to another African, Lucius Lomax who renames it the Dunbar Hotel. Paul Robeson, Count Basie, Nat “King” Cole and many other African entertainers perform here during the period between 1940 and 1960, making it the showpiece of the African community in south central Los Angeles. The Dunbar Hotel is listed on the National Historic Register and plans are in the making to convert the hotel into 75 apartments. Currently, the old Dunbar Hotel houses on its lower level the Museum in Black and an Art Gallery.
C.A. Scott edits the Atlanta Daily World, which is published by the estate of W.A. Scott.
The life expectancy of African males is 40.5; white males, 54.1. For African females it is 42.3; white females, 56.4.
In Harlem, West Indians, led by C.A. Petioni, form the West Indies Committee of New York to further their civic and social–economic interests. Later the Citizens Welfare Council of Harlem brings West Indians and African Americans together to work on mutual interests.
W.E.B. DuBois visits Tuskegee Institute for the first time in 25 years. This visit coincides with Tuskegee’s inauguration of a B.Sc. degree. In an article about this visit in Crisis (February 1929), DuBois quips: “Fancy a college at Tuskegee!” Were DuBois alive today, he would probably exclaim: "Imagine a Universtiy at Tuskegee!"
In U.S., there is one hospital bed for every 139 whites, but only one hospital bed for every 1,941 Africans.
O.A. Forte edits the Cleveland Herald.
A. William Jones, an American African, addresses the Sixth Comintern World Congress in Moscow. He states that racism exists in the Communist Party–U.S.A.
N.A. Sweets begins editing and publishing the St. Louis American.
Rosebud Film Corporation releases "Absent" with George Reed, Clarence Brooks, Anita Bush and Virgil Owens. The film tells the story of a shell–shocked African soldier who drifts into a California mining camp, befriending an old miner and his daughter, defending their property and lives, and starting a new life.
The Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartments, a Harlem housing project capitalized by J.D. Rockefeller, is considered by many to be a major housing reform. In the same year Rockefeller also opens in Harlem the Dunbar National Bank.
In five Southern states ten Africans are lynched.
A riot erupts in Harlem in which some 2,500 Africans fight 150 white police.
Noble Drew Ali’s Moorish Science Temple, founded in Chicago in 1913, has 17 branch temples in 15 states.
W.E.B. DuBois publishes his novel, Dark Princess, which treats the race problem on an international scale and promotes unity among the darker races of the world.
Period: 1929 to 1934
Stepin Fetchit (born Lincoln Perry) makes his film debut in Twentieth Centruy–Fox’s "Movietone Follies of 1929."
By this year, 84 African Americans instructors teach in 41 different Cleveland, Ohio schools, most of them in predominantly white neighborhoods. Two of the city’s technical schools — Jane Addams Vocational School and the Cleveland Trade School — have no African students at all. East Technical High School, although located in the heart of the African community, is only four percent black. Eighty–nine percent of the city’s black junior high school students are enrolled in only four (out of a total of 23) schools; 61 percent of all African high school students attend a single high school, Central High.
"Hearts in Dixie" is released by Twentieth Centry–Fox with Clarence Muse, Stepin Fetchit and Mildred Washington.
Marcus Garvey is jailed in Kingston, Jamaica, for contempt of court. While in jail he is elected to the Kingston Council and St. Andrew Corporation. Most of the important working–class leaders who emerge onto the political scene in the West Indies have been influenced by involvement to a greater or lesser degree in the Garvey movement.
The NAACP launches a campaign in Chicago against segregated bus companies.
Herbert Hoover, a Republican from Iowa, becomes the 31st U.S. President.
Lewis G. Robinson, civil rights activist and president of the Freedom Fighters, organizer of the Medgar Evers Civil Rights Rifle Club in 1964, is born in Cleveland, Ohio. Robinson is also chairman of the New Democratic Coalition. He publishes The Making of a Man (an autobiography) in 1970.
The New York stock market collapses! The Great Depression begins.
From 1929–1939 cotton production acreage drops from 43 million acres to 23 million.
The Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company is formed when the Liberty Life Insurance Company of Illinois, the Supreme Life and Casualty Company of Columbus, Ohio, and the Northeastern Life Insurance Company of Newark, New Jersey merge. The home offices of the new company are in Chicago’s Liberty Life Building.
Martin Luther King, Jr., is born in Atlanta.
Seven more Africans are brutally lynched.
President Herbert Hoover appoints Mordecai Johnson, President of Howard University; Robert Moton, President of Tuskegee Institute; and John Davis, President of West Virginia State College, to the National Advisory Committee on Education.
A white mob drives 200 Africans out of Lincoln, Nebraska after a white policeman is shot.
Oscar de Priest, Chicago Republican, is first African to go to Congress since 1901. Before he can be sworn in, however, he is accused of election fraud, which charge is later dismissed for lack of evidence.
At Langston University in Oklahoma, students take over buildings to protest the firing of Dean S.L. Hargrove by the Oklahoma Board of Regents.
John Conyers, an African American U.S. Congressman, is born in Detroit.
The United Colored Socialists of America is established in Harlem by African people who recognize that “both the Republican and Democratic Parties stand actively alike as two peas in a single pod on the pressing problems of the Race.”
During this year there are three successful film companies specializing in black films. Micheaux Film Corporation, New York (African–owned); Colored Players Film Corporation, Philadelphia (white–owned); and Liberty Photoplays, Inc., Boston (mixed–ownership).
Two of the first talkies starring Africans are MGM’s "Melancholy Dame" and "Hallelujah," which stars 17–year–old Nina Mae McKinney, the screen’s first African love Goddess. "Hallelujah" is Hollywood’s first attempt to deal with a real life black family.
The “Jobs–for–Negroes” campaign begins in Chicago with picketing of chain grocery store on South Side. The “Spend Your Money Where You Can Work” campaign which spreads to New York, Cleveland and Los Angeles, continues throughout the Depression.
A Non–European Convention is held in Kimberley, South Africa, as a climax to a campaign of protest meetings and resolutions against the pass laws and the Hertzog Bills. It is attended by more than 100 delegates representing the ANC, the African Peoples Organization, the Indian Congress, the Native Voters Association, the Bantu Union and religious and welfare societies from all over Southern Africa. Dr. Abdurahman is elected to the Chair.
"Green Pastures" opens at the Mansfield Theatre with Richard B. Harrison as “de Lawd.” In the same year he stars in Oscar Micheaux’s "Easy Street."
White South African women win the franchise.
Of all African immigrants to the U.S., 73% are born in the Caribbean.
Rastafarian Movement begins in Jamaica
and spreads throughout the Caribbean. See Rex M. Nettleford, Mirror
Mirror: Identity, Race and Protest in Jamaica (1972) and Leonard E.
Barrett, The Rastafarians (1977). The Rastafarians deifiy the
Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I
Labor unrest erupts in the British West Indies because of the “revolution of rising expectations,” and underemployment, poor education and general economic depression. This is also the decade of rising West Indian Nationalism with emphasis on black awareness.
The Nation of Islam is founded in Detroit by W.D. Farad Muhammad.
"Georgia Rose," the first independently produced all–African “talkie,” is released by Aristo Films and premiers at the New Douglass Theatre. This musical comedy about the near corruption of a farm girl by big city night life features Clarence Brooks, Dora Dean Williams, Irene Wilson and Spencer Williams, who later stars as Andy Brown on the “Amos and Andy” TV series.
Blind Lemon Jefferson, country blues singer, is found frozen to death in a Chicago snowstorm.
The Houston Defender begins its publication history in Texas.
“The League of Nations appointed an international commission to enquire into charges of forced labour and slavery levied by Mr. Roland Faulkner, a Liberian Senator, against President King’s administration. Incidentally, the British Supreme Court in the neighboring colony of Sierra Leone was still upholding the legality of chattel slavery as late as 1927 [see the case of Rex v. Salla Silla and Rex v. Mfa Nanko and others in Slavery, by Lady Kathleen Simon]. The Commission consisted of Dr. Cuthbert Christy, an Englishman, representing the League of Nations; Dr. Charles S. Johnson; and the Hon. Arthur Barclay, a former President of Liberia, representing the Republic. The Commission confirmed the charges and made a number of recommendations in its report. The most important were that Liberia . . .
