1940 – Happy birthday, Smokey Robinson.William “Smokey” Robinson is born in 1940 in Detroit. Robinson iss ranked 20th on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest Singers, and was once called America’s “greatest living poet” by Bob Dylan. He wrote some of rhythm and blues’ most classic love songs by groups such as The Temptations and The Supremes. He sang hits such as “Cruisin’,” “Tears of a Clown” and “Ooo Baby Baby.”
1942 – Tuskegee Airmen are initiated into the armed forces. They were the first African-American flying unit in the U.S. military, and flew 1,578 missions and won more than 850 medals.
1992 – John Singleton is nominated for an Oscar for Boyz n the Hood (1991). He was the youngest African-American and, at 24, the youngest person to be nominated for the Academy Award for best director. Singleton was also nominated for the Academy Award for best screenplay.
2002 – Bobsledder Vonetta Flowers wins gold. Flowers becomes the first black person to win a gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Flowers started as a track and field star, but eventually retired from the sport and switched to bobsledding.