October 26

Mahalia Jackson (October 26, 1911 – January 27, 1972) first sang publicly at Mount Moriah Baptist Church in New Orleans and Greater Salem Baptist Church in Chicago. She began touring with Thomas A Dorsey in 1931, and his song "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" became a standard of hers. Her 1956 recording of it received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award as did "His Eye is On the Sparrow" (1958) and "Move On Up a Little Higher" (1947). She was the first gospel singer to appear at Carnegie Hall (1950) and at the Newport Jazz Festival (1957). She contributed several songs to the 1958 film St. Louis Blues, sang at an inaugural ball for John F. Kennedy in 1961, and appeared on an episode of Sesame Street singing "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands." Her involvement with the Civil Rights Movement began with a request from Rev. Ralph Abernathy to sing at a benefit concert for the Montgomery bus boycott in 1956. She became friends with Rev. Abernathy and Dr. King, often singing at SCLC fundraisers. She was one of the few women the stage at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, singing "How I Got Over" and "I Been 'Buked and I Been Scorned", and she sang "Take My Hand" at King's funeral.


James H. Young (October 26, 1858 - 1921) was the son of an enslaved mother and prominent white father. Educated at Shaw University, Young was hired to work in the office of Colonel J. J. Young, an internal revenue collector, in 1877, and became involved with the Republican Party. He was editor of the Raleigh N.C. Gazette and served two terms in the State House of Representatives as a Fusion Candidate (uniting the Republicans and the Populists). During the Spanish-American war he was appointed Colonel of the Third North Carolina Volunteer Infantry, perhaps the first African American Colonel in the Army.

William Julius "Judy" Johnson (October 26, 1899 – June 15, 1989) was a third baseman in Negro league baseball. He played for the Hilldale Club, Homestead Grays, and Pittsburgh Crawfords from 1921 to 1936. After his playing career ended, Johnson was a coach and scout for several Major League Baseball teams; he signed Dick Allen. Johnson became the first black spring training coach in the majors, for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1954. Considered one of the greatest third basemen in the Negro leagues, he was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975.

Claude A. Jeter (October 26, 1914 – January 6, 2009) formed the group that would eventually become one of the most popular gospel quartets of the post-war era, the Swan Silvertones. Elements of his performances in songs such as "Careless Soul" and "Saviour Pass Me Not" were picked up by later singers such as Al Green and Eddie Kendricks of The Temptations. "I'll be a bridge over deep water if you trust in my name", a line from his 1959 rendition of "Mary Don't You Weep", served as Paul Simon's inspiration to write his 1970 song "Bridge over Troubled Water". Simon hired Jeter to sing on the 1973 studio album There Goes Rhymin' Simon ( specifically the falsetto background vocal on "Take Me to the Mardi Gras")

Edward William Brooke III (born October 26, 1919) was the first African American senator elected by popular vote, and the only one to serve multiple terms. He was born in Washington DC, attended Dunbar High School and Howard University, served in the U S. Army during World War II as an officer in the segregated 366th Regiment, and attended Boston University Law School. While in the Senate, he was the first Republican to call for Nixon's resignation.

Débria Brown (October 26, 1936 - December 17, 2001) was an operatic mezzo soprano who had an active international career that spanned five decades. She was part of the first generation of black opera singers to achieve wide success and broke down barriers of racial prejudice in the world of opera. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from Xavier University of Lousiana in 1958 and later studied with Katherine Dunham in New York City through a scholarship provided by the John Hay Whitney Foundation..In 1992, Brown became a Professor of Voice and Artist in Residence at the University of Houston, remaining in that position until her death nine years later. (Photograph, by Carl Van Vechten, of Débria Brown as Carmen, at the New York City Opera, in 1958.)

Emanuel Cleaver II (born October 26, 1944) is currently a U.S. Representative from Missouri's 5th District and has been chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. He was the first African American mayor of Kansas City, Missouri (1991 to 1999) and served as pastor of the St. James United Methodist Church from 1972 to 2009. He is a graduate of Prairie View A & M University and holds a. MDiv degree from St. Paul School of Theology.

