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  #1  
Old 07-02-2022, 01:18 PM
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Default On This Date

A thread featuring a daily entry to help understand America's systemic racism..
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A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right. ~ Thomas Paine
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Old 07-02-2022, 01:19 PM
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Default May 02 (1963)

Black Children Begin Movement Protesting Segregation; Face Police Brutality

On May 2, 1963, more than 700 Black children peacefully protested racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama, as part of the Children's Crusade, beginning a movement that sparked widely-publicized police brutality that shocked the nation and spurred major civil rights advances.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) had launched the Children's Crusade to revive the Birmingham anti-segregation campaign. As part of that effort, more than 1,000 African American children trained in nonviolent protest tactics walked out of their classes on May 2 and assembled at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church to march to downtown Birmingham. Though hundreds were assaulted, arrested, and transported to jail in school buses and paddy wagons, the children refused to relent their peaceful demonstration.

The next day, when hundreds more children began to march, Commissioner of Public Safety Eugene "Bull" Connor directed local police and firemen to attack the children with high-pressure fire hoses, batons, and police dogs. Images of children being brutally assaulted by police and snarling canines appeared on television and in newspapers throughout the nation and world, provoking global outrage. The U.S. Department of Justice soon intervened.

The campaign to desegregate Birmingham ended on May 10 when city officials agreed to desegregate the city's downtown stores and release jailed demonstrators in exchange for an end to SCLC's protests. The following evening, disgruntled proponents of segregation responded to the agreement with a series of local bombings.

In the wake of the Children's Crusade, the Birmingham Board of Education announced that all children who participated in the march would be suspended or expelled from school. A federal district court upheld the ruling, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ultimately reversed the decision and ordered the students re-admitted to school.
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All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind. ~ Joseph Conrad
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right. ~ Thomas Paine
Don't let anyone tell you that your dreams can't come true. They are only afraid that theirs won't and yours will. ~ Robert Evans
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Old 07-02-2022, 01:23 PM
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Default May 03 (1913)

California Law Prohibits Asian Immigrants from Owning Land

On May 3, 1913, California enacted the Alien Land Law, barring Asian immigrants from owning land. California tightened the law further in 1920 and 1923, barring the leasing of land and land ownership by American-born children of Asian immigrant parents or by corporations controlled by Asian immigrants. These laws were supported by the California press, as well as the Hollywood Association, Japanese and Korean (later Asiatic) Exclusion League and the Anti-Jap Laundry League (both founded by labor unions). Combined, these groups claimed tens of thousands of members.

Though especially active in California, animosity for Asian immigrants operated on the national level too. In May 1912, President Woodrow Wilson wrote to a California backer: “In the matter of Chinese and Japanese coolie immigration I stand for the national policy of exclusion (or restricted immigration)...We cannot make a homogeneous population out of people who do not blend with the Caucasian race...Oriental coolieism will give us another race problem to solve, and surely we have had our lesson.”

California did not stand alone. Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming all enacted discriminatory laws restricting Asians’ rights to hold land in America. In 1923, the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed various versions of the discriminatory land laws—and upheld every single one. Most of these discriminatory state laws remained in place until the 1950s, and some even longer. Kansas and New Mexico did not repeal their provisions until 2002 and 2006, respectively. Florida's state constitution contained an alien land law provision until 2018, when voters passed a ballot measure to repeal it.
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All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind. ~ Joseph Conrad
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right. ~ Thomas Paine
Don't let anyone tell you that your dreams can't come true. They are only afraid that theirs won't and yours will. ~ Robert Evans
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Old 07-02-2022, 01:27 PM
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Default May 4 (1921)

Chicago Real Estate Board Votes Unanimously to Expel Members Who Sell to Black Families in White Neighborhoods

On May 4, 1921, the Chicago Real Estate Board voted unanimously to expel members from the board who sold property to Black families in neighborhoods where white people lived. The president of the board, M. L. Smith, openly expressed his commitment to maintaining segregation throughout Chicago and advocated for a plan to exclude Black families from most of Chicago’s available housing.

During the era of racial terror lynchings beginning during Reconstruction, white mobs terrorized millions of Black women, men, and children throughout the American South. At the turn of the century, seeking freedom from the constant and widespread terror of lynching and other racial violence, more than six million Black people left the South in what became known as the Great Migration. As a consequence, the population of western and northern cities like Chicago saw an increase in Black people who sought to make their homes away from the violence they had experienced in the South.

Seeking housing and employment, Black people in cities like Chicago were met with steady, violent, and constant resistance to integration. In the 1920s, white real estate agents and the Chicago Real Estate Board began organizing white citizens throughout Chicago to establish “neighborhood covenants,” or contractual agreements among property owners prohibiting them from leasing or selling their properties to Black people. Drafted by a lawyer who was a member of the Chicago Planning Commission, a template racial restrictive covenant, which was circulated by the Real Estate Board, targeted anyone with “1/8 part or more negro blood" or who had "any appreciable admixture of negro blood” from buying or renting a home in neighborhoods where white people already lived.

