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Black History Month 2022

Apr May Jun

Rodney King Riots Ended



Los Angeles, California - The Rodney King Uprisings (L. A. riots) lasted until Saturday, May 4th.

Source:

Arrests During Riots

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Memphis Massacre



Memphis, Tennessee - It was one of the worst race riots in Memphis history (began Tuesday and ended Thursday). Whites killed Black Americans for 3 days.

The massacre began after white police shot at Black Army veterans, from the Union Army. There were prior complaints of police brutality. Yet, none had been resolved.

After the shooting incident, white mobs raced into areas where Black Americans lived, in Memphis. Thus began a days long rampage of whites who murdered, burned, and raped in the Black American community.

More than 46 Black Americans were murdered. Two (2) whites died. No whites died because of Black Americans. Whites injured 75 Black Americans, robbed over 100, and raped five (5) women.

Whites destroyed 91 homes, four (4) churches and eight (8) schools. White mobs destroyed every Black American church and school in Memphis. By Thursday, May 3rd, Federal troops had restored order.

By 1870, the Black American population of Memphis had fallen by 25%, compared to 1865. No one was charged or held accountable. No Black American was compensated for their loss.

The Federal government refused prosecution. They claimed it was a state matter. The State of Tennessee and local officials refused to investigate or charge anyone for the mayhem.

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Planned Parenthood Awarded Martin Luther King



New York, New York - Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King, accepted the Margaret Sanger Award, on his behalf. She gave an acceptance speech at the award event.

This was seven (7) years before abortion was made legal in the United States. The Supreme Court used the Fourteenth Amendment, in Roe v. Wade, for abortion. Roe, was a fake name, for a white woman.

Margaret Sanger wanted to eliminate Black Americans through a process of family planning. This was designed to limit the birth of Black American babies. Eventually, Planned Parenthood was able to pursue the 'quiet' genocide of abortion, on Black Americans.

Source:

Margaret Sanger Award

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Corporations Got Civil Rights



Washington, D. C. - The United States Supreme Court gave civil rights to corporations. The case was Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company (1886). This decision made a legal fiction (corporation) equal to a United States citizen.

Civil Rights protections were meant for Black Americans. It was meant to unite the nation after the Slavery War. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments do not use 'corporation.'

The Fourteenth Amendment used 'persons' in its text. The Supreme Court decided 'persons' included corporations. This gave corporations protection under the U. S. Constitution. The decision was unanimous.

Black citizens can be hurt and jailed, but not corporations. The United States Supreme Court made no distinction. Corporations had all the benefits of law, without all the risk.

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Birmingham May Bombings of 1963



Birmingham, Alabama - Bombs exploded at the home of A. D. King (Martin Luther King's brother), and under the room where Martin Luther King had stayed the previous nights.

The first bomb was placed by a uniformed police worker. He drove a marked police car to the home of A. D. King. There he placed a bomb near the porch. The second was thrown at Room 30, of the Gaston Motel.

There was a month-long protest in Birmingham, for racial justice. Finally, local white Birmingham politicians and bureaucrats agreed to concessions. On Friday, May 10th, they agreed to limit racial discrimination and lessen segregation.

In response, on Saturday, May 11th, a white supremacist rally was called outside Birmingham, in Bessemer, Alabama. That evening, at 10:45 p.m., a bomb exploded at A. D. King's home, planted by the Birmingham police.

Just before midnight, at 11:58 p.m., the bomb exploded at the Gaston Hotel. The explosion could be heard across town.

Later, President John F. Kennedy remarked, 'the people who've gotten out of hand are not the white people, but the Negroes by and large.' On this basis, Kennedy called on the military to enter Birmingham.

No deaths or injuries were caused by the explosive devices (bombs). Martin Luther King had left earlier, to go to Atlanta.

The guest, in the room below King's, slept elsewhere. He had planned to sleep there, to get a break from the meetings at his house. But, fatigue forced him to sleep at home.

The bomb at the home of A. D. King did not do enough damage to cause injury. No one was prosecuted for the bombings.

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Robert Smalls' Escape



Charleston, South Carolina - Robert Smalls escaped slavery with a Confederate military transport ship. It was one of the most daring escapes of the American Slavery War (1861-1865).

Fall of 1861, Smalls steered the CSS Planter. It was a lightly armed Confederate military transport. This was under command of Charleston's District Commander, Brigadier General Roswell S. Ripley.

