Black History Month: February 2020 To recall and celebrate the positive contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week beginning on Feb. 12, 1926. In 1976, as part of the nation's bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month.
TODAY'S SPOTLIGHT ON MAGIC JOHNSON
Basketball player and entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson, one of the best basketball players of all-time, has demonstrated his leadership ability not just on the court but also in the urban community as an entrepreneur and AIDS awareness advocate. Johnson, who was a member of five NBA championship teams, won the NBA's MVP Award and Finals MVP Award three times each. He was forced to retire in 1991 after learning he was HIV positive. After a brief attempted comeback, Johnson began his second career by opening movie theaters in underprivileged neighborhoods. Johnson was a part-owner of the Lakers for several years, and was part of a group that purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012. Johnson runs Magic Johnson Enterprises, a company that has a net worth of $700 million. The company includes, Magic Johnson Productions, Magic Johnson Theaters and Magic Johnson Entertainment. In 2012, he also launched Aspire TV — a network targeted towards African-Americans.
MAGIC JOHNSON TRIVIA:
Born: August 14, 1959 in Lansing, Michigan Education: Everett High School, Michigan State University Height: 6'9″ Position: Guard Drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979 NBA Experience: 13 seasons Won a gold medal at 1992 Olympics as part of the Dream Team. Was a 12-time NBA All-Star. Got his nickname Magic while at Everett High School in Lansing, Michigan. Received the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for all of his work promoting AIDS awareness. Was elected to NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. Served as executive producer of Beauty Shop and Brown Sugar which was released in 2002. Used to host his own talk show The Magic Hour. Launched his Magic Johnson Music record label through MCA Records in 2000. The first act signed to the label was Avant. Averaged 19.5 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game, and 11.2 assist per game in his 13 NBA seasons. Became part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1994.
TODAY IN BLACK HISTORY:
In 1704, Elias Neau, a Frenchman, opened school for Blacks in New York City. In 1708, Slave revolt, Newton, Long Island (N.Y.). Seven whites killed. Two Black male slaves and an Indian slave were hanged, and a Black woman was burned alive. In 1778, Rhode Island General Assembly in precedent-breaking act authorized the enlistment of slaves. In 1859, Arkansas legislature required free Blacks to choose between exile and enslavement. In 1871, Second Enforcement Act gave federal officers and courts control of registration and voting in congressional elections. In 1879, Southern Blacks fled political and economic exploitation in “Exodus of 1879.” Exodus continued for several years. One of the major leaders of the Exodus movement was a former slave, Benjamin (“Pap”) Singleton. In 1942, Race riot took place at the Sojourner Truth Homes in Detroit. In 1943, Porgy and Bess opened on Broadway with Anne Brown and Todd Duncan in starring roles. In 1984, Michael Jackson won eight Grammy Awards. His album, Thriller, broke all sales records to-date, and remains one of the top-grossing albums of all time.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH QUESTION OF THE DAY:
U.S. representative Barbara Jordan earned which distinction in 1976?
A. She became the first female African-American keynote speaker at a national political convention. B. She headed the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. C. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The answer is A: She became the first female African-American keynote speaker at a national political convention.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH SPOTLIGHT: Robert H. Lawrence, Jr.
Chicago native Robert H. Lawrence, Jr., America's first African-American astronaut, was finally recognized when his name was added to The Astronauts Memorial Foundation Space Mirror, in ceremonies at Kennedy Space Center on December 8th 1997. Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr. was killed in a training flight on December 8th, 1967. The first black American in space was Guion Stewart Bluford, Jr. This occurred on August 30th, 1983.