On May 4, 1921, the Chicago Real Estate Board voted unanimously to expel members of the board who did not join this project of residential segregation. If members sold property to Black people “in a block where there are only white owners,” they would be met by “immediate expulsion.” Unsatisfied with this, the Chicago Real Estate Board launched a campaign for the next decade to increase the use of neighborhood covenants to restrict nearly all of Chicago to white residents, including organizing a series of speakers who traveled around the city of Chicago to promote residential segregation. Advocating for residential segregation, board president M.L. Smith supported the expansion of the South Side of Chicago—where Black people were permitted to live—stating, “if you provide the places, the negroes will segregate themselves.”

By the end of the 1920s, the Board’s efforts meant that restrictions for Black homeowners and renters were so far widespread that these covenants, according to the Hyde Park Herald, stretched “like a marvelous delicately woven chain of armor” from “the northern gates of Hyde Park at 35th and Drexel Boulevard to Woodlawn, Park Manor, South Shore, Windsor Park, and all the far-flung white communities of the South Side.” At the end of the decade, close to 90% of Chicago neighborhoods were covered by covenants restricting access for Black people.

White real estate associations, homeowners, and politicians in Chicago remained committed to residential segregation well into the later half of the 20th century. To learn more, read the Equal Justice Initiative’s report, Segregation in America.
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All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind. ~ Joseph Conrad
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right. ~ Thomas Paine
Don't let anyone tell you that your dreams can't come true. They are only afraid that theirs won't and yours will. ~ Robert Evans
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Old 07-02-2022, 01:30 PM
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Default May 5 (1943)

To Prevent Interracial Marriage, California Requires That Marriage Licenses Indicate Race

On May 5, 1943, a new law went into effect in California, requiring that all marriage licenses indicate the race of the parties to be married. This law, passed unanimously by the all-white, all-male state legislature, was designed to help the state enforce its existing ban on interracial marriage. As California law declared at that time: “no license may be issued authorizing the marriage of a white person with a Negro, mulatto, Mongolian, or member of the Malay race.” Any interracial couple who defied the statute, or any clerk who provided a marriage license to an interracial couple, faced a fine of up to $10,000 or up to 10 years in prison.

“Anti-miscegenation laws,” or laws banning white people from marrying Black and other non-white partners, have a long history in this country—often pre-dating the creation of the U.S. altogether. Northern and southern states alike passed these laws during the colonial era and throughout the first decades of the nation’s existence; by the start of the Civil War in 1861, 28 states had interracial marriage bans—and seven more passed them before the war’s end in 1865.

Though many northern states repealed their anti-miscegenation laws before or soon after the Civil War, many southern and western states responded to the emancipation of millions of enslaved Black people by strengthening their bans. Fears of a weakened racial hierarchy were especially intense in the South, where the bulk of newly-freed Black Americans resided, and where white people had long feared that ending slavery would be "the first step to total social equality and unrestricted sex across racial lines." Similarly, many western states feared that the end of the Civil War would bring an influx of emancipated Black people, and lawmakers saw bans on interracial marriage as one way to reinforce the racial order.

California had banned interracial marriage between white and Black people since first achieving statehood in 1850. Under a law passed that year, “all marriages of whites with negroes or mulattoes are declared to be null and void.” California later expanded the law to also ban white people from marrying people defined as "mongolian" or “malay,” in response to a subsequent increase in immigration from Asia. The state’s white community widely supported the enactment of these policies and the officials who passed them.

The California Supreme Court struck down both the 1943 statute requiring race on marriage licenses and the state's much older ban on interracial marriage on October 1, 1948 in the case of Perez v. Sharp. Nearly 20 years later, on June 12, 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided Loving v. Virginia, declaring bans on interracial marriage unconstitutional and striking down such laws in the 16 total states that still had them. This decision overturned the Court’s 1883 decision in Pace v. Alabama, which had upheld the constitutionality of laws banning interracial relations, enabling those laws to persist throughout the country for more than 80 additional years.

Even after the law changed, social and political support for interracial marriage bans lingered. In 2000, Alabama became the last state to repeal its interracial marriage ban when residents voted to remove an anti-miscegenation provision from the state constitution—more than 30 years after Loving made it unenforceable.
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All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind. ~ Joseph Conrad
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right. ~ Thomas Paine
Don't let anyone tell you that your dreams can't come true. They are only afraid that theirs won't and yours will. ~ Robert Evans
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Old 07-02-2022, 01:32 PM
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Default May 06 (1882)

Chinese Exclusion Act Signed into Law

On May 6, 1882, President Chester A. Arthur signed into law the Chinese Exclusion Act. The first major law restricting voluntary immigration to the U.S., the act banned all immigrants from China for 10 years, prohibited Chinese immigrants from becoming American citizens, and restricted the entry and re-entry of Chinese nationals.

As Chinese people joined the flow of migrants to the West Coast of the U.S. after the Gold Rush of 1849, many white Americans resented economic competition from Chinese workers, denounced Chinese people as racially inferior, and blamed them for white unemployment and declining wages. The Exclusion Act kept many Chinese nationals from entering the U.S. and fueled mistreatment of Chinese people in America. Soon, anti-Chinese violence in states like Wyoming and Idaho left Chinese immigrants dead, wounded, and fleeing their homes in fear.

Though initially authorized to last 10 years, the Exclusion Act was extended and strengthened over the next 80. In 1892, Congress extended the act for another decade, and in 1902, lawmakers made the act permanent and added more discriminatory provisions. The legal ban on immigration from China was slightly loosened in 1943, but large-scale Chinese immigration was not restored until the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965.

Like Chinese immigrants did for generations, other hopeful immigrants to the U.S. continue to struggle against unjust laws and harmful abuse rooted in racial prejudice.
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All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind. ~ Joseph Conrad
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right. ~ Thomas Paine
Don't let anyone tell you that your dreams can't come true. They are only afraid that theirs won't and yours will. ~ Robert Evans
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Old 07-02-2022, 01:34 PM
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Default May 07 (1955)

Rev. George Lee, Voting Rights Activist, Killed in Mississippi

Reverend George Lee, co-founder of the Belzoni, Mississippi, NAACP and the first African American to register to vote in Humphreys County since Reconstruction, was shot and killed in Belzoni on May 7, 1955. He is considered one of the early martyrs of the Civil Rights Movement.

Rev. Lee first moved to Belzoni to preach, but began working to register other African Americans to vote after the local NAACP was founded in 1953. He later served as chapter president and successfully registered some 100 African American voters in Belzoni—an extraordinary feat considering the significant risk of violent retaliation facing Black voters in the Deep South at the time.

Belzoni was also home to a White Citizen's Council—a group of white residents actively working to suppress civil rights activism and maintain white supremacy through threats, economic intimidation, and violence. The council learned of Rev. Lee's voter registration efforts and targeted him with threats and intimidation, but he was undeterred.

While Rev. Lee was driving home on the night of May 7, gunshots were fired into the cab of his car, ripping off the lower half of his face. He later died at Humphreys County Medical Center. When NAACP field secretary for Mississippi Medgar Evers came to investigate the death, the county sheriff boldly denied that any homicide had taken place; instead, he claimed that Rev. Lee had died in a car accident and that the lead bullets found in his jaw were dental fillings.

An investigation revealed evidence against two members of the local White Citizen's Council, but when the local prosecutor resisted moving forward, the case stalled. The NAACP memorial service held in Rev. Lee's honor was attended by more than 1,000 mourners.

In April 2019, the Equal Justice Initiative dedicated a monument honoring Rev. George Lee and 23 other Black men, women, and children killed in acts of racial violence in the 1950s. Hundreds of community members gathered to support the act of remembrance, including family and community members connected to each of the named victims. Ms. Helen Sims, founder and operator of the Rev. George Lee Museum in Belzoni, was present to stand for the memory of Rev. Lee.
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All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind. ~ Joseph Conrad
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right. ~ Thomas Paine
Don't let anyone tell you that your dreams can't come true. They are only afraid that theirs won't and yours will. ~ Robert Evans
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Old 07-02-2022, 01:35 PM
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Default May 08 (2009)

Ku Klux Klan Burns Cross in Black Neighborhood in Alabama

On May 8, 2009, Steven Joshua Dinkle of the Ozark, Alabama, chapter of the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), burned a cross in a local Black neighborhood. Joined by a KKK recruit named Thomas Windell Smith, Dinkle targeted the neighborhood because of the race of its residents.

Confederate veterans founded the Ku Klux Klan in Pulaski, Tennessee, in 1865. From beneath white hoods, they terrorized formerly enslaved Black people and their political allies with threats, beatings, and murder. They strived to undermine Reconstruction and restore racial subordination in the South. Faced with federal opposition, the Klan dissolved by the 1870s, but reemerged early in the next century at the height of the era of racial terror. By the 21st century, several offshoot Klan organizations remained a small but persistent source of hate violence.

On the night of May 8, Dinkle and Smith built a wooden cross about six feet tall and drove it over to the entrance of the Black neighborhood around 8 pm. They dug a hole in the ground in view of several houses, then stood the cross upright in the hole and lit it on fire before driving away.

