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Black Facts for August 4th

1865 - Emancipation Day (August 4th)

On August 4, 1865, the Loyal Creek Council formally declared that African Creeks would be considered full citizens of the Creek Nation.  African Creeks soon designated August 4th “Emancipation Day” and organized celebrations, including picnics, parades and speakers beginning as early as 1867, which continued through the Territorial days and early years of Oklahoma statehood.  The celebration fell into disuse as the African Creeks and other Indian freedpeople were increasingly marginalized in the twentieth century.  The celebrations have been revived recently as the freedpeople of the various Indian nations struggle for tribal recognition.  The action of the Creek Council was nearly a year before the Creek Treaty of 1866 was ratified.  Under Article II of that treaty, African Creeks were given full citizenship rights, including “rights to the soil” and the right to share equally in the division of tribal monies.  

The 1866 Treaty was the culmination of a process that began in the summer of 1861 when Opothleyahola, an Upper Creek leader, declared that any slave who joined his party in opposing the Creek Confederate treaty would be considered free.  The Loyal Creeks had also negotiated an earlier treaty with the United States in the summer of 1863 with essentially the same language as the 1866 treaty regarding African Creek rights.  The Creeks finally rejected that treaty after the U.S. Senate altered it with unacceptable amendments regarding a proposed land cession.

University of Saskatchewan

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1950 - Lofton, Ramona ["Sapphire"] (1950- )

Ramona Lofton, better known as Sapphire, is a self-admitted bisexual, novelist, poet, and performance artist. She gained prominence for her 1996 debut novel, Push, and other works that focus on the alarming realities of inner city life.

Lofton was born on August 4, 1950 in Fort Ord, California, the second oldest of four children born to military parents. Her father was an army sergeant and her mother was a soldier in the Womens Army Corps. Throughout her childhood, her family maintained a middle-class façade while hiding incest and alcoholism.

When Lofton was thirteen, her father retired from the Army and moved the family to Los Angeles. Her mother, who was battling alcoholism, did not join them and instead abandoned the family. Years later they reconnected, but her mother succumbed to alcoholism in 1986.  That same year Lofton’s homeless brother was murdered in a Los Angeles park. Their deaths later played pivotal roles in Loftons emerging writing career.

Lofton dropped out of high school and moved to San Francisco in the early 1970s, briefly studying chemistry and dance at the City College of San Francisco, before adopting what she described as a hippie lifestyle.  She moved to New York City in 1977, where she supported herself by working as a housekeeper and as a topless dancer.

Lofton returned to school at the City College of New York, majored in modern dance and graduated with honors in 1993; she obtained a master degree in fine arts in 1995 from Brooklyn College.

In the 1980s, Lofton adopted the stage name Sapphire and immersed herself in the Slam Poetry movement emerging in New York City.  She also became a member of the United Lesbians of Color for Change, Inc., a nonprofit organization in New York.

Sapphires writing career began with her self-published collection of poems, Meditations on the Rainbow in 1987, followed by American Dreams, a compilation of poetry and prose in 1994.  The second volume garnered the attention by the literary public and earned her a MacArthur Scholarship in Poetry and

1963 - Ellison, Keith M. (1963- )

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison was born on August 4, 1963 in Detroit, Michigan.  He was raised Catholic in a middle class family which included five sons to a father who was a psychiatrist and a mother who was a social worker.  Since childhood Ellison was involved with the civil rights movement and briefly worked with his grandfather in Louisiana for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

In 1981 Ellison graduated from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy.  Six years later he graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit with a B.A. in economics.  While attending Wayne State University, Ellison converted from Catholicism to Islam.  After graduation Ellison attended the University of Minnesota Law School, graduating in 1990.

Ellison began his professional career at the Minneapolis law firm of Lindquist and Vennum.  He worked there for three years as a litigator specializing in criminal defense, civil rights, and employment.  After leaving Lindquist and Vennum Ellison he became executive director of the nonprofit Legal Rights Center in Minneapolis.  He then returned to private practice by joining Hassan & Reed where he specialized in trial practice.

In 2002 Keith Ellison was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives, representing District 58B.  He ran under the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party banner. Four years later, in 2006 Ellison ran for Minnesota’s Fifth District Congressional Seat as a Democrat which he continues to hold.  With his 2006 election, Ellison became the first Muslim to be elected to the United States Congress.

Ellison was appointed to the Financial Services Committee and the Judiciary Committee.  While in Congress Ellison has been a strong opponent of the Iraq War and has supported efforts to impeach President George Bush for his handling of the conflict.  Ellison is a proponent of immigration reform and an advocate of privacy concerns for those who use the Internet.  As Congress’s only Muslim representative he quickly

1918 - Iceberg Slim

Robert Beck (born Robert Lee Maupin or Robert Moppins, Jr.;[1] August 4, 1918 – April 28, 1992), better known as Iceberg Slim, was an American pimp who subsequently became an influential author among a primarily African-American readership. Becks novels were adapted into movies, and the imagery and tone of Becks fiction have been acknowledged as an influence by several rap musicians, including Ice T and Ice Cube, whose names are homages to Beck.

Robert Maupin, an African-American, was born in Chicago, Illinois. He spent his childhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Rockford, Illinois, until he returned to Chicago. When his mother was abandoned by his father, she established a beauty shop and worked as a domestic[clarification needed] to support both of them in Milwaukee.[2] In his autobiography, Maupin expressed gratitude to his mother for not abandoning him, as well. She earned enough money working in her salon to give her son the privileges of a middle-class life such as a college education, which at that time was difficult for the average person.[3]

Slim attended Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama (it has been stated that he attended Tuskegee University at the same time as black author Ralph Ellison [4]), but having spent time in the street culture, he soon began bootlegging and was expelled as a result. After his expulsion, his mother encouraged him to become a criminal lawyer so that he could make a legitimate living while continuing to work with the street people he was so fond of, but Maupin, seeing the pimps bringing women into his mothers beauty salon, was far more attracted to the model of money and control over women that pimping provided.[4]

According to his memoir, Pimp, Slim started pimping at 18 and continued that pursuit until age 42. The book claimed that during his career, he had over 400 women, both black and white, working for him. He said he was known for his frosty temperament, and at 62 and 180 lbs, he was indeed slim, and he had a reputation for staying calm in sticky