Month: June 2018

June 11 1963- George Wallace

GM – FBF – Today I will take you back to when Eduction was a must. Now in your mind just remember that George Wallace Stood in a Doorway at the University of Alabama 55 Years Ago Today.

Rememebr – “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” – Governor George Wallace (D)

Today in our History – June 11, 1963 – George Wallace Stood in a Doorway at the University of Alabama 55 Years Ago Today

IN JANUARY OF 1963, following his election as Governor of Alabama, George Wallace famously stated in his inaugural address: “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

The staunch conservative demonstrated his loyalty to the cause on June 11, 1963, when black students Vivian Malone and James A. Hood showed up at the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa to attend class. In what historians often refer to as the “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door,” the governor literally stood in the doorway as federal authorities tried to allow the students to enter.

When Wallace refused to budge, President John F. Kennedy called for 100 troops from the Alabama National Guard to assist federal officials. Wallace chose to step down rather than incite violence.

The summer of 1963 was a tense time in this nation’s history. The day after Wallace’s standoff, civil rights leader Medgar Evers was assassinated in Jackson, Miss. Violence also struck in Cambridge, Md., and Danville, Va., that June.
Kennedy spoke to a national audience hours after the Alabama showdown, outlining his plans for federal legislation to make way for further integration.

The landmark speech angered conservative Americans. Representative Charles C. Diggs, Jr. a Democrat from Michigan who would go on to serve as the first chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said: “If the Negroes don’t get their demands, they will turn to other leadership that will produce an even greater crisis than this one.”

Sure enough, crisis after crisis plagued America over the next few years, culminating in 1968 with the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, as well as mass rioting at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago (although that had more to do with the Vietnam War than racial injustice).

Today, 55 years removed from Wallace’s protest, the University of Alabama’s student body is 13 percent African American, which is only slightly lower than the national average of 14 percent of college students, but is equal to the overall percentage of black people in the United States.

Race violence, however, erupted at other places in the nation. In the same week: A Negro leader was shot in the back and mortally wounded at Jackson, Miss. Race riots broke out at Danville, Va., and Cambridge, Md.

President Kennedy, on June 11, went on radio and television appealing to the nation to give Negroes equal rights. He called for new federal laws to deal with race problems. In Congress, a bitter battle began over the President’s legislative proposals.
On June 14. mass demonstrations spread to the nation’s capital. Several thousand Negroes—and several hundred white sympathizers—massed at the White House, then marched quietly through midtown Washington with signs protesting racial discrimination—both local and national.

The march ended at the Justice Department, where Attorney General Robert Kennedy congratulated the marchers on their peaceful demonstration and assured them the Federal Government is trying to speed integration and improve Negro job opportunities. Research more about unrest on our American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

June 9 1891- George Washington Johnson

GM – FBF – Black Music Month was initiated by President Jimmy Carter who, on June 7, 1979, decreed that June would be the month of black music. So today I will tell you the story of the first black man to be recorded in America. I know that some of you never knew this. Make it a champion day!

Remember – In his 2016 proclamation, President Obama noted that African-American music and musicians have helped the country “to dance, to express our faith through song, to march against injustice, and to defend our country’s enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all.”

Today in our History – June 9, 1891 – George Washington Johnson, sings for Thomas A. Edison in his West Orange, N.J. laboratory.

Johnson was born in Virginia, either in Fluvanna County or near Wheatland in Loudoun County. His father may have been a slave; if so, he was likely freed in 1853. From an early age, Johnson was raised near Wheatland as the companion and servant of a prosperous white farmer’s son. During his time with this family, he developed his musical ability and even learned to read and write, which was unusual for a black child in Virginia before the American Civil War. Johnson later worked as a laborer, and in his late twenties he moved to New York City. By the late 1870s he was making his living as a street entertainer in New York, specializing in whistling popular tunes.

