Category: Politics

January 3- Adam Powell

GM – FBF – We stand the risk of failure, because you refused to take risks. So life demands risks.

Remember – “The black masses must demand and refuse to accept nothing less than that proportionate percentage of the political spoils such as jobs, elective offices and appointments… They must reject the shameful racial tokenism that characterizes the political life of America today.” Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. NYC (D)

Today in our History – Adam Powell was named as the Charman of the House. December 3, 1961

Adam Clayton Powell Jr. (November 29, 1908 – April 4, 1972) was a Baptist pastor and an American politician, who represented Harlem, New York City, in the United States House of Representatives (1945–71). He was the first person of African-American descent to be elected from New York to Congress. Oscar Stanton De Priest of Illinois was the first black person to be elected to Congress in the 20th century; Powell was the fourth.

Re-elected for nearly three decades, Powell became a powerful national politician of the Democratic Party, and served as a national spokesman on civil rights and social issues. He also urged United States presidents to support emerging nations in Africa and Asia as they gained independence after colonialism.

In 1961, after 16 years in the House, Powell became chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, the most powerful position held by an African American in Congress. As Chairman, he supported the passage of important social and civil rights legislation under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Following allegations of corruption, in 1967 Powell was excluded from his seat by Democratic Representatives-elect of the 90th Congress, but he was re-elected and regained the seat in the 1969 United States Supreme Court ruling in Powell v. McCormack. He lost his seat in 1970 to Charles Rangel and retired from electoral politics.

In 1961, after 15 years in Congress, Powell advanced to chairman of the powerful House Education and Labor Committee. In this position, he presided over federal social programs for minimum wage and Medicaid (established later under Johnson); he expanded the minimum wage to include retail workers; and worked for equal pay for women; he supported education and training for the deaf, nursing education, and vocational training; he led legislation for standards for wages and work hours; as well as for aid for elementary and secondary education, and school libraries. Powell’s committee proved extremely effective in enacting major parts of President Kennedy’s “New Frontier” and President Johnson’s “Great Society” social programs and the War on Poverty. It successfully reported to Congress “49 pieces of bedrock legislation”, as President Johnson put it in an May 18, 1966, letter congratulating Powell on the fifth anniversary of his chairmanship.Powell was instrumental in passing legislation that made lynching a federal crime, as well as bills that desegregated public schools. He challenged the Southern practice of charging Blacks a poll tax to vote. Poll taxes for federal elections were prohibited by the 24th Amendment, passed in 1964. Voter registration and electoral practices were not changed substantially in most of the South until after passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which provided federal oversight of voter registration and elections, and enforcement of the constitutional right to vote. In some areas where discrimination was severe, such as Mississippi, it took years for African Americans to register and vote in numbers related to their proportion in the population, but they have since maintained a high rate of registration and voting. Research more About this great American and tell your babies. Make it a champion day!

January 14 1990- Wilder

GM – FBF – In the first rule of politics, you know, Harry Truman, the buck stops here. Take responsibility. What I’ve learned over the years is that people will give people in politics a lot of rope if they just take responsibility.

Remember – “My experience politically has always been that one-word definition of politics: money. Keep your eye on the buck. And that tells you where the American people are going to be.” – Douglas Wilder (Governor -VA – D)

Today in our History – Wilder was elected governor on November 8, 1989, defeating Republican Marshall Coleman by a spread of less than half a percent. The narrow victory margin prompted a recount, which reaffirmed Wilder’s election. He was sworn in on January 14, 1990 by former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr.. In recognition of his landmark achievement as the first elected African-American governor, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People awarded Wilder the Spingarn Medal for 1990.

Wilder had a comfortable lead in the last polls before the election. The unexpected closeness of the election may have been due to the Republicans’ strong get out the vote efforts. Wilder had been candid about his pro-choice position in relation to abortion. Some observers believed the close election was caused by the Bradley effect, and suggested that white voters were reluctant to tell pollsters that they did not intend to vote for Wilder.

During his tenure as governor, Wilder worked on crime and gun control initiatives. He also worked to fund Virginia’s transportation initiatives, effectively lobbying Congress to reallocate highway money to the states with the greatest needs. Much residential and office development had taken place in Northern Virginia without its receiving sufficient federal money for infrastructure improvements to keep up. He also succeeded in passing state bond issues to support improving transportation. In May 1990 Wilder ordered state agencies and universities to divest themselves of any investments in South Africa because of its policy of apartheid, making Virginia the first Southern state to take such action.

During his term, Wilder carried out Virginia’s law on capital punishment, although he had stated his personal opposition to the death penalty. There were 14 executions by the electric chair, including the controversial case of Roger Keith Coleman. In January 1994 Wilder commuted the sentence of Earl Washington, Jr, an intellectually disabled man, to life in prison based on testing of DNA evidence that raised questions about his guilt. Virginia law has strict time limits on when such new evidence can be introduced post-conviction. But in 2000, under a new governor, an STR-based DNA test led to the exclusion of Washington as the perpetrator of the murder for which he had been sentenced. He was fully exonerated by Governor Jim Gilmore for the capital murder and he was released from prison.

During his term, Wilder had strained relations with Charles Robb, US Senator and former Governor. Many papers described this as a “feud.”

Wilder left office in 1994 because of Virginia’s prohibition of successive gubernatorial terms. The next governor elected was Republican George Allen.arch more about this great American and teach your babies. Make it a Champion day!

November 3 1992- Carol Moseley Braun

GM – FBF – Today’s story coincides with the flavor of today which is the elections on this coming Tuesday, so I hope that you have early voted or have plans to vote on Tuesday. This young lady was born in Chicago, Illinois, came up through the city’s school system and graduated from the University of Illinois. Worked for the people in many aspects of government work and went on to become the first female Senator elected from Illinois and the first African American woman in the U.S. Senate. Enjoy!

Remember – “It’s not impossible for a woman – a Black woman – to become President.” Carol Moseley Braun

Today in our History – November 3, 1992 – Carol Moseley Braun, the first African American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

Carol Moseley Braun, the first African American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate, was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 16, 1947. She attended the Chicago Public Schools and received a degree from the University of Illinois in 1969. She earned her degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1972.

Moseley Braun served as assistant prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago from 1972 to 1978. In the latter year she was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives and served in that body for ten years. During her tenure Moseley Braun made educational reform a priority. She also became the first African American assistant majority leader in the history of the Illinois legislature. Moseley Braun returned to Chicago in 1988 to serve as Cook County Recorder of Deeds.

