2016 Year in Review (228256)


Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo announce a raise for all city workers to $15 an hour. President Barack Obama outlines his plan to tighten gun control, including strengthening background checks and forcing dealers to register. The city is shocked after reports surface of an alleged rape in Brownsville, Brooklyn involving an 18-year-old woman and five teenage boys at Osborn Park. Charges are dropped when the woman’s story falls apart. President Obama delivers his final State of the Union Address. Funeral services are held in Los Angeles for late singer Natalie Cole, who died from congestive heart failure at age 65 Dec. 31. She is the daughter of legendary singer Nat King Cole. Oscar nominations are announced with few Black actors receiving nominations. Several Black celebrities, including Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Spike Lee, create the #OscarsSoWhite movement to bring attention to the issue of diversity in Hollywood. Singer David Bowie dies at age 69. The Malcolm X Commemoration Committee celebrates its 20th anniversary. Lottery fever hits the nation when the Powerball prize surpasses $1 billion. Flint, Mich. declares a state of emergency as it deals with issues of drinking water contamination. Improperly treated water causes lead from aging pipes to leach into the water supply. Darcel Clark is sworn in as New York State’s first African-American female district attorney serving in the Bronx. NYPD officers involved in the 2014 death of Eric Garner are placed on modified duty after an internal investigation. In Texas the state trooper involved in arrest of Sandra Bland, who died while in jail cell, faces perjury charges. Jesse Jackson hosts his 19th Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit in Midtown Manhattan. During the State of the State address in Albany, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is heckled by Assemblyman Charles Barron, who says the governor hasn’t done enough for poverty-stricken New Yorkers. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated in the city. A major snowstorm blows through the city bringing record snowfall of 27.5 inches, the highest for the city since observations began in 1869. The Rev. Al Sharpton, along with several elected officials take to the streets with members of 1199SEIU demanding a $15 minimum wage increase. A rally is held outside of the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara demanding justice in the 2012 police killing of Ramarley Graham. “The Birth of a Nation” premiers at the Sundance Film Festival. The period film about the slave rebellion led by Nat Turner is directed by and stars Nate Parker. The trial begins for former NYPD officer Peter Liang, who killed 28-year-old, Black unarmed Akai Gurley in 2014. Former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw is sentenced to 263 years in prison after he is found guilty of 18 counts of first-degree rape. His victims were mostly Black women living in poor neighborhoods. High-end retailer Barneys agrees to pay a settlement to a Black man who accused the store of racially profiling him in 2013. Essence magazine Editor-in-Chief Emerita Susan L. Taylor celebrates her 70th birthday. The World Health Organization announces an outbreak of the Zika virus. The 22nd Screen Actors Guild Awards are held. Notable winners include Idris Elba, Queen Latifah, Viola Davis and Uzo Aduba. Noted journalist Michael J. Feeney dies at age 32.


Black History Month is celebrated with the theme “Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories,” highlighting America’s Black landmarks. The National Jazz Museum in Harlem re-opens in a new space on West 129th Street in Central Harlem. Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders meets in Harlem with the Rev. Al Sharpton at Sylvia’s restaurant. Singer Beyoncé is criticized by conservatives—and hailed by activists—for her halftime performance at the Super Bowl, which included Black Power and Black Panther Party symbolism in her dance routine, aligning the singer with the Black Lives Matter Movement. Founder of singing group Earth, Wind & Fire, Maurice White, dies at age 74. Former NYPD officer Peter Liang is convicted of manslaughter and official misconduct for the 2015 shooting of unarmed, Black Akai Gurley. New York City’s last Black-owned radio station, WWRL, is sold to Nimisha Shukla and begins broadcasting to a South Asian audience. The Rev. Jesse Jackson hosts his 19th annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit in Midtown. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton makes a stop in New York, meeting the NAACP and the National Urban League and holding an event with Black elected officials at the Schomburg Center in Harlem. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dies at age 79. The Iowa caucuses are held, beginning the Democratic and Republican nomination processes for the presidential election. Senator Ted Cruz wins the Republican caucuses and Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic caucuses. During the New Hampshire primaries, Donald Trump wins the Republican primary and Bernie Sanders wins the Democratic primary. The King of Savalou, Benin, Gandjengi Awoyo Gbaguidi, visits Harlem. Family members of Eric Garner hold a massive rally in Brooklyn outside of the U.S. District Court repeating their call for NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo to be prosecuted in Garner’s death. At the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson, wins the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. Mothers of Black men killed by police gather to support the mother of Amadou Diallo, Kadiatou, as she marks 15 years since the killing of her son. Mayor Bill de Blasio announces major reforms at Rikers Island after reports surface of widespread violence, abuse and neglect at the jail. Rape charges against five teens accused of raping a young woman gunpoint in Brownsville Brooklyn are dropped after the complainant’s account of what happened has multiple inconsistencies. The Harlem-based Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, an order of Black nuns, celebrates its 100th anniversary. Assemblywoman Barbara M. Clark dies at age 76. Clark served New York State Assembly District 33 for nearly 30 years.


