September 26

Serena Janeka Williams (born September 26, 1981) holds the most major singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles combined among active players, male or female. Her record of 38 major titles puts her fourth on the all-time list and second in the open era: 22 in singles, 14 in women's doubles, and two in mixed doubles. She is the most recent female player to have held all four major singles titles simultaneously (2002–03 and 2014–15) and the third player, male or female, to achieve this record twice after Rod Laver and Steffi Graf. She is also the most recent player, together with her sister Venus Williams, to have held all four Grand Slam women's doubles titles simultaneously (2009–10).


William Levi Dawson (September 26, 1899 – May 2, 1990) was a composer and arranger who taught at Tuskegee Institute for 25 years and brought the school's choir to international prominence. His best known works are arrangements of traditional spirituals such as "Ezekiel Saw the Wheel", "Jesus Walked the Lonesome Valley", "Talk about a Child That Do Love Jesus" and "King Jesus Is a-Listening". He made guest appearances throughout the United States and abroad and was a recognized authority on the religious folk music of the American Negro.

Meredith "Flash" Gourdine (September 26, 1929 - November 20, 1998)  earned the nickname “Flash” as an intercollegiate track champion, competing in sprints, low hurdles, and long jumps. He received a B.S. in engineering from Cornell in 1952, the same year he won an Olympic medal in the long jump. Gourdine went on to earn a doctorate from Cal Tech in 1960, then founded research and development firms in Livingston NJ and Houston where he invented an engineering technique known as Incineraid to disperse smoke from buildings; it was later adapted to disperse fog from airports. Another of his inventions, Focus Flow Heat Sink, was used to cool computer chips.

Lou Myers (September 26, 1935 - February 20, 2013) was an American actor. Myers was typically typecast as a grumpy old man, but he appeared in many movies, stage plays, television sitcoms, and dramas. He got his first break as an understudy in the 1974 Broadway play, The First Breeze of Summer as Reverend Mosley. He is probably best known as the feisty Mr. Vernon Gaines in the sitcom A Different World (1987-93). Myers was also an accomplished pianist.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (born Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela, September 26, 1936) is a South African activist and politician who has held several government positions and headed the African National Congress Women's League. She is a member of the ANC's National Executive Committee. She was married to Nelson Mandela for 38 years, including 27 years during which he was imprisoned. Although they were still married at the time of his becoming president of South Africa in May 1994, the couple had separated two years earlier. For many of the years just before Mr. Mandela's release from 27 years in prison, she was his public face, bringing word of his thoughts and his state of mind.


On September 26, 1937 blues legend Bessie Smith died of injuries sustained in a wreck on Highway 61 near Clarksdale MS. Memphis surgeon Hugh Smith was first on the scene and later denied rumors she had been taken to a whites-only hospital. Her funeral at the O.V. Cato Elks Lodge in Philadelphia was attended by 7000 mourners. She was in an unmarked grave until Janis Joplin and Juanita Green bought a headstone in 1970.

On September 26, 1962, James Meredith is shown looking away from Mississippi, Lieutenant Governor Paul B. Johnson, Jr., as Johnson tells him he cannot enter the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi. Highway patrolmen blocked all entrances to the Ole Miss campus and moved from side to side in Meredith's way, blocking him and federal marshals trying to get Meredith onto the campus. (AP Photo/Jim Bourdier)

On September 26, 1962, Leon Higginbotham was appointed as a commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission in 1962, the first African American serving on any regulatory commission. Higginbotham, a graduate of Yale Law School, went on to serve as a judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.and as Chief Judge of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. He was an advisor to President Johnson and co-chaired Johnson's Kerner Commission.

On September 26, 1968 the Studio Museum of Harlem was founded in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, New York. It is the first such museum in the United States devoted to the art of African-Americans, specializing in 19th and 20th century work as well work of artists of African descent. The scope of the Studio Museum includes exhibitions, Artists-in-Residence program, education and public programming, a permanent collection, and archival and research facilities.

Photo Gallery

Emily Perez, the highest-ranking black and Hispanic female cadet in corps' history. Perez, 23, was buried
 at West Point military academy September 26, 2006 two weeks after she was killed by a bomb in Iraq

MIchelle Obama attends the first Presidential debate on September 26, 2008.


Stephani Jo Swanigan, Miss Bronze California, Visits Set of Viva Las Vegas
Jet Magazine, September 26, 1963

"We will not hesitate to either kill or die for our freedom"
The Black Panther Party (September 26, 1970)

History and Heritage of African-American Churches by L.H. Whelchel.
$10.35. 366 pages. Publisher: Paragon House (September 26, 2011)

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