Black History Month 2023

1892 1893-1897 1898

23 Benjamin Harrison | 24 Grover Cleveland (2) | 25 William McKinley

Reconstruction Redemption Jim Crow

1877-1896
Redemption



United States - Whites tired of seeing the progress of Black Americans. This period was the backlash against those gains. It slowly reversed much of the work that was done, after the Slavery War, to protect the newly freed.

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February 1, 1893
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.

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September 10, 1894
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 Americans.

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

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February 20, 1895
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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1896-1965
Jim Crow



United States - The system of legal racial segregation lasted until 1965. In theory, non-whites were to have the same access and services as whites. In law and in practice, whites gave themselves prvileges over non-whites in every area of public life. Black Americans were harmed the most, since they were the direct target of Jim Crow laws.

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May 18, 1896
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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December 7, 1897
Atlanta Vaccination War



Atlanta, Georgia - White doctors and white police forced Black Americans to take injections. The claim by whites was that it was to stop smallpox. An inoculation for smallpox was known more than 150 years before, by the Black American man Onesimus.

Under the pretense of vaccination, white police broke into a Black American home. Inside, there was a wedding, with guests. The white police held everyone inside the home. White doctors came and forcibly injected them.

A judge was over a city court, where many Black Americans were normally brought. When the judge gave the word, whites locked all inside. Black Americans were forced to take injections. The white police used violence to force injections.

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