December 2

Harry Thacker Burleigh (December 2, 1866 – September 12, 1949) is best known for his arrangements of "Deep River" and other traditional folk songs of African American heritage

Alfred Edgar Smith (December 2, 1903 - May 26, 1986) worked as a hotel bellhop and racetrack exercise boy in Hot Springs, Arkansas to earn money to attend Howard University, where he earned a BA in social science (1928) and an MA in history (1932). He was Director of Colored Work for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), which later became the WPA, and was part of FDR's Federal Council on Negro Affairs, unofficially known as the "Black Cabinet: (shown above). He later worked for the Civil Defense Agency, Public Housing Authority, and Department of Labor, primarily as an information and race relations officer. He founded the Capital Press Club as a professional organization for black journalists in Washington DC since they were excluded from the National Press Club, and also wrote for the Chicago Defender as a Washington correspondent and a columnist under the name "Charlie Cherokee". In a 1982 New York Times article he admitted to leaking information injustices within the government to the NAACP and National Urban League.


Lewis Hayden (December 2, 1811 - April 7, 1889) escaped slavery in Kentucky with the help of Calvin Fairbank, who spent 17 years of his life imprisoned for active work in the Underground Railroad. Hayden settled first in Detroit where he founded the Colored Methodist Society, then in Boston where he was an abolitionist speaker and organizer, and successful merchant. He was one of five African American members of the Boston Vigilance Committee, which was created to aid and protect fugitive slaves, and often functioned as a liaison between white and black activists. He and his wife, Harriet, operated their home as a boardinghouse, and up to a quarter of the escapees through the Underground Railroad may have passed through there, as well as receiving donations from his clothing store. Hayden was Grand Master of the Prince Hall Freemasons and established lodges in the south after the Civil War. He left his estate of $5000 to Harvard to educate black medical students, perhaps the only university endowment by anyone formerly enslaved.

Harry T. Burleigh (December 2, 1866 – September 12, 1949) studied voice and later taught at the National Conservatory of Music, and was a soloist for St. George's Episcopal church in New York City for 52 years. In the late 1890s, he also began to publish his own arrangements of art songs. About 1898 he began to compose his own songs and by the late 1910s was was one of America's best-known composers of art songs. He  published several versions of the spiritual "Deep River" in 1916 and 1917, and he quickly became known for his arrangements of spirituals for voice and piano. Burleigh is honored with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA) on September 11.

Charles H. Wesley (December 2, 1891 - August 16, 1987) wrote 24 books on African American life. He also collaborated with Carter G. Woodson and followed him as Director of the ASAALH in 1965. Dr. Wesley had previously served as Dean of Liberal Arts and Graduate Studies at Howard, President of Wilberforce College, and Founding President of Central State University (Ohio). He was an ordained A.M.E. minister, General President of Alpha Phi Alpha, archon of Sigma Pi Phi, and Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Prince Hall Freemasons. He held a bachelor's degree from Fisk, a master's from Yale, a PhD from Harvard (the fourth African American to do so), and a Doctorate of Divinity from Wilberforce.

William Fontaine (December 2, 1909 - December 29, 1968) taught philosophy at Lincoln University, Southern University, Morgan State College, and for twenty years at the University of Pennsylvania. One of his students at Lincoln was future president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah. For many years he was the only African American philosopher in the Ivy League and is best remembered for his book Reflections on Segregation, Desegregation, Power, and Morals published one year before his death from tuberculosis, which had affected his health for twenty years.

Charles Coles Diggs, Jr. (December 2, 1922 - August 24, 1998) was the first African American elected to Congress from Michigan. Diggs was an early member of the civil rights movement. He attended the trial of Emmett Till's murders, and was elected the first chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. He attended Fisk University and the University of Michigan.

Ntare V of Burundi (born Charles Ndizeye, December 2, 1947 - April 29, 1972) was the last king of Burundi from July to November 1966. Until his accession, he was known as Crown Prince Charles Ndizeye. After a Hutu-led coup attempt in October 1965, his father, Mwambutsa IV withdrew to Switzerland. In March 1966 Mwambusta IV designated his only surviving son to exercise his powers on the spot. The Crown Prince then formally deposed his father and his father's government in July 1966. King Ntare himself was deposed, later the same year, in a military coup led by Michel Micombero; the former king went into exile in West Germany and later Uganda. He returned to Burundi in March 1972 and was assassinated the following month.


