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Tammy's All Things History

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Black History

African-American Woman Bessie Coleman


Bessie Coleman, First African American Pilot - GPN-2004-00027.jpg
Bessie Coleman, via Wikipedia.

Bessie Coleman (1892-1926) defied Jim Crow laws and racism towards Blacks early in the 20th century by becoming the first African-American female aviator. Despite the fact that she grew up poor, she sought out the opportunity to make her dreams come true. With the help of a mentor and the inspiration of her brothers, she ventured overseas to France to obtain flight training. France at the time did not discriminate against Blacks but welcomed them into its society and schools. There Bessie not only completed her training but gained fame and prestige as a fully qualified and talented airplane pilot, who performed stunts at air shows. This recognition influenced other African American women to realize they too could defy oppression by White society and seek opportunities previously closed to women of their race. Bessie’s success and others contributed not only to the Women’s Movement and but also to the Equal Rights Movement for years to come because of her belief in optimism and perseverance.

Unfortunately, Bessie would not live to see the changes inspired by her contributions of African-American firsts. She died on April 30, 1926, at her final air show. Her legacy continues to this day through the recognition and adoration by modern female African American aviators.

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History on Saturday-Million Man March 1963


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Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington in 1963, where many various groups organized a meeting for people to come together to show their support of the Civil Rights Movement. It culminated in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, I Have a Dream Speech.

This is a popular event in history but one that is repeatedly told through popular history circles. If one were to grab a few books and do some research at a local library they would find there was much more to the civil rights than that. Dr. King himself was a small part of the movement. Not unlike today, people tended to rally around those they felt confident to be the fore runner for justice in our country and he was chosen for the civil rights movement at the time. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for it too. Today we celebrate his life, work and death as we keep the memory alive and his dream lives on in the hearts of many. He would be amazed at the progress we have accomplished since that time but he would also tell us to keep working toward our goals.

I am including some webs I found to visit that offers insight into the importance of the civil rights movement, Dr. King, and the march. Enjoy!

The Civil Rights Movement:

http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/1945-present/civil-rights-movement

Dr. King:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/mlk/

The March:

http://www.npr.org/news/specials/march40th/march.html

1968: A Pivotal moment for African-Americans


     1968 was a pivotal year in America’s civil rights movement. Black Americans were still suffering from white supremacy of which met them at every tuned opportunity to advance in their standards of living. Martin Luther King Jr., a spokesman for black Americans, preached reform through peaceful means. Even more so, he warned Americans that situations of unrest would occur in the event this fell upon deaf ears or further spurred black’s civil rights infringement. Feeling a lack of support for them, Black Americans grew impatient with bureaucracy in waiting for their needs to be met or not at all. In 1968, all of these things came to a head in April of that year.

Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated in Memphis on April 5, 1968. Just days earlier he stood tall at one of his many speaking engagements preaching his message of peace not violence as a means to secure civil rights for all Americans. Angry, shocked and hurt, Washington, DC. black residents flooded the streets and local businesses to release their pent-up frustration. They looted, rioted and shouted the need for action and this time no amount of police force would deter their ambitions.

The following day schools and government offices were open as usual. This was unlike President Kennedy’s day of mourning after his assassination. In protest of this unfair action, a more liberal black activist, Stokely Carmichael, persuaded local black business owners to shut down and close in a wave of defiance against white’s lack of sympathy showed the black community. The looting and fires lead to the discharge of National Guard troops who were not allowed to fire upon the rioters.  For once, blacks were not ruled by police brutality. After the riots, the first black mayor of  Washington, DC., Walter Washington, was placed in charge of the city, supported by President Johnson; a pro-Civil Rights leader. Blacks that remained in these looted and rioted areas took over soon after as segregation ended and middle-class black families moved away. What remained was a new community built by blacks and protected by blacks so strongly no white person dared to venture there.

What was learned from this trying time in 1968 was thatAmericawas ready more than ever to end segregation and to begin to allow law to work for the advancement of civil rights. Black Americans would not sit idly by and be intimidated into accepting things the way they were. They mourned Martin Luther King Jr. and honored him by picking up the torch and carrying his vision with them into the future. Americans also learned that violence on violence was not the answer and it could not control the black community; strong as any other in its determination for political freedoms.

The Fires of 1968 Marker Photo, Click for full size

Today a marker stands to remind those who pass by to remember lives lost and reborn on the eve of major advancement of the civil rights movement.

Black Buffers


In 1968, the Black Buffers were a group of ex-convicts formed by fundamentalists William Porter and John Staggers. The purpose of this group was to patrol the streets of Washington D.C. along side the radical political group, the Black Panthers. The men were installed to preach and recruit for fellowship with the fundamentalists. They were called Black Buffers because they essentially buffeted the Black Power movement against an all white police force that used brutality to control of Black citizens.

To keep the buffers from being seen as a fundamentalist group to establish their own right, Doug Coe, fundamentalist group leader, created The Young Life program. This program was literally run by white leadership but camouflaged with black men to appear as a normal civil rights activist group. It was an experiment in social conservatism. The experiment set up the conservatism using the control of a social group, the black ex-cons in Washington D.C., then manipulating the public into believing they were not a group capable of uprising and producing hysteria which was rampant in the 1960’s. The group did not ignite the flame it intended to do but fizzled out about a year later when revenues could not be obtained for its continuation through fund raising.

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