Today in black history: Leon Spinks stuns the world by beating Muhammad Ali, George Washington Carver builds a school, and more The Undefeated edition’s black facts for Feb. 15

1896 – George Washington Carver builds a school. A scientist known for discovering more than 300 products derived from the peanut, Carver becomes the head of the Agricultural Experiment Station and Agricultural School at Tuskegee Normal School.

1965 – RIP, Nat King Cole. The jazz pianist and singer topped charts and was the first black performer to host a series. He recorded more than 100 songs, including “Unforgettable.” He was the father of the Grammy Award-winning singer Natalie Cole.

1968 — Henry Lewis becomes the first African-American to lead a major orchestra. Lewis broke racial barriers when he was named director of the New Jersey Symphony. Lewis’ 47 years of work included transforming the symphony from an ensemble into a well-known, prestigious orchestra that performed at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.

1978 — Leon Spinks upsets Muhammad Ali for the heavyweight title. Twenty-four-year-old Spinks shocked the boxing world as he battled for 15 rounds against the 36-year-old Ali for a split-decision victory. Spinks became the heavyweight champion of the world in front of a crowd of 5,300 at the Las Vegas Hilton Sports Pavilion and millions of television viewers. Ali went into the fight as a 10-1 favorite to win.

Today in black history: Aretha Franklin records ‘Respect,’ Morehouse College established, and more The Undefeated edition’s black facts for Feb. 14

1760 — Richard Allen, founder of the first independent black denomination, is born into slavery in 1760, eventually buys his freedom and moves north. He converted to Methodism but grew tired of the mistreatment of black parishioners. He founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first national African-American church, in 1816.

1867 — Augusta Institute, now known as Morehouse College, is founded in Augusta, Georgia, by William J. White and former slave Richard C. Coulter. In 1879, the school was moved to Atlanta and its name was changed to Morehouse College after Henry L. Morehouse, the corresponding secretary of the American Baptist Home Mission Society.

1936 — National Negro Congress is organized. The inaugural meeting was held in Chicago and attended by 817 delegates representing more than 500 organizations.

1946 — Happy birthday, Gregory Hines (1946-2003). The theater, film and television actor won a Tony Award as best actor in a musical in 1992 for his portrayal of Jelly Roll Morton, the pioneering jazz composer. Hines had roles in films such as Waiting to Exhale, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club and White Nights, as well as his sitcom, The Gregory Hines Show, on CBS from 1997 to 1998. He was also a recurring character on NBC’s Will & Grace and ABC’s Lost at Home.

1966 — Wilt Chamberlain scores 41 points against the Detroit Pistons to break the NBA career scoring record, finishing the game with 20,884 career points.

1967 — Aretha Franklin records “Respect.” Fifty years ago today, Franklin, the “Queen of Soul,” recorded her iconic song in Atlantic Records’ New York studio. This Otis Redding cover became the influential soul singer’s first No. 1 hit, providing a soundtrack for the civil rights movement and proving to be an important piece of music for women who were seeking the same type of regard as men.

Today in black history: It’s time for Negro Leagues baseball, opera performance, a professional basketball team forms, and more The Undefeated edition’s black facts for Feb. 13

1920 — Negro National League is founded. There was a need for more African-American players in baseball, but the Jim Crow laws that ruled much of the South prevented players from finding teams on which they could play alongside their white counterparts. To allow African-Americans to freely showcase their talents without being banned or ridiculed, Andrew “Rube” Foster, a baseball player and manager, along with other team owners, created eight teams under the Negro National League, which was founded in Kansas City, Missouri.

1893 — Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones, simply known as Sissieretta Jones, takes her place on the main stage during a benefit concert held for the World’s Fair Colored Opera Company at Carnegie Hall, making her the first African-American to do so. Jones, a soprano who was often referred to as the “Black Patti” after famous Italian opera singer Adelina Patti, came from humble beginnings in Portsmouth, Virginia, before moving to Providence, Rhode Island, with her family.

1923 — The first black pro basketball team: The Renaissance is founded. Similar to the Negro Leagues, black basketball players desperately searched for a space they could call their own. The New York Renaissance (aka the Rens) was created by Bob Douglas, an athlete and passionate sports promoter who was known as the “father of black basketball.”

