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Black Facts for June 3rd

1913 - Jack Cope

Jack Cope , byname of Robert Knox Cope (born June 3, 1913, Mooi River, South Africa—died May 1991, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England), South African writer best known for his short stories and novels about South African life.

Cope became a journalist in Durban and then in London. Unwelcome in England by 1940 because of his pacifism, he returned to South Africa to farming, shark fishing, and writing fiction. The Fair House (1955), a family history centring on the Zulu revolt of 1902, was the first of a series of novels that includes The Golden Oriole (1958), The Road to Ysterberg (1959), Albino (1964), The Dawn Comes Twice (1969), The Student of Zend (1972), and My Son Max (1977). Among his short-story collections are The Tame Ox (1960), The Man Who Doubted (1967), and Alley Cat (1973).

Cope’s writing is always credible and lucid and shows genuine insight into the varied classes, races, and individuals who populate his fiction. Sometimes criticized as overly sensitive to the demands of South African society and to the evils he acknowledged in it, he nevertheless chose to live and write in South Africa rather than seek the independence exile might have given him. Yet this same sensitivity was essential to the scope, skill, and morality of his art. In any case, he did not entirely, in spite of care, avoid censorship. The Dawn Comes Twice was (belatedly) banned in the late 1970s. He founded and for many years edited the bilingual journal Contrast and edited and translated the works of many other writers. In 1982 Cope published The Adversary Within: Dissident Writers in Afrikaans.

1906 - Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker was a dancer and singer who later became a Civil Rights activist. Her birth name was Freda Josephine McDonald and she was born on June 3, 1906, in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother used to be a dancer as well, but she gave up her aspirations in order to raise her children. Her father was a drummer who abandoned the family when Josephine was born. Her mother remarried soon after. Josephine had a difficult childhood and would often clean houses to help supplement the meager family income, where she was often mistreated. Josephine dropped out of school at a young age, but later returned for two years, before dropping out again. She ran away from home at the age of 13, living on the streets and hunting for food in garbage cans.

She used to dance on the street to make money, and her work caught the attention of the St. Louis Chorus vaudeville show, who hired her as a dancer. She moved to New York at the age of 15, and started performing in clubs and bars, also working as a waitress to support herself. At one such club, she met and married a man named Willie Wells. The marriage only lasted a few weeks, and the couple quickly got divorced. She was also chosen to be a chorus singer and dancer for the Broadway plays “Shuffle Along” in 1921 and “The Chocolate Dandies” in 1924. She then went to France, where she starred in a number of performances at prestigious venues such as the Theatre des Champs Élysees and Folies Bergere. She became a well known exotic dancer in France, and some of her admirers include Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso and E. E. Cummings. She quickly rose to fame and was nicknamed “Bronze Venus”, “Black Pearl” and the “Creole Goddess”.

Josephine Baker also began performing in movies, and became the first African American woman to star in a major motion picture. Some of her films include “Siren of the Tropics”, “Zouzou”, “Princesse Tam Tam” and “Fausse Alerte”. Despite her success in France, Baker never received acclaim from American audiences. She moved to France in 1937 and married a man

1942 - Curtis Mayfield, singer born

Curtis Mayfield was born on the 3rd of june 1942 in Chicago, Illinois, where he quickly

absorbed the music of that area, which consisted of the local blues, gospel and soul

musicians. He was leading his first group, The Alfatones , before he was a teenager.

When the Mayfield family moved to Chicagos north side in 1956, Curtis found himself

a new friend in Jerry Butler. Butler wanted Curtis to join him in a group called The

Roosters , which consisted of Arthur and Richard Brooks, and Sam Gooden. The

quintet later changed their name to The Impressions , and they had their first hit in

1958, For your precious love . In 1961, Mayfield had moved to New York, the

group cutted Gypsy woman which re-established the group, after some years of

hard feelings between the members and the record company. Mayfield was now the

groups lead singer, utilising his unique vocal style on several Impressions singles.

A steady string of soul anthems followed, Im so proud, Keep on Pushing,

People get ready, Were a winner, Mighty, mighty. The group had a strong

gospel flavour in their sound, although it wasnt purely gospel. As Mayfield puts it,

They were church songs, the difference was i left the word God out.

