reconstruction period

A Voice for the Voiceless: The Legacy of Ida B. Wells

Photo: Ida B. Wells Barnett, in a photograph by Mary Garrity from c. 1893.

Ida Bell Wells was born into slavery in 1862 and emancipated by the Union Army six months later. She leaves behind a legacy as a voice for the voiceless, as one of our nation’s foremost critics of a racial injustice and a journalistic champion of the truth.  

Her family was very active during the Reconstruction period and members of the Republican Party. Her father, James Wells helped to found Shaw University in North Carolina. After a tragic illness, Wells lost her parents and moved to Memphis, TN. She began her career in activism early as a student at Fisk University.

 In 1884, after refusing to give up her seat on a train to a white patron, she was forcibly removed and later sued the railroad. She initially won a $500 settlement, but the ruling was overturned by the Tennessee Supreme Court. 

This was her “aha” moment where she began her one woman crusade for injustice. Wells turned to writing and began chronicling issues of race and politics in the Deep South. Under the name “lola,” Wells became a leading voice on issues of racial injustice and eventually owned three newspapers including;  Memphis Free Speech, Headlight and the Free Speech.

In addition to her civil rights work, Wells also worked as a teacher in a segregated school. Her work there led her to attack the system of segregation and her vocal displeasure eventually got her fired. 

However, it was the deaths of Tom Moss, Calvin McDowell and Will Stewart—three African American business owners in Memphis—that ignited her charge to take on lynching. Moss, McDowell and Stewart were killed after they opened a grocery store that directly competed with a white-owned store and drove business away. 

“Our country’s national crime is lynching. It is not the creature of an hour, the sudden outburst of uncontrolled fury, or the unspeakable brutality of an insane mob.” —Ida B. Wells

Photo: Ida B. Wells (author), Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases, book cover, 1892.

In response, Wells traveled the South gathering records of lynchings and wrote  “Southern Horrors: Lynch Laws in All its Phases” in 1892. Her reports outraged southern whites and she was never able to return to Memphis. The next year she published “A Red Record,” a personal reflection on the lynching crisis and spoke around the world about the atrocities going on in the United States. 

Segregation remained a cause close to her heart and Wells authored a response to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition decision to ban black exhibitors. 

She wrote: 

“The exhibit of the progress made by a race in 25 years of freedom as against 250 years of slavery, would have been the greatest tribute to the greatness and progressiveness of American institutions which could have been shown the world. The colored people of this great Republic number eight millions – more than one-tenth the whole population of the United States.” Ida B. Wells,  “The Reason Why the Colored American Is Represented in the World’s Columbian Exposition.”

In 1898 she took her anti-lynching campaign all the way to the White House, urging President William McKinley to act to save black lives. Although several bills would be introduced, the United States has never explicitly outlawed lynching. 

Photo: This is a flyer created by the NAACP in 1922 to raise awareness about the lynching epidemic that was occurring and the proposed Dyer anti-lynching bill.

apush tips

throughout the year

  • remember that apush is more detail oriented than other ap histories
  • take really good notes
  • try to recognize common themes and major turning points
  • practice writing essays/dbqs/short answers a lot (your teacher should take care of this in class hopefully)
  • crash course it out


  • start studying two-ish months before the exam (if your class is on track, you should start studying when the teacher starts reviewing)
  • review in reverse so that you can better understand historical causality and the last thing you study will be what you learned in august/september
  • buy a box of flashcards (barron or 5 steps) 
  • do lots of practice tests, at least one of which should be done in a realistic setting (at a desk, in the morning, timed, all parts of the test)
  • i really love the ap us history crash course book by larry krieger to read the last couple days before the exam because it’s got the simplified information and lots of helpful hints
  • don’t study the night before the exam – relax


  • know your periods (reconstruction, great depression, gilded age, etc)
  • change and continuity over time!!! (slavery >> civil rights // republican motherhood >> 1970s women’s lib)
  • don’t memorize every battle of every war just know really important ones/turning points
  • please please please use synthesis when writing essays it’s one sentence worth a full point seriously even if you think it’s a terrible synthesis WRITE IT DOWN
  • while on the topic of writing, learn how to write an apush-specific thesis it is the foundation for your entire essay/dbq
  • don’t get too scared of dbqs they literally do half the work for you all you have to do is line up the documents and add a bit of background information/a few examples
  • you can do this. study, do the work, and breathe. it’s all going to turn out fine.
Today in Black History for March 23rd

1985 - Patricia Roberts Harris, HUD Secretary, dies

Patricia Roberts Harris, Housing and Urban Development Secretary and, in 1965, ambassador to Luxembourg during the Carter Administration, died in Washington, D.C.

