By Micha Green, AFRO Washington D.C. Editor,

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 “Black Facts,” each month. In effort to share remind our readership if 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 May’s “Black Facts.”

May 2

Elijah McCoy’s birthday

Elijah McCoy

May 3

James Brown’s birthday

James Brown

May 10

Judith Jamison’s birthday

Judith Jamison

May 13

1962– Robert Smalls stole a Confederate Steamboat “Planter,” ran a blockade and delivered the ship to the Union forces. He was later given command of the ship and commissioned a captain in the U.S. Navy.

Stevie Wonder’s birthday

Stevie Wonder

May 17

1954- Brown v. Board of Education

A schoolgirl from Topeka, KS, Linda Brown,  with the legal representation of Thurgood Marshall, was the center of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court case, which ended segregation in schools. On May 17, Chief Justice Earl Warren issued a verdict saying, “in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place,” as segregated schools are “inherently unequal,” according to {}.

May 18

1896- Plessy v Ferguson

Plessy v. Ferguson was the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision to segregate public facilities, as long as both spaces were separate but equal.

1955-  Mary McLeod Bethune died

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune was an activist, educator and important leader in education for African Americans, particularly women.  She founded the National Council for Negro Women in 1935 and co-founded the United Negro College Fund in 1944.

May 19

1925- Malcom X born

Born in Omaha, Neb, Malcolm Little went on to become, Malcolm X (el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz), an American muslim leader and one of the most important and controversial activists in the Civil Rights movement.

Malcom X

May 21

1891—Boxer Peter Jackson fought a 61 round draw with a white boxer.

Peter Jackson

May 22

1966- Bill Cosby became 1st Black to earn an Emmy award for starring role in “I Spy.”

Bill Cosby

May 24

Singer Patti Labelle’s Birthday

Singer Patti Labelle

May 26

1955- The Voting Rights Bill was passed in the Senate

A major effort during the Civil Rights Movement was ensuring equal voting rights at the polls for Black Americans.  On May 26, 1965, the U.S. Senate passed the Voting Rights bill with a 77-19.

Actress Pam Grier’s Birthday

Actress Pam Grier

MAY 28

1851- Sojourner Truth attended Women’s Rights Convention.

Sojourner Truth attended the Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, OH and delivered her famous “Ain’t I A Woman” speech.

May 30

1822- Denmark Vesey Slave Revolt

Denmark Vesey, a literate, skilled carpenter born in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, who bought his freedom after winning the lottery, planned a secret rebellion in Charleston, S.C.  When a slave snitched about the plan to authorities, Vesey and 34 slaves were tried and executed.

MAY 31

1909- First Conference of National Negro Committee, now the NAACP   

On May 31, 1909  Black leaders met in New York to discuss ways to respond after the race riots of 1908 in Springfield, IL.  That meeting would lead to the later formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

1921- Race Riot in Tulsa, Okla.

Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor