September 14

Constance Baker Motley (September 14, 1921 - September 28, 2005) won 9 out of 10 cases she argued before the Supreme Court, including Meredith v Farr (1962) which allowed James Meredith to enroll at Ole Miss. She was the first black woman admitted to Columbia Law School, to become a federal judge, and to be elected to the New York State Senate. She began her career as a clerk at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund under Thurgood Marshall where she wrote the original complaint in Brown v Board of Education.


Frederick Roberts (September 14, 1879–July 19, 1952), a great-grandson of Sally Hemmings, was a Los Angeles businessman and civic leader. He operated the family mortuary and was editor of the New Age newspaper from 1912 to 1948. He was elected to the State Assembly in 1918, the first African American in the west to hold such a position. During Roberts’s 16 years in office he sponsored legislation to establish the University of California at Los Angeles, expand the use of school textbooks, and he proposed civil rights and anti-lynching measures.  In June 1922 he welcomed Marcus Garvey to the city and rode in Garvey’s parade car.


The Battle of Liberty Place on September 14, 1874 was an attempted insurrection by the Crescent City White League against the legal Reconstruction state government in New Orleans. The League, made up of Confederate veterans, fought and won against the racially integrated Metropolitan Police and state militia. They held the state house, armory and downtown for three days until federal troops arrived to restore the elected government.

On September 14, 1928 the Dunbar Hotel opened at 42nd and Central in Los Angeles, built entirely by black contractors, laborers, and craftsmen and financed by black community members. It hosted the first NAACP National Convention held in the western states, and was the center of the Los Angeles jazz and blues music scene in the 1940s and 50s.

On September 14, 1940 President Roosevelt signed the Selective Service Act which created a peacetime draft and allowed African Americans to enter all branches of the U.S. military and receive equal training. Indivudual units, however, stayed segregated until 1948.

Photo Gallery

UCLA punters: Jackie Robinson, Charley Fenenbock and Bill Overlin. September 14, 1939.
Los Angeles Public Library, Herald-Examiner Collection

Jimi Hendrix at Hollywood Bowl, September 14, 1968

The Obamas embraced and kissed while welcoming members of the U.S. Olympic
and Paralympic teams to the White House on September 14, 2012 in Washington, DC.

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