Vanessa Gathers, whose case was one of several being investigated by Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson’s Conviction Review Unit, is cleared of a manslaughter conviction after spending 10 years in prison. Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia is fired after a grand jury indicts him on a perjury charge in connection with the 2015 death of Sandra Bland. On Super Tuesday, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump each win seven states in the Democratic and Republican primaries. As Trump gains momentum, violence at his rallies ensues. At least four people are injured and five are arrested in Chicago when protesters demonstrating against him scuffle with Trump supporters at a canceled rally. President Obama nominates Judge Merrick B. Garland as a Supreme Court Justice to replace the late Antonin Scalia. The family of Ramarley Graham calls on Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton to fire officer Richard Haste, who fatally shot the unarmed Black 18-year-old in 2012. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan, wife of late President Ronald Reagan, dies at age 94. Ben Carson suspends his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Four plainclothes NYPD officers are caught on video arresting uniformed Black postal worker Glenn Grays after he is nearly sideswiped by their unmarked police car. The officers arrest Grays after he makes comments about their driving, not knowing they were law enforcement. The officers are placed on modified duty as the NYPD investigates. The family of Danroy Henry receives a $6 million settlement from the Village of Pleasantville. Henry, a college football player at Pace University, was fatally shot by police in 2010. Celebrating his 67th birthday, WBLS radio legend Imhotep Gary Byrd commemorates 50 years on the radio. President Obama makes his first visit to Cuba since announcing that formal diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States would resume. As fears across the nation continue over drinking water, lead testing for schoolchildren in Newark occurs after it is discovered that 17,000 children attend schools that have high levels of lead. Ramsey Orta, the man who recorded cellphone video of the 2014 police killing of Eric Garner, is arrested on allegations of domestic violence. Rapper and Tribe Called Quest member Phife Dawg dies at age 45. Hillary Clinton holds a rally at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, where she is joined by Congressman Charlie Rangel and Senator Chuck Schumer. The New York Amsterdam News also announces its endorsement of Clinton. Black sculptor Inge Hardison dies at 102. Protests and backlash ensue after Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson recommends no jail time for former NYPD officer Peter Liang, who was found guilty in the fatal shooting of Akai Gurley.