Some time between January and May 1890, Johnson was recruited by two different regional phonograph distributors who were looking for recording artists for their coin-operated machines. Charles Marshall of the New York Phonograph Company and Victor Emerson of the New Jersey Phonograph Company both heard Johnson performing in Manhattan, probably at the ferry terminals on the Hudson River. Both of them invited Johnson to record his loud raggy whistling on wax phonograph cylinders for a fee of twenty cents per two-minute performance. Although Johnson could whistle all the tunes of the day, one of his first recordings for both companies was a popular vaudeville novelty song called “The Whistling Coon”. Johnson sang as well as whistled, and also was able to give a boisterous laugh in musical pitch. From this he developed the second performance that made him famous, “The Laughing Song”. Although he recorded other material, including whistling the song “Listen to the Mockingbird” and some short minstrel show performances done with other performers, it was these two songs that Johnson would perform and record over and over for years.

In the earliest days of the recording industry, every record was a “master”. A singer with a strong voice could make three or four usable recordings at once, with as many machines running simultaneously with their recording horns pointed towards the singer’s mouth. Johnson would sometimes sing the same song over and over again in the recording studio fifty or more times a day.

By 1895, Johnson’s two tunes “The Whistling Coon” and “The Laughing Song” were the best-selling recordings in the United States. The total sales of his wax cylinders between 1890 and 1895 have been estimated at 25,000 to 50,000, each one recorded individually by Johnson. Remarkably, the New Jersey record company marketed Johnson as a black man, during an era when much of American life was strongly segregated by race. “The Whistling Coon” was characterized by a light-hearted tune and lyrics which would be unacceptable today, in which a Black man is compared to a baboon.

Johnson continued recording for the New York and New Jersey companies, and in 1891 also started recording for their parent company, the North American Phonograph Company. On June 9, 1891, Johnson traveled to sing for a few recording sessions held at Thomas Edison’s laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey. Johnson also made appearances on Vaudeville. His repertory on stage was pretty much limited to his two famous songs, but this was sufficient to get him bookings on bills.

In 1894, Johnson began recording with Len Spencer, a Vaudeville star of the era, and the two would remain friends until the end of Johnson’s life. In 1895, Johnson made his first recordings on the new disc technology for Berliner Gramophone. In addition to Berliner, Johnson recorded for Edison Records, Columbia, the Victor Talking Machine Company, the Chicago Talking Machine Company, Bettini and numerous other small cylinder and disc companies through the 1890s and up to 1909 or 1910.

In 1897, Johnson recorded two new songs, “The Laughing Coon” and “The Whistling Girl”. They remained in the Edison and Columbia catalogs for years, although neither was as popular as his two original tunes.By 1905, Johnson’s popularity had declined. New recording technology enabled the pressing of thousands of duplicate records from a single master, and Johnson was no longer needed to record each copy individually. His friend Len Spencer, now a successful artist and booking agent, hired Johnson as an office doorman. Johnson worked for Spencer and lived in his office building for several years, then moved back to Harlem. In 1914, at the age of 67, George W. Johnson died from pneumonia and myocarditis. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York. Research more about the early black singers who were recorded in America and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

June 8 1982- Leroy Robert Paige

GM – FBF – Lawnside, NJ was developed and incorporated as the first independent, self-governing black municipality north of the Mason-Dixon Line in 1840. Many of my family still live in and all around the surrounding towns of Lawanside and living in Trenton it was a treat to visit family because we spent days in that community and I have met many of the best during that time. So think of the stars in every field coming to this community because it was safe from white oppression during the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. I saw, met, talked to and learned from many who were passing through on the way to Philadelphia, Atlantic City,New York City and right in our backyard of Cherry Hill, NJ where the famed Latin Casino was a show place . My brother and I played catch with Mr. Paige in the summer of ’63 and I will never forget his words of knowledge that helped me in my future basball career in Jr. HS, HS, College and the Minor Leagues. There is so much to his story that I can’t tell it all but enjoy some of the hilights.

Remember – “They said I was the greatest pitcher they ever saw…I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t give me no justice.” – Leroy Robert Paige

Today in our History – Leroy Robert Paige better known as (better known as Satchel Paige) was born. July 7, 1906 – June 8,1982.

