September 22

Atlanta Race Riot of 1906 (Le Petit Journal, October 7, 1906)
On September 22, 1906, a race riot began in Atlanta when a white mob of over 5000 began attacking African Americans after local newspapers published erroneous and inflammatory reports of assaults on white women. This followed a summer-long gubernatorial campaign with both sides using the press to promote their platforms of racism and disenfranchisement. Order was eventually restored by the state militia on the September 25, with casualty estimates ranging from 25 to 100African Americans, and 2 whites


Michael Augustine Healy (September 22, 1839 - August 30, 1904) was a captain in the US Revenue Cutter Service (later the US Coast Guard). After Seward's Alaska Purchase in 1867, Healy patrolled the 20,000 miles of Alaskan coastline for more than 20 years, earning great respect from the natives and seafarers alike and was known as "Hell Roaring Mike." He is considered the first African American to command a ship of the US government, although he identified as Irish American during his lifetime. He and his siblings were born enslaved in Georgia but educated in the North. Three brothers entered the priesthood, with James becoming the first African American Roman Catholic bishop and Patrick becoming President of Georgetown University.

George Washington Murray (September 22, 1853 - April 21, 1926) was born in South Carolina in 1853 to enslaved parents. He attended public schools, the University of South Carolina, and the State Normal Institute at Columbia, where he graduated in 1876. After graduating, Murray taught school and worked as a lecturer for the Colored Farmers’ Alliance for 15 years. In 1892, he was elected to represent South Carolina’s Seventh Congressional District, the last Republican from South Carolina to serve in Congress until 1980.

Alma Woodsey Thomas (September 22, 1891 – February 24, 1978), was the first graduate of the Howard University Fine Art Department and also held an MFA from Columbia University. She taught art at Shaw Junior High in Washington DC from 1924 until her retirement in 1960, when she was able to work full-time as an artist. Her paintings have been compared to Byzantine mosaics and the pointillist paintings of Georges-Pierre Seurat, and she was the first African American woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Two of her paintings, Watusi (Hard Edge) and Skylight, were chosen in 2009 to be among the art displayed in the Obama White House.

Watusi (Hard Edge) by Alma Thomas, 1943

The Stormy Sea by Alma Thomas

Attorney Charles L Black, Jr (September 22, 1915 - May 5, 2001) taught Constitutional Law at Columbia and Yale for a total of 52 years. He worked with Thurgood Marshall on Brown v Board of Education. A lifelong fan of jazz, he was featured in the Ken Burns documentary Jazz: A History of American Music, where he related hearing Louis Armstrong perform at an Austin hotel in 1931. This experience, he said, started his interest in race and civil rights. "If a whole race of people finds itself confined within a system which is set up and continued for the very purpose of keeping it in an inferior station, and if the question is then solemnly propounded whether such a race is being treated 'equally,' I think we ought to exercise one of the sovereign prerogatives of philosophers — that of laughter." 

Betty Reid Soskin, born September 22, 1921 is the oldest National Park Service Ranger. During World War II she worked as a file clerk for the segregated Boilermakers Union A-36. She and her first husband, Mel Reid, then founded Reid's Records in Berkeley which is still in operation. While working as a field representative for California State Assemblywomen Dion Aroner and Loni Hancock she became involved in planning and development of a park to memorialize the role of women on the Home Front during World War II. The " Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park" was opened in 2000, and she currently serves as a guide.

Virginia Capers (September 22, 1925 - May 6, 2004) won the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical in 1974 for her performance as Lena Younger in Raisin, a musical version of Lorraine Hansberry's play A Raisin in the Sun. She made many guest appearances on television shows over the years, ranging from Have Gun Will Travel to ER and  The Practice. She also appeared in dozens of movies, including The Great White Hope (1970), Lady Sings the Blues (1972), Howard the Duck (1986), and Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986). She founded the Lafayette Players, a Los Angeles repertory company for African-American performers and received thePaul Robeson Pioneer Award, and the NAACP Image Award.

