Black History Month 2022

washington d. c.

Eli Whitney's Cotton Gin Awarded Patent



Washington, D. C. - The cotton gin was awarded a patent, by the United States government. It was given to Eli Whitney. The patent was not validated until 1807.

The cotton gin exploded the demand for enslaved labor. It was not the primary cause for the massive increases in cotton production, to come. But, it did remove a key bottleneck, that made slavery very profitable.

United States Banned African Slaves



Washington, D. C. - Thomas Jefferson signed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves. It went into effect, January 1st, 1808.

This did not abolish slavery. It did not emancipate the enslaved. It only made the entry of enslaved people, into the United States, illegal.

Slave Trade Act 1807



London, England - The Parliament of the United Kingdom passed An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. This Act ended the Transatlantic Slave Trade, by law, in the United Kingdom.

Great Britain stopped slavery, in 1772, in the country. It was due to a ruling from Somerset's Case, of that year. It was ruled that slavery had no place on English soil. This had no effect on slavery in the British colonies. The law that barred it in the colonies came later, in 1833.

After the United States formed, the African slave trade became less profitable for Britain. Its slave sugar colonies in the Caribbean needed lots of support. Sugar competition, from Spanish Cuba and Portuguese Brazil hurt. Add to that, Britain needed its navy for its India colonies.

British-made sugar was a costly effort. Instead, Britain found that trade, with Portugal and Spain, for their sugar was better. British finished goods were sent to pay for the sugar. This led to more profit for Britain. At the same time, Napoleon saw how it helped Britain. He wanted it stopped. Britain also controlled sugar refining. Napoleon wanted that too.

The demands on the navy, by Britain, were many. There were the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815). Britain wanted to protect its India project. The navy, of Britain, had to secure trade routes with Cuban and Brazilian slave colonies. African slave trading was more trouble than it was worth by 1807. So, it was stopped, by law.

Fugitive Slave Act of 1850



Washington, D. C. - The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 became law. It was signed by President Millard Fillmore. It was part of the Compromise of 1850.

This Act gave more power to slave catchers when black people fled across state lines. The Act opened a loophole. It became possible for a slave catcher to enslave 'free' black people. It began with a filed court complaint. If it satisfied the court, the 'free' black person was enslaved.

The Act of 1793 was more limited. Once a black person fled across state lines, a slave catcher had to bear the full cost. The slave catcher was only allowed to enter that state, to capture. There was no duty for anyone to help, in the other state.

The Act of 1850 gave more power to the slave catcher. They had the power to demand help. Court officers had to assist, if asked. Part of the cost, was paid out of the U. S. Treasury.

The slave catcher was able to file a criminal complaint against anyone who refused to help. Those who helped black people were open to criminal punishment. This included a financial penalty.

On June 28th, 1864, the Act was repealed.

This act inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe to write the book, Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Source:

1850 Fugitive Slave Act

Dred Scott Case Decided



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).

Source:

Full Dred Scott Decision & Opinions

Emancipation Proclamation Went Into Effect



Washington, D. C. - This executive order began the end of slavery, in the United States. While not a law, it had Presidential force behind it. The Proclamation removed legal enforcement and protection for slavery.

The Emancipation Proclamation only applied to States in open rebellion. It did not make slavery a crime, in the United States. On September 22, 1862, Abraham Lincoln issued it. This was five (5) days after Antietam (i.e. the Battle of Sharpsburg).

Source:

Emancipation Proclamation

Freedmen's Bureau Created



Washington, D. C. - The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands was signed into law by Abraham Lincoln. It became part of the War Department (called the Defense Department after 1949).

The supposed goal of the Act was to help freed black people find relief and become self-sufficient. Since it was a product of the Slavery War, the bill was to expire after one (1) year.

Major General Oliver Otis Howard was the first commissioner of the bureau. This is the same Howard that helped found Howard Seminary (later, Howard University).

A second Freedmen's bill was passed in 1866, which extended the duration of the Bureau until 1868.

In 1872, the Bureau closed.

Source:

Freedmen's Bureau

Otis Howard

Thirteenth Amendment Ratified



Washington, D. C. - The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified. This ended the legal status of chattel slavery.

It read...

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Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

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The words, in Section 1, were taken from the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, article six (6).

Section 2 gave Congress power to make slavery a crime. Congress never used this power to effect, until 1948. Congress let those who broke the law, on slavery, get away with a fine, with no jail time.

Civil Rights Act of 1866



Washington, D. C. - The Civil Rights Act of 1866 passed. It promised equal rights to black people, with whites, after slavery. It came before the Fourteenth Amendment, which adopted much of its language.

The law made it a crime to deprive black people of their rights. It was a misdemeanor, if convicted.

Source:

1866 Civil Rights Bill

14th Amendment Ratified



Washington D. C. - The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified. It gave citizenship to anyone born in the United States and full protection under the law.

