Today in Black history: Leon Spinks stuns the world by beating Muhammad Ali, George Washington Carver builds a school and more
The Undefeated’s Black facts for Feb. 15
1896 – George Washington Carver builds a school. Booker T. Washington, president of Tuskegee Normal School, invited Carver to be the head of the Agricultural Experiment Station and Agricultural School. Carver became a scientist known for discovering more than 300 products derived from the peanut
1965 – Nat King Cole dies. The jazz pianist and singer topped charts and was the first Black performer to host a TV 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 was named director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. 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. The 24-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 TV viewers. Ali went into the fight as a 10-1 favorite to win.