On This Day in Black History: August 18
In a significant escalation of the slave trade, Charles V granted his Flemish courtier Lorenzo de Gorrevod permission to import 4,000 African slaves into New Spain.
Alexander Gordon Laing was the first European to reach the city of Timbuktu, but he was murdered soon afterwards.
Rafer Johnson, decathlete and one of the greatest all-around track athletes in history, was born.
James Meredith became the first black to graduate from the University of Mississippi.
South Africa was barred from participating in the 18th Olympic Games in Tokyo because of its apartheid policies.
Imari Obadele, Provisional President of the Republic of New Africa, together with six prominent members of the organization, were arrested for murder when a white policeman was killed during a raid on their headquarters in Jackson, Mississippi. The Republic of New Africa was the first group to seriously demand reparations for American slavery.
Vice-Admiral Samuel L. Gravely, Jr. assumed command of the U.S. Third Fleet.
Steve Biko, prominent anti-apartheid activist and leader of the Black Consciousness movement, was arrested at a police roadblock under South Africa's Terrorism Act. He died while still in detention four weeks later. Police first claimed that his death was the result of a hunger strike, and then changed their story to death due to a head injury sustained while resisting his jailers. Twenty years later, it was revealed at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that he was indeed killed.
Liberia's government and rebels signed a peace accord with plans for an election in two years, ending fourteen years of a barbarous war.

Today's Featured Page
The Tuskegee Airmen
Myth: Black men can't fly planes. General H.H. Arnold unequivocally stated that "no Blacks would ever pilot a plane in the upcoming war [World War II.]" The myth was debunked with the help of the US Congress. More...

Previously Featured Pages
Menelik II
Born in 1844, Menelik II was one of the most celebrated of Ethiopia's rulers, and led the most successful campaign of African resistance to repel the onslaught of European colonialism. More...

Dr. George Carruthers
Dr. Carruthers is an astrophysicist of international renown. He was the principal inventor of the first moon-based observatory, the Far Ultraviolet Camera/Spectrograph—a combination spectograph and camera, with an electron intensifier—used for the Apollo 16 mission to the moon in 1972. More...

Granvillle T. Woods
During his lifetime, Granville T. Woods held over thirty-five patents. More than a dozen of these patents were inventions for electric railways but most of them were focused on electrical control and distribution. More...

Ernest Everett Just
Ernest E. Just was a "scientist's scientist". Dr. Charles Drew, a pioneer in blood plasma research himself, described Dr. Just as "a biologist of unusual skill and the greatest of our original thinkers in the field". More...

Elijah McCoy
Eventually, no heavy duty machinery was without Elijah McCoy's automatic oiling devices and the term the "real McCoy" became linked with his pioneering achievement. More...

World War II Medals of Honor
During the Civil War, 24 blacks were presented the Medal of Honor, America's highest award for heroism. During the Spanish-American War, six blacks were honored. However, only three were honored during World War I, II and the Korean War combined. No blacks received the award for World War II. On January 13, 1997, the Army finally righted these wrongs. More...

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