October 7

William Still (October 7, 1821 - July 14, 1902) was a Philadelphia abolitionist known as the Father of the Underground Railroad, helping over 800 people escape to freedom. He kept extensive notes on each one so that families could be reunited, which were published in 1872 as The Underground Railroad Records. This book has been integral to the history of these years, as he carefully recorded many details of the workings of the Underground Railroad. Still was also a businessman and activist, successfully working on the campaign to integrate Philadelphia street cars, and he helped to establish an orphanage and the first YMCA for African Americans in Philadelphia.


Moses Fleetwood ″Fleet″ Walker (October 7, 1856 – May 11, 1924) played one season as the catcher of the Toledo Blue Stockings, a club in the American Association. He then played in the minor leagues until 1889, when professional baseball erected a color barrier that stood for nearly 60 years. He later purchased the Union Hotel in his home town of Steubenville, Ohio, as well as a theater in nearby Cadiz. He applied for patents on several inventions for moving-picture equipment in the early 1900s.

Sargent Claude Johnson (October 7, 1888 – October 10, 1967) was one of the first African American artists working in California to achieve a national reputation. He was known for Abstract Figurative and Early Modern styles. He was a painter, potter, ceramist, printmaker, graphic artist, sculptor, and carver. He worked with a variety of media, including ceramic, clay, oil, stone, terra-cotta, watercolor, and wood. As a member of the bohemian San Francisco Bay community and influenced by the New Negro Movement, his early work focused on racial identity. Later in his career he often visited Oaxaca and Southern Mexico and started incorporating the people and culture, particularly archeology, into his work.

Sargent Claude Johnson,"Chester", 1930

Sargent Claude Johnson, Lenox Avenue, 1938

Archibald John Motley, Jr (October 7, 1891 - January 16, 1981) studied painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago during the 1910s, graduating in 1918. He is most famous for his colorful chronicling of the African-American experience during the 1920s and 1930s, and is considered one of the major contributors to the Harlem Renaissance, or the New Negro Movement, a time in which African-American art reached new heights not just in New York but across America - its local expression is referred to as the Chicago Black Renaissance.

Archibald Motley, Black Belt, 1934

Archibald Motley, Hot Rhythm, 1961

Elijah Muhammad (born Elijah Robert Poole; October 7, 1897 – February 25, 1975) was an African American religious leader, and led a movement called Nation of Islam from 1934 until his death in 1975. Muhammad was a mentor to Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan, and Muhammad Ali. He preached his own version of Islam to his followers in the Nation. According to him, blacks were known as the 'original' human being, with 'evil' whites being an offshoot race that would go on to oppress black people for 6,000 years. He preached that the Nation of Islam's goal was to return the stolen hegemony of the inferior whites back to blacks across America.

Desmond Mpilo Tutu (born October 7, 1931) is a South African activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. He was the first black South African Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, and bishop of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa). He was awarded the Nobel Peace Price in 1984 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

Amiri Baraka (born Everett LeRoi Jones; October 7, 1934 – January 9, 2014) earned a degree in English from Howard University and served in the Air Force before settling in Greenwich Village where he was part of the Beat literary scene. In 1963 he published Blues People: Negro Music in White America, his account of the development of black music from slavery to contemporary jazz, and in 1964 his controversial play Dutchman premiered.  After the assassination of Malcolm X he left the predominantly white Beat movement, changing his name and founding The Black Arts Repertory/Theater School in Harlem. He is the father of  Newark mayor Ras Baraka.

Keith Duncan Mallett (born October 7, 1948) began began his art career working for in music industry painting record covers for Virgin Records and designing T-shirts for recording groups. He has worked as a freelance artist and for fifteen years was the in-house artist for Frontline Art Publishers. He was commissioned to design the official limited edition print commemorating the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s historic breakthrough into major league baseball, and his work was chosen for the cover of Chicken Soup for The African American Soul. His work also includes etchings and ceramics.

Celebration by Keith Mallett

Cats in Hats by Keith Mallett


"SNCC had declared October 7, 1963, as Freedom Day. The idea was to bring hundreds of people to register to vote, hoping that their numbers would decrease fear. And there was much to fear. John Lewis and seven others were still in jail. Sheriff Jim Clark, huge and bullying, had deputized a force that was armed and on the prowl. To build up courage, people gathered in churches night after night before Freedom Day. The churches were packed as people listened to speeches, prayed, sang." ~ Howard Zinn

On October 7, 1993, Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Her citation reads: Toni Morrison, "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality." She accepted the award in December of the same year. Ms. Morrison is currently the last American to have been awarded the honor.

On October 7, 2011, Tawakkul Karman, Leymah Gbowee, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf received the Nobel Peace Prize "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work." Mrs. Sirleaf has been president of Liberia since 2006.

Photo Gallery

A and T College, Greensboro, NC, October 7, 1939 - A group of 4-H Club boys working
 their way through college - seen working on the campus. From NCSU Libraries

Demonstrators make a dash through police lines for school buses in an attempt to get on the buses with white children in Crawfordville, Georgia, on October 7, 1965. The state patrolmen grabbed them and held them in custody until the buses drove away. The protesters were demanding to ride the buses and school integration.

On October 7, 1995, Coach Eddie Robinson of
Grambling State University won his 400th game.

Barack and Michelle Obama share a laugh at the end of the presidential debate
 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee on October 7, 2008.

Frederick D. Jones Mother and Child, watercolor with pen and ink, 1940-45.
Sold October 7, 2010 for $4,320. Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries.


Runaway Slave Notices in the South Carolina Gazette on October 7, 1756.

Little Gregory Hines, His Brother Maurice Hines and Dizzy Gillespie - Jet Magazine October 7, 1954

Charles V Bush, 14, is First Negro Selected As A Page Boy by the US Supreme Court - Jet Magazine, October 7, 1954

Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America by Mamie
Till-Mobley. $3.99. Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (October 7, 2003). 320 pages. 

Published October 7, 2004 by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Recipes, menus, and entertaining
 tips from one of the largest, most respected African-American women's organizations in the world.

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