In 1970 Mayfield left The Impressions for his solo career. His first album, Curtis

contained the classic Move on up which was his only UK hit. Curtis Live!

followed, which contained some material from The Impressions period. It was

recorded at New Yorks Bitter End, and later the same year Roots followed. His

early records are my favourite ones, especially Curtis Live! which is a wonderful

record with lots of warm soul songs, and funky percussion by master Henry Gibson


In 1972, Curtis released the soundtrack album Superfly which went to sell over a

million copies, and it was a really good album in its own right. It recieved four Grammy

awards. By now Mayfield continued to record new albums, at the same time as he

was producing with Gladys Knight & The Pips, Aretha Franklin and The Staple

2013 - Deacon Jones

David Jones, also known as Deacon Jones, was a former professional American football player born on December 9, 1938 in Eatonville, Florida. He was an active sportsman during his childhood and played football, baseball, and basketball. He developed a tumor in his thigh as a teenager which he had to have surgically removed. During his early years, he was a victim of racism which motivated him to become a civil rights activist later. Once he witnessed a car full of teenagers beat up an elderly black woman on her way to church, who died from the injuries but the incident was never reported to or investigated by the police. He once mentioned that it was racial injustice that motivated him to play a violent sport like football so he could have an outlet for his anger and frustration.

He was offered a scholarship to play at South Carolina State University in 1958 where he played football for a year. His scholarship was revoked because of his participation in a civil rights protest. His coach offered him a scholarship at Mississippi Vocational College so he enrolled there in 1960. He was still a victim of blatant racism as Jones and his teammates were refused housing on several occasions and had to sleep in the gym. In 1961, he was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams. Here, along with teammates Lamar Lundy, Rosey Grier, and Merlin Olsen, he became part of a defensive line that came to be known as the Fearsome Foursome which is widely considered as one of the best defensive line ups of all time. Between 1965 to 1969, he won All-Pro honors by unanimous decision. From 1964 to 1970, he was part of the Pro Bowl each year, and again in 1972 as well.

In 1962, 1964, 1965, and 1966 Deacon Jones was named as his team’s Outstanding Defensive Lineman, which was no mean feat given the team’s talented line up. The 1971 season was one of the worst of his career, as he sprained an arch, causing him to miss many games, bringing his career average to an all time low. Subsequently, in 1972, he was traded to the San Diego Chargers. His

1904 - Charles Drew, Inventor of the Blood Bank

At a time when millions of soldiers were dying on battlefields across Europe, the invention of Dr. Charles R. Drew saved countless lives. Drew realized that separating and freezing the component parts of blood would enable it to be safely reconstituted later. This technique led to the development of the blood bank.

Drew was born on June 3, 1904 , in Washington, D.C. Charles Drew excelled in academics and sports during his graduate studies at Amherst College in Massachusetts.

Charles Drew was also an honor student at McGill University Medical School in Montreal, where he specialized in physiological anatomy.

Charles Drew researched blood plasma and transfusions in New York City, where he became a Doctor of Medical Science — the first African-American to do so at Columbia University. There, he made his discoveries relating to the preservation of blood. By separating the liquid red blood cells from the near solid plasma and freezing the two separately, he found that blood could be preserved and reconstituted at a later date.

Charles Drews system for the storing of blood plasma (blood bank) revolutionized the medical profession. Dr. Drew was chosen to set up a system for storing blood and for its transfusion, a project nicknamed Blood for Britain.” This prototypical blood bank collected blood from 15,000 people for soldiers and civilians in World War II Britain and paved the way for the American Red Cross blood bank, of which he was the first director.

In 1941, the American Red Cross decided to set up blood donor stations to collect plasma for the U.S. armed forces.

In 1941, Drew was named an examiner on the American Board of Surgeons, the first African-American to do so. After the war, Charles Drew took up the Chair of Surgery at Howard University, Washington, D.C.

He received the Spingarn Medal in 1944 for his contributions to medical science. In 1950, Charles Drew died from injuries suffered in a car accident in North Carolina. He was only 46 years old. Unfounded rumor had it that Drew was ironically denied

2013 - Jones, David “Deacon” (1938-2013)

National Football League star David “Deacon” Jones was a dominant player in the League.  During Jones’ years on the football field he singlehandedly revolutionized the defensive end position. Throughout his fourteen-year stint in the NFL Jones managed to play in 190 games, missing only six games.  During his career Jones attained 194.5 tackles against the quarterback, and coined the term “Quarterback Sack.”

Jones was born on December 9, 1938 in the small town of Eatonville, Florida, just six miles out of Orlando.  Eatonville was also the birth place of the famous writer, Zora Neale Hurston. Jones attended Hungerford High School, where he played football, baseball, and basketball. As a young African American growing up in the racially segregated South in the mid-20th century, Jones was no stranger to hardship and adversity.  After his career ended he confessed, “I thank God I had the ability to play a violent game like football. It gave me an outlet for the anger in my heart.”

