Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams becomes the first Black officer to command the West Point Military Academy in its 216-year history. City officials announced new measures to reduce the lead exposure risk for children living in NYCHA buildings after a report reveals that that 820 children younger than 5 years tested positive for elevated lead levels from 2012 to 2016. As a dangerous heat wave takes over the tristate area, more than 180 residents of the Newark homeless shelter Urban Renewal are displaced when the shelter closes because of a lack of funding. At the NNPA Awards National Legacy Awards, the Rev. Jesse Jackson pushes for a federal anti-lynching law introduced by Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush. Congresswoman Maxine Waters is the target of death threats when she criticizes President Trump and calls for his impeachment. A report released by City Comptroller Scott Stringer reveals that bullying at public schools is at an all-time high. Crystal Mason, a Black woman who unintentionally voted while on probation, is sentenced to a five-year imprisonment in Texas. Supporters across the nation call for her release. President Trump nominates U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by retiring justice Anthony Kennedy. Rapper Cardi B gives birth to her first child, Kulture Kiari Cephus. U.S. tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods come into effect. Harlem activist and former Superintendent of the New York State Office of General Services Beverly Alston passes away. The world watches as 12 boys and their soccer coach are successfully rescued from the flooded Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Thailand, after a 17-day ordeal that gained worldwide attention. The NAACP holds its 109th national convention in San Antonio, Texas. The civil rights organization’s convention aims to target youth and millennials. Media reports surface that Papa John’s Pizza founder John Schnatter used the N-word during a conference call. He immediately steps down and a boycott of the company is called. Special Counsel Mueller charges 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking during the 2016 election.
The daughter of the Rev. Al Sharpton, Dominique Sharpton Bright, announces she’s expecting her first child with her husband Marcus Bright. The U.S. Department of Justice announces it’s reopening the murder case of Emmett Till after new information surfaces. Till, a 14-year-old African-American, was brutally murdered in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman in a Mississippi grocery store. Tragedy strikes when 17 people die after an amphibious “duck boat” capsizes while carrying 31 tourists on Table Rock Lake, Mo. The NYPD announces plans to open its own investigation into the 2014 police killing of Eric Garner after the Department of Justice fails to make any announcements for criminal charges against police officer Daniel Pantaleo, who killed Garner with a prohibited chokehold. President Barack Obama delivers the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Johannesburg, South Africa, marking Mandela’s 100th birthday. Community activist rally in Brooklyn after three teens are fatally shot in East New York over the course of just a few days. Black, 37-year-old Rashaun Washington is shot by police in Vineland, N.J. The shooting of the father of two is captured on Facebook Live. A jury acquits suspect Keith Luncheon in the 2015 killing of Carey Gabay, a Black former aide to Gov. Cuomo. Gabay was shot during the J’Ouvert Festival in Brooklyn that precedes the West Indian American Day Parade. A Pennsylvania board recommends that comedian Bill Cosby be classified as a sexually violent predator after he was found guilty of raping a woman in April. Black Panther Party co-founder Elbert “Big Man” Howard dies at age 80. The 44th annual Harlem Week kicks off with the theme “Women Transforming Our World: Past, Present and Future,” along with subtheme “The Community Within the Community: Saluting the LGBTQ Community.” Former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver gets seven years in prison for public corruption. Black, 18-year-old Nia Wilson is fatally stabbed by a white man in a random attack in the public transit system in California’s Bay Area. Reports surface that President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen secretly recorded his client discussing payments to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who says she had an affair with Trump. NYCHA’s smoking ban begins, prohibiting public housing residents from smoking within 25 feet of NYCHA buildings.
