Third week of Black History Matters programs start Feb. 15
The National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum’s third week of Black History Matters Programs begins Feb. 15.
Third week of Black History Matters programs start Feb. 15
PETERBORO — The National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum’s third week of Black History Matters Programs begins Wednesday, Feb. 15.
The programs will be released at midnight on www.YouTube.com/@AbolitionHallofFame.
Programs to be released are:
Wednesday, Feb. 15, The Port Chicago Mutiny (1944)
The Port Chicago disaster was a deadly explosion that occurred on July 17, 1944, at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in California. At the time, Black enlisted men were being used as laborers to load ammunition ships bound for the Pacific front of World War II. The explosion, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in U.S. history, killed 320 sailors, injured hundreds more, and devastated the surrounding area. The tragedy is considered a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement as it led to widespread protests and a successful mutiny by Black sailors demanding better working conditions. This incident remains one of the worst home-front disasters during World War II.
Thursday, Feb. 16, Smith v. Allwright and Voting Suppression (1944)
Smith v. Allwright was a landmark United States Supreme Court case decided in 1944. The lawsuit challenged the Texas Democratic Party’s practice of allowing only white people to participate in primary elections, even though primary elections were essential in choosing political candidates and effectively controlled who would hold public office. Lonnie E. Smith, a Black American man, attempted to vote in the Democratic primary in Texas but was denied the right to do so by the party officials. He then sued the party and its secretary, Ike Allwright, for violating his Fifteenth Amendment right to vote. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Smith, finding that the Texas Democratic Party’s exclusion of Black voters from its primary elections violated the Fifteenth Amendment’s guarantee of the right to vote regardless of race. This decision struck down the “White primary” system used by many Southern states to exclude Black voters from participating in the political process.
Friday, Feb. 17, The Journey of Reconciliation (1946 & 1947)
The Journey of Reconciliation was a landmark event in the Civil Rights Movement in 1947. Organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), 16 Black and white activists embarked on a bus trip through the South to challenge segregation in public transportation and test a recent Supreme Court ruling that banned segregation on interstate buses and trains. The Journey of Reconciliation was one of the first integrated Freedom Rides, and the activists faced significant opposition and violence from segregationists. Despite the danger, the activists continued their journey, staging nonviolent protests at bus stations and engaging in sit-ins at segregated lunch counters. The Journey of Reconciliation helped lay the foundation for the Freedom Rides of the 1960s.
Saturday, Feb. 18, Executive Order 9981: Desegregating the Armed Forces (1948)
Executive Order 9981 was a presidential directive President Harry S. Truman issued on July 26, 1948. The order aimed to end segregation in the United States Armed Forces and to ensure equal treatment and opportunity for all military members, regardless of race, color, religion, or national origin. The executive order stated that “there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.” It called for the end of segregation in the military and directed the armed services to implement policies to eliminate discrimination in all aspects of military life, from enlistment and training to promotion and assignment. The order marked the beginning of a new era in the military, where Black Americans were no longer denied the opportunity to serve their country and where they could receive equal treatment and recognition for their contributions.
Sunday, Feb. 19, Sweatt v. Painter: Separate and Not Equal (1950)
Sweatt v. Painter was a landmark United States Supreme Court case decided in 1950. The case challenged the constitutionality of a Texas law that stipulated separate law schools for Black and white students. The plaintiff, Heman Marion Sweatt, was a Black man who was denied admission to the University of Texas School of Law due to the state’s segregation policies. Sweatt argued that the separate law school for Black students was inherently unequal, as it failed to provide the same quality of education and resources as the white law school. The Supreme Court agreed, ruling that separate educational facilities were inherently unequal and violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Sweatt v. Painter marked one of the first times the Supreme Court declared segregation in education unconstitutional.
Monday, Feb. 20, Harper v. Virginia: The Poll Tax (1966)
Revised from Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 663 (1966), was a landmark case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States that declared that Virginia’s poll tax, which required citizens to pay a fee in order to vote, was unconstitutional. The Court held that the poll tax violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because it imposed an unjustified financial burden on citizens and effectively denied the right to vote to those who could not afford to pay it. The decision in Harper v. Virginia had far-reaching implications, striking down similar poll taxes in other states and helping to expand access to the ballot for all Americans, regardless of their financial status.
Tuesday, Feb. 21, Katzenbach v. McClung: Desegregating Dining (1964)
Katzenbach v. McClung was a United States Supreme Court case decided in 1964. The case challenged the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned discrimination in public accommodations. The defendant, Ollie’s Barbecue, was a restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama that refused to serve African American customers. The United States government argued that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was necessary to eliminate discrimination in public accommodations, which was a burden on interstate commerce. The Supreme Court agreed, ruling that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a valid exercise of Congress’s power to regulate commerce among the states. The Court found that discrimination in public accommodations affected interstate commerce, as it prevented Black Americans from traveling freely and spending their money in restaurants and other places of public accommodation. The Katzenbach v. McClung ruling was a significant victory for the Civil Rights Movement, as it upheld the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and gave the federal government the power to enforce anti-discrimination laws in public accommodations.
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