January 25

Ladies of Song -- Florence Mills (January 25, 1896 - November 1, 1927), Etta James (January 25, 1938 - January 20, 2012), and Alicia Keys (born January 25, 1981)

George Freeman Bragg (January 25, 1863 – March 12, 1940) was an Episcopalian priest and activist, working against racial discrimination within the church and beyond. As a boy he delivered newspapers in  Petersburg, Virginia, establishing a relationship with the editor of the Petersburg Index and other white civic leaders. After a term as a page in the Virginia House of Delegates, he founded the weekly Petersburg Lancet, dedicated to civil rights issues. He graduated from Bishop Payne Divinity School in 1886 and was ordained a deacon the following year. He successfully challenged a rule that black deacons wait at least five years before ordination as priests, and was ordained a priest in 1888. After serving in Norfolk for five years, he was assigned to St. James Episcopal Church in Baltimore where he was rector for almost fifty years. He served as secretary and historiographer of the Conference of Church Workers among Colored People, which lobbied, among other things, for the election and consecration of black bishops, and he personally mentored over 20 African American priests. He worked with Booker T. Washington to prevent disenfranchisement in Maryland due to Jim Crow laws, and was among the founders of the NAACP.


Florence Mills (born Florence Winfrey, January 25, 1896 – November 1, 1927) began performing with her sisters at age six in a vaudeville act known as The Mills Sisters. became well known in New York as a result of her role in the successful Broadway musical Shuffle Along (1921) at Daly's 63rd Street Theatre (barely on Broadway), one of the events marking the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance. In 1924 she headlined at the Palace Theatre, the most prestigious booking in vaudeville, and became an international star with the hit show Lew Leslie's Blackbirds (1926). Among her fans when she toured Europe was the Prince of Wales, who told the press that he had seen Blackbirds 11 times.

Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins; January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012) was an American singer who performed in various genres, including blues, R&B, soul, rock and roll, jazz and gospel. Starting her career in 1954, she gained fame with hits such as "The Wallflower", "At Last", "Tell Mama", "Something's Got a Hold on Me", and "I'd Rather Go Blind".  She won six Grammy Awards and  was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. Rolling Stone magazine ranked her number 22 on its list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time and number 62 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists.

Sheila Johnson (born January 25, 1949) was the cofounder of Black Entertainment television along with ex-husband Robert Johnson, Sheila Johnson has a net worth estimated to be around $400 million. She was the first African-American woman to attain a net worth of at least one billion dollarsand to be an owner or partner in three professional sports franchises: the Washington Capitals (NHL), the Washington Wizards (NBA), and the Washington Mystics (WNBA). Johnson is currently CEO of Salamander Hospitality, a company she founded in 2005.

Gloria Naylor (January 25, 1950 – September 28, 2016) was best known for her first novel, The Women of Brewster Place, which won the 1983 National Book Award's First Novel category and was made into a 1984 film starring Oprah Winfrey and Robin Givens. She held a bachelor's degree in English at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York (1981) and a master's degree in African American Studies from Yale University (1983) and taught writing and literature at George Washington University, New York University, Boston University, and Cornell University..

Alicia Keys (born Alicia Augello Cook, January 25, 1981) has won numerous awards such as 15 Grammy Awards, and has sold over 35 million albums and 30 million singles worldwide. Billboard magazine named her the top R&B songs artist of the 2000s decade. In 2010, VH1 included Keys on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. She made her first television appearance on The Cosby Show in 1985 as a four year old child. She made her film debut in Smokin' Aces and later in The Nanny Diaries in 2007. Keys then had a NAACP Image Award nominated appearance in The Secret Life of Bees in 2008.


On January 25, 1859, Dr. John Doy and his son set out to lead thirteen enslaved men to freedom in the Nebraska Territory. They were captured twelve miles outside of Lawrence, Kansas, and taken to St. Joseph, Missouri, to be put on trial where Dr. Doy was sentence to five years in prison. He was freed by ten associates known as the "immortal ten" led by Major James Abbott on September 23, 1859.

On January 25, 1890, The National Afro-American League was formed by Timothy Thomas Fortune. Preceding the foundation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the organization dedicated itself to racial solidarity and self-help. The organization became defunct in 1893 due to lack of support and funding. In September 1898, Fortune presided at a meeting in Rochester, New York, called by A.M.E. Zion Bishop Alexander Walters, for the purpose of rejuvenating the League. The new organization, named the National Afro-American Council, existed until about 1908. Walters was the first president of the Council, while Fortune was the first chairman of the executive committee.

Nora Douglas Holt (1885 or 1890 – January 25, 1974) was an American singer, composer and music critic, who was born in Kansas and was the first African American to receive a master's degree in the United States. She composed more than 200 works of music and was associated with the leading figures of the Harlem Renaissance and the co-founder of the National Association of Negro Musicians. (Portrait by Carl Van Vechten, 1955)

On January 25, 1980, the cable channel Black Entertainment Television (BET) premiered. Initially broadcasting for two hours a week as a block of programming on Nickelodeon (it would not be until 1983 that BET became a full-fledged channel), the network's lineup consisted of music videos and reruns of popular black sitcoms.

Photo Gallery

Dated January 25, 1870, these are the credentials for Senator Hiram Rhodes Revels of Mississippi, the first African American to serve in the Senate.

Young Boys Shucking Oysters, Apalachicola, FL January 25, 1909

Bo Obama Plays In The Snow A very important update from the White House's cutest tenant. posted on January 25, 2013 at 5:24pm EST

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