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James Weldon Johnson

Source: FPG / Getty

For a Lincoln birthday celebration, James Weldon Johnson writes the lyrics for “Lift Every Voice and Sing”. With music by his brother, J. Rosamond, the song is first sung by 500 children in Jacksonville, Fla. It will become known as the “Negro National Anthem”.

1903

American baritone opera singer Todd Duncan, the first performer of the role of Porgy in Porgy and Bess, is born in Danville, Kentucky. Duncan would be the first African American to sing with a major opera company and the first black person to sing in an opera all white cast, when he performed the role of Tonio in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci with the New York City Opera.

1909
NAACP ~ Founded in New York City by a group of black and white citizens committed to social justice, following a riot that took place in Springfield Il. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the nation’s largest and strongest civil rights organization.

1983

James Herbert “Eubie” Blake ~ (composer and pianist) dies in New York City at age 100
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