Posts Tagged ‘Sandra Day O’Connor

25
Sep
08

On This Day, 9-25-2008: Central High

September 25, 1957

Central High School integrated

Under escort from the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, nine black students enter all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Three weeks earlier, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus had surrounded the school with National Guard troops to prevent its federal court-ordered racial integration. After a tense standoff, President Dwight D. Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard and sent 1,000 army paratroopers to Little Rock to enforce the court order.

On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that racial segregation in educational facilities was unconstitutional. Five days later, the Little Rock School Board issued a statement saying it would comply with the decision when the Supreme Court outlined the method and time frame in which desegregation should be implemented.

In August 1957, the newly formed Mother’s League of Central High School won a temporary injunction from the county chancellor to block integration of the school, charging that it “could lead to violence.” Federal District Judge Ronald Davies nullified the injunction on August 30. On September 2, Governor Orval Faubus–a staunch segregationist–called out the Arkansas National Guard to surround Central High School and prevent integration, ostensibly to prevent the bloodshed he claimed desegregation would cause. The next day, Judge Davies ordered integrated classes to begin on September 4.

That morning, 100 armed National Guard troops encircled Central High School. A mob of 400 white civilians gathered and turned ugly when the black students began to arrive, shouting racial epithets and threatening the teenagers with violence. The National Guard troops refused to let the black students pass and used their clubs to control the crowd. One of the nine, 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford, was surrounded by the mob, which threatened to lynch her. She was finally led to safety by a sympathetic white woman.

On September 23, as a mob of 1,000 whites milled around outside Central High School, the nine black students managed to gain access to a side door. However, the mob became unruly when it learned the black students were inside, and the police evacuated them out of fear for their safety. That evening, President Eisenhower issued a special proclamation calling for opponents of the federal court order to “cease and desist.” On September 24, Little Rock’s mayor sent a telegram to the president asking him to send troops to maintain order and complete the integration process. Eisenhower immediately federalized the Arkansas National Guard and approved the deployment of U.S. troops to Little Rock. That evening, from the White House, the president delivered a nationally televised address in which he explained that he had taken the action to defend the rule of law and prevent “mob rule” and “anarchy.” On September 25, the Little Rock Nine entered the school under heavily armed guard.

Troops remained at Central High School throughout the school year, but still the black students were subjected to verbal and physical assaults from a faction of white students. Melba Patillo, one of the nine, had acid thrown in her eyes, and Elizabeth Eckford was pushed down a flight of stairs. The three male students in the group were subjected to more conventional beatings. Minnijean Brown was suspended after dumping a bowl of chili over the head of a taunting white student. She was later suspended for the rest of the year after continuing to fight back. The other eight students consistently turned the other cheek. On May 27, 1958, Ernest Green, the only senior in the group, became the first black to graduate from Central High School.

Governor Faubus continued to fight the school board’s integration plan, and in September 1958 he ordered Little Rock’s three high schools closed rather than permit integration. Many Little Rock students lost a year of education as the legal fight over desegregation continued. In 1959, a federal court struck down Faubus’ school-closing law, and in August 1959 Little Rock’s white high schools opened a month early with black students in attendance. All grades in Little Rock public schools were finally integrated in 1972.

“Central High School integrated.” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 Sep 2008, 02:46 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=7031.

 

On This Day

1725 – Nicolas Joseph Cugnot was born. He was the inventor and builder of two steam-propelled tractors. They are considered to be the world’s first automobiles.

1775 – Ethan Allen was captured by the British during the American Revolutionary War. He was leading the attack on Montreal.

1847 – During the Mexican-American War, U.S. forces led by General Zachary Taylor captured Monterrey Mexico.

1890 – The Sequoia National Park was established as a U.S. National Park in Central California.

1890 – Mormon President Wilford Woodruff issued a Manifesto in which the practice of polygamy was renounced.

1973 – The three crewmen of Skylab II landed in the Pacific Ocean after being on the U.S. space laboratory for 59 days.

1978 – 144 people were killed when a private plane and a Pacific Southwest Airlines Boeing 727 collided over San Diego, CA.

1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court when she was sworn in as the 102nd justice. She had been nominated the previous July by U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

1983 – A Soviet military officer, Stanislav Petrov, averted a potential worldwide nuclear war. He declared a false alarm after a U.S. attack was detected by a Soviet early warning system. It was later discovered the alarms had been set off when the satellite warning system mistakenly interpreted sunlight reflections off clouds as the presence of enemy missiles.

1995 – Ross Perot announced that he would form the Independence Party.

 

September 25, 1789

Bill of Rights passes Congress

The first Congress of the United States approves 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and sends them to the states for ratification. The amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were designed to protect the basic rights of U.S. citizens, guaranteeing the freedom of speech, press, assembly, and exercise of religion; the right to fair legal procedure and to bear arms; and that powers not delegated to the federal government were reserved for the states and the people.