Capitalizing on the public furor over the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill controversy and in particular the way in which Hill was treated by U.S. Senators, Carol Moseley Braun upset incumbent Senator Alan Dixon in the Illinois Democratic Primary in 1992 and went on to become the first female Senator elected from Illinois and the first African American woman in the U.S. Senate. During her term in the U.S. Senate (1992-1998) Moseley Braun focused on education issues. She served on the Senate Finance, Banking and Judiciary Committee; the Small Business Committee; and the Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

In 1998, Moseley Braun was defeated for re-election in a campaign marred by allegations of illegal campaign donations during her 1992 campaign, although she was never formally charged with misconduct. Moseley Braun was also hurt by her business ties to Nigerian dictator Sami Abacha. After her 1998 defeat President Bill Clinton nominated Moseley Braun to the post of U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, a post she held until 2001.

Late in 2003 Moseley Braun announced her candidacy for the Democratic Nomination for President. However, she failed to attract financial support and withdrew from the race on January 14, 2004.

After teaching briefly at Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia, Moseley Braun returned to Chicago where she now lives. Research more about black female political figures and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

June 27 1972- Patricia Roberts Harris

GM – FBF – Today I will share with you a person who has broken the glass ceiling in everything that she had faced. Women are rising in the political process.Patricia Roberts Harris, the first African American U.S. Ambassador is named permanent chairman of the Democratic National Convention. She will later be appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services and Secretary of Housing and Urban development. June 27, 1972 Enjoy!

Temember – “Senator, I am one of them. You do not seem to understand who I am. I am a black woman, the daughter of a dining-car worker … If my life has any meaning at all, it is that those who start out as outcasts can wind up as being part of the system.” – Patricia Roberts Harris.

Today in our History – Junen 27, 1972 –

Patricia Roberts Harris (May 31, 1924 – March 23, 1985) served in the American administration of President Jimmy Carter as United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and United States Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (which was renamed the Secretary of Health and Human Services during her tenure). She was the first African American woman to serve in the United States Cabinet, and the first to enter the line of succession to the Presidency. She previously served as United States Ambassador to Luxembourg under President Lyndon B. Johnson, and was the first African-American woman to represent the United States as an ambassador.
In 1971, Harris was named to the board of directors of IBM. In addition she served on the boards of Scott Paper Co. and Chase Manhattan Bank.

She continued making an impact on the Democratic Party when, in 1972, she was appointed chairman of the credentials committee and a member-at-large of the Democratic National Committee in 1973. A testimony to her effectiveness and her commitment to excellence came when President Jimmy Carter appointed her to two cabinet-level posts during his administration.

Harris was appointed to the cabinet of President Jimmy Carter when he took office in 1977. At her confirmation hearing, Senator William Proxmire questioned whether Harris came from a background of too much wealth and power to be an effective Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Harris responded “I am a black woman, the daughter of a Pullman (railroad) car waiter. I am a black woman who even eight years ago could not buy a house in parts of the District of Columbia. I didn’t start out as a member of a prestigious law firm, but as a woman who needed a scholarship to go to school. If you think I have forgotten that, you are wrong.” Once confirmed, Harris became the first African American woman to enter the Presidential line of succession, at number 13. Between 1977 and 1979 she served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and in 1979, she became Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, the largest Cabinet agency.

After the Department of Education Organization Act came into force on May 4, 1980, the educations functions of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare were transferred to the Department of Education. Harris remained as Secretary of the renamed Department of Health and Human Services until Carter left office in 1981. Because the department had merely changed names, as opposed to disbanding with new department being created, she did not face Senate confirmation again after the change.
Harris unsuccessfully ran for Mayor of Washington, D.C. in 1982, losing the September 14 primary election to incumbent mayor Marion Barry .That year, she was appointed a full-time professor at the George Washington National Law Center.In 1967, Lord Snowdon photographed Harris for Vogue at the United Nations. In her spare time, Harris enjoyed cooking and baking.

Patricia married William Beasley Harris in 1955 after only three months of dating. Her husband William died in November of 1984. She died of breast cancer at age 60 on March 23, 1985. She was interred at the Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Patricia Roberts Harris, the first African American U.S. Ambassador is named permanent chairman of the Democratic National Convention. She will later be appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services and Secretary of Housing and Urban development. June 27, 1972. Research more about women in politic in real time and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

April 28, 1941-Arthur Wergs Mitchell

GM – FBF – Between Plessy v Ferguson and Brown v Board of Education, the Supreme Court heard and delivered an unanimous opinion on a case most don’t know about. Enjoy!

Remember – “Equal Justice Under The Law. That is a great goal. But that goal has not been realized.” – Arthur Mitchell

Today in our History – April 28, 1941 – Arthur Wergs Mitchell (U.S. Congress – D IL)

Mitchell v. United States et al., 313 U.S. 80 (1941), came on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging discriminatory treatment of railroad accommodations for African-American passengers on interstate train coaches passing through Arkansas, where a state law demanded segregation of races but equivalent facilities. The Supreme Court had held in earlier cases that it was adequate under the Fourteenth Amendment for separate privileges to be supplied to differing groups of people as long as they were treated similarly well. Originating in Arkansas in April 1937, the suit worked its way through the regulatory and legal system, finally ending up on the calendar of the Supreme Court in 1941.

The circumstances surrounding the matter began after the only African American in the U.S. Congress, Representative Arthur Wergs Mitchell, a Democrat of Illinois, opted to spend a two-week vacation in Hot Springs (Garland County). He purchased a first-class railroad ticket, costing three cents per mile, from the Illinois Central Railroad Company in Chicago. Beginning on April 20, 1937, the trip involved the Illinois Central and the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad. Traveling through Memphis, Tennessee, Mitchell transferred to the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific line on the morning of April 21, requesting a Pullman sleeper coach, which cost an additional ninety cents, headed for Hot Springs. As the train crossed the Mississippi River into Arkansas, Conductor Albert W. Jones proceeded to collect fares. While in St. Francis County, Jones was startled to find an African American seated in the “white” section and immediately directed Congressman Mitchell to move to the African-American car.

Conductor Jones’s actions were based on his obligation to enforce the Arkansas Separate Coach Law of 1891 along any of Arkansas’s 2,063 miles of track. The rule, branded a “Jim Crow” law, required railroads operating in Arkansas to establish “equal but separate and sufficient” coaches for segregating white and black passengers, as well as commanding railroad employees to enforce the law or be fined $25 to $50; passengers who refused their instructions could be fined from $10 to $200.

Mitchell, due to his congressional status and purchase of the first-class ticket, refused to comply. Conductor Jones said to him, “It don’t make a damn bit of difference who you are—as long as you a nigger you can’t ride in this car.” Under threat of stopping the train and being arrested by the nearest sheriff if he did not proceed to the “colored passenger” coach, Mitchell moved to the designated area, although his luggage remained in the Pullman coach. The conductor later advised Mitchell that he could ask for a refund for the Memphis to Hot Springs portion of the fare as coach was only two cents per mile.

