December 8, 1936: In the landmark case, Gibbs v. Board of Education, it was ruled that black teachers should earn the same amount as their white counterparts. This case was among one of the first court cases that gave blacks equal rights under the law.
December 9, 1922: Actor and comedian John Elroy Sanford or better known as Redd Foxx was born on this day. Foxx is remembered for his catchphrases, explicit stand-up comedy routine, and the lead role in the 1970’s sitcom Sanford and Son.
December 10, 1950: Diplomat, political scientist, and academic Ralph Bunche received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work as a mediator in Palestine. Bunche is the first African American and person of color to be awarded this prize. The Noble Peace Prize winner is also the first African American to earn a PhD in Political Science from an American University. Not only did Bunche serve as the chair of the Political Science Department at Howard University for two decades, but he also was also involved with the formation and administration of the United Nations. (Photo Credit)
December 11, 1961: Langston Hughes’s Black Nativity made its debut in the Off-Broadway Theater. The play, which featured an all-black cast, retold the classic Nativity story.Black Nativity showcased traditional Christmas carols with a gospel twist. This Christmas play was one of the first plays written by an African American to be staged at the Off-Broadway Theater. (Photo Credit)
December 12, 1899: The first African American Harvard professor, Dr. George Franklin Grant, received patent number 638,290 for his invention of the wooden golf tee. However, it wasn’t until 1991 that the United States Golf Association recognized the Harvard Dentist Professor for his contribution. Dr. Franklin is also internationally recognized for his invention of the oblate palate which is a gadget that treats cleft lip.
December 13, 1903: Ella Baker, an unsung hero of the Civil Rights Movement, was born on this day. The human and civil rights activist played a key role in major organizations such as the NAACP, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Baker, who worked behind the scenes, had a career which spanned over five decades. She worked with the most famous civil rights leaders of the 20th century including Thurgood Marshall, WEB Dubois, and Martin Luther King. Baker mentored famous activists such as Rosa Parks and Bob Moses. (Photo Credit)
December 14, 1915: Jack Johnson becomes the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion when he knocked out Canadian Tommy Burns, during round 14, in a championship located near Sydney, Australia. Johnson, who won the majority of his 114 matches, was a controversial figure in the Jim Crow era. He was detested by early 20th century whites for his candor and relationships with multiple white women.
In case you’ve missed it, check out:
For more posts like these, follow me on: