February 6

Melvin Beaunorus Tolson (February 6, 1898 - August 29, 1966) is best known for teaching English and drama at Wiley College where he led the debate team to a 1935 national win over USC. (This was the basis for the film The Great Debaters, with Tolson portrayed by Denzel Washington.) Tolson held a BA from Lincoln University and an MA from Columbia, where his thesis was on "The Harlem Group of Negro Writers", The Harlem Renaissance had a great impact on his poetry and other writing, although he spent most of his career in Texas and Oklahoma, later teaching at Langston University. He wrote three major, book-length works of poetry, Rendezvous with America (1944), Libretto for the Republic of Liberia (1953), and Harlem Gallery (1965) and a weekly column for the Washington Tribune, "Cabbage and Caviar".


Anne Spencer (born Annie Bethel Bannister, February 6, 1882 – July 27, 1975) was an American poet and active participant in the New Negro Movement and Harlem Renaissance period. While a librarian at Washington D.C.'s Dunbar High School, a position she held for 20 years, she supplemented the original three books by bringing others from her own collection at home. Though she lived outside New York City, the recognized center of the Harlem Renaissance, also known as the New Negro Movement, she was an important member of this group of intellectuals. She was the first Virginian and first African American to have her poetry included in the Norton Anthology of American Poetry.

Merze Tate (February 6, 1905 – June 27, 1996) was a professor, scholar and expert on United States diplomacy. She was the first African American graduate of Western Michigan Teachers College, first African American woman to attend the University of Oxford, and first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in government and international relations from Harvard University (then Radcliffe College), as well as one of the first two female members to join the Department of History at Howard University.

Robert Nesta (Bob) Marley (February 6, 1945 - May 11, 1981) was a Jamaican singer-songwriter, musician and guitarist who achieved international fame and acclaim, blending mostly reggae, ska and rocksteady in his compositions. He is considered one of the most influential musicians of all time and credited with popularising reggae music around the world, as well as serving as a symbol of Jamaican culture and identity. Marley has also evolved into a global symbol and inspired numerous items of merchandise.

Natalie Maria Cole (February 6, 1950 – December 31, 2015) was an American singer, songwriter, and actress. The daughter of Nat King Cole, she rose to musical success in the mid-1970s as an R&B artist with the hits "This Will Be", "Inseparable" (1975), and "Our Love" (1977). She re-emerged as a pop artist with the 1987 album Everlasting and her cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac". In the 1990s, she re-recorded standards by her father, resulting in her biggest success, Unforgettable... with Love, which sold over seven million copies and also won Cole seven Grammy Awards. She sold over 30 million records worldwide.


Maria W. Stewart (born Maria Miller, 1803 – February 6, 1880) was an African-American domestic servant who became a teacher, journalist, lecturer, abolitionist, and women's rights activist. The first known American woman to speak to a mixed audience of men and women, whites and black, she was also the first African-American woman to make public lectures, as well as to lecture about women’s rights and make a public anti-slavery speech.

On Feb. 6, 1820, a group of 88 free Black men and women set sail for the British colony of Sierra Leone aboard a ship called the Mayflower of Liberia. The voyage marked the first organized immigration of Blacks to Africa. The group’s travel was funded by the U.S. Congress and organized by a Quaker organization called the American Colonization Society.

On February 6, 1993, Arthur Ashe -- the legendary tennis player, humanitarian and social activist for causes such as bringing an end to South African apartheid and AIDS research -- died at the age of 49 yrs. Ashe was a trailblazer and the impact of his life and work transcended his athleticism.

Photo Gallery

"A U.S. Army soldier and a Chinese soldier place the flag of their ally on the front of their jeep just before the first truck convoy in almost three years crossed the China border en route from Ledo, India, to Kunming, China, over the Stilwell road." February 6, 1945.

Gordon Parks, February 6, 1968

Olympian Gabrielle Douglas poses backstage at the Heart Truth 2013 Fashion Show at Hammerstein Ballroom on February 6, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Heart Truth)

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, on February 6, 2014.


Ruth Taylor, From Nurse to First US Hired Airline Hostess - Jet Magazine, February 6, 1958

Yvonne DeLavallade, Sister of Carmen DeLavallade, Marries Football Star Milton Davis - Jet Magazine, February 6, 1958

Emmett Till's Mother Sues Look Magazine and Reveals Marriage - Jet Magazine, February 6, 1958

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