October 24

Marjorie Stewart Joyner (October 24, 1896 – December 27, 1994) graduated from A.B. Molar Beauty School in Chicago in 1916, the first African American to do so. She briefly operated her own salon on South State Street before joining Madame C. J. Walker's company, traveling in sales and training beauticians across the country. She eventually supervised 200 salons, and was a member of the board of directors. During this time she devised a multi-rod permanent wave device that could be used to either straighten or curl hair, becoming one of the first African American women to hold a patent. She was a founder of a professional association for beauty school owners and teachers now known as Alpha Chi Pi Omega and of the National Council of Negro Women. She was as an advisor to the Democratic National Committee in the 1940s, and advised several New Deal agencies trying to reach out to black women. In the Chicago area she chaired the Chicago Defender Charities as well as the Bud Billiken Parade. She fulfilled a lifelong goal in 1974 at the age of 77 by graduating from Bethune-Cookman University with a degree in psychology.


Saunders Terrell, better known as Sonny Terry (October 24, 1911 - March 11, 1986) was a blind Piedmont blues musician known for his energetic blues harmonica style, which frequently included vocal whoops and hollers, and imitations of trains and fox hunts, often working with Brownie MdGhee throughout his career. In 1938 Terry was invited to play at Carnegie Hall for the first From Spirituals to Swing concert, and later that year he recorded for the Library of Congress.  He was in the 1947 original cast of the Broadway musical comedy Finian's Rainbow and also appeared in the film The Color Purple, directed by Steven Spielberg. With McGhee, he appeared in the 1979 Steve Martin comedy The Jerk.

 Graham Brown (born Robert Elwood Brown, October 24, 1924 - December 13, 2011) attended Howard University where he earned a BA in theater, and studied method acting at the Actors Studio in New York. He began his career as a Shakespearean actor at the Guthrie Theater and was an original member of the Negro Ensemble Company (NEC), appearing in many NEC productions including Ceremonies in Dark Old Men and The River Niger. On television he played a judge and a minister on “Law and Order,” recurred on “Days of Our Lives” and a school principal on “Sanford and Son.” His film roles included Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” and “Clockers” as well as “The Muppets Take Manhattan,” in which he played Mr. Wrightson, the irritable department store manager.

Kweisi Mfume (born Frizzell Gerald Gray; October 24, 1948) has served on the Baltimore City Council (1978-1986), in the U.S. House of Representatives (1987-1996) where he was chair of the Congressional Black Caucus for one term, and as President of the NAACP (1996-2004). Since 2013 he has been Board Chairman of his undergrad alma mater, Morgan State University. Mfume also holds a Master of Liberal Arts degree from Johns Hopkins. In the early 1970s, he legally changed his name to Kweisi Mfume, a name from Ghana that translates to "Conquering Son of Kings".


On October 24, 1865 Paul Bogle was hanged for his role as leader of Jamaica's Morant Bay Protests earlier in the month. Over 400 protesters were killed during the uprising, and over 300 more arrested with many of these executed or sentenced to long prison terms. There was worldwide criticism of Governor John Edward Eyre's handing of the protests, and he was suspended and recalled to England with Jamaica being made a Crown Colony, governed directly from England. The Morant Bay rebellion turned out to be one of the defining points in Jamaica's struggle for both political and economical enhancement, and Bogle is a national hero commemorated on currency and in the Jamaican culture.

On October 24, 1935, the play Mulatto by Langston Hughes opened on Broadway at the Vanderbilt Theater, becoming the first play written by an African American to become a long-running Broadway hit.  Mulatto ran on Broadway for more than a year and toured for two seasons. The play was greatly altered by the producer, Martin Jones, who sensationalized an already shocking story. Many critics cite the autobiographical elements of the play, which detail the racial conflict between a white plantation owner, Colonel Thomas Norwood, and the mulatto son Robert, whom he refuses to recognize as his own.

The National Coalition of 100 Black Women (NCBW) was founded on October 24, 1981 by representatives from 14 states and DC. The purposes of the Coalition are to foster principles of equal rights and opportunities; promote the awareness of Black culture; develop the potential of the membership for effective leadership and participation in civic affairs; take action on specific issues of national & international importance, and cooperate with other persons and organizations to achieve mutual goals.

On October 24, 2005, Rosa Parks passed away at the age of 92. Front seats of city buses in Detroit and Montgomery were reserved with black ribbons in honor of Parks until her funeral. Her coffin was flown to Montgomery and taken in a horse-drawn hearse to the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church, where she lay in repose at the altar on October 29, 2005, dressed in the uniform of a church deaconess. In the evening the casket was transported to Washington, D.C. and transported by a bus similar to the one in which she made her protest, to lie in honor in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. She is the first woman and the first American who had not been a U.S. government official to receive this honor. Her funeral service was seven hours long and was held on November 2, 2005, at the Greater Grace Temple Church in Detroit.

On October 24, 2007, Negro League first baseman and coach Buck O'Neil was posthumously given the first Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Baseball Hall of Fame after having fallen short in the Hall of Fame vote in 2006, and the award was named in his honor. The Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award is presented every three years to honor an individual who enhances baseball's positive image on society, who broadens the game's appeal, and whose integrity and dignity are comparable to the namesake of the award, John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil.

Photo Gallery

Michael Jackson at the premiere of The Wiz on October 24, 1978 in New York City. Photo: Bettman/Corbis.

On October 24, 1996, Motown Records founder Berry Gordy received a star on the Hollywood Walk of
Fame. Gordy helped launch the careers Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson,
 Michael Jackson and many others. Present for his celebration on the Walk of Fame were Smokey, Stevie and Diana.


Harper's Weekly cartoon (24 October, 1874) Worse than Slavery: portrays a black family
 between a lynched body hanging from a tree and the remains of a burning schoolhouse.

Model Betty Davillier -- Jet Magazine, October 24, 1963

The Black Panther (October 24, 1970)

SOUL, October 24, 1977 -- The Emotions


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