The mere idea that his birthday is an estimate provides perfect evidence to the mystery that was Satchel Paige. In 1965, 60 years after Paige’s supposed birthday, he took the mound for the last time, throwing three shutout innings for the Kansas City Athletics.

His pitching was amazing and his showboating was legendary. His career highlights span five decades. Pronounced the greatest pitcher in the history of the Negro Leagues, Paige compiled such feats as 64 consecutive scoreless innings, a stretch of 21 straight wins, and a 31-4 record in 1933. For 22 years, Paige mauled the competition in front of sellout crowds. Sure, he liked the attention, but to him, there was only one goal. That goal would be to pitch in the Major Leagues.

In 1948, Paige’s dream came true. The Cleveland Indians were in need of extra pitching for the pennant race. Legendary Bill Veeck tested Paige’s accuracy before offering him a big league contract. As the story is told, Veeck placed a cigarette on the ground to be used as a home plate. Paige took aim at his virtually nonexistent target. He fired five fastballs, all but one sailing directly over the cigarette. Veeck was indeed pleased, and Paige helped the Indians win the pennant.

In addition to Cleveland, Paige played for St. Louis and Kansas City. When his Major League career was completed, he compiled a modest 28-31 record with a 3.29 ERA. He also served as coach for the Atlanta Braves in 1968. What made Paige so memorable was his longevity in the game. The main reason his age was so difficult to track was his seemingly endless success. He rarely answered questions about his age, and when he did, he replied with something like: “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

In 1971, Leroy “Satchel” Paige was given the ultimate honor, he was elected to join the very best in baseball history in the Hall of Fame.

Legendary Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams claimed, “Paige was the greatest pitcher in baseball.” Famed New York Yankee Joe DiMaggio said Satchel Paige was the “best and fastest pitcher I’ve ever faced.” Celebrated St. Louis Cardinal pitcher Dizzy Dean remarked, “He’s a better pitcher than I ever hope to be.” Homestead Grays first baseman and Hall of Famer Buck Leonard declared, “He threw fire.”

Paige’s showmanship, athleticism, and personality attracted both white and black audiences. He proved that black athletes could compete with and beat their white counterparts, helping pave the way for fellow African Americans to join Major League Baseball. Research more about this great American hero and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

June 7 1905- John Albert Burr

Today in our History – Most people who have to cut their lawns are grateful in many ways but during the turn of the Century 
many looked unfavorably towards him because someone else they thought should have got the Idea first.As we know this America who makes your weekends go faster was the person who put in the patent first. Let’s read about the Inventor. Enjoy!

REMEMBER – I have always said that American who are blessed with morden eqiotment will always beat the one who doesn’t. – John Albert Burr

Today in our History -June 7, 1905 – Do you know which company was the first to hold a meeting with John Albert Burr?. Briggs & Straton Company – Wisconsin.

If you have a manual push mower today, it likely uses design elements from 19th Century black American inventor John Albert Burr’s patented rotary blade lawn mower.

On May 9, 1899, John Albert Burr patented an improved rotary blade lawn mower. Burr designed a lawn mower with traction wheels and a rotary blade that was designed to not easily get plugged up from lawn clippings. John Albert Burr also improved the design of lawn mowers by making it possible to mow closer to building and wall edges.

You can view U.S. patent 624,749 issued to John Albert Burr.

John Burr was born in Maryland in 1848, at a time when he would have been a teenager during the Civil War. His parents were slaves who were later freed, and he may also have been a slave until age 17. He didn’t escape from manual labor, as he worked as a field hand during his teenage years.

But his talent was recognized and wealthy black activists ensured he was able to attend engineering classes at a private university. He put his mechanical skills to work making a living repairing and servicing farm equipment and other machines. He moved to Chicago and also worked as a steelworker. When he filed his patent for the rotary mower in 1898, he was living in Agawam, Massachusetts.

“The object of my invention is to provide a casing which wholly encloses the operating gearing so as to prevent it from becoming choked by the grass or clogged by obstructions of any kind,” reads the patent application.