Mitchell never mentioned the incident during his two weeks in Hot Springs at his lodgings in the Pythian Hotel & Baths. The governor, Little Rock (Pulaski County) mayor, and the president of the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce all sent letters welcoming Mitchell. In a scheduled Little Rock speech before a mixed audience, the congressman was introduced by U.S. District Attorney Fred A. Isgrig, but again at no time did he mention the confrontation on the train. Upon his return trip to Chicago, Mitchell rode in the “Jim Crow” car without being directed to do so.

Back in Chicago, Congressman Mitchell, himself a lawyer, consulted with attorney Ralph E. Westbrook, and together they filed a personal damages lawsuit for $50,000 against the railroads in state court, along with a complaint with the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). Mitchell claimed that the African-American accommodations were not equal, nor should they be enforced by the ICC. He described the Jim Crow facilities thusly: “[T]he car was divided by partitions and partly used for carrying baggage,…poorly ventilated, filthy, filled with stench and odors emitting from the toilet and other filth, which is indescribable.” As for the language of Conductor Jones toward a member of the U.S. Congress, Mitchell described it as “too opprobrious and profane, vulgar and filthy to be spread upon the records of this court.” The “colored” cars were further described as not air-conditioned and divided by partitions for “colored smokers, white smokers, and colored men and women. A toilet was in each of the three sections, but only the one in the women’s section flushed and was for the exclusive use of colored women. The car was without wash basins, soap, towels, or running water, except in the women’s section.”Correspondingly, the “white” cars were described as in excellent condition, modern, air-conditioned, and equipped with hot and cold running water, soap, and towels, along with flushable toilets for both men and women; too, first-class passengers had sole use of the only dining-car and observation-parlor car.

The ICC dismissed the complaint, with the twelve-member board voting seven to five, noting “the discrimination and prejudice was plainly not unjust or undue.” Mitchell appealed the ICC ruing to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, but it also dismissed the complaint, noting that “the small number of colored passengers asking for first-class accommodations justified an occasional discrimination against them because of their race.” Mitchell appealed that ruling directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he presented oral arguments himself.

On April 28, 1941, four years and seven days from the original incident, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes delivered the unanimous opinion of the Court: “This was manifestly a discrimination against him [Mitchell] in the course of his interstate journey and admittedly that discrimination was based solely upon the fact that he was a Negro. The question whether this was a discrimination forbidden by the Interstate Commerce Act is not a question of segregation but equality of treatment. The denial to appellant equality of accommodations because of his race would be an invasion of a fundamental right which is guaranteed against state actions by the 14th Amendment.” The Supreme Court reversed the U.S. District Court decree and remanded the case, also directing that the ICC order be set aside and sent back for further proceedings in conformity with the Supreme Court opinion.

Not until January 1956 was segregation on interstate transportation ended on railroads, and not until 1973 did the Arkansas General Assembly finally repeal the Separate Coach Law of 1891, originally authored by state Senator John N. Tillman—afterward president of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) from 1905 to 1912. Eventually, in the civil lawsuit, Mitchell reached an out-of-court settlement, and additionally he received $3,750 and court costs. However, his political career in Chicago was over because of his having angered the white political establishment. Mitchell did not seek reelection but instead retired and moved to Petersburg, Virginia, becoming a gentleman farmer on his estate, named Rose-Anna Gardens, where he was laid to rest in 1968. I bet that you did not get this in your secondary high school days. Read more about this great American hero and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!

March 15, 2009- Condoleezza Rice

GM – FBF -“The day has to come when it’s not a surprise that a woman has a powerful position” Condoleezza Rice

Remember – “When people don’t have a hopeful vision before them or the possible resolution of their difficulties by peaceful means, then they can be attracted to violence and to separatism.” – Condoleezza Rice

Today in our History – March 15, 2009 – Rice returned to Stanford University as a political science professor and the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution.The first Black Woman to hold such a position at Stanford University.

Condoleezza Rice became one of the most influential women in the world of global politics when President George W. Bush (1946–) named her as his national security adviser in December of 2000. Her role became extremely important after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and the Pentagon in Washington. Rice has played a crucial part in shaping the most aggressive U.S. foreign policy in modern history, with wars launched against Afghanistan and Iraq during her time in office.

Became kindergarten piano prodigy
Rice grew up during a deeply segregated era of American history. She was born in 1954 in Birmingham, Alabama, to parents who were both educators. Her father, John Wesley Rice Jr., was a football coach and high school guidance counselor at one of Birmingham’s black public schools. He was also an ordained Presbyterian minister in Birmingham’s Westminster Presbyterian Church, which had been founded by his own father, also a minister. Rice’s mother, Angelena, was a teacher and church organist. Angelena loved opera, and so named her only child after an Italian-language term, con dolcezza. It is used in musical notation and means “to play with sweetness.”

Birmingham was clearly divided into black and white spheres during Rice’s childhood, and the two worlds rarely met. But her parents were determined that their only child would grow up to be an accomplished and well-rounded young woman. Rice began piano lessons at the age of three, and gave her first recital a year later. She became somewhat of a musical prodigy in the Birmingham area, performing often at school and community events. In addition to long hours spent practicing the piano, she also took French and Spanish lessons after school, and later became a competitive figure skater. “My whole community was determined not to let their children’s horizons be limited by growing up in segregated Birmingham,” Rice recalled in an interview with television personality Oprah Winfrey (1954–) for O, The Oprah Magazine. “Sometimes I think they overcompensated because they wanted their kids to be so much better.”

“I find football so interesting strategically. It’s the closest thing to war. What you’re really doing is taking and yielding territory, and you have certain strategies and tactics.”

Not surprisingly, Rice earned good grades in school, even at an early age. Attending segregated schools in Birmingham, she skipped the first grade entirely and was later promoted from the sixth directly into the eighth grade. Her city became a battleground during the emerging civil rights movement in the late 1950s, and the strife directly touched Rice’s early life. In 1963 the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, situated in the middle of Birmingham’s black community, was the site of a tragic firebombing that killed four little girls who were attending Sunday school. Rice knew two of them.

Finished high school at fifteen
Rice’s family moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, around 1965, when she was eleven years old. Her father had taken a job there as a college administrator. They later settled in Denver, Colorado, where she attended an integrated public school for the first time in her life, beginning with the tenth grade. She finished her last year of high school and her first year at the University of Denver at the same time.

“The Most Powerful Woman in the World”
U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice has sometimes been described as the most influential woman in global politics. A university professor and expert on Russian history, Rice is known for her cool, calm manner. When Bush appointed her to the job in 2000, some wondered if she was qualified for it. But Janne Nolan, a friend of Rice’s from her early days as a Stanford University professor, told New Yorker writer Nicholas Lemann that Rice had a solid track record for proving herself. “I’ve watched it over and over again—the sequential underestimation of Condi,” Nolan told Lemann. “It just gets worse and worse. She’s always thought of as underqualified and in over her head, and she always kicks everyone’s butt.”

