October 18

Charles Edward Anderson (Chuck) Berry (born October 18, 1926) had his first hit with "Maybelline" in 1955, followed by "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957), and Johnny B. Goode" (1958). His blues-based music provided a defining sound for the emerging rock 'n' roll genre, and he is included in in several of Rolling Stone magazine's "Greatest of All Time" lists, including "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time",  "500 Greatest Albums of All Time", "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", and six of his songs were included in "500 Greatest Songs of All Time", with"Johnny B. Goode" ranked first in the "100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time".


Camilla Ella Williams (born October 18, 1919) graduated from Virginia State College in 1941 with a degree in music and, after teaching third grade in Danville for a year, moved to Philadelphia to study voice. She was mentored by world-renowned soprano Geraldine Farrar and became the first African American contract singer with the New York City Opera.

Jessie Mae Hemphill (October 18, 1923 – July 22, 2006) was a blues singer and electric guitar player who mostly played at family gatherings until she was recorded by ethnomusicologist David Evans who taught at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis) near her home in northeastern Mississippi. The school founded the High Water Recording Company in 1979 to promote interest in the regional music of the South. Evans made the first high-quality field recordings of Hemphill in that year and soon afterward produced her first sessions for High Water.

Calvin Lockhart (born Bert Cooper; October 18, 1934 – March 29, 2007) was a Bahamian–American stage and film actor. He was best known for his role as Biggie Smalls, a big-time gangster in the 1975 Warner Bros. film Let's Do It Again alongside Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby and Jimmie Walker.He also starred in Ossie Davis's Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970) as the Reverend Deke O'Malley, who is under investigation by the movie's main characters.  In 1974 Lockhart became an actor-in-residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. In the 1980s he was a guest star for seven episodes in the prime-time soap opera Dynasty, playing Jonathan Lake, a love interest of the character Dominique Deveraux played by Diahann Carroll.

Peter Tosh (October 18, 1944 - September 11, 1987) was a Jamaican reggae musician who was a core member of the band The Wailers (1963 - 1974), Rejecting the up-tempo dance of ska, the band slowed their music to a rocksteady pace, and infused their lyrics with political and social messages. He later had a successful solo career, organized a backing band, Word, Sound and Power, who were to accompany him on tour for the next few years, and many of whom performed on his albums. In 1984, after the release of 1983's album Mama Africa, Tosh went into self-imposed exile, seeking the spiritual advice of traditional medicine men in Africa, and trying to free himself from recording agreements that distributed his records in South Africa. He was murdered in his home during a robbery.

Ntozake Shange (born Paulette L. Williams, October 18, 1948) is an American playwright, and poet. As a self proclaimed black feminist, much of the content of her work addresses issues relating to race and feminism. Shange is best-known for the Obie Award-winning play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf. She holds a B.A. from Barnard College and an M.A. from the University of Southern California, both in American Studies. In 1971, having come to terms with her depression and alienation, Shange changed her name. In Xhosa, Ntozake means "she who has her own things" (literally "things that belong to her") and Shange means "he/she who walks/lives with lions" (meaning "the lion's pride" in Zulu).

Terry McMillan (born October 18, 1951) is the critically acclaimed and bestselling author of Mama, Disappearing Acts, Waiting to Exhale, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and A Day Late and a Dollar Short. She is also the editor of Breaking the Ice: An Anthology of Contemporary African-American Fiction. She achieved national attention in 1992 with her third novel, Waiting to Exhale, which remained on The New York Times bestseller list for months. In 1995, the novel was adapted into a film directed by Forest Whitaker and starring Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, and Lela Rochon. In 1998, another novel, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, was adapted into a film starring Angela Bassett and Taye Diggs.

Leticia James (born October 18, 1958) is the current and fourth ever New York City Public Advocate. She is an American lawyer, activist, and politician in the Democratic Party. She received her B.A. from the City University of New York's Lehman College in 1981. She graduated from the Howard University School o Law and was licensed to practice law in New York state in 1989.

Wynton Marsalis, born October 18, 1961 is a trumpeter, composer, teacher, music educator and Artistic Director at Lincoln Center in New York City. Marsalis was born in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, the son of Dolores (née Ferdinand) and Ellis Louis Marsalis, Jr., a pianist and music professor. His brothers Jason Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis III, and Delfeayo Marsalis, and father Ellis are also jazz musicians.


On October 18, 1912, former heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson was arrested on the grounds that his relationship with Lucille Cameron violated the Mann Act against "transporting women across state lines for immoral purposes" due to her being an alleged prostitute and due to Johnson being black. Charges were dropped, but he was arrested again a few months later for the same crime with a different woman and was found guilty. He fled the country for several years but returned on July 20, 1920, turned himself in, and began serving a prison sentence at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary.

On October 18, 1953, Willie Thrower became the first African American NFL quarterback in modern times (post World War II). when Chicago Bears head coach George Halas called him in as a replacement for regular quarterback George Blanda. The Bears won the game 35-28, and Thrower threw for 27 yards. Willie Thrower played only one more game in the 1953 season and was cut by the Bears at the end of the year.  Nonetheless his achievement stood.  It would be another 15 years before another African American quarterback, Marlin Briscoe, would play for the Denver Broncos in 1968.

On October 18 1968, Bob Beamon set the world and Olympic records for the long jump on his first attempt at the Mexico City Olympics with a Gold Medal winning jump of 29 ft, 2 1/2 inches, breaking the previous record by almost 22 inches. At an altitude of 2240 m, Mexico City's air had less resistance than air would at sea level. Prior to Beamon's jump the world record had been broken 13 times. His record stood for 23 years until Mike Powell broke it in 1991, and it still stands as the Olympic record (56 years later).

Photo Gallery

Former slaves in Puerto Rico, ca. 1898. From Military Government of Porto Rico from
October 18,  1898, to April 30, 1900, by Brig. Gen. George W. Davis (1902). Slavery was
 abolished in Puerto Rico in 1873, when the island was still under Spanish rule.

Pictured is the laying of the cornerstone for the Wesley Union AME Zion Church, at South Street and Tanner Avenue, Harrisburg, PA. The ceremonies, held on Sunday, October 18, 1914, included a parade that featured the Masonic band and the Grand Lodge of colored Masons, led by the Grand Master Prof. John P. Scott #43. Also visible in this picture are members of the Grand Chapter of Odd Fellows in their official dress.

Diana Ross and Sammy Davis, Hollywood Palace, October 18, 1969.

Prayer vigil outside of Pender County Courthouse prior to the Wilmington Ten being sentenced on October 18, 1972

Barbara Jordan during a Family Circle Magazine interview, October 18, 1976. LBJ Library photo by Frank Wolfe.

On October 18, 1977, Reggie Jackson hits 3 consecutive home runs, tying Babe Ruth’s World Series record.
The Yankees beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 for their 21st world championship, the first in 15 years.

Twelve Years a Slave, a 19th century memoir, opened in theaters on October 18, 2013.


Jet Magazine, October 18, 1956 -- Ellen Holly

Jet Magazine, October 18, 1956 -- Patti Austin

Jet Magazine, October 18, 1956

Eldridge Cleaver on the cover of The Black Panther, October 18, 1969
 Photo credit: William Klein

Sports Illustrated, October 28, 1974 -- George Foreman and Muhammad Ali

Sports Illustrated, October 18, 1982 -- Marvin Hagler


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