Langston Hughes is elected president of the League of Struggle for Negro Rights, which is organized by the Communist Party–USA.
President Herbert Hoover names the racist Judge J. Parker of North Carolina as an Associate Justice of U.S. Supreme Court. The NAACP launches a nation–wide campaign against this appointment. Parker is not confirmed by the Senate.
"Borderline," starring Paul and Eslanda Goode Robeson, is produced in England.
Charles Gilpin, world renowned actor, dies.
In South Africa, Dr. P. ka Isaka Seme is elected the fifth ANC President–General.
Portugal’s “Colonial Act” ties its colonies — Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde Islands, Guinea–Bissau — to metropolitan Portugal. In 1951 the colonies are declared integral parts of Portugal as “Overseas Provinces.”
Micheaux Films releases "Daughter of the Congo" with Kathleen Noisette, Loretta Tucker, Clarence Reed and Willor Lee Guilford.
The Communist Party — South Africa calls for a united front campaign against the Pass Laws culminating in the burning of passes throughout the country on Dec. 16, Dingane’s Day.
Nkosi and three other South African workers attending a demonstration in Durban, South Africa, are shot, stabbed and beaten to death by police.
Hal Roach Comedies releases "Our Gang" with Farina and Stymie Matthew Beard.
The New York Times begins capitalizing the “n” in Negro.
C.W. Rice edits and publishes the Negro Labor News in Houston, Texas.
The Mind, a weekly, is published in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Philadelphia Independent begins its publication history.
Roy Wilkens becomes Assistant Secretary of the NAACP.
Emory O. Jackson edits the semi–weekly Birmingham World.
W.E.B. DuBois emphatically denounces Communism in an editorial published in Crisis under the title “The Negro and Communism.” Ironically, at the age of 93 and after having struggled most of his life against racism and the exploitation of non–white peoples, DuBois joins the Communist Party, renounces his U.S. citizenship and expatriates himself to Ghana. Before he dies, he begins work on the Encyclopedia Africana, the first volume of which appears in 1977, 14 year after his death.
J.T. Duncan edits and V.C. Bellinger publishes the Register in San Antonio, Texas.
Clarence Muse appears in RKO’s "Prestige."
“During the early years of the Great Depression, the Communist Party sent organizers to Alabama to build a steelworkers union in Birmingham and a Sharecroppers Union [SCU] in the countryside [in Tallapoosa and Chambers Counties] . . . After crops were planted in the spring of 1931, landlords and merchants in the Crane’s Ford area decided to cut off food advances to their tenants and sharecroppers while the cotton ripened in summer. Landlords also reduced day wages for field work. . . . Black farmers met . . . and drew up a list of demands:
Daniel Hale Williams, affectionately known as “Dr. Dan,” dies in Chicago.
The "Afro–American Symphony" by William Grant Still, first and most enduring of African symphonic works, is performed for the first time in Rochester, New York.
In Ohio, E.F. Cheeks edits the Cleveland Guide.
During the year, 1,058 American Africans emigrate from the U.S.; only 84 African people seek to enter.
Duke Ellington’s "It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got that Swing" begins the “age of swing” and the commercial success of big bands.
Albert Einstein, Nobel laureate for Physics gives the following advice to American Africans . . .
“It seems to be a universal fact that minorities, especially when their individuals are recognizable because of physical differences, are treated by the majorities among whom they live as an inferior class. The tragic part of such a fate, however, lies not only in the automatically realized disadvantages suffered by these minorities in economic and social relations, but also in the fact that those who meet such treatment themselves for the most part acquiesce in this prejudiced estimate because of the suggestive influence of the majority, and come to regard people like themselves as inferior. This second and more important aspect of the evil can be met through closer union and conscious educational enlightenment among the minority, and so an emancipation of the soul of the minority can be attained. The determined effort of the American Negroes in this direction deserves every recognition and assistance.” See also Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (1967).The Los Angeles Sentinel begins publishing with Loren Miller as editor and Leon H. Washington, Jr., as publishers.
