Black History Month

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Project 100,000 Announced

New York City, New York - Project 100,000 was revealed in a speech. It was created by Robert Strange McNamara. The Project sent tens of thousands of young, black men to Vietnam.

McNamara was the Secretary of Defense. He served from 1961-1968. This included both United States Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy.

McNamara wanted to expand the military in Vietnam. The United States military lacked the manpower. McNamara's solution was young, black men.

In 1963, under Kennedy, McNamara increased the military in Vietnam, from 900 to 16,000. Kennedy had problems with black people who fought for Civil Rights. McNamara had a plan to solve the 'black problem' and Vietnam.

November 22, 1963, Kennedy was killed. McNamara kept his job under Johnson. Johnson faced the same 'black problem' as Kennedy. But, it was an election year. Johnson wanted nothing to hurt his campaign.

In 1964, McNamara tried a limited military program to target black men and Vietnam. It was the Special Training Enlistment Program (STEP). It reduced entry standards to get an extra 15,000 men into the military.

Congress rejected the STEP program. Funding was denied. It was called pointless. STEP used the military to replace existing jobs and education programs.

President Johnson won the election. With Johnson's full support, McNamara expanded his plans to send young, black men into Vietnam.

In 1965, once again, Congress denied McNamara funding. Undersecretary of Defense Alfred Fitt said McNamara was furious. McNamara continued without funding.

April, 1966, McNamara reduced the standard to enter the military. The score, for entry, was lowered on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT).

Tuesday, August 23, 1966, McNamara announced Project 100,000. It was at a speech in front of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. It was before Congress came back from recess.

By 1972, when Project 100,000 closed, more than 340,000 extra men were sent to Vietnam.

Adam Clayton Powell denounced the actions of Johnson and McNamara. He called them, Hitler-ish. Martin Luther King, Jr. condemned the Vietnam War. It was at a speech in New York called, 'Beyond Vietnam.' Muhammad Ali said the Vietnam War was started to get him.

Emmett Till Killed

Money, Mississippi - Two white males, Roy Bryant (middle) and J. W. Milam (right) murdered 14 year-old Emmett Till. Roy's wife, Carolyn, lied about Till. That led to Till's murder.

Till was from Chicago, Illinois. He visited relatives, in Money, Mississippi. Till visited a local store, and spoke with Carolyn. Days later, Roy and Milam kidnapped Till, from Till's great-uncle's house. Milam was Roy's half-brother.

Roy and Milam beat and mutilated Till. Then, they shot Till in the head. Finally, Till's body was sunk in the Tallahatchie River. Three (3) days later, Till's body was found.

In September 1955, Roy and Milam faced trial. The jury was all-white. The prosecutor, defense attorney, and judge were white. Roy and Milam were found not guilty.

On January 24th, 1956, Roy and Milam confessed, in a Look magazine article. Milam said he had no plan to murder Till. But, Till showed no fear. Milam murdered Till for that.

Till's murder inspired Rosa Parks. It led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott made Martin Luther King, Jr. a national figure.

'I Have A Dream' Speech Given

Washington, D. C. - At the March on Washington, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to the crowd. It was his 'I Have A Dream' speech.

The event was formally known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It took place at the National Mall. 250,000 attended.

1964 Philadelphia Race Riot

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - 3 days of burning, violence, and disorder started with a traffic dispute. Two died in the violence. There were hundreds of injuries, arrests, and stores damaged.

At 9:35 p.m., Friday, police workers Robert Wells (black) and John Hoff (white) went to a domestic dispute. It began at the corner of 22nd Street and Columbia Avenue.

Odessa Bradford stopped the car as she argued with Rush, her husband. She refused to move out of the intersection. The cops tried to grab her from the car. A large crowd gathered.

A man tried to help Odessa. Both were arrested. The crowd threw bricks and other debris at the police. Rumor spread that a white cop had beaten and killed a pregnant, black woman. This fed the disorder.