A job such as Rice’s requires nerves of steel, and the French- and Russian-fluent academic, whose friends and family call her “Condi,” fits the bill. She explained in an interview with Essence writer Isabel Wilkerson, “My parents went to great lengths to make sure I was confident. My mother was also a great believer in being proper.” As an African American and a professional, Rice has experienced the occasional racial snub. She recalled one occasion when she asked to see some of the nicer jewelry in a store, and the saleswoman mumbled a rude remark under her breath. As Rice recalled to Wilkerson, she told the woman, “‘Let’s get one thing clear. If you could afford anything in here, you wouldn’t be behind this counter. So I strongly suggest you do your job.'”

The confidence that Rice’s parents instilled in her comes out in other ways, too. She favors suits by Italian designer Giorgio Armani, but the trim, fit national security adviser prefers her skirts to hit just above the knee. Her favorite lipstick comes from the Yves Saint Laurent cosmetics counter. When asked about her off-duty hours, Rice told Wilkerson that she watches sports and goes shopping. Wilkerson wondered about the Secret Service security detail that accompanies Rice in public, but Rice responded with a humor rarely on display in public, “They can handle shopping.”

For years Rice dreamed of becoming a concert pianist. At the University of Denver she was originally a music major, but eventually gave up on her dream after spending a summer at music camp. “Technically, I can play most anything,” she explained to Winfrey about her decision to change majors. “But I’ll never play it the way the truly great pianists do.” She fell in love with political science and Russian history after she took a class taught by Josef Korbel (1909–1977), a refugee from Czechoslovakia. In the 1990s Korbel’s daughter, Madeleine Albright (1937–), became the first female U.S. Secretary of State.

Rice began taking Russian-language and history courses, and became fascinated by Cold War politics. The term refers to the hostilities between the United States and the world’s first Communist state, Soviet Russia, in the years following World War II (1939–45). Each “superpower” tried to win allies to its brand of politics, and in the process each side built up a large arsenal of nuclear weapons. After she graduated from the University of Denver in 1974, Rice enrolled at Notre Dame University in Indiana, where she earned a master’s degree in government and international studies.

Drifted for a time
Years later Rice admitted, in the interview with Winfrey, “I am still someone with no long-term plan.” To begin her post-college career, she lined up a job as an executive assistant—in other words, a secretary—to a vice president at Honeywell, a large electronics corporation. But a company reorganization ended that career possibility. For a time she gave piano lessons. Then her former professor, Josef Korbel, suggested that she return to school, and she began work on a Ph.D. degree at the University of Denver.

Rice was a promising new talent in her field even before she earned a doctorate in 1981. Her dissertation investigated the relationship between the Czechoslovak Communist Party and its army. Soon she was offered a fellowship at Stanford University. No other woman had ever been offered a fellowship to its Center for International Security and Arms Control. She eagerly accepted, and the following year she was hired by Stanford to teach political science.

Rice became a tenured professor at Stanford in 1987. She was also a rising star in U.S. foreign policy circles. She served as the informal campaign adviser to a Colorado Democrat, Gary Hart (1936–), during his 1984 bid for the White House. She came to know a foreign policy expert, Brent Scowcroft (1925–), and was offered her first official job in government. Scowcroft had been named national security adviser by George H. W. Bush (1924–), who was elected president in 1988. Scowcroft then hired Rice as a staff member on the National Security Council.

Served in first Bush White House
The National Security Council helps analyze data and plan American foreign policy. It looks at potential global threats from hostile nations, and works to make strategic alliances with friendly ones. Rice eventually became a special assistant to the first President Bush, serving as his expert on Soviet and East European affairs. It was an important time in American foreign policy. The political system of the Soviet Union was crumbling, and by 1991 the Communist governments allied with Soviet Russia had been peacefully ousted throughout the Eastern Bloc (as the communist nations in Eastern Europe were known).

But Rice tired of the toll the White House job took on her personal life, and she resigned in 1991. She went back to teaching at Stanford, and in 1993 became the university’s first-ever female provost, which essentially made her second-in-command at the school. She was also the first African American to be selected for the position. “That was the toughest job I ever had,” she told Nicholas Lemann in a New Yorker profile. She was charged with eliminating a large budget deficit, and the university had also been accused of misusing government grant money intended for military research. There was internal turmoil as well, and some faculty members complained about Rice’s no-nonsense manner. “I told people, ‘I don’t do committees,'” she explained to Lemann.

Rice remained on friendly terms with the Bush family and came to know one of the sons, George W., during visits to the Bush summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. In 1999 George W. Bush decided to try and win the Republican Party’s nomination as its presidential candidate for 2000. He hired Rice to lead his team of foreign policy advisers, and she quit the Stanford job. She began working closely with Bush, who was governor of Texas at the time and had very little other political experience, especially in foreign relations.

Bush won his party’s nomination and later was declared the winner of a hotly contested November election. The president-elect immediately named Rice as his national security adviser. Though she was not the first African American ever to hold the post—Bush’s new Secretary of State, Colin L. Powell (1937–), had held the job for a year in the late 1980s—she was the first woman ever to serve in the position. The national security adviser helps shape American foreign policy, both on the public front and behind the scenes, in strategy sessions with the president and his team.

Plotted strategy from underground bunker
Rice’s duties also included coming up with ideas to combat threats to American interests at home and overseas. This became an important part of her job on the morning of September 11, 2001. She was in a meeting at the White House when an aide notified her that a plane had struck the World Trade Center. She quickly ended the meeting and notified the President, who was in Florida. After a second plane crashed into the other tower of the New York landmark, she and other key personnel gathered in what is known as the White House “Situation Room.” When a third plane crashed into the Pentagon Building, which is the command center for the U.S. Armed Forces, Rice and the others retreated to an underground bunker. The attack was the deadliest ever to occur on American soil.

Rice worked long days in the months afterward to shape U.S. foreign policy. The first order of business involved Afghanistan, which was suspected of harboring the shadowy Islamic fundamentalist group known as Al Qaeda. It was founded by a Saudi exile, Osama bin Laden (1957–), who quickly took responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. Less than a month later, U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan. Rice also worked to create a new policy for dealing with longtime Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (1937–). The Bush White House believed that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that could be used against the United States. In March of 2003 the United States invaded Iraq.

