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Black History Month 2022

Jan February Mar

Lynching of Henry Smith



Paris, Texas - Henry Smith was killed by a white mob. Smith was accused of killing a young white girl. It made national news and led to an interstate manhunt. He was burned alive until he died, by whites.

Smith was a handyman. He had been arrested by a white police worker, Deputy Henry Vance. Smith was beaten by Vance, with his club. Later, Smith was seen with the daughter of Vance, who was four (4) years of age.

The day before her death, Smith walked through town with the white girl. The Mayor of Paris, and many other whites, saw him with her. When asked, Smith told him he was taking her to the doctor.

Later, her dead body was found in a pasture, outside of town. There were hand marks around her throat. She had died from being strangled. Reports of rape and abuse were invented by relatives of the girl, to inflame white anger.

Smith fled. The town formed a posse and began a manhunt. Smith fled to Arkansas, the state where he was born. The posse found him there, six (6) days later. He was taken, by train, back to Paris, Texas.

As the posse entered Texas, with Smith, a mob of 5,000 waited. They told the local police, in Texarkana, they wanted to kill him, in Paris. Smith begged the police to either protect him or shoot him. The police said they had no power to protect him from the mob and they would not shoot him.

On February 1st, at 1:00 p.m., Smith arrived in Paris, Texas. The Mayor of Paris closed all schools and businesses for the lynching. A crowd of 10,000 came to see Smith die. The police workers released Smith to the mob, where a platform was built, to kill him.

Vance, his son (15 years of age), and brother-in-law had Smith tied-up on the platform. There, the three (3) used hot irons on his feet, torso, and limbs. They then used the hot iron and burned out the eyes of Smith. It was then shoved down his throat. The crowd cheered each response of agony from Smith. Finally, the whites poured kerosene over him and set the whole platform on fire.

The lynching of Smith made headlines for its viciousness and cruelty. The Boston Daily Globe called it 'White Savagery.' It was perhaps the most heinous lynching in United States history.

No one was punished for the lynching of Henry Smith.

Source:

Lynching of Henry Smith

Torture of Henry Smith

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15th Amendment Ratified



Washington, D. C. - The Fifteenth Amendment was added to the United States Constitution. It had the intent to protect voting rights for Black Americans. It was not effective until the Voting Rights Act of 1964, almost 100 years later.

The full text...

Fifteenth Amendment

Section 1

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude–

Section 2

The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Source:

15th Amendment

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Christopher Dorner Manhunt and Killed By Police



Big Bear Lake, California - The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) searched for Christopher Dorner, on Sunday. It lasted nine (9) days. In the end, Dorner died.

The LAPD claimed Dorner targeted and killed police workers. The alleged motive was rampant and unjust violence against Black Americans, by Los Angeles police workers.

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 they found Dorner. He was at a cabin, near Big Bear Lake, California. The Sheriff's Office set the cabin on fire, with Dorner inside. Dorner died inside the cabin.

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Amadou Diallo Killed By Police



New York, New York - Amadou Diallo was killed by four New York City police workers. They were not in uniform. When they stopped Diallo, he reached for his wallet. The police fired 41 gunshots at him. Diallo was hit 19 times. The police continued to shoot after Diallo had fallen.

Diallo was alone and unarmed. The police workers were all white. Their names were Sean Carroll, Richard Murphy, Edward McMellon, and Kenneth Boss. A trial was held and all four were found not guilty.

Amadou Diallo was born in Liberia, September 2, 1975. He died at 23 years of age.

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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.

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President Clinton Signed Telecommunictations Act of 1996



Washington, D. C. - President William J. Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996 into law. It went into effect the moment it was signed. Over the next ten years, this law that destroyed Black American mass media stations across the country.

Before this law, there were Black American radio stations across the United States. The previous law, the Telecommunications Act of 1934, made it hard for large, white companies to enter Black American markets. Congress and President Clinton made a way to get around this. It led to the strict control of mass media by only a handful of large, white companies.

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Birth of A Nation Premiered



New York, New York - Birth of A Nation was shown, for the first time. It was also called the Clansman, from the 1905 book, and play, of the same name. It was about the Ku Klx Klan (KKK).