1977 — Happy birthday, Randy Moss. Born in Rand, West Virginia, the TV analyst played 14 seasons in the NFL and holds the record for touchdown receptions in a single season (23 in 2007).

2003 — Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and Shaquille O’Neal team up to lead the Western Conference All-Stars to a 137-126 win in the 2003 NBA All-Star Game. This big three may be one of the best frontcourts the league will ever see representing the West.

On this date: The greatest All-Star frontcourt ever?

Today in black history: The NAACP is born, so is Bill Russell, we get a black national anthem, and more The Undefeated edition’s black facts for Feb. 12

1900 – The Negro national anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is performed. To celebrate President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, James Weldon Johnson wrote the poem Lift Every Voice and Sing, which was turned into a song that was first performed by a group of 500 students in Jacksonville, Florida. It was later adopted by the NAACP as its official song.

1909 – NAACP is founded. Founded in 1909 in New York City by a group of black and white citizens committed to social justice, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is one of the nation’s largest civil rights organizations.

1934 – Happy birthday, Bill Russell. William Felton “Bill” Russell is one of the greatest NBA players of all time. He was player-coach of the Boston Celtics in 1968 and 1969. The five-time MVP won more championship rings than any other player. His Celtics won 11 NBA championships and went to 12 Finals during his 13 seasons. From 1959-66, they won eight straight.

1956 – Happy birthday, Arsenio Hall. Hall was the first black late-night talk show host. The Arsenio Hall Show ran from 1989-94.

2001 – Tiger Woods and Marion Jones are celebrated at the ninth ESPYS.

Today in black history: Buster Douglas beats Mike Tyson, Nelson Mandela is free, RIP Whitney Houston and more The Undefeated edition’s black facts for Feb. 11

1966 – San Francisco Giants Willie Mays signs the highest contract of his career at that time with a $130,000 salary.

1979 – Clifford Alexander, Jr. is the first African American Secretary of the Army.

1979 – Singer Brandy Norwood is born in McComb, Mississippi and raised in Carson, California. Known in the industry by her first name only, Brandy has sold more than 40 million records worldwide. She starred in the 1990s sitcom Moesha, graced Dancing with the Stars, the BET Series The Game and more.

1981 – Kelly Rowland is born in Atlanta, Georgia. Rowland moved to Houston, Texas at the age of 8. She was a quarter of the original girls group Destiny’s Child. Rowland went on to have successful solo and acting careers.

1990 – Nelson Mandela, leader of the movement to end South African apartheid, is released from prison after 27 years on February 11, 1990.

1990 – James “Buster” Douglas, against all odds, knocks out Mike Tyson in the 10th round in Tokyo, Japan to win the heavyweight boxing title.

Today in black history: RIP Alex Haley, Bill White named first black MLB announcer and more The Undefeated edition’s black facts for Feb. 10

1964 — By a vote of 290-130, the U.S. House of Representatives passes the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited any state or local government or public facility from denying access to anyone because of race or ethnic origin. It also provided the U.S. attorney general with the power to bring school desegregation lawsuits. The federal government was allowed to stop giving federal funds to companies or states that discriminated. The Civil Rights Act was signed into law on July 2, 1964.

1971 — Bill White, the former first baseman and five-time All-Star, is recommended for the New York Yankees’ play-by-play job by broadcast/radio legend Howard Cosell. White became the first African-American broadcaster for a major league team.

1989 — Attorney Ronald Brown becomes the first African-American elected national chairman of the Democratic Party. Five years later, he was named secretary of commerce by President Bill Clinton and served in that role until he was killed, along with 34 other people, in a 1996 plane crash en route to a diplomatic mission in Croatia.

1990 — South African President F.W. de Klerk announces to parliament that Nelson Mandela would be released unconditionally on Feb. 11. The news took many by surprise. Besides Mandela, other activists were also freed. The formation of a democratic South Africa would eventually result from this action.

1992 — Author Alex Haley dies. He was well-known for his novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family, which traced his family’s lineage to Africa and retells the story of seven American generations.

1997 — O.J. Simpson jury reaches decision on $25 million in punitive damages.

