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 1, 2016
May 1, 1902
Jimmy Winkfield wins his second Kentucky Derby
Jimmy Winkfield wins his second Kentucky Derby in a row. African American jockeys have won 15 of 28 Derby races.
May 1, 1941
Asa Philip Randolph issued a call for 100,000
Asa Philip Randolph issued a call for 100,000 Blacks to march on Washington, D.C., to protest discrimination in the armed forces and war industries.
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.
In 1963, Randolph was the head of the March on Washington, which was organized by Bayard Rustin, at which Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech. Randolph inspired the Freedom budget, sometimes called the “Randolph Freedom budget”, which aimed to deal with the economic problems facing the black community.
May 2, 1950
Gwendolyn Brooks, poet, first Black awarded a Pulitzer Prize (poetry) in 1950
Gwendolyn Brooks, poet, first Black awarded a Pulitzer Prize (poetry) in 1950. Brooks was born in Topeka, Kansas but grew up in Chicago. She is a witty poet who satirizes blacks and whites and attacks racial discrimination. She uses black language and rituals to proclaim black solidarity.
May 3, 1845
Macon B. Allen
Macon B. Allen, first Black Lawyer admitted to the bar, passed examination at Worcester, Massachusetts.
May 3, 1948
Supreme Court Ruled in Shelley v. Kraemer
Supreme Court ruled in Shelley v. Kraemer that federal and state courts could not enforce restrictive convenants which barred persons from owning or occupying property because of their race.
May 4, 1891
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams founded the Provident Hospital and Training School.
Daniel Hale Williams (January 18, 1856 – August 4, 1931) was an African American general surgeon, who in 1893 performed the second documented successful pericardium surgery to repair a wound. He also founded Provident Hospital, the first non-segregated hospital in the United States.
May 4, 1961
Thirteen Freedom Riders began Bus Trip through South
Thirteen Freedom riders began bus trip through South. In 1961, the Freedom Riders set out for the Deep South to defy Jim Crow laws and call for change. They were met by hatred and violence — and local police often refused to intervene. But the Riders’ efforts transformed the civil rights movement.
May 5, 1975
In May of 1975, Aaron also surpassed Ruth’s RBI mark
In May of 1975, Aaron also surpassed Ruth’s RBI mark. He finished his career with 755 home runs and over 2200 RBIs; both records still stand today. Aaron was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame on August 1, 1982. He currently works in the front office for the Atlanta Braves and has a street named in his honor adjacent to the Braves’ new stadium.
May 6, 1960
President Eisenhower signed Civil Rights Act of 1960
This was the first civil rights bill to be approved by Congress since Reconstruction. Though Eisenhower is not routinely linked to the civil rights issue, his contribution, including the 1957 Act, was important as it pushed the whole civil rights issue into the White House.
May 7, 1867
Black Demonstrators Staged Ride-in to Protest
Black demonstrators staged ride-in to protest segregation on New Orleans streetcars. Similar demonstrations occurred in Mobile, Ala., and other cities.
May 7, 1976
William H. Hastie
William H. Hastie inaugurated as the first Black governor of the Virgin Islands.
William Henry Hastie, Jr. (November 17, 1904 – April 14, 1976) was an American, lawyer, judge, educator, public official, and advocate for the civil rights of African Americans. He was the first African American to serve as Governor of the United States Virgin Islands, as a Federal judge, and as a Federal Appellate Judge.
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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