Washington, D. C. - Dred Scott v. Sandford was decided, by the United States Supreme Court. Sandford was a clerical error on the case. The real name was Sanford.
Dred Scott was born in 1799, in Virginia, enslaved. Scott's enslaver was Peter Blow. In 1818, Blow moved to Huntsville, Alabama. He took Scott and five (5) other enslaved people with him. Blow farmed, with Scott, until 1830.
In 1830, Blow moved to St. Louis, Missouri. Blow sold Scott to U.S. Army surgeon, Dr. John Emerson. Emerson sent Scott to Fort Armstrong, in Illinois. At the time, Illinois was a 'free' state.
Illinois had no law for slavery, in its state constitution. Yet, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 made slave catching legal in 'free' states. This gave whites the power to enslave 'free' blacks and send them to slave states. 'Free' states never punished slave owners in its borders.
In 1836, Emerson moved. He took Scott, to Fort Snelling in the Wisconsin territory (now Minnesota). It was a 'free' territory. There, Scott married Harriet Robinson. She was enslaved, to a different white man.
On February, 1838, Emerson was sent to Fort Jesup in Louisiana. There, Emerson married Eliza Irene Sanford. Scott and Robinson stayed in the Wisconsin territory. Emerson hired out their services while he was away.
In Louisiana, Emerson sent for Scott and Robinson. On the way, Robinson gave birth to Eliza. Eliza was born on the Mississippi River, in 'free' territory. It is unclear how Emerson enslaved Robinson.
In late 1838, Emerson returned to Fort Snelling. In 1840, Sanford took Scott and Robinson to St. Louis, Missouri.
By 1843, Emerson had left the army. He died in Iowa territory. Sanford, his wife, inherited his entire estate. This included Scott and Robinson.
In 1846, Scott tried to buy his family's freedom from Sanford, but she refused. Scott went to court. Since Scott's family had been in 'free' areas, he said they should be free.
The United States Supreme Court ruled against Scott. They ruled only whites were United States citizens. Black people, free or not, were subjects of white rule. Enslaved black people were merchandise. No black person, mulatto, nor Indian was a citizen.
The court hoped to settle the slave question. Instead, it set the stage for the American Slavery War (1861-1865).
Full Dred Scott Decision & Opinions
Tuskegee, Alabama - Tuskegee University began as the Tuskegee Normal School for Colored Teachers. It came from an agreement between a former Confederate Colonel, W.F. Foster, and a local black leader, Lewis Adams.
Foster sought to keep his office, in the 1880 election. He promised Adams a school for black people, if he delivered the black vote.
Adams delivered. Foster kept his promise. The State of Alabama passed a law for what would become Tuskegee University.
George W. Campbell, a former slave owner, recruited Booker T. Washington as principal. Washington held that position from July 4, 1881 until he died, in 1915.
Union Springs, Alabama - John Henrik Clarke was born, on this day. His father was a sharecropper. His mother was a domestic worker.
Clarke pioneered American study of black nationalism and Africana studies. For this, Clarke was called 'The Master Teacher' for his scholarly lectures. An unmatched knowledge of the historical record of black people, gained Clarke respect around the world.
In many lectures, Clarke rejected anti-black racist propaganda. Much of this was taught in United States schools as fact. Instead, Clarke taught true and factual accounts, of American and African history.
Tuskegee, Alabama - George Washington Carver died, on this day. Carver was a black American agricultural scientist and inventor.
Carver promoted alternative crops to cotton. His best known work was with peanuts. Carver published 105 food recipes using peanuts.
As a botanist, Carver worked on methods to prevent soil depletion.
Montgomery, Alabama - Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, on a Montgomery city bus. The bus driver told Rosa Parks to give up her seat. By law, black people were required to give up their seat, when ordered.
Parks decided not to obey. This was 100 days after Emmett Till was murdered. Parks said ... I thought of Emmett Till, and when the bus driver ordered me to move to the back (of the bus), I just couldn't move.
The white bus driver called the local police. Parks was arrested and booked, by the Montgomery Police.
This event launched the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Before Rosa Parks
Montgomery, Alabama - The Montgomery Bus Boycott began. This was days after the arrest of Rosa Parks. She was tried on charges of disorderly conduct and violating a local ordinance. The trial was only 30 minutes. Parks was found guilty. Her fine was ten dollars ($10). Plus, there were four dollars ($4) in court costs.
Parks appealed her conviction. This was a direct challenge to the law of racial segregation.
On December 1st, the night of Parks' arrest, the Women's Political Council (WPC) gave out leaflets. It showed the start of the boycott, on Monday, December 5th.
On Saturday, December 3rd, the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) made a list of demands to be met. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the MIA.
On December 7th, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) called the boycott an 'agitation among negroes.' The FBI tried to find 'derogatory information' to discredit King.