Today in black history: Happy Birthday Alice Walker, Satchel Paige nominated to HOF and more The Undefeated edition’s black facts for Feb. 9

1944 — Novelist Alice Walker is 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.

1953 — Author Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man wins National Book Award for Fiction. 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 — Pitcher Leroy “Satchel” Paige becomes the first Negro League veteran to be nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1995 —NASA astronaut Bernard Harris becomes the first African-American to take a walk in space during his second space shuttle flight.

Today in black history: Debi Thomas wins singles, Marcus Garvey imprisoned, and happy birthday, Klay Thompson and Gary Coleman The Undefeated edition’s black facts for Feb. 8

1925Marcus Garvey enters federal prison in Atlanta. The Jamaican-born political leader, entrepreneur and orator was known for his leadership within the Pan-African and black nationalist movements. Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), a movement that encouraged African-Americans to go back to their roots and resettle in Africa. The association grew to include 700 branches in 38 states.

1960 – Boston Celtics center Bill Russell becomes first NBA player to grab 51 rebounds in a game. He won 11 championships during his 13 seasons as a Celtic (1956–1969).

1968 – Actor Gary Coleman is born in Zion, Illinois. As a child he was diagnosed with a congenital kidney disease that stunted his growth. The tallest Coleman got in his lifetime was 4 feet, 8 inches, but his height was perfect for the roles he landed as a child star, beginning with his most memorable character, Arnold Jackson, on the popular sitcom Diff’rent Strokes (1978-86).

1986 – Figure skater Debi Thomas becomes the first African-American to win the women’s singles at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. A month later, Thomas went on to defeat East Germany’s Katarina Witt, becoming the first African-American woman to win the Women’s World Figure Skating Championships.

1990 – Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, one half of the Splash Brothers duo, is born. He goes on to become a three-time NBA champion.

Today in black history: Alcorn University is founded, Chris Rock is born, and more The Undefeated edition’s black facts for Feb. 7

1871 – Alcorn University opens. The oldest public historically black land grant institution in the country and second-oldest state-supported institution of higher learning in Mississippi is founded by former slaves in 1871, named after Gov. James L. Alcorn. Seven years after the school’s opening, Alcorn University changed its name to Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College. In 1974, Alcorn A&M became Alcorn State University after Gov. William L. Waller signed House Bill 298.

1945 – President Harry S. Truman appoints Irvin C. Mollison judge of the U.S. Customs Court, making him the first African-American appointed to a position in the federal judiciary.

1967 – Comedian, actor and talk show host Chris Rock is born in Andrews, South Carolina. He’d go on to enjoy tremendous success as a comedian, including hosting his self-titled show on HBO.

1974 – The Caribbean nation of Grenada attains its independence from Great Britain. The island was claimed as a French colony in 1674 and remained under French rule for 203 years. In 1877, the British proclaimed Grenada its colony until the natives achieved their independence 97 years later.

1989 – Future NBA point guard Isaiah Thomas is born in Tacoma, Washington.

Today in black history: Happy birthday, Bob Marley and Natalie Cole, RIP Arthur Ashe, Muhammad Ali knocks out Ernie Terrell, and more The Undefeated edition’s black facts for Feb. 6

1945 – Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley is born in St. Ann parish, Jamaica. With two friends, he formed Bob Marley and the Wailers. Marley died of cancer in 1981 at age 36. The reggae artist’s music continues to shine long after his death. Over the past two decades, Marley has sold more than 75 million albums.

1950 – Natalie Cole is born. The award-winning singer was the daughter of crooner Nat King Cole.

1967 – Muhammad Ali defeats Ernie Terrell in 15 rounds for the heavyweight boxing title.

1993 – The world mourns tennis player, civil rights activist and humanitarian Arthur Ashe, who dies of AIDS-related pneumonia in a New York hospital at 49. He contracted the disease from a blood transfusion. Off the court, Ashe advocated for equality, spoke out against South African apartheid and was arrested during a protest against U.S. policy toward Haitian refugees. After being diagnosed with the disease, Ashe pushed for more funds to be allocated to research on AIDS and created the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS shortly before his death.

1993 – Riddick Bowe defeats Michael Dokes by TKO in the first round to remain world heavyweight boxing champion.