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.
African-American Facts for Week of: April 10, 2016
April 10, 1943
Arthur Ashe, first African American Davis Cup team member
Arthur Ashe, first African American Davis Cup team member, first African American to win the U.S. Open and the men’s singles title at Wimbledon in 1975, born.
April 10, 1968
Passing of the Civil Rights Bill
U.S. Congress pass Civil Rights Bill banning racial discrimination in sale or rental of approximately 80 per cent of the nation’s housing.
April 11, 1881
Spelman College Opened
Spelman College, an institution sponsored by John D. Rockefeller’s family, opened for Negro women in Atlanta, Georgia. It became the “Radcliffe and the Sarah Lawrence of Negro education.”
April 11, 1948
Jackie Robinson signs a professional baseball contract and becomes the first Black Player in the Major Leagues.
April 12, 1975
Josephine Baker Dies
Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri, she later took the name Baker from her stepfather. Surviving the 1917 riots in East St. Louis, Illinois, where the family was living, she ran away a few years alter at age thirteen and began dancing in vaudeville and on Broadway. In 1925, she went to Paris where, after the jazz revue La Revue Nègre failed, her comic ability and jazz dancing drew attention of the director of the Folies Bergère. She died of a stroke.
April 13, 1964
Sidney Poitier wins Best Actor Academy Award.
Sidney Poitier wins Best Actor Academy Award for his role in Lilies of the Field.
April 13, 1997
Eldrick Tiger Woods wins the 61st Masters Tournament in Augustus, Georgia
Eldrick Tiger Woods wins the 61st Masters Tournament in Augustus, Georgia at the age of 21 becoming the youngest person to ever win this tournament.
April 14, 1969
Students Seize Columbia College Building
Student Afro-American Society seized the Columbia College admissions office and demanded a special admissions board and staff.
April 15, 1985
Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns – World Middleweight Title
Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns wins the World Middleweight title. This is one of five weight classes that he has won a boxing title making him the first Black to win boxing titles in five different weight classes.
April 16, 1862
President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia.
President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia. Passage of this act came 9 months before President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. The act brought to conclusion decades of agitation aimed at ending what antislavery advocates called “the national shame” of slavery in the Nation’s Capital. The law provided for immediate emancipation, compensation of up to $300 for each slave to loyal Unionist masters, voluntary colonization of former slaves to colonies outside the United States, and payments of up to $100 to each person choosing emigration. Over the next 9 months, the federal government paid almost $1 million for the freedom of approximately 3,100 former slaves. The District of Columbia Emancipation Act is the only example of compensated emancipation in the United States. Though its three-way approach of immediate emancipation, compensation, and colonization did not serve as a model for the future, it was an early signal of slavery’s death. Emancipation was greeted with great jubilation by the District’s African-American community. For many years afterward, black Washingtonians celebrated Emancipation Day on April 16 with parades and festivals
Too often America revels in its greatness but often fails to confront or come to grips with the darker moments of American history. Exploring African American history could allow America to lance the boil of the past and move towards healing.
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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