August 29

On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina devastated the U.S. Gulf Coast, with the failure of 53 levees in New Orleans adding to the damage. Over 1800 people died, and many were stranded on rooftops for days. Relief efforts were hampered by failed communication, bureaucracy, and lack of available resources. African Americans were hardest hit by the disaster, leading Kanye West to later make the statement that President Bush doesn't care about black people.


Vivien T. Thomas (August 29, 1910 - November 26, 1985) was unable to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a doctor, but he worked 34 years as a research assistant to Dr. Alfred Blalock, Chief of Surgery at Vanderbilt and Johns Hopkins. Thomas devised the "blue baby" heart surgery credited to Blalock and Dr. Helen Taussig, and trained many surgeons. His autobiography Partners of the Heart was published shortly after his death and he has received many posthumous honors.

Isabel Sanford (August 29, 1917 – July 9, 2004) was an American stage, film and television actress best known for her role as Louise "Weezy" Jefferson on the CBS sitcoms All in the Family (1971–1975) and The Jeffersons (1975–1985). She was the first African American actress to win a Prime Time Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

Otis Boykin (August 29, 1920 - March 13, 1982) graduated from Fisk University and attended the Illinois Institute of Technology before founding his own electronics company, Boykin-Fruth, Inc. He held a total of 38 patents including the 1957 wire precision resistor used in all television sets, as well as resistors used in guided missiles and control units of heart pacemakers.

Charles "Charlie" Parker, Jr. (August 29, 1920 – March 12, 1955), also known as "Yardbird" and "Bird", was one of the most influential improvising soloists in jazz, and a central figure in the development of bop in the 1940s. A legendary figure in his own lifetime, he was a Grammy Award–winning jazz saxophonist who with Dizzy Gillespie invented the musical style called bop or bebop. He was portrayed in the 1988 film Bird by Forest Whitaker. (Art by David Lloyd Glover.)

Wendell Oliver Scott (August 29, 1921 - December 23, 1990) was an American stock car racing driver from Danville, Virginia. He is the only African American driver to win a race in what is now the Sprint Cup Series. According to a 2008 biography of Scott, he broke the color barrier in Southern stock car racing on May 23, 1952, at the Danville Fairgrounds Speedway. He was portrayed in the 1977 film Greased Lightning by Richard Pryor.

Dinah Washington, born Ruth Lee Jones (August 29, 1924 - December 14, 1963), was an American blues and jazz singer. She has been cited as "the most popular black female recording artist of the '50s", and called "The Queen of the Blues". She is a 1986 inductee of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

Joan Bacchus Maynard (August 29, 1928 - January 22, 2006) was a writer and penciller for the Golden Legacy line of history comics. She is best known for her efforts in preserving the historical black settlement Weeksville in Brooklyn.

Sprinter Wyomia Tyus (born August 29, 1945) was the first person to retain the Olympic title in the 100 meters, defending her title in 1968 with a record-setting time of 11.08 seconds. She also was a member of the U. S. 4 x 100 meter relay team both years, winning silver in 1964 and gold in 1968. She retired from competition after the 1968 games, becoming a coach at Beverly Hills High School and a founding member of the Women's Sports Foundation.

Bob Beamon (born August 29, 1946) is best known for his performancein the long jump at the 1968 Olympics with a record-setting distance of 8.90 m (29 ft. 2½ in.), bettering the existing record by 55 cm (21¾ in.). He held the record for 23 years until Mike Powell bettered it with a distance of 8.95 m (29 ft. 4⅜ in.). Shortly after the Olympics, Beamon was chosen in the NBA draft by the Phoenix Suns but did not make the team. He has worked with former California Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger to promote youth athletics and is also a graphic artist with work exhibited by the Art of the Olympians Museum in Fort Myers, Florida.

Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 - June 25, 2009) was an American recording artist, singer-lyricist, lyricist, global entertainer, actor, businessman and philantropist. Often referred to as the "King of Pop", or by his initials MJ, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records. His contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with a much-publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.

Born Michelle Lynn Johnson on August 29, 1968, Me'Shell NdegéOcello is an American rapper, bassist, and vocalist. Her music incorporates a variety of influences including rock, reggae, and R&B. She has participated in activism efforts for AIDS, the protection and empowerment of Congo's women, and peace in the Congo.


On August 29, 1962 Mal Goode became the first African American television news commentator when he began broadcasting on ABC. He was reportedly hired at the urging of Jackie Robinson, a baseball analyst for the network at the time. Goode had previously served as news director of WHOD in Pittsburgh for ten years, and his first assignment was covering the Cuban missile crisis.

Photo Gallery

Harper's Weekly, August 29, 1863 -- Funeral of Captain Andre Cailloux
of the 1st Louisiana Native Guard. Captain Cailloux was
killed during the Siege of  Port Hudson on May 27, 1863.
Josephine Baker, photographed on August 29, 1933.

Nora Holt, photographed Carl Van Vechten on August 29, 1937.
On August 29, 1970 Edwin Starr started a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'War'

Julian Bond (center)answers questions from journalist Dan Rather (right) on the floor at the
Democratic National Convention in the International Amphitheatre, Chicago, Illinois, August 29, 1968.


Jet, August 29, 1963

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Celebrates 50th Anniversary by Participating
 in March on Washington - Jet Magazine, August 29, 1963

August 29, 1969: John Steptoe, eighteen, has his first children’s book published in LIFE magazine.

The Autobiography of Medgar Evers: A Hero's Life and Legacy Revealed Through His
Writings, Letters, and Speeches by Myrlie Evers-Williams.
$18.99. Publication: August 29, 2006. Publisher: Basic Civitas Books

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