Posts Tagged ‘Amelia Earhart

02
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-2-08: Amistad

Mutiny on the Amistad slave ship

Early in the morning, Africans on the Cuban schooner Amistad rise up against their captors, killing two crewmen and seizing control of the ship, which had been transporting them to a life of slavery on a sugar plantation at Puerto Principe, Cuba.

In 1807, the U.S. Congress joined with Great Britain in abolishing the African slave trade, although the trading of slaves within the United States was not prohibited. Despite the international ban on the importation of African slaves, Cuba continued to transport captive Africans to its sugar plantations until the 1860s, and Brazil to its coffee plantations until the 1850s.

On June 28, 1839, 53 slaves recently captured in Africa left Havana, Cuba, aboard the Amistad schooner for a sugar plantation at Puerto Principe, Cuba. Three days later, Sengbe Pieh, a Membe African known as Cinque, freed himself and the other slaves and planned a mutiny. Early in the morning of July 2, in the midst of a storm, the Africans rose up against their captors and, using sugar-cane knives found in the hold, killed the captain of the vessel and a crewmen. Two other crewmen were either thrown overboard or escaped, and Jose Ruiz and Pedro Montes, the two Cubans who had purchased the slaves, were captured. Cinque ordered the Cubans to sail the Amistad east back to Africa. During the day, Ruiz and Montes complied, but at night they would turn the vessel in a northerly direction, toward U.S. waters. After almost nearly two difficult months at sea, during which time more than a dozen Africans perished, what became known as the “black schooner” was first spotted by American vessels.

On August 26, the USS Washington, a U.S. Navy brig, seized the Amistad off the coast of Long Island and escorted it to New London, Connecticut. Ruiz and Montes were freed, and the Africans were imprisoned pending an investigation of the Amistad revolt. The two Cubans demanded the return of their supposedly Cuban-born slaves, while the Spanish government called for the Africans’ extradition to Cuba to stand trial for piracy and murder. In opposition to both groups, American abolitionists advocated the return of the illegally bought slaves to Africa.

The story of the Amistad mutiny garnered widespread attention, and U.S. abolitionists succeeded in winning a trial in a U.S. court. Before a federal district court in Connecticut, Cinque, who was taught English by his new American friends, testified on his own behalf. On January 13, 1840, Judge Andrew Judson ruled that the Africans were illegally enslaved, that they would not be returned to Cuba to stand trial for piracy and murder, and that they should be granted free passage back to Africa. The Spanish authorities and U.S. President Martin Van Buren appealed the decision, but another federal district court upheld Judson’s findings. President Van Buren, in opposition to the abolitionist faction in Congress, appealed the decision again.

On February 22, 1841, the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing the Amistad case. U.S. Representative John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts, who had served as the sixth president of the United States from 1825 to 1829, joined the Africans’ defense team. In Congress, Adams had been an eloquent opponent of slavery, and before the nation’s highest court he presented a coherent argument for the release of Cinque and the 34 other survivors of the Amistad.

On March 9, 1841, the Supreme Court ruled, with only one dissent, that the Africans had been illegally enslaved and had thus exercised a natural right to fight for their freedom. In November, with the financial assistance of their abolitionist allies, the Amistad Africans departed America aboard the Gentleman on a voyage back to West Africa. Some of the Africans helped establish a Christian mission in Sierra Leone, but most, like Cinque, returned to their homelands in the African interior. One of the survivors, who was a child when taken aboard the Amistad as a slave, eventually returned to the United States. Originally named Margru, she studied at Ohio’s integrated and coeducational Oberlin College in the late 1840s before returning to Sierra Leone as evangelical missionary Sara Margru Kinson.

“Mutiny on the Amistad slave ship.” 2008. The History Channel website. 1 Jul 2008, 12:50 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5142.

1566 – French astrologer, physician and prophet Nostradamus died.

1776 – Richard Henry Lee’s resolution that the American colonies “are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States” was adopted by the Continental Congress.

1850 – B.J. Lane patented the gas mask.

1858 – Czar Alexander II freed the serfs working on imperial lands.

1881 – Charles J. Guiteau fatally wounded U.S. President James A. Garfield in Washington, DC.

1890 – The U.S. Congress passed the Sherman Antitrust Act.

1926 – The U.S. Congress established the Army Air Corps.

1937 – American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart disappeared in the Central Pacific during an attempt to fly around the world at the equator.

1944 – American bombers, as part of Operation Gardening, dropped land mines, leaflets and bombs on German-occupied Budapest.

1947 – An object crashed near Roswell, NM. The U.S. Army Air Force insisted it was a weather balloon, but eyewitness accounts led to speculation that it might have been an alien spacecraft.