The 44th Harlem Week celebration takes place. The Dance Theatre of Harlem marks 50 years. Several Black clergy leaders are criticized after meeting with President Trump during a White House roundtable that focused on efforts to reform the prison system. The president of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association, William Howard, passes away in his sleep. The United States reimposes sanctions on Iran. Wildfires in California are officially declared the largest in the state’s history. A dangerous heat wave takes hold of the city, putting temperatures in the 90s for several days. A brawl caught on surveillance video at New Red Apple Nail Salon in Brooklyn causes outrage when Asian employees attack Black patrons, resulting in a boycott. Thavone Santana is shot in the face by an off-duty NYPD Sergeant Ritchard Blake, who initially claims Santana tried to rob him. It’s later revealed that the shooting was over a woman. The community demands Blake’s arrest. Nine community members from Inwood and East Harlem are arrested during a protest over a rezoning plan proposed by the city. Michael Cohen, who worked as a lawyer for Donald Trump from 2006 until May 2018, pleads guilty to eight charges including tax evasion and making false statements to a financial institution. Former Trump election campaign chairman Paul Manafort is convicted on eight out of 18 charges of tax and bank fraud. During a deadly weekend in Chicago, 72 people are shot and 13 are killed. Former White House Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison Omarosa Manigault releases her book “Unhinged,” detailing her time in the White House. Before the book’s release, Manigault releases several secretly recorded tapes. The world mourns the passing of the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin who dies in Detroit, Mich. at the age of 76 of a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor. In New York, fans flock to the Apollo Theater to pay their respects. Thousands of people attend her star-studded funeral in Detroit and millions watch the service on television and online. The New York Black Panther Party celebrates its 50th anniversary. Former Baltimore police officer Arthur Williams resigns and is been charged with felony assault after he is caught on video beating a man he stopped on the street while on patrol. Mayor de Blasio signs into law five bills that include a 12-month cap on for-hire vehicles with an exception made for those that are wheelchair accessible. Former United Nations secretary-general and Ghanaian diplomat Kofi Annan dies at age 80. Former Corrections Officers Benevolent Association President Norman Seabrook is found guilty of taking $60,000 in kickbacks in exchange for putting $20 million of his members’ pension into a risky hedge fund that went bankrupt. White Monroe Township Board of Education candidate Richard Jankowski used the words “monkeys” and “animals” to describe African-Americans during a rant on social media. White former police officer Roy Oliver, who shot and killed Black, 15-year-old Jordan Edwards in suburban Dallas in 2017 is convicted of murder. Edwards was in the passenger seat of a car with four other Black teens when Oliver opened fire. Black mayor of Tallahassee, Fla. Andrew Gillum wins the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Florida. Fans celebrate what would have been Michael Jackson’s 60th birthday. Reports surface that NYCHA staff members tasked with working on emergency repairs at Throggs Neck Houses in the Bronx are accused of holding sex parties on the property. The entire staff of nearly 40 is immediately reassigned to other developments. AUDELCO President Grace L. Jones passes at 90. The Sergeants Benevolent Association announces they will offer $500 to any civilian who helps police wrestle down suspects who are resisting arrest. The announcement is condemned by elected officials and civil rights leaders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton. A mass shooting occurs during a Madden NFL 19 tournament at the Jacksonville Landing in Jacksonville, Fla., resulting in several fatalities including the perpetrator. Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett reports that more than 1,100 children living in public housing tested positive for high levels of lead since 2012. Republican U.S Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain dies at age 81.
The 51st annual West Indian Day Parade takes place in Brooklyn. Former NFL player and activist Colin Kaepernick signs a multiyear endorsement deal with Nike. An unnamed senior Trump official writes an op-ed in The New York Times about chaos in the White House and how officials are controlling things. Several cases of Legionnaires’ disease are confirmed at NYCHA buildings in the Bronx and in Harlem. Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Virginia. In total, 55 people are killed and the storm causes almost $18 billion in damage. Black public relations maven Terrie Williams announces she is closing her agency after 30 years to focus on her personal wellness and family. During Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Christine Blasey Ford testifies that he sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s while they were in high school. Two other women also allege Kavanaugh sexually assaulted them. Jazz pianist Randy Weston dies at age 92. Miss New York, Nia Franklin, is crowned Miss America. Franklin is the eighth Black woman to win the title. John Legend becomes an EGOT (Emmy, Tony, Oscar and Tony) winner when he receives an Emmy for his work as a producer on the television special “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.” The nation commemorates 17 years since the Sept. 11 attacks. White police officer Amber Guyger fatally shoots Black, unarmed 26-year-old Botham Shem Jean in Dallas, Texas. Guyger claims to have mistaken Jean’s apartment for her own when she entered and thought he was burglar. Primary elections are held in New York State. Big winners include Andrew Cuomo, who beat actress and activist Cynthia Nixon for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and Letitia James for attorney general Democratic candidate. Black ballet dancer and choreographer Arthur Mitchell dies at age 84.
Record producer Suge Knight is sentenced to 28 years in prison after pleading no contest in a 2015 fatal hit-and-run. Philanthropist, leader, entrepreneur and businesswoman Ruth Clark passes away. The city scrambles for answers after 16-year-old Oluwadurotimi Joseph Oyebola is killed by a stray bullet in the Chester Playground next to Public School 396 in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Comedian Bill Cosby is sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for raping a woman. A tsunami hits Sulawesi, Indonesia killing at least 2,250 people and injuring more than 10,600 others. More than 100 NYCHA residents testify at in federal court about their struggles living in public housing.
