September 27

Hiram Revels (September 27, 1827 - January 16, 1901) was the first African American U.S. Senator, being elected to fill an unexpired term by the Mississippi State Senate in 1870. Revels begin his political career as a Natchez alderman in 1868 and was elected to the State Senate the next year. Ordained as an A.M.E. pastor, he was a chaplain during the Civil War, but then switched to the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was later president of what is now Alcorn State University, and taught at Rust College while serving as Presiding Elder (now called District Superintendent) of the Upper Mississippi District of the Methodist Episcopal Church.



John Sella Martin (September 27, 1832 - 1876) escaped slavery in 1856 by forging freedom papers for himself, settling first in Chicago where he began lecturing on the abolitionist circuit with fellow escapee H. Ford Douglas and a Baptist minister from Michigan. He himself was ordained two years later, pastoring predominantly white churches in Detroit and Buffalo before before moving in 1860 to Joy Street Baptist Church, the oldest black church in Boston. Martin remained there until 1863 when he became a representative of the American Missionary Association (AMA). He lectured in Europe for the AMA, including a notable speech at the Paris Anti-Slavery Conference on August 27, 1867, and also worked with the AMA in the South to promote Reconstruction,

Rudolph "Bud" Powell (September 27, 1924 – July 31, 1966) was a jazz pianist born in Harlem. Though Thelonious Monk was a close friend and mentor, his greatest piano influence was Art Tatum. While on tour with Cootie Williams's Orchestra in 1945 he was severely beaten by railroad police at Philadelphia's Broad Street Station, which led to repeated hospitalization and electro-shock treatments.  He was able to continue performing until the mid-fifties and the 1953 album Jazz at Massey Hall with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach, is considered the high point of his career. The 1986 film Round Midnight was based on his life; he was portrayed by Dexter Gordon, and Herbie Hancock received an Oscar for the score.

Francis Gregory Alan "Greg" Morris (September 27, 1933 – August 27, 1996) was an American television and movie actor. He was best known for portraying Barney Collier in Mission: Impossible. He began his acting career in the 1960s making guest appearances on many TV shows including a cameo appearance on The Dick Van Dyke Show in the episode "That's My Boy?", where Rob becomes convinced that they've taken home the wrong baby from the hospital. The revelation of Morris' character as the other child's father prompted a record setting bout of laughter from the studio audience In 1966, he was cast in his most recognizable role as the electronics expert Barney Collier in the TV series Mission: Impossible.

Mamie "Peanut" Johnson (born Mamie Belton, September 27, 1935) became a member of the Indianapolis Clowns at the age of 19 and pitched for three years. finishing  her career with a record of 33-8 and hitting between .252 and .284 each season. When not pitching, she played second base. For two seasons as a member of the Clowns, Johnson was a teammate of future home run leader Hank Aaron. She credits her pitching success to a lesson from Satchel Paige who taught Johnson to throw her curve ball. After baseball she worked as a nurse and currently runs the Negro Leagues Baseball Shop in Bowie, Maryland, selling Negro League memorabilia.

Donald Cortez Cornelius (September 27, 1936 – February 1, 2012) was an American television show host and producer who was best known as the creator of Soul Train, which he hosted from 1971 to 1993. Originally a journalist inspired by the civil rights movement, he recognized that in the late 1960s there was no TV venue in the United States for soul music. In 1970, he launched Soul Train as a daily local show in Chicago. The program entered national syndication and moved to Los Angeles the following year. (art by Muhammad Yungai)

Stephanie Diana Wilson (born September 27, 1966) is an American engineer and a NASA astronaut. She flew on her first mission in space on board the Space Shuttle mission STS-121, and is the second African American woman to go into space, after Mae Jemison. She holds a BS in engineering from Harvard (1988) and an MS in aeronautical engineering from the University of Texas (1992), and had worked for Martin Marietta Astronautics Group in Denver, Colorado and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California before being accepted by NASA as an astronaut in 1996.


On September 27, 1862 the First Louisiana Native Guard USA (Corps d'Afrique) was organized in New Orleans by Major General Benjamin Butler. Many of the original 1000 soldiers had served in the Confederate Army regiment of the same name. It was primarily used as a labor and guard detail but saw combat at Port Hudson, and was one of the few units to have African American line officers (lieutenants and captains).

On September 27, 1876 Edward Bannister’s painting “Under The Oaks” won first prize at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. After finding out that Bannister was African American, the judges discussed rescinding the award. However, many of the artists he had competed against stood behind the decision to award the prize to Bannister, and he kept the first-place medal. The original painting has been lost but a preliminary sketch remains.

On September 27, 1912, W. C. Handy, the "Father of the Blues," published the first blues song entitled "Memphis Blues".  It was originally written as a campaign song for mayoral candidate E. H. Crump which merged the blues sound with popular ragtime style.

Photo Gallery

In response to the urging of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that they do so, Louis Gregory, an African-American man,
and Louisa Mathew, a British woman, were married on September 27, 1912 in New York City.

The sitcom Amen debuted on September 27, 1986
September 27, 1987 -- Men playing chess on the hood of a car at 62nd Street between Langley and Champlain Avenues, Chicago. Photograph by Stephen Marc.

"The Last King of Scotland" premiered September 27, 2006

Obama waves to supporters at a university campaign rally
in Washington, VA, on a wet September 27, 2008.

"On September 27, 2014 we reposted this photo from @thehowarduconnection
featuring 3 brown ballerinas from Howard University."


"Negro expulsion from railway car, Philadelphia". Artist unknown.
Wood engraving in Illustrated London News, September 27, 1856

Jet Magazine, September 27, 2010

Schooling the Freed People: Teaching, Learning, and the Struggle for Black Freedom,
 1861-1876 by Ronald Butchart. $20.54. 336 pages.
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press (September 27, 2010)

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