Black Facts for March 18th

1977 - Congo, Republic of

The Congo is situated in west-central Africa astride the equator. It borders Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Angola exclave of Cabinda, with a short stretch of coast on the South Atlantic. Its area is nearly three times that of Pennsylvania. Most of the inland is tropical rain forest, drained by tributaries of the Congo River.


In precolonial times, the region now called the Republic of Congo was dominated by three kingdoms: Kongo (originating about 1000), the Loango (flourishing in the 17th century), and Tio. After the Portuguese located the Congo River in 1482, commerce was carried on with the tribes, especially the slave trade.

The Frenchman Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza signed a treaty with Makoko, ruler of the Bateke people, in 1880, thus establishing French control. It was first called French Congo, and after 1905 Middle Congo. With Gabon and Ubangi-Shari, it became the colony of French Equatorial Africa in 1910. Abuse of laborers led to public outcry against the French colonialists as well as rebellions among the Congolese, but the exploitation of the native workers continued until 1930. During World War II, the colony joined Chad in supporting the Free French cause against the Vichy government. The Congo proclaimed its independence without leaving the French Community in 1960, calling itself the Republic of Congo.

The Congo"s second president, Alphonse Massemba-Débat, instituted a Marxist-Leninist government. In 1968, Maj. Marien Ngouabi overthrew him but kept the Congo on a Socialist course. He was sworn in for a second five-year term in 1975. A four-man commando squad assassinated Ngouabi on March 18, 1977. Col. Joachim Yhombi-Opango, army chief of staff, assumed the presidency on April 4. Yhombi-Opango resigned on Feb. 4, 1979, and was replaced by Col. Denis Sassou-Nguesso.

In July 1990, the leaders of the ruling party voted to end the one-party system. A national political conference, hailed as a model for sub-Saharan Africa,

28 Unknown Facts: Black History

1996 - Hopwood v. State of Texas (1996)

March 18, 1996, Decided

OPINION: JERRY E. SMITH, Circuit Judge: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

With the best of intentions, in order to increase the enrollment of certain favored classes of minority students, the University of Texas School of Law ("the law school") discriminates in favor of those applicants by giving substantial racial preferences in its admissions program. The beneficiaries of this system are blacks and Mexican Americans, to the detriment of whites and non-preferred minorities. The question we decide today in No. 94-50664 is whether the Fourteenth Amendment permits the school to discriminate in this way.

We hold that it does not. The law school has presented no compelling justification, under the Fourteenth Amendment or Supreme Court precedent, that allows it to continue to elevate some races over others, even for the wholesome purpose of correcting perceived racial imbalance in the student body. "Racial preferences appear to "even the score" . . . only if one embraces the proposition that our society is appropriately viewed as divided into races, making it right that an injustice rendered in the past to a black man should be compensated for by discriminating against [*935] a white." City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co., 488 U.S. 469, 528, 102 L. Ed. 2d 854, 109 S. Ct. 706 (1989) (Scalia, J., concurring in the judgment).

As a result of its diligent efforts in this case, the district court concluded that the law school may continue to impose racial preferences. See Hopwood v. Texas, 861 F. Supp. 551 (W.D. Tex. 1994). In No. 94-50664, we reverse and remand, concluding that the law school may not use race as a factor in law school admissions. Further, we instruct the court to reconsider the issue of damages in accordance with the legal standards we now explain. In No. 94-50569, regarding the denial of intervention by two black student groups, we dismiss the appeal for want of jurisdiction.



The University of Texas School of Law is one of the nation"s leading law schools,

1936 - F.W. de Klerk

F.W. de Klerk , in full Frederik Willem de Klerk (born March 18, 1936, Johannesburg, S.Af.), politician who as president of South Africa (1989–94) brought the apartheid system of racial segregation to an end and negotiated a transition to majority rule in his country. He and Nelson Mandela jointly received the 1993 Nobel Prize for Peace for their collaboration in efforts to establish nonracial democracy in South Africa.