Patricia Harris appears before Senate Committee to be appointed as US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the new Cabinet.

1968 - 1st Non-voting Congressional Delegate

Rev. Walter Fauntroy, a former aide of Martin Luther King Jr., became the first nonvoting congressional delegate from the District of Columbia since the Reconstruction period.

1954 - Basketball star Moses “The Mailman” Malone born

National Basketball Association star, Moses “The Mailman” Malone is born in Petersburg, Virginia.

1942 - Writer/Activist Walter Rodney born


The Imperial Audience Hall was the grandest and most important building in the palace and was rebuilt in time to celebrate Nara’s 1300th anniversary of becoming the capital in 2010. Of course, the original specifications of the building are long lost, so the reconstruction is based on period architecture and clues from excavations.


December 6th 1865: 13th Amendment ratified

On this day in 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified by the states, formally banning slavery in the United States. Ratification does not require unanimous approval, and some states rejected the amendment; Mississippi only ratified the 13th Amendment in 2013, 148 years after the amendment’s passage. The 13th amendment marks the first of the three so-called ‘Reconstruction’ amendments, which secured civil and voting rights for African-Americans after the Civil War. The amendment was proposed by the Lincoln administration following the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation - which was a temporary war measure abolishing slavery in the Confederacy - to assert that the ban on slavery was to be permanent. Lincoln did not initially intend to free the slaves, and always prioritised saving the Union, but emancipation became intriscially tied to Union victory. This was due to the actions of slaves, who fled to Union lines and tried to enlist in the army. The Reconstruction period that followed the American Civil War was largely a contest over the implications of the 13th Amendment and the emancipation of four million slaves. Radicals in Congress pushed for equality of the law and opportunity, while white Southerners, with assistance from violent groups like the Ku Klux Klan, sought to maintain racial subordination and white supremacy. Reconstruction ultimately failed to truly implement freedom for African-Americans, and it was not until the Civil Rights Movement one hundred years later that America again tried to come to terms with the legacy of emancipation.

TFP AU where the imprisonment of Unicron’s spectral form renders Dark Energon non-malevolent, and without that fueling the space madness Megatron suddenly has a reason to do that heel face turn that doesn’t involve ‘Now I know true oppression! D:“

TFP AU where he and Optimus have to work out an unsteady treaty that caters for not just themselves and their ideals but for their subordinates, taking into account crimes committed and injustices done on both sides of the war, starting anew without forgetting the conflict and oppression which bred their situations.

Where Ratchet gets to be science bros with Shockwave and Knock Out without involving kidnapping, and Cybertron is restored thanks to their combined work.

TFP AU where Soundwave doesn’t end up in the Shadowzone.

Where Jack wins a scholarship to university and gets a degree in political science, ending up on the first UN-Cybertron ambassadorial party when formal contact is made ten years into the post-war reconstruction period.

TFP AU where working so closely together for such an extended period of time forces Megatron and Optimus to confront the hurts that were done and the betrayals in their shared past, and in doing so reminds them of just how effective and well-matched they are as a team.

TFP AU where the call goes out for all those left alive to come home, the war is over and we’re waiting for you!

Where the returning combatants come back in dribs and drabs, injured and downcast and expecting the worst, and are greeted by a world ravaged by war but very much alive beneath the damage.

Where they’re welcomed by both generals, standing side by side like lovers, and behind them the towers of New Protihex are rising from the rubble, gleaming in the new day like rays of sunlight.

TFP post-war AU where Megatron is still an asshole and Optimus is still an overly-serious obnoxiously self-sacrificing glitch, and sometimes they need a bit of a prod in the right direction so Soundwave and Jazz, professional busybodies, endeavour to provide that prod.

TFP AU where Optimus turns up in Megatron’s office one day, vorns after the end of that war, and hears the door lock behind him…


Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki:

A selection of mosaics found throughout Thessaloniki, displayed in a reconstruction of a Roman residence situated at the garden of the museum. (4th century AD)

Mosaics appear in greek space during prehistoric times and up until the Hellenistic period they are constructed with colourful pebbles. During the Roman period we have the appearance of “tesserae”, the cube tiles made of a variety of materials. Motifs range from floral and geometrical designs to elaborate scenes taken from mythology.