His rotary lawn mower design helped reduce the irritating clogs of clippings that are the bane of manual mowers. It was also more maneuverable and could be used for closer clipping around objects such as posts and buildings. Looking at his patent diagram, you will see a design that is very familiar for manual rotary mowers today.

Powered mowers for home use were still decades away. As lawns become smaller in many newer neighborhoods, many people are returning to manual rotary mowers like Burr’s design.

Burr continued to patent improvements to his design. He also designed devices for mulching clippings, sifting, and dispersing them. Today’s mulching power mowers may be part of his legacy, returning nutrients to the turf rather than bagging them for compost or disposal. In this way, his inventions helped save labor and were also good for the grass. He held over 30 U.S. patents for lawn care and agricultural inventions.

Burr enjoyed the fruits of his success. Unlike many inventors who never see their designs commercialized, or soon lose any benefits, he got royalties for his creations. He enjoyed traveling and lecturing. He lived a long life and died in 1926 of influenza at age 78.

Next time you mow the lawn, acknowledge the inventor who made the task a little easier. Read more of the great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

June 6 1966- James Meredith

GM – FBF – I have not forgotten about “The greatest generation” and how they gave their lives on this day in Normandy, France. Our generation still delt with a war in our streets from wanting to be free to get an education and vote. This story below – We should never Forget!

Remember – ” If I can’t walk in America, down her streets from stste to state something is wrong with this we call America” – James Meredith

Today in our History – June 6, 1966 –

One sweltering morning in June 1966, James Meredith set out from Memphis with an African walking stick in one hand, a Bible in the other and a singular mission in mind. The 32-year-old Air Force veteran and Columbia University law student planned to march 220 miles to the Mississippi state capital of Jackson, to prove that a black man could walk free in the South. The Voting Rights Act had been passed only the year before, and his goal was to inspire African-Americans to register and go to the polls. “I was at war against fear,” he recalls. “I was fighting for full citizenship for me and my kind.”

It wasn’t the first time Meredith had charged into hostile territory all but alone. Four years earlier, he’d become the first black person to enroll at the University of Mississippi, in Oxford, despite vehement protests from Gov. Ross Barnett and campus riots that left 2 people dead and more than 160 wounded, including dozens of federal marshals. When Meredith graduated from Ole Miss in 1963, he wore a segregationist’s “Never” button upside down on his black gown.

On the second day of his self-described “walk against fear,” a handful of reporters, photographers and law enforcement officials awaited his arrival in the late afternoon heat near Hernando, Mississippi. Jack Thornell, a 26-year-old cub photographer for the Associated Press in New Orleans, was sitting in a parked car along with a colleague from arch-rival United Press International, waiting for a Life photographer to bring them Cokes, when Meredith and a few followers came into view.

All of a sudden, a man started shouting, “I just want James Meredith!” Shotgun blasts rang out across the highway, striking Meredith in the head, neck, back and legs. Thornell jumped out of the vehicle and started clicking away, taking two rolls of pictures with his pair of cameras. He then drove back to Memphis in a panic, convinced he would be fired for failing to photograph both the assailant and the victim. Meanwhile, minutes passed before an ambulance reached Meredith, who lay in the road alone. “Isn’t anyone going to help me?” he remembers shouting.

Of the many photographs that Thornell made of the incident, one shows the fallen man on dusty Highway 51 screaming in agony. It was published in newspapers and magazines nationwide and went on to win a Pulitzer Prize. The image suggests the very pain and frustration of being black in the Deep South of the 1960s. “When people saw scenes like this in newspapers and on TV—when they saw what was actually happening down South—they couldn’t believe it,” says Thornell, who is 65 and retired and lives in Metairie, Louisiana. He says his one lasting regret about that day four decades ago is that he didn’t put his camera down to help the wounded Meredith.

As it happens, Thornell took one picture of the incident in which the gunman can be seen. But it wasn’t needed for evidence. An unemployed hardware clerk from Memphis named Aubrey James Norvell was apprehended at the scene of the shooting and pleaded guilty before the case went to trial. He served 18 months of a five-year prison sentence, then all but dropped out of sight. Now 79, Norvell lives in Memphis. He declined to discuss the past.