The fourth year of the Bush Administration was a difficult one for Rice and other top White House and Pentagon personnel. Though Hussein had been captured and the war in Iraq was officially declared over, U.S. troops stationed in Iraq had become the target of repeated attacks by insurgents. And American military operatives had yet to capture bin Laden. In April of 2004 Rice was called to testify before a

Condoleezza Rice testifies before the 9/11 Commssion, April 8, 2004.
AP/Wide World Photos. Reproduced by permission.
special panel that had been set up to investigate the 9/11 attacks, namely whether or not the attacks could have been prevented and how the emergency response to such an attack could be improved. There were charges that U.S. intelligence officials may have come across suspicious information but failed to put the pieces together. Rice sat before the official 9/11 Commission, in front of a barrage of television cameras, and held her ground. “There was nothing demonstrating or showing that something was coming in the United States,” she asserted, according to the New York Times. “If there had been something, we would have acted on it.”
Dreams of top NFL job
Rice lives in a luxury apartment complex in Washington known as Watergate. Her mother died in 1985, and her father died the same month that Bush named her to the national security adviser post. She attends church regularly, and is known to be close to the President and his wife, Laura (1946–). At the Maryland presidential retreat known as Camp David, she has been known to watch hours of televised sports with President Bush. Both are dedicated football fans, and Rice has also been known to spend an entire day on her own watching college and pro football games.

Rice’s name has been mentioned as a possible future vice-presidential candidate. Although she has joked that she would love to serve as commissioner of the National Football League, she has also said that she looks forward to returning to teaching once her service to the Bush White House comes to an end. “I miss my kids,” she said in the interview with Winfrey. “In a class of 20, there are always two or three for whom the lights go on. When that happens, I think I’ve done for them what Dr. Korbel did for me.” Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

February 24, 1818 – Elizabeth Keckley

GM – FBF – I was born a slave-was the child of slave parents-therefore I came upon the earth free in God-like thought, but fettered in action. – Elizabeth Keckley

Remember – When I heard the words, I felt as if the blood had been frozen in my veins, and that my lungs must collapse for the want of air. Mr. Lincoln shot! – Elizabeth Keckley

Today in our History – February 24, 1818 – (If you thought that Lee Daniels’ The Butler – The life of Eugene Allen in the White House as a butler which Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey co – stared) Read this story which happened 100 years before that. – There’s a nighttime scene in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln in which the president tells an African-American woman about his uncertainty over what freedom will bring emancipated slaves after the Civil War.

The woman, whom he addresses as “Mrs. Keckley,” makes brief but puzzling appearances throughout the film: outside the Lincoln bedroom in the White House, in the gallery of the House of Representatives beside Mary Todd Lincoln and as the sole companion of the Lincolns at an opera. In this conversation, Keckley asks Lincoln pointedly for his personal feelings toward her race. “I don’t know you, Mrs. Keckley,” he begins. And neither does the viewer, who is left to ponder how this woman could have come to address the president so candidly, and what may have moved Lincoln to speak so frankly to her about his misgivings.
But this dramatization is deceiving. Abraham Lincoln knew Elizabeth Keckley well, both as his wife’s most intimate friend and as a leader among free black women in the North. In just five years she rose from slavery in St. Louis to intimacy with the first family in Washington. Her remarkable life story and accomplishments ranked with those of contemporaries Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth. But unlike them, her name faded into the shadows of history, much like her shadowy presence in the movie. And so the question remains: Who was Mrs. Keckley?

Elizabeth Keckley (sometimes spelled Keckly) was born on the plantation of Armistead and Mary Burwell outside Petersburg, Va., in February 1818. She never knew her precise birth date, a detail too trifling for entry into slave records. But her birth engaged more than the passing interest of Armistead Burwell, who was both her master and her father. Elizabeth’s mother was Agnes Hobbs, a literate slave and the Burwell family seamstress.

Liaisons between masters and female slaves were common and usually forced. As slaves were mere property, Southern society did not regard this as rape or adultery. But wives of philandering slaveholders had little regard for the offspring of such illicit encounters, particularly when the children bore a resemblance to their fathers—as did light-skinned “Lizzie” Hobbs. Mary Burwell put Lizzie to work at age 4 watching over the Burwells’ baby daughter. The responsibility was too great for a child. One day Lizzie accidentally rocked the cradle too hard, spilling the infant to the floor. Perplexed and frightened, Lizzie tried to scoop the baby back into the cradle with a fireplace shovel just as Mary Burwell entered the room. Infuriated, Mrs. Burwell ordered the overseer to beat Lizzie. “The blows were not administered with a light hand, and doubtless the severity of the lashing has made me remember the incident so well,” Keckley later recalled. “This was the first time I was punished in this cruel way, but not the last.”

Elizabeth Hobbs lived a turbulent early life, with both the anguish common to slavery and privileges denied most slaves. Her mother taught her to sew, and somehow, probably with the Burwells’ permission, she learned to read and write. In 1836 Armistead Burwell loaned Elizabeth and her mother to his eldest son Robert, a Presbyterian minister living in Hillsborough, N.C. Robert Burwell’s wife considered Elizabeth too strong-willed for a slave and sent her to William J. Bingham, the village schoolmaster known for his cruelty, to have the pride beaten out of her. Calling Elizabeth into his study, Bingham grabbed a lash and told her to strip naked. Elizabeth refused. “Recollect, I was eighteen years of age, was a woman fully developed, and yet this man coolly bade me take down my dress.” Bingham overpowered her, and she staggered home covered with bloody welts and deep bruises. After beating her a second time, Bingham broke down and begged her forgiveness. After Bingham faltered, the Reverend Burwell himself beat Elizabeth, striking her so hard with a chair leg that his wife begged him to desist from further punishments.

No sooner did the beatings end than a white neighbor named Alexander Kirkland raped Elizabeth. He used her for four years. In 1840 Elizabeth gave birth to a boy, whom she named George Kirkland. Although three-quarters white, he was a slave like his mother.

After these ordeals, Elizabeth’s fortunes improved. She and her son returned to Petersburg as the property of Armistead Burwell’s daughter Anne Garland and her husband Hugh. Anne treated her illegitimate half-sister kindly and encouraged her progress as a seamstress and dressmaker.

Garland’s business went bankrupt in 1847. He moved his family to St. Louis and opened a law practice, which also foundered. Elizabeth and her mother helped support the Garlands by making dresses for white socialites. In exchange, the Garlands permitted Elizabeth to mingle with the large free black population of St. Louis. In 1855 they agreed to manumit her and young George for $1,200, which Elizabeth borrowed from a sympathetic white client.

That November, Elizabeth married James Keckley. She prospered as a dressmaker and sent her son to the recently founded Wilberforce University in Ohio. But her marriage broke down after Elizabeth learned her husband, who had represented himself as a free black man, was in fact a “dissolute and debased” slave who proved nothing but a “source of trouble and a burden” to her. In early 1860, Elizabeth Keckley left her husband and moved to Baltimore, hoping to teach dressmaking to young black women. Her plan failed, and “with scarcely enough to pay my fare to Washington,” Elizabeth traveled to the nation’s capital in search of new opportunities.