All I can think is that these designs would make some truly great carpets.

An open letter to white nationalists on tumblr.

You know I’d have zero problems with white pride or white nationalism if all it was was celebrating heritage.

Everybody has a cultural identity. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with finding your features beautiful and taking an interest in your family history. You should celebrate where you come from and the things that make you unique. 

I’d be fine with a White History Month.

I’d be fine with a “White Pride” event or parade or whatever.

I’d be fine with people saying “white girls are beautiful!” or “I only wanna date inside my own race”. 

Because someone else expressing love for themselves or living their life  to a certain set of beliefs doesn’t diminish how I feel about myself. I can say “Good for you” with complete sincerity. 

The problem is, you guys don’t just leave it at this.

White things are always done as a “Retaliation” or a “take THAT!” to other movements. 

When I see and participate in things centered around black people, 99% of the time people of other races don’t even come up. We’re not trash-talking white people. We’re not using racial slurs against white people. We’re not putting white people down to make blackness seem special or superior. We’re just talking about ourselves, doing our own thing, and having fun.

When was the last time the Black Panthers burned a cross in somebody’s yard? Never. The answer is never. It did not happen. 

We don’t dress up like white people to make fun of you. We don’t create entire websites centered around hating you where me and my friends can have a good ol’ cackle and feel superior for 10 minutes on the internet. We don’t lord the accomplishments of people we have zero connection to other than skin color over the heads of other ethnic groups just to go “haw haw!” 

If anything, the only time you enter into the discussion at all is if we’re sharing experiences of how we are violently mistreated in a country that would not exist without us. Whether you recognize the contributions black americans have made to building this nation or not is irrelevant. Ignoring this fact does not make it unture. 

You did not want a “whiteout” until we had blackout.

You never mention White history month any other time except when February creeps up.

You didn’t shout “AllLivesMatter” until we shouted “BlackLivesMatter”

Now the internet is a big place. I cannot speak for every single individual person who identifies as a white nationalist, I can only judge by what I’ve seen and heard and read by other people who call themselves such. And most of the time what I see is the pattern I’ve mentioned above.

Black people do something for black people. White people take offense to this and decide to do something else in retaliation. But there’s nothing to retaliate against. And if its not a retaliation, its an opposition.

A prime example is this “dindu nuffin” meme. An unarmed child is killed by the police, you find humor in our outrage and in the way we protest. Similarly, there are no memes or caricatures or general culture of hatred that circulate whenever a white child is murdered. I have yet to find one “Caylee Anthony” meme. Yet I can find several of Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, and many others

We do not treat you the way you treat us. 

I’ll use this presidential campaign as an example. Donald Trump has the support of many self-proclaimed white nationalists. One of the most prominent supporters was a man who starred in a documentary called “White Student Union.” 

This man and one other violently assaulted a black woman who was involved at a peaceful protest at this rally. Freedom of speech declares that this woman and the other protesters were within their right to be there. Yet if you go on google, there’s numerous stories of black people being assaulted at these rallies. When checking white nationalist websites, videos, and postings; I’ve found that Trump has a lot of support in the white nationalist community. 

From an outsider’s perspective, white nationalism is painted as movement who’s only purpose is to curb the waning self-esteem of white people who don’t feel special anymore because they know they’re not better than anybody else. Much like those southern racists who’ll hem and haw about the good ol’ days where you didn’t have to treat all people like people.

If this is false, then here are some suggestions from a black man to help you with your image.

1. Lose the racially charged symbolism. Pick something besides the confederate flag or Odin’s Cross to flail around. Stop trying to evoke the imagery of groups that have literally tortured murdered people for not being white. There are plenty of great images in European history to choose from. Or you could choose an animal. How about a polar bear? 

2. Keep us out your mouths. Go on the “blackout” tag and what do you see. Pictures of black people, and people explaining the need for blackout right? And that’s all. You are nowhere to be seen. There is no one going on about how blacks are superior and blah blah blah. If you want to be proud of your heritage then be proud of it. But if you’re only proud of it because you think its better than somebody else’s- that speaks volumes about your true intentions.

Go on the “natural hair” tag. How many black women do you see talking trash about white people’s hair? How many comics and memes can you find? None. 

