By On This Day in NYC's History


On June 28th, 1964: Malcolm X announced the creation of the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) at a meeting at the Audubon Ballroom. The OAAU was inspired by the similarly named Organization of African Unity which had impressed Malcolm X on a recent trip to Africa. He believed the progress of African-Americans was closely connected to progress in Africa and so outlined “The Basic Unity Program” with five goals: Restoration, Reorientation, Education, Economic Security, and Self-Defense. Sadly, the OAAU did not survive long after Malcom X’s assassination though it inspired hundreds of “black power” groups which the following decade produced.

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On June 28th, 1994: Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden was suspended for 60 days for cocaine use. Known as “Doc,” Gooden was a talented and feared pitcher, earning the Triple Crown in 1985 for leading the league in wins, strikeouts, and earned run average. Despite his early success, Gooden’s later career was marred by allegations of rape and substance abuse, leading to a second suspension in 1995, this time for the entire season. After his retirement in 2001, Gooden was ultimately inducted to the Mets Hall of Fame in 2010.

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On June 28th, 1926: Director and comedian Mel Brooks was born. After getting his start writing musicals and televisions shows such as Get Smart, Brooks became an underground sensation with the release of his satire-comedy The Producers in 1968. This success marked the start of a decade of productivity and prosperity for Brooks as a director and writer of such films as Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and Spaceballs. Beyond the realm of directing, he has also lent his distinctive Brooklyn accent to a variety of animated characters in both movies and television. Brooks’ varied talents lead to become one of the few people to have ever won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony.

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