Political prisoner Abdullah Majid dies after serving 33 years in jail. He was sentenced to 25-to-life in the shooting of two NYPD officers in 1981. The Rev. Al Sharpton hosts the National Action Network’s 25th Anniversary National Convention. Former NFL player and Queens, N.Y. native Will Smith is murdered in New Orleans. Hillary Clinton meets with the mothers of Sean Bell, Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin. President Obama issues an executive order banning solitary confinement as a form of punishment for juveniles in federal prisons. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump win the New York primary. Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun sentences former NYPD officer Peter Liang to five years of probation and 800 hours of community service in the killing of Akai Gurley. The community is outraged after the officer receives no jail time. The New York State Legislature passes a budget that increases the state’s current $9 hourly minimum wage to $15 in New York City in three years. Syndicated radio personality Doug Banks dies at age 57. Kobe Bryant plays his final NBA game for the Los Angeles Lakers. NYPD officers fatally shoot 32-year-old George Tillman in Queens after police say he allegedly reached for a gun on his waistband. Superstar singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer Prince dies of a fentanyl overdose at his Paisley Park recording studio and home in Chanhassen, Minn. at age 57. A memorial is created at the outside of the Apollo Theater in Harlem and hundreds gather to celebrate his life at a public event at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Plaza. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announces that Andrew Jackson will be replaced by Harriet Tubman on the front of the $20 bill by the year 2020 as part of the “Woman on 20s” campaign commemorating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in 1920. Soul singer Billy Paul dies at age 81. Beyoncé releases her critically acclaimed album “Lemonade,” and 1.5 million copies are sold. NBA great and Brooklyn native Dwayne Washington dies at age 52. The family of Tamir Rice settles with the City of Cleveland for $6 million. Rice, 12, was shot and killed by two police officers in 2014 after his toy gun was mistaken for a real one. Educator and Abyssinian Baptist Church deacon Joe. J. Jackson dies at age 81. First Lady Michelle Obama visits the Harlem Armory for College Signing Day as part of her “Better Make Room” campaign, which encourages young people to pursue higher education. Jazz singer Bill Henderson dies at age 90. Universal Zulu Nation co-founder and hip-hop legend Afrika Bambaataa is accused by Ronald Savage of molesting him in 1980, when Savage was 15. Three more men also accuse Bambaataa of sexual abuse. Bambaataa denies the allegations, but is dismissed as head of The Zulu Nation. Teaneck mayor Lizette Parker dies at age 44.


Political activist, Black Panther, music businesswoman and mother of Tupac Shakur, Afeni Shakur dies of a heart attack at age 69. Janet Jackson announces she is pregnant at age 50. Leaders in Newark hold a rally demanding the end to discriminatory hiring practices at local ports. Paul Gatling, 81, is released from prison after serving 52 years for a crime he did not commit as a result of an investigation by Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson’s Conviction Review Unit. An audit by the State Department Inspector General finds that Hillary Clinton violated directives from the department in her use of a private email server for government business during her time as secretary of state. In their last round of commencement addresses as president and first lady, the Obamas deliver their final commencement addresses. The president speaks at Howard University, and the first lady delivers speeches at Jackson State University and City College in New York. A group of Black female cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point are criticized after a photo of the women with their fists raised goes viral. The New York City Council approves a bill that charges New Yorkers a fee of $0.05 on all plastic bags used in stores. Outrage ensues when George Zimmerman auctions the gun he used to shoot Black, unarmed Trayvon Martin in 2012 in Sanford, Fla. The gun reportedly sells for $138,900. Thousands attend the second Harlem EatUp! food festival in Morningside Park. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivers the commencement address at Columbia Law School. Baltimore police officer Edward Nero is found not guilty of all charges for his part in the events leading to the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. A Pennsylvania judge finds enough evidence against Bill Cosby to put him on trial over accusations of sexual misconduct. Cosby faces three counts of felony indecent assault from a 2004 case involving Andrea Constand, an employee at Temple University. Dayshen McKenzie, 15, dies of an asthma attack after he and his friend are chased by an angry mob of white teens on Staten Island. The incident stemmed from a conflict over a girl between McKenzie’s friend and one of the white teens. The History Channel airs a remake of the 1977 miniseries “Roots,” starring Malachi Kirby, Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anika Noni Rose, T.I. and South African actress Nokuthula Ledwaba.


