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Thomas J Bradley

Thomas J. Bradley – December 29th in African American History

December 29, 1917 Thomas J. Bradley, the first African American Mayor of Los Angeles, California, was born in Calvert, Texas but raised in Los Angeles. In 1940, Bradley became a member of the Los Angeles Police Department and rose to the rank of lieutenant, the highest ranking African American at that time. In 1956, he […]

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Fletcher Hamilton Henderson Jr

Fletcher Hamilton Henderson, Jr. – December 28th in African American History

December 28, 1952 Fletcher Hamilton Henderson, Jr., pianist, bandleader, arranger and composer, died. Henderson was born December 18, 1897 in Cuthbert, Georgia. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and mathematics from Atlanta University in 1920. After graduating, he moved to New York City to attend Columbia University for a master’s degree in chemistry. However, […]

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Varnette Patricia Honeywood – December 27th in African American History

December 27, 1950 Varnette Patricia Honeywood, painter, writer, and businesswoman, was born in Los Angeles, California. Honeywood earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in art from Spelman College in 1972 and her Master of Science degree in education from the University of Southern California in 1974. As part of a community outreach program at USC, […]

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Percy Ellis Sutton

Percy Ellis Sutton – December 26th in African American History

December 26, 2009 Percy Ellis Sutton, lawyer, civil rights activist and political and business leader, died. Sutton was born November 24, 1920 in San Antonio, Texas. During World War II, Sutton served as an intelligence officer with the Tuskegee Airmen. He attended Prairie View University, Tuskegee Institute, and Hampton Institute before earning his law degree […]

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William W Brown

William Washington Browne – December 24th in African American History

December 24, 1881 The Order of True Reformers was founded by William Washington Browne in Richmond, Virginia. The Order was a fraternal organization of African Americans in southern states organized for the purpose of setting up business and social avenues in which Negroes could participate. Several prosperous business enterprises came out of The Order, including […]

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Ma Rainey

Ma Rainey – December 22nd in African American History

December 22, 1939 Ma Rainey, the “Mother of the Blues,” died. Rainey was born Gertrude Malissa Nix Pridgett in Columbus, Georgia in either September, 1882 or April, 1886 and first appeared on stage at the age of 14. In 1904, she began performing with her husband billed as “Rainey & Rainey, Assassinators of the Blues.” […]

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Harry (The Black Panther) Wills

Harry “The Black Panther” Wills – December 21st in African American History

December 21, 1958 Harry “The Black Panther” Wills, hall of fame boxer, died. Willis was born May 15, 1889 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He began his professional boxing career in 1911 and fought for over 20 years, often ranked as the number one challenger for the heavyweight title, but never given the opportunity to fight […]

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