Both men were arrested and pled guilty to conspiracy to violate housing rights. At Dinkle’s plea hearing, he admitted that he burned the cross in order to scare the members of the African American community in Ozark, and that he was motivated to burn the cross because he did not like that African Americans were occupying homes in that area.
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All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind. ~ Joseph Conrad
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right. ~ Thomas Paine
Don't let anyone tell you that your dreams can't come true. They are only afraid that theirs won't and yours will. ~ Robert Evans
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Old 07-02-2022, 01:37 PM
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Default May 09 (1961)

John Lewis and Two Others Attacked at South Carolina Greyhound Bus Terminal

On May 9, 1961, 21-year-old John Lewis, a young Black civil rights activist, was severely beaten by a mob at the Rock Hill, South Carolina, Greyhound bus terminal. A few days earlier, Mr. Lewis and 12 Freedom Riders—seven Black and six white—had left Washington, D.C., on a Greyhound bus headed to New Orleans. They sat interracially on the bus, planning to test a Supreme Court ruling that made segregation in interstate transportation illegal.

The Freedom Riders rode safely through Virginia and North Carolina, but experienced violence when they stopped at the bus station in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and tried to enter the white waiting room together. John Lewis and two other Riders were brutally attacked before a white police officer, who had been present the entire time, finally intervened. The Freedom Riders responded with nonviolence and decided not to press charges, continuing their protest ride further south where they experienced continued violence from white mobs in Alabama.

Nearly 47 years later, Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols apologized to John Lewis, by then a U.S. Congressman representing Georgia. In 2009, one of his attackers, former Klansman Elwin Wilson, also apologized. "I don't hold the town any more responsible than those men who beat us," Congressman Lewis has said about the community of Rock Hill, "and I saw those men as victims of the same system of segregation and hatred."
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All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind. ~ Joseph Conrad
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right. ~ Thomas Paine
Don't let anyone tell you that your dreams can't come true. They are only afraid that theirs won't and yours will. ~ Robert Evans
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Old 07-02-2022, 01:38 PM
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Default May 10 (1740)

South Carolina Passes Negro Act of 1740, Codifying White Supremacy

On May 10, 1740, the South Carolina Assembly enacted the “Bill for the better ordering and governing of Negroes and other slaves in this province,” also known as the Negro Act of 1740. The law prohibited enslaved African people from growing their own food, learning to read, moving freely, assembling in groups, or earning money. It also authorized white enslavers to whip and kill enslaved Africans for being "rebellious."

South Carolina implemented this act after the unsuccessful Stono Rebellion in 1739, in which approximately 50 enslaved Black people resisted bondage and waged an uprising that killed between 20 and 25 white people. In addition to establishing a racial caste and property system in the colony, the assembly sought to prevent any additional rebellions by including provisions that mandated a ratio of one white person for every 10 enslaved people on a plantation. The Negro Act treated enslaved Africans as human chattel and revoked all forms of civil rights.

The law served as a model for other states; Georgia authorized slavery within its borders in 1750 and enacted its own slave code five years later. In 1865, the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment legally abolished slavery in the U.S. except as punishment for crime, but discriminatory Black Codes and Jim Crow laws developed to maintain the oppression of Black people, ensuring that the legacy of the Negro Act of 1740 and similar laws remained present throughout the country for more than two centuries.
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All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind. ~ Joseph Conrad
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right. ~ Thomas Paine
Don't let anyone tell you that your dreams can't come true. They are only afraid that theirs won't and yours will. ~ Robert Evans
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Old 07-04-2022, 06:51 AM
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Default May 11 (2010)

Arizona Passes Unconstitutional Law Banning Ethnic Studies Programs from Public Schools

On May 11, 2010, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law HB 2281, a legislative act designed to end Ethnic Studies classes in the state. This law banned schools from engaging with certain books written by authors of color and temporarily eliminated the Mexican American Studies program in Tucson schools, preventing hundreds of students from engaging with their history and culture within a school setting for almost a decade.

The signing of HB 2281 came just weeks after Governor Brewer signed SB 1070, Arizona's controversial immigration law that was then among the nation's strictest, and which opponents criticized as encouraging racial profiling. Though less publicized, HB2281 also had far-reaching consequences for people of color in Arizona and any students interested in studying their history. The law banned all classes alleged to “promote the overthrow of the United States government” or “promote resentment toward a race or class of people” and classes “designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group” which “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” In January of 2012, after the state superintendent's office threatened to withhold 10% of the district’s annual funding, the Tucson School District voted to cut the Mexican American Studies program in compliance with the new law.

Beginning in the 1990s, Mexican-American educators in Tucson, Arizona came together to build a program to narrow the achievement gap between Latino students and white students by widening the scope of traditional curriculum, including introducing books written by authors of color. Students who engaged in the program, which was open to all, saw great success with reportedly increased test scores and higher graduation rates. Proponents of HB2281, however, accused Ethnic Studies courses of segregating students and impeding assimilation. Tom Horne, the state superintendent of public instruction, seemingly overlooking the nation’s long history of racially segregated public education, argued that the public school system has always “brought together students from different backgrounds and taught them to be Americans and to treat each other as individuals.” Referring to those who supported the Mexican American Studies program, Horne dismissively said, “They are the ‘Bull Connors.’ They are resegregating.” John Huppenthal, a state Senator who helped pass the law, claimed that these programs designed to increase representation within the classroom were similar to the Ku Klux Klan; in making that comparison, Huppenthal trivialized a long and deadly history of white supremacist racial violence in America. Huppenthal also fervently declared on social media that Spanish-English media should be shut down, and later referred to people receiving public assistance as "lazy pigs."

