September 21

Kwame Nkrumah (September 21, 1909 – April 27, 1972) was educated in the United States at Lincoln University and the University of Pennsylvania. He stayed in the U.S. a total of ten years (1935-1945) and in London another two before returning to Ghana. He became involved in West African politics, promoting Pan-Africanism and seeking to eliminate tribalism, and was named the first Prime Minister when Ghana gained independence from Great Britain in 1957. He was also the first president when Ghana became a republic three years later. He was overthrown in 1966 by a military coup, most likely with CIA involvement, and spent the of his life in exile in Guyana.


John Wesley Hardrick (September 21, 1891 - October 18, 1968 ) studied painting, sculpture, and drawing from 1910 to 1918 at the John Herron Art Institute under William Forsythe and Otto Stark. He had begun entering his work in the Indiana State Fair while in high school, consistently winning prizes, and beginning in 1928 exhibited with the Harmon Foundation for five years, winning recognition for his realistic and expressive portraits of African Americans. He was later commissioned by the WPA to paint a mural for Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis.

Boy Fishing by John Wesley Hardrick

Winter Landscape at Dusk by John Wesley Hardrick

Napoleon Whiting (September 21, 1910 - October 22, 1984), was an American character actor. He played many bit parts, often uncredited, as a menial worker such as the black butler, a stereotypical role. Whiting was best known to television audiences for his work as Silas on The Big Valley, a typecast but highly visible role... Films include "It Happened to Jane" (1959), "Living Between Two Worlds" (1963), and "Fugitive Lovers" (1975).

Clifford Alexander, Jr. (born September 21, 1933) became first African American Secretary of the Army when he was appointed by President Carter in 1977. A 1958 Yale Law School graduate, he has headed the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), taught at Howard Law School, and served as Special Council to President Johnson, as well as being in private law practice and operating a business consulting firm. His daughter, poet and Yale literature professor Elizabeth Alexander,  was commissioned to present the poem "Praise Song for the Day" for President Barack Obama's inauguration on January 20, 2009.


On September 21, 1862, a slave named William Benjamin Gould (shown here with his family) escaped with seven other slaves by rowing a small boat 28 nautical miles down the Cape Fear River and out into the Atlantic Ocean where the USS Cambridge of the Union blockade picked them up as contraband. Gould joined the U.S. Navy for the remainder of the Civil War and then settled in Dedham, Massachusetts, where he became a prosperous building contractor. He kept a detailed diary during the war, one of three known diaries in existence written during the Civil War by former slaves.

On September 21, 1866, the all-black 10th Cavalry Regiment was formed at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. It was the first to be known as "Buffalo Soldiers", along with the 9th, 24th, and 25th Regiments. They were the first peacetime all-black regiments in the regular U.S. Army, although they fought in the Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine-American War, and border skirmishes with Mexico. The regiments did not participate directly in either World War but experienced troops were supplied to other segregated units. The Buffalo Solders also served as the first Park Rangers.

On September 21, 1955 during the trial of J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant for the murder of Emmett Till, "Moses Wright, Emmett Till's great uncle, does the unthinkable -- he accuses two white men in open court. While on the witness stand, he stands up and points his finger at Milam and Bryant, and accuses them of coming to his house and kidnapping Emmett." Nevertheless, they were acquitted two days later after the jury deliberated only 67 minutes.

On September 21, 1959, Juanita Kidd Stout was named by the Governor of Pennsylvania to serve as a Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge . Later that year Stout won the election for a full term on the Court and became the first African American woman elected judge in the United States.

On September 21, 1989 Gen. Colin Powell became the first African-American named as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As the nation’s top military leader, Powell was praised by some African Americans as a role model while he was criticized for supporting what critics considered the government’s war-mongering policies. His generally positive reputation was damaged by his speaking to the United Nations and providing misinformation in support of the Bush administration’s war in Iraq.

Photo Gallery

Former Vice President Henry Wallace, Albert Einstein, Lewis L. Wallace of Princeton University, and
actor Paul Robeson meeting in Princeton on September 21, 1947. (Photo: Princeton University)

Artist Ladybird Cleveland photographed by
Carl Van Vechten on September 21, 1954.

Martin Luther King, Jr. raising his hands in a restaurant on September 21, 1963.

September 21,1970 -- The Oakland Athletics’s Vida Blue pitched a
no-hitter against the Minneapolis Twins, winning 6-0.

Debbie Allenand husband Norman Nixon attending 'Human Rights Now
Rally' on September 21, 1988 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Florence Griffith Joyner, affectionately called Flo-Jo, died on September 21, 1998.

September 21, 2005: Nelson Mandela shows his amazement at the presentation
 of an inscribed cricket bat by West Indian cricket legend Brian Lara.


Prince in Jet Magazine, September 21, 1978

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