October 6

Fannie Lou Hamer (October 6, 1917 - March 14, 1977) was a 44-year-old sharecropper when she began registering voters throughout the South after SNCC organizer James Bevel spoke to residents of Ruleville, Mississippi asking for volunteers. She and her husband were fired the next day, and she was later jailed and severely beaten. She became a mother figure to the younger SNCC members, often singing hymns on their journeys and at meetings. She was one of the founders of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, and was one of the members who addressed the credentials committee of the Democratic National Convention in an attempt to be seated at the 1964 convention in Atlantic City. Network coverage of her testimony was interrupted by a suddenly-called press conference by President Johnson, although it aired later on many stations. The MFDP was offered a compromise of being allowed two non-voting delegates, which they rejected. By the next presidential election in 1968 the Democratic Party had ruled that all state delegations be integrated, and Hamer herself was a delegate in 1972.


Henri Christophe (October 6, 1767 – October 8, 1820) was a former slave and key leader in the Haitian Revolution. In 1805 he took part under Jean-Jacques Dessalines in the capturing of Santo Domingo. After Dessalines was assassinated, Christophe created a separate government. On February 17, 1807, he was elected President of the State of Haiti, as he named that area. On March 26, 1811, Christophe created a kingdom in the North and had himself proclaimed Henry I, King of Ha├»ti.

Thomas Mundy Peterson (October 6, 1824 – February 4, 1904) of Perth Amboy, New Jersey was the first African American to vote in an election under the provisions of the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution. His vote was cast on March 31, 1870, two months after the amendment was ratified. He later became the city's first African American to hold elected office (on the Middlesex County Commission) and was also the first to serve on a jury.

Sammy Price (October 6, 1908 - April 14, 1992) was a blues and jazz pianist born in Honey Grove, Texas.He studied piano in Dallas under Portia Pittman, Booker T. Washington's daughter. Price's career took in to Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, and New York City, where he was the house pianist for Decca Records in the 1930's and 1940s. Later in his career, Price partnered with the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, and was the headline entertainment at the Crawdaddy Restaurant, a New Orleans themed restaurant in New York in the mid-1970s.

Joseph Lowery (born October 6, 1921) became involved in civil rights as a pastor at Warren Street  Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama where he helped launch a drive to end discrimination in Mobile. In 1957, Lowery was a co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and served as president from 1977 to 1997, following Martin Luther King and Ralph Abernathy. He gave the benediction at President Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009. Rev. Lowery holds a BA and MDiv from Paine College and a DDiv from Chicago Ecumenical Institute.

Julius Chambers (October 6, 1936 - August 2, 2013) was Executive Director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund from 1984 to 1993, with most of his work centered on affirmative action lawsuits. He worked with Thurgood Marshall as the first LDEF intern in 1962 and founded the first integrated law firm in Charlotte, NC. He left LDEF to become chancellor of his undergrad alma mater, North Carolina Central University.

Lonnie George Johnson (born October 6, 1949) invented the Super Soaker water gun, which was the top selling toy in the United States in 1991 and 1992, While in the U.S. Air Force he worked on the stealth bomber program and the Galileo mission to Jupiter. He currently heads two technology companies, Excellatron Solid State and Johnson Electro-Mechanical Systems  which have received patents in energy conservation technology. Johnson holds a B.S in Mechanical Engineering and a M.S. in Nuclear Engineering from Tuskegee University..

Anthony Kevin (Tony) Dungy (born October 6, 1955) is a former player and coach in the National Football League. In 2007 became the first African American head coach to win the Super Bowl when the Colts beat the Bears in Super Bowl XLI. Dungy set a new NFL record for consecutive playoff appearances by a head coach in 2008 after securing his 10th straight playoff. He is also the national spokesman for the fatherhood program All Pro Dad.


On October 6, 1965 Patricia Roberts Harris was appointed Ambassador to Luxembourg from 1965 to 1967 becoming the first African American woman named as an American envoy. She said of the position, "I feel deeply proud and grateful this President chose me to knock down this barrier, but also a little sad about being the 'first Negro woman' because it implies we were not considered before."

On October 6, 1971, the first legal interracial marriage in North Carolina took place. John A. Wilkinson's marriage to Lorraine Mary Turner was officially recognized by that state. North Carolina was one of over 15 states in 1967 whose laws were eventually changed to accept legal interracial marriage.

Photo Gallery

Children playing ring-around-a-rosy at Pleasant Green School, a one-room school for African American children near Marlinton, West Virginia (Pocahontas County) The photo caption asserts: “It is one of the best colored schools in the County, with a capable principal holding a first-grade certificate. All the children are Agricultural Club workers.” October 6, 1921 Lewis Wickes Hine, photographer

On October 6, 1968 homers by Lou Brock and Bob Gibson led the Cardinals to a 10-1 victory over Detroit in
the fourth game of the World Series. They are seen here on Opening Day 2013 with Jon Jay.

Jimi Hendrix driving a dune buggy with an unidentified woman, October 6, 1968 via Twitter @HistoryInPics

October 6, 1993 Dr. Mae Carol Jemison, the first African American woman to travel
 in space, was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

October 6, 1994 South African President, Nelson Mandela, addresses a joint session of
Congress. He will warn against the lure of isolationism, saying the U.S. post-Cold War
focus should be on eliminating “tyranny, instability and poverty” across the globe.


112 Yr Old Mississippi Woman Waits for Word on Emmett Till Murder Trial - Jet Magazine, October 6, 1955

The Strange Trial of the Emmett Till Kidnapers - Jet Magazine, October 6, 1955

15,000 New Yorkers Want Emmett Till Protest March in Mississippi - Jet Magazine, October 6, 1955

Mrs. Ruby Hurley, The Most Militant Negro Woman in the South - Jet Magazine, October 6, 1955

21 Airforce Whites Leave Alabama Airport Cafe After Black Pilot Was Refused Service - Jet Magazine, October 6, 1955
Faces At The Bottom Of The Well: The Permanence Of Racism by Derrick Bell. $9.99.
Publisher: Basic Books (October 6, 1993). 244 pages.

Free At Last: A History of the Civil Rights Movement and Those Who Died in the Struggle by Sara Bullard. $13.54. Author: Sara Bullard. Publication: October 6, 1994. Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; Reprint edition (October 6, 1994)

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