Influenced by the English Bill of Rights of 1689, the Bill of Rights was also drawn from Virginia’s Declaration of Rights, drafted by George Mason in 1776. Mason, a native Virginian, was a lifelong champion of individual liberties, and in 1787 he attended the Constitutional Convention and criticized the final document for lacking constitutional protection of basic political rights. In the ratification process that followed, Mason and other critics agreed to approve the Constitution in exchange for the assurance that amendments would immediately be adopted.

In December 1791, Virginia became the 10th of 14 states to approve 10 of the 12 amendments, thus giving the Bill of Rights the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it legal. Of the two amendments not ratified, the first concerned the population system of representation, while the second prohibited laws varying the payment of congressional members from taking effect until an election intervened. The first of these two amendments was never ratified, while the second was finally ratified more than 200 years later, in 1992.

“Bill of Rights passes Congress.” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 Sep 2008, 02:48 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5372.

The Bill of Rights

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.


Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.


Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.


Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/kids/constitution/billofrights.html

All men are by nature born equally free and independent.
George Mason

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07
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-7-08: William Blount

The impeachment of Senator Blount

For the first time in U.S. history, the House of Representatives exercises its constitutional power of impeachment and votes to charge Senator William Blount of Tennessee with “a high misdemeanor, entirely inconsistent with his public duty and trust as a Senator.”

In 1790, President George Washington appointed Blount, who had fought in the American Revolution, as governor of the “Territory South of the River Ohio,” now known as Tennessee. Although he was a successful territorial governor, personal financial problems led him to enter into a conspiracy with British officers to enlist frontiersmen and Cherokee Indians to assist the British in conquering parts of Spanish Florida and Louisiana. Before the conspiracy was uncovered, Blount presided over the Tennessee Constitutional Convention and in 1796 became the state’s first U.S. senator.

The plot was revealed in 1797, and on July 7 the House of Representatives voted to impeach Senator Blount. The next day, the Senate voted by a two-thirds majority to expel him from its ranks. On December 17, 1798, the Senate exercised its “sole power to try all impeachments,” as granted by the Constitution, and initiated a Senate trial against Blount. As vice president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson was president of the Senate and thus presided over the impeachment trial proceedings. After two months, Jefferson and the Senate decided to dismiss the charges against Blount, determining that the Senate had no jurisdiction over its own members beyond its constitutional right to expel members by a two-thirds majority vote. By the time of the dismissal, Blount had already been elected as a senator to the Tennessee state legislature, where he was appointed speaker. The constitutional conundrum of conducting a trial of an impeached senator has not yet been resolved.

“The impeachment of Senator Blount.” 2008. The History Channel website. 6 Jul 2008, 02:58 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5157.

1754 – Kings College opened in New York City. It was renamed Columbia College 30 years later.

1846 – U.S. annexation of California was proclaimed at Monterey after the surrender of a Mexican garrison.

1862 – The first railroad post office was tested on the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad in Missouri.

1898 – The United States annexed Hawaii.

1917 – Aleksandr Kerensky formed a provisional government in Russia.

1930 – Construction began on Boulder Dam, later Hoover Dam, on the Colorado River.

1937 – Japanese forces invaded China.

1981 – U.S. President Reagan announced he was nominating Arizona Judge Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

2005 – In London, at least 66 people were killed and at least 700 were injured when several bombs were set off in subway cars and double-decker buses.

Mary Surratt is first woman executed by U.S. federal government

Mary Surratt is executed by the U.S. government for her role as a conspirator in Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

Surratt, who owned a tavern in Surrattsville (now Clinton), Maryland, had to convert her row house in Washington, D.C., into a boardinghouse as a result of financial difficulties. Located a few blocks from Ford’s Theatre, where Lincoln was murdered, this house served as the place where a group of Confederate supporters, including John Wilkes Booth, conspired to assassinate the president. It was Surratt’s association with Booth that ultimately led to her conviction, though debate continues as to the extent of her involvement and whether it really warranted so harsh a sentence.

“Mary Surratt is first woman executed by U.S. federal government.” 2008. The History Channel website. 6 Jul 2008, 03:00 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1059.

Himmler decides to begin medical experiments on Auschwitz prisoners

On this day in 1942, Heinrich Himmler, in league with three others, including a physician, decides to begin experimenting on women in the Auschwitz concentration camps and to investigate extending this experimentation on males.

“Himmler decides to begin medical experiments on Auschwitz prisoners.” 2008. The History Channel website. 6 Jul 2008, 03:01 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6512.

Samantha Smith leaves for visit to the USSR

Samantha Smith, an 11-year-old American girl, begins a two-week visit to the Soviet Union at the invitation of Soviet leader Yuri Andropov. Some American observers believed that Smith was merely being used by the Soviets for their own propaganda purposes, while others saw her visit as a positive step toward improving U.S.-Russian relations.

“Samantha Smith leaves for visit to the USSR.” 2008. The History Channel website. 6 Jul 2008, 02:59 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2721.




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