Source:

Fourteenth Amendment

Buffalo Soldiers Act Passed



Washington, D. C. - The Buffalo Soldiers came from the 'Act to increase and fix the Military Peace Establishment on the United States.' It was drawn from black soldiers who served in the Slavery War.

Source:

Buffalo Soldiers Act p.332 (364)

Howard University Founded



Washington D. C. - A gathering of white church members met to create a school for missionaries in the South and Africa. It began as a Seminary.

Later, Major General Oliver Otis Howard was brought into the plan. Howard was known as a christian fundamentalist and was head of the Freedmen's Bureau.

On March 2, 1867, a Charter was approved by Congress. It was signed into law by President Andrew Johnson. This Act created Howard University.

On May 1, 1867, Howard University opened its doors to students. The first students were all white women. Two were daughters of the founders.

The initial reason for the school was to train black preachers. However, all were allowed to attend. Over 100,000 freed black people were served by the school.

Howard University is still in operation, as of 2021.

Source:

Act to Establish The Howard University

Origin of The Howard University

Howard University history

Howard University Founded



Washington D. C. - A gathering of white church members met to create a school for missionaries in the South and Africa. It began as a Seminary.

Later, Major General Oliver Otis Howard was brought into the plan. Howard was known as a christian fundamentalist and was head of the Freedmen's Bureau.

On March 2, 1867, a Charter was approved by Congress. It was signed into law by President Andrew Johnson. This Act created Howard University.

On May 1, 1867, Howard University opened its doors to students. The first students were all white women. Two were daughters of the founders.

The initial reason for the school was to train black preachers. However, all were allowed to attend. Over 100,000 freed black people were served by the school.

Howard University is still in operation, as of 2021.

Source:

Act to Establish The Howard University

Origin of The Howard University

Howard University history

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 people. 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 Amendmen

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, the Knights of the Camellia, and other white supremacist groups that attacked black people.

Source:

1870 Civil Rights Act - 1st Force Act

Second Enforcement Act



Washington, D. C. - This Act amended the Civil Rights Act of 1870. It made it a crime to stop black people 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

Third Enforcement Act



Washington, D. C. - The Civil Rights Act of 1871, was the third (and final) enforcement act of the Reconstruction Era. It was to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment.

This act was meant to stop the Ku Klux Klan, White League, and other white supremacists. They attacked duly elected officers of the United States. This act made it a crime that included fines, jail time, and possible civil action.

None of the enforcement acts were ever used to protect black people, despite their intent. The United States Supreme Court stopped any chance of that in the case of United States v. Cruikshank.

Source:

Civil Rights Act of 1871

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 people. 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.

Daughters of the Confederacy Formed



Nashville, Tennessee - The Daughters of the Confederacy was founded. The two founders were Caroline Meriwether Goodlett and Anna Davenport Raines. Both supported enslavement of black people.

The group created monuments and memorials to those who fought to defend slavery.

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.

Plessy v. Ferguson Decided



Washington, D. C. - The United States Supreme Court decided black people 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 is black or white.

The Thirteenth (13th) and Fourteenth (14th) Amendments gave no protection to black people against legal segregation.

Segregation of black people had not harmed them.

The government owed no debt to black people, if harmed by segregation.

Ku Klux Klan Marched on Washington



Washington, D. C. - Tens of thousands of whites marched to show their support for the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). The KKK was based on hatred of black people.

Second Ku Klux Klan March on Washington



Washington, D. C. - The Ku Klux Klan held a second march on Washington, D. C. It followed the success of the previous year, on August 8th, 1925.

More than 50,000 whites were in the march and rally.

Source:
1926 KKK March

Social Securiy Act Excluded Black People



Washington, D. C. - President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law. It excluded 65% of the black workforce, at the time. They were farm laborers and domestic workers (Title II Sec. 210). This was Roosevelt's Second New Deal.

The law never covered the work most black people did. Most black men worked on farms. Black women worked in the homes of white women. It was normal for black people to get the most menial and back-breaking jobs. The law made sure to ignore them when it came time to get public support.

At a time of Jim Crow and the Great Depression, this new law only hurt black labor in the nation. It gave benefits to whites who already had major benefits and support over black people.

No black person was at the signing of the Social Security Act.

Source:

Original Social Security Act of 1935

Social Security Act

Rewriting History By the Social Security Administration

Circular 3591 - Slavery Made Illegal



Washington, D. C. - The United States government decided to criminally prosecute cases of slavery. This included debt peonage, and other forms of involuntary servitude. This did not include imprisonment.

White prosecutors avoided slavery cases. Too often, a case was dropped because the prosecutor declined to prosecute. Before this circular, no one was ever convicted for the enslavement of black Americans.

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 children.

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

Many black teachers, principals, and administrators lost their jobs. White schools rarely hired them. If black people 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, the hand giving the grade, is often white (or at least not black). It has led to decades of poor performance, low graduation rates, and high delinquency.

'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.

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.'

Martin Luther King and Malcom X Met



Washington, D. C. - Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. met for only one time. It was at the U. S. Capitol. They attended a filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights bill.