Despite being a standout high school athlete, players from Eatonville in that era rarely got the exposure that would bring the attention of major colleges and universities.  Jones’ only college scholarship offer when he graduated from high school in 1956 came from all-black South Carolina State University.  While attending SCSU Jones became a star football player.  He also became involved in early civil rights activities. which resulted in his scholarship being rescinded in 1958. Jones returned to football in 1960 when a former SCSU coach brought him and other former SCSU players to Mississippi Vocational College (now Mississippi Valley State University). There Jones drew the attention of NFL scouts.

In 1961 Deacon Jones was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 14th round. He immediately impressed the coaches with his strength and swiftness off of the line of scrimmage, and, despite his rookie status, Jones earned a starting position. While playing for the Los Angeles Rams from 1961 to 1971, Jones and his three defensive line teammates

1937 - Harvey, Charles (1860-1937)

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, in March 1860, Charles Henry Harvey was the youngest of nineteen children of Albert and Elsy (Brewer) Harvey.  Albert and Elsy were married on Valentine’s Day in 1839 in Halifax County, North Carolina, where their first child, Jesse, was born a few months later.  Almost immediately after Jesse’s birth, the Harveys escaped slavery by migrating on the Underground Railroad, to Indiana where their other children were born.

By the late 1870s, Charles was working in Indianapolis as a railroad car painter.  Eventually he was employed in some capacity on railway lines that carried him from Indianapolis to Chicago, Minneapolis and Denver.  In Minneapolis, while employed as a coachman, he boarded at the same rooming house where his future wife, Eva Ellis, worked as a domestic.  According to their children, Charles and Eva were married in Minneapolis in April 1887. 

Harvey eventually transferred to the Northern Pacific (NP) Railroad which had reached Tacoma by 1886.  Charles and Eva Harvey moved north to Seattle but he continued to work as a Pullman porter for the NP briefly, commuting by stage from Seattle to the terminus in Tacoma.

The Harveys made their first home in the barn of Charles’s next employer, James H. Booker, in the Denny Regrade district.  When Eva became pregnant with their first child, the Harveys found a small apartment in downtown Seattle.  Gertrude Harvey was born there in October 1888.

In June 1889 the Harveys experienced the Great Seattle Fire.  Charles Harvey’s carpentry work took him to a home on Queen Anne Hill then at the northern edge of Seattle and the highest point in the city.  Looking down into the heart of the city, Harvey saw smoke and flames that appeared to be uncomfortably close to his family’s apartment.  Running all the way from Queen Anne Hill, Charles Harvey was shocked and relieved to find his wife, Eva and their baby daughter, Gertrude, sitting on the front porch of their building calmly watching the fire.

Seattles oldest African American

2006 - Sue K. Brown (1948- )

Ambassador Sue Katherine Brown is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister Counselor.  In 2011 President Barack Obama nominated her to become the U.S. Ambassador to Montenegro, the first African American to hold this post and only the second U.S. ambassador since Montenegro declared its independence from Serbia on June 3, 2006.  Brown’s nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and she presented her credentials to the President of Montenegro, Filip Vujanovi?, on Thursday, May 12, 2011.

A native of Houston, Texas, Brown joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1980.  Ambassador Brown worked in various capacities at the U.S. State Department between 1980 and her ambassadorial appointment in 2011. Her other overseas postings include France, Liberia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Côte dIvoire.  Additionally while she served in Indonesia she helped coordinate U.S. aid efforts in response to severe flooding on some of the nation’s islands.

Ambassador Brown also served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassies in Accra, Ghana and Asmara, Eritrea.  While serving in Accra, Ghana as Embassy Chargé d’Affaires (second in command) from 2006 to 2009, she was credited with leading a public service campaign that saved a number of young Ghanaian girls from sex trafficking.

In 2009 she became office director for Southern African Affairs in the Bureau of African Affairs at the State Department. She held this post until receiving her ambassador assignment.

While serving as ambassador Brown oversaw U.S. assistance efforts in response to two natural disasters.  In February 2012 she coordinated with the government of Montenegro, the work of the 361st Civil Affairs Brigade and the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade in Podgorica, Montenegro.  These soldiers were part of a larger U.S. task force providing humanitarian assistance at the request of the government of Montenegro after record snowfalls left tens of thousands in the country’s mountainous north cut off and unable to receive food, fuel, or medical