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James Walker Hood Easton
*Dr. James Walker Hood Eason was born on this date in 1887. He was a Black minister and activist. From Sunbury, North Carolina, he was the son of Douglass and Lucinda Eason, former slaves. His parents were members of the AME Zion Church and named him after their bishop, James Walker Hood.
Young Eason was educated at Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina. He was an early proponent of activism in America, moving from the church to the streets to work for racial equality. On August 2, 1920, Eason delivered one of the first civil rights addresses in the United States to an audience of 20,000 in Madison Square Garden.
That same year he became the first Black nominated for the Presidency of the United States. He worked in parallel with the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). He organized the Universal Negro Alliance (a civil rights organization for American Blacks) in 1922. A year later, he was the first civil rights leader assassinated in the United States on January 1, 1923.
The FBI launched a three-month nationwide manhunt looking for his assassin and established the Federal Witness Protection Program after his assassination.