On December 2, 1863 the Statue of Freedom was placed atop the U. S. Capitol Dome. It was cast in bronze over a period of three years by enslaved artisan Philip Reid (or Reed), foreman at the Washington D.C. foundry of Clark Mills. Reid and other African Americans were freed on April 16, 1862 when President Lincoln signed an order banning slavery within the district, and he is listed in later census records as a self-employed plasterer. He died on February 6, 1892. The statue depicts a female figure wearing a military helmet and holding a sheathed sword in her right hand and a laurel wreath and shield in her left. Approximately 20 feet high and weighing 15,000 pounds, it was cast in bronze from a plaster model designed by Thomas Crawford.,

On December 2, 1884, Granville T. Woods received U.S. Patent No. 308.876 for the multiplex telegraph, also known as the "induction telegraph," or block system. The device allowed communication by voice over telegraph wires, ultimately helping to speed up important communications and, subsequently, preventing crucial errors such as train accidents. He sold the patent to Alexander Graham Bell, and the payment freed Woods to devote himself to his own research. He reorganized his Cincinnati company as the Woods Electric Co. In 1890, he moved his own research operations to New York City, where he was joined by a brother, Lyates Woods, who also had several inventions of his own.

December 2, 1943 was the Broadway debut of the musical Carmen Jones, produced by Billy Rose and written by Oscar Hammerstein II, and running for 503 performances. Based on Georges Bizet's opera Carmen, it is set in a North Carolina parachute factory. The vocal demands of eight performances a week required a dual cast; Carmen was played by Muriel Rahn and Muriel Smith while Napoleon Reed and Luther Saxon shared the role of Joe. The play was made into a 1954 film by Otto Preminger starring Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandrige, and Pearl Bailey.

On December 2, 1969, Marie Van Britten Brown was granted U.S. Patent No. 3,482,037 for a CCTV home security device. The system had a set of 4 peep holes and a camera that could slide up and down to look at each one. Anything the camera picked up would appear on a monitor. Also, a resident could unlatch the door by remote control. Although it was originally intended for domestic uses, many businesses began to adopt her system due to its effectiveness. For her invention she received an award from the National Science Committee.

On December 2, 1989, Andre Ware of the University of Houston became the first African American quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy. He was a first round draft pick on the Detroit Lions and played three years with the Lions but saw only limited action and later played for a number of teams in the Canadian Football League. In 2004 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. On February 29, 2012, he was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.

Photo Gallery

Advertisement of an anti-slavery meeting to be held on December 2, 1859, in Lawrence, Kansas Territory

Peter Jackson, December 2, 1889, London. Born in 1860 in St Croix, then the Danish West Indies, Jackson was a boxing champion who spent long periods of time touring Europe.

JACK AND ROSA | This narrative was recorded December 2, 1937 Jack and Rosa were both born in Slavery, Jack to the Maddox family, in Georgia, and Rosa to the Andrews family in Mississippi. They were married in Union Parish, Louisiana, in 1869, and are proud of the fact that they have been married sixty-nine years and “was a lovin’ pair all dem years.” They live in Dallas, Texas at the time of this narrative, ca. 1937.

Horace Silver, Hackensack, NJ 1956 © FRANCIS WOLFF, 1956 Horace Silver, "Lee Morgan Volume II" session, Hackensack, New Jersey December 2, 1956

Bill Cosby's Fat Albert Christmas Special (Saturday, December 2, 1977, CBS)

December 2, 1999: MARIE CHRISTINE, starring Audra McDonald, opens at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre

Lupita on the red carpet with Jared Leto at the Gotham Awards, December 2, 2013.


The Jackson Family on "Jet" Magazine (December 2, 1976) (L-R from the Top Jackie Jackson, Tito Jackson, Michael Jackson, Randy Jackson, Rebbie Jackson, Janet Jackson, La Toya Jackson, and Marlon Jackson.)

Blues & Soul, December 2, 1980 — Narada Michael Walden


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