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Black Facts for March 25th

1924 - Perry, Julia Amanda (1924-1979)

Julia Amanda Perry was a prolific composer of neoclassical music during her relatively brief life.  Born on March 25, 1924 in Lexington Kentucky, she spent most of her early years in Akron, Ohio. Her father, Dr. Abe Perry, was a doctor and amateur pianist, who once accompanied the tenor Roland Hayes on tour. Her mother, America Perry, encouraged her children’s musical endeavors; both Julia and her sisters studied violin from a young age, Julia switched to the piano after two years of violin.

Upon graduating from Akron High School, Perry attended Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey from 1943 to 1948, where she graduated with a bachelors and masters in music. Her master’s thesis, Chicago, inspired by the poetry of Carl Sandberg, was a secular cantata for baritone, narrator, mixed voices, and orchestra. She continued her musical training at the Julliard School of Music and she also spent summers at the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood, Massachusetts. Her first major composition, the Stabat Mater, appeared in 1951.  Three years later in 1954 her opera, The Cask of Amontillado, was first staged at Columbia University.  She also wrote Homage to Vivaldi for performance by symphony orchestras.

In 1952 and 1954 Perry received two Guggenheim fellowships to study in Florence, Italy under the tutelage of Lugia Dallapiccola and in Paris, France with Nadia Boulanger. After spending nearly a decade in Europe studying with several prominent composers, she returned to the United States in 1959 to become part of the music faculty at Florida A & M College (now University) and later took a teaching position at Atlanta University.  She returned to Akron in 1960 and from an apartment above her father’s medical office she wrote Homunuclus C.F. (1960) for piano, harp, and a diverse group of percussion instruments. Her decision to use snare, timpani, and wood blocks, in addition to her frequent and creative changes in rhythm, illustrated her unusual sense of experimentation in her compositions  Throughout the 1960s

2009 - John Hope Franklin

John Hope Franklin , (born Jan. 2, 1915, Rentiesville, Okla., U.S.—died March 25, 2009, Durham, N.C.), American historian and educator noted for his scholarly reappraisal of the American Civil War era and the importance of the black struggle in shaping modern American identity. He also helped fashion the legal brief that led to the historic Supreme Court decision outlawing public school segregation, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) and was instrumental in the development of African-American Studies programs at colleges and universities.

Franklin was the son of a lawyer. After attending Fisk University, Nashville, Tenn. (A.B., 1935), and Harvard University (A.M., 1936; Ph.D., 1941), he continued his career in education with teaching positions at a number of schools, among them Howard University, Washington, D.C. (1947–56), Brooklyn (N.Y.) College (1956–64), the University of Chicago (1964–82; emeritus thereafter), and Duke University, Durham, N.C. (1982–92).

Franklin first gained international attention with the publication of From Slavery to Freedom (1947; 7th. ed., 1994). His other works treating aspects of the American Civil War include The Militant South, 1800–1861 (1956), Reconstruction: After the Civil War (1961), and The Emancipation Proclamation (1963). He also edited three books of the Civil War period, as well as several other books, including Color and Race (1968) and Black Leaders of the Twentieth Century (1982). George Washington Williams: A Biography (1985), Race and History: Selected Essays, 1938–1988 (1989), and The Color Line: Legacy for the Twenty-First Century (1993) are among his later publications.

In 1995 U.S. President Bill Clinton honoured Franklin with the Presidential Medal of Freedom; two years later Clinton appointed the scholar to the seven-member Race Initiative Advisory Board.

1931 - Ida B. Wells-Barnett: Anti-Lynching Advocate

When civil rights crusader Ida B. Wells-Barnett died in 1931, the Chicago Defender described her  as elegant, striking, and always well groomed . . . regal though somewhat intolerant and impulsive. Throughout Wells-Barnetts career as a journalist, social-political organizer and suffragist, she worked with great fervor to end discrimination based on gender and race.

Early Life

Wells-Barnett was born a slave on July 16, 1862 in Holly Springs, Miss.

Her father, James Wells, was a skilled carpenter and her mother, Lizzie Warrenton was a cook.

In 1878, Wells parents and her youngest brother, Stanley died in a yellow fever epidemic. At 16 years of age, Wells-Barnett was left to care for five younger siblings. As a result, she stop[ed attending Shaw University and got a certification as a teacher.

Soon after, Wells-Barnett moved to Memphis to work as an educator.

A Court Battle

In 1884, Wells-Barnett sued the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad after being forcibly removed from the train because she refused to move to a segregated car. She sued on the grounds that the Civil Rights Act of 1875 banned discrimination based on race, creed, or color in theaters, hotels, transportation and public facilities. Although Wells-Barnett won the case on the local circuit courts and was awarded $500, the railroad company appealed the case to the Supreme Court of Tennessee.

In 1887, the Supreme Court of Tennessee reversed the lower courts ruling.

Although Wells-Barnett lost the appeal against the railroad company, her experiences as an prompted her career in journalism. Soon, she was writing articles that appeared in The Living Way, a weekly newspaper under the pen name, Iola.

