a Lynne's


Monday, February 02, 2004

February is Black History Month.

c. 1517
Black plantation slavery begins in the New World when Spaniards begin importing slaves from Africa.
The Missouri Compromise (aka a balance of power). States that Missouri be admitted to the Union as a slave state, Maine as a free state, and western (Louisana Purchase) territories north of Missouri's southern border to be free soil. The territory below that line would be slave.
Slaves revolt on the Spanish slave ship Amistad. After their arrest in Long Island Sound, former U.S. president John Quincy Adams successfully defends them before the Supreme Court.
President Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1
Howard University is founded in Washington, D.C. It is named for General Oliver Otis Howard, head of the post-Civil War Freedmen's Bureau.
Joseph Hayne Rainey is the first black elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. (1870-1879)
Niagara Movement, a group of young blacks led by W.E.B. Du Bois, and a group of concerned whites merged together and formed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
*Singer and dancer Josephine Baker goes to Paris to dance at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in La Revue nègre. Ms. Baker became hugely popular in France.
*Ku Klux Klan membership exceeds 4,000,000 nationally.
Zora Neale Hurston publishes her second novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God (see earlier posting on her plays at LOC)
Richard Wright publishes Native Son.
Ebony magazine is founded.
Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat when ordered by the bus driver. Her act leads to the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955-56.
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is formed.
-Mr. Miles Davis records the infamous Kind of Blue with composer-arranger-pianist Bill Evans and Mr. John Coltrane.
-Motown Records is founded in Detroit, Michigan, by Berry Gordy, Jr.
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., writes "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" to eight clergymen who attacked his role in Birmingham. Widely reprinted, it a classic of protest literature. (see ealier posting for exerpts)
President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act into law. The act gave federal law enforcement agencies the power to prevent racial discrimination in employment, voting, and the use of public facilities.
Malcolm X is assassinated while delivering a speech in New York City.
The Black Panthers Party is founded in Oakland, Calif., by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale.
Rev. King is assassinated in Memphis.
Roots the 8 day mini-series airs on televison. The show was an adaptation of Alex Haley's Roots: The Saga of an American Family (1976). The final episode achieved the highest ratings ever for a single program.
The Miami Riots. A three-day race riot breaks out after an all-white jury acquits four white Miami police officers of killing Arthur McDuffie, a black insurance salesman. The cops had beaten him with their flashlights and billyclubs, and he died in the hospital. 18 fatalities and more than $100 million in property damage are the final result. It was the worst riot since those in Watts and Detroit in the 1960s. (nine years later Miami experienced another 3 day race riot)
The state legislature of Louisiana repealed the last racial classification law in the United States. The criterion for being classified as black was having 1/32nd Negro blood.
Nelson Mandela, South African Black Nationalist, was freed after 27 years in prison.
The Senate votes 52-48 to confirm the nomination of Justice Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court. Thomas expected a fairly easy confirmation until his former aide, Anita Hill, stepped forward and accused him of sexual harassment. Hill a law professor at the University of Oklahoma, is also black. Thomas denied the charges.
-Riots break out in Los Angeles, sparked by the acquittal of four white police officers caught on videotape beating Rodney King, a black motorist. The riots cause at least 55 deaths and $1 billion in damage.
-Terry McMillan publishes Waiting to Exhale. The book is about four middle-class women looking for the love and respect. The book later became a movie.
-Poet Maya Angelou, composes and delivers a poem for the inauguration of President Clinton.
-M. Joycelyn Elders became the first black and the first woman United States Surgeon General.
-Toni Morrison was the first black American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.
-O.J. Simpson is acquitted of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.
-Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, is instrumental in organizing the "Million Man March" of African-American men in Washington, D.C.
Black American women participated in the Million Woman March in Philadelphia, focusing on health care, education, and self-help.
Condolezza Rice takes the position of foreign policy adviser for President-Elect George W. Bush.


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