James M. Lawson, Jr. (born September 22, 1928) was a leading theoretician of the Civil Rights Movement. He spent a year in prison as a conscientious objector during the Korean War and three years as a missionary in India where he learned principals of nonviolence. He was southern director of CORE, and while a seminary student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville he taught nonviolent resistance to many young activists including Diane Nash, James Bevel, and John Lewis. He was also pastor of Centenary Methodist Church in Memphis and chaired the 1968 strike committee for sanitation workers.

Cecil Williams (born September 22, 1929) was pastor of Glide United Methodist Church in San Francisco for 47 years and now serves as Minister of Liberation for the related Glide Foundation, the largest social service provider in San Francisco. Glide was one of the first churches to welcome LGBQT people and other non-traditional members, and both Williams and the church are featured in the 2006 film The Pursuit of Happyness. He is a graduate of Huston-Tillotson University and was one of the first five African American graduates of SMU's Perkins School of Theology in 1955.

Robert G. Stanton (born September 22, 1940) was the first African American to be appointed as the Director of the Park Service, serving 1997-2001. Robert Stanton was born in Fort Worth, Texas, where he grew up in Mosier Valley, one of the oldest African-American communities in the state. He earned a B.S. degree in 1963, from Huston-Tillotson University. Stanton currently works as an adjunct professor at Texas A&M teaching courses on conservation. He has also taught at Yale University and been the recipient of numerous awards for his civic work and environmental stewardship.


On September 22, 1862, five days after the Union victory at Antietam, President Lincoln called his cabinet into session and issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. According to Civil War historian James M. McPherson, Lincoln told Cabinet members that he had made a covenant with God, that if the Union drove the Confederacy out of Maryland, he would issue the Emancipation Proclamation, announcing that if the South did not end the fighting and rejoin the Union by January 1, 1863, all slaves in the rebellious states would be free. Lincoln had first discussed the proclamation with Secretary of State William Seward of July 13 of that year.

First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln by Francis Bicknell Carpenter.

On September 22, 1950, Ralph Bunche received the Nobel Prize—the first African American and the first person of color in the world to be so honored. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for his successful mediation of a series of armistice agreements between the new nation of Israel and its Arab neighbors Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. It remains the only time that all the parties to the Middle East conflict signed armistice agreements with Israel.

On September 22, 1961, after six months of protests, arrests, and press conferences by the Freedom Riders, the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) finally outlawed discriminatory seating practices on interstate bus transit and ordered the removal of "whites only" signs from interstate bus terminals by November 1. Activists vowed to step up the pressure to enforce the ruling.

On September 22, 1963, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and members of the All Souls Church, Unitarian located in Washington, D.C. marched in memory of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing victims. The banner, which says “No more Birminghams”, shows a picture of the aftermath of the bombing.

On September 22, 1967, Washington D.C.'s Anacostia Museum dedicated (known as the ACM) opened its doors. It is one of nineteen museums under the Smithsonian Institution (located on the Washington Mall) and was the first federally funded community museum in the United States. The museums focus is to inform the community of contributions by African Americans to U.S. political, social, and cultural history.

Photo Gallery

A company of African American soldiers of the US Army working at a makeshift
 office located at an ancient Neptune temple in Italy, 22 September 1943.

Mrs Louise Pusey and Mrs Violet Johnston waiting for friends to collect them
 at Waterloo Station, London, taken by Lauder for the Daily Herald newspaper on
 22 September, 1954. The two Jamaican women came to London in 1954.

September 22, 1958, NY Governor Averell Harriman visits Martin Luther King
 and Coretta Scott King at Harlem Hospital, NYC

September 22, 1985 Robert Guillaume won an Emmy for best leading actor in a comedy for Benson.


Letters of Support Sent To Mother of Emmett Till
Jet Magazine, September 22, 1955

Will Mississippi Whitewash the Emmett Till Killing
 Jet Magazine, September 22, 1955

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