By 1889, Wells-Barnett resigned from her teaching position and became part owner of the African-American newspaper Free Speech and Headlight. Wells-Barnetts partner was Reverend R. Nightingale, the pastor of Beale Street Baptist Church. Urging the congregation and other community members to subscribe to the publication, Wells-Barnett and Nightingale became

1942 - Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin is one of the most successful female recording artists of all time. She was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee to C. L. and Barbara Franklin. C.L. was a famous Baptist preacher who later founded his own church and Barbara was an accomplished pianist and singer. Aretha was a gifted musician since her childhood. She learned to play the piano by ear and had a marvelous voice. She began singing church gospel from a very early age and was considered a prodigy. Her parents separated when she was 6, and her mother died due to a heart attack when Aretha was 10 years old. The family moved to Detroit and Aretha often accompanied her father while he was travelling all over the country, delivering sermons. She sang in his gospel group and accompanied a measure of fame during her teens.

Her father initially managed her career, and Aretha was pursued by several labels. She eventually signed with Columbia Records, where she released her first album titled “Aretha: With The Ray Bryant Combo”. The album achieved modest commercial success and also made her an internationally recognized voice in Australia and Canada. She released two more albums in 1962, “The Electrifying Aretha Franklin” and “The Tender, the Moving, the Swinging Aretha Franklin”. Her albums were a mixture of pop and R&B, and included hits like “Won’t Be Long”, “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody” and “Operation Heartbreak”. She performed at various concerts and tours and became more famous by the day. In 1967, she switched labels and moved to Atlantic Records. Her first album with Atlantic was “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You” which was her most commercially successful album to date. It included hits like “Baby I Love You” and “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman”.

The following year, she released two albums titled “Lady Soul” and “Aretha Now” including hits like “Chain of Fools”, “Ain’t No Way”, “Think” and “I Say a Little Prayer”. The same year, she won her first two Grammy Awards, appeared on the cover of Time

2009 - Franklin, John Hope (1915--2009)

John Hope Franklin, one of the nations leading historians, is the only African American who has served as president of both the American Historical Association (AHA) and the Organization of American Historians (OAH).

Franklin was born in Rentiesville, Oklahoma on January 2, 1915 to parents Buck, a Tulsa attorney, and Mollie Franklin. He recalled growing up in Tulsa, in a Jim Crow society that stifled his senses and damaged his “emotional health and social well being.” While his family was in Rentiesville, Buck Franklin not only survived the June 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, but also successfully sued the city. This suit, before the Oklahoma Supreme Court, overturned a Tulsa ordinance which prevented the city’s blacks from rebuilding their destroyed community.

Franklin attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, graduating magna cum laude in 1935. He received his M.A. in history from Harvard in 1936, taught at Fisk University and returned to Harvard to complete the Ph.D. in history in 1941. While matriculating at Harvard, he took on a teaching position at St. Augustines College, a predominantly black college, in Raleigh, North Carolina. This position enabled him to complete his research for his dissertation which was published in 1943 as The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860. This book established his importance to southern history and he was subsequently invited, in 1949, to present a paper at the Southern Historical Association which broke the color line for that association. In 1956, Franklin became the first black person hired as chairman of a history department. That position at Brooklyn College led, in 1964, to an endowed chair at the University of Chicago (Illinois) in 1967 where he also served as department chair until 1970. Franklin remained on the University of Chicago until 1982 when he accepted the James B. Duke Professorship at Duke University.

John Hope Franklin’s most important work was the 1947 publication of From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans which has

1971 - Sheryl Swoopes

Sheryl Denise Swoopes is a retired professional basketball player and the first player to be signed on to the WNBA when it was created. She was born on March 25, 1971 in  Brownfield, Texas to Louise Swoopes. She had three older brothers with whom she grew up playing basketball. At the age of seven she joined a children’s basketball league called the Little Dribblers and also competed in the 1988 Texas State Championship. She first joined the University of Texas on a scholarship but soon left for South Plains College where she played on the basketball team for two years. She then transferred to Texas Tech in 1993 where she helped her team win the NCAA women’s basketball championship. After she graduated, her jersey was retired by the university, making her only one of three players who received this honor.

She holds a number of records in the NCAA, including highest points scored in a game, highest points scored in a season and highest Championship Tournament scoring average. She also holds several records at Texas Tech including all-time scoring record for a single season. In 1993, Sheryl Swoopes won the Naismith College Player of the Year award, the WBCA Player of the Year and Sportswoman of the Year Award by the Women’s Sports Foundation. She was also selected to the Division I All American squad in 1992 and 1993.

Sheryl Swoopes was selected as a member of the USA national team with whom she competed in the World Championships in June 1994, which were hosted in Sydney, Australia. Team USA won the bronze medal at the championships. She was also part of the Olympic squad in 1996, winning the Gold medal and being the third leading scorer in the team. She was a major contributor in the team’s historic win over Brazil, which has been described by many as the most well contested women’s basketball game in recent times. She was also part of the winning squad in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, making her a three time Olympic Gold medalist.

