For the week of Jan. 4-10
1777—Prince Hall, founder of the first Black Masonic lodge in America, petitions the Massachusetts legislature for funds to allow free Blacks to return to Africa. The petition was rejected and Hall went on to become a major leader in Boston’s Black community, as well as develop a nationwide influence by helping develop Black Masonic temples around the country.
1901—C.L.R. James is born on the West Indian island-nation of Trinidad. James is one of those not well known figures who greatly influenced radical Black intellectual thought from the 1930s to the 1970s. He was a Marxist who traveled the world advocating socialism and influencing developments in the Caribbean, the United States and England. James died in 1989.