March 26, 1831 â€“ The founder of the AMEChurch, Richard Allen, dies at age 71 in Philadelphia, Pa. As its first bishop, Allen set the African Methodist Episcopal Church on the path to becoming the first Black religious denomination in America to be fully independent of White control.
1944 â€“ Singer/actress Diana Ross is born in Detroit, Mich. She headed the most popular female signing group of the 1960â€™s, The Supremes.
1950 â€“ Singer Teddy Pendergrass is born in Philadelphia, Pa. For a period, Pendergrass was the leading sex symbol in R&B music. An automobile accident on March 18, 1982 left him paralyzed from the chest down.
1924 â€“Jazz singer Sarah Vaughn was born in Newark, N.J.
1970 â€“Singer Mariah Carey, was born on this day in Long Island, N.Y. Her parents are of Irish/African American/Venezuelan background.
March 28, 1900 â€“ The British demand the Ashanti Golden Stool. The Ashanti had been one of the tribes which benefited from slavery by capturing and selling their fellow Africans. But when the slave trade ended, the British turned on the Ashanti in a bid to colonize the
Gold Coast (now Ghana). In an apparent attempt to demoralize and humiliate the Ashanti, the British demanded that they turn over one of their greatest symbols â€“ the Golden Stool. The demand led to war. The British eventually prevailed.
1972 â€“ The two surviving Soledad Brothers are found not guilty by an all White jury in the alleged killing of a White guard at the California prison.
The other Soledad Brother, revolutionary writer George Jackson, had been killed during an August 1971 Marin County Courthouse escape attempt which also led to charges against college professor and communist Angela Davis. Davis was eventually acquitted.
1984 â€“ Dr. Benjamin Mays dies. The president of Atlantaâ€™s MorehouseCollege had been one of the leading Black educational figures in America during the 20th century.
1981 â€“ Dr. Eric Williams, prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, dies in Port of Spain at 79. Williams was a historian and his classic work was â€œCapitalism and Slavery.â€
1870 â€“ The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified giving Black men the right to vote. It would take the Suffrage Movement and another 50 years before women had full voting rights. But â€œJim Crowâ€ laws were passed throughout the South which in effect took away the right of Blacks to vote despite the Constitutional guarantee. African Americans did not achieve full voting rights in this country until the mid 1960â€™s.
1741 â€“ Black rebellion hysteria grips New York. A series of mysterious fires and reports of slaves plotting rebellion sweep New York, lasting through April. Thirty-one alleged slave plotters and five White sympathizers were hung.
1931-Cab Calloway recorded â€œMinnie the Moocherâ€ â€“ the first Jazz album to sell over one million copies.
1948 â€“ Labor leader A Phillip Randolph issues a threat before the Senate Armed Services Committee, declaring that unless more is done to end segregation and discrimination in the military, he would launch a campaign encouraging Black youth to employ civil disobedience to resist the draft. His threat helped to bring an end discriminatory practices in the U.S. armed forces.
1980 â€“ Olympic legend Jesse Owens dies at 66 in Tucson, Ariz. Owens won four track and field gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany embarrassing German leader Adolph Hitler and undermining his ideology of White Aryan superiority.
1868 â€“ HamptonUniversity is founded during Reconstruction in Hampton, Va. The school is now one of the leading Black educational institutions in America.
1950 â€“ Surgeon Charles Drew dies at 45 in an automobile accident near Burlington, N.C. Drew developed the concept of a blood bank for storing large amounts of plasma. Anyone who has ever received a blood transfusion is indebted to Dr. Drew. He had dedicated his life to insuring that increased scientific knowledge actually led to the betterment of human life.
1984 â€“ Sensational, Washington, D.C. born R&B singer Marvin Gaye is shot and killed by his father during an argument. Gaye was 38 â€“ just one day short of his 39th birthday. The senior Gaye later died of pneumonia.
[This Week in Black History is compiled by Robert Taylor. He welcomes comments and additions at
or brief messages at 202-657-8872.]