The Registry

Sat, 11.25.1758 story

The Hill District (Pittsburgh, PA), a story

*This date in 1758 celebrates the “Hill District” a grouping of historically African American neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, PA.    Locally, following the rebellion by slaves and gaining independence of Haiti in 1804, the free Black community of the Hill District was called “Little Haiti.” The early residents of the Hill District were middle-class free Blacks. […]

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Wed, 11.24.1852 story

William Feilds, School Principal born

*The birth of William A. Feilds is celebrated on this date in c. 1852.  He was a Black schoolteacher and principal.   born a slave, in West Tennessee, in 1874, Feilds married Elizabeth (Lizzie) Fields, age 20 in Shelby County, TN.  In 1882 Sholes’ Memphis City Directory listed Feilds as a “teacher 5th District school, r county.” According to […]

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Tue, 11.25.1862 story

Freedmen’s Towns In America, an article

*On this date in 1862, Freedmen’s Towns are celebrated.  Freedmen’s Towns were Black municipalities built by former slaves who were emancipated during and after the American Civil War. These towns emerged in a number of states, most notably Texas.  The Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment brought over 4 million people out of slavery from the Confederate States of America. Many were faced with […]

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Wed, 11.25.1874 story

Joe Gans, Boxer born

On this date, Joe Gans, African American professional boxer, was born in 1874.

Born in Baltimore, Joseph Gaines (his name at birth) was a legend in the sport. Because he was black, he was compelled by boxing promoters to permit less-talented white fighters to last the scheduled number of rounds with him and occasionally to defeat him. He was also forced to fight at unnaturally low weights, and, perhaps as a result, he was so weakened that he contracted tuberculosis and died while a young man.

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Sun, 11.25.1877 story

John McHie Sr., Laborer, and Small Businessman born

*John McHie was born on this date in 1877. He was an African American laborer and businessman.

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Thu, 11.25.1897 story

Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith, Composer born

On this date in 1897, “Willie the Lion” Smith was born. He was an African American Jewish jazz pianist and composer.

Born Bertholoff William Henry Joseph Bonaparte Smith in Goshen, New York; he grew up in Newark, N.J, with his mother and stepfather. He began studying piano at the age of six, inspired by his grandmother who played organ and banjo and by the Christian and Jewish music he heard in Harlem and Newark.
He had his bar mitzvah in 1910 and in the 1940s became cantor of the African American synagogue in Harlem.

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Fri, 11.25.1898 story

Prentice Polk, Portrait Photographer born

*Prentice Polk was born on this date in 1898.  He was a Black photographer and professor known for his portraits of African America.  Prentice Herman Polk was born in Bessemer, Alabama, one of four children of Jacob Prentice Polk and Christine Romelia Ward. Originally named Herman Polk, he adopted his father’s given name after his death […]

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Wed, 11.25.1903 story

William Hubbard, Olympic Athlete born

William Hubbard was born on this date in 1903. He was an African American track and field athlete.

William DeHart Hubbard grew up in the Walnut Hills section of Cincinnati, OH, and was known to be the fastest kid in school. He was not only athletic but also intelligent, with a four-year scholastic average of 90. Hubbard was part of the Golden Age of Sports and when people started using the word “Superstar.” He was the national long-jump champion of the 1920s who was also experienced in the sprints and triple jump.

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Mon, 11.25.1912 story

John Sengstacke, Newsaper Publisher born

John Sengstacke was born on this date in 1912. He was an African American publisher of Chicago’s Black newspaper, Chicago Defender. The newspaper was founded in 1905 by Sengstacke’s uncle, Robert S. Abbott, and had a strong voice in Chicago’s African American communities. The Chicago Defender was a widely read black newspaper. At the time, it had a circulation of about 25,000.

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Tue, 11.25.1919 story

Charles Bailey, Pilot, and Teacher born

*Charles Bailey was born on this date in 1919. He was a Black army pilot, educator, businessman, and WW II hero.   From DeLand, Florida, he was the son of Archie and Josephine Bailey raised these children in a small town on the southwest coast of Florida, their hometown offered no schooling for Blacks. He and […]

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