The CSS Planter surveyed waterways and laid mines. It also delivered dispatches, troops, and supplies.

Smalls piloted the Planter in Charleston harbor and beyond. This included area rivers and the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

Smalls and the Planter's crew saw the federal blockade ships, from Charleston harbor. They were in the outer harbor, seven (7) miles away. Smalls had the confidence of the Planter's crew. To the Planter's owners, the crew behaved.

Sometime in April 1862, Smalls planned an escape. He met the other enslaved, except one. That one he did not trust.

Friday, May 12th, 1862, the Planter stopped at Coles Island, on the Stono River. A Confederate post was being dismantled. The ship loaded four large guns. The guns were to be sent to a fort in Charleston harbor.

At Charleston, the Planter added 200 lb (91 kg) of ammunition and 20 cord (72 m3) of firewood.

Friday evening, May 12th, the Planter was docked. It was at the wharf, below General Ripley's headquarters. Its three (3) white officers left the ship to spend the night ashore. Smalls and the crew remained on board, as usual.

Before departure, Smalls asked Captain Relyea to allow crew families to visit. The request was granted. But, Smalls was told the families must depart before curfew.

The families arrived onboard. There, the plan was revealed to them. Only Hannah, Smalls' wife, knew he wanted to escape.

Hannah never knew her husband planned to escape that night. She resisted, at first. But, she told him, 'It is a risk, dear, but you and I, and our little ones must be free. I will go, for where you die, I will die.'

Other women resisted. They cried and screamed, and the men struggled to quiet them. After, the initial shock, those women were glad for a chance at freedom.

Later, three (3) crew members made a pretense that family members had been escorted back home. It was a trick. The crew members circled around and hid on another ship. It was docked at the North Atlantic wharf.

Around 3 a.m., Saturday, May 13th, Smalls, with seven of the eight slave crewmen, began their escape. Smalls wore the captain's uniform. He wore a straw hat similar to the captain's.

While working on the Planter, Smalls watched Captain Charles C. J. Relyea. Smalls learned his manners to complete the disguise. He hoped to fool onlookers from shore.

Smalls sailed the Planter past Southern Wharf. He stopped at another wharf, where his wife and children boarded. Families of other crewmen boarded, too.

Smalls had to get past five Confederate harbor forts. At each fort, he gave the correct signals at checkpoints.

Around 4:30 a.m., the Planter made it past the last fort, Fort Sumter.

The Fort Sumter alarm was raised after the Planter was beyond gun range. Smalls replaced the rebel flags with a white bed sheet, his wife brought. Then, Smalls headed to the Union Navy fleet.

The USS Onward was about to fire on the Planter, until a crewman saw the white flag. The sheet was difficult to see, in the dark. The sunrise made it visible.

John Frederick Nickels, Captain of the Onward, boarded the Planter. Smalls asked to display a United States flag. The Planter and its cargo were surrendered, to the United States Navy.

Everyone on the Planter, escaped enslavement and made it to freedom.

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MOVE Bombed By Police



Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - The Philadelphia Police Department used a bomb, in an airstrike, that killed 11 people. It was dropped on the roof of a home. The neighborhood was densely packed. The Philadelphia Fire Department let the fire burn out of control.

MOVE was the Christian Movement For Life. It was a back-to-nature group of Black Americans, led by John Africa. From 1981, MOVE members lived in a row home, at 6221 Osage Avenue, in Philadelphia.

For years, neighbors complained about MOVE members. The complaints were about trash around the house and confrontations with neighbors. MOVE used a bullhorn to make announcements, of political messages, in the neighborhood.

Mayor Wilson Goode and police commissioner Gregore J. Sambor evacuated the neighborhood before their planned attack on the MOVE house. They promised that everyone could return after twenty-four (24) hours.

Monday, May 13, 1985, five hundred (500) police workers arrived at the MOVE house. The police were there to arrest MOVE members and clear the house.

There were thirteen (13) people inside the MOVE house. They were eight (8) adults and five (5) children. The police ordered everyone to leave. MOVE members did not respond.

The police fired tear gas bombs into the house. The MOVE members fired at the bomb throwers. Police fired ten thousand (10,000) rounds at the house.

The police barrage stopped. The MOVE members stayed inside. Next, Commissioner Sambor ordered the house be bombed, from the air.