De Klerk was the son of a leading politician. He received a law degree (with honours) from Potchefstroom University in 1958. Soon afterward he began to establish a successful law firm in Vereeniging, becoming active in civic and business affairs there. In 1972 he was elected to Parliament for the National Party. His legal talents and the respect in which he was held won him a number of key ministerial portfolios, including mines and energy affairs (1979–82), internal affairs (1982–85), and national education and planning (1984–89). He was elected leader of the House of Assembly in 1986.

After Pres. P.W. Botha fell ill in January 1989, de Klerk was elected leader of the National Party and successfully opposed Botha’s resumption of office after his recovery. De Klerk was formally elected president by South Africa’s tricameral Parliament on September 14. He owed his political success to the power base he had built up in the Transvaal, where he had been chairman of the provincial National Party from 1982.

As president, de Klerk committed himself to speeding up the reform process begun by his predecessor and to initiating talks about a new postapartheid constitution with representatives of what were then the country’s four designated racial groups (white, black, Coloured, and Asian [Indian]). Though faced with a strengthened right-wing opposition in Parliament (the Conservative Party), following his famous opening address to Parliament on Feb. 2, 1990, de Klerk quickly moved to release all important political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, and to lift the ban on the African National

2009 - Kirk, Ronald (1954-- )

Ronald "Ron" Kirk is the U.S. Trade Representative for U.S. President Barack Obama.  Kirk was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 18, 2009, and officially sworn in two days later.  Kirk is the 16th trade representative and the first African American to hold the Cabinet-level post.  As trade representative, he serves as the president"s principal trade advisor, negotiator, and spokesperson.  He is also responsible for the development of U.S. trade policy and the oversight of existing trade treaties such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Kirk was born in 1954 in Austin, Texas.  He received a BA degree in political science and sociology from Austin College in 1976 and then went on to the University of Texas Law School where he received a J.D. three years later. While attending law school, he accepted an internship with the Texas Legislature.  After graduating, Kirk worked for Democratic Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas as an aide and later was appointed Texas Secretary of State by Texas Governor Ann Richards, also a Democrat.

In 1995, Kirk, in his first bid for public office and with major support from the local business community, ran for mayor of Dallas, Texas.  He won a landslide victory, securing 62% of the vote to become mayor.  During his mayoral campaign, Kirk promoted racial harmony in a city that had experienced considerable racial tension.

As mayor, Kirk promoted the development of a $230 million sports arena and a $256 million urban renewal project to revitalize the Trinity Corridor on the edge of downtown Dallas.  Both projects were criticized by skeptics who claimed he promoted downtown business interests at the expense of basic city services and neighborhood development.  Kirk overcame the criticism to win an overwhelming victory in his 1999 re-election bid.  He defeated his opponent by a 2 to 1 margin.  

In 2002 he ran unsuccessfully for the seat of retiring U.S.  Republican Senator Phil Gramm.  During the next six years prior to his confirmation to the Obama administration, Kirk

The Green Book Pt I

2015 - Grace Ogot

Grace Ogot , née Grace Emily Akinyi (born May 15, 1930, Butere, near Kisumu, central Nyanza Region, Kenya—died March 18, 2015, Nairobi), Kenyan author of widely anthologized short stories and novels who also held a ministerial position in Kenya’s government.

One of the few well-known woman writers in Kenya, Ogot was the first woman to have fiction published by the East African Publishing House. Her stories—which appeared in European and African journals such as Black Orpheus and Transition and in collections such as Land Without Thunder (1968), The Other Woman (1976), and The Island of Tears (1980)—give an inside view of traditional Luo life and society and the conflict of traditional with colonial and modern cultures. Her novel The Promised Land (1966) tells of Luo pioneers in Tanzania and western Kenya.

