September 18

On September 18, 1850, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act as a part of the Compromise of 1850 between Southern slave-holding interests and Northern Free-Soilers. This was one of the most controversial acts of the 1850 compromise and heightened Northern fears of Southern encroachment. It declared that all runaway slaves be brought back to their masters, and later laws mandated that all persons were to assist in their capture.


William Alphaeus Hunton (September 18, 1903 - January 12, 1970) was executive director of the Council on African Affairs from 1943 through 1955. During this time he transformed the CAA from an educational outreach group with limited reach into an international political action organization with widespread influence. After the Red Scare of the 1950's closed the CAA Hunton went to Africa where he worked with Sekou Toure, W. E. B. DuBois and Kwame Nkrumah.

Edmund Lincoln Anderson (18 September 1905 – 28 February 1977), also known as Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, was an American comedian and actor. His most famous role was that of Rochester van Jones, usually known simply as "Rochester", the valet of Jack Benny, on his radio and television shows. With this he became the first African American to have a regular role on a nationwide radio program.

Benjamin Solomon (Ben) Carson, Sr., (born September 18, 1951) is a columnist and retired American neurosurgeon. He is credited with being the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins joined at the head. In 2008, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush. After delivering a widely publicized speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, he became a popular figure in conservative media for his views on social issues and the federal government.


On September 18, 1838 Frederick Douglass and his wife Anna arrived in New Bedford, Massachusetts to live free for the first time. Douglass did hard manual labor to provide for his family for three years before making a fateful trip to Nantucket, where he met William Lloyd Garrison. From then on, Douglass would commit his life to the abolition of slavery.

On September 18, 1895 Booker T. Washington gave a speech at the Atlanta Exposition presenting the "Atlanta Compromise", an unofficial agreement between black and white southern leaders. He promised that Southern blacks would not fight for equality, integration, the right to vote, and education beyond the vocational level. W. E. B. DuBois and other black leaders originally supported Washington but came to feel that a more active effort toward equality was necessary.

On September 18, 1948 Ralph Bunche was confirmed by the United Nations Security Council as acting UN mediator in Palestine. He had been the chief aide to Sweden's Count Folke Bernadotte, who had been appointed by the UN to mediate the conflict. Bernadotte had been assassinated the day before in Jerusalem by members of the underground Jewish Lehi group.

On September 18, 1953, A. P. Tureaud Jr., 17, registered for classes at Louisiana State University, becoming the first African American undergraduate to attend a Deep South state university. After six weeks of harassment by white students, he transferred to Xaver University in New Orleans. LSU presented Tureaud with an honorary degree in 2011 (left).

On September 18,1972, Art Williams became the National League’s first Black umpire on this day. He called plays from third base in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 10-inning, 3-2 triumph over the San Diego Padres in San Diego. After his debut, he said that he was more nervous than he had ever been in his entire life. Williams, a minor league umpire for four seasons, was a minor league pitcher in the mid-1950s.

On September 18, 1980, Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez of Cuba became the first person of African descent in space when he on the crew aboard the Soviet Soyuz 38 spacecraft. While on the week-long mission, he and Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Romanenko conducted experiments on the crystallisation of sucrose in microgravity, for the benefit of Cuba's sugar industry.

Photo Gallery

James Baldwin, right, author, and Bayard Rustin, Deputy Director of the March
 on Washington, comment upon Alabama incidents during a press
 conference in New York City on September 18, 1963.


Their Eyes Were Watching God  by Zora Neale Hurston. Published: September 18, 1937

Jet Magazine, September 18, 1952

Gabby Hayes Sponsors A Black Team in the Manhattan
Little League  - Jet Magazine, September 18, 1952

Interracial Marriage Will Be Common One Day, Says
Adam Clayton Powell - Jet Magazine, September 18, 1952.

Jet Magazine, September 18 1958

Asa T Spaulding Jr Weds Shirley Atwell in Brooklyn's
 St Philip's Church - Jet Magazine, September 18, 1958

"No more begging, no more jiving, no more being pushed around"
The Black Panther, September 18, 1973 Artist: Emory Douglas

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