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.
Montgomery, Alabama - The Montgomery Bus Boycott ended. It lasted 1 year and 2 weeks. Martin Luther King, Jr. read a prepared statement. 2,500 people, at Holt Street and First Baptist Churches came to hear it.
King urged 'the Negro citizens of Montgomery to return to the buses tomorrow morning on a non-segregated basis.' A person, from the audience, asked about segregated benches downtown. King said the Supreme Court ruling was only for city buses.
King said 'it is true we got more out of this (boycott) than we went in for. We started out to get modified segregation (on buses) but we got total integration.' This was from a Birmingham News account.
At 6:00 a.m., December 21st, 1956, King joined E. D. Nixon, Ralph Abernathy, and Glenn Smiley on one of the first integrated buses. There were only a few instances of verbal abuse and occasional violence.
The Montgomery Advertiser wrote, 'The calm but cautious acceptance of this significant change in Montgomery’s way of life came without any major disturbances.'
Birmingham, Alabama - The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) planned protests of racial segregation. These protests were led by Martin Luther King, James Bevel, and Fred Shuttlesworth. King called Birmingham the most segregated city in the country.
As the protests continued, volunteers ran low. It was decided to include children. They came from elementary, middle, and high school.
The Commissioner of Public Safety, Eugene 'Bull' Connor acted against the children. Connor sent high pressure water hoses and attack dogs at the children. Hundreds of children and adults were arrested.
40% of Birmingham's population was black. Yet, none worked for the Birmingham Police Department.
Images of this period showed the harsh brutality of segregation in the South. Whites attacked defenseless and huddled children, because of skin color. The children were no threat to anyone.
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.
Birmingham, Alabama - Four white males killed four (4) black girls in church. A bomb was placed at the 16th Street Baptist Church. More than a dozen people were injured. The only deaths were the children.
The victims were Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, and Denise McNair. The bombers were in the Ku Klux Klan. They were Thomas Edwin Blanton Jr., Herman Frank Cash, Robert Edward Chambliss, and Bobby Frank Cherry.
On Sunday morning, the four (4) planted 15 sticks of dynamite at the church. The sticks were placed under the church steps, with a time delay. This was near the church basement.
About 10:22 a.m., there were five (5) children in the basement bathroom. They wore their best Sunday clothes. They changed into choir robes for the Sunday sermon.
The phone rang. The acting Sunday School secretary answered. She was Carolyn Maull, a 14-year-old girl. She heard the words, 'Three minutes.'
Less than a minute later, the bomb exploded. It threw the girls' bodies through the air like rag dolls. The explosion blew a 7-foot hole in the rear wall. A passing driver was blown out of his car. Several parked cars next to the church were destroyed.
Four of the girls were killed. The fifth was Susan Collins. She was the sister of Addie Mae. Susan was permanently blinded by the blast.
In 1977, Robert Chambliss was convicted for one of the murders. He was sent to jail for the murder of 11-year-old Carol Denise McNair.
In 2001, Thomas Edwin Blanton Jr. was convicted of all four (4) murders. He got life in prison.
In 2002, Bobby Cherry was convicted of all four (4) murders. He got life in prison.
Herman Cash died in 1994. He was never tried.
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.
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.
Selma, Alabama - White state troopers and sheriff workers attacked hundreds of black civil rights marchers. The march was to go 54 miles. The route went from Selma to Montgomery, the Alabama state capital.
The march was a protest of a death from the first Selma march. His name was Jimmie Lee Jackson, a young black man. The other goal, of the march, was to get black people able to vote.
Over five hundred (500) marched toward the Edmund Pettus Bridge. There Alabama state troopers and sheriff workers waited. Once the marchers reached the other side of the bridge, the Alabama state troopers told them to stop and disperse.
The marchers walked off the bridge and the Alabama troopers and sheriff workers attacked. They used tear gas, batons, kicked, and beat the unarmed marchers. The march was stopped. It never made it out of Selma.
Selma, Alabama - A third Selma march began. It was to end in Montgomery, the state capitol.. It began at Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Thousands began the march.
Unlike the earlier Selma marches, the march itself was peaceful. It had the support of President Johnson and military protection. More than 20,000 took part.
After the march, Viola Liuzzo was killed, by the KKK. She came from Detroit to join the march. As she and a black teenager drove marchers back to Selma, the KKK shot, into the car.
Liuzzo was killed by the gunfire. Le Roy Moton, who was in the car with her, was unharmed. He was nineteen (19) years of age. This helped push whites to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Lowndes County, Alabama - The Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO) was formed. It used the black panther for its voter drives. This was an early step toward the Black Power movement, in the United States.
Some call the LCFO the first Black Panther Party since it used the black panther image. The Black Panther comic book character appeared later, July 1, 1966. The Oakland, California Black Panther Party was founded October 15, 1966.