The only time black people trash talk you is when someone else brings it on themselves by saying something ignorant about us first. “But Jj two wrongs don’t make a right!” And when someone is a victim of something they want to stop happening and nobody else does anything about it- they’re going to retaliate. this is the real world, not kindergarden. 

If you want to be proud of being white: be proud. But if you’re ONLY proud because you think being white makes you better than other people, then you’re just looking for an excuse to justify your own unwarranted sense of superiority and I pity you. 

Finally: Educate yourselves. Do you know what I’ve come to realize just by lurking and my brief stint debating on white nationalist forums? A lot of you immediately swallow anything that already coincides with your worldview and when something challenges that- you refuse to think critically. Granted, everyone is guilty of this to some degree. But see, if you’re going to be a nationalist then you need to have a core understanding of the real issues that affect your people and why you are treated the way you are. 

A prime example: black-on-black crime is a myth. It is a term used to demonize the black population and should have no bearings in any serious discussion on race relations. Why? Because it is isolated. There is no “white-on-white” crime mentioned, despite people who identify as white making up a majority of the american population. there is no “asian-on-asian” crime. Or “latino on latino crime.” Yet somehow black people are painted as more criminally inclined than anyone else despite being only 13% of the overall population. 

That is mathematically impossible. And socially irresponsible to believe.

People who live near eachother are going to commit crime among themselves. A thief who lives in white neighborhoods is going to steal from white people and white businesses. It is mathematically impossible for 13% of the country to commit more crime than any of the other 87%. But many of you keep using this phrase “black on black crime” like it has any sort of credence. 

 You use it to devalue and discredit a race. Yet in the same breath you will claim white nationalism is not about racial superiority. 

This kind of cognitive dissonance is an insult to my intelligence and only serves to make your movement look shallow, racist, and foolish.

It is the same when you bring up IQ scores. I see numerous threads saying the average IQ for a black person is “70″. 

Let us say for the sake of argument that this is true.

The trans atlantic slave trade began in 1619 when the first West Africans were brought to Jamestown. West Africans who did not speak or read any English and were forbidden from learning to read or write in this new language. Who were forced to work from sun up until sundown over many generations in an environment where access to education was denied to them. Slavery officially ended in 1865 when the 13th amendment to the United States constitution was ratified. That is over 350 years of non-education and learning English only by ear.

After 1865 America entered into what was known as the Reconstruction Period. Blacks were “free” in the sense that they could no longer be kept as slaves, but white leaders implemented laws designed to keep blacks both disenfranchised and dependent on the structure slavery had built. This was done through Sharecropping. Blacks worked the land owned by someone else and gave the land-owner a share of the crops.This was one of the few and only ways blacks could earn a living in a nation where they had no education. 

This was further extended into the Jim Crow Era, where “Separate but Equal” was enforced until 1965 when Brown vs The Board of Education first served to dismantle it. 

Blacks could not vote. This was enforced through the “grandfather clause” which stated that someone could only vote if their grandfather had the right to vote. And since blacks were descended from freedmen who came from slaves, this was coded language used to target them specifically.

Blacks could not use the same facilities whites had access to, and when they could, they were often mistreated. This meant that schools were taught by people who had to teach themselves, who were previously farmers, who were previously slaves with no education and no formal understanding of the English language itself beyond what they could pick up. 

This period also marked the return of the KKK through D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation.” Black towns and businesses, most notably Black Wall-Street were destroyed by angry whites who were upset at the progress blacks were making. So they used violence and fear to knock them back down. Supported by a government who also shared these same ideals, they were of course largely successful.

And this continued until 1965.

Do you know how long ago that was? 51 years ago. 

My father  was born in 1936. My mother was born in 1954. 

My sister was born in 1975 and she was the first person in our immediate family to receive what could be considered a cohesive education. I was burn in 1991.

We have had one generation, as a family, to get our shit together . And the only reason we even had that launchpad, was because my father was light enough to have “White” listed on his military ID. So he had access to things other black people did not have, including my mother.

My mother did not go to an integrated school until she was in 8th grade. That means she had 9th, 10, 11th, 12th– 4 years. 4 years of a “quality” education and was somehow expected to make a life for herself in a place that didn’t even want her using the same bus.

Those “ghetto’s” are the remnants of segregation. Those black children who struggle in school are the product of centuries of exclusion, violence, and discrimination and a country that still thinks of and treats them as lesser beings.

