1944 — Happy birthday, Alice Walker
Novelist Alice Walker was born in Putnam County, Georgia. Author of the acclaimed and paradigm-shifting novel The Color Purple, Walker has been an activist all of her adult life. According to her website, she believes that learning to extend the range of our compassion is activity and work available to all. She is a staunch defender not only of human rights, but of the rights of all living beings. She is one of the world’s most prolific writers, yet continues to travel the world to stand on the side of the poor, and the economically, spiritually and politically oppressed. She also stands with revolutionaries, teachers and leaders who seek change and transformation of the world.
1953 — Invisible Man wins National Book Award
Author Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man is a staple in literature and remains a powerful read and devastating indictment of the wages of racism. The nameless narrator of the novel, which was published in 1952, describes black life in the South, in New York and at a black college, while the narrator retreats to a basement living space, deeming himself invisible.
1971 — Satchel Paige nominated to Baseball Hall of Fame
On this day in 1971, pitcher Leroy “Satchel” Paige becomes the first Negro League veteran to be nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was inducted in August of that year.
1995 — Bernard Harris takes a space walk
The NASA astronaut becomes the first African-American to take a walk in space during his second space shuttle flight.