October 10

Col. Robert Gould Shaw (October 10, 1837–July 18, 1863) commanded the all-black 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, which entered the Civil War in 1863. When he heard that black soldiers received less pay than white ones, he joined his unit in refusing pay until the situation was remedied and they received back pay. Col. Shaw was killed in the Second Battle of Fort Wagner on Morris Island near Charleston, South Carolina, and buried in an unmarked grave with his troops. Although this was meant as an insult, his father, Frank Shaw, refused attenpts to retrieve his body, writing, "We would not have his body removed from where it lies surrounded by his brave and devoted soldiers....We can imagine no holier place than that in which he lies, among his brave and devoted followers, nor wish for him better company. – what a body-guard he has!"

Storming Fort Wagner. Color lithograph, July 5, 1890. Published by Kurz & Allison, Chicago.


Sergeant Moses Williams (October 10, 1845 - August 23, 1899), a member of the 9th Cavalry (Buffalo Soldiers), was awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery against the Chiracahua Apaches in the foothills of the Cuchillo Negro Mountains during the New Mexico Apache Wars in August 1881. He later served as Ordinance Sergeant at Fort Buford, North Dakota, and Fort Stevens, Oregon.

Francis Grimke (October 10, 1852 - October 11, 1937) was a founder of the NAACP and the American Negro Academy, and one of the first public figures to challenge the accomodationist views of Booker T. Washington. Rev. Grimke, a graduate of Lincoln University and Princeton Theological Seminary, was pastor of Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington DC for 50 years. He was the nephew of Angelina and Sarah Grimke, born to their brother Henry Grimké and the enslaved Nancy Weston.

Dr Dorothy Celeste Boulding Ferebee (October 10, 1898 - September 14, 1980) was a graduate of Simmons College and Tufts Medical School. She founded the Southeast Neighborhood House in Washington DC, was the first medical director of the Mississippi Health Project, and served as Director of Health Services at Howard University for 20 years. She was also president of Alpha Kappa Alpha and of the National Council of Negro Women, and Vice President of Girl Scouts of America.

Frederick D. Patterson (October 10, 1901 - April 26 1988) was the third president of Tuskegee Institute (1935-1953) and the founder of the United Negro College Fund (1944). He began graduate programs at Tuskegee and worked with the Army Air Force to develop training for the pilots who became known as the Tuskegee Airmen. Dr. Patterson later was president of the Phelps-Stokes fund and founded the nonprofit Robert R. Moton Memorial Institute.
Harry "Sweets" Edison (October 10, 1915 – July 27, 1999) was an American jazz trumpeter and member of the Count Basie Orchestra, later leading of his own groups and freelancing with other orchestras. In the early 1950s, he settled on the West Coast and became a highly sought-after studio musician, making important contributions to recordings by such artists as Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald.

Thelonious Monk (October 10, 1917– February 17, 1982) toured with an evangelist in his teens, playing the church organ, and in his late teens he began to find work playing jazz. In the early to mid-1940s, Monk was the house pianist at Minton's Playhouse, a Manhattan nightclub. Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire. Monk is the second-most recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington, which is particularly remarkable as Ellington composed over 1,000 songs while Monk wrote about 70.

 Oscar Brown Jr (October 10, 1926 - May 29, 2005)  wrote at least 1000 songs (only 125 have been published), twelve albums, and more than a dozen musical plays.  When Mahalia Jackson recorded one of his songs, "Brown Baby," he began to focus on a career as a songwriter. His first major contribution to a recorded work was a collaboration with Max Roach, We Insist!, which was an early record celebrating the black freedom movement in the United States. Nina Simone popularized Brown's lyrics to "Work Song" and "Afro Blue," as well as his song "Bid 'Em In." His "Afro Blue" lyrics have since been performed by numerous contemporary jazz vocalists, including Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Lizz Wright.

Kenule (Ken) Beeson Saro Wiwa (Oct. 10, 1941 – Nov. 10, 1995) was a Nigerian writer, television producer, environmental activist and member of the Ogoni people whose Niger Delta homeland has been targeted and exploited by Shell, Chevron and other oil corporations since the 1950s, suffering extreme environmental pollution and terrorist violence to keep the oil flowing. At the peak of his non-violent campaign, Saro Wiwa was sentenced to death by a special military tribunal funded by Shell in 1995.

Ben Vereen (born October 10, 1946) is an American actor, dancer, and singer who has appeared in numerous Broadway theatre shows. At 18 he made his New York stage bow off-off Broadway in The Prodigal Son at the Greenwich Mews Theater. He was nominated for a Tony Award for Jesus Christ Superstar in 1972 and won a Tony for his appearance in Pippin in 1973. He is best known for the role of Chicken George in Alex Haley’s landmark TV miniseries Roots, for which he received an Emmy nomination in 1977.

Chris Ofili (born October 10, 1968) is known for his collage-like paintings which make reference to blaxploitation films. gangsta rap, and other racial stereotypes in a humorous way. One of his paintings, The Holy Virgin Mary, a depiction of the Virgin Mary, was at issue in a lawsuit between the mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art when it was exhibited there in 1999 as a part of the "Sensation" exhibit.


On October 10, 1935, Porgy and Bess debuted on Broadway  at the Alvin Theater. The title roles were played by Todd Duncan and Anne Brown, with vaudeville artist John W. Bubbles as Sportin' Life and Ruby Elzy as Serena. It ran for 124 performances, follwed by a tour of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Washington D.C.

Photo Gallery

October 10, 1921. Charleston (vicinity), West Virginia. Alice Curtis and some of her poultry.
Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine.

B.B. King at Agrodome, October 10, 1969

October 10, 2013 "The President is literally framed through the arm of Chief of Staff Denis McDonough
during a meeting in the Oval Office." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


Two More Bombings in Birmingham, Alabama - Jet Magazine, October 10, 196

Picture Seen Around the World Changed Boy's Dropout Plan - Jet Magazine, October 10, 1963

Florence Griffith Joyner, Jackie Joyner-Kersee - Sports Illustrated, October 10, 1988


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