The minor incident turned into total chaos. North Philadelphia was in turmoil for days.

In response, SWAT (Special Weapons Assault Teams) was formed. These police assault teams became Special Response Teams (SRT), in many cities.

Katrina Hit New Orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana - Hurricane Katrina swamped New Orleans. The levees that protected the lower Ninth Ward were destroyed. The United States military used explosives to breach the levee and flood eastern New Orelans.

On August 23, 2005, Hurricane Katrina was spotted. It started as a tropical storm. On August 25, 2005, it became a hurricane, in Florida. On August 26, 2005, Katrina moved into the Gulf of Mexico and got worse.

On Sunday, August 28th, 2005, thousands of people took shelter in the New Orleans Superdome. This included 150 National Guardsmen.

Over time, the military sent more to shelter there. It reached 15,000-20,000 people. It included the old, women, children, the sick, and the disabled. The vast majority were black.

On Monday, August 29th, 2005, just after midnight, Katrina hit New Orleans. The rain began. Hurricane force winds battered the buildings. It continued until about 7 a.m.

At 6:20 a.m., the power failed in the Superdome. Medical equipment failed. Only emergency lights worked in the almost dark building.

By 7:00 a.m., the worst of the storm had passed. Katrina dumped 5-10 inches of rain on New Orleans, in 24 hours. There was minor flooding and property damage. The leevees were intact.

Between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., the 7th Street leevee was destroyed. the United States military used explosives to breech the levee. It made a hole that was 3 football fields long.

This was the largest leevee in the city. It sat next to the Lower Ninth Ward, in southeast New Orleans. At the time, it was 98% black. Many were homeowners.

At 9:00 a.m., the roof of the Superdome began to fail. People saw the sky, through the roof. Rain poured into the building. The military stopped anyone from leaving.

At the same time, a 10 foot wave of water rushed into the Lower Ninth Ward. It flooded the entire ward. 100,000 homes were destroyed. Most of the black homeowners never recovered and never returned.

The highest parts of the Lower Ninth Ward were flooded. This included private homes and the Holy Cross School. The school served as a shelter during Hurricane Betsy, in 1965. The government broke those levees, too.

By 11:00 p.m., Mayor Ray Nagin said there was major damage to the city. Bodies were seen in the water, mainly in the Lower Ninth Ward.

On August 30th, 2005, the Superdome began to fill with water. There was no clean water, no toilets, and an awful odor.

By August 31st, 2005, three (3) people had died, in the Superdome. Two were elderly. One man committed suicide.

New Orleans lost at least 1,800 lives due to the blown levees. Most lived in the Lower Ninth Ward and Lakeview neighborhoods. City-wide, over 150,000 homes were flooded. The hardest hit was the Lower Ninth Ward.

12 Years A Slave Shown

Telluride, Colorado - '12 Years A Slave' was shown at the Telluride Film Festival.

The movie began with a 'free' black man, in 1841, in Washington D. C. He was put into slavery by two (2) white males. This lasted 12 years. Finally, he got word back to New York, of his bondage. He returned to New York, 12 years later.

Martin Luther King Targeted By FBI

Washington, D. C. - J. Edgar Hoover was alarmed by the success of the March on Washington. Martin Luther King, Jr. was seen as a communist threat by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Hoover had been Director of the FBI since 1924 (39 years). He saw King as a threat to national security. The Soviets (Russians) used the plight of black people for diplomacy. They used lynching and segregation to expose American freedom and democracy.

In a comment, Hoover made these comments. 'I for one can't ignore the memos re King, [words redacted] et al as having only an infinitesimal effect on the efforts to exploit the American Negro by the Communists.'

W. C. Sullivan, of the FBI released a memo, after King's speech of two days before.

'Personally, I believe in the light of King's powerful demagogic speech yesterday he stands head and shoulders over all other Negro leaders put together when it comes to influencing great masses of Negroes. We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro and national security.'

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