A Palm Beach, Fla. grand jury charges police officer Nouman K. Raja with manslaughter by culpable negligence and attempted first-degree murder for the 2015 shooting of Corey Jones. The family of Ramarley Graham and Justice League NYC hold a 17-mile march beginning at Graham’s home in the Bronx and continuing to One Police Plaza. Professional boxing legend, activist and Muslim icon Muhammad Ali dies at age 74 in Scottsdale, Ariz. of Parkinson’s disease. Funeral services are held in Louisville, Ky., including an Islamic Janazah prayer service and a public memorial service at the KFC Yum! Center. Attendees include Malcolm X’s children and former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who eulogizes Ali. The final major state primaries are held for the 2016 presidential election, with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump emerging as the presumptive nominees for the Democratic and Republican parties. In the NBA, the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers defeat the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors in seven games to win their first NBA Finals title in the Cavaliers’ 45-year history. Mixed martial artist and boxer Kimbo Slice dies at age 42. Army Reserve officer and Miss District of Columbia, Deshauna Barber, is crowned Miss USA. She is the first active member in the military and the ninth Black woman to hold the title. Thousands gather in Brooklyn to celebrate what would have been late superstar Prince’s 58th birthday at an event in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn hosted by filmmaker Spike Lee. The New York State Assembly passes law S 5988-A /A 8296-A, known as “Kalief’s Law,” to reform New York’s speedy trial provision and improve the effectiveness of the state’s criminal justice system. The law is named after Kalief Browder, a young Black man who ultimately committed suicide after spending more than 1,000 days in Rikers Island’s pretrial detention center, which included approximately 700 days in solitary confinement. Norman Seabrook, president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, is arrested at his home on corruption charges. He is accused of taking a $60,000 bribe, with the promise of future bribe payments, in exchange for investing $20 million of his union’s money in a hedge fund. Several Black Broadway productions receive honors at the 61st Drama Desk Awards, including “Shuffle Along,” which wins in the Outstanding Musical category. “The Color Purple,” “Eclipsed and “The Royale” also take home top honors. President Barack Obama endorses Hillary Clinton. At the 70th Tony Awards “Hamilton” wins 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and “The Color Purple” wins for Best Revival of a Musical. Black performers Leslie Odom Jr. and Cynthia Erivo win for Best Leading Actor and Actress in a Musical. Gunman Omar Mateen fatally shoots 49 people and injures 53 at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Fla. in what is called the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. Thousands from New York’s LGBTQ community gather outside the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village to condemn the shooting. Oprah Winfrey endorses Hillary Clinton. Baltimore police officer Caesar Goodson, who drove the van in which Freddie Gray was fatally injured, is found not guilty on all charges, including the most serious count of second-degree depraved-heart murder. As Donald Trump gets closer to becoming the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, the candidate makes controversial statements about his desire for police to use more racial profiling. A grand jury in New Jersey decides not to indict two Vineland police officers involved in the March 2015 death of Phillip White. Former Detroit City Councilman and TV newsman Charles Pugh is picked up in Harlem by members of the U.S. Marshals Service and the NYPD on six counts of criminal sexual conduct involving a minor. Former NYPD officer Joel Edouard, who stomped on a man’s head while the man was face down on the ground and under arrest is sentenced to two years of probation and instructed to resign. The United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union in a historic referendum. Assemblyman Keith Wright loses to State Sen. Adriano Espaillat in the 13th Congressional District race to replace the retiring Charles B. Rangel.


FBI Director James Comey announces that he will not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. Famed radio personality Vaughn Harper dies at age 70. Harper is best known for his work at R&B station WBLS, where he was known for his long running show, “Quiet Storm.” An excessive number of shootings occurs on the Fourth of July and the following morning in the city, leaving 14 people injured. Three Black men are shot across the country by police over the course of several days. Delrawn Small is shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in front of his family in Brooklyn. Small had been driving with his girlfriend and two children when a collision almost occurred between him and off-duty NYPD officer Wayne Isaacs. When Small confronted Isaacs, the off-duty officer fired three times. Isaacs is stripped of his badge and gun. Alton Sterling, 37, is shot several times at close range while held down on the ground by two white police officers in Baton Rouge, La. Police were responding to a report of a man using a gun to threaten someone outside a convenience store. The shooting is recorded by several bystanders. Philando Castile is fatally shot by Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez after being pulled over. Castile was driving a car with his girlfriend and her four-year-old daughter when he was pulled over by Yanez and another officer. Yanez shot Castile seven times when was reaching for his ID after telling Yanez he had a gun permit and was armed. The incident was live streamed on Facebook Live. Hundreds of protests erupt across the country in response to the shootings including several in New York. During one demonstration, at least 40 people are arrested in Times Square. Micah Xavier Johnson kills five officers during a shooting at a peaceful protest in Dallas, Texas. Famed Tuskegee Airman and former Bronx Community College president Roscoe C. Brown dies at age 94. Bernie Sanders endorses Hillary Clinton for president. Eugene Giscombe’s, “The Mayor of 125th Street,” dies at age 76. Gavin Long goes on a shooting rampage in Baton Rouge, La., killing three police officers and wounding three others. The White House denies a request from more than 140,000 people to formally designate Black Lives Matter as a terrorist group. At the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Donald Trump receives the nomination by the Republican Party to run as the presidential candidate for the GOP. