May 28, 1981 Mary Lou Williams, jazz pianist, composer, and arranger, died. Born Mary Elfrieda Scruggs on May 8, 1910 in Atlanta, Georgia, Williams taught herself to play the piano at a young age and became a professional musician in her teens. In 1925, she played with Duke Ellington and his band the Washingtonians. In […]
May 28, 2007 Parren James Mitchell, the first African American elected to Congress from Maryland, died. Mitchell was born April 29, 1922 in Baltimore, Maryland. He served as an officer in the 92nd Infantry Division during World War II, earning a Purple Heart. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Morgan State University in 1950 and […]
May 27, 1954 Jackie Ray Slater, hall of fame football player, was born in Jackson, Mississippi. Slater played college football at Jackson State University. He was selected by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1976 NFL Draft and played his entire 20 season professional career with them, making him the first player to play 20 […]
May 27, 1942 Doris “Dorie” Miller was awarded the Navy Cross, the first African American to receive it, for his extraordinary courage in battle. Miller was born October 12, 1919 in Waco, Texas and enlisted in the United States Navy in 1939. On December 7, 1941, he was serving as a cook on the USS […]
May 26, 1968 William Edward John (Little Willie John), R&B singer, died in Washington State Prison, where he was serving time for a 1966 conviction of manslaughter. John was born November 15, 1937 in Cullendale, Arkansas but raised in Detroit, Michigan. John initially sang in his family’s gospel quintet, The United Four. As a teenager, […]
May 26, 1926 Miles Dewey Davis III, jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer, was born in Alton, Illinois. By the age of 16, Davis was a member of the musical society and playing professionally. In 1944, he moved to New York City to study at the Juilliard School of Music. In 1945, he entered a recording […]
May 25, 1981 Roy James Brown, pioneering R&B singer, songwriter, and musician, died. Brown was born September 10, 1925 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He started singing gospel music in the church choir. In 1947, he wrote and recorded “Good Rocking Tonight” which was a hit, reaching number 13 on the Billboard R&B charts. That song […]
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Previous Days in African American History
Other African American History Posts
- January 9th in African American History – Earl Gilbert Graves, Sr.
- Ma Rainey – December 22nd in African American History
- Margaret Bush Wilson – January 30th in African American History
- March 19th in African American History – John Henry “Pop” Lloyd
- August 21st in African American History – James Anderson, Jr.