January 15

Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968) led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, serving as its first president. With the SCLC, King led an unsuccessful 1962 struggle against segregation in Albany, Georgia, and helped organize the 1963 nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Alabama, during which he was jailed and wrote the "Letter from a Birmingham Jail". He also helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and was also outspoken on his opposition to the Vietnam War and economic injustice. He was assassinated in Memphis where he was taking part in a strike by sanitation workers. Dr. King was a graduate of Morehouse College and held a DDiv degree from Boston University, where he became aware of the tactics of nonviolent resistance first used by Gandhi.


Abby Kelley Foster (January 15, 1811 – January 14, 1887) was an American abolitionist and radical social reformer active from the 1830s to 1870s. She became a fundraiser, lecturer and committee organizer for the influential American Anti-Slavery Society, where she worked closely with William Lloyd Garrison and other radicals. Kelley's views became progressively more radical as she worked with abolitionists such as Angelina Grimké. She became an “ultra”, advocating not only the abolition of slavery, but also full civil equality for blacks. In addition, Garrison's influence led her to adopt the position of “non-resistance", which went beyond opposing war to opposing all forms of government coercion. She was married to fellow abolitionist and lecturer Stephen Symonds Foster.

Palmer C. Hayden (born Peyton Cole Hedgeman, January 15, 1890 – February 18, 1973) began sketching while working as a bellhop in Washington, D.C. at the age of 15, and later moved to New York City where he studied art at Cooper Union and Columbia while continuing to work at a variety of jobs. His later painting, The Janitor Who Paints, is a reflection of this time. In 1926 he won a prize from the Harmon Foundation that enabled him to paint in France for five years where his friendship with Alain Locke exposed him to the art of Africa. He is also known for a series depicting the legendary John Henry.

Palmer Hayden, The Janitor Who Paints, 1937

Palmer Hayden. Nous Quatre a Paris (We Four in Paris), 1930

Palmer Hayden, Hammer in his Hand, 1944

Thelma Carpenter (January 15, 1922 – May 14, 1997) was a jazz singer and actress, best known as "Miss One", the Good Witch of the North in the movie The Wiz. She began her career winning an amateur night at the Apollo Theatre in 1938, where she would be honored and perform nearly 60 years later on the 1993 all-star NBC-TV special "Apollo Theater Hall of Fame. She sang with the Coleman Hawkins and Count Basie orchestras, appeared in Broadway revues, and toured in Bob Fosse's production of Pippin. In film, she was cast as the mother of Maurice Hines and Gregory Hines in The Cotton Club.

Ernest J. Gaines (born January 15, 1933) is the author of A Lesson Before Dying, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, A Gathering of Old Men, and other acclaimed novels. He holds a bachelor's  degree in literature (1956) and after spending two years in the Army, he won a writing fellowship to Stanford University. From 1981 until retiring in 2004, Gaines was a Writer-in-Residence at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Obo Addy (January 15, 1936 – September 13, 2012) was a Ghanaian drummer and dancer who was one of the first native African musicians to bring the fusion of traditional folk music and Western pop music known as worldbeat to Europe and then to the Pacific Northwest of the United States in the late 1970s. He taught music at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon

Mario Van Peebles (born January 15, 1957) is best known for directing New Jack City in 1991.  He directed several episodes of the show as well as episodes of 21 Jump Street. Van Peebles also directed Malcolm Takes a Shot, a CBS Schoolbreak Special. He is the son of actor and filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles, whom he portrayed in the 2003 biopic Baadasssss!,  which describes the making of his father's seminal film, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. that he also co-wrote and directed.


On January 15, 1908 was founded on January 15, 1908, at Howard University in Washington, D.C., by a group of twenty students, led by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle. It is the first Greek-lettered sorority established and incorporated by African American college women. Membership is primarily for college educated women, but not all members have attended college. Forming a sorority broke barriers for African American women in areas where little power or authority existed.

On January 15, 1917, Gov. Stanley of Kentucky risked his life before a mob bent on lynching Circuit Judge Charles Bush for failure to release a negro prisoner to be lynched. He said he would give the mob "a chance to lynch the governor of Kentucky first," before he would let another negro in Kentucky be lynched. The district bar association supported Bush, saying “We, the bar of Hopkinsville, hereby reaffirm our confidence and respect in Hon. C. H. Bush, and commend him for saving the life of the negro defendant, and call attention to the fact that he is one circuit judge in this section of Kentucky, and in the south, who has placed his own life in danger for the protection of prisoners on trial before his court, and we hereby feel that the full credit for saving this negro’s life is due Judge Bush.”

Photo Gallery

Marian Anderson in Concert with pianist Kosti Vehanen January 15, 1935 Moscow, Russia

Miss Clara Camille Carroll, contributes her bit to the war effort in her daily work. She is one of the thousands of Negro girls now filling clerical positions in the Nation's Capital. January 15, 1943. Roger Smith. 208-NP-3F-3.

Demonstration on morning of VERNON DAHMER'S Funeral, January 15, 1966, Hattiesburg (Miss.). March commenced and ended at St. James Christian Methodist Episcopal Church on corner of East 7th and Atlanta streets.

Barack Obama - New Wax Figures Unveiled at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in New York on January 15, 2009 - Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum - New York City, NY, USA

Serena Williams of the United States celebrates a point in her second round match against Vesna Dolonc of Serbia during day three of the 2014 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 15, 2014


Louis Bellson Would Give Up Career For His Wife, Pearl Bailey - Jet Magazine, January 15, 1953

Atlanta Cub Scout Den Mother Mollie Myrick - Jet Magazine, January 15, 1959

Black College Bands Are Banned from Alabama Governor's Inaugural - Jet Magazine, January 15, 1959

Singer Freda Payne Lounging and Reading Jet Magazine - Jet Magazine January 15, 1970

The Life and Work of Oscar Micheaux: Pioneer Black Author and Filmmaker 1884-1951 by Earl James Young Jr.. $7.32. Publisher: KMT Publications; First Edition edition (January 15, 2003). 264 pages

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