It was a life-changing decision. Eliza­beth found work in October 1860 as a seamstress for a “polite and kind” shop-owner whose customers included the leading ladies of Washington. He offered her a generous commission. Elizabeth’s clients delighted in her designs, and her popularity grew. She rented an apartment in a middle-class black neighborhood and soon counted Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee, wife of Colonel Robert E. Lee, and Varina Davis, wife of Senator Jefferson Davis, among her clients.

During the secession winter of 1860-61, Elizabeth went to the Davis residence daily to make clothing for Varina and her children and frequently overheard Senator Davis’ political discussions with Southern colleagues. When the Davises left Washington in late January 1861, Varina asked Elizabeth to come South with the family, warning that in the event of war Northerners would blame blacks for the conflict and “in their exasperation treat you harshly.” Elizabeth politely declined, and they parted on good terms.

But Elizabeth was not long without a distinguished “patroness.” With ambition equal to her talent, she sought work in the White House. “To accomplish this end, I was ready to make almost any sacrifice consistent with propriety.” As it turned out, all she needed to do to gain an interview with the new first lady was to make a gown on short notice for Margaret McClean, daughter of future Maj. Gen. Edwin V. Sumner and a mutual friend of Varina Davis and Mary Todd Lincoln.

Elizabeth called on the first lady on March 5, 1861, the day after President Lincoln’s inauguration. The interview was short; learning Elizabeth had worked for Varina Davis, whose wardrobe was widely admired, Mary Lincoln hired her on the spot, asking only that Elizabeth keep her rates reasonable because the Lincolns were “just arrived from the West and poor.” Mary made no friends in Washington society, but the dresses Elizabeth created for her caused quite a stir. The wives of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles became regular customers, and Elizabeth made mourning gowns for the widow of Senator Stephen A. Douglas. But most of her income came from working on Mary Lincoln’s expanding wardrobe. With her earnings, Elizabeth opened a shop and hired several assistants. Mary preferred to go to Elizabeth’s rooms for her fittings, as did Mary Jane Welles and Ellen Stanton. Elizabeth disapproved of their visits, saying later, “I always thought that it would be more consistent with their dignity to send for me instead of their coming to me.”

Meanwhile, her son had managed to pass himself off as white to enlist in the Union Army at the outbreak of the war. His time in the service was short; George Kirkland died August 10, 1861, at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Mo. Mary Lincoln heard the news while vacationing in New York and sent Elizabeth a “kind womanly letter” of condolence, a mark of the growing intimacy between them.

That the spoiled daughter of a Kentucky slave owner would form a close bond with an ex-slave was less surprising than it appeared. Mary was a friendless outsider in Washington. Fair-skinned, always immaculately dressed, literate and “courteous to the Nth degree,” a White House housekeeper observed, Elizabeth was “the only person in Washington who could get along with Mrs. Lincoln when she became mad with anyone for talking about her and criticizing her husband.” Thirty-seven years of bondage had taught Elizabeth to accept fits of temper and irrational outbursts far more severe than Mary Lincoln’s.

The death of the Lincolns’ 11-year-old son Willie in February 1862 drew Mary closer to Elizabeth. Suffering from paroxysms of grief beyond her husband’s capacity to endure, Mary found refuge in her dressmaker’s calm and steady presence. A pattern emerged that would characterize the next three years of Elizabeth’s life. She spent much of her time at the White House, often returning home only to sleep or give brief instructions to her employees. She cared for the Lincolns’ youngest son Tad, who was often ill, ministered to Mary during her frequent bouts of headaches and nervous exhaustion, and earned the respect of President Lincoln, who addressed her as “Madame Elizabeth.”

When slavery was abolished in the District of Columbia in April 1862, a New York Post correspondent introduced the nation to “Lizzie, a stately, stylish woman,” in an article about successful free blacks in Washington. “Her features are perfectly regular, her eyes dark and winning; hair straight, black, shining. A smile half-sorrowful and wholly sweet makes you love her face as soon as you look on it. It is a face strong with intellect and heart. It is Lizzie who fashions those splendid costumes of Mrs. Lincoln, whose artistic elegance have been so highly praised. Stately carriages stand before [Keckley’s] door, whose haughty owners sit before Lizzie docile as lambs while she tells them what to wear. Lizzie is an artist, and has such a genius for making women look pretty, that not one thinks of disputing her decrees.”

Lincoln spoke freely in Elizabeth Keckley’s presence. One afternoon while she was dressing Mary Lincoln for a reception, the president entered the room. Glancing onto the lawn where Tad played with two goats, he turned
to Elizabeth and asked, “Madame Elizabeth, you are fond of pets, are
you not?” “Oh yes, sir,” she answered. “Well, come here and look at my two goats. I believe they are the kindest and best goats in the world. See how they skip and play in the sunshine.” After one sprang into the air, Lincoln asked Elizabeth if she had ever seen “such an active goat.” Musing a moment, he continued, “He feeds on my bounty and jumps with joy. Do you think we should call him a bounty-jumper? But I flatter the bounty jumper. My goat is far above him. I would rather wear his horns and hairy coat than demean myself to the level of the man who plunders the national treasury in the name of patriotism.” “Come, ’Lizabeth,” Mary scolded. “If I get ready to go down this evening I must finish dressing myself, or you must stop staring at those silly goats.”

“Mrs. Lincoln was not fond of pets, and she could not understand how Mr. Lincoln could take so much delight in his goats,” Keckley remembered. “After Willie’s death, she could not bear the sight of anything he loved, not even a flower.”

Mary buried her unrelenting anguish in lavish spending on clothing and jewelry. Elizabeth accompanied her on shopping trips to New York and Boston, remaining behind in the cities for days at a time to settle orders with merchants. Despite the demands of being the first lady’s companion, she carved out a place as a leader among the capital’s free black community. A chance stroll past a charitable event for wounded soldiers in August 1862 suggested an idea. Forty thousand ex-slaves freed by advancing Union armies thronged the capital, where they lived in squalor. “If the white people can give festivals to raise funds for the relief of suffering soldiers,” she mused, “why should not the well-to-do colored people go to work to do something for the benefit of suffering blacks?” Two weeks later the Contra-band Relief Association was born, with Elizabeth as president. Mary Lincoln was first to subscribe with a $200 donation. President Lincoln also contributed. Northern abolitionists raised funds and contributed clothing and blankets. Frederick Douglass lectured on the association’s behalf and obtained contributions from anti-slavery societies in Great Britain.

Under Elizabeth’s leadership the as­sociation distributed food, clothing and other essentials to freedmen, sheltered them and brought teachers to schools built for them. Fundraisers attracted prominent speakers such as Douglass and Wendell Phillips. The organization also hosted Christmas dinners for sick and wounded soldiers of both races.