1961 – Ernest Hemingway shot himself to death at his home in Ketchum, ID.

1976 – North Vietnam and South Vietnam were reunited.

1980 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter reinstated draft registration for males 18 years of age.

 

Johnson signs Civil Rights Act

On this day in 1964, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs into law the historic Civil Rights Act in a nationally televised ceremony at the White House.

In the landmark 1954 case Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in schools was unconstitutional. The 10 years that followed saw great strides for the African-American civil rights movement, as non-violent demonstrations won thousands of supporters to the cause. Memorable landmarks in the struggle included the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955–sparked by the refusal of Alabama resident Rosa Parks to give up her seat on a city bus to a white woman–and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I have a dream” speech at a rally of hundreds of thousands in Washington, D.C., in 1963.

As the strength of the civil rights movement grew, John F. Kennedy made passage of a new civil rights bill one of the platforms of his successful 1960 presidential campaign. As Kennedy’s vice president, Johnson served as chairman of the President’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunities. After Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963, Johnson vowed to carry out his proposals for civil rights reform.

The Civil Rights Act fought tough opposition in the House and a lengthy, heated debate in the Senate before being approved in July 1964. For the signing of the historic legislation, Johnson invited hundreds of guests to a televised ceremony in the White House’s East Room. After using more than 75 pens to sign the bill, he gave them away as mementoes of the historic occasion, according to tradition. One of the first pens went to King, leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), who called it one of his most cherished possessions. Johnson gave two more to Senators Hubert Humphrey and Everett McKinley Dirksen, the Democratic and Republican managers of the bill in the Senate.

The most sweeping civil rights legislation passed by Congress since the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, the Civil Rights Act prohibited racial discrimination in employment and education and outlawed racial segregation in public places such as schools, buses, parks and swimming pools. In addition, the bill laid important groundwork for a number of other pieces of legislation–including the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which set strict rules for protecting the right of African Americans to vote–that have since been used to enforce equal rights for women as well as all minorities.

“Johnson signs Civil Rights Act.” 2008. The History Channel website. 1 Jul 2008, 12:41 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5145.

Stephen Hawkings breaks British bestseller records

Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawkings breaks British publishing records on this day in 1992. His book, A Brief History of Time, has been on the nonfiction bestseller list for three and a half years, selling more than 3 million copies in 22 languages.

A Brief History of Time explained the latest theories on the origins of the universe in language accessible to educated lay people. The book was made into an acclaimed documentary in 1992, which focused largely on Hawkings’ own story.

Diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in his 20s, Hawkings was told he had only two years to live. Despite the sobering prognosis, Hawkings pursued his studies in theoretical physics, married, and had a son. Eventually, his disease left him paralyzed except for his left hand. He was able to speak, although his speech was difficult to understand, until he underwent a tracheotomy in 1985 during a bout with pneumonia. Afterward, he relied on a mouse-controlled voice synthesizer, which improved the clarity of his speech.

His familiar, synthesized voice can be heard in the Brief History of Time documentary, a popular Pink Floyd song, and an episode of The Simpsons.

“Stephen Hawkings breaks British bestseller records.” 2008. The History Channel website. 1 Jul 2008, 12:51 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4020.

18
Jun
08

On This Day, 6-18-08: War of 1812

War of 1812 begins

The day after the Senate followed the House of Representatives in voting to declare war against Great Britain, President James Madison signs the declaration into law–and the War of 1812 begins. The American war declaration, opposed by a sizable minority in Congress, had been called in response to the British economic blockade of France, the induction of American seaman into the British Royal Navy against their will, and the British support of hostile Indian tribes along the Great Lakes frontier. A faction of Congress known as the “War Hawks” had been advocating war with Britain for several years and had not hidden their hopes that a U.S. invasion of Canada might result in significant territorial land gains for the United States.

“War of 1812 begins.” 2008. The History Channel website. 17 Jun 2008, 02:10 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5103.

 

1155 – Frederick I Barbarossa was crowned emperor of Rome.

1778 – Britain evacuated Philadelphia during the U.S. Revolutionary War.

1873 – Susan B. Anthony was fined $100 for attempting to vote for a U.S. President.

1928 – Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean as she completed a flight from Newfoundland to Wales.

1942 – The U.S. Navy commissioned its first black officer, Harvard University medical student Bernard Whitfield Robinson.

1959 – A Federal Court annulled the Arkansas law allowing school closings to prevent integration.

1983 – Dr. Sally Ride became the first American woman in space aboard the space shuttle Challenger.

1997 – Sirhan Sirhan was denied parole for the 10th time. He had assassinated presidential candidate Robert Kennedy in 1968.