After Meredith was shot, civil rights leaders gathered in his hospital room, among them Martin Luther King Jr., Stokely Carmichael and Floyd McKissick. The civil rights movement had lately been strained by internal dissent, with leaders such as King calling for nonviolence and integration and others such as Carmichael promoting a more radical black power stance. But for now the leaders put aside their differences to carry on Meredith’s pilgrimage.

While Meredith recuperated from his wounds, scores of people gathered in Hernando to resume what was now called the “Meredith March.” Led by King, Carmichael and McKissick, the marchers walked for nearly three weeks, helping to register thousands of African-American voters along the way. Meredith himself rejoined the pilgrimage on June 26, its final day, as some 12,000 triumphant protesters entered Jackson surrounded by cheering crowds. Looking back, he says he was inspired by people on both sides of the color divide. “You can’t forget that whites in the South were as unfree as any black,” he explains. “White supremacy was official and legal—it was enforced by judges and the law people—and a white that failed to acknowledge and carry out the mandate of white supremacy was as subject to persecution as any black.”

Meredith would graduate from Columbia law school, run (unsuccessfully) for Congress in New York and Mississippi, and work as a stockbroker, professor and writer. Then, in the late 1980s, the former civil rights icon shocked many admirers when he joined the staff of the ultraconservative North Carolina senator Jesse Helms and endorsed former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke’s campaign to become governor of Louisiana. Meredith, still fiery at 71, defends those choices, saying he was “monitoring the enemy.” Married with five children and five grandchildren, Meredith lives in Jackson and still occasionally addresses groups on civil rights issues.

“He helped make significant strides in the overall struggle for civil and human rights, and none of that is diminished by what happened later,” says Horace Huntley, director of the Oral History Project at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, in Alabama. “Those accomplishments are etched in stone.”

June 5 1783- Oliver Cromwell

GM – FBF – Today I travel back to my family and friends in Central N.J. for they can go visit this place in Burlington. The story of this great American Revolutionary fighter. Or reach out to our TCHS Brother Algernon Ward Jr.who does a lot of historical reenactments. This patriot served with General George Washington and was on the boat that crossed the Delaware River on that cold Christmas night to take the City of Trenton back from the “Red Coats” hands. Enjoy!

Remember – “No one battle or war will give all negro’s their freedom but if we start now to show that we are Americans, I know that day will come.” – Oliver Cromwell

Today in our History – June 5, 1783

Oliver Cromwell, soldier in the Revolutionary War, receives an honorable discharge and the Badge of Merit from George Washington.

Oliver Cromwell was no ordinary soldier of the American Revolution. This military hero’s discharge was signed by General George Washington “stating that he was entitled to wear the badges of honor by reason of his honorable services.”

Cromwell’s story first appeared in a newspaper interview conducted when he was 100 years old by a reporter of the Burlington Gazette (Burlington, New Jersey) in 1905, which was reprinted by the Trenton Evening Times. As the newspaper article noted: “though feeble, his lips trembling at every word, when he spoke of [General George] Washington his eyes sparkled with enthusiasm.”

The archive of old newspapers in GenealogyBank is packed with thousands of these firsthand accounts of military service in the Revolutionary War, adding a personal touch to the facts of many of these early American military battles.

In that 1905 interview, Cromwell told of his Revolutionary War service crossing the Delaware “with his beloved commander…on the memorable Christmas night [in] 1776.”

The old newspaper article adds that Cromwell: “took part in the battle of Trenton, and helped to ‘knock the British about lively at Princeton.’ He also fought at the Revolutionary War battles of Short Hills, Brandywine, Monmouth and Springfield, where he was severely wounded, and saw the last man killed at York town.”

A few days after Cromwell’s death, the local Burlington Gazette published an editorial calling for the erection of a monument in honor of the Revolutionary War hero.

“And thus, one by one, the men who purchased with their blood the liberty we now enjoy, are going off the stage…We suggest whether it would not be proper to erect some suitable monument over his grave…it will be pleasant to know that the people of Burlington felt sufficient interest in him, to mark the spot where his ashes are buried.”

