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 MUHAMMAD ALI
Boxer Born: Cassius Clay, January 17, 1942 Louisville, Kentucky, USA Height 6' 3″ (1.91 m) Nicknames: “The Louisville Lip” and “The Greatest” Trademark phrase: “Floats Like A Butterfly and Stings Like a Bee” Died: June 3, 2016 Scottsdale, AZ
One of the most celebrated and controversial figures ever to emerge from the boxing ring, Muhammad Ali became known for his flamboyant style and outspoken views on social issues that earned him a position of influence in American history that extended far beyond athletics. In 1967, he refused induction into the armed services, becoming a symbol of resistance to the Vietnam War. The boxing establishment stripped Ali of his title and prevented him from fighting, until the U.S. Supreme Court in 1971 upheld his draft appeal on religious grounds. Even though he retired in 1981, his fights with Joe Frazier and George Foreman remain as the most memorable events in boxing.
1960 Olympic light heavyweight champion; three-time world heavyweight champ (1964-67, 1974-78,1978-79); defeated Sonny Liston (1964), George Foreman (1974) and Leon Spinks (1978) for title; fought Joe Frazier in three memorable bouts (1971-75), winning twice; adopted Black Muslim faith in 1964 and changed name; stripped of title in 1967 after conviction for refusing induction into U.S. Army; verdict reversed by Supreme Court in 1971; career record of 56-5 with 37 KOs and 19 successful title defenses; lit the flaming cauldron to signal the beginning of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. (Source: Infoplease.com)
MUHAMMAD ALI TRIVIA:
In retirement, Ali has remained one of the most recognized of all world figures. The 1984 revelation that he suffered from Parkinson's disease renewed debate over the negative effects of boxing. His appearance at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, to light the Olympic flame, moved an international audience. Ali learned early from the outrageous bad-guy wrestler, Gorgeous George, that it could pay to be hated. Ali said “I saw fifteen thousand people coming to see this man get beat, and his talking did it. I said, this is a gooood idea!” Then Ali refined that talking concept to what has been referred to as “The Louisville Lip.” Inducted into the Sport in Society Hall of Fame, 1994. Took an interest in boxing when his bike was stolen by local hoods. His bout with massive underdog Chuck Wepner inspired Sylvester Stallone to create the “Rocky Balboa” for the Rocky movies. Children: Daughters Rasheeda and Jamilla (twins) and Maryum (by Belinda Boyd); Miya, Khalilah, Hana, and Laila (by Veronica Porche). Sons Muhammad, Jr. (by Boyd); Asaad (adopted with Yolanda Williams). The first boxer in history to regain the championship three times by defeating the same boxer he lost the championship to. In order to pay his legal fees (when he was barred from boxing), Ali hit the college lecture circuit and even starred in the Broadway Musical Buck White. In 1962, Ali signed for Selective Service, but he failed the mental aptitude test, and was classified 1-Y (unfit for service). But, when the US armed forces required more soldiers for the Vietnam War, the pass-percentage marks for the tests were dropped to 15, meaning that Ali (and thousands of other men) was re-classified 1-A, now fit for service. Contrary to popular belief, Ali was stripped of his boxing license by the State of New York and his title by the World Boxing Association when he converted to Islam. The World Boxing Council, however, recognized him as champ throughout his battle with the U.S. government over his refusal to be inducted into the Army. Inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame, 1986. Legend has it that Ali threw his 1960 Olympic gold medal into the river, when in reality he simply lost it at some point in time. In 1999, Ali was crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC. On July 27th, 2012, Ali was a titular bearer of the Olympic Flag during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. (Source: Imdb.com, Wikipedia.com)
After losing his first fight to Ken Norton, March 31, 1973: “I never thought of losing, but now that it's happened, the only thing is to do it right. That's my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life.” “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” “I am an astronaut of boxing. Joe Louis and Dempsey were just jet pilots. I'm in a world of my own.” “At home I am a nice guy – but I don't want the world to know. Humble people, I've found, don't get very far.” “When you're as great as I am, it's hard to be humble.” “It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.” “Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” “You can't hit what you can't see; I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee!” After being rejected by the Vietnam draft the first time, because he failed the 'intelligence' portion, Casius said, “I never said I was the smartest, I said I was the greatest.”
TODAY IN BLACK HISTORY:
In 1869, Fifteenth Amendment guaranteeing the right to vote sent to the states for ratification. In 1870, Wyatt Outlaw, Black leader of the Union League in Alamance County, N.C., was lynched. In 1877, At a conference in the Wormley Hotel in Washington, representatives of Rutherford B. Hayes and representatives of the South negotiated agreement which paved the way for the election of Hayes as president and the withdrawal of federal troops from the South. In 1928, Singer “Fats” Domino born. In 1930, The Green Pastures opened at mansfield Theater. In 1946, Race riot takes place in Columbia, Tennessee. Two killed and ten wounded. In 1964, Kentucky boxer known to all as Cassius Clay, changed his name to Muhammad Ali as he accepted Islam. In 1966, Andrew Brimmer becomes the first African American governor of the Federal Reserve Board when he is appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1985, On this day at the Grammy Awards ceremony, African-American musicians won awards in several categories. Lionel Richie's 'Can't Slow Down' won best album of 1984. Tina Turner's 'What's Love Got to Do With It' took the best record slot and earned her the title Best Female Pop Vocalist. The Pointer Sisters won best Pop Group for 'Jump.'
BLACK HISTORY MONTH QUESTION OF THE DAY
Who is the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal?
a.) Alice Marie Coachman b.) Althea Gibson c.) Ora Washington
Answer: Alice Marie Coachman won the Olympic gold medal in 1948.
Source: (Madamenoire, Nwhm.org)
BLACK HISTORY MONTH SPOTLIGHT: MIFFLIN GIBBS
Mifflin Gibbs was the first black judge in U.S. History. He was born in Philadelphia in 1828. He put himself through school and cultivated his literary talents and later became a member of the underground railroad and the Philadelphia anti-slavery society. He was persuaded by Frederick Douglass and others to become an anti-slavery lecturer, then in 1850, he relocated to California, opening a store selling imported shoes and boots.
After that, he began publication of California's first black newspaper called Mirror of the Times. Then he moved to Canada. By 1866, he was elected the councilman from the white and wealthy district up there. He returned to the states, getting a law degree from Oberlin College and Mifflin Gibbs was elected a City Judge in Little Rock. Ark., becoming the first black judge in U.S. History. Later in life, he was appointed the U.S. consul to Madagascar.