Feb. 11


1990- Iconic leader Nelson Mandela was released leaving Victor Verster. Mandela gave a speech that day declaring his commitment to reconciliation and peace in racial ties to the white minority, but urged that the struggle of apartheid was not over.

Feb. 12


1956- Arsenio Hall, the first Black late-night talk show host, was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Hall’s self-named talk show lasted from 1989 to 1994. The show was revived in 2013, but due to low ratings canceled in 2014.

Feb. 13

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1970- Joseph Searles III became the first African American floor member and floor broker of the New York Stock Exchange.

Feb. 14


1946- Talented dancer, choreographer, actor and singer Gregory Hines was born in New York City, NY.

Feb. 15


1968- At 16 years old, Henry Lewis became the first African American to lead a symphonic orchestra in the United States, when he joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.

Feb. 16

Bat027 Smith, Bessie

1923- Bessie Smith made her first recording, “Down Hearted Blues.” The single went on to sell 800,000 copies for Columbia Records.