The reprint in the Trenton Evening Times notes: “Unfortunately no such monument was ever erected and there is nothing to indicate the last resting place of Oliver Cromwell.”

Oliver Cromwell lived in a different time and place, and life was more difficult than it would have been for him now. He was African American, one of the many that served in the American Revolution. Though honored by General Washington, his pension was revoked by a local pension agent. “Tears fell from his eyes when he told of his discharge being taken from him by the pension agent.”

In 1984, a plaque was placed on the property where his home once stood.His grave has been located in the cemetery at Broad Street Methodist Church in Burlington, New Jersey. The local historical society was named in his honor in 1983.

Oliver Cromwell (1752-1853), one of “the men who purchased with their blood the liberty we now enjoy,” was “respected by our citizens” then and remembered to this day. Research more about the blacks who fought in the American Revolution and share wit your babies. Make it a champion day!

June 4 1972- Angela Davis

GM – FBF – This is one of the most wanted Individuals in the USA back in the 60’s and 70′. Enjoy!

Remember – “Jails and prisons are designed to break human beings, to convert the population into specimens in a zoo – obedient to our keepers, but dangerous to each other.” – Angela Davis

Today in our History – June 4, 1972 – Angela Davis acquitted.

Angela Yvonne Davis, a black militant, former philosophy professor at the University of California, and self-proclaimed communist, is acquitted on charges of conspiracy, murder, and kidnapping by an all-white jury in San Jose, California.

In October 1970, Davis was arrested in New York City in connection with a shootout that occurred on August 7 in a San Raphael, California, courtroom. She was accused of supplying weapons to Jonathan Jackson, who burst into the courtroom in a bid to free inmates on trial there and take hostages whom he hoped to exchange for his brother George, a black radical imprisoned at San Quentin Prison. In the subsequent shoot-out with police, Jonathan Jackson was killed along with Superior Court Judge Harold Haley and two inmates.

Davis, who had championed the cause of black prisoners and was friends with George Jackson, was indicted in the crime but went into hiding. One of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most wanted criminals, she was apprehended only two months later. Her trial began in March 1972 and drew international attention because of the weakness of the prosecution’s case and obvious political nature of the proceedings. In June 1972, she was acquitted of all charges.

After leaving the criminal justice system, she returned to teaching and writing and in 1980 was the vice-presidential candidate of the U.S. Communist Party. In 1991, she became a professor in the field of the history of consciousness at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Four years later, she was appointed a presidential chair at the university amid controversy that stemmed from her communist and black militant background. Her writings include Angela Davis: An Autobiography and Women, Race, and Class. Though no longer a member of the Communist Party, Davis continues to be active in politics, most notably speaking out against the death penalty. Reserch more about other great Black women in history and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

June 3 1833- Fourth Black invention In Philadelphia With Sixty Delegates From Eight States

GM – FBF – Today, we examine an orgainization that met annually every first week in June to discuss the state of the Negro Race in America. If you never heard of it – that’s alright let’s learn now. Enjoy!

Remember – Resistance! Resistance! No opressed people have ever secured their liberty without resistance. – Henry Highland Garnet

Today in our History – June 3,1833 – Fourth national Black convention met in Philadelphia with sixty-two delegates from eight states. Abraham D. Shadd of Pennsylvania was elected president.

After more than a decade of organized abolition among northern free blacks, a group of prominent free African American men organized the National Negro Convention Movement. The convention movement among northern free blacks symbolized the growth of a black activist network by the mid-nineteenth century. Between its first meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1831 and its last in Syracuse, New York in 1864, the conventions charted important shifts in rhetoric and focus and the development of a black nationalist political consciousness.

The National Convention met a dozen times before the Civil War in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York state. The catalyst for the first meeting in Philadelphia centered upon a proposal by city leaders to oust Cincinnati’s black population as a response to conflict that had emerged over job competition between black and white men. The Cincinnati Riot of 1829 led black leaders to organize throughout the Midwest and Northeast in protest against anti-black violence, discrimination, and slavery.