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is nominated as the vice presidential candidate. The convention is plagued by controversy, most notably a speech by Trump’s wife Melania, who is accused of plagiarizing a speech by sitting First Lady Michelle Obama. The Democratic National Convention is held in Philadelphia. Hillary Clinton makes history when she is the first woman nominated for U.S. president by a major political party. Controversy ensues when delegates who supported Bernie Sander at the convention walk out when Clinton receives the nomination. Charles Kinsey survives after being shot in the leg by police in North Miami, Florida while he was lying in the middle of the street with his arms raised high. Kinsey, who works for an assisted living facility in North Miami, had gone outside to assist one of his patients who had just had a behavioral incident when police showed up. The Black Panther Party celebrates 50 years. Baltimore prosecutors drop all charges against the three remaining officers facing trial in connection with Freddie Gray’s death. Activists and family members commemorate the two-year anniversary of the police killing of Eric Garner. The Rev. Al Sharpton leads a march through Brooklyn as the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation into Garner’s death remains open. A federal appeals court overturns parts of North Carolina’s 2013 voting law, including provisions that required voters to show a photo identification card, saying they were enacted “with racially discriminatory intent” in violation of the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. Bronx Assemblyman Michael Blake has a physical confrontation with NYPD officers while attending a family gathering the Gouverneur Morris Houses. After seeing a woman in handcuffs, he approached the officers involved. In the moments that followed, a confrontation escalated.


Poet and scholar Kevin Young is announced as Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, replacing Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad. After several controversies, including a federal probe into his administration, resignation of his press secretary and public feud with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a poll reveals that 51 percent of city voters disapprove of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s job performance. NYPD Commissioner William Bratton announces he is stepping down to work in the private sector. Bratton served as commissioner since 2014 and previously from 1994 to 1996. He is replaced by NYPD Chief of Department James O’Neill. Author James Alan McPherson Jr. dies at 72. Black volunteer firefighter Kenneth Walker loses his home to suspected arson within days of receiving a letter containing racial slurs in North Tonawanda, N.Y. Police officers fatally shoot 18-year-old Paul O’Neal 15 times after he crashes the car he’s driving then flees the vehicle. Honduran vegetarian herbalist, healer, pathologist, biochemist and naturalist of holistic medicine, Alfredo Bowman (better known as Dr. Sebi), dies at age 82 of complications of pneumonia while in police custody. The 2016 Summer Olympic Games are held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The United State wins 46 gold, 37 silver and 38 bronze medals. Notable Black Olympians include gymnast Simone Biles, who wins gold for America in the gymnastics all-around, Usain Bolt who takes home his third consecutive gold medal in track and field and Simone Manuel who makes history when she becomes the first Black woman to earn a gold medal in individual swimming. The U.S. Justice Department reports that the Baltimore Police Department has disproportionate rates of stops, searches and arrests of African-Americans, and excessive use of force against juveniles and people with mental health disabilities. Black ESPN anchor John Saunders dies at age 61. Mayor Bill de Blasio signs Intro 606, the “NYPD Use of Force Encounter Reports Law,” which requires the NYPD to provide a quarterly report on the number of use of force incidents. Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and his assistant, Thara Uddin, 64, are killed in Ozone Park, Queens. Police say the shooting is the result of a hate crime. The city pays $4.1 million and the New York City Housing Authority contributes $400,000 to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Akai Gurley. Police in Milwaukee fatally shoot Sylville Smith twice in the chest after police pull him over for “suspicious activity” and Smith and another man flee on foot. The city marks 25 years since the Crown Heights riots. Community members and criminal justice reform advocates ask Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark to drop assault charges against Mamadou Diallo, a taxi driver who is responsible for the death of a man who tried to rape his wife in a Bronx apartment building. Seven Chicago police officers are recommended for firing in relation to the 2014 shooting death of Black teenager Laquan McDonald. Catastrophic floods that devastate southern Louisiana become the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Hurricane Sandy, leaving 13 dead and causing billions of dollars in property damage. A fundraising campaign is started to save the Harlem home of famed Black writer Langston Hughes, which is in danger of being sold. Harlem Week 2016 is held with the theme centering around Harlem’s ties with Cuba. Civil rights journalist and Black press columnist George Curry dies at age 69. Neighborhood grandmother Odessa Simms, 61, is shot and killed in Harlem by a stray bullet when a fight breaks out at a nearby cookout. U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announces that after a federal investigation, there is insufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges in connection with the fatal 2014 police shooting of Jerame C. Reid in New Jersey. Jazz vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson dies at age 75. Educator and Amsterdam News photographer Gideon Manasseh dies at age 77. The cousin of NBA star Dwyane Wade, Nykea Aldridge, is killed in Chicago when she was caught in the crossfire of a shooting while pushing her baby in a stroller. New reports surface that disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner sent sexually suggestive photos again. His wife and aid to Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, announce the two are separating. The U.S. begins its first commercial flight to Cuba in 50 years. Tuskegee Airman Shelby Westbrook dies at age 94. New York City sees a reported 14 shootings and four stabbings in one weekend. Three people die as a result. Most of the shootings take place in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx. Having an approval rating with Black voters in the single digits, Republican candidate Donald Trump goes to Detroit, Mich. to appear on the Black-owned Christian television network, The Impact Network, and be interviewed by Wayne Jackson at Great Faith Ministries.


