This Month in Black History: Important Things That Happened in September That You Never Learned


by Veracity Savant

September 26, 2023

September marks the end of summer. And as fall creeps in, we reflect on the little known history that’s happened in this month. From birth and death dates to historical firsts and celebratory moments, September has no shortage of history. Let’s share these little tidbits of information with one another as we round out our year of Black facts and focus on spreading this knowledge far and wide. For this month in Black history, here are some important things that happened in September that you may have never learned, courtesy of BlackFacts.com.

September 27, 1827 – The first Black U.S. Senator, Hiram R. Revels, is born

September 20, 1830 – First National Black Convention meets


September 5, 1846 – Secretary of the American Negro Academy, John W Cromwell, is born

September 4, 1848 – Inventor and engineer, Lewis Latimer, is born

September 15, 1852 – Inventor Jan E. Matzeliger, who patented a shoe-lasting machine, is born 


September 22, 1853 – U.S. Rep George Washington Murray is born

September 5, 1859 – “Our Nig” by Harriet Wilson, is published as the first novel in the U.S. by an African American woman,

September 23, 1863 – First Black person to serve on the DC board of education, Mary Church Terrell is born.


September 21, 1872 – John Henry Conyers of South Carolina became the first Black student at Annapolis Naval Academy

September 2, 1884 – John Parker patents “Parker Pulverizer” U.S. Patent #304,552


September 23, 1884 – J.W. Reed patents Dough Kneader and Roller, making her the first Black woman to receive a US patent.

September 13, 1886 – Philosopher Alain L. Locke is born 

September 25, 1886 – Peter “The Black Prince” Jackson wins the Australian heavyweight title, becoming the very first Black man to win a national boxing crown.


September 21, 1891 – Inventor, FW Leslie, patents the envelope seal

September 3, 1895 – NAACP leader, Charles Hamilton Houston, is born

September 8, 1901 – Second Executive Director of the NAACP, Roy Wilkins, passes away


September 29, 1910 – National Urban League is founded

September 1915Xavier University, first Black Catholic College in US, opened in New Orleans, LA

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September 9, 1915 – Association for the study of Negro Life and History founded by Carter G. Woodson

September 7, 1917 – Noted Black painter Jacob Lawrence is born

September 14, 1921 – Constance Baker Motley, the first African American woman to become federal judge, is born


September 16, 1925 – Blues singer Ripley B.B. King is born in Itta Bena, Mississippi.

September 23, 1926 – Innovative and famed jazz musician, John Coltrane, is born

September 6, 1930 – Leander Jay Shaw, Jr., justice of the Florida State Supreme Court (1983), first African American chief justice (1990) in Florida, the second African American chief justice in any state supreme court, is born


September 23, 1930 – Singer, songwriter, and musician Ray Charles is born

September 3, 1931 – Geraldine W. Travis, the first Black woman elected to the Montana State Legislature House of Representatives, is born

September 16, 1934 – Elgin Baylor, a professional basketball player is born


September 30, 1935 – John “Johnny” Royce Mathis, singer, is born in Gilmer, Texas

September 16, 1940 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Selective Service Act, allowing Black people to enter all branches of the US Military Service


September 19, 1943Joe Morgan, one of the greatest second basemen, is born.

September 12, 1947Jackie Robinson is named National League Rookie of the Year

September 1948Ralph J. Bunche confirmed by the United Nations Security Council as acting UN mediator in Palestine


September 13, 1948 – Nell Carter, Tony Award-winning Broadway singer, is born

September 22, 1950Ralph Bunche becomes the first Black person to receive a Nobel Prize.


September 27, 1950 – Charles H. Houston is awarded the Spingarn Medal for his pioneering work in developing the NAACP legal campaign

September 8, 1954 – American Civil Rights Activist, Ruby Bridges, is born

September 19, 1956 – First international conference of Black writers and artists in Paris


September 8, 1957 – Tennis champion, Althea Gibson, becomes the first Black athlete to win the U.S. Open

September 25, 1962 – Sonny Liston knocks out Floyd Patterson in the first round and became the world heavyweight boxing champion

September 2, 1966 – Professional baseball player, Frank Robinson is named MVP of the American League


September 9, 1968 – Arthur Ashe becomes first Black U.S. Men’s Singles Tennis Champion

September 26, 1968 – The Studio Museum of Harlem opens in NYC

September 18, 1970Jimi Hendrix, a rock music legend, passes away.


September 6, 1972 Idris Elba, British actor, is born

September 10, 1973 – The U.S. Postal Service honored Henry Ossawa Tanner, the first African American artist elected to the National Academy of Design with a commemorative stamp


September 25, 1974 – Barbara W Hancock becomes the first Black woman named a White House fellow

September 29, 1975 – First Black-owned television in US, WGPR-TV Detroit, begins broadcasting

September 10, 1976 – Educator and Howard University President, Mordecai W. Johnson, passes away


September 1, 1977 – Ethel Waters, singer and actress, passes away

September 11, 1977 Ludacris, American rapper, is born.


September 11, 1977Quincy Jones won an Emmy for musical composition for the miniseries, Roots

September 24, 1977 – John T. Walker installed as the first Black bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington

September 4, 1981Beyoncé Knowles, is born.


September 26, 1981Serena Williams is born.

September 17, 1983 – Vanessa Williams became the first Black woman to be crowned Miss. America. 

September 15, 1987 – The famous boxer Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns becomes the first Black man to win boxing titles in five different weight classes.


September 20, 1987 – Alfre Woodard wins an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Performance

September 6, 1988 – Lee Roy Young Jr. is sworn in as the first African-American Texas Ranger in the modern history of the force’s 165-year existence

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A post shared by Picture History (@historically_speaking_pics)


September 16, 1989 – Debbye Turner is crowned Miss America. She is the third African American to win the crown since the inception of the pageant in 1921.

September 3, 1990 – Jonathan A. Rodgers becomes president of CBS television stations divisions, the highest ranking African American in network television.

September 12, 1992 – Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African-American woman in space


September 7, 1996 – Tupac Shakur, rapper, passes away.

September 4, 2001 – Katherine Dunham becomes the first Black choreographer for the Metropolitan Opera

September 28, 2003Althea Gibson, the first Black woman to cross the racial barrier in tennis, passes away


September 7, 2022 –  Frances Tiafoe becomes the first Black man to reach the US Open semifinals since Arthur Ashe

Photo by Everett / Shutterstock


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