The first decade of convention meetings revealed growing interracial cooperation between black and white abolitionists. By the late 1840s the gathering were dominated by frustration and disillusionment among many black activists with the “moral suasion” approach of the abolitionist movement which appeared to have little impact on the slave system in the South. The passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850 led to the crystallization of black nationalist consciousness as many African American leaders began to believe the United States would never act justly toward black people. As a result, the Negro conventions at mid-century debated the merits of voluntary African American emigration to places like Canada, Liberia, and the Caribbean versus the solidification of a black nationalist movement in the United States.

During this period convention delegates consistently linked the status of free blacks and slaves in their calls for meetings. In 1855, for example, organizers of the Philadelphia convention wrote that “the elevation of the free man is inseperable (sic) from, and lies at the very threshold of the great work of the slave’s restoration to freedom.”

The majority of delegates to the conventions were men, despite the active participation of free black women in the convention meetings and in the black abolitionist and nationalist movement in general. At the Philadelphia meeting, only two women, Elizabeth Armstrong and Rachel Cliff, served as official delegates.

The Convention Movement died during the Civil War as emancipation came to the four million enslaved people in the South and soon afterwards the promise of citizenship during Reconstruction led, prematurely as it turned out, to the belief that African Americans would fully participate in the nation’s politics. Research more about early black national organizations and share with your babies and make it a champion day!

June 2 1863- Tubman And Montgomery

GM – FBF – Today, I want you to look at one of the shero’s of all time Harriet Tubman, not for the Underground Railroad but during the Civil War she was a spy for the Union Army. Her most talked about success was “The Combahee River Raid”. Enjoy!

Remember – “I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say; I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.” – Harriet Tubman

Today in our History – June 2,1863 –

One hundred and fifty – five years ago today, Union forces led by Harriet Tubman and Colonel James Montgomery engaged in a daring and wildly successful raid up the Combahee River in South Carolina.

The Combahee River Raid crippled local Confederate infrastructure, liberated 756 enslaved blacks, and earned Tubman well-deserved accolades as the first woman in U.S. history to plan and lead a military raid.

Tubman and Montgomery had set out the night before from Beaufort in three U.S. Navy gunboats. Montgomery commanded a detachment of soldiers from the 2nd South Carolina Volunteers, an all-black infantry regiment, while a company from the 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery manned the ships’ guns. Tubman, who had scouted the area and received widespread credit for planning the raid, accompanied Montgomery and was widely seen as jointly leading the operation.

The two Union gunboats which reached the Combahee on the morning of June 2, 1863 proceeded up the river, landing troops as they went. One gunboat, the Harriet A. Weed, anchored near a plantation, while the other, the John Adams, continued upriver, eventually destroying a pontoon bridge and shelling Confederate troops.

The Commonwealth, a Boston newspaper, reported on July 10 that the expedition’s successes included “destroying millions of dollars worth of commissary stores, cotton, and lordly dwellings, and striking terror into the heart of rebeldom,” all “without losing a man or receiving a scratch.” The raid was also intended to remove mines (“torpedoes”) placed by Confederate forces along the river, and thanks to Tubman’s intelligence efforts, this, too, was accomplished.

The raid had one final objective: to confiscate valuable Confederate property, what Union forces still tended to refer to as “contraband.”

This goal proved rather simple for Tubman and Montgomery. As word spread of the operation moving along the river, slaves began leaving their work in the fields and rushing to the riverbanks to board the gunboats, overwhelming overseers and soldiers trying to stop them.

