Today in Black history: Happy birthday, Charles Barkley and Sidney Poitier, first Black umpire certified, RIP Frederick Douglass and more
The Undefeated’s Black facts for Feb. 20
1895 — Frederick Douglass dies in Washington. The famous abolitionist, lecturer, orator and writer died in his Anacostia Heights neighborhood home at age 77.
1927 — Sidney Poitier was born in Miami. He became the first Black American to win an Academy Award. He received the award for best actor in 1964 for his performance in Lilies of the Field.
1936 — John Hope dies at 67. Hope was the first Black president of Morehouse College (1906) and Atlanta University, the first graduate school for Black people (1929). Hope was also a founding member of the Niagara Movement, a predecessor of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
1937 — Nancy Wilson is born. Wilson won Grammys for best rhythm and blues recording for How Glad I Am and best jazz vocal album for R.S.V.P. (Rare Songs, Very Personal) in 2004 and Turned to Blue in 2006. In 2002, the singer won a George Foster Peabody Award for her NPR radio show, Jazz Profiles. She died in 2018.
1951 — Emmett Ashford becomes the certified first Black umpire in organized baseball.
1963 — Happy birthday, Charles Barkley. At the conclusion of his 16-year NBA career, Barkley was one of four players in league history with at least 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists, along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Karl Malone. Barkley is now a TNT NBA analyst.
1976 — Muhammad Ali knocks out Belgian boxer Jean-Pierre Coopman in five rounds in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in a fight sometimes referred to by fans as a “glorified sparring session.”