The 49th annual West Indian American Day Carnival takes place in Brooklyn amid tragedy. During the J’Ouvert celebration 22-year-old Tiarah Poyau and 17-year-old Tyreke Borel are fatally gunned down in separate shootings. The deadly incident raises questions about the future of J’Ouvert, which has seen other shooting incidents in the past. San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, is criticized for protesting during the playing of the national anthem before a preseason game by refusing to stand. The biracial athlete states that he can’t show pride for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. First Lady Michelle Obama goes on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton, delivering a powerful speech to supporters in Northern Virginia. Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark drops assault charges against Mamadou Diallo, who killed a man who broke into his apartment and tried to rape his wife. Racial justice activist Darren Seals is mysteriously found dead with a gunshot wound to the head in a burning car in a St. Louis suburb. Seals was one of the top activist during the aftermath of the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. City officials, along with Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, and community organizations file a legal action supporting the release of a summary misconduct record of NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who killed Garner in 2014. The family is also outraged after learning that Pantaleo earned approximately $120,000 in overtime pay last year, according to records. The city commemorates 15 years since the 9/11 attacks. Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump attend the annual memorial service at the World Trade Center. Clinton leaves early after becoming overheated and faints. It is later revealed that she had been diagnosed with pneumonia days prior. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoes a $15 minimum wage bill. Tuskegee Airman Dabney Montgomery dies at 93. Carla Hayden becomes the first African-American and first woman to be sworn in as the Library of Congress librarian. The family of Sandra Bland reaches a $1.9 million settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit in Waller County, Texas. The 47th annual African-American Day Parade takes place in Harlem. A Georgia judge finds Nick Gordon legally responsible for the death of his girlfriend, Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late Whitney Houston. Brown died in 2015 while in hospice after she was found unresponsive in a bathtub. Two bombings occurring on the same day rock the tristate area. The first bomb, a pipe bomb, explodes near a U.S. Marine Corps charity 5K run in Seaside Park, N.J., and the second bomb explodes in New York City, injuring 29. Ahmad Khan Rahami is identified as a suspect and is captured during a shootout. The following day, another explosive device is discovered at a transit station in Elizabeth, N.J. and is detonated by a bomb squad robot. At the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards, “Key & Peele” wins in the Outstanding Variety Sketch Series category and “The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story” wins in the Outstanding Limited Series category. Black winners include Sterling K. Brown, Courtney B. Vance and Regina King. Unarmed, Black Terrence Crutcher is fatally shot by police officer Betty Shelby in Tulsa, Okla. Crutcher is shot by the officer, who says she thought he was reaching for a weapon, while his hands are in the air. Shelby is arrested and released on bond and pleads not guilty. The Rev. Al Sharpton goes to Tulsa to lead a rally in response. In Charlotte, N.C. tempers flare after the fatal police shooting of 43-year-old Lamont Scott, who was in a parking lot waiting for his son to come home from school. Police say he was exiting his vehicle with a gun. A state of emergency is declared after protest ensue. The National Museum of African American History and Culture opens in Washington, D.C. The Smithsonian museum, established in 2003, contains close to 37,000 objects in its collection related to American Black history. President Barack Obama leads the opening ceremony for the museum. Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump take part in their first off three televised presidential debates at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. Oral “Nick” Hillary, who was charged with the murder of 12-year-old Garrett Phillips, is found not guilty in Canton, N.Y. Rapper Shawty Low (Carlos Rico Walker) is killed in car accident in Fulton County, Ga.

