The Registry

Wed, 12.02.1829 story

Charles E. Vanderburgh born

*Charles Vanderburgh was born on this date in 1829. He was a white American lawyer, abolitionist and judge.

Born in Saratoga County, New York, Charles Edwin Vanderburgh graduated from Yale University in 1852. He taught school and studied law in Oxford, New York. In 1856, Vanderburgh moved to Minnesota Territory and practiced law in Minneapolis. In 1859, elected District Judge, Fourth Judicial District.

learn more
Wed, 12.02.1863 story

African Slave finishes White House Dome

*On this date in 1863, “Freedom,” the statue on top of the dome of the U. S. Capitol, was put in place permanently.

The Man responsible for this architectural feat was Philip Reid, a Black man. Reid was a slave at the Bladensburg (Maryland) Foundry when he supervised the bronze casting of the statue. The story of the building of the nation’s capital began in 1856. At that time Thomas Crawford completed the full -size plaster model of Freedom at his studio in Rome, Italy. When cast in bronze, it was intended to stand atop the Dome of the United States Capitol.

learn more
Sun, 12.02.1866 story

Harry Burleigh, a dedicated gospel performer

*Harry T. Burleigh was born on this date in 1866. He was an African American gospel singer and composer.

From Erie Pennsylvania, he was the grandson of slaves. It was his grandfather that passed on to him the tradition of plantation songs. Burleigh had little formal music training in his youth, but was accepted into the National Conservatory of Music at the age of 26. There he took voice and lessons in composition with Antonin Dvorek.

learn more
Wed, 12.02.1874 story

Carlos Posadas, African influence in Tango

*Carlos Posadas was born on this date in 1874. He was an Afro-Argentinean musician and composer.

learn more
Wed, 12.02.1891 story

Charles Wesley, an early promoter of Black studies

*This date marks the birth of Charles Harris Wesley in 1891. He was an African American historian, educator, and minister who was an early proponent of African American studies.

learn more
Tue, 12.02.1902 story

Wilfredo Lam, Afro-Cuban art extraordinaire

*Wilfredo Lam was born on this date in 1902. He was an Afro Cuban artist.

Born (Wifredo Yscar de la Concepayn Lam y Castilla) Lam was from Sagua La Grande, a small town in Cuba. His father was Chinese and his mother was African, Spanish and Native-Cuban. Young Lam had artistic talent as a young man; he went to Havana to study law, and also learned painting at the Academy of San Alejandro. In 1923, he traveled to Madrid to further his artist studies. During that time (1929) he married Eva Piriz but both she and their young son died in 1931 of Tuberculosis.

learn more
Wed, 12.02.1903 story

Alfred Smith, activst behind the scenes

Alfred E. Smith was born on this date in 1903. He was an African American administrative activist.

From Hot Springs, Arkansas, he left his hometown at the age of seventeen to attend Howard University in Washington, D. C. In 1932, Smith received his master’s degree in history, and for the following year he worked as a substitute teacher in the Washington public schools. He then joined the Federal Works Progress Administration, beginning a life-long career in public service. Smith began as Assistant to the Director of the Negro Works, Federal Emergency Relief Administration.

learn more
Tue, 12.02.1919 story

Dancer, Norma Miller born

*Norma Miller was born on this date in 1919.  She was an African American lindy hop dancer, choreographer, actress, author, and comedian known as the “Queen of Swing”.   Norma Miller was born in Harlem, New York into mother Alma and father Norman, a soldier, both from Bridgetown, Barbados. She was named after her father, who died from pneumonia a month before her birth. […]

learn more
Sat, 12.02.1922 story

Charles Diggs Jr., congressman born

*On this date in 1922, Charles Diggs Jr. was born. He was an African American politician.

From Detroit, Michigan, he was the son of an undertaker and respected father in the Motor City area. Young Diggs attended Miller High School, the University of Michigan, Fisk University, and Wayne State University; earning a degree in Mortuary Services in 1946. He joined his father in the family mortuary business, and then won his father’s seat in the Michigan senate in 1951. Early on, Diggs was a strong voice for civil rights.

learn more
Sun, 12.02.1928 story

One of Minnesota’s finest, Evelyn Fairbanks

*On this date in 1928, Evelyn Fairbanks was born. She was an African American writer, educator, and administrator.

learn more