1859—John Merrick, co-founder of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company was born on this day in 1859. He would help make the Durham, N.C., based firm the largest Black controlled insurance company in the nation. Merrick was born in Clinton, N.C. He died in 1919.
1957—Ghana becomes the first African country to break from White colonial rule and become an independent nation. The West African nation, once known as the Gold Coast, was led to independence by the dynamic Pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah. He championed the slogan “Africa for the Africans” and encouraged the participation of Blacks throughout the world in building a strong and free Africa. However, the U.S. educated Nkrumah would be overthrown in a military coup in 1966. He befriended American activists ranging from W.E.B DuBois to Martin Luther King Jr.