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Black History Month

On this day in black history: Jackie Robinson becomes an executive, Negro League players get into MLB Hall of Fame and more

Black History Month: The Undefeated edition Feb. 4

1794 – First African Methodist Episcopal Church founded in Philadelphia
In 1787, black church parishioners Richard Allen, Absalom Jones and William White were escorted out of church by a white usher while kneeling during prayer. They were worshiping in an area reserved for white members.

Seven years later on Feb. 4, Allen, a minister and abolitionist, slighted by the removal, founded Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. According to blackregistry.com, his efforts were expanded beyond Philadelphia as other black congregations were developed in Norristown, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; Baltimore; and Camden, New Jersey.

More on-this-day facts:

1794 – France abolishes slavery
France got rid of slavery, but reversed its decision under Napoleon Bonaparte, re-established it in 1802 and named it “Code Noir,” which prohibited blacks, mulattoes and other people of color from entering French colonial territory or intermarriage with whites.

1913 – Rosa Parks’ birthday
Civil rights activist Rosa Parks (1913-2005) was born in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her refusal to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger set off the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955.

1952 – Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson becomes an executive
Jackie Robinson took his talents to television behind the scenes. He was named the director of community activities for radio station WNBC and television station WNBT.

1971 – MLB announces section of the Hall of Fame devoted to blacks
The league devotes a special wing in the Hall of Fame to blacks, and special committee convened in June 1971 to decide which Negro League players would be inducted.

1986 – Stamp of Sojourner Truth issued

As part of the Black Heritage Series, on Feb. 4, 1986, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp honoring abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth. She was best known for her “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech, where she called out issues of gender and racial inequalities.

1986 – Black hockey player receives NHL All-Star Game MVP
At the 38th NHL All-Star Game in Hartford, Connecticut, Edmonton Oilers goalie Grant Fuhr blocked all 15 shots on goal and at the conclusion of the game was awarded the MVP award. The five-time Stanley Cup champion was the first black NHL player to receive the honor.

Kelley Evans is a general editor at The Undefeated. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.