The movie was a fiction of the birth of the Ku Klux Klan. It was an all-white film. To present Black Americans, white actors appeared in blackface. Black people were shown as the bad guys. The KKK were shown as the heroes, to protect white society.

It was the first film shown inside the White House. The sitting President, Woodrow Wilson, invited his family, and his Cabinet to watch it. Wilson said, 'It is like writing history with lightning.'

The Enforcement Acts, of the early 1870s, reduced the KKK to almost nothing. It had been more than 40 years since the KKK was at its height, when the movie was released. When the film was shown for the first time, the KKK had almost no public presence. After the film, there was a massive increase in KKK activity. It lasted for decades, until World War 2 (1940s).

In 1870, a federal grand jury said the KKK was a terrorist group. With the release of this film, the KKK was reborn.

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United States Recognized Black History Month



Washington, D. C. - Gerald Ford was the first United States President to recognize February was Black History Month. Every year since, every President has confirmed this tradition.

Source:

Black History Month

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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 made slavery the basis for a new nation. However, there was no law to enforce slavery. This Act made slavery a legal right, with force of law.

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

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

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

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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.

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Nixon Began HMOs



Washington, D. C. - President Richard Nixon announced the health maintenance organization (HMO). These schemes were used to limit access to health care to Black Americans. As HMOs spread and grew in size, health care access in the United States declined.

50 years later, the United States had one of the least effective and most expensive health care systems in the world. Many Americans went broke from unpaid medical bills.

Source:

Nixon Starts HMOs

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First Selma March Began



Selma, Alabama - Reverend C.T. Vivian led the first Selma march. It was to end at the courthouse in Marion, Alabama. The march protested the arrest of James Orange. He was a member of the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL).

In Marion, Alabama state troopers attacked the marchers. Jimmie Lee Jackson was shot by white police. Jackson was shot as he tried to protect his mother and grandfather from the police.

Jackson was denied medical care in Marion. He was moved twenty (20) miles to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Selma. On February 26th, Jackson died, in the hospital.

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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.

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Deacons for Defense



Bogalusa, Louisiana - The first chapter, of the Deacons for Self Defense was formed. The Deacons for Self-Defense was started 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 came later, in Mississippi and Alabama.

The goal of the group was to protect Black Rights activists and their families. The Ku Klux Klan and white vigilantes were the worst threats. Police workers were just as bad, but had state power behind them.

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Malcolm X Killed



Harlem, New York - On Sunday, Malcolm X (or el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz) was assassinated. It took place in Manhattan's Audubon Ballroom (66th Street & Broadway). 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. As Malcolm X stood on stage, a man, with a sawed-off shotgun, rushed the stage. The gunman shot Malcolm X one time in the chest. This killed Malcolm X.

With Malcolm X on his back, two other men charged the stage. Each fired a semi-automatic handgun at the body of Malcolm X. At 3:30 p.m., Columbia Presbyterian Hospital pronounced the death of Malcolm X.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Trayvon Martin Killed



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

At 7:00 p.m., Sunday, Martin walked, alone, to the house where he stayed. Martin bought a bag of Skittles and a can of Arizona iced-tea, from the local store. As he walked, Martin was unaware of George Zimmerman.

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

Zimmerman disobeyed the police. He confronted Martin. Zimmerman then fired one gunshot to the chest of Martin. The shot killed Martin and he died on the street.

On July 13th, 2013, Zimmerman was found not guilty for the death of Martin. Protests soon followed. Martin's death launched a number of racial justice movements, in the United States.

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Robert F. Williams Born



Monroe, North Carolina - Robert F. Williams was born. He was pro-gun, for self-defense, in the Black Rights (Civil Rights) era. He wanted Black women armed, for self-protection.

Williams was for violent resistance to white terrorism and injustice. Many Black Americans were moved by his work. Huey P. Newton, of the Black Panthers, gave credit to Williams for this.

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

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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.

1970 Kerner Report Revised

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Second Enforcement Act



Washington, D. C. - This Act amended the Civil Rights Act of 1870. It made it a crime to stop Black Americans from being registered to vote. It put National elections under the control of the Federal government. Voters for elected officials for Federal(not State) office were protected under Federal law.

This was the Second Enforcement Act of the Fifteenth Amendment.

Source:

Second Enforcement Act

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