A nurse by profession, she was educated at the Nursing Training Hospital in Uganda from 1949 to 1953. She served at the St. Thomas Hospital for Mothers and Babies in London and from 1958 to 1959 as a midwifery tutor and nursing sister at Maseno Hospital in Kenya. Her fiction drew upon her experience as a nurse; several of her works focus on the conflict between traditional and Western medicine. In 1959 she married the historian Bethwell Ogot of Kenya.

Grace Ogot was appointed to the National Assembly in Kenya in 1983 and elected to a vacant seat in 1985. She subsequently became assistant minister of culture and social services under Pres. Daniel arap Moi and was the only woman to hold a cabinet-level post at that time. She was a member of the National Assembly until 1992 and held her ministerial post until 1993.

Ogot also worked as a scriptwriter and an announcer for the British Broadcasting Corporation, as a headmistress, as a community development officer in Kisumu, and as an Air India public relations officer. She appeared on Voice of Kenya radio and television and was a columnist in View Point in the East African Standard.

1988 - Curry, Stephen (1988- )

Wardell Stephen Curry II, also known as Stephen Curry, is a professional basketball player with the Golden State (California) Warriors. Curry is considered one of the greatest shooters in NBA history and an “elite” all-time scorer.  As the 7th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft, Curry rose to become a four-time NBA All-Star, two-time NBA champion and most valuable player, and a leader in three-point shooting.

Curry was born on March 18, 1988, in Akron, Ohio to Sonya Curry and former NBA player, Dell Curry. The family moved to Charlotte, North Carolina when his father signed to play for the Charlotte Hornets. Curry was able to develop his basketball skills at a young age because his father took him and his younger brother, Seth, to Hornets games where they were allowed to shoot with the team during game warm ups. Young Curry attended Charlotte Christian School where he played basketball, leading his team to three conference titles and three state playoff appearances.

After graduating from Charlotte Christian School in 2006, Curry attended Davidson College and joined the Wildcats men’s basketball team. He was named the Southern Conference Freshmen of the Year and led the Wildcats to the regional finals of the NCAA tournament. Curry played for the Wildcats until the end of his junior year where he decided to opt out his senior year to become eligible for the 2009 NBA Draft. Curry finished his final season with the Wildcats averaging 28.6 points per game.

In 2009, the Golden State Warriors drafted Curry during the first rounds of the NBA draft. During his rookie season, he won the NBA All-Star Weekend Skills Challenge, was voted second in the NBA Rookie of the Year, and was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. In 2010, he participated in the FIBA World Championship and won a gold medal with the USA basketball team. Known for his shooting accuracy, Curry blazed a path by setting shooting records that established him as one of the NBA’s best scorers.  Along with his teammate Klay Thompson, the duo became known as

1970 - Queen Latifah

The word Latifah means “very kind” or “delicate” in Arabic. Queen Latifah is a New-Jersey born African-American whose real name is Dana Elaine Owens. Born on March 18, 1970, she witnessed her parents’ divorce at the tender age of ten and when she was twenty-two her elder brother was killed in a car accident.  With that and the 1995 car-jacking and shooting of her boyfriend, she started using drugs and was sentenced to three years probation as well. However this was not what defines her. Queen Latifah is a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild recipient and has also been nominated for an Emmy for her role in Life Support in 2007. She plays an HIV positive woman and delivers it beautifully. Moreover, she is a singer and has been nominated for a Grammy.

Her career started with beat boxing in 1988 and she was a member of the original Flavor Unit, a crew of MCs. Their producer, DJ King Gemini was the one who made a recording of Latifah’s rap which was forwarded to the host of Yo! MTV Raps. The song then caught Tommy Boy Music’s Dante Ross’ attention, which ultimately helped Latifah release her first single “Wrath of Madness”. This jump-started her career as she moved on to rapping till 2002. A nineteen year old Latifah released her first album, All Hail The Queen in 1989.  Along with her rapping, she also performed at numerous venues. One such opportunity was in 2007 when she sang at Hollywood Bowl in LA. Her album released in the same year titled “Trav’lin” was nominated for a Grammy in the category of the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.