On Thursday morning, it was in the low 70s, and partly cloudy. Malcom X flew from New York. He came and sat in the visitors' gallery, in the Senate. King was in the gallery, on the far end.

Later a press conference was held. As it ended, King and Malcolm X went through separate doors. It is speculated James 67X, made sure they ran into each other.

King offered to shake Malcolm X's hand. As they shook hands, Malcolm X said, 'Now you’re going to get investigated.' Both smiled.

Moynihan Report Released



Washington, D. C. - The Moynihan Report ('The Report') was released. It was written by Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He studied the plight of black Americans, in the United States.

Moynihan was Assistant Secretary of Labor for Policy, Planning and Research. He served from 1963 to 1965. This period covered the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson eras.

His work during this period, was used by President Johnson, in his War on Poverty. At the same time, it was used as a pretext to send black youth to the Vietnam War. At the time it was released, there was major unrest in the South, over black voting rights.

The Report stated the black family was at fault, for its poverty. It made family failure the cause of black dysfunction. It blamed single mothers and absent fathers as the root cause.

In 1971, 'Blame the Victim' was published. It showed the Moynihan Report to be self-serving and simple-minded. The Report ignored racism and bigotry as causes. It instead relied on the 'cultural deprivation' fallacy. 'Blame The Victim' also called this, Savage Discovery.

Source:

Moynihan Report

1965 Voting Rights Act Signed



Washington, D. C. - President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Source:

Voting Rights Act

Kerner Commission Formed



Washington, D. C. - The Kerner Commission was formed. President Lyndon Baines Johnson issued Executive Order 11365. Johnson wanted to know what made black people riot and how to prevent it.

The commission was created during the Detroit uprising. Johnson chose 11 whites and two (2) black people. Three (3) questions were to be answered.

'What happened? Why did it happen? What can be done to prevent it from happening again and again?'

On February 29, 1968, the Kerner Report was completed. The Report stated, 'Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.'

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.

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 people. 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

'War on Drugs' Announced



Washington, D. C. - At a press conference, President Richard Nixon spoke on what became the 'War on Drugs.' The phrase was not used during the speech. It was created in news media reports later. Nixon said drug use was 'public enemy number one.'

A member of the Nixon White House said who the 'War' was really to defeat. John Ehrlichman was the White House Domestic Affairs Advisor. He came after Daniel P. Moynihan, of the Moynihan Report. In his role, Ehrlichman helped Nixon deal with the black problem, as they saw it.

Ehrlichman made these statements. 'The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.'

Sources:

July 17, 1971 Nixon Press Conference

Ehrlichman Statement about the 'War on Drugs'

'War On Crime' Began



Washington, D. C. - Nixon's Attorney General, John Mitchell, gave a speech that announced the 'War on Crime.' This was the last piece in Nixon's plan to attack black people in the United States. The first was the HMO, to limit access to health care. The second was the 'War on Drugs.'

The speech that started the 'War on Crime' was given at the Conference on Crime Reduction. It used Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) crime statistics. FBI crime counting often under-reported crime in white areas and over-reported it in black areas. This data was used to add funding for police and other punitive acts against black people.

Source:
War on Crime

Tuskegee Experiment Exposed



Washington, D. C. - A 40 year-long syphilis experiment on black men was exposed. The Washington Star reported the story. The United States government used black men as test subjects, without their consent.

600 black men were used. They were rural farmers. They were never told they had the disease. A cure was known, but the Federal government never treated the men.

The experiment ended only because it was exposed. No one was punished.

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

Joe Biden Promoted Crime Bill



Washington, D. C. - Future President, Joe Biden, made comments for what became the 1994 Crime Bill. This was the last new bill of the Mass Incarceration era.

Biden called Americans 'predators' and wanted them in jail. He called them criminals and single mothers and disadvantaged. He used all the racial code words of the Reagan and Nixon eras. Biden made it clear the police and sheriffs wanted this bill. Black people who were the targets of the bill were not asked about it, before it was written.

This Crime Bill sent hundreds of thousands of black men to jail, for non-violent drug crimes. It exploded jail and prison numbers. The cost, in public funds, was hundreds of billions of dollars.

Source:

Joe Biden Crime Bill

1994 Crime Bill Signed Into Law



Washington, D. C. - President William Clinton signed into law the most expansive crime bill in United States history. It vastly increased funding for jails and prisons. Higher education for prisoners was stopped. The death penalty was now possible for more crimes.

The law had a 3-strikes section. Someone who was convicted 3 times of a crime, could face up to life behind bars. One of the crimes had to be a major violent felony. The other two crimes did not matter. Whether it was minor theft or a major felony, the third sentence in prison was severe.

The official name was the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. It is also called the Clinton Crime Bill or the Biden Crime Law.

The Violence Against Women Act was Title IV of this legislation. It was based on the black man rapist trope. It was created by whites, after slavery, as an excuse to lynch (murder) and castrate black men, without punishment. There was no provision for false rape accusations (Brian Banks story).

This law created the final form of mass incarceration that exists today.

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