This Day in History: 2017-05-03
May 12, 1902 – “Joe Gans Becomes World’s First African-American Boxing Champion” Joe Gans defeated Frank Erne to become the world’s first African-American to win World Championship in any weight class. He became a world champion a full six years before famed boxer Jack Johnson. This is because Johnson’s attempts at challenging for the heavyweight title were thwarted as James J. Jeffries refused to face him. Gans and Johnson were two early champions in a sport dominated by African-Americans throughout the 20th century.
- 2017 1963 - “First African-American Woman to Hold a Cabinet Position and Serve as a U.S. Ambassador” Advocate of women’s rights, Patricia Roberts Harris was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to co-chair the National Women’s Committee for Civil Rights. In 1965, one year after the civil rights act, Patricia R. Harris made history under President Lyndon B. Johnson as the first black female U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg. She broke another barrier two years later as the first Dean of Law at her alma mater, Howard University; she became the first black woman to head a law school in the U.S.