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On This Day in Black History: March 31
1853
Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield made her New York debut at Metropolitan Hall, singing to an all-white audience. After the concert, she mailed apologies to her people for their exclusion and repeated the concert at the Broadway Tabernacle.
1870
Thomas P. Mundy voted in a municipal election in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, becoming the first black person to vote in the United States, following the ratification of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on March 30.
1878
Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion, was born.
1885
Botswana was declared a British protectorate by royal decree.
1930
After President Hoover nominated North Carolina judge John J. Parker to the Supreme Court, the NAACP led a successful campaign against his nomination, due to remarks he made in 1920 about African-Americans while a candidate for governor of North Carolina.
1948
A. Philip Randolph warned a U.S. Senate Committee that he would urge black youth to refuse induction unless segregation in the armed forces ended.
1960
Bishop Laurian Rugambwa of Tanzania became the first black cardinal in the Roman Catholic church.
1960
The South African government declared a state of emergency after demonstrations led to the deaths of more than 50 Africans.
1980
Jesse Owens, winner of four gold medals at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, died.
1988
Toni Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize for Beloved.
1994
The British journal Nature reported the discovery of the first complete skull of Australopithecus afarensis, thought to be mankind's earliest known ancestor, in Ethiopia.

Today's Featured Page
Sunni Ali Ber
It was not until Sunni Ali Ber, a member of the Sunni dynasty, ascended to the throne in 1464, that the rulers of Gao looked beyond the confines of the Niger valley. In 28 years he turned the kingdom of Gao into the Songhai empire. More...


Previously Featured Pages
Sundiata
Sundiata was the son of Nare Fa Maghan, king of the Mandingo, and Sogolon Conde. The union of Maghan and Sogolon was based on the prophecy that Sogolon would give Maghan a son who would be Mali's greatest king. More...

Andrew Beard
On November 23, 1897 Andrew Beard obtained a patent for his railroad car coupler—the "Jenny Coupler." The device, improved in 1899, was the precursor of today's linking mechanism. More...

The Shona
The ruins of Great Zimbabwe still stand near the modern town of Masvingo in present-day Zimbabwe. They are three hundred feet long and two hundred feet wide. The walls are thirty feet high and, in many cases, twenty feet thick. They are the symbol of important political and economic developments among the Shona-speaking peoples in the twelfth century. More...

Shaka
At age 23, Shaka was conscripted into the Izi-cwe regiment of the army of Dingiswayo, the Mtetwa king. It was during this period that he developed the fighting techniques that made his warriors terrorize southeastern Africa. More...

Augusta Savage
Born Augusta Fells in 1892 in Green Cove Springs, Florida, Augusta Savage was one of the luminaries of the Harlem Renaissance. More...

Saartje (Sara) Baartman
When Saartje (Sara) Baartman left the shores of Africa, little did she know that her body parts would be returned to her home land 187 years later and that she would fuel the racist notions of black inferiority and black female sexuality in Europe. More...


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