Tag: This Day in History

African American History Mural, Denver

I saw this when I was walking around downtown recently.  Around the anniversary of the Birmingham church bombing.

On the morning of September 15, 1963, Rev. John H. Cross Jr. and members of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, were preparing to start the Youth Day worship service when a bomb went off.

“I will never forget that horrific noise,” said Barbara Cross, the reverend’s eldest daughter. “I remember everything got real dark and you could hear kids screaming.”

At 10:22 a.m. a massive explosion sent glass, cement and debris flying. An FBI investigation later discovered that four Ku Klux Klan members (KKK) had planted dynamite under a cement staircase outside of the church.

The blast knocked down power lines and blew a hole in the side of the building, completely destroying the ladies restroom in the basement where a group of girls had been getting ready for church.

Four little girls were killed in the church that Sunday morning: 11-year-old Denise McNair, along with 14-year-olds Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Addie Mae Collins. Nearly two dozen others were injured.

60 years after 4 little girls were killed in a KKK attack on the 16th Street Baptist Church, memories of the lives that were taken live on

Truman Desegregates Military – Anniversary of

Truman presided over the onset of the Cold War in 1947. He oversaw the Berlin Airlift and Marshall Plan in 1948. With the involvement of the US in the Korean War of 1950–1953, South Korea repelled the invasion by North Korea. Domestically, the postwar economic challenges such as strikes and inflation created a mixed reaction over the effectiveness of his administration. In 1948, he proposed Congress pass comprehensive civil rights legislation. Congress refused, so Truman issued Executive Order 9980 and Executive Order 9981, which prohibited discrimination in federal agencies and desegregated the U.S. Armed Forces.


Lee Surrenders at Appomatox – April 9, 1865

The Battle of Appomattox Court House, fought in Appomattox County, Virginia, on the morning of April 9, 1865, was one of the last battles of the American Civil War (1861–1865). It was the final engagement of Confederate General in Chief, Robert E. Lee, and his Army of Northern Virginia before they surrendered to the Union Army of the Potomac under the Commanding General of the United States Army, Ulysses S. Grant.

Lee, having abandoned the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia after the nine-and-a-half-month Siege of Petersburg and Richmond, retreated west, hoping to join his army with the remaining Confederate forces in North Carolina, the Army of Tennessee under Gen. Joseph E. Johnston. Union infantry and cavalry forces under General Philip Sheridan pursued and cut off the Confederates’ retreat at the central Virginia village of Appomattox Court House. Lee launched a last-ditch attack to break through the Union forces to his front, assuming the Union force consisted entirely of lightly armed cavalry. When he realized that the cavalry was now backed up by two corps of federal infantry, he had no choice but to surrender with his further avenue of retreat and escape now cut off as, if he had not, his forces would have been demolished.


To the South, you can rest assured, the day they heard about Appomattox was the way it was for most Northerners about the day they heard of Lincoln’s assassination. It is all over diaries, all over literature. It sometimes is just called “the surrender,” “the day we heard.” There’s so many statements of it, throughout Southern letters and diaries, as I’ve said. I’ll just read a couple, just briefly, and then one from a Northerner, to show you what this moment means on both sides and how difficult reconstruction is going to be — just look at their diaries. Remember Kate Stone? I read from her diary before, a Louisiana planter woman who fled over to Texas and lost most of her slaves. She writes into her diary. “April 28, ‘65: All are fearfully depressed,” she reports. “I cannot bear to hear them talk of defeat.” She still hoped that Confederate armies might rally and fight, as she puts it, “to be free or die.” Easy for her to say. On May 15 she opened a journal entry with this definition, that I may have read before, where the first words are “conquered, submission, subjugation,” she says, “are the words in my heart.” And then when she hears that John Wilkes Booth has shot Lincoln, she rejoiced in Lincoln’s death and honored, at least in her diary, John Wilkes Booth for, quote, “ridding the world of a tyrant. We are glad he is not alive to rejoice in our humiliation and insult us with his jokes.” There are thousands of those expressions in Southern letters and diaries.

That spring and summer an estimated 8 to 10,000 ex-Confederates, many of them former officers, would flee the country. They ended up going to Brazil, England, other parts of Europe, Mexico, Canada, and a few even went as far away as Japan, for fear — I mean, Jubal Early, that conniving old rat — more on him later — he ran to Mexico. He was certain they were all going to be executed, at least the officer corps of Lee’s army — none of them were. And let me read you a diary entry from a Northern woman, a great diarist. Her diary’s hardly known, but man, her diary is almost equal to Mary Chestnut. I first encountered it in a manuscript at the American Antiquarian Society in Worchester. Her name was Caroline Barrett White. She kept a diary for years, decades, and her war-years diary is extraordinary. This is her April 10, 1865 entry. “Hurrah, hurrah, sound the loud timbale over Egypt’s dark sea. Early this morning our ears were greeted with the sound of bells ringing a joyous peal. General Lee had surrendered with his whole army to General Grant!” She’s got exclamation marks all over the place. “Surely this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” And she goes on and on and on, all kinds of biblical cadences to talk about the sense of jubilation she sees in the streets of her Massachusetts town.

HIST 119: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877
Lecture 20 – Wartime Reconstruction: Imagining the Aftermath and a Second American Republic

David Blight

Herbert Lee – Civil Rights Activist

Herbert Lee (1912 – 1961) Herbert Lee, born on this day in 1912, was an American civil rights activist who fought for voting rights in Mississippi, where black people had been disenfranchised since 1890. In 1961, Lee was assassinated by a state representative. Lee was a charter member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Amite County and had sought to enfranchise black Americans by encouraging voter registration.

In 1961, Lee assisted Bob Moses, a field secretary with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), in his efforts to persuade locals to register. His activities were met with threats of reprisal by the white community, and Lee became one of the movement’s earliest victims to white violence. On September 25th, 1961, Lee was murdered by Mississippi state representative E. H. Hurst (1908 – 1990) in broad daylight at the cotton gin while delivering cotton near Liberty.

Hurst killed Lee with a single shot to the head, but later claimed in court that he was defending himself after Lee attacked him with a tire iron. An all-white jury ruled that the killing was a justifiable homicide. In 1964, civil rights activist Louis Allen was killed after he informed federal investigators that his testimony in the case had been coerced on threat of violence.

Read more:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Lee_(activist) https://snccdigital.org/people/herbert-lee/

April 7 – This day in history

April 7Cheti Chand in various parts of India (2019); National Beer Day in the United States

Juvénal Habyarimana in 1980

Juvénal Habyarimana

via wikipedia

Armistice Day

Armistice Day is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.

Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armistice_Day

This is what a world war 1 battlefield in Verdun France looks like today. from interestingasfuck

What *are* the Ides of March?

The Ides of March (Latin: Idus Martiae, Late Latin: Idus Martii)[1] is a day on the Roman calendar that corresponds to 15 March. It was marked by several religious observances and was notable for the Romans as a deadline for settling debts.[2] In 44 BC, it became notorious as the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar which made the Ides of March a turning point in Roman history.

via wikipedia