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FEATURED: Etta James (Photo: AP)

1813: James McCune Smith (physician, apothecary, abolitionist & author) was born. He finished 1st in his class and was the 1st African American to run a pharmacy in the US.

1868: Hampton University was founded

1881: Actor & producer Noble Johnson was born (Died: 1978).

1904: Comedian & entertainer Pigmeat Markham was born (Died: 1981).

1922: Jack Johnson received a patent for the wrench.

1924: Blues great Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown was born (Died: 2005).

1953: #1 R&B song – ‘Hound Dog’ by ‘Big Mama’ Thornton.

1965: Marian Anderson ended her 30-year singing career with a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

1966: Bill Russell was named coach of the Boston Celtics.

1974: James Brown rec’d a gold record for the single ‘The Payback.’

1977: Alex Haley was awarded a Pulitzer for ‘Roots.’

1983: Marvin Gaye began what would become his last tour starting in San Diego, CA.

1984: Michael Jackson had scalp surgery in LA to repair damage done after his hair caught fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial.

1987: Aretha Franklin & George Michael started a 2 week run at #1.

1997: ‘Murder at 1600′ starring Wesley Snipes opened in theaters.

2003: Etta James got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1993: B.B. King, Millie Jackson and Bobby Blue Bland performed at the Westbury Music Fair in New York.

April 18th in Black History  was originally published on