In addition to music, Queen Latifah has a number of films that have been huge hits at the box office; Set It Off (1996), Living Out Loud (1998), The Bone Collector (1999), Chicago (2002), Bringing Down The House (2003), Taxi (2004), Last Holiday (2006), and Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012) to name a few. She also had her own show The Queen Latifah Show aired in 2013. The summer of 2007 was one of the best for her because she featured in Hairspray, which was a big screen version

1963 - Vanessa Williams

Vanessa Lynn Williams is a Grammy nominated singer, former beauty queen and television and film actress. She was born on March 18, 1963 in Bronx, New York but soon moved to a more fashionable neighborhood. Her parents, Milton and Helen Williams, both worked as music teachers and so Williams and her brother Chris were exposed to and surrounded by music from their childhood. She was a talented musician and learnt to play the piano, violin and French horn by the age of 10. Other than playing, singing and songwriting, she also trained as a dancer and planned to become the first African American “Rockettes” dancer. She was a conscientious student and graduated from high school in 1981. She won the “Presidential Scholarship for Drama” and was one of only 12 students to gain admittance at the Carnegie Mellon University theater arts program in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. However, she refused their offer and chose to attend Syracuse University in New York.

As a freshman at Syracuse, she took a job as a receptionist and makeup artist for local photographer Tom Chiapel for whom she later posed as a nude model. However, she was not happy with the results of the shoot and did not give permission for publication. While she was studying theater and music at Syracuse, she was offered a candidacy in the “Miss Greater Syracuse pageant” which she initially hesitated to accept, but later did and won with ease. In 1983, she was crowned Miss New York and just 6 months later, she made history by being crowned the first African American “Miss America”. She shot to fame overnight, receiving offers for dozens of product endorsements, $25,000 scholarship prize money and lines of interviews and magazine spreads.

Unfortunately however, her fame was rocked by an equally dreadful scandal. The nude photos of her which Chiapel had earlier taken were published in “Penthouse” magazine. This was a huge setback for her career, as the Miss America pageant board asked her to resign her post, and most, if not all of her product endorsements were

1938 - Charley Pride

Charley Pride , in full Charley Frank Pride (born March 18, 1938, Sledge, Mississippi, U.S.), American country music singer who broke new ground in the 1960s by becoming the most successful African American star that the field had known to date and a significant next-generation standard bearer for the hard-core honky-tonk country music sound.

The son of poor, cotton-picking, sharecropping parents and one of 11 children, Pride was attracted in his youth both by Grand Ole Opry radio broadcasts featuring the “King of Country Music” Roy Acuff and honky-tonk artists Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb and by baseball. He received his first guitar at age 14 but initially pursued a career as a pitcher and outfielder in the Negro American League—all the while singing country songs for teammates on bus trips. In 1960 he moved to west-central Montana, where he played minor-league and semiprofessional baseball and performed music in local nightclubs. After a disc jockey in Helena, Montana, introduced Pride to country stars Red Sovine and Red Foley, Pride pursued a publishing and recording contract in Nashville, inspired and encouraged by those two musicians (especially Sovine).

For as long as the genre had existed, there had been some African Americans who performed country songs; harmonica virtuoso DeFord Bailey, for instance, had been a feature of the Grand Ole Opry as early as the late 1920s and blues-oriented songsters such as Leadbelly and Mississippi John Hurt also sang country or country-flavoured repertoire. When Pride relocated to Nashville in the mid-1960s, however, there had never been an African American singing star in the field, and the music industry was far from certain there could ever be one. Some within the industry resisted the concept. After more than a year of fruitless efforts to establish himself as a country music singer, Pride finally received a recording contract—with RCA Victor—in 1965, with the backing of producer Jack Clement, who had worked with country music legend Johnny Cash and rockabilly

Blackfacts BETA RELEASE 10.0.80
(Production Environment)