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FEATURED: Alex Haley (Photo: AP)

1844: Explorer Jim Beckwourth discovered a path through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Beckwourth Pass is named in his honor.

1886: ‘Mother of Blues’ Ma Rainey was born (Died: 1939).

1892: Sarah Boone received a patent for the ironing board.

1897: J.A. Joyce received a patent for the ore bucket.

1915: Blues singer & guitarist Johnny Shines was born (Died: 1992).

1938: Music Hall of Fame singer Maurice Williams was born.

1941: R&B musician, singer & composer Claudine Clark was born.

1957: Harry Belafonte dubbed the King of Calypso, signed for the (then-unheard-of sum) of $1 million with RCA Records.

1962: Comedian & actress Debra Wilson was born.

1967: British actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste was born. She was the 1st black Brit to receive an Academy Award nomination in the U.S.

1969: #1 R&B song: It’s Your Thing’ by the Isley Brothers.

1970: Tionne ‘T-Boz’ Watkins was born.

1974: Comedian & Actress Shondrella Avery was born.

1978: R&B singer/songwriter Avant was born.

1981: Award winning British recording artist, rapper, songwriter & record producer Ms.Dynamite was born.

1984: Jazz musician, bandleader and composer Count Basie passed away.

1991: Maryann Bishop Coffey was name the 1st woman co-chair of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

1992: Alex Haley received the Ellis Island Award, posthumously.

1992: Ozzie Smith stole his 500th base.

April 26th in Black History:  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com