July – This Month In Black American History
By Guest Blogger Yahtzeebutterfly
Each month, Yahtzeebutterfly writes a This month in Black American History. Throughout the month, she updates in the comment section. Your contributions and discussions are welcomed.
July 2, 1908 – Thurgood Marshall
July 6, 1931 – Singer and actress Della Reese
July 7, 1915 – Writer and poet Margaret Walker
Former Georgia Court Justice Leah Ward Sears tells of the impact of Margaret Walker’s poem “For My People” and then reads the poem:
July 10, 1875 – Educator, civil rights activist, presidential advisor Mary McLeod Bethune in Mayesville, South Carolina
July 14, 1941 – Professor and activist Maulana Karena, founder of the Kwanzaa celebration
July 16, 1862 – Sociologist, journalist and anti-lynching activist and suffragist, Ida B. Wells who had been born a slave. She was one of the founders of the NAACP.
Quotations of Ida B. Wells:
“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”
“The appeal to the White man’s pocket has been more effectual than all the appeals ever made to his conscience.”
“The White man’s victory soon became complete by fraud, violence, intimidation and murder.
July 17, 1871 – James Weldon Johnson…lawyer, poet, novelist, educator, diplomat and civil rights activist.
In 1899 James Weldon Johnson wrote “Lift Every Voice and Sing” which his brother John Rosamond Johnson set to music in 1900.
Throughout his life, James Weldon Johnson was involved in civil rights as a speaker, writer and newspaper editor. In 1895 he started the “Daily American” newspaper “at a time when southern legislatures were passing laws and constitutions that disfranchised blacks and [also] Jim Crow laws to impose racial segregation.”(Wikipedia) Unfortunately the newspaper, which covered racial issues and political topics only lasted a year due to financial problems.
Mr. Johnson went on to become a field secretary, organizer and, later, executive secretary for the NAACP. He organized the July 28, 1917 silent, anti-lynching protest march of 10,000 African Americans down Fifth Avenue in New York City.
July 19, 1875 – Activist, poet and journalist Alice Dunbar
July 30, 1961 – Happy Birthday, Laurence Fishburne!
One of my favorite scenes (Laurence Fishbone playing Morpheus in “The Matrix”)
July 31, 1921 – Whitney Young in Shelby County, Kentucky
According to Wikipedia, Whitney Young “spent most of his career working to end employment discrimination in the United States and turning the National Urban League from a relatively passive civil rights organization into one that aggressively worked for equitable access to socioeconomic opportunity for the historically disenfranchised.”
Laws, Judicial Decisions, Events
July 2, 1964 – The Civil Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.
July 5, 1852 – Frederick Douglass delivered his speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” at a time when around 3.5 million African Americans were enslaved.
Following is a reenactment of Frederick Douglass’ speech by Phil Darius Wallace:
July 6, 1957 – Althea Gibson won Wimbledon women’s singles tournament
July 9, 1868 – Adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
“The 14th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on July 9, 1868, and granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” which included former slaves recently freed. In addition, it forbids states from denying any person “life, liberty or property, without due process of the law” or to “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
July 17, 1862 – Confiscation Act of 1862
(This act formed the legal basis for Emancipation Proclamation)
July 25, 1916 – Using his invention of the gas mask, Garrett Morgan rescued men who were trapped in a tunnel 250 feet under Lake Erie.
July 26, 1948 – President Harry Truman used an executive order to desegregate the armed forces.