“Some of the freedmen and freedwomen had exaggerated ideas of liberty. To them it was a beautiful vision, a land of sunshine, rest, and glorious promise,” she wrote. “Since their extravagant hopes were not realized, it was but natural that many of them should feel bitterly their disappointment. Thousands of the disappointed huddled together in camps, fretted and pined like children for the ‘good old times.’ In visiting them they would crowd around me with pitiful stories of distress. Often I heard them declare that they would rather go back to slavery in the South and be with their old masters than to enjoy the freedom of the North. I believe they were sincere, because dependence had become a part of their second nature, and independence brought with it the cares and vexations of poverty.”

As the war dragged on and her husband had neither the time nor patience to indulge her roller-coaster emotions, Mary Lincoln grew increasingly dependent on Elizabeth, withholding little. When it appeared Lincoln might lose the 1864 election, she tearfully revealed her crushing financial burden. “The president glances at my rich dresses and is happy to believe that the few hundred dollars that I obtain from him supply all my wants,” she said. “If he is elected, I can keep him in ignorance of my affairs, but if he is defeated, then the bills will be sent.”

Lincoln’s re-election eased her worry. After Richmond fell in April 1865, Mary invited Elizabeth to accompany her and the president on a visit to City Point, Va., aboard the River Queen. From there they traveled to Richmond, where Elizabeth visited the vacant Confederate Senate chamber and sat in the chair Jefferson Davis sometimes occupied. When the presidential party moved on to Petersburg, Elizabeth searched for childhood acquaintances while the president inspected the troops. She found a few, but was sorry she had come. “The scenes suggested painful memories, and I was not sorry to turn my back again upon the city,” she confessed.

Greater pain awaited, and soon. On the evening of April 11, Elizabeth peered out a White House window at the president, who stood on an open balcony a short distance away. Lincoln had just begun to speak to a large crowd about his plans for Reconstruc-tion. In one hand he held his speech, in the other a candle. Its flickering shadow obscured the words, and Lincoln passed the candle to a journalist behind him. As the candlelight fell full on the president, Elizabeth shivered. “What an easy matter it would be to kill the president as he stands there,” she whispered to a companion. “He could be shot down from the crowd, and no one be able to tell who fired the shot.”

The next morning Elizabeth shared her fear with Mary, who answered sadly, “Yes, yes, Mr. Lincoln’s life is always exposed. No one knows what it is to live in constant dread of some fearful tragedy. I have a presentiment that he will meet with a sudden and violent end. I pray to God to protect my beloved husband from the hands of the assassin.”

Three nights later the president lay dying in the Petersen House across the street from Ford’s Theatre. Mary ordered messengers to bring Elizabeth to her, but they all got lost in the tumult outside the theater. The next morning Elizabeth came to the White House. She found the first lady prostrate with grief and in desperate need of her companionship. For the next six weeks she remained with Mary, sleeping in her room and, as Mary said, “watching faithfully by my side.”

After Lincoln’s assassination, Mary’s debts came due. From Chicago, where she had moved with Robert Todd Lincoln, she hectored Elizabeth with sorrowful letters of her financial plight. In September 1867, she enlisted Elizabeth in a scheme to sell her clothing and jewelry in New York City. Together they visited merchants, Mary traveling heavily veiled and incognito as Mrs. Clark of Chicago. Sales were few, and she was found out. The press pilloried her as insane, “a mercenary prostitute” who dishonored her late husband’s memory. Retreating to Chicago, she left Elizabeth to negotiate with her creditors. The letters from Chicago resumed, each begging Elizabeth to stay in New York until she settled Mary’s affairs. Elizabeth agreed, shutting down her Washington business and taking in sewing to make ends meet. While Elizabeth labored on her behalf in New York, Mary inherited $36,000 in bonds from her late husband’s probated estate. She had promised Elizabeth a tidy sum for their joint venture, but sent her nothing.

With her own livelihood imperiled and her reputation sullied by the “Old Clothes” affair, Elizabeth decided to write her memoir in collaboration with James Redpath, a book promoter and white friend of Frederick Douglass.
In the spring of 1868 the prominent New York publisher Carleton and Company released Behind the Scenes: Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House. Elizabeth’s avowed purpose was to “place Mrs. Lincoln in a better light before the world” by showing the innocent “motives that actuated us” in the “New York fiasco” and also protect her own good name. “To defend myself I must defend the lady I served,” she wrote boldly in the introduction.

Instead, Elizabeth destroyed herself. Her frank revelations of Mary Lincoln’s erratic behavior and spendthrift ways while in the White House violated Victorian standards of friendship and privacy and of race relations. Without Elizabeth’s permission, Redpath had inserted as an appendix Mary’s correspondence with Elizabeth about her New York scheme, letters that showed Mary at her unstable worst. Robert Lincoln denounced the book and may have tried to suppress sales. A New York book critic wondered if American literary taste had fallen “so low grade as to tolerate the backstairs gossip of Negro servant girls.” Washington newspapers warned white families not to confide in their black housekeepers. Someone penned a cruel parody titled Behind the Seams; by a Nigger Woman who Took Work in From Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Davis and Signed with an “X,” the Mark of “Betsey Kickley” (Nigger). Mary Lincoln dissolved her friendship with the “colored historian,” as she now referred to Elizabeth Keckley.

Mary, born the same year as Elizabeth, died in 1882. Elizabeth outlived her by 25 unhappy years. Behind the Scenes cost Elizabeth her white clientele. She scraped by teaching young black seamstresses, and in 1890 sold her cherished collection of Lincoln mementos for a paltry $250. Friends arranged Elizabeth’s appointment to the faculty of Wilberforce University in 1892 as head of the Department of Sewing and Domestic Service, but she taught only briefly before a mild stroke ended her working life. Elizabeth spent her final years in the National Home for Destitute Colored Women and Children, founded during the Civil War in part with funds from her Contraband Relief Association. She never recovered from her falling-out with Mary Lincoln. She hung Mary’s portrait over her bed and made a quilt from pieces of her dresses. Like Mary, she suffered constant head­aches and frequent crying spells. In 1907, at the age of 89, Elizabeth Keckley died alone and nearly forgotten. She deserved better. During the Civil War, she had lifted much of the weight of Mary Lincoln’s grief and instability from the president’s shoulders. For that alone, Elizabeth Keckley merits the gratitude of history. I am a Lincoln follower and could not wait til it was time to share this with you. Resaech about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

February 22, 1915 – Robert Smalls

GM – FBF- “My race needs no special defense, for the past history of them in this country proves them to be equal of any people anywhere. All they need is an equal chance in the battle of life.” (US Congress – R – S.C.) Robert Smalls

Remember – “The Party of Lincoln which unshackled the necks of four million human beings.” – (US Congress – R – S.C.) Robert Smalls

Today in our History – February 22, 1915 -Robert Smalls was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, on April 5, 1839 and worked as a house slave until the age of 12. At that point his owner, John K. McKee, sent him to Charleston to work as a waiter, ship rigger, and sailor, with all earnings going to McKee. This arrangement continued until Smalls was 18 when he negotiated to keep all but $15 of his monthly pay, a deal which allowed Smalls to begin saving money. The savings that he accumulated were later used to purchase his wife and daughter from their owner for a sum of $800. Their son was born a few years later.

