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: March 6
March 6, 1957
John Lee, becomes first Black Commissioned Officer
John Lee, first black commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy is assigned to duty. Dec 1944-Jan 1945 The U.S. Army integrated black volunteers with white troops to fight during the “Battle of the Bulge,” the Germans last desperate counter offensive to break through in the Ardennes forest in Belgium. Over 5000 African-American soldiers in the Armys service units volunteered; 2500 of them were accepted. After 6 weeks of training, the black troops were organized into 37 platoons of 40 men each, which were then attached to white units of 200 men each. Suggested by General John Lee and approved by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, this was the first and only example of an integrated Army fighting force in WWII. White officers later judged that these black soldiers had performed “very well” or “fairly well.” Although this experiment proved to be quite successful, the Army withheld a favorable survey on the intermixing of its troops because it would supposedly have undermined southern political support for a postwar peacetime draft.
March 7, 1794
Eli Whitney – Patented Cotton Gin
Eli Whitney patented cotton gin which made cotton king and increased demand for slave labor.
March 7, 1838
Black Protest Denial of Right to Vote
Blacks held a mass meeting in Philadelphia to protest the action of the Pennsylvania Reform Convention of 1837 which denied them the right to vote.
March 8, 1945
Phyllis Mae Daley, first of four African American
Phyllis Mae Daley, first of four African American Navy nurses to serve active duty in WW II receives her commission as an ensign in the Navy Nurse Corps.
March 9, 1961
Clifton Wharton is sworn in as ambassador to Norway. Clifton Wharton was the 1st Black person to earn a PhD in economics from University of Chicago in as well as the first Black president of Michigan State, predominantly White university.
March 9, 1966
Andrew F. Brimmer
Andrew F. Brimmer became the first Black governor of the Federal Reserve Board.
March 10, 1913
Death of Harriet Tubman, Auburn, New York
Harriet Tubman born Araminta Ross; c. 1822 – March 10, 1913 was an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and during the American Civil War, a Union spy. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made about thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.
March 11, 1926
Rev. Ralph David Abernathy born
The Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, aide to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Southern Christian Leadership Conference figure, was born in Linden, Alabama. Following King’s assassination, Dr. Abernathy took up the leadership of the SCLC Poor People’s Campaign and led the March on Washington, D.C., that had been planned for May 1968.
March 12, 1932
Andrew Young born
Andrew Young, former US United Nations ambassador, former congressman and former mayor of Atlanta, born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He served as President of the National Council of Churches USA, was a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, and was a supporter and friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Being familiar with past events gives us the ability not only to learn from past mistakes but also from the successes.
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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