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.
New York, New York - Birth of A Nation was shown, for the first time. It was also called the Clansman, from the 1905 book, and play, of the same name. It was about the Ku Klx Klan (KKK).
The movie was a fiction of the birth of the Ku Klux Klan. It was an all-white film. To present black people, white actors appeared in blackface. Black people were shown as the bad guys. The KKK were shown as the heroes, to protect white society.
It was the first film shown inside the White House. The sitting President, Woodrow Wilson, invited his family, and his Cabinet to watch it. Wilson said, 'It is like writing history with lightning.'
The Enforcement Acts, of the early 1870s, reduced the KKK to almost nothing. It had been more than 40 years since the KKK was at its height, when the movie was released. When the film was shown for the first time, the KKK had almost no public presence. After the film, there was a massive increase in KKK activity. It lasted for decades, until World War 2 (1940s).
In 1870, a federal grand jury said the KKK was a terrorist group. With the release of this film, the KKK was reborn.