September 19

On September 19, 1868, Philip Joyner led a group of black men on a 25-mile march from Albany to Camilla, Georgia to attend a Republican rally and to protest that Joyner and other elected state legislators had been expelled for being at least 1/8 black. The men were fired upon by white Democrats, with 12 killed and about 30 injured. Known as the Camilla Massacre, the slaughter helped make Reconstruction a major issue in the presidential election later that year.


Susan Paul Smith Vashon (September 19, 1838 - November 27, 1912) was born into a Boston abolitionist family and married George B. Vashon when they were both on the faculty of Avery College in Pittsburgh, where they raised money for wounded black soldiers during the Civil War. She later taught in Washington DC, becoming principal of Thaddeus Stevens School. After being widowed she moved to St. Louis where she was helped organize the Missouri Ass'n of Colored Women's Clubs.

Lovie Austin (born Cora Calhoun, September 19, 1887 – July 10, 1972) studied music theory at Roger Williams University and Knoxville College before a lengthy career as a Chicago bandleader, session musician, composer, singer, and arranger beginning in the 1920s classic blues era. She worked on Heebie Jeebies with Louis Armstrong and co-wrote (with Alberta Hunter) Bessie Smith's 1923 hit Down Hearted Blues. After her performing career she was musical director of Chicago's Monogram Theater. She and Lil Hardin Armstrong are considered two of the best female jazz blues piano players of the period.

Sarah Louise (Sadie) Delany (September 19, 1889 – January 25, 1999) and her younger sister Elizabeth (Bessie) Delany, were the subjects of the oral history, Having our Say, by journalist Amy Hill Hearth. She taught home economics in the New York City public school system and was the aunt of science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany, Jr.

Lt. Col Lemuel A. Penn (September 19, 1915 - July 11, 1964)  was murdered by Klansmen in Madison County, Georgia as he and two other Army Reserve officers were driving from duty at Ft. Benning to their homes in Washington, D.C. where Penn was an assistant school superintendent. The murderers were found not guilty by a local court but two years later two of the six charged were sentenced in federal court to 10 years in prison. Penn's murder led to the Supreme Court case U.S. v. Guest, in which the Court affirmed the ability of the government to apply criminal charges to private conspirators who with assistance from a state official, deprive a person of rights secured by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Milton "Mel" Stewart (September 19, 1929 – February 24, 2002) is best known for his role as section chief Billy Melrose in the 1980s TV drama Scarecrow and Mrs. King. He appeared on television from 1959 through 1990, acted in films (Steelyard Blues, Whose Life Is It Anyway) and Broadway plays (Purlie Victorious and Hostage), and was a voice actor, recording an album of Langston Hughes's poetry on Folkways Records. He taught at San Francisco State University where his students included Danny Glover, and founded BANTU (Black Actors Now Through Unity). A third degree black belt in aikido, he opened a dojo for inner-city youth in the Bayview district of San Francisco.

Brook Benton (born Benjamin Franklin Peay, September 19, 1931 – April 9, 1988) sang with gospel groups and the R&B group The Sandmen before achieving success as a solo artist popular with rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and pop music audiences during the late 1950s and early 1960s, when he scored hits such as "It's Just A Matter Of Time" and "Endlessly", many of which he co-wrote.He made a comeback in 1970 with the ballad "Rainy Night in Georgia." Benton scored over 50 Billboard chart hits as an artist, and also wrote hits for other performers.

Rear Admiral Benjamin Thurman Hacker (September 19, 1935 - December 28, 2003) was a U.S. Navy officer, who became the first Naval Flight Officer (NFO) to achieve Flag rank. He held 10 commands over his career, retiring a Commander of the San Diego Naval Base. He also founded the NROTC at Florida A&M University and was the first Commanding Officer and Professor of Naval Science of the unit. After retiring from the Navy in 1988, he worked at the financial-services firm USAA and also served for two years as director of the California Department of Veterans Affairs.

Joe Leonard Morgan (born September 19, 1943) is a former Major League Baseball second baseman who played for the Houston Astros, Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, and Oakland Athletics from 1963 to 1984. He won two World Series championships with the Reds in 1975 and 1976 and was also named the National League MVP in those years. Considered one of the greatest second basemen of all-time, Morgan was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990.


On September 19, 1950, Heman Sweatt registered for courses at the UT Austin law school 1950 after a protracted legal battle to desegregate the institution. The Supreme Court case that enabled Sweatt's entrance (Sweatt v. Painter, 1950) is widely regarded as a foundational event in the buildup to Brown v. Board of Education and the wider school desegregation movement.

On September 19, 1956, Alioune Diop and Présence Africaine convened the 1st International Congress of Black Writers and Artists (1er Congrès international des écrivains et artistes noirs) in Paris, for which Pablo Picasso designed a poster. Other speakers included Aimé Césaire, Richard Wright and Léopold Sédar Senghor.

On September 19, 1989, The Learning Tree (written and directed by Gordon Parks and released in 1969) was named to the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". It was the first major studio film to be directed by an African American, and is based on Parks' semi-autobiographical novel of the same name published in 1964.

Photo Gallery

Lillie Arnett September 19, 1914 from the Holsinger Studio Collection

National Negro Bankers' Conference in Washington, DC - September 19-20, 1929

Construction of the prefabricated steel storage warehouse by members of the 34th Construction
Battaltion at Halavo Seaplane Base, Florida Island, Solomon Islands.  September 19, 1943.

Billy Stanley, 8-year-old third-grader, the only white pupil at St. Philip the Apostle's
 school in Albany, New York, studies with African-American friends.
Billy says he likes school, and that the other pupils "treat me good." Photo taken on September 19, 1961.

Vanessa Williams poses for photographers September 19, 1983

"Taken along the 'blues route' through the streets of Chicago." An Editors' Pick from our
ongoing 10th Photo Contest. Photo of the Day: September 19, 2012. Photo by Javier Arcenillas.

September 19, 2013 "I loved the look Alanah Poullard's face as President Obama wrote a school excuse note for the five-year-old, while visiting with Wounded Warriors and their families in the East Room during their tour of the White House. Alanah asked for a note to show her kindergarten teacher so she wouldn't get in trouble for missing a school day." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


Jet Magazine, September 19, 1957

LIFE magazine, September 19, 1960.
 LIFE and Civil Rights: Anatomy of a Protest, Virginia, 1960

The Black Panther (September 19, 1970)

Jet Magazine, September 19, 1994

19 September 2014: "Cool collages, crosswords and creative explosions".
 Foreign Policy, September/October 2014.

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