HB 2281 not only forced the Tucson School District to eliminate its Mexican American Studies course; the law also led the district to remove several books from its classrooms, including Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and The Tempest by William Shakespeare. In a meeting with Mexican American Studies teachers, administrators ultimately advised them to avoid any units that included “race, ethnicity, and oppression as central themes.”

After courts repeatedly refused to strike down the law for several years, a federal court held that HB 2281 was passed with the specific intention “to advance a political agenda by capitalizing on race-based fear.” HB 2281 was formally invalidated as unconstitutional in 2017, nearly a decade following its passage, and after the law had already denied hundreds of students the opportunity to study within a culturally diverse setting.
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All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind. ~ Joseph Conrad
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right. ~ Thomas Paine
Don't let anyone tell you that your dreams can't come true. They are only afraid that theirs won't and yours will. ~ Robert Evans
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  #12  
Old 07-04-2022, 07:19 AM
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Default May 12 (1898)

Louisiana Disenfranchises Black Voters and Jurors

On May 12, 1898, the state of Louisiana adopted a new constitution with numerous restrictive provisions intended to exclude African American men from civic participation. At this time in the U.S., women of all races remained barred from voting, while Black men had recently gained the right to vote under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The new Louisiana Constitution, however, created a poll tax, literacy and property-ownership requirements, and a complex voter registration form all designed and enforced to disproportionately disenfranchise Black male voters.

The year 1865 included the Confederacy's defeat in the Civil War, widespread emancipation, and the abolition of slavery. All of these developments threatened to overturn Southern culture and social relations, which were based in white supremacy and racial hierarchy. After Reconstruction ended in 1877 and white politicians and lawmakers regained control and power in the South, many efforts were made to restore that racial order through very strict laws that stripped Black people of many of their new civil rights—including the right to vote. In Louisiana, framers explicitly expressed their goal to “purify the electorate.”

When the restrictive voting provisions were first proposed for the 1898 Louisiana constitution, some white officials expressed concern that the property and literacy requirements would also disenfranchise an estimated 25% of the white male population of voting age. In response, lawmakers drafted a “Grandfather Clause” which created an exception for those whose ancestors were registered to vote before 1867. This clause enabled many illiterate and poor white men to get around the literacy and property requirements. Black people remained blocked because Louisiana laws before 1867 disenfranchised nearly all Black men—especially those who were enslaved.

The 1898 Louisiana constitution also eliminated the requirement of unanimous jury verdicts, allowing as much as a 9-3 split to still stand as a conviction. Because the U.S. Constitution now prevented states from wholly barring Black people from jury service, this provision was enacted to render small numbers of Black jurors inconsequential. Thomas Semmes, a former Confederate senator and head of the convention’s judiciary committee, praised the provision for success in its goal “to establish the supremacy of the white race in this State to the extent to which it could be legally and constitutionally done.”

The 1898 Louisiana Constitution eliminated federally-enforced voting rules that had enfranchised Black men in Louisiana during Reconstruction. As a result, in a state with 650,804 Black residents, the number of Black registered voters dropped from 130,000 before the new constitution to just 5,000 by 1900. By 1904, the number dropped to just 1,000.

Throughout the Southern states, disenfranchisement laws targeted Black communities for generations. Louisiana’s 1898 constitution was revised slightly in 1913, but most of its restrictive language remained until 1972. The non-unanimous jury rule remained in effect for more than a century, until Louisiana voters approved a constitutional amendment to abolish it in November 2018.
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A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right. ~ Thomas Paine
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  #13  
Old 07-04-2022, 07:20 AM
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Default May 13 (1960)

South Carolina Passes Bill to Maintain School Segregation Six Years After Brown v. Board Decision Struck it Down

On May 13, 1960, six years after Brown v. Board of Education, South Carolina’s legislature passed a bill to preserve school segregation and stall Black citizens’ attempts to integrate public schools using the authority of federal courts.

On the last day of the 1960 legislative session, South Carolina lawmakers voted for a bill that, on its face, repealed language that declared the state would provide funding to “racially segregated schools only.” However, as local media accurately reported, the legislation was a “maneuver to thwart integration by the fiction of seeming to give in a little to it.” The bill did nothing to change another state law that mandated the closure of any school for white students that admitted a Black student. The bill also left in place provisions requiring racial segregation on school buses and in cafeterias.