L.H. Rhone edits and publishes the Waco, Texas Messenger.
James W. Ford, an African labor organizer as well as founder and editor of The Negro Worker, is the Communist Party’s vice–presidential candidate in the 1932, 1936 and 1940 U.S. national elections.
The African population of Cuba is 437,769, or 11%.
The NAACP publishes 10,000 copies of its “Mississippi River Slavery — 1932” leaflet, which describes how African labor is treated on federal flood–control projects.
Noble Johnson appears in Universal’s "East of Borneo."
Addison Gayle, Jr., educator and author, who serves on the editorial boards of Amistad magazine, Third World Press and Black Lines magazine, is born in Newport News, Virginia.
The Buffalo Star is first published.
James H. Banning, a pilot, and Thomas C. Allen, a mechanic, are the first Africans to successfully fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
Edward W. Crosby, educator, author and founder of the Department of Pan–African Studies (formerly the Institute for African American Affairs) at Kent State University in 1969, is born in Cleveland, Ohio.
Micheaux Film Corporation releases "Black Magic."
Six American Africans are lynched during the year.
There are 117 African colleges and universities in the U.S.; 36 are public, 74 are church affiliated. Only five offer graduate study programs before 1937.
Clarence Muse appears in Paramount’s rendition of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. In the same year he appears with Nina Mae McKinney and Noble Johnson in First National Films’ production of "The Lost Lady."
The Nation of Islam prevents Communist infiltration of the organization.
Bud Pollard directs "The Black King," an all–black film with Vivian Baber, Mary Jane Watkins, Harry Gray and Knolly Mitchel.
The Memphis World, a semi–weekly, is edited by L.O. Swingler.
Goldwyn produces "Arrowsmith" with Clarence Brooks.
The Communist Party – USA platform describes itself as “the political party of the oppressed masses of the people — industrial workers, the persecuted Negroes, the toiling farmers.”
J. Luther Sylvahn edits and publishes the Progressive Herald in Syracuse, New York.
Angelo Herndon, a 19–year–old African Communist from Cincinnati, leads a hunger march in Atlanta, Georgia. He is arrested with Communist literature demanding self–determination for Black–Belt Africans in his possession, is convicted of attempting to incite insurrection “under an anti–slave insurrection statute passed in 1861 and spends nearly five years under the shadow first of a possible death sentence and then of a sentence to a living death on a chain gang. Twenty–six months of this time he spends in the death house of an Atlanta prison under conditions so revolting that he feared for his sanity and was sustained only by ‘the moral duty of acting in light of my Communist convictions.’” See Angelo Herndon, Let Me Live (1937).
The Birmingham Review is edited and published in Alabama by Robert Dorr.
Micheaux Film Corporation releases "Phantom of Kenwood."
Etta Moten and Clarence Muse appear in RKO Radio’s "Flying Down to Rio."
The Century of Progress Exposition is held in Chicago.
Jan Smuts and J.B.M. Hertzog form a coalition government in South Africa.
Carter G. Woodson publishes his Mis–Education of the Negro, in which he states:
“. . . No systematic effort toward change has been possible, for, taught the same economics, history, philosophy, literature and religion which have established the present code of morals, the Negro’s mind has been brought under the control of his oppressor. . . . When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions.”Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers Party (NAZI) comes into power in Germany.
Hal Johnson’s "Run Little Chillun" is the first production on Broadway of a folk opera written by an African American composer.
Frank L. Stanley edits the Louisville Defender.
Catrina Jarboro sings in "Aïda" with the Chicago Opera Company. This is the first time an African American artist appears with a major white opera company.
Clarence Muse and “Snowflake” appear in Warner Brothers’ "The Cabin in the Cotton."
H.W. Coles begins publishing the Rochester Voice in New York.
