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Daily Black History Facts for April 1st
1949: “Happy Pappy”, the first black variety show series with an all-black cast is televised on WENRTV
1949: Gilbert “Gil” Scott-Heron (April 1, 1949 –
May 27, 2011), a soul and jazz poet, musician, and
author was born in Chicago, IL. He was known
primarily for his work as a spoken word performer
in the 1970s and ‘80s. His collaborative efforts with
musician Brian Jacksonfeatured a musical fusion
of jazz, blues, and soul, as well as lyrical content
concerning social and political issues of the time,
delivered in both rapping and melismatic vocal
styles by Scott-Heron. His own term for himself
was “bluesologist”, which he defined as “a scientist
who is concerned with the origin of the blues.”
His music, most notably on Pieces of a Man and
Winter in America in the early 1970s, influenced
and helped engender later African-American music
genres such as hip hop and neo soul.
Besides influencing contemporary musicians,
Scott-Heron remained active until his death, and
in 2010 released his first new album in 16 years,
entitled I’m New Here. A memoir he had been
working on for years up to the time of his death, The
Last Holiday, was also published, posthumously in
His recording work received much critical acclaim,
especially one of his best-known compositions
“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” His poetic
style has influenced every generation of hip hop.
1950: Death of Charles Richard Drew (June 3, 1904
– April 1, 1950), a physician, surgeon, & medical
researcher. He was considered the “father of the blood
bank” for his research in the field of blood transfusions,
developing improved techniques for blood storage, and
applied his expert knowledge to developing large-scale
blood banks early in World War II. This allowed medics to
save thousands of lives of the Allied forces. The research
and development aspect of his blood storage work is
disputed. As the most prominent African-American in
the field, Drew protested against the practice of racial
segregation in the donation of blood, as it lacked scientific
foundation, an action which cost him his job.
1939: Singer-songwriter & musician, Marvin Gaye (born
Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984) was
fatally shot by his father, Marvin Gay, Sr. a day before
his 45th birthday, at their house in the West Adams
district of Los Angeles. Since his death, Gaye has been
posthumously honored by many institutions, including
the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Rhythm
and Blues Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame.
1899: North Carolina Mutual opened doors for business.
It was founded by local black social leaders, its business
increased from less than a thousand dollars in income in
1899 to a quarter of a million dollars in 1910. It is one
of the largest companies founded by African Americans,
and it is the largest and oldest African American life
insurance company in the United States today.
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