The arrest of Black, unarmed Raaseon Adams causes outrage when the video of the incident involving the deaf and mute man surfaces. Adams was allegedly trying to intervene when his friend was involved in a traffic stop. Charges against Adams are later dropped. Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi is murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg changes his political party affiliation from Republican to Democrat with speculation that he could run during the 2020 presidential election. The Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination by a vote of 50 to 48. The Coalition for Educational Justice releases a new curriculum analysis with the aim of creating a culturally responsive curriculum in city public schools. Harlem-based community youth organization Brotherhood/Sister Sol demolishes its brownstone to make way for a new building. Hurricane Michael makes landfall in Florida and Georgia, killing 45 and causing $15 billion in damage.
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker introduces legislation to fight national poverty. Twenty people are killed in a crash involving a limousine transporting birthday party guests in Schoharie County, N.Y. A jury finds white police officer Jason Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder and multiple counts of aggravated battery in the 2014 killing of Black teen Laquan McDonald in Chicago. The state’s Raise the Age law goes into effect, removing 16 year olds who have committed crimes from the adult criminal justice system and placing them in age-appropriate facilities. As youth are moved to different facilities, reports surface of violent conditions at the Horizon Juvenile Center in the Bronx. As the midterm elections get underway, suspected voter suppression tactics are used in the Georgia gubernatorial race, where Black, female Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams is a favorite to win. Far-right, white male hate group the Proud Boys and anti-fascist activists have a violent clash outside of the Metropolitan Republican Club on the Upper East Side. White Flatbush, Brooklyn resident Theresa Klein accuses a 9-year-old Black boy of sexually groping her at a local store. In a viral cellphone video posted online, Klein is seen berating the boy and his family while calling the police. A surveillance video later proves the boy’s innocence. British royals and newlyweds Duchess Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announce they are expecting their first child. In a bizarre televised meeting, rapper Kanye West meets with President Trump in the Oval Office, where the two discuss a wide range of issues. West receives backlash over the meeting, during which he was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. A student brings a fake gun to A. Philip Randolph Campus High School in Harlem, prompting the campus and adjacent City College to temporarily lockdown. The Kings County district attorney announces that 14-year-old Aaron Nathaniel faces 15 years to life in prison for the alleged fatally shooting of 16-year-old Oluwadurotimi Oyebola. President Trump deploys 800 U.S. soldiers to the U.S.-Mexico border to halt the incoming Central American migrant caravans.
A gunman kills 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. As cold weather sets in, Mayor de Blasio commits to a $1 million a month plan to improve heating in NYCHA. The “Right to Know Act” goes into effect in the city, requiring NYPD officers to hand out business cards with information, including their name, rank, command and shield number when they stop people. City Council Member Jumaane Williams and Assemblymember Michael Blake both announce plans to run for public advocate. The seat is vacated by Letitia James, who is elected New York State attorney general. America is on alert when 16 packages containing pipe bombs are mailed to several critics of President Trump, including former president and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Bombs are also sent to CNN. None of the bombs explode. The FBI arrests suspect Cesar Altieri Sayoc Jr. in Florida for sending the devices, charging him with domestic terrorism. Mumia Abu Jamal’s attorneys lay out arguments on how former District Attorney Ron Castille violated Mumia’s right to appeal his 1982 murder conviction while later overseeing his appeals as a judge. Playwright and poet Ntozake Shange dies at age 70. She is best known for her 1976 Broadway play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf.” Black shooting victims Maurice Stallard, 69, and Vickie Jones, 67, are both killed in the parking lot of a Kroger supermarket in Jeffersontown, Ky., near Louisville by white suspect Gregory A. Bush. Before the killing, Bush tried to go into a predominantly Black church. The church was locked and a member sitting in a car in the parking lot saw him trying to get in.
Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove dies at age 49. The African Burial Ground monument in lower Manhattan is defaced with violent graffiti on. Someone used black marker to write “Kill Niggers” on a plaque. Ivan Nieves of the Bronx is arrested for the crime.