In 1951, state lawmakers established the South Carolina School Committee, the first of its kind in the country. Despite its seemingly neutral name, the committee was composed of state legislators and members appointed by the governor, and conducted “enormous research” during the 1950s and 1960s to identify ways to circumvent the Constitution and keep schools segregated. The press regularly referred to the group as a “segregation committee,” seemingly reflecting knowledge of its true purpose. During the 1956-1957 legislative sessions, the committee's work led South Carolina lawmakers to pass the law restricting state funding to “racially segregated schools,” and to also design a school-choice policy that allowed the state to continue operating all-white schools.

Committee members also designed this 1960 repeal bill as a way to “fight integration suits while in no way relaxing restrictions on the mixing of the races.” Legislators and other members of the Committee feared that keeping laws that included explicit language that mandated segregation would enable aggrieved Black students to successfully challenge South Carolina’s racist policies in federal court. By removing the plain language of segregation, the Committee aimed to keep Black plaintiffs “languishing for years” in state court by depriving them of the strong evidence of discriminatory intent, while still achieving the same result: segregated schools. Representative Joe Rogers of Clarendon County, South Carolina, a member of the Committee, publicly endorsed the new legislation and assured ardent segregationists that South Carolina was “as resolute as ever” in maintaining racial apartheid.

South Carolina Governor Ernest Hollings also applauded the legislation repealing the explicit segregation language, declaring it a move to “bolster, rather than to weaken, the state’s rigid stand against mixing the races in public schools.” However, lawmakers and the Governor delayed signing the bill into law, since federal intervention was not yet actively enforcing desegregation in the state. In August 1960, the Committee reported that public schools remained “orderly” and segregated, and Governor Hollings let the bill quietly die. In 1961, as South Carolina faced the loss of federal education funding due to its insistence on maintaining racial segregation, the Committee revived the bill and Governor Hollings signed it into law in July 1961. School desegregation did not begin in the state for another two years.

The massive resistance campaign that white communities waged against efforts to desegregate public schools in the U.S. was largely successful in delaying implementation of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in the South. Until the fall of 1960, every single one of the 1.4 million Black school children in the five states of the Deep South attended segregated schools. By the start of the 1964-65 school year, less than 3% of the South’s Black children attended school with white students, and in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina, that number remained substantially below 1%. In 1967, 13 years after Brown was decided, a report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights observed that white violence and intimidation against Black people “continue[d] to be a deterrent to school desegregation.”
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Old 07-04-2022, 07:22 AM
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Default May 14 (1961)

White Mob Attacks Freedom Riders in Anniston, Alabama

In 1961, a group of civil rights activists known as the Freedom Riders began a desegregation campaign. The interracial group rode together on interstate buses headed south from Washington, D.C., and patronized the bus stations along the way, to test the enforcement of Supreme Court decisions that prohibited discrimination in interstate passenger travel. Their efforts were unpopular with white Southerners who supported segregation. The group encountered early violence in South Carolina but continued their trip toward the planned destination of New Orleans.

On Mother's Day, May 14, 1961, a Greyhound bus carrying Freedom Riders arrived at the Anniston, Alabama, bus station shortly after 1 pm to find the building locked shut. Led by Ku Klux Klan leader William Chapel, a mob of 50 men armed with pipes, chains, and bats smashed windows, slashed tires, and dented the sides of the Riders' bus. Though warned hours earlier that a mob had gathered at the station, local police did not arrive until after the assault had begun.

Once the attack subsided, police pretended to escort the crippled bus to safety, but instead abandoned it at the Anniston city limits. Soon after the police departed, another armed white mob surrounded the bus and began breaking windows. The Freedom Riders refused to exit the vehicle but received no aid from two watching highway patrolmen. When a member of the mob tossed a firebomb through a broken bus window, others in the mob attempted to trap the passengers inside the burning vehicle by barricading the door. They fled when the fuel tank began to explode. The Riders were able to escape the ensuing flames and smoke through the bus windows and main door, only to be attacked and beaten by the mob outside.

After police finally dispersed their attackers, the Freedom Riders received limited medical care. They were soon evacuated from Anniston in a convoy organized by Birmingham Civil Rights leader Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.
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Old 07-04-2022, 07:24 AM
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Default May 17 (1954)

Supreme Court Bans School Segregation, Sparking Massive White Resistance

On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that segregation in public education was unconstitutional, overturning the "separate but equal" doctrine in place since 1896, and sparking massive resistance among white Americans committed to racial inequality.

The Supreme Court's landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education grew out of several cases challenging racial segregation in school districts across America, filed as part of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's strategy to bar the practice nationwide. In the named case, a Black man named Oliver Brown sued the Topeka, Kansas, Board of Education for refusing to allow his daughter, Linda, to attend the elementary school nearest her house solely due to her race.