The WNBA was created in 1997, and she was recruited by the Houston Comets. She

1931 - Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Ida B. Wells-Barnett , née Ida Bell Wells (born July 16, 1862, Holly Springs, Mississippi, U.S.—died March 25, 1931, Chicago, Illinois), African American journalist who led an antilynching crusade in the United States in the 1890s. She later was active in promoting justice for African Americans.

Ida Wells was born into slavery. She was educated at Rust University, a freedmen’s school in her native Holly Springs, Mississippi, and at age 14 began teaching in a country school. She continued to teach after moving to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1884 and attended Fisk University in Nashville during several summer sessions. In 1887 the Tennessee Supreme Court, reversing a Circuit Court decision, ruled against Wells in a suit she had brought against the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad for having been forcibly removed from her seat after she had refused to give it up for one in a “colored only” car. Using the pen name Iola, Wells in 1891 also wrote some newspaper articles critical of the education available to African American children. Her teaching contract was not renewed. She thereupon turned to journalism, buying an interest in the Memphis Free Speech.

In 1892, after three friends of hers had been lynched by a mob, Wells began an editorial campaign against lynching that quickly led to the sacking of her newspaper’s office. She continued her antilynching crusade, first as a staff writer for the New York Age and then as a lecturer and organizer of antilynching societies. She traveled to speak in a number of major U.S. cities and twice visited Great Britain for the cause. In 1895 she married Ferdinand L. Barnett, a Chicago lawyer, editor, and public official, and adopted the name Wells-Barnett. From that time she restricted her travels, but she was very active in Chicago affairs. Wells-Barnett contributed to the Chicago Conservator, her husband’s newspaper, and to other local journals; published a detailed look at lynching in A Red Record (1895); and was active in organizing local African American women in various causes,

1991 - Baquet, Charles R., III (1941- )

Ambassador Charles R. Baquet III was born December 24, 1941 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  He attended public schools in the city and in 1963 he earned his B.A. in history from Xavier University in New Orleans. In 1975, he earned his M.A. in public administration from the Maxwell School of Government at Syracuse University in New York.

After graduating from Xavier, Baquet became a volunteer for the Peace Corps. From 1965 to 1967, he taught English and Social Science in the Somali Republic.  In 1967, Baquet returned to the United States and joined Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), which functioned as a domestic version of the Peace Corps.  

Baquet entered the U.S. Foreign Service in 1968 and a year later had his first overseas assignment as a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France.  In 1971 he returned to Washington, D.C. and worked at the State Department for the next four years.     

From 1975 to 1976, Baquet was a general service officer at the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong, China and from 1976 through 1978 he was Counselor for Administrative Affairs in Beirut, Lebanon.  He returned to Washington, D.C. and from 1979 to 1983, he worked as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Operations of the Bureau of Administration at the Department of State.  

Baquet spent the years 1983 to 1987 as Director of the Regional Management Center at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France. After attending the senior seminar at the Foreign Service Institute in Washington, D.C. for one year, in 1988 he was assigned as consul general at the U.S. Consulate in Cape Town, South Africa.  During his three years in South Africa he witnessed the end of apartheid, the release of Nelson Mandela, and the beginning of South Africa’s first complete democracy.

On March 25, 1991 President George H.W. Bush nominated Baquet to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti.  After U.S. Senate confirmation, Baquet arrived in Djibouti City, the capital.  As ambassador Baquet had the difficult task of continuing U.S. aid

1945 - Clark Memorial United Methodist Church (1865– )

Clark Memorial United Methodist Church is the oldest black United Methodist Church (UMC) in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1865 the Methodist Episcopal Church sent Bishop Davis W. Clark to Nashville to reorganize the Negro mission at Andrew Chapel, located on Franklin Street in South Nashville. The church’s name was changed to Clark Chapel and would undergo several name changes in keeping with denominational changes and Bishop Clark’s death in 1871. Initially, the church was racially integrated.

In the same year that Bishop Clark came to the church, later named Clark Chapel, he became the first president of the Freedman’s Aid Society that established the society’s first school in the basement of the church. The school experienced so much growth and success that it had to move. It became Central Tennessee College and later changed to Walden University. Meharry Medical College began as a department at Walden in 1876, before becoming an independent institution in 1915.

By 1868, the white members of Clark Chapel had left, and the Negro mission took over the building and land. In 1899 a new structure was completed and dedicated, with the name changed to Clark Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church. Eventually, the members sold this property, and in 1936 they moved to north Nashville, temporarily worshipping in the Seventh Day Adventist Church on the corner of Meharry Boulevard and the 12th Avenue North, until its own facility could be built. On March 25, 1945, the congregation marched from the Seventh Day Adventist Church to its present location on the corner of Phillips Street and 14th Avenue North.

At this site, Clark has expanded over time. In 1956 the church added an educational building, with an adjacent parsonage completed a year later. Once again the church would need to physically expand because of congregational growth. In 1981 the educational wing was expanded, renovated, and dedicated as the Grady Sherrill-Matthew Walker wing, with the cornerstone of the old Franklin Street Church included in the structure. Dr.