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The Registry

Sat, 10.17.1711 story

Jupiter Hammon, a Poetic pioneer

Jupiter Hammonm a Black poet and the first published black writer in America, was born on this date in 1711.

Hammon served several generations of the Lloyd family on Long Island, New York. He had been a slave his entire life, allowed to attend school, and his formal education influenced his development as a poet. Like his masters, Hammon was a devout Christian, and was influenced by the religious revivals taking place in 18th century New England.

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Fri, 10.17.1817 story

Rev. Samuel R Ward, Spiritual Abolitionist

Rev. Samuel Ringgold Ward was born on this date in 1817. He was a Black abolitionist and minister.

Born a slave on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, he escaped with his parents in 1820. His father was descended from an African prince. He learned to read so that he could enjoy the priceless privilege of searching the Scriptures and supporting himself as a house painter. His mother was widowed in a previous marriage and bore three children, all boys; Samuel was the second. Ward grew up in New York, and was placed in a public school in Mulberry Street.

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Mon, 10.17.1864 story

Halle Tanner Dillon Johnson born

*Halle Tanner Dillon Johnson was born on this date in 1864.  She was a Black doctor.  Born Halle Tanner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she was the oldest daughter of nine children to Benjamin Tucker and Sarah Elizabeth Tanner. Johnson was well educated and as a young girl became familiar with the work of prominent Black intellectuals. She worked with […]

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Wed, 10.17.1888 story

Capital Savings Bank opens

On this date in 1888, one of the first banks for African Americans was organized, Capital Savings Bank of Washington D.C.

The beginnings of black capitalism in America have a strong history. In spite of brutal racial segregation during the first 30 years of the 20th century, black capitalism began to thrive. Because economic empowerment was another vehicle for equality, a great entrepreneurial spirit showed in the escalation of the founding of black banks, insurance companies, newspapers, and other enterprises that served the black community.

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Sun, 10.17.1909 story

One of the best Jazz Drummers, “Cozy” Cole

On this date in 1909, African American jazz drummer William Randolph “Cozy” Cole was born in East Orange, New Jersey.

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Thu, 10.17.1918 story

Artist Eugene Grigsby born

*Eugene Grigsby Jr. was born on this date 1918. He was an African American artist, and educator.

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Fri, 10.17.1924 story

The Phyllis Wheatley House of Minneapolis opens

On this date in 1924, the Phyllis Wheatley settlement house was founded and began operation in Minneapolis, MN.

At the start of the 20th century, community centers known as “settlement houses” were begun in many urban areas of the United States. Most of them were established in poor neighborhoods with a predominantly immigrant population, and designed to help “Americanize” the communities, but others, like Phyllis Wheatley, were founded to continuously deliver services primarily to African Americans.

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Wed, 10.17.1928 story

Lerone Bennett Jr., Author born

Lerone Bennett, Jr. was born on this date in 1928. He is an African American author, historian, and journalist.

He was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the son of the Lerone and Alma (Reed) Bennett. He and his family moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where he attended public schools. Bennett graduated from Morehouse College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1949. That same year, Bennett attended Atlanta University for graduate study. Bennett became a journalist for the Atlanta Daily World in 1949, continuing until 1953 and he worked as city editor for JET magazine from 1952-53.

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Thu, 10.17.1940 story

Dave Dennis, Activist born

*Dave Dennis was born on this date in 1940.  He is a Black civil rights activist, author and educator.  David J. Dennis was born on a plantation of a sharecropper in Omega, Louisiana into a life of Jim Crow segregation.  He is the son of Thomas Dennis and Tizzie Perry Dennis Shepperd.  His family grew up in the […]

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Tue, 10.17.1950 story

Howard Rollins Jr. born

Howard Rollins Jr. was born on this date in 1950. He was an African American actor.

Born in Baltimore, Howard Ellsworth Rollins, Jr., was the youngest of four children born to Howard E. Rollins, Sr., a steelworker, and Ruth R. Rollins, a domestic worker. After high school, he attended Towson State College, MD, where he studied theater. In his early years, Rollins vaguely considered becoming a teacher. At 17, a friend convinced him to attend a casting call at a local Baltimore theater, where he won a role in “Of Mice and Men.”

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