September 24

On September 24, 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered the 1,200-man 327th Airborne Battle Group of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell,  Kentucky, to escort the African American students known as the Little Rock Nine into Central High School. By the same order, he federalized the entire 10,000-man Arkansas National Guard in order to remove them from the control of Governor Faubus who had tried to block the students from entering the school.


Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (September 24, 1825 - February 22, 1911) wrote poetry and short stories throughout her life but was best known for her novel Iola Leroy published when she was 67. She worked with the underground railroad and lectured on abolition as well as temperance and women's suffrage. She was a founder of the National Association of Colored Women and served as its first vice president.

"Blind" Lemon Jefferson (Lemon Henry Jefferson; September 24, 1893 - December 19, 1929) began playing the guitar in his early teens and soon began performing at picnics and parties near his hometown of Wortham, Texas. He became a street musician, playing in East Texas towns in front of barbershops and on street corners. In the early 1910s, Jefferson began traveling frequently to Dallas, where he met and played with the blues musician Lead Belly. He he was one of the first solo blues artists to have a successful recording with about 100 tracks between 1926 and 1929.

E. Franklin Frazier (September 24, 1894 - May 17, 1962) was among the most prominent African American sociologists of the early 20th century. His work, including eight books and numerous articles, examined the impact of economics, politics and racial prejudice from slavery to Jim Crow on black family life. He taught at Morehouse, Fisk, and Howard, founding the Atlanta University School of Social Work. In 1927 Frazier published his article titled "The Pathology of Race Prejudice" in Forum. Using Freudian terms, he wrote that prejudice was "abnormal behavior," characterized by dissociation, delusional thinking, rationalization, projection, and paranoia.

Herb Jeffries (born Umberto Alexander Valentino; September 24, 1913 – May 25, 2014) began his entertainment career as a teenager in Detroit ballrooms when he caught the attention of Louis Armstrong who gave him a note of recommendation for Erskine Tate at the Savoy Ballroom in Chicago. Later he toured with Earl "Fatha" Hines's Orchestra in the Deep South. While appearing at segregated movie theaters, he  conceived the idea of films starring an African American singing cowboy. Jeffries was able to market this idea and in 1937 starred in "Harlem on the Prairie", the first all-black musical western. Similar movies followed, and he became known as the "Bronze Buckaroo".

Theresa Merritt Hines (September 24, 1922  – June 12, 1998) appeared in many theatrical productions but gained fame later in life when she starred in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, for which she earned a Tony Award nomination, and The Wiz, in which she replaced Mabel King as Evelline. She then starred in the television sitcom That's My Mama. Her most notable film roles were Aunt Em in the 1978 film version of The Wiz, Mrs. Crosby in the 1977 film adaptation of Neil Simon's The Goodbye Girl, and Juanita in the Adam Sandler comedy Billy Madison. She also appeared alongside Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton in the film adaptation of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Charles Edward Greene, known as “Mean Joe” Greene, (born September 24, 1946 in Elgin TX) is a former all-pro football defensive tackle who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Throughout the early 70's, Greene was one of the most dominant defensive players in the NFL. Greene is also known for his appearance in the "Hey Kid, Catch!" Coca-Cola commercial in 1979, considered to be one of the best television commercials of all time. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1987.

Patrick Kelly (September 24, 1954 - January 1, 1990) was an American fashion designer. Born in Vicksburg, MS, he studied art at Jackson State University and attended Parsons School of Design. YSL chairman Pierre Bergé personally sponsored Kelly to form the Paris-based fashion house Patrick Kelly Paris. He became the first American and the first person of color to be admitted as a member of the Chambre syndicale du prêt-à-porter des couturiers et des créateurs de mode.


On September 24, 1786, Jupiter Hammon expressed his views on slavery when he delivered his "Address to the Negroes of the State of New York" before the African Society. Hammon wrote the speech at age seventy-six after a lifetime of slavery. It contains his famous words, "If we should ever get to Heaven, we shall find nobody to reproach us for being black, or for being slaves." He was the first African-American writer to be published in the present-day United Statesand is considered one of the founders of African-American literature.

Center Avenue YMCA in Pittsburgh opened on September 24, 1923, and was popular gathering place from 1920s through 1950s. Both black and white students attended lectures and performances there by nationally famous African-American speakers and entertainers. Black college students were able to eat, sleep and study at the YMCA. James A. Dorsey Sr., a prominent figure in the Hill's black community, became the YMCA's first educator. The building was designated a city Historic Landmark in 1995.

On September 24 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 which required government employers to take "affirmative action" to "hire without regard to race, religion and national origin". This prevented employers from discriminating against members of disadvantaged groups. In 1967, gender was added to the anti-discrimination list.

On September 24, 1977, Ku Klux Klan member Robert Edward Chambliss was indicted and charged with murder for the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. He had been arrested at the time but found guilty only of possession of dynamite without a permit. More than a decade later Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley reopened the case and at age 73, Chambliss was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. He died eight years later.

Photo Gallery

September 24,1935 Boxer Joe Louis became the first
African American boxer to draw a million dollar gate
Edgar Huff, a native of Gadsden, Alabama, enlisted in the Marine Corps on
 September 24, 1942 as one of the first African-Americans to do so.

Telegram from Paul Robeson to A. Philip Randolph, September 24, 1955

September 24, 2016 -- First Lady Michelle Obama gives former President George W. Bush a big hug at the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture today. President Bush signed the bill authorizing the NMAAHC in 2003. Photo by David  Kennerly.


Jet magazine, September 24, 1953 — Sugar Ray Robinson

Jet Magazine, September 24, 1953

Dorothy Dandridge and Laverne Andrews (of the Andrews Sisters)
Jet Magazine, September 24, 1953

Life Magazine, September 24, 1971

Annie Scott Moye, a 75-year old lifelong Baptist who has worn church crowns (hats)
since she was 21 says, "The crown is the finishing touch. When you put the crown
 on, you're completely dressed." She says you can't just go to church, " any old way."
 (Beaumont (TX) Enterprise, September 24, 2009. Photo: Valentino Mauricio)

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