Tubman described the chaotic scene as follows:

“I nebber see such a sight … we laughed, an’ laughed, an’ laughed. Here you’d see a woman wid a pail on her head, rice a smokin’ in it jus as she’d taken it from de fire, young one hangin’ on behind, one han’ roun’ her forehead to hold on, ‘tother han’ diggin’ into de rice-pot, eatin’ wid all its might; hold of her dress two or three more; down her back a bag wid a pig in it. One woman brought two pigs, a white one, an’ a black one; we took ’em all on board; named de white pig Beauregard, an’ de black pig Jeff Davis. Sometimes de women would come wid twins hangin’ roun’ der necks; ‘pears like I nebber see so many twins in my life; bags on der shoulders, baskets on der heads, and young ones taggin’ behin’, all loaded; pigs squealin’, chickens screamin’, young ones squallin”

In all, Tubman reported that the raid liberated 756 enslaved blacks along the Combahee (or, perhaps more precisely, gave them the opportunity to liberate themselves), and that nearly all of the able-bodied male slaves promptly joined the Union’s colored regiments.

The raid’s success, and the role of blacks in leading and conducting it, as well as the hundreds of slaves who rose up at the first sight of Union troops, made a deep impact on the Union public. At the same time, it was frightening and demoralizing for the Confederate side, all the more so because of what the raid implied about what the South’s enslaved population wanted, and was capable of.

In fact, in an effort to minimize the impact on morale and ideology, the official Confederate report was forced to lay the blame for the raid on:

a parcel of negro wretches, calling themselves soldiers, with a few degraded whites.

The broader significance of the Combahee River Raid, I think, is that it shattered two persistent myths which had long impeded the arrival of emancipation for black Americans. First, the raid demonstrated very publicly that black troops were not merely fit as laborers or cannon fodder, but were every bit as capable as their white brethren at executing complex military operations under the most challenging circumstances. Second, the raid’s success in liberating hundreds of blacks (or, in allowing them to liberate themselves) electrified the northern and southern publics and defied the Confederacy’s insistence on the quiet loyalty of its enslaved population. The raid showed convincingly that enslaved blacks were, in fact, eager for freedom and willing to rise up on a moment’s notice, if given the opportunity, and to then join Union forces in droves and fight back.

Together, these two powerful truths helped to show the necessity and rightness of emancipation, at a time when the northern public, in particular, was only beginning to wrestle with that very issue. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

June 1 1974 – Howard R. Amos

GM -FBF – Today we are going back home to New Jersey with a black man who was born in Pennsauken and graduated from the “”Castle on the Hill” – Camden High School. Enjoy!

Remember – ” Education is the new currency and I will teach this new currency to anyone who will listen” – Harold Amos

Today in our History – June 1, 1974 – Appointed advisor to President M. Richard.

Harold Amos (September 7, 1918 – February 26, 2003) was an American microbiologist and professor. He taught at Harvard Medical School for nearly fifty years and was the first African-American department chair of the school.

Amos was born in Pennsauken, New Jersey to Howard R. Amos Sr., a Philadelphia postman, and Iola Johnson. He attended a segregated school and graduate first in his class from Camden High School in New Jersey. He graduated from Springfield College with a baccalaureate. Amos was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving in the Quartermaster’s Corps in World War II as a warrant officer, eventually discharged in February 1946. In the fall of 1946 Amos enrolled in the biological sciences graduate program at Harvard Medical School, earning an MA in 1947 and graduated with a PhD from Harvard Medical School in 1952. Upon completing a Fulbright Scholarship, Amos joined the Harvard Medical School faculty in 1954. He was the chairman of the bacteriology department from 1968 to 1971 and again from 1975 to 1978. In 1975, he was named the Maude and Lillian Presley professor of microbiology and molecular genetics. He was a presidential advisor to Richard Nixon, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1974), the Institute of Medicine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Amos was awarded the National Academy of Sciences’ Public Welfare Medal in 1995 and the Harvard Centennial Medal in 2000. He directed the Minority Medical Faculty Development Program (MMFDP) of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation after his retirement from Harvard. A diversity award at Harvard Medical School is named after Amos. He inspired hundreds of minorities to become medical doctors. Amos’s research focused on using cells in culture to understand how molecules get into cells and how entry is regulated during cell starvation or in plentiful conditions. Amos published over seventy scientific papers. He was well known as an inviting and welcoming mentor to both students and junior faculty members. He spoke fluent French and was a devoted Francophile. Research more about this great American and share with your babies and make it a champion day!