Happy Negro History Week!
The Maundy Monday Newsletter - This Week in History February 12 - February 18.
Happy Monday after the Super Bowl! I learned yesterday that a school in the area has given the day off to the students and teachers today. They get it. When will the rest of the country figure this out? I think this would be a strong presidential issue to run on.
Today begins the second whole week of Black History Month. If you are like me, your LinkedIn or Facebook feed last week was full of people yelling about how it was Black History Month.
Some of us seem to get bent out of shape because we have one, while others vent about having one during February, which is the shortest month of the year. For historians, or people like me, historically adjacent, Black History Month is every month. Still, February is a time to focus on the people and their important contributions to our country.
Do you know why February is Black History Month? Because Dr. Carter Woodson said so.
Dr. Woodson is considered the Father of Black History. He was born in 1875 to formerly enslaved people. He earned his Ph.D. in history at Harvard. He would go on to create the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), which conducted scholarly work on the African diaspora and other historical events.
This led to the creation of Negro History Week, which would be this week. Why? Because Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, and Frederick Douglass picked Valentine’s Day as his birthday.
Negro History Week, over time, slowly became a month-long celebration, thanks in large part to the fascists, Marxists, communists, socialists, and left-wing radicals on college campuses across the country who organized more celebrations throughout February to understand important black leaders and black people’s contributions.
Black History Month became an official thing back in 1976, one month after I became a thing. Dr. Woodson passed away in 1950 but spent most of his life living in Washington, DC, where he has a historic house. I have never visited, but I need to.
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Okay, let's highlight what else happened this week. Here's what I got:
The Senate acquitted President Clinton on February 12, 1999. There were two articles for the Senate to consider removing Clinton from office (lying under oath and obstructing justice). The Republicans who pushed this forward fell way short of the 67 votes needed on both counts. Here’s an interesting note on how the votes broke down: Both republican Maine senators who were women voted “not guilty,” while the two male Republican Ohio senators voted for Clinton to be removed from the island. I have no idea what this means; it’s just interesting.
Rutherford B. Hayes signed a law that allowed female attorneys to argue before the Supreme Court on February 15, 1879. Belva Ann Lockwood would become the first woman to argue a case before the Court, and even though she liked Prohibition, she did push for black people to be admitted, helping Samuel Lowry become the first black person to argue before the Court.
The Church of Scientology was established on February 18, 1954. The religious cult is based on stuff made up by author L Ron Hubbard and is run by a group called the “Sea Organization.” It is believed up to at least 75% of all Hollywood actors and actresses are members. I’m also capable of making things up. Join my cult.
I also want to recognize that The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded on February 12, 1909, the centennial of Lincoln’s birthday.
The NAACP is the largest civil rights organization in the country. It was formed a year after a race riot in Springfield, Illinois, that saw whites burn down 40 homes in the black residential area of the city and kill two people.
The NAACP has played an essential role in fighting for the civil rights of black people. Thurgood Marshall, the awesome Supreme Court justice, founded the NAACP's Legal Defense and Educational Fund in 1940.
I also learned a few years ago that the group pronounces itself as N A-A CP rather than N Double A CP, which I said forever.
I hope you all had a nice weekend. I hope your team won. I hope you enjoyed seeing Taylor Swift. We watched Usher’s halftime show and thought it was okay. Then Anonymous and I went home and went to bed, skipping the second half. It looked like it was a good game.
Anonymous says she will be home all week, so we will see if that happens. I’ve asked Blue to keep an eye on her. It will be a busy week for me as we prepare for vacation next week.
I’ll see you on Friday. We got some election ranking to do!
Thank you for spending some time with Okay History. I hope you have a great week!