September 28

On September 28, 1919, tension between Omaha workers of European descent and newly-arrived African Americans from the South, which had been inflamed during the summer by articles in the Omaha Bee reporting assaults by African Americans, resulted in a group of men storming the courthouse in an attempt to lynch Will Brown, who had been accused of rape the week before. The crowd soon grew to around 4000, burning the courthouse, and capturing Brown who was then hanged, with his body then burned and dragged though the streets. One witness to the lynching was 14-year-old Henry Fonda who watched from a nearby office building, and later said, “It was the most horrendous sight I’d ever seen… My hands were wet and there were tears in my eyes.  All I could think of was that young black man dangling at the end of a rope.” .


David Walker  (September 28, 1796 - August 6, 1830), one of the most fervent abolitionists of the first half of the 19th century, is best know for his widely-distributed 1829 pamphlet An Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World, which called for black unity and self-help as well as for whites to acknowledge the evils of slavery and racism, In it he wrote, "You have to prove to the Americans and the world that we are MEN, and not brutes, as we have been represented, and by millions treated. Remember, to let the aim of your labors among your brethren, and particularly the youths, be the dissemination of education and religion.” Walker himself was a member of May Street Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston, an all-black congregation led by Rev. Samuel Snowden, that was active in the abolition movement and in the Underground Railroad.

Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs, II (September 28, 1821 – August 14, 1874) was a prominent Presbyterian pastor and abolitionist, known for his oratory on the anti-slavery lecture circuit and for articles written for The Liberator and other publications. He worked with William Still in Philadelphiaon the Underground Railroad and for equal public accommodations in the city. In 1864 he went to North Carolina as part of the American Home Missionary Society to educate freedmen in that state, later relocating to Florida where he served as Secretary of State (1868) and Superintendent of Public Instruction (1873).

Benjamin Earl King (born September 28, 1938), better known as Ben E. King, is an American soul singer. He is perhaps best known as the singer and co-composer of "Stand by Me", a US Top 10 hit in both 1961 and later in 1986 (when it was used as the theme to the film of the same name), and as one of the principal lead singers of the R&B vocal group The Drifters.


On September 28, 1868, the Opelousas Massacre occurred in St. Landry Parish. Louisiana, after local freedmen attempted to join a Democratic political group in the neighboring town of Washington and were driven out by the Seymour Knights, the local unit of the white supremacist Knights of the White Camellia. Violence escalated in Opelousas with a confrontation ending in an estimated death toll of up to 300 African Americans, many of whom were shot trying to escape to nearby swamps. Twelve were executed the next day for their role in inciting the incident.

On September 28,1918, 22-year-old Corporal Freddie Stowers of the segregated U.S. 371st Infantry Regiment was killed in action during WWI when his unit captured the German-occupied Côte 188, a tall, heavily defended hill overlooking a farm near Ardeuil-et-Montfauxelles, in the Ardennes region of France. Cpl. Stowers was recommended for the Medal of Honor at the time, but paperwork was said to be lost. In 1990 the Army began a review of such cases, and in 1991 the Medal of Honor was presented to his surviving sisters, Georgina and Mary. An elementary school in Ft. Benning, Georgia, has been named for him.

On September 28, 1945, Todd Duncan debuted with the New York City Opera as Tonio in Il Pagliacci. He was the first African American to sing a leading role with a major American company, almost ten years before Marian Anderson sang with the Metropolitan Opera. In addition to performing, he also taught voice at Howard University for over fifty years.

September 28, 1961 was the debut of Purlie Victorious, a Broadway play written by Ossie Davis set in the Jim Crow south where Purlie Judson (Ossie Davis) and Lutiebelle Jenkins (Ruby Dee) attempt to negotiate a ploy to game an inheritance from Stonewall Cotchipee (Alan Alda) while emancipating the sharecroppers remaining on the plantation. The play was later made into the 1963 film Gone Are the Days! and the 1970 musical Purlie.

On September 28, 1961, Atlanta’s segregated restaurants and other public facilities are peacefully integrated, part of a plan adopted by city officials earlier in the year.

On September 28, 1962, Governor Ross Robert Barnett of Mississippi, a staunch segregationist, was found guilty of civil contempt of the federal court for actively opposing James Meredith’s attempt to integrate his alma mater, the University of Mississippi. United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ordered Barnett to purge himself of contempt or face arrest and a fine of $10,000 a day.

On September 28, 1972, the Secretary of the Army repealed the dishonorable discharges of 167 soldiers involved in the Brownsville (Texas) Raid of 1906. The soldiers, members of the 25th Infantry who were involved in a riot with the city’s police and merchants, had been dishonorably discharged by President Theodore Roosevelt without a trial.

Photo Gallery

Receipt for the purchase of a slave named ‘Davy’, September 28, 1850.

Woman dipping snuff while watching them make sorghum syrup at Cane Mill, on Wes Chris'
property near Carr, Orange County, North Carolina, September 28, 1939. Marion Post Wolcott

Roland Hayes performing with the Negro Soldiers Chorus at Albert Hall on September 28, 1943

September 28, 1945: US heavyweight boxer Joe Louis is presented with the Legion of Merit medal by Major-General Clarence H Kells during a ceremony at Port Hamilton. The award is in recognition of Louis' 'exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services' during his tour of army camps and hospitals.

Widow of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King still speaks out about
equality in the nation after the assassination of her husband on the set of the CBS program
 'Face the Nation,' on September 28, 1969. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

On September 28, 1976, Muhammad Ali retained the heavyweight boxing championship
 in a close 15-round decision over Ken Norton at Yankee Stadium.

Sisters Venus, right, and Serena Williams of the United States celebrate with American flags after they won
 gold during the Olympic women's doubles tennis on September 28, 2000, in Sydney's Olympic Park.

September 28, 2008 -- Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama shares a moment with his wife, Michelle, on stage at a campaign rally outside the Detroit Public Library.

Herbert W. Jones, one of only a few surviving Buffalo Soldiers, during an interview at his home on September 28, 2011, during which he said that his father had been a Buffalo Soldier as well. Mr. Jones passed away on January 7, 2012.


Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson... Callender's historic accusatory letter... FARMER'S MUSEUM, or LITERARY GAZETTE, Walpole, New Hampshire, September 28, 1802 newspaper

Ozzie Smith on the cover of Sports Illustrated, September 28, 1987

Jet Magazine, September 28, 1998
Chicago's South Side, 1946-1948 (Series in Contemporary Photography) by Wayne F. Miller. $40.00.
Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (September 28, 2000).
Series - Series in Contemporary Photography. Publication: September 28, 2000. 127 pages

Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds: The African Diaspora in Indian Country by Tiya Miles.
 $17.63. 392 pages. Publisher: Duke University Press Books (September 28, 2006)

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