I will say it again: It is an INSULT to my intelligence when white nationalists will spout these numbers and figures without any context, ignorant of the history and the conditions that bring these results. My IQ is 127 132  [just took a test to write this post actually]. But that is not because I’m some special snowflake black. It is because I had the environment and the access to things and people that allowed me to develop this way. There are many black people who do and many who do not. 

If you are going to be a nationalist, then deal in facts. Deal in reality. Understand history, understand issues in their context, before you open your mouth to say some ignorant ass shit just to shake your head and lament on the sad state of nonwhites around you. BE INTELLIGENT. Think beyond the narrow view of the racist propaganda that’s shoved in your face just because it makes you feel good you’re “not like that.”

If you stopped trying to feel better than everyone else and did a little research , you would see and understand where a lot of these issues that plague many different communities come from. But most of you that I’ve seen have no interest in that. Most of you will just grab the first link off some backwater website that confirms whatever prejudice you already hold and drop it into a thread like you’ve just said something profound while everyone else applauds and nods in approval. And the second someone pops in to criticize it, you’re rarin’ to go with more propaganda. 

Human beings are unique. We’re all alarmingly similar and different at the same time. I’m not going to pretend like the black community is without flaws, I call black people out on their shit too, but this issue just really irked me so I had to write a post about it.

Every race has beautiful and unique things about them. Every people has a history and a culture that goes deeper than a picture or a statistic, and its by educating ourselves and working to understand as much as possible that our knowledge grows. I could not in good conscience participate in a discussion that did nothing but slam white people. I’ve made some petty posts in the past in retaliation to some of the racist and entitled things some white people have said, and a part of me regrets them, but I cannot believe with any amount of sincerity that pro-black has to be anti-white.  So why cant the opposite be true?

Why is everything pro-white rooted in anti-blackness? 

Why do you have to feel better than me in order to feel good about yourself?

I can love my skin and yours at the same time.  

Why can’t you?



The evolutionary origins of chimaeras -cartilaginous fishes known informally as ghost sharks- are now clearer thanks to the data provided of a computed tomography analysis of Dwykaselachus, an enigmatic chondrichthyan braincase from the ~280 million year old Karoo sediments of South Africa.

Despite their popular name, ghost sharks aren’t sharks in fact are related to sharks and rays, which also have cartilaginous bodies. 

At first place, externally the fossil was supposed to be a symmoriid shark, a group of 300 million-year-old sharks. Internally, the morphology exhibits otherwise characteristically chimaeroid specializations, including the otic labyrinth arrangement and the brain space configuration relative to exceptionally large orbits. Surprisingly the braincase preserves details about the brain shape, the paths of major cranial nerves and the anatomy of the inner ear.

These results have important implications for our view of modern of chimaera origins, add robust proof the phylogeny evolution of this group and shed new lights on the chondrichthyan response to the extinction at the end of the Devonian period.


1) Freedom; the power to determine the destiny of the Black and oppressed communities.

2) Full Employment; give every person employment or guaranteed income.

3) End to robbery of Black communities; the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules as promised to ex-slaves during the reconstruction period following the emancipation of slavery.

4) Decent housing fit for the shelter of human beings; the land should be made into cooperatives so that the people can build.

5) Education for the people; that teaches the true history of Blacks and their role in present day society.

6) Free health care; health facilities which will develop preventive medical programs.

7) End to police brutality and murder of Black people and other people of color and    oppressed people.

8) End to all wars of aggression; the various conflicts which exist stem directly from the United States ruling circle.

9) Freedom for all political prisoners; trials by juries that represent our peers.

10) Land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, peace and community control of modern industry.

Today in Black History (17 February 1942): Black Panther Founder, Newton, is born.

An illiterate high-school graduate, Newton taught himself how to read before attending Merritt College in Oakland and the San Francisco School of Law, where he met Seale. In Oakland in 1966 they formed the Black Panther group in response to incidents of police brutality and racism and as an illustration of the need for black self-reliance. At the height of its popularity during the late 1960s, the party had 2,000 members in chapters in several cities.

The party aimed to achieve full equity based on a 10 point plan: 

1) “Freedom; the power to determine the destiny of the Black and oppressed communities.

2) Full Employment; give every person employment or guaranteed income.

