• Celebrating Black History Month 2024

    On this day Feb. 1st

    • 1865 - The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery, was adopted by the 38th Congress.
    • 1902 - Langston Hughes, famous poet, was born this day in Joplin, Mo.
    • 1926 - What is now known as Black History Month was first celebrated on this date as Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson.  It became a month-long celebration in 1976. 

    On this day Feb. 2nd

    • 1914 - Ernest Just, genetic biologist wins the Spingarn Medal., awarded by the NAACP and given to an African American for his outstanding achievements. He received this same medal on this day in 1915 for his pioneering in cell division and fertilization.
    • 1948 - President Truman sent Congress a special message urging the adoption of a Civil Rights program, including the creation of a fair employment practices commission. 

    On this day Feb. 3rd

    • 1903 - Jack Johnson wins his first boxing Heavyweight title. 
    • 1965 - Geraldine McCullough sculptor, wins the Widener Gold Medal Award.

    On this day Feb. 4th

    • 1913 - Rosa Parks, born Rosa Loise McCauley, was born on this day. 
    • 1971 - National Guard mobilized to quell rioting in Wilmington, N. C. The Wilmington 10 case followed
    • 1997 - J. C. Watts becomes the first black person selected to respond to a State of the Union Address.

    On this day Feb. 5th

    • 1866 - Congressman Thaddeus Stevens offered an amendment to Freedmens Bureau Bill authorizing the distribution of public land to freedmen and loyal refugees in 40 acres lots.
    • 1958 - Clifton R. Wharton Sr. was confirmed as minister to Rumania. This career diplomat was the first Black to head a U.S. embassy in Europe.

    On this day Feb. 6th

    • 1993 - Arthur Ashe, the first African American tennis player to win Wimbleton passes away.
    • 1867 - Robert Tanner Jackson becomes first African American to receive a degree in dentistry.

    On this day Feb. 7th

    • 1926 - Negro History Week originated by Carter G. Woodson is observed for the first time.

    On this day Feb. 8th

    • 1944 - Harry S. McAlphin, first African American to be accredited to attend the White House press conference.
    • 1986 - Oprah Winfrey becomes the first African American woman to host a nationally syndicated talk show.

    On this day Feb. 9th

    • 1944 - Novelist Alice Walker was born in Eatonton, Georgia
    • 1952 - Author Ralph Ellisons novel Invisible Man wins the National Book Award.
    • 1995 - Bernard Harris, African American astronaut, takes spacewalk. 
    • 1971 - Leroy Satchel Paige is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    On this day Feb. 10th

    • 1927 - Leontyne Price, who became an internationally acclaimed opera singer, was born in Laurel, Mississippi.
    • 1964 - After 12 days of debate and voting on 125 amendments, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by a vote of 290-130.
    • 1966 - Economist Andrew Brimer, assistant Secretary of Economic Affairs in the U.S. Department of Commerce is appointed to the board of governors of the Federal Reserve.

    On this day Feb. 11th

    • 1961 - Robert Clifton Weaver becomes the 1st Administrator of the U. S. Housing and Home Finance Agency. Later to be appointed as the 1st United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in 1966. 

    On this day Feb. 12th

    • 1909 - The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded.  The call for the organizational meeting was issued on 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birthday.

    On this day Feb. 13th

    • 1920-The Negro Baseball League is founded.
    • 1923 - The first African American professional basketball team, “The Renaissance” was organized. 
    • 1957 - Southern Christian Leadership Conference organized at New Orleans meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr. , its newly elected President.

    On this day Feb. 14th

    • 1817 - Frederick Douglass was born. 
    • 1867 - Morehouse College was organized in Augusta Georgia. The institution was later moved to Atlanta.
      New registration law in Tennessee abolished racial distinctions in voting.

    On this day Feb. 15th

    • 1848 - Sarah Roberts at age 5 was barred from attending school with white children in Boston. Her father, Benjamin Roberts, filed the first school integration suit on her behalf.
    • 1851 - Black abolitionists invaded a Boston courtroom and rescued fugitive slave, Shadrach Minkins. Minkins died a free man in 1875.
    • 1968 - Henry Lewis becomes the first African American to lead a symphony orchestra in the United States, and later to become the first African American to conduct at the Metropolitan Opera in 1972.

