1830—The first National Negro Convention is held. It takes place in Philadelphia and is chaired by Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Top on the agenda of the gathering was what could free Blacks do to help bring an end to slavery.
1942—Musician, composer, singer, songwriter Isaac Hayes is born on this day in Covington, Tenn.
1831—The Nat Turner slave rebellion begins in Southampton, Va. It was the best organized and most deadly slave revolt in American history. The charismatic Turner brought together between 50 and 70 Blacks (some slave and some free) to launch his revolt prompted by what he saw as a vision from God. As many as 70 Whites (men, women and children) were killed during a two-day period. It took the local militia and a detachment of federal troops to put down the rebellion. However, Turner, known as “the Prophet” by his followers was not captured until Oct. 30. He was hanged on Nov. 11, 1831. Interestingly, he became known as “Turner” after the rebellion. During his life, he was simply known as Nat and was considered a brilliant, self-taught man. After the rebellion, Virginia passed a law making it illegal to teach a Black person how to read and write.
1904—Jazz pianist and bandleader William “Count” Bassie is born on this day in Red Bank, N.J.
1936—Basketball legend Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain is born in Philadelphia, Pa. The 7’1” phenomenon had an amazing NBA career including being the only player to score 100 points in a single game. Chamberlain died in October 1999.
1791—The Haitian Revolution begins. It was the most successful Black slave revolt in world history. Led by Toussaint L’Ouverture, a trusted house slave who initially opposed the rebellion, the slaves defeated the mighty French army led by Napoleon. They also defeated a contingent of British troops. However, L’Ouverture was tricked into attending a “peace” conference where he was captured and would later die in prison. It fell to one of his lieutenants, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, to complete the struggle and declare the island nation an independent republic on Jan. 1, 1804.
1843—A National Convention of Black Men takes place in Buffalo, N.Y. The militant abolitionist Henry Highland Garnett called for a slave revolt and for free Blacks to launch a nationwide strike in support of the revolt. But a more moderate Frederick Douglas opposed Garnett’s plan out of fear of potential violence.
1989—Black Panther Party co-founder Huey P. Newton is gunned down in California. He was killed by a 24-year-old member of the Black Guerilla drug gang. The reason for the murder was never clearly revealed, but Newton supporters considered it a political assassination. Newton had founded the militant Black Panther Party along with Bobby Seale in 1966. The group advocated community control, armed self-defense and a mixture of Black Nationalism and socialism based on the works of Mao Tse-tung, Che Guevara and Frantz Fanon.