Napoleon defeated at Waterloo

At Waterloo in Belgium, Napoleon Bonaparte suffers defeat at the hands of the Duke of Wellington, bringing an end to the Napoleonic era of European history.

“Napoleon defeated at Waterloo.” 2008. The History Channel website. 17 Jun 2008, 02:11 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6932.

SAC B-52s are used for the first time in South Vietnam

For the first time, 28 B-52s fly-bomb a Viet Cong concentration in a heavily forested area of Binh Duong Province northwest of Saigon. Such flights, under the aegis of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), became known as Operation Arc Light. The B-52s that took part in the Arc Light missions had been deployed to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and more bombers were later deployed to bases in Okinawa and U-Tapao, Thailand.

In addition to supporting ground tactical operations, B-52s were used to interdict enemy supply lines in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, and later to strike targets in North Vietnam. Releasing their bombs from 30,000 feet, the B-52s could neither be seen nor heard from the ground as they inflicted awesome damage. B-52s were instrumental in breaking up enemy concentrations besieging Khe Sanh in 1968 and An Loc in 1972. Between June 1965 and August 1973, 126,615 B-52 sorties were flown over Southeast Asia. During those operations, the Air Force lost 29 B-52s: 17 from hostile fire over North Vietnam and 12 from operational causes.

“SAC B-52s are used for the first time in South Vietnam.” 2008. The History Channel website. 17 Jun 2008, 02:14 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1915.

Carter and Brezhnev sign the SALT-II treaty

During a summit meeting in Vienna, President Jimmy Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT-II agreement dealing with limitations and guidelines for nuclear weapons. The treaty, which never formally went into effect, proved to be one of the most controversial U.S.-Soviet agreements of the Cold War

“Carter and Brezhnev sign the SALT-II treaty.” 2008. The History Channel website. 17 Jun 2008, 02:11 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2702.

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.
Susan B. Anthony

I do not consider divorce an evil by any means. It is just as much a refuge for women married to brutal men as Canada was to the slaves of brutal masters.
Susan B. Anthony

Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.
Susan B. Anthony

11
Jan
08

On This Day 1-11-08

1815 – U.S. General Andrew Jackson achieved victory at the Battle of New Orleans. The War of 1812 had officially ended on December 24, 1814, with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent. The news of the signing had not reached British troops in time to prevent their attack on New Orleans.

1861 – Alabama seceded from the United States.

1867 – Benito Juarez returned to the Mexican presidency, following the withdrawal of French troops and the execution of Emperor Maximilian.

1902 – “Popular Mechanics” magazine was published for the first time.

1935 – Amelia Earhart Putnam became the first woman to fly solo from Hawaii to California.

1964 – U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry released a report that said that smoking cigarettes was a definite health hazard.

I usually don’t talk about politics.  It’s kind of like arguing on the Internet.  You may win the argument, but people will view you as an idiot in the process because you were dumb enough to get into the argument in the first place.

I’m not a big fan of politics.  I don’t even like to vote.  I do remember the first time I voted though.  I had just turned eighteen and there was a runoff election for county judge in my home county.  The incumbent judge was the same guy who four years earlier had slammed his gavel down and given the man who murdered a best friend of mine two years for involuntary manslaughter.  If you’re thinking about murdering someone, shoot them seven times with a twenty-two rifle and then claim you thought you were shooting a bear.  You’ll only get two years.

I walked into that polling booth and of course the little old gray hairs knew my dad.  “You look just like him.”  I registered right then and there because Wisconsin isn’t one of those Nazi states that has all those rules about registering way before the election so people will be denied their right to vote — although they’re trying to Nazify the voting process here too.  One of the gray hairs handed me a ballot and explained how it worked.  I entered the booth not even knowing who was on the ballot.

I slipped the ballot booklet into the punch card apparatus and opened it to the instruction page.  I carefully read and followed the instructions.  I opened the next page and saw that judges name.  I think that is the day I began understanding my personal anger.  I pushed that punch through his opponents name and felt satisfied.  I didn’t care about political parties and still don’t.  I just voted my conscience and still do.

That judge lost.  After eleven years of being the county judge, we threw his butt out.  I like to believe that the other kids who turned eighteen that year and remembered that boy left face down in a trout stream also voted against that judge.  Oddly enough over the next five years we got them all.  From the dog catcher to the mayor to the state legislators.  We got them all, including a state legislator who had held his seat for twenty-three years.

This election will be historic.  The first time a woman or a black man will be running for president.  But no election has held any meaning for me since those first five years of my voting history.  Every time I voted in those days, I walked out of the polling place feeling satisfied.  These days I leave the polling place feeling like I need a shower.




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