At 5:27 p.m., Frank Powell was head of the Philadelphia police bomb disposal squad. Powell lit a 45 second fuse to C-4 (an explosive used in the Vietnam War). From a helicopter, Powell dropped the bomb, on the still occupied MOVE house.

The bomb exploded on the roof and started a fire. Mayor Goode ordered that the fire should not be put out until the bunker burned. That was one and a half (1 1/2) hours after the fire started.

As a result, eleven (11) people died. Six (6) adults and five (5) children were killed. The children ranged from seven (7) to fourteen (14) years of age. Ramona Africa was one of the survivors. She said the police shot at them as they tried to escape the fire.

Ramona Africa was charged and convicted of riot and conspiracy, as a survivor of MOVE. No city employees, politicians, or officials were criminally charged for the attack.

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Aiyana Jones Killed By Police



Detroit, Michigan - On Sunday, in a midnight police raid, Joseph Weekley killed Aiyana Jones. It was part of a reality television show.

Detroit Special Response Team (SRT, aka SWAT) workers burst into the home of 7-year old Aiyana (pictured left). She slept next to her grandmother, Mertilla Jones.

Unknown to them, Detroit police prepared to raid the home. It was filmed for the reality television show on AMC, called First 48.

At 12:40 a.m., the police assault team threw a flash bang grenade. It went through the front window of the home, where Aiyana slept.

The grenade caused Aiyana's clothing to catch fire. As Mertilla tried to put out the fire, Weekley entered the home. He was armed with an MP5 machine gun and a ballistic shield..

Inside the home, Weekley shot and killed Aiyana. Weekley claimed Mertilla grabbed his gun. No fingerprints from Mertilla were found on Weekley's MP5 gun.

Weekley was not fired. Kym Worthy, the Wayne County Prosecutor, cleared Weekley of any charges for Aiyana's murder.

A protest was held in 2016, for Aiyana's murder. Weekley had been selected to co-chair the Detroit Police Department's Committee on Race and Equality.

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Brown v. Board of Education Decided



Washington, D. C. - The United States Supreme Court decided school segregation of students was illegal. Ir was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Brown was not the only school segregation case considered. It included cases from Kansas, Delaware, South Carolina, and Virginia. They were all rolled into one decision.

There was one key question. 'Does the racial segregation of children in school deprive them of an equal education?' The U. S. Supreme Court decided yes.

It was not until the 1960s, that schools began to desegregate in number. The process was slow by 1965 and was never fully realized. Schools are still very segregated.

Whites challenged integration and protested. White parents left integrated schools, as 'bad' schools. Or, whites called neighborhoods 'bad' if there were too many Black American children.

A tragedy of the decision is that it destroyed all-Black American schools. By the time of the decision, many of these schools had unique cultures that catered to Black American students. That disappeared.

Many Black American teachers, principals, and administrators lost their jobs. White schools rarely hired them. If Black Americans were hired, it was into a hostile setting. They were undermined by white teachers, administrators, school boards, and the white students.

Today, the damage of this decision is seen today. When the students are mostly Black (American), the hand giving the grade, is often white (or at least not Black American). It has led to decades of poor performance, low graduation rates, and high delinquency.

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Plessy v. Ferguson Decided



Washington, D. C. - The United States Supreme Court decided Black Americans can be legally segregated in America. This decision made state segregation laws into national law. Black Americans were made into legal second-class citizens, nationwide.

It all began, in Covington, Louisiana. A passenger was denied access to the white section of a train. Since the rider was 7/8 th white, he was told to go to the 'black' section. He refused and was arrested, under the Jim Crow Car Act of 1890.

Once the United States Supreme Court decided the case, it set several key precedents.

The state had sole power to decide who was black or white.

The Thirteenth (13th) and Fourteenth (14th) Amendments gave no protection to Black Americans from legal segregation.

Segregation of Black Americans had not harmed them.

The government owed no debt to Black Americans, if harmed by segregation.

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'Do the Right Thing' First Screening



Cannes, France - The movie 'Do The Right Thing' premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in France. The movie showed the reasons race riots began in the United States, in the 1960s.

Source:

Do the Right Thing Los Angeles Premiere

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Malcolm X Born



Omaha, Nebraska - Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little. His mother was Louise Helen Little (née Norton, born in Grenada). His father was Earl Little (born in Georgia).