The New York Amsterdam News holds its sixth annual Labor Awards Breakfast, where actor Danny Glover serves as the keynote speaker. NYPD Officer Wayne Isaacs is arrested for the July shooting of Delrawn Small. The off-duty officer shot Small in front of his family in Brooklyn after the two almost had a vehicle collision. The NYPD announces plans to conduct a department trial for NYPD officer Richard Haste, who unlawfully broke into a Bronx home, and fatally shot unarmed 18-year-old Ramarley Graham in 2012. A New Jersey Transit train plows through a major station in Hoboken, killing at least one person and injuring 75 others. The Hon. Johnnie Mae Johnson, 70th AD district leader dies. Actor Bill Nunn dies at age 62. He is best known for playing “Radio Raheem” in Spike Lee’s film “Do The Right Thing.” Black, unarmed Alfred Olango is fatally shot by Officer Richard Gonsalves four times after Olango points a cylindrical vape pen at officers. Author Gloria Naylor, known for the book, “The Women of Brewster Place,” dies at age 66.


Hurricane Matthew blows through the Caribbean and the East Coast of the United States, leaving devastation and up to 1,600 dead in Haiti. It strengthens to category 4 level as it hits the United States, The New York Times publishes parts of Donald Trump’s 1995 tax records, which show that he suffered a $916 million loss during that year, which would have given him the ability to avoid paying income taxes for up to 18 years. Ava DuVernay’s documentary “13th” is released on Netflix. The documentary centers on race in the United States criminal justice system. The title comes for the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery. Vice presidential candidates Mike Pence and Tim Kaine square off in their one and only televised debate. Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson announces he has cancer. He dies five days later at age 50. Chief Assistant District Attorney Eric Gonzalez takes Thompson’s place. Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson celebrates his 75th birthday. A video of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump surfaces in which he brags about sexually assaulting women. Actor Tommy Ford, best known for his role as “Tommy” on the 1990s sitcom “Martin,” dies at age 52. Crown Heights anti-gun violence activist Lavon “Boo” Walker, is killed while vacationing in Miami. Walker was a founding member of the Brooklyn-based Save Our Streets organization, which is committed to ending gun violence. Venida Browder, mother of the late Kalief Browder, dies at age 63. Officials in Minnesota announce that the home of late superstar Prince will be turned into a permanent museum. As a result of the Justice Department replacing the New York investigative team working on the Eric Garner case with outside agents, civil rights charges are handed down to NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo. Unarmed, 66-year-old Black woman Deborah Danner is fatally shot by police in the Bronx. Police say Danner, who suffered from mental illness, charged at them with a bat before they opened fire. The death results in a series of protest demonstrations. The 21st annual National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality March is held in Harlem. Plane carrying Republican candidate Donald Trump’s running mate Mike Pence skids off the runway at LaGuardia Airport. No one is injured. Moira Smith accuses Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of groping her in 1999, when she met him as a young Truman Foundation Scholar at a dinner party in Falls Church, Va.


