December 3

Eddie Bernice Johnson (born December 3, 1935) has represented the Texas 30th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1993.

On December 3, 1965 Klan members Collie Wilkins, William Eaton, and Eugene Thomas were found guilty in Federal Court of the murder of Viola Liuzzo, who was shot on March 25 of that year at the end of the Selma to Montgomery voting rights march. They were arrested immediately after the shoot due to the presence of a fourth man, FBI informant Gary Rowe. A state trial in May ended in a hung jury, and a second trial in October with former Birmingham mayor Art Hanes as defense counsel led to their acquittal. The federal trial charged the defendants with conspiracy to intimidate African Americans under the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act, a Reconstruction civil rights statute. The charges did not specifically refer to Liuzzo's murder. On December 3, the three men were found guilty by an all-white, all-male jury, and were sentenced to ten years in prison, a landmark in southern legal history.


Gussie Lord Davis (December 3, 1863 – October 18, 1899) began his songwriting career with the self-published "We Sat Beneath the Maple on the Hill" in 1880 and then entered into collaboration with Cincinnati publisher George Propheter. The two relocated to New York City where by 1886 Davis was well-known enough to be selected to compete in a contest sponsored by the New York World to find the ten best songwriters in the nation; he placed second with his song, "Send Back the Picture and the Ring" and won a prize of $500 in gold. He was best known for sad, sentimental ballads such as "In the Baggage Coach Ahead", his most commercially successful composition, selling over a million copies.

Helen Grey Edmonds (December 3, 1911 - May 9, 1995) was a history professor and administrator at Virginia Theological Seminary, St. Paul's College, and North Carolina State College. During her tenure at NCCU, Edmonds taught U.S. and European diplomatic history, served as chair of the department of history, Dean of the Graduate School, and University Distinguished Professor. She researched and wrote about politics in the south, and was the first African American woman to second the nomination for a candidate for President of the United States when Eisenhower was nominated n 1956.

Ralph Gardner Chaves (born December 3, 1922) graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Chemistry in 1943and began work at the University of Chicago's Argonne National laboratory in plutonium research on the Manhattan project.  From 1947 to 1949 he worked as a waiter before finding work as a chemist for Standard Oil Company in Cleveland.  He returned to graduate school at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio, earning a master's degree in 1952 and a Ph.D. in 1959. In 1968 he began teaching at Cleveland State University where he worked full-time until 1985. Ralph Gardner added "Chavis" to his surname later in life to honor John Chavis who in 1792 became the first African American to enroll in Princeton University.

Eddie Bernice Johnson (born December 3, 1935) has represented the Texas 30th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1993. She was president of the Congressional Black Caucus for the 2001-2002 term. She has served on the  House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee since being elected and in December 2010 was elected as the first African American and the first female Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. She is the first registered nurse elected to the U.S. Congress, and before entering politics was Chief Psychiatric Nurse at the Dallas Veterans Administration Hospital. She was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1973 and to the Texas Senate in 1987.


On December 3, 1820, Omar Ibn Said, one of the best documented practicing Muslim slaves in America, joined the First Presbyterian Church, in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He is believed to have arrived in Charleston in 1807, shortly before the foreign slave trade was terminated. He lived with some degree of privilege at the James Owen plantation. Omar actively practiced his Islamic faith for many years, and Owen procured a copy of the Qu’ran in English for him in order to facilitate his learning English. As Omar learned English, the Owens hoped that he might convert to Christianity and to that end, Owen procured a Bible in Arabic in 1819.

On December 3, 1847, Frederick Douglass published the first edition of the North Star, a four-page weekly anti-slavery newspaper. It was sold by subscription at the cost of $2 per year to more than 4,000 readers in the United States, Europe, and the West Indies. In June 1851 it merged with Gerrit Smith's Liberty Party Paper to form Frederick Douglass' Paper.

On December 3, 1976,  Bob Marley, his wife, and manager Don Taylor were wounded in an assault by unknown gunmen inside Marley's home. This came two days before a free concert planned by Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley in an attempt to ease tension between two warring political groups. Taylor and Marley's wife sustained serious injuries, but later made full recoveries. Bob Marley received minor wounds in the chest and arm. The attempt on his life was thought to have been politically motivated, as many felt the concert was really a support rally for Manley. Nonetheless, the concert proceeded, and an injured Marley performed as scheduled, two days after the attempt.

 Photo Gallery

President Barack Obama visits with a platoon of U.S. troops at Bagram Air Field, December 3, 2010.


Jet Magazine, December 3, 1953

Places of the Underground Railroad by Tom Calarco Publication Date: December 3, 2010


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