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  THIS MONTH IN GEORGIA'S

BLACK HISTORY

 

 

RAY CHARLES June 6, 1962

Albany-born Ray Charles’ version of “I Can’t Stop Loving You” topped the popular music charts, eventually selling more than 3,000,000 copies earning Gold and Platinum Records.

 

 

 

 

JOHN HOPE was born June 11, 1970

Black educator and civil rights leader John Hope was born in Augusta. In 1895, he spoke out against Booker T. Washington’s “Atlanta Compromise” address. Hope became the first black president of Morehouse College (1906-1931) and first black president of Atlanta University (1929-1936). He also participated in the Niagara Movement and formation of the NAACP.

 

 

HENRY O. FLIPPER June 15, 1877

Georgian Henry O. Flipper became the first black to graduate from West Point Military Academy. Flipper was borna slave in Thomasville, Ga. sometime in the mid- to late-1850s.

 

 

 

 

JAMES WELDON JOHNSON was born June 17, 1871

African-American lawyer, lyricist, U.S. diplomat, civil rights activist, novelist, poet, and educator James Weldon Johnson was born in Jacksonville, Fla. He attended Atlanta University, where he wrote over 30 poems while a student. At graduation ceremonies in 1894, Johnson gave the senior address for his graduating class. Three years later, Johnson became the first black admitted to the Florida Bar, though he is even better known for composing what many consider the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” in 1899. In the early 1900s, Johnson served as U.S. consul to Venezuela and Nicaragua. In 1920, he served as executive secretary of the NAACP, later becoming a writer. In 1930, he became a professor at Fisk University. On his birthday in 1938, while driving in a thunderstorm to his summer home in Maine, Johnson’s car was hit by a train. He died from the injuries on June 26, 1938.

 

 

ALONZO HERNDON June 26, 1858

Alonzo Herndon, the first major black entrepren eur in Atlanta history, was born into slavery in Walton County, Georgia. After the Civil War, he moved to Jonesboro, where he opened a barber shop.  Within a few months, he moved to Atlanta and began working in a downtown barber shop for blacks. Before long, Herndon owned several Atlanta barbershops , though the most famous was the “A. F. Herndon’s Tonsorial Palace” which opened in 1902 on 66 Peachtree St. With mirror-lined walls, this glamorous facility was the most famous barber shop in the South — and some would say the world. Its all-black staff served an all-white clientele that included Atlanta’s leading citizens. Herndon’s real success, however, came in insurance. By the time of his death in 1927, his Atlanta Life Insurance Company served the black community in eight states. Eventually it would become the largest black-owned insurance company in the U.S.

 

 

CLARENCE THOMAS was born June 26, 1948

Future Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was born near Savannah, Georgia. After a year in seminary school, he earned an undergraduate degree from Holy Cross College, and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1974. In July 1991, President Bush nominated Thomas for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. After lengthy Senate confirmation hearings, Thomas was approved and took his oath of office in October 1991 becoming the fifth Georgia-born justice in the history of the Supreme Court.

 

 

EVANDER HOLYFIELD June 28, 1997

Atlanta boxer Evander Holyfield retained his heavyweight championship in his rematch with former champion Mike Tyson. In the strangest of matches, Tyson was disqualified at the end of the third round for biting Holyfield’s ear again after having been warned earlier.

    

 

 

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