When the case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall argued that segregated schools were harmful and saddled Black children with feelings of inferiority. Writing the majority opinion, Chief Justice Earl Warren endorsed this argument and declared that "in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."

The decision outraged white segregationists as much as it energized civil rights activists. Throughout the South, where state constitutions and state law mandated segregated schools, white people decried the decision as a tyrannical exercise of federal power. Many Southern white leaders and their constituents implemented a strategy of "massive resistance" to delay desegregation. These groups, made up of elected officials, business leaders, community residents, and parents, deployed a range of tactics and weapons against the growing movement for civil rights—including bombing and murdering civil rights activists, criminalizing peaceful protest, and wielding economic intimidation and threats to chill Black participation in civil rights activities.

These tactics worked: By 1960, only 98 of Arkansas’s 104,000 Black students attended desegregated schools, as did 34 of 302,000 in North Carolina, 169 of 146,000 in Tennessee, and 103 of 203,000 in Virginia. In the five Deep South states, every single one of 1.4 million Black schoolchildren attended segregated schools until the fall of 1960. By the start of the 1964-65 school year, less than 3% of the South’s African American children attended school with white students, and in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina that number remained substantially below 1%.

The Brown decision signaled the start of a massive cultural shift in racial dynamics in the U.S., and also launched an organized mass movement of opposition. Most white Americans, especially in the South, supported segregation.
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All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind. ~ Joseph Conrad
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right. ~ Thomas Paine
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Old 07-04-2022, 07:25 AM
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Default May 18 (1896)

Supreme Court Establishes “Separate But Equal” Doctrine as Law in Plessy v. Ferguson

On May 18, 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court released a 7-1 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, a case challenging racial segregation laws in Louisiana, holding that state-mandated segregation in intrastate travel was constitutional as long as the separate accommodations were equal.

The Court had heard arguments a month earlier on April 13. Homer Plessy, a Black man who had been arrested for boarding a "white only" passenger car, argued that the state segregation law violated the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments, which abolished slavery and established equal protection of the laws.

In 1890, Louisiana passed the Separate Car Act, requiring railroad companies to provide separate passenger cars for Black and white travelers. The Comite des Citoyens (“Committee of Citizens”), a New Orleans group of free Black men who employed civil disobedience to challenge segregation laws, wanted to challenge the law's constitutionality. When Mr. Plessy—a Black man—was arrested for boarding a “white only” passenger car, the committee helped him to appeal and the case eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

On May 18, Justice Henry Brown wrote the majority opinion, which held that the Louisiana law did not violate the Thirteenth or Fourteenth Amendments because it did not interfere with an individual’s personal freedom or liberties. He claimed the Court could uphold the notion that all people are equal before the law in political and civil rights but could not override social inferiority based upon the distinction of race.

Justice John Marshall Harlan dissented, writing that the Louisiana law was in direct violation of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments' promise of protection of all civil rights related to freedom and citizenship. Justice Harlan specified that the law was a blatant attempt to infringe upon the civil rights of African Americans and that the Court inappropriately yielded to public sentiment at the expense of constitutional safeguards. He predicted the Court’s decision would lead to racial confrontation.

Plessy v. Ferguson legally sanctioned racial segregation by establishing the “separate but equal” doctrine as national law. Public services and accommodations were segregated for decades, until the Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954 overruled the application of “separate but equal” in public education, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited it in public accommodations.
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A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right. ~ Thomas Paine
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Old 07-04-2022, 07:27 AM
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Default May 19 (1918)

Mary Turner, Pregnant, Lynched in Georgia for Publicly Criticizing Husband's Lynching

On May 19, 1918, a white mob from Brooks County, Georgia, lynched Mary Turner, a Black woman who was eight months pregnant, at Folsom’s Bridge 16 miles north of Valdosta for speaking publicly against the lynching of her husband the day before. The mob bound her feet, hanged her from a tree with her head facing down, threw gasoline on her, and burned the clothes off her body. Mrs. Turner was still alive when the mob took a large butcher’s knife to her abdomen, cutting the unborn baby from her body. When the baby fell from Mary Turner, a member of the mob crushed the crying baby’s head with his foot. The mob then riddled Mrs. Turner’s body with hundreds of bullets, killing her.

Mary Turner’s husband, Hayes Turner, had been lynched the day before. Hayes Turner was accused of being an accomplice in the killing of a notorious white farmer, Hampton Smith, who was well known for his abuse of Black farm workers. Mr. Smith would bail Black people accused of petty crimes out of jail and then require them to work off the fine at his farm. Sidney Johnson, a Black man working to pay a legal fee for “rolling dice,” confessed to killing Mr. Smith during a quarrel about being overworked. Police officers killed Mr. Johnson in a shootout. When news reached the white community, Mr. Turner and other Black farm workers who had previously been abused by Mr. Smith were targeted and accused of conspiracy.