Malcolm X's father was an outspoken Baptist lay preacher. Both his parents followed Pan-African activist Marcus Garvey.

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What's Going On? Album Released



Detroit, Michigan - Marvin Gaye's What's Going On? album was released. It was one of the most important and timeless recording albums of the Vietnam War era.

Motown founder, Berry Gordy feared the lyrics were too honest. Gaye said the album was a hit. Gordy released the full album on Motown's sub-label, Tamla.

1.'What's Going On' 3:53 (Marvin Gaye, Al Cleveland, Renaldo 'Obie' Benson)
2. 'What's Happening Brother' 2:43 (Gaye, James Nyx Jr.)
3. 'Flyin' High (In the Friendly Sky)' 3:49 (Gaye, Anna Gordy Gaye, Elgie Stover)
4. 'Save the Children' 4:03 (Gaye, Cleveland Benson)
5. 'God Is Love' 1:41 (Gaye, A. Gaye, Stover Nyx)
6. 'Mercy Mercy Me' (The Ecology) 3:16 (Gaye)

Side two
1. 'Right On' 7:31 (Gaye, Earl DeRouen)
2. 'Wholy Holy' 3:08 (Gaye, Benson Cleveland)
3. 'Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)' 5:26 (Gaye, Nyx)

The single, What's Going On?, was released January 20, 1971.

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George Floyd Killed By Police



Minneapolis, Minnesota - George Floyd was killed by the police. He died of heart failure, caused by forced restraint. Four (4) Minneapolis police workers were involved in his death. They were Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao.

Floyd was a Black American. He had just left a convenience store. Inside, someone called the police. It was alleged that Floyd passed a fake $20 bill. In response, Chauvin, arrived at the scene. He was joined by Kueng, Lane, and Thao. Chauvin met Floyd on the street and took him to the ground.

With Floyd on the ground, Chauvin put his knee on Floyd's neck. Two (2) other Minneapolis police workers held down Floyd's legs and torso. Another police worker kept watch. Floyd told Chauvin many times, 'I can't breathe.' Chauvin ignored him and kept his knee on Floyd's neck. Seven minutes later, Floyd died.

Chauvin was an Army Reservist from 1996-2004. After the encounter with George Floyd, Chauvin was fired the next day, May 26th, 2020, from the Minneapolis Police Department.

Source:

George Floyd Cause of Death

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Tulsa Race Riot Began



Tulsa, Oklahoma - Two days of murder, riots, and chaos began in Tulsa. At the time, only 49 were counted as dead. 36 were Black Americans and 13 were white. Actual deaths range from 75-300. It all began because of a rumor.

Monday, May 30, 1921, two teenagers worked at a store in the Drexel building. Dick Rowland was a 19 year-old, Black American male. He worked on boots. Sarah Page was a 17 year-old, white female. She was an elevator operator.

The two were touching each other in the elevator. A white man saw the two. Page screamed.

On May 31, 1921, Rowland was arrested at his home. He was charged with attempted rape. By 7:34 p.m., rumors had spread through the white community. It was started by white lawyers and newspapers. This included the Tulsa Tribune.

As rumors spread, hundreds of whites came to the courthouse. They were there to lynch (murder) Rowland. The white sheriff Willard M. McCullough was in charge of the case.

McCullough blocked the courthouse doors. He was inside with twenty-five (25) other police. They were on the top floor of the courthouse.

By 9:00 p.m., about 100 Black Americans came to the courthouse. They were armed. Many were former World War 1 veterans. Some were dressed in military uniform. McCullough told them all was under control.

By 10:00 p.m., the armed Black American men returned. By this time, there were thousands of whites at the courthouse. Unarmed whites looted nearby gun stores, pawn shops, and sporting goods stores. The whites stole guns and ammunition.

The white mob shouted 'bring the rope.' Racial slurs were hurled at the Black American men. The whites wanted to murder all the Black American men at the courthouse. The race riot was under way.

After many deaths, Rowland was never tried for a crime. He was not harmed in the riot.

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First Enforcement Act



Washington, D. C. - The Civil Rights Act of 1870 was the first of the enforcement acts passed. It was to protect the rights of those formerly enslaved, to vote.

This was the first law that enforced the Fifteenth Amendment. It was an attempt to stop the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), the Knights of the Camellia, and other white supremacist groups that attacked Black Americans.

Source:

1870 Civil Rights Act - 1st Force Act

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