Black History Month 2022

business

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.

Largest Slave Auction in Georgia History



Darien, Georgia - To satisfy debts, Pierce M. Butler sold 436 men, women, and children. It separated black people from families and homes. It was known as 'The Weeping Time.'

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.

The Thibodaux Massacre



Thibodaux, Louisiana - Whites murdered 60 black farm workers. The black workers tried to unionize for better pay from whites. In response, whites shot to death the leaders, allies, and other black people just for being there.

Source:

Thibodaux Massacre

Violence Against Black Workers

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.

Racism in the War Industry



Washington, D. C. - The 'Prohibition of Discrimination in the Defense Industry' was signed. It was Executive Order 8802.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued this order. It was meant to stop a planned march on Washington, by black people. The march was planned for the following week.

A. Phillip Randolph planned the March on Washington Movement (MOWM), for July 1st, 1941. 100,000 black people were to attend. After Order 8802 was issued, Randolph stopped the march.

The Order said racial bias was not allowed in the war business. It had little power. On May 27th, 1943, Executive Order 9346 replaced Order 8802 and 8823, with much more Presidential power.

The GI Bill Passed



Washington, D. C. - The GI Bill was the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it into law.

In 1944, the United States military was segregated. The GI Bill was written to support legal segregation when the black veterans returned.

This Act provided 4 major benefits. Veterans got low-cost mortgages. There were low-interest loans to start a business or farm. One (1) year of unemployment compensation went to veterans. And, there were dedicated payments of tuition and living expenses. This was for high school, college, or vocational school.

Over one (1) million black men returned from World War 2. Under the Act, these black veterans were due these benefits. But, they were blocked from most of them.

Banks denied low-cost, zero down-payment home loans to black veterans. From 67,000 mortgages, less than 100 in New York and northern New Jersey went to black veterans.

The GI Bill helped black veterans get an education. But, the gap, between blacks and whites, got worse. Whites got college degrees while black veterans got high school diplomas.

There were not enough segregated schools for black veterans. White schools denied black veterans admission. Whites had full access to higher education degrees and benefits. Black veterans were denied access to these same white colleges and schools.

Almost all black veterans were denied the low-interest loans to start a business or a farm. This was despite what was promised in the GI Bill.

First Sit-in



Witchita, Kansas - 20 year-old Ron Walters began one of the first sit-in protests against segregation. He had the help of his 19-year-old cousin, Carol Parks-Hahn. It took place at Dockum Drug Store (southeast corner of Douglas and Broadway).

Motown Records Founded



Detroit, Michigan - Tamla Records was founded on this day. It was renamed Motown, on April 14th, 1960. Berry Gordy Jr. founded and made Motown into a hit-making machine. In fact, the home of Motown is named Hitsville, U. S. A.

Motown Records became one of the most iconic record labels in American history. Motown produced hits from Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, and many more.

WGPR Goes On-Air



Detroit, Michigan - The first wholly-owned and operated black American television (TV) station began its first broadcast. This was a first in the United States. It was founded by William V. Banks. The station had no network affiliation so the station created its own programs.

Banks was an attorney. He founded The International Free and Accepted Modern Masons, Inc. and Order of Eastern Stars. The Masons sold WGPR 20 years later.

On September 20th, 1995, the deal was finalized. It left black Americans with no control of any TV station in Detroit. No black television has broadcast since, in Detroit.

Source:

International Free and Accepted Modern Masons

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