March 19, 1928 — “Amos ‘n’ Andy” premieres on radio station WMAQ Chicago

Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll were a pair of comedians and actors who, in 1926, created one of the earliest serialised radio shows, a comedy (with occasional dramatic elements) entitled “Sam ‘n’ Henry”. Which is fine and dandy, although presenting one major problem to us today: Correll and Gosden were white men who parlayed an ability to impersonate black men into a highly successful career.

Their true success began with their subsequent creation, the radio serial “Amos ‘n’ Andy”. This series would run for over thirty years, spawning a film and a television series as spin offs, and become an unforgettable part of mid-twentieth century American culture. It would also, in its later years, become quite controversial for its portrayal of black characters by white actors and its use of negative stereotypes in its characters. Although some have argued that some of its “racist” stereotypes were more accurately seen as comedic stereotypes who happened to be black, but given that these were among the very few black characters on television at all, the overall effect was a negative one on black and white listeners (and later viewers) alike.

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As mentioned in:

Famous And Dandy (Like Amos And Andy) — The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy

March 19, 1943 — Frank ‘The Enforcer’ Nitti commits suicide

The man in charge of all the muscle for Al Capone’s Chicago Outfit, Nitti was busted along with Capone in 1931. But where his boss got eleven years, Nitti served only 18 months. Upon release, he went back to the Outfit, but despite the press hailing him as the new leader of that gang, he was only a figurehead to the powers behind the throne. Nonetheless, the Chiacgo Outfit prospered and expanded until 1943.

In 1943, Nitti, along with seven other prominent mobsters, was indicted for extorting money from Hollywood. And the day before Nitti was scheduled to testify, Nitti, rather than betray the Mob he had worked for his entire adult life, got very drunk, and deliberately shot himself in the head and died. There was a man who took omerta seriously.