The NAACP fires the first gun in its attack on segregation and discrimination in higher education when it files suit against the University of North Carolina on behalf of Thomas Hocutt. The case is lost, however, on a technicality when the president of an all–African college refuses to certify the scholastic record of the plaintiff.
The Federal Housing Administration allows covenants restricting African participation in its building and rental programs.
Roosevelt’s “New Deal” increases the number of African American educational facilities; less than 10% of the funds available, however, is used for African schools in the South.
Paul Robeson stars in Eugene O'Neil's The Emperor Jones, a Krimsky–Cochran Film, with Frank Wilson, Fredi Washington and Rex Ingram. This is the first major Hollywood production to give star billing to an African actor with a white in a subordinate role.
The Work Projects Administration (WPA) teaches more than 400,000 African Americans to read and write in its adult education projects.
C.E. Newman begins publishing in Minnesota the St. Paul Recorder.
Ninety–seven percent of the 38,000 Africans in college attend black institutions in the South.
W.E.B. DuBois rejoins the faculty of Atlanta University, where he remains until 1944.
In a study of the Federal Emergency Relief Program in 30 cities (10 Northern, 7 Border, 13 Southern), the proportion of white to black recipients of Relief is: North, 52.2% African, 13.3% white; Border, 51.8% black, 10.4% white; South, 33.7% African, 11.4% white. Once African people get onto the Relief program for lack of meaningful and sustained employment, they never really get off. The 3,500,000 African people on Relief represent 21.5% of the total African American population. Only 12.8% of the white population is on Relief.
Hitler becomes “der Führer” (the dictator) of Germany (see Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, 1925; Konrad Heiden, Der Führer: Hitler’s Rise to Power, 1944 and William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, 1960).
Ruth Howard is the first African woman to receive a Ph.D. in psychology. She receives her doctorate from the University of Minnesota for what becomes the first published study of a sizable sample of triplets of varying ages from multiple ethnic groups. After her internship at the Illinois Institute for Juvenile Research, she begins her career as a practicing clinical psychologist. Her subsequent activity includes co–directing the Center for Psychological Services with her husband, psychologist Albert S. Beckham, consulting for schools of nursing across the country, and serving as a psychologist for the Chicago Board of Health.
The seventh UNIA International Convention is held in Jamaica.
Approximately 2,500 American Africans are members of the Communist Party–USA, representing 10% of its total membership.
The Purified Nationalist Party is formed by Afrikaaner opponents of Hertzog’s Coalition Party. The United Party is founded by supporters of Hertzog and Smuts.
Racist forces lynch 15 American Africans.
Bill Russell, basketball star and the first African to manage a major professional sports team in the U.S., is born.
Roy Wilkens succeeds W.E.B. DuBois as editor of the Crisis; he continues in this position until 1949.
The Little Rock, Arkansas Survey–Journal is published by George W. Scott.
Amiri Baraka (aka LeRoi Jones), poet, playwright, editor, founder of the Black Arts Repertory Theatre in Harlem, is born in Newark, New Jersey.
The Honorable W.D. Fard Muhammad, founder of the Nation of Islam, disappears. His follow- ers number approximately 8,000. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad assumes the leadership and moves the Nation’s headquarters from Detroit to Chicago, where he is called “the Messenger of Islam,” and Farad is recognized as the incarnation of Allah Himself (see C. Eric Lincoln, The Black Muslims in America, 1973).
F.P. Clark edits the Newark, New Jersey Record.
The Social Security Act discriminates against black women when it excludes domestic workers from its old age benefit structure.
Arthur L. Mitchell from Chicago defeats Oscar de Priest and is elected to Congress as the first black Democratic congressman.
Louise Beavers, Fredi Washington and Hazel Washington appear in "Imitation of Life." It is remade in 1959 with Juanita Moore in a leading role.
The Buffalo Criterion begins its publication history.
At a conference in New York City, representatives of the NAACP and the american Fund for Public Service plan a coordinated legal campaign against segregation and discrimination. Charles H. Houston, the vice dean of Howard University's Law School, is named to direct the campaign.
Newman edits and publishes the Minneapolis Spokesman.
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