In honor of Black History Month, we seek to share with you some momentous occurrences for African-Americans in decades past and years remembered.
On this day, February 21st, in black history:
In 1804, Lemuel Haynes, the first Black minister to preach for a White congregation, became the first African-American to receive an honorary degree from a White college. Born in West Hartford, Conn. to a Caucasian mother and an African-American father, Haynes grew up to be a leading Calvinist minster in Vermont. Following the American Revolution in the 178os, Haynes began to organize against slavery with prominent figure of his time, including James Monroe and Daniel Webster. Starting in 1783, Haynes ministered to Rutland’s West Parish for thirty years and nearly twenty years later he received an honorary Master of Arts from Middlebury College, the first advanced degree ever bestowed upon an African-American.
In 1965, Malcolm X, a civil rights activist and nationalist, was assassinated following a bombing at his home.
In 1961, Otis Boykin, an African-American inventor and engineer, patented an improved electronic resistor for computers, radios, and other electronic devices. He was originally born in Dallas, Texas in 1920 to a homemaker and a carpenter. He worked extensively at aerospace laboratories at nearby colleges. He attended both Fisk University and Illinois Institute of Technology, but had to drop out because his parents could not afford his tuition. However, in his lifetime, Boykin invented 25 electronic devices, including a control unit for an artificial heart pacemaker.