Americas head to the polls for the midterm elections. The Democrats gain at least 40 seats to take control of the House of Representatives, but lose at least two seats in the Senate. In the gubernatorial races, Gov. Andrew Cuomo wins a third term. Black candidates for governor, Andrew Gillum of Florida and Stacey Abrams in Georgia, both go into recounts after their races are too close to call. Both candidates lose. Letitia James makes history when she is elected New York State’s first Black attorney general. Locally, the city’s Board of Elections comes under fire when voters experience widespread problems at the polls, including broken machines, long lines and poll sites opening late. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigns. White, Mississippi U.S. Senate candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith, who faced Black candidate Mike Espy, comes under fire when she says she would attend a “public hanging” while at a political rally. The Camp Fire ignites in Butte County, Calif. causing 88 deaths and destroying more than 18,000 buildings. Black victim Ann Marie Washington, 57, is stabbed by a white man at the Church Avenue station on the B and Q subway lines. No arrest is made for the unprovoked attack, and local election officials call for the incident to be investigated as a hate crime. Police in suburban Chicago fatally shoot Black security guard Jemel Roberson, who was detaining a suspect after several people were shot at a local bar. Marian Wright Edelman transitions from president of the Children’s Defense Fund to president emerita. Harlem resident Robert Bailey wins $343 million of the $687 million Powerball jackpot. He splits the winnings with another winner in Iowa. Danye Jones is found hanging from a tree behind his mother’s home Oct. 17 in Spanish Lake, Mo. Jones’ mother is St. Louis-based activist Melissa McKinnies, who is known for organizing demonstrations for police shooting victim Michael Brown Jr. Online retail giant Amazon announces plans to build a second headquarters in Long Island City, Queens that will created 40,000 jobs. Legendary actress Cicely Tyson becomes first Black woman to receive an honorary Oscar. The Colonial Park Post Office in Harlem is renamed the Tuskegee Airmen Post Office. Mayor de Blasio unveils his NYCHA 2.0 plan to make widespread improvements to public housing in the city. A mistrial is declared in the rape and murder case of white Queens jogger Karina Vetrano. The hung jury rules that the suspect, Black, 22-year-old Chanel Lewis, could not come to an agreement after two days of deliberations. AmNews entertainment writer and host of WHCR Radio, Daa’iya El-Sanusi, dies at 63. New York State Senator Jose Peralta dies at age 47. Police in Birmingham, Ala. fatally shoot Black Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. after mistaking him for the gunman. Former First Lady Michelle Obama released her book “Becoming” about her life growing up and time in the White House. Oprah Winfrey’s mother, Vernita Lee, dies at age 83. During the Thanksgiving holiday, NYCHA residents in the Bronx have no gas to cook meals. State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers is elected the first Black woman to serve as Senate majority leader when the 2019 session begins in January. Four correction officers are injured in two separate events inside the Horizon Juvenile Facility in the Bronx. Anthony Cureton becomes the first African-American elected sheriff in Bergen County in New Jersey. He previously served as president of the Bergen County NAACP. President Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress in relation to the Russia inquiry. Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush dies at age 94.
A Black Panthers mural in Los Angeles is defaced with swastikas. Harlem’s Apollo Theater announces plans to build new performance spaces. The NYPD trial is set for May 2019 for Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who used a chokehold to kill Eric Garner during an arrest. Former attorney for President Trump, Michael Cohen, is sentenced to 36 months in prison. NYCHA residents in Patterson Houses in the Bronx are forced to get water from a fire hydrant because there is no water in several buildings. Shocking video surfaces of security guards and NYPD officers at a Human Resources Administration center in Brooklyn trying to arrest Black, 23-year-old Jazmine Headley while she is holding her 1-year-old son. Officers confronted her for sitting on the floor because there were no chairs available. Headley was detained and spent five days in jail before being released by the Kings County district attorney. Her charges are later dropped. McKenzie Nicole Adams, 9, of Alabama commits suicide after being racially bullied at school. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor rules that a key part of the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. President Trump announces plans to withdraw the remaining American troops from Syria. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigns as a result. The mother of Eric Garner, Gwen Carr, releases her book, “This Stops Today,” chronicling her journey to find justice for her son. Famed jazz and pop singer Nancy Wilson dies at age 81. The city pays $2 million to the family Deborah Danner, a Black woman who was mentally unstable and killed by police at her apartment in 2016. Luxury brand Prada is slammed after it uses racist caricatures depicting African-Americans as part of a new fashion line. HUD Secretary Ben Carson comes to the city visit NYCHA and meet with Mayor de Blasio on the status of public housing. Gov. Cuomo announces plans to legalize recreational marijuana in New York. Public Advocate Letitia James places NYCHA at the top of the list of the city’s worst landlords. The U.S. government partially shuts down after no deal reached on funding President Trump’s border wall, which he claimed Mexico was going to pay for. Shocking video goes viral when Black high school wrestler Andrew Johnson is forced by a white referee to cut his dread locks to compete in a match. A white woman is seen in the video wearing gloves while she cut his hair in public. Anti-lynching legislation introduced in June by U.S. Senators Kamala Harris, Tim Scott and Cory Booker passes. Former judge and State Senator William C. Thompson Sr. passes at age 94. Black World War II veteran Richard Overton dies at age 112. Overton is the oldest WWII veteran and the oldest man in the United States. The New York Jets fire Black coach Todd Bowles after four seasons with no playoffs. The minimum wage in New York City goes up from $13 to $15 per hour for businesses with 11 or more employees. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren announces she will run for president in the 2020 election.