Florastine (Flo) Magee Creed-Jacobson (October 26, 1946 - October 16, 2005) was the highest-ranking African American woman in the history of the Boston Police Department. She worked her way  through the ranks from patrol officer, detective, and sergeant until 1994, when then-Police Commissioner Paul Evans appointed her a deputy superintendent in charge of the department's Office of Labor Relations. She was promoted to superintendent on July 1, 1998. As Mrs. Creed-Jacobson was promoted to detective and sergeant, she took night classes at New England School of Law, passing the bar exam on her first attempt.

William Earl "Bootsy" Collins (born October 26, 1951 in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA) is an American funk bassist, singer, and songwriter. Rising to prominence with James Brown in the late 1960s, and with Parliament-Funkadelic in the '70s, Collins's driving bass guitar and humorous vocals established him as one of the leading names in funk. Collins is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.

Regina Marcia Benjamin (born October 26, 1956) served as the 18th Surgeon General of the United States from 2009 to 2013. She is founder of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, which she supported in its early years by working weekend shifts as an emergency room physician. The clinic gained national attention in 2006 when it was rebuilt a second time after burning the day before it was scheduled to be reopened after being destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Benjamin is on a number of professional boards, and is the first physician under 40 and the first African American woman to be on the Board of Directors of the American Medical Association. In 2008 she received a MacArthur Fellowship "Genius" grant.


On October 26, 1934, at a New York City conference, representatives of the NAACP and the American Fund for Public Service planned a coordinated legal campaign against segregation and discrimination. Charles H. Houston, Vice-dean of the Howard University Law School, is named director of the NAACP legal campaign, which became the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.

On October 26, 1952, Hattie McDaniel died of breast cancer at age 57. She had asked to be buried in the Hollywood Cemetery where many other actors are buried, but her request was refused because of segregation. Her second choice was Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery, where she lies today. In 1999, Tyler Cassidy, the new owner of the Hollywood Cemetery (renamed the Hollywood Forever Cemetery), offered to have McDaniel re-interred there. Her family did not wish to disturb her remains and declined the offer. Instead, Hollywood Forever Cemetery built a large cenotaph on the lawn overlooking its lake.

On October 26, 1994, Beverly Harvard became the first Black woman to run a major police department when she was appointed Atlanta’s police chief on this date. Harvard began her distinguished career in 1973 as a patrol officer and worked her way through the ranks, serving in a number of posts within the department. She stayed in the position until 2002, then began working as the Security Director for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration and is now a U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Georgia. She is a 1972 graduate of Morris Brown College with a B.A. degree in sociology and also earned an M.S. degree in 1980 from Georgia State University.

Photo Gallery

Portrait photograph of Nora Holt, by Carl Van Vechten.. [New York, October 26, 1934]

Muhammad Ali vs. Jerry Quarry October 26, 1970 LeRoy Neiman Design

Zinzi Mandela (l), daughter of South African National Congress (ANC) President Nelson Mandela,
wearing Xhosa traditional outfit, and her father Nelson, smile, 26 October 1992 in Soweto, after
 Zinzi married Zweli Hlongwane, a black businessman. Photo: Getty Images

A White House photo by Pete Souza released for the Time Magazine Person of the Year Issue shows
President Obama playing with the son of a staffer outside the Oval Office on October 26, 2012

October 26, 2012 - Jonathan West, a World War II veteran who was among the first
African Americans to serve in the Marines, died in Bend, Oregon, at 91.

Darrell Wallace Jr. celebrates winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 on Saturday, October 26.2013


Jet Magazine October 26, 1961 -- Cathy Young

A History of African-American Artists: From 1792 to the Present by Romare Bearden.
$46.85. Publisher: Pantheon; 1st edition (October 26, 1993).


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