    On this day Feb. 16th

    • 1857 - Frederick Douglass, abolitionist, lecturer, great orator, and statesman was elected President of Freedman's Saving and Trust Company.  
    • 1923 - Bessie Smith makes her first recording, “Down Hearted Blues.” Which sells 800,000 copies for Columbia Records.
    • 1951 - New York City Council passes a bill prohibiting racial discrimination in city-assisted housing developments. 

    On this day Feb. 17th

    • 1902 - Opera singer, Marian Anderson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    • 1942 - The Black Panther Party's founder, Huey Newton, was born.
    • 1963 - Michael Jordan, famed basketball player and former minor league basketball player, born in New York, N.Y.
    • 1997 - Virginia House of Delegates votes unanimously to retire the state song, “Carry Me Back to Old Virginia,” a tune which glorifies slavery.

    On this day Feb. 18th

    • 1865 - Rebels abandoned Charleston. First Union troops to enter the city included twenty-first U.S.C.T., followed by two companies of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers. 
    • 1931 - Toni Morrison (born Chloe Anthony Wofford) who will win the Pulitzer Prize for her novel Beloved, was born on this date in Lorain, Ohio. 

    On this day Feb. 19th

    • 1919 - Pan-African Congress, organized by W.E.B. DuBois, met at the Grand Hotel, Paris. There were fifty-seven delegates, sixteen from the United States and fourteen from Africa as well as others from sixteen countries and colonies. Blaise Diagne of Senegal was elected its first president and Du Bois was named secretary.

    • 1942 - Tuskegee Airmen were initiated on this day. The Army Air Corps all African American 100th Pursuit Squadron, later designated a fighter squadron, was activated at Tuskegee Institute. The squadron served honorably in England and in other regions of the European continent during World War II.

    • 2022 - New Haven Hillhouse High's 1932 graduate, Harrison Fitch, is inducted posthumously into the Huskies of Honor, UCONN Athletic Hall of Fame.

    On this day Feb. 20th

    • 1895 - On this day, Frederick Douglass, one of the most celebrated figures in American history died in Washington, D.C.  Born a slave, after escaping slavery, Douglass became the leading abolitionist and human rights leader of all time. 

    On this day Feb. 21st

    • 1936 - Congresswoman Barbara Jordan was born in Houston, Texas. Known for her strong commanding oratory skills, Jordan became the first African American woman elected to the United States House of Representatives from the south in 1972.

    On this day Feb. 22nd

    • 1911 - African American poet, author, abolitionist and suffragist, Francis Ellen Watkins Harper died. Harper, a member of the American Anti-Slavery Society, along with Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Susan B. Anthony, and other members of the American Anti-Slavery Society fought to end slavery 

      Harper was also one of the founders of the National Association of Colored Women Clubs (NACWC).

    On this day Feb. 23rd

    • 1870 - Constance Baker Motley elected Manhattan Borough president, the highest elective office held by a black woman in a major American city. 
    • 1979 - Frank E. Peterson Jr. named the first black general in the Marine Corps.

    On this day Feb. 24th

    • 1864 - On this day, Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the first African American woman to receive an M.D. degree in the United States. Dr. Lee Crumpler practiced medicine at a time when few African Americans could attend medical school serving primarily as a missionary and serving poor women and children in Boston, Massachusetts and Richmond, Virginia.

    On this day Feb. 25th

    • 1870 - Hiram R. Revels of Mississippi was sworn in as the first African American member of the U.S. Senate and first black Representative in Congress.
    • 1948 - Martin Luther King was ordained as a Baptist minister at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. 
    • 1971- 13 members of the newly created Congressional Black Caucus met with President Nixon to discuss the appointment of a White House panel for further study of recommendations made by the caucus. 

    On this day Feb. 26th

    • 1966 - Andrew Brimmer, noted United States economist, academic, and business leader becomes the first African American governor of the Federal Reserve Board when he is appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

    On this day Feb. 27th

    • 1988 - Olympic figure skater Debi Thomas became the first African American to win a medal, (Bronze) at the Winter Olympic Games.

    On this day Feb. 28th

    • 1784 - Phyllis Wheatley passed away at age 31. Wheatley was the first African-American woman to be published, paving the way for so many after her.
    • 1932 - Richard Spikes, the holder of more than a dozen US patents to his name, invented & patented the automatic gear shift.
  • Check back starting February 1st and throughout the month for a new On This Day in History facts!  

New Haven Public Schools Black History Month