Black History Month

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Christopher Dorner Manhunt and Murder

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) began a manhunt for Christopher Dorner, on Sunday. It lasted 9 days and ended with Dorner's death.

The LAPD alleged Dorner targeted and killed police employees. The alleged motive was rampant and unjust violence against black people.

Dorner worked for the LAPD. His training officer was Teresa Evans. During one encounter, Dorner saw Evans abuse a suspect. Later, Dorner filed a police brutality complaint against Evans. Because of this complaint, the LAPD fired Dorner, in 2008.

On October 3rd, 2011, the California Court of Appeals dismissed Dorner's case. This covered Dorner's firing and his police brutality complaint.

On Tuesday, February 12th, 2013, the San Bernardino Sheriff's Office said Dorner was at a cabin. It was near Big Bear Lake, California. The Sheriff's Office set the cabin on fire, with Dorner inside. Dorner died inside the cabin.

Rosa Parks Born

Tuskegee, Alabama - Rosa Parks was born Rosa Louise McCauley. Parks was a key activist in the Black Rights (to become Civil Rights) era.

Fugitive Slave Act of 1793

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - The United States Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793. It was signed into law, by George Washington. It was the first law to make the United States a legal slave state. The United States Constitution had recognized slavery. However, this Act made slavery legal.

This Act made 'free' black people into a legal under-class. More than that, no black person had legal citizenship, in the United States. At any time, whether free or not, a black person needed documents to show their status to any white who demanded them.

The Act only required a claim that a black person was a slave. Once the claim was accepted in a court of law, the black person was legally a slave. Without legal proof, any black person was a slave, in the United States. With legal proof, a black person still did not have status as a citizen of the United States.

The Act made all black people into classes of human property. The Act NEVER used the words, slave, slavery, enslavement, bondage, nor forced labor.

Huey P. Newton Born

Monroe, Louisiana - Huey P. Newton was born, on Tuesday. Newton co-founded the Black Panther Party, with Bobby Seale.

Newton was the youngest child of Armelia Johnson and Walter Newton. His father, Walter Newton, was a sharecropper and Baptist lay preacher.

Frederick Douglass Died

Washington, D.C. - Frederick Douglass was born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey. He was born into slavery, to a white father and enslaved mother.

Douglass spent his life either fighting to end slavery or to advance the causes of black Americans.

While it is unknown his exact birth date, it is accepted to be sometime in February, 1818.

Malcolm X Assassinated

Harlem, New York - Malcolm X (or el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz) was assassinated. It took place in Manhattan's Audubon Ballroom. He was there to speak to the Organization for Afro-American Unity.

Malcolm X stood on the stage, faced the audience, and greeted those in attendance. After the greeting, someone in the 400-person audience yelled, 'Get your hand outta my pocket!'

Malcolm X, with his bodyguards, attempted to restore peace to the event. But, a man, with a sawed-off shotgun, rushed Malcolm X. The gunman shot Malcolm X one time in the chest.

Next, two other men charged the stage firing semi-automatic handguns. Malcolm X was pronounced dead at 3:30 p.m., at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

Malcolm X was shot 21 times to the chest, left shoulder, arms and legs. This included ten buckshot wounds from the initial shotgun blast. The man who shot first was never identified, nor prosecuted.

Deacons for Defense

Bogalusa, Louisiana - The first chapter, of the Deacons for Self Defense was formed. The Deacons for Self-Defense was organized in November, 1964, in Jonesboro, Louisiana. However, the first chapter started on this day.

This was not the first armed black American self-defense group, in the United States. But, it was one of the most prominent of the Black Rights period. Twenty (20) other chapters followed its formation, in Mississippi and Alabama.

The goal of the group was to protect Black Rights activists and their families. Threats came from white vigilantes, police departments, and the Ku Klux Klan.

Montgomery Bus Boycott Leaders Booked

Montgomery, Alabama - The leaders of the Montgomery Bus Boycott gave themselves to the police. The City of Montgomery decided that the boycott was illegal, from a 1921 law.

Tuesday, February 21st, 1956, 89 were charged with an illegal boycott. The charged included Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Reverend Ralph Abernathy, and Edgar Nixon.

On Wednesday, February 22nd, all 89 peacefully went to the police station. All were booked and released on bond.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was the only one who went to trial. Judge Eugene W. Carter found King guilty. King was fined $500, plus $500 for court costs. King appealed the verdict. Judge Carter changed the sentence to 386 days of jail.

King said, 'I was optimistic enough to hope for the best but realistic enough to prepare for the worst. This will not mar or diminish in any way my interest in the protest. We will continue to protest in the same spirit of nonviolence and passive resistance, using the weapon of love.'

On April 30th, 1957, King's appeal was denied. The Court of Appeals ruled his lawyers missed the 60-day deadline. December 1957, King paid the fine.

Amos Wilson Born

Hattiesburg, Mississippi - Amos Wilson was a black American psychologist, social theorist, scholar, and author. Wilson was a professor of psychology at the City University of New York.

Wilson was a key voice on the condition of black Americans in a white-dominated society, during the late 1980s, until his death in 1995.

Elijah Muhammad Died

Chicago, Illinois - Elijah Muhammad died. He was born Elijah Robert Poole. Muhammad led the Nation of Islam, for more than 30 years. This period covered the most expansive and dominant period of the Nation of Islam.

Muhammad led the group into the Black Rights movement (later called Civil Rights). This continued through the Black Power movement, and into the integration era. At one time, under his leadership, Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan, and Muhammad Ali were all followers.

Trayvon Martin Murdered

Sanford, Florida - Trayvon Martin was shot to death, in Sanford, Florida, by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old white male. Martin was a 17-year-old, from Miami Gardens, Florida.

Sunday evening, February 26th, Martin walked, alone, to the house where he stayed. Martin had just bought a bag of Skittles and a can of Arizona iced-tea, at a local store. As he walked, Martin was totally unaware of George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman was a volunteer of the community watch. Zimmerman saw Martin and called the Sanford Police and said Martin was suspicious. The police told Zimmerman to leave Martin alone.

Zimmerman disobeyed the police and confronted Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman then fired one gunshot to the chest of Trayvon Martin. Martin died on the street.

On July 13th, 2013, George Zimmerman was found not guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin. Martin's murder, and Zimmerman's not guilty verdict, led to protests. It launched a number of racial justice movements, in the United States.

Robert F. Williams Born

Monroe, North Carolina - Robert F. Williams was born. He promoted firearms for self-defense, in the Black Rights (Civil Rights) era. This included arming black women for self-protection.

Williams supported violent resistance against white terrorism and injustice. Many black Americans were influenced by his work. This included Huey P. Newton, of the Black Panthers.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) gave Williams a charter. It was used to form a rifle club. The goal was to protect black Americans, in Monroe, North Carolina, from violence. White vigilantes and the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) were the primary threats.

Kerner Report Published

Washington, D. C. - The President’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders wrote the Kerner Report.

On July 28, 1967, the Detroit uprising caused President Lyndon Baines Johnson to form the commission. It was led by Governor Otto Kerner, of Ohio. The report took his name.

The report gave a cause for the black uprisings in the country. There were more than 150 riots or major disorders between 1965 and 1968. 83 people killed and 1,800 injured, and most were black. $100 million in property was damaged or destroyed.

The 426-page report named “white racism” for the violence, not a conspiracy by black political groups.