October 23

William Alexander Leidesdorff, Jr. (October 23, 1810 – May 18, 1848) was one of the earliest mixed-race U.S. citizens in California and a highly successful, enterprising businessman.  He became a United States citizen in New Orleans in 1834 and migrated to California in 1841, then under Mexican rule, settling in Yerba Buena (now San Francisco), a village of about 30 European-Mexican families. He served as US Vice Consul to Mexico at the Port of San Francisco beginning in 1845. and was President of the San Francisco school board and later elected as City Treasurer. Shortly before Leidesdorff's death, vast amounts of gold were officially reported on his Rancho Rio De los Americanos. By the time his estate was auctioned off in 1856, it was worth more than $1,445,000, not including vast quantities of gold mined upon his land.


Oliver Law (October 23, 1900 – July 9, 1937) fought for the Republic in the Spanish Civil War. He was the commander of the entire Abraham Lincoln Brigade for several days and commander of its Machine Gun regiment for much longer, becoming the first African American to lead an integrated military force in the history of the United States. He was killed on July 9, 1937, while leading an attack on Mosquito Ridge during the Battle of Brunete. He had previously served with the US Army from 1919 to 1925 in the 24th Infantry Regiment along on the Mexican border.

Samuel Harold "Sam" Lacy (October 23, 1903 – May 8, 2003) was a pioneering African American and Native American sportswriter, reporter, columnist, editor, and TV/radio commentator who worked in the sports journalism field for parts of nine decades. Credited as a persuasive figure in the movement to racially integrate sports, Lacy in 1948 became the first black member of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento (born 23 October 1940), known as Pelé, is a retired Brazilian professional footballer (soccer player) who played as a forward. He is widely regarded as the greatest player of all time. Pelé has also been known for connecting the phrase "The Beautiful Game" with football. In 1999, he was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS). That year, France Football asked their former Ballon d'Or winners to choose the Football Player of the Century; they selected Pelé. In 1999, Pelé was elected Athlete of the Century by the IOC. (Photo by Patrick Lichfield)

Martin Luther King III (born October 23, 1957) is the oldest son and the oldest living child of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is the only one of his siblings to enter politics, and served as an elected county commission member in Fulton County, Georgia, the county encompassing most of Atlanta, from 1987 to 1993. In February 2009, King and his wife traveled to India, fifty years after his father and mother made the trip. During his stay in India, he led a delegation which included John Lewis and Andrew Young.

Michael Eric Dyson (born October 23, 1958) is an American academic, author, and radio host. He is a professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. Described by Michael A. Fletcher as "a Princeton Ph.D. and a child of the streets who takes pains never to separate the two", Dyson has authored or edited 18 books dealing with subjects such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Marvin Gaye, Nas's debut album Illmatic, Bill Cosby, Tupac Shakur and Hurricane Katrina. He became an ordained Baptist minister at 19 years of age and serves on the board of directors of the Common Ground Foundation, a project dedicated to empowering urban youth in the United States.

Katoucha Niane (October 23, 1960 - February 2, 2008) was a highly successful French model born in Guinea of Fula heritage. She hosted the TV show France's Next Top Model and starred in the film Ramata. She retired from modeling in 1994 to devote herself full-time to the fight against female circumcision, including writing her autobiography Dans ma char (In My Bones).


On October 23, 1945, Jackie Robinson signed with the Class AAA Montreal Royals of the International League, a minor league team in the Dodgers' farm system. Robinson had played the 1945 season with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League and was signed for $600 a month, Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey did not offer compensation to the Monarchs, believing all Negro League players were free agents due to the contracts' not containing a reserve clause.

On October 23, 1947, the NAACP sent a petition to the United Nations written by W.E.B. DuBois, Waalter White, and  others,  titled “An Appeal to the World.” The document stated, “We appeal to the world to witness that this attitude of America is far more dangerous to mankind than the Atom bomb; and far, far more clamorous for attention than disarmament or treaty.” It also included facts about lynching, segregation, education, health care, voting rights, and inequalities but was not considered for further action.

On October 23, 1951, the NAACP picketed the Stork Club in support of Josephine Baker, who had been refused admission to the club a week earlier. After a city-convened special committee called Baker’s charges unfounded, Thurgood Marshall called the findings a “complete and shameless whitewash of the long-established and well-known discriminatory policies of the Stork Club.”

On October 23, 1989, "M" Street High School in Washington DC was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It was founded in 1870 as the Preparatory High School for Negro Youth, moving to the 128 "M" Street NW location in 1890; in 1916 the name was changed to Dunbar High School in honor of poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar. The school was one of the most academically rigorous segregated high schools in the country for African Americans. Francis Cardozo and Anna Julia Cooper were two of its principals, and Carter G, Woodson was among the faculty. It closed shortly after the integration of the DC schools in 1954 and is now the Perry School Community Services Center. The building was designed by Thomas Entwistle.

Photo Gallery

On October 23, 1886 Wiley Jones operated the first streetcar system in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

 Concert featuring the Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, and Martha and
the Vandellas at Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Columbus, Ohio, October 23, 1965

Koko Taylor and The Blues Machine, taken October 23, 1978 at a club called Sprangkullen
 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Bob Anderson is seen on bass. Photo © 1996 by Torsten Stahlberg.

The Official Portrait of the First Family, October 23, 2009. President Barack Obama and first lady
Michelle Obama are pictured with their daughters Sasha, 8, (left) and Malia, 11, (right).


Jet Magazine, October 23, 1952

President Truman in Harlem - Jet Magazine, October 23, 1952

Life Magazine, October 23, 1970 - Muhammad Ali

The October 23, 2013 cover of the NY Daily News

Rolling Stone, October 23, 2014


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