Today in black history: Leon Spinks stuns the world by beating Muhammad Ali, George Washington Carver builds a school, and more
The Undefeated edition’s black facts for Feb. 15
1896 – George Washington Carver builds a school. A scientist known for discovering more than 300 products derived from the peanut, Carver becomes the head of the Agricultural Experiment Station and Agricultural School at Tuskegee Normal School.
1965 – RIP, Nat King Cole. The jazz pianist and singer topped charts and was the first black performer to host a 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 broke racial barriers when he was named director of the New Jersey Symphony. 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. Twenty-four-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 television viewers. Ali went into the fight as a 10-1 favorite to win.