1944 — Harry S. McAlphin became the first African American to be accredited to attend a White House press conference. McAlpin was born on July 21, 1906, in St. Louis, and studied journalism and advertising at the University of Wisconsin. He was a former Navy war correspondent and reporter for the National Negro Press Association and the Atlanta Daily World. When he attended his first presidential press conference, President Franklin D. Roosevelt shook his hand and said, “I’m glad to see you, McAlpin, and very happy to have you here.”
1986 — Oprah Winfrey becomes the first African American woman to host a nationally syndicated talk show.
1944 — Novelist Alice Walker was born in Eatonton, Georgia. Walker is perhaps best known as the author of “The Color Purple” and more than 20 other books and poetry collections.
1953 — Author Ralph Waldo Ellison’s novel Invisible Man wins the National Book Award for Fiction The novel explores the theme of a person’s search for their identity and place in society, as seen from the perspective of the first-person narrator, an unnamed Black man, first in the Deep South and then in the New York City of the 1930s.
1971 — Leroy “Satchel” Paige is nominated into the Baseball Hall of Fame. A pitcher. Was the first Negro League veteran to be nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame. In August of that year, Paige, a pitching legend known for his fastball, showmanship and the longevity of his playing career, which spanned five decades, was inducted. He was on the roster of the St. Louis Browns from 1951–1953.
1995 — Astronaut Bernard Harris became the first African American to walk in space during the second of his two Space Shuttle flights.
1927 — Leontyne Price, who became an internationally acclaimed opera singer, was born in Laurel, Miss. 1964 — After 12 days of debate and voting on 125 amendments, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It passed in the U.S. Senate on June 19, 1964. After the House agreed to a subsequent Senate amendment, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964.
1966 — Economist Andrew Brimer is appointed by President Lyndon Johson In 1966, to the board of governors of the Federal Reserve, becoming the first African American in that position.
1961 — Robert Weaver sworn in as administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency.
1976 — Clifford Alexander Jr. confirmed as the first Black secretary of the United States Army.
1990 — Nelson Mandela is released from a South African prison after being detained for 27 years as a political prisoner.
1865 — Henry Highland Garnet, first Black person to speak in the Capitol, delivered memorial sermon on the abolition of slavery at services in the House of Representatives.
1909 — The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded. The call for the organizational meeting was issued on the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth by 47 whites and six Blacks.
1948 — First Lt. Nancy C. Leftneant became the first Black person accepted in the regular Army Nursing Corps.
1923 — The first Black professional basketball team, “The Renaissance”, was organized.
1970 — The New York Stock Exchange admits its first Black member, floor member, and floor broker, Joseph Searles.
1936 - National Negro Congress was formed at Howard University as a broadly based organization with the goal of fighting for Black liberation.