Know Your History!
Up to the early 20th century, most American knowledge of Black history was limited to the African American struggle through slavery and emancipation. The significance of Black history is recognition of the advancements and accomplishments of a group of people once defined by the Constitution as three-fifths of a person. While slavery in America hosts the background of Black history, the African American impact on history reaches beyond the country’s early history, as African Americans have made significant contributions to every field of endeavor, including politics, science, culture, social causes, arts, literature, athletics and the economy.
African-American Facts for Week of: March 20
March 20, 1950
Dr. Ralph Bunche receives the Nobel Peace Prize
Dr. Ralph Bunche receives the Nobel Peace Prize for his work as a mediator in the Palestine crisis. He is the first African American to be so honored.
March 20, 1970
Students went on Strike at U. Michigan
Students struck at the University of Michigan and demanded increased Black enrollment. The strike ended April 2, after the administration agreed to meet their demands.
March 21, 1960
Integration in San Antonio, Texas
The first lunch counters were integrated in San Antonio, Texas.
March 21, 1965
Selma March begins
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. leads thousands of people on a 54 mile march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama to call for voting rights for African Americans.
The federally sanctioned march left Selma on 21 March. Protected by hundreds of federalized Alabama National Guardsmen and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, the demonstrators covered between 7 to 17 miles per day. Camping at night in supporters’ yards, they were entertained by celebrities such as Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne. Limited by Judge Johnson’s order to 300 marchers over a stretch of two-lane highway, the number of demonstrators swelled on the last day to 25,000, accompanied by Assistant Attorneys General John Doar and Ramsey Clark, and former Assistant Attorney General Burke Marshall, among others.
March 22, 1968
State troopers mobilized to put down student rebellion on campus of Cheyney State College.
March 23, 1916
Marcus Garvey arrives in U.S. from Jamaica
Marcus Mosiah Garvey arrives in America from Jamaica.
March 23, 1968
1st Non-voting Congressional Delegate
Rev. Walter Fauntroy, a former aide of Martin Luther King Jr., became the first nonvoting congressional delegate from the District of Columbia since the Reconstruction Period.
March 24, 1912
Dorothy Height born
Birthday of Dorothy Irene Height in Richmond, Virginia. Height, president of the National Council of Negro Women for more than three decades, organized a successful drive to place a statue of Mary McLeod Bethune in a District of Columbia park. Once erected, the statue became the first of an African American in a public park in Washington, D.C.
March 24, 1837
Blacks win the right to Vote in Canada
Blacks win the right to vote in Canada.
March 25, 1931
Death of Ida B. Wells-Barnett
Ida Bell Wells-Barnett July 16, 1862 – March 25, 1931 born Holy Springs, Mississippi Slave parents, lost parents and 3 siblings to yellow fever at 14, Rust University and Fisk University, became teacher, refused to give up her seat for the colored section and sued railroad in 1880s, wrote articles, pen name “Iola”, led national campaign against lynching, her Memphis newspaper, office was mobbed and destroyed 1892, lectured and organized clubs, protested exclusion of Blacks from World’s Columbian Exposition 1894, married lawyer, 4 children, founded Alpha Suffrage Club of Chicago with Black suffragists, marched in Washington, D.C. 1913 and Chicago 1916 suffrage parades, Chicago probation officer 1913-1916, ally of W.E.B. DuBois, felt NAACP was not outspoken enough. Biographical information excerpted from Women Win the Vote distributed by The National Women’s History Project, 7738 Bell Road, Windsor, California, 95492-8518.
March 26, 1872
Thomas J. Martin – Inventor
Thomas J. Martin is awarded a patent for the fire extinguisher.
March 26, 1937
1st Black Federal Judge
William H. Hastie confirmed as judge of Federal District Court in Virgin Islands and became the first Black Federal Judge.
To me, the omission of any group from history teachings results in a limited understanding of history’s relationship with the present and future. Know your history.
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