Many Black people during this time were lynched based on mere accusations of murder against white people. The same was true here, as at least seven confirmed Black individuals were lynched by the white mob in response to Hampton Smith’s death, inflicting community-wide racial terror violence.

Mrs. Turner was grieving and spoke out against her husband’s death, promising to take legal action. Enraged by this, the white mob made an example out of Mrs. Turner, despite having no reason to fear actual legal repercussions from her promise as Black people at the time were not afforded judicial process. The white mob lynched Mary Turner and her unborn child to maintain white supremacy, silence her, and communicate to the Black community that no dissent from the racial order would be tolerated. No member of the mob was ever held accountable for the lynching of Mary Turner and her unborn baby.

The grotesque slaughter of a Black woman eight months pregnant reveals a great deal about the way in which Black women were dehumanized with impunity. EJI has documented 594 racial terror lynchings between 1877 and 1950 in the state of Georgia. Brooks County had the third highest number of documented racial terror lynchings.
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  #18  
Old 07-04-2022, 07:34 AM
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Extensive piece by Julie Buckner Armstrong who wrote the definitive book on the horrific and under-publicized atrocity: https://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2...d/ideas/essay/

Mary Turner and the Memory of Lynching ~ https://www.amazon.com/Turner-Memory.../dp/0820337668
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  #19  
Old 07-06-2022, 06:47 AM
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Default May 20 (1961)

White Mob Attacks Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Alabama

On May 20, 1961, Freedom Riders traveling by bus through the South to challenge segregation laws were brutally attacked by a white mob at the Greyhound Station in downtown Montgomery, Alabama.

Several days before, on May 16, the Riders faced mob violence in Birmingham so serious that it threatened to prematurely end their campaign. The Freedom Riders were initially organized by the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE), but after the Birmingham attacks, an interracial group of 22 Tennessee college students, known as the Nashville Student Movement, volunteered to take over and continue the ride through Alabama and Mississippi to New Orleans.

These new Freedom Riders reached Birmingham on May 17, but were immediately arrested and returned to Tennessee by Birmingham police. Undeterred, the Riders and additional reinforcements from Tennessee returned to Birmingham on May 18. Under pressure from the federal government, Alabama Governor John Patterson agreed to authorize state and city police to protect the Riders during their journey from Birmingham to Montgomery.

At Montgomery city limits, state police abandoned the Riders' bus; the Riders continued to the bus station unescorted and found no police protection waiting when they arrived. Montgomery Public Safety Commissioner L.B. Sullivan had promised the Ku Klux Klan several minutes to attack the Riders without police interference and, upon arrival, the Riders were met by a mob of several hundred angry white people armed with baseball bats, hammers, and pipes.

Montgomery police watched as the mob first attacked reporters and then turned on the Riders. Several were seriously injured, including a white college student named Jim Zwerg and future U.S. Congressman John Lewis. John Seigenthaler, an aide to Attorney General Robert Kennedy, was knocked unconscious. Ignored by ambulances, two injured Riders were saved by good samaritans who transported them to nearby hospitals.
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All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind. ~ Joseph Conrad
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Old 07-06-2022, 06:48 AM
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Default May 21 (1961)

White Mob Terrorizes 1,000 Black Residents Inside Montgomery, AL, Church

On the evening of May 21, 1961, more than 1,000 Black residents and civil rights leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth attended a service at Montgomery's First Baptist Church. The service, organized by Rev. Ralph Abernathy, was planned to support an interracial group of civil rights activists known as the Freedom Riders. As the service took place, a white mob surrounded the church and vandalized parked cars.

The Freedom Riders began riding interstate buses in 1961 to test Supreme Court decisions that prohibited discrimination in interstate passenger travel. Their efforts were unpopular with white Southerners who supported continued segregation, and they faced violent attacks in several places along their journey. The day before the Montgomery church service, the Riders had arrived in Montgomery and faced a brutal attack at the hands of hundreds of white people armed with bats, hammers, and pipes. The May 21 service was planned by the local Black community to express support and solidarity.

As the surrounding mob grew larger and more violent, Dr. King called U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy from the church's basement and requested help. Kennedy sent U.S. Marshals to dispel the riot; the growing mob pelted them with bricks and bottles and the marshals responded with tear gas.

When police arrived to assist the marshals, the mob broke into smaller groups and overturned cars, attacked Black homes with bullets and firebombs, and assaulted Black people in the streets. Alabama Governor John Patterson declared martial law in Montgomery and ordered National Guard troops to restore order. Authorities arrested 17 white rioters and, by midnight, the streets were calm enough for those in the church to leave.

Three days later, troops escorted the Freedom Riders as they departed to Jackson, Mississippi, where they would face further resistance.
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All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind. ~ Joseph Conrad
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right. ~ Thomas Paine
Don't let anyone tell you that your dreams can't come true. They are only afraid that theirs won't and yours will. ~ Robert Evans
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