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: May 8, 2016
May 8, 1925
Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Formed
The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the trailblazing black labor union, was organized by A. Philip Randolph. Asa Philip Randolph (April 15, 1889 – May 16, 1979) was a leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, the American labor movement, and socialist political parties.
He organized and led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first predominantly African American labor union. In the early Civil Rights Movement, Randolph led the March on Washington Movement, which convinced President Franklin D. Roosevelt to issue Executive Order 8802 in 1941, banning discrimination in the defense industries during World War II. The group then successfully pressured President Harry S. Truman to issue Executive Order 9981 in 1948, ending segregation in the armed services.
May 9, 1867
1867 – Sojourner Truth delivers equal rights speech
Sojourner Truth delivers a speech to the First Annual Meeting o the American Equal Rights Association, championing for the rights of all people.
May 9, 1862
1862 – Freeing of Slaves
On May 9, 1862 General Hunter of the Union Army issued a proclomation freeing the slaves of Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. A displeased President Lincoln anulled this act. Lincoln stated, “General Hunter is an honest man…He proclaimed all men free within certain states. I repudiated the proclomation.”
May 10, 1775
Black patriots participated in the first
Black patriots participated in the first aggressive action of American forces, the capture of Fort Ticonderoga by Ethan Allen and “the Green Mountain Boy.”
May 10, 1950
Jackie Robinson appears on the cover of Life magazine; first time an African American is featured on the cover in the magazine’s 13 year history.
May 10, 1994
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was inaugurated
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was inaugurated as the first democratically elected State President of South Africa.
May 11, 1854
1854 – Dancer Martha Graham born
Birthday in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania of dancer Martha Gaham, considered a pioneer in Afro-Haitian dance.
May 12, 1958
Summit Meeting of National Negro Leaders called
Summit Meeting of National Negro Leaders called for stepped up campaign against discrimination and desegregation. President Eisenhower was sharply criticized for a speech which, in effect, urged the leaders to “be patient” in seeking full citizenship rights.
May 12, 1970
Race riot, Augusta, Georgia
Race riot, Augusta, Georgia. Six Blacks were killed. Authorities said five of the victims were shot by police.
May 13, 1862
Heroic union seaman
Robert Smalls and 12 fellow Afro-American seamen captured the Planter, a cotton steamer converted into a Confederate battleship. Smalls piloted the gunboat into Union lines and presented the ship to the U.S. Navy at Charleston Harbor. Smalls was promoted to Captain during the Civil War
May 13, 1969
Government: local (Mississippi)
In Fayette, Mississippi on May 13,1969; James Charles Evers (1922-) was elected the first black mayor of a racially mixed Mississippi town. In June 1971, he became the first black in this century to seek the governor’s office.
May 14, 1890
1890 – Rosa Jinsey Young
Rosa Jinsey Young was born on this date in 1890. The daughter of a Methodist circuit rider, she became a teacher and opened a private school in 1912 in Rosebud, Alabama, for the Methodist church. When the school ran into financial problems, the Lutheran church offered help. Young joined the Lutheran church and founded the Alabama Lutheran Academy, which evolved into Concordia College, Selma. She wrote an autobiography, “Light in the Dark Belt,” and died in 1971.
May 14, 1961
Bus with first group of Freedom Riders bombed
Bus with first group of Freedom Riders bombed and burned by segregationists outside Anniston, Alabama. Group was attacked in Anniston and Birmingham.
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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