Early voting begins in several states for the presidential election. There is a dip in African-American turnout in key battleground states. City Comptroller Scott Stringer reveals in a report that the city isn’t utilizing M/WBEs when awarding municipal contracts. In New Jersey, the Sourland Conservancy receives a $67,688 grant from the Somerset County Historic Preservation to support the creation of the Stoutsburg Sourland African-American Museum—the first African-American museum in central New Jersey. The 47th anniversary of Black Solidarity Day is celebrated. Ariel Galarza, 49, goes into cardiac arrest and dies in the Bronx after an NYPD officer uses a Taser on him. Police allege the emotionally disturbed man was armed with a knife and acting violently. In an unlikely victory, Republican and businessman Donald Trump is elected as the 45th president of the United States and Mike Pence is elected the vice president by winning the most electoral votes. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton wins the popular vote, leading Trump by nearly 3 million votes. Reaction to Trump’s win results in mass protests and demonstrations across the nation. The nation also sees an increase in hate crimes targeting Americans of color and immigrants because of Trump’s rhetoric during his campaign. In New York, bias incident reports increase by 400 percent. In local races, congressional winners include Hakeem Jeffries, Gregory Meeks and Yvette Clark. More than 300 people are injured, 26 seriously, after police use water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets and concussion grenades against peaceful protesters who oppose the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Beloved Newark neighborhood street performer, Eric “Uggie” Bowens is fatally shot on Bergen Street at age 44.  Journalist, television newscaster and author Gwen Ifill dies at age 61. St. Anthony, Minn. police officer Jeronimo Yanez is charged with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm for the shooting death of Philando Castile. The Black Panther Party celebrates their 50th anniversary. Soul and funk singer Sharon Jones dies at age 60. She was the lead singer of Brooklyn-based funk band Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. The family of Sean Bell commemorates 10 years since his fatal police shooting. On Black Friday, The Justice Now! Coalition holds “Economic Shutdown 2.0,” protesting at retailers and calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to fire officer Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer responsible for the death of Eric Garner. Cuban revolutionary and politician Fidel Castro dies at age 90. Castro governed the Cuba as prime minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as president from 1976 to 2008. Police fatally shoot 19-year-old Kajuan Raye in Chicago. Officers say Raye pointed a weapon at the officer pursuing him, but no gun was found in the evidence gathering. Actor Ron Glass dies at age 71. He’s best known for his role as Det. Ron Harris on the 1970s police sitcom “Barney Miller.” 


Black golfer Tiger Woods makes his return to competitive golf in the Hero World Challenge after 15 months out because of back surgery. Former New York Jets running back Joe McKnight is fatally shot at age 28 in an apparent road rage incident in Terrytown, La. The suspect, 54-year-old Ronald Gasser is initially released after the shooting but is later arrested and charged with manslaughter. The United States Army Corps of Engineers under the Obama administration denies the easement of the Dakota Access Pipeline through Lake Oahe in the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and will look for alternative routes. Building his administration, Donald Trump taps Black doctor and former rival Ben Carson to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Meanwhile in the city, Trump election causes traffic headaches in Midtown Manhattan as Trump stays at his Trump Tower during his transition. “Showtime at the Apollo” airs on TV with former host Steve Harvey. Bronx DA Darcel Clark calls a grand jury to investigate the police death Deborah Danner. Muslim NYPD officer Aml Elsokary is verbally harassed by Christopher Nelson. He is later arrested and charged with menacing as a hate crime and aggravated harassment. A jury fails to reach a verdict after 22 hours of deliberation in the case of former North Carolina police officer Michael Slager, who fatally shot unarmed, Black Walter Scott in 2015. New Jersey college student and dancer Sarah Butler, 20, is found dead at the Eagle Rock Reservation after being reported missing days before Thanksgiving. Her accused killer, Khalil Wheeler-Weaver is arrested and charged with her murder. President Barack Obama orders a full review into computer hacking by the Russians, aimed at influencing U.S. elections going back to 2008. The CIA tells U.S. legislators that the United States Intelligence Community has “high confidence” that Russia conducted operations during the 2016 presidential election to assist Donald Trump. The U.S. Senate approves renaming of Morris Heights Post Office after late Tuskegee Airman Roscoe C. Brown. A jury finds Dylann Roof guilty of all 33 federal charges he faced after the 2015 massacre at a historically Black church where he killed nine congregants in Charleston, S.C. The Campaign Finance Board fines Mayor Bill de Blasio more than $47,000 for violating spending rules during his 2013 mayoral campaign. President Barack Obama grants clemency to 231 individuals, the largest single-day granting of clemency of his presidency, which included 1,324 total grants. The Rev. Al Sharpton and the family of Michael Griffith commemorate 30 years since the Howard Beach racial incident. The African-American celebration of Kwanzaa commemorates 50 years. Sports journalist and activist Howard Bingham dies at age 77. Pop singer George Michael dies at age 53. Comedian, actor, and film producer Ricky Harris dies at age 54.