As the “Black Media Authority,” the AFRO is committed to educating readers by sharing Black history, while also offering news, trends, issues and modern stories in the African American community. Beyond Black History month, the AFRO is featuring historic “AFRO Facts,” each month. In an effort to remind our readership of just how long we’ve been around, we are sharing content from our archives, where we’ve canonized Black history for 127 years. These important dates were major contributions and occurrences for Black people then and now. Below are some of July’s “AFRO Facts.”

AFRO Facts

July 1

1899 Thomas Dorsey, the Father of Gospel music born.

Thomas Dorsey

1889 Frederick Douglass named Minister to Haiti.

Frederick Douglass

1873 James Smith First Black to enter West Point. 

1873  Henry O. Flipper enters West Point Academy.

1917 East St. Louis riots, occurs 

1987 Three Black women become presidents of Black Colleges: Dr. Niara Sudarkasa,

                  (Lincoln University); Dr. Johnetta Cole–(Spelman College) and Dr. Gloria Scott

                  (Bennett College)

1962 Actor and producer, known for Homicide: Life on the Street, Actor Andre Braugher born 

2014 Michelle Howard is the first Black female to become a four star Admiral in U.S. Navy.


July 2

1777 Vermont is the first colony to abolish slavery.

1908- Thurgood Marshall born

Thurgood Marshall

1925 Civil Rights Fighter Medgar Evers born 

1943 Lt. Charles Hall of  Brazil, Ind., was the first Black pilot to shoot down a Nazi plane


July 3

1775 Prince Hall Masons formed. The Prince Hall Masons are the oldest and largest group of Masons of African origin in the world. Today there are forty Grand Lodges of Prince Hall Freemasonry in the United States, Canada, the Bahamas, and Liberia.

1956  Former TV Host from Baltimore, Montel Williams, born

Montel Williams

1962 Jackie Robinson named to Baseball Hall of Fame


July 6

1931 Singer Della Reese born

1949- Singer Phyllis Hyman born

1957 Althea Gibson, first Black woman to win women’s title at Wimbledon 

Althea Gibson

Gibson was the first African-American tennis player to compete at the U.S. National Championships in 1950 and the first Black female athlete to compete and win a women’s title at Wimbledon, allowing her to successfully break barriers in other sports as well, such as golf.

1971 Louis Armstrong dies

Louis Armstrong


July 7

1948 Cleveland Indians sign Negro League’s Satchel Paige.

1972 WNBA player Lisa Leslie born in Gardena, Calif., and signed a contract with the WNBA in 1997 She was also the first WNBA player to win a regular season MVP season.


July 8

1914 Jazz singer  William “Billy” Eckstine born.  Billy Eckstine died on March 8, 1993. Eckstine was an American jazz and pop artist. He faced many issues in his lifetime because of his mixed-race. He was one of the many artists to reshape jazz by the end of the decade.

William “Billy” Eckstine


Venus Williams reached the semifinals of the Australian Open for the first time and lost, however when she teamed with her sister, together they successfully won the tier II tournament.

2010  Harold David Blackwell died, mathematician and statistician is first Black elected to the National Academy of Sciences.