Ladies and gentlemen, we have come to the end of what has been a very successful Black History Month! And to end this month with a reminiscent bang, here are 10 Brilliantly Black occasions that have taken place in October. In no particular yearly order:
- 1st October 1943: First African American LA Police Chief is born.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Willie L. Williams (great name) became the first African American Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department in 1992. Williams started off as a Park Guard and then worked his way up the rankings when guards were assimilated into the police force.
- 2nd October 1958: Republic of Guinea becomes independent.
The Republic of Guinea was led into independence by Sekou Toure from French colonization. Sekou Toure was the 1st president of the Republic of Guinea from 1958 until his death in 1984.
- 3rd October 1993: The First Battle of Mogadishu.
This battle lasted 1 day, finishing on the 4th of October 1993. It took place in Mogadishu, Somalia. The war was between UNOSOM II forces (predominantly USA, Pakistani and Malaysian forces) and Somali militiamen as well as armed civilians who were loyal to the self-proclaimed to-be-president, Mohamed Farrah Aidid. There were fatal casualties on both sides but more so on Somalia’s. This was said to have been the most bloody of conflicts involving USA troops since the Vietnam war.
- 4th October 1966: Lesotho declared independent from Britain.
Lesotho, a country inside another [South Africa], was declared independent from the British on this day.
- 5th October 1957: Actor, Comedian Bernie Mac is born
Bernard Jeffrey McCullough was born in Chicago, Illinois to Jeffrey Harrison and Mary McCullough. He is best known for his TV show, “The Bernie Mac Show” for which he won Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. He was part of the “Original Kings of Comedy” along with Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer and D.L. Hughley. He also acted in movies such as Ocean’s Eleven, Transformers and even Madagascar as Zumba the Lion, Alex the Lion’s father. My personal favorite movie starring Bernie Mac is, “The Player’s Club”. I highly recommend it. Unfortunately, he passed away due to complications with pneumonia on August 9th 2008.
- 6th October 1955: First African-American Head Coach to win the Super Bowl is born.
Anthony Dungy, born in Jackson, Michigan became the 1st African-American head coach to win the Super Bowl when his Indianapolis Colts defeated the Chicago Bears on February 4th 2007. He began coaching the Indianapolis Colts in 2002 until 2008.
- 7th October 1970: Nicole Ari Parker is born.
Actress Nicole Ari Parker, born to Donald and Susan Parker and wife to
actor Boris Kodjoe is best known for her roles as Becky Barnett in the
1997 film “Boogie Nights” and as Teri Joseph in “Soul Food”. Mrs Kodjoe
often has frequent guest appearances on Real Husbands of Hollywood
(RHOH) alongside her husband Boris.
- 26th October 1911: Mahalia Jackson is born.
Mahalia Jackson was an award winning gospel singer famous for her powerful contralto voice. Her style and tone were heavily influenced by jazz music. She was adamant that on not being identified as a non-religious artist which shows how strong her religious beliefs were. She is
often referred to as the “Queen of Gospel”, famous for singing songs like”His Eye is on the Sparrow” and “Silent Night”. In an interview as to why she sangs gospel she said, “it gives me hope. With the blues, when you finish, you still have the blues.”
Mahalia Jackson passed away on January 27th 1972 from diabetes and heart failure but her voice lives on.
*Fast forward to 1997 and I was born*
- 28th October 1972: Actresses Tracee Ellis Ross and Gabrielle Union are born
Tracee Ellis Ross, the daughter of Diana Ross and Robert Ellis Silberstein, is an actress, having starred in her own sitcom called “Girlfriends”. She now plays a TV mom in the comedy series called, “Black-ish”starring alongside Anthony Anderson which addresses the factors affecting and issues faced such as keeping in touch with traditional roots and culture, racism and stereotypes.
Gabrielle Union is also an actress. She acted in a couple of sitcoms such as “Moesha” before she got into movie roles. She is best known for her roles in “Deliver us from Eva” and “Think Like a Man”. Gabrielle Union now stars in her own TV drama series called “Being Mary Jane”- highly recommended.
- AND FINALLY ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:
31ST OCTOBER 1947, Jennifer Hosten is born.
The beautiful Jennifer Osten, 1st Black Miss World was born in St George’s Hospital, Grenada and 22 years later, she won the Miss World pageant. Needless to say, there was a lot of controversy with this decision considering the times, racially fueled insults were thrown at Miss Hosten. The runner-up to Miss Hosten was also of African descent. Pearl Jansen, Miss Africa South, came second, making this the first time that both winner and runner up were not white. This resulted in an uproar with fans booing at the host, Bob Hope, and throwing flower bombs at him.
Also on this day was the arrest and charging of African-American rapper 2Pac for the alleged shooting of two off-duty Atlanta police officers; the charges were later dropped and 2Pac cleared of the allegations.
These are but a few highlights on Black Historical moments during the month of October but to name a few.
-Author: KC Bassey.
KC is a first year architecture student at the Sheffield Hallam University.