For the Week of September 14-20
1940—Blacks are allowed for the first time to enter all branches of the U.S. military when President Franklin D. Roosevelt, on this day, signs the Selective Service Act.
1973—Nasir Jones, known simply as Nas, was born in Queensbridge, N.Y. Nas is well known for his 1994 debut album Illmatic, which many consider to be one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time.
1830—The First National Negro Convention takes place in Philadelphia, Pa. Top on the agenda were the better organizing of anti-slave activities and whether or not free Blacks should return to Africa.
1881—Inventor Jan E. Matzeilger is born in Dutch Guyana. He came to the United States in 1878 and by 1880 had patented a shoe lacing machine.
1889—One of Black America’s most outstanding poets, Claude McKay, is born. He would become a leading figure during the Black Cultural Revolution known as the Harlem Renaissance.
1928—Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Julian Edwin “Cannonball” Adderley born in Tampa, Fla. Adderley is remembered for his 1966 single “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.” He performed with Miles Davis, playing on the seminal Davis records “Milestones” and “Kind of Blue” before embarking on a successful solo career.
1963—In one of the most heartless terrorist attacks of the Civil Rights Movement, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., is bombed by White supremacists and Ku Klux Klan members. Four little Black girls are killed. But instead of scaring African-Americans into backing away from their demands, the act actually inspired the Civil Rights Movement.