On this day in Black history: NJ abolishes slavery, first Black orchestra conductor and more


On this day in Black history, February 15:

— In 1804, “an act for the gradual abolition of slavery” was passed in New Jersey, making it the last northern state to outlaw slavery. 

— In 1848, a young Black girl named Sarah Roberts was turned away from an all-white school in Boston. Her father, Benjamin Roberts, brought forth one of the first school integration suits, which, after losing at the state level, ultimately prompted the banning of segregated school in Massachusetts.

— In 1968, Henry Lewis was named music director of the New Jersey Symphony, making him the first Black person to lead a major symphony orchestra in the United States.

— Happy birthday to Nat King ColeBill T. JonesMegan “Thee Stallion” PeteLynn WhitfieldCorrine FoxAmber Riley and Bryan “Birdman” Williams.

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