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The Registry

Thu, 10.13.1825 story

John Rock, Lawyer, and Abolitionist born

*John Rock was born on this date in 1825.  He was a Black teacher, and abolitionist.  From Salem County, New Jersey at an early age, John Stewart Rock had an insatiable appetite for learning. Although his parents were poor, they committed themselves to send young Rock to school.  At eighteen, Rock began to teach at […]

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Thu, 10.13.1898 story

Raymond P. Alexander, Lawyer, and Judge born

This date marks the birth of Raymond Pace Alexander in 1898. He was a lawyer, politician, and judge and the first African American to hold a position on the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia.

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Thu, 10.13.1898 story

Edith Sampson, Lawyer, Judge born

On this date in 1898, Edith Sampson was born in Pittsburgh, the first black woman elected judge to a municipal court.

She was born Edith Spurlock, one of seven children. Her father, Louis Spurlock, earned $75 per month as a shipping clerk in a cleaning, pressing, and dyeing business. Her mother, Elizabeth Spurlock, worked at home making buckram hat frames and twisting switches of false hair.

Edith graduated from Peabody High School, and three years later married Rufus Sampson, a field agent for the Tuskegee Institute.

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Mon, 10.13.1902 story

Arna Bontemps, Poet, and Teacher born

Arna W. Bontemps, an African American writer born in Alexandria, LA, was born on this date in 1902.

Bontemps received a B.A. from the Pacific Union College of California in 1923, and an M. A. from the University of Chicago in 1943. He was a teacher at every level of education.

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Tue, 10.13.1903 story

Felton G. Clark, Educator born

*Felton G. Clark was born on this date in 1903. He was an African American educator and administrator.

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Wed, 10.13.1909 story

Art Tatum, Jazz Pianist born

Art Tatum, an African American pianist, and one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, was born on this date in 1909, in Toledo, OH.

Tatum was blind in one eye and visually impaired in the other. A child prodigy with perfect pitch, Tatum learned to play by ear, picking out church hymns by the age of three, learning tunes from the radio, and copying piano-roll recordings his mother owned. He developed an incredibly fast playing style, without losing accuracy.

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Tue, 10.13.1914 story

The Gas Mask is Patented

*On this date in 1914, one of the first breathing devices in the United States was patented by a Black man.   Garrett Morgan applied for and acquired a U.S. patent for this invention. The Patent number was #1113, 675.  Morgan’s technology was a forerunner to the Gas Mask.

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Sat, 10.13.1917 story

Barbara Cyrus, Journalist born

*Barbara Cyrus was born on this date 1917. She was an African American librarian, journalist, editor, author and activist.

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Mon, 10.13.1919 story

Kathleen Livingstone, Broadcaster born

*Kathleen “Kay” Livingstone was born on this date in 1919.  She was a Black Canadian social activist, actress, and broadcaster.   The daughter of James and Christina Jenkins, she was born Kathleen Jenkins in London, Ontario. Her father was an assistant judge in the local juvenile court and her parents founded a newspaper Dawn of […]

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Fri, 10.13.1922 story

Nat Clifton, Basketball Player born

*Nat Clifton was born on this date in 1922. He was an African American basketball player.

Born in England, Arkansas, Clifton’s and his family moved to Chicago when he was eight. His birth name was Clifton Nathaniel, but after he became a high school star athlete he reversed the two names when sportswriters complained that the last name Nathaniel was too long to fit in a headline. The nickname “Sweetwater” (or “Sweets”) is often reported to have come from his fondness for soft drinks, especially sugarwater.

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