In 1861 Smalls was hired as a deckhand on the Confederate transport steamer Planter captained by General Roswell Ripley, the commander of the Second Military District of South Carolina. The Planter was assigned the job of delivering armaments to the Confederate forts. On May 13, 1862, the crew of the Planter went ashore for the evening, leaving Smalls to guard the ship and its contents. Smalls loaded the ship with his wife, children and 12 other slaves from the city and sailed it to the area of the harbor where Union ships had formed their blockade. This trip led the ship past five forts, all of which required the correct whistle signal to indicate they were a Confederate ship. Smalls eventually presented the Planter before Onward, a Union blockade ship and raised the white flag of surrender. He later turned over all charts, a Confederate naval code book, and armaments, as well as the Planter itself, over to the Union Navy.

Smalls’s feat is partly credited with persuading a reluctant President Abraham Lincoln to now consider allowing African Americans into the Union Army. Smalls went on a speaking tour across the North to describe the episode and to recruit black soldiers for the war effort. By late 1863 he returned to the war zone to pilot the Planter, now a Union war vessel. In December 1863 he was promoted to Captain of the vessel, becoming the first African American to hold that rank in the history of the United States Navy.

After the Civil War Smalls entered politics as a Republican. He was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives and later to the South Carolina Senate. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives first from South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District and later from South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District. Smalls served in Congress between 1868 and 1889.

When his last term ended Smalls moved back to Beaufort, South Carolina to become the United States Collector of Customs. He also purchased and resided in the house in which he had once been a slave. Robert Smalls died in Beaufort on February 22, 1915 and is buried there with his family. Research more about this great American and others who were in the Civil War and share with your babies. I won’t be able to respond to any posts – speaking at George Walton Academy in Monroe, GA. Make it a champion day!

February 8, 1925- Marcus Garvey

GM – FBF – Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!

Remember – “I have no desire to take all black people back to Africa; there are blacks who are no good here and will likewise be no good there.” – Marcus Garvey

Today in our History – February 8, 1925 – Marcus Garvey sent to Atlanta Prison. Garvey Was a Political Prisoner! On this day February 8th, Marcus Garvey entered federal prison in Atlanta. Students staged strike at Fisk University to protest policies of white administration.

Marcus Mosiah Garvey, was a Jamaican political leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator who was a staunch proponent of the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements.

He founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League.

He founded the Black Star Line, part of the Back-to-Africa movement, which promoted the return of the African diaspora to their Ancestral Land!

Marcus Garvey Letter From Atlanta Prison

Fellow Men of the Negro Race Greetings:
I am delighted to inform you, that your humble servant is as happy in suffering for you and our cause as is possible under the circumstances of being viciously outraged by a group of plotters who have connived to do their worst to humiliate you through me, in fight for real emancipation and African Redemption.

I do not want at this time to write anything that would make it difficult for you to meet the opposition of your enemy without my assistance. Suffice to say that the history of the outrage shall form a splendid chapter in the history of Africa redeemed. When black man will no longer be under the heels of others, but have a civilization and culture of their own.

The whole affair is a disgrace, and the whole black world knows it. We shall not forget. Our day may be fifty, a hundred or two hundred years ahead, let us watch, work, and pray, for the civilization of injustice is bound to crumble and bring destruction down upon the heads of the unjust.

My work is just begun, and when the history of my suffering is complete, then the future generations of the Negro will have in their hands the guide by which they shall know the “sins” of the twentieth century. I, and I know you, too, believe in time, and we shall wait patiently for two hundred years, if need be, to face our enemies through our prosperity.

All I have I have given you. I have sacrificed my home and my loving wife for you. I entrust her to your charge, to protect and defend her in my absence. She is the bravest little woman I know. She has suffered and sacrificed with me for you, therefore, please do not desert her at this dismal hour, when she stands alone. I left her penniless and helpless to face the world, because I gave you all, but her courage is great, and I know she will hold up for you and me.

After my enemies are satisfied, in life or death I shall come back to you to serve even as I have served before. In life I shall be the same; in death I shall be a terror to the foes of Negro liberty. If death has power, then count on me in death to be the real Marcus Garvey I would like to be. If I may come in an earthquake, or a cyclone, or a plague, or pestilence, or as God would have me, then be assure that I would never desert you and make your enemies triumph over you.

Would I not go to hell a million times for you? Would I not like Macbeth’s ghost, walk the earth forever for you? Would I not lose the whole world and eternity for you? Would I not cry forever before the footstool of the Lord Omnipotent for you? Would I not die a million deaths for you? Then, why be sad? Cheer up, and be assure that if it takes a million years the sins of our enemies shall visit the millionth generation of those that hinder and oppress us.

If I die in Atlanta my work shall then only begin, but I shall live, in the physical or spiritual to see the day of Africa’s glory. When I am dead wrap the mantle of the Red, Black and Green around me, for in the new life I shall rise with God’s grace and blessing to lead the millions up the heights of triumph with the colors that you well know. Look for me in the whirlwind or the storm, look for me all around you, for, with God’s grace I shall come and bring with me countless millions of black slaves who have died in America and the West Indies and the millions in Africa to aid you in the fight for liberty, freedom and life.

The civilization of today as gone drunk and crazy with its power and by such it seeks through injustice, fraud and lies to crush the unfortunate. But if I am apparently crushed by the system of influence and misdirected power, my cause shall rise again to plague the conscience of the corrupt. For this again I am satisfied, and for you, I repeat, I am glad to suffer and even die. Again, I say cheer up, for better days are ahead. I shall write the history that will inspire the millions that are coming and leave the posterity of our enemies to reckon with the host for the deeds of their fathers.

With God’s dearest blessings, I leave you for a while. Research more of this American activist and share with your babies I will be speaking at the Fulton Leadership Academy in Atlanta, GA. today and will not be able to respond to any more posts. Make it a champion day!

February 7, 1926- Carter G. Woodson

GM – FBF – Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.

Remember – “When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions.” – Carter G. Woodson

Today in our History – February 7, 1926 – Carter G. Woodson leads the way – Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history. The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States.

That September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent.

Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures.

The NAACP was founded on February 12, 1909, the centennial anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.

In the decades that followed, mayors of cities across the country began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing Negro History Week. By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement and a growing awareness of black identity, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses.

President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Research more about the begining of this National event and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!