3) End to robbery of Black communities; the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules as promised to ex-slaves during the reconstruction period following the emancipation of slavery.

4) Decent housing fit for the shelter of human beings; the land should be made into cooperatives so that the people can build.

5) Education for the people; that teaches the true history of Blacks and their role in present day society.

6) Free health care; health facilities which will develop preventive medical programs.

7) End to police brutality and murder of Black people and other people of color and    oppressed people.

8) End to all wars of aggression; the various conflicts which exist stem directly from the United States ruling circle.

9) Freedom for all political prisoners; trials by juries that represent our peers.

10) Land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, peace and community control of modern industry.

In 1967 Newton was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the death of a police officer, but his conviction was overturned 22 months later, and he was released from prison. In 1971 he announced that the party would adopt a non-violent manifesto and dedicate itself to providing social services to the black community. In 1974 he was accused of another murder and fled to Cuba for three years before returning to face charges; two trials resulted in hung juries.
Newton received a Ph.D in social philosophy from the University of California at Santa Cruz (1980); his dissertation, "War Against the Panthers” was subtitled “A Study of Repression in America.” Succumbing to factionalism and pressure from government agencies, the party disbanded in 1982. In March 1989 Newton was sentenced to a six-month jail term for misappropriating public funds intended for a Panther-founded Oakland school. In August of that year he was found shot dead on a street in Oakland. RIP and Happy Birthday Huey P. Newton!!! and in his famous words: "Power to the People!“ - B.A.A.B Team

Smithsonian-West Point Tunic

One of the 150 items featured in Smithsonian Civil War is a West Point tunic circa 1839 that belonged to a scrawny 17-year-old plebe by the name of Ulysses Grant.

Smithsonian Civil War is a lavishly illustrated coffee-table book featuring 150 entries in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  From among tens of thousands of Civil War objects in the Smithsonian’s collections, curators handpicked 550 items and wrote a unique narrative that begins before the war through the Reconstruction period.

A very quick summary of the Four Ages of Cybertronian history. And I mean v e r y quick, skipping over a lot of kind of important and very interesting details to focus on a sweeping narrative that unfortunately has to generalise a lot of things to be readable. Main points in the graphic, further elaboration under the cut.

+ Disclaimer: This is a headcanon for my TFP-based AU fanfiction project, Book of Hours. In this case I’m more or less ignoring the Covenant of Primus because frankly I like my version better. (Sorry, Alpha Trion.) So please, if that’s not your thing – don’t take it too seriously.

See Also →

Keep reading

James Potter is an immigrant’s son of Indian descent.

His father left India during the post-revolution diaspora and headed to safety in England, because being part of a English MoM allied family during the reconstruction period must have been dangerous, especially considering the fact that he was likely Hogwarts educated. He eventually established himself among the Pureblood Community in England, but still struggled, as some of the older families (i.e. Black, Malfoy) do not see him or his son as legitimate.

James takes this to heart and seeks to prove himself as much as possible by being as smart and outgoing as possible, in order to gain the trust and acceptance of his pureblooded peers, but still seeks any connection to what he does consider his homeland, despite only being there during the summers. He feels really out of place, and that’s how the Marauders come to be— they’re all a group of misfit kids searching for a connection.

Sirius is looking for a positive connection to his family, Peter is looking for safety, Remus is looking for acceptance and James is looking for a connection to his family and heritage, as much of it would be a taboo topic. And in their search for these parts of themselves, they find each other because, hey, if you’re looking for something, eight eyes are better than two.


June 3rd 1808: Jefferson Davis born

On this day in 1808, the future President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, was born in Fairview, Kentucky. Davis spent much of his youth at the family cotton plantations in Mississippi and Louisiana, which contributed to his ardent support of slavery. He graduated from the West Point military academy (though not without causing trouble - being implicated in the 1826 Eggnog Riot) and entered the army, during which time he fought in the Mexican-American War. Davis entered politics in 1845, and worked his way up to Senator for Mississippi and US Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce. While initially voting against secession at the outbreak of the American Civil War, Davis went with his state and supported the Confederacy. In 1861, at the start of the war, he was elected president of the Confederate States of America unopposed, having been sworn in as provisional president that February. Davis served as President until the demise of the Confederacy as the seceded states prepared to rejoin the Union after the North’s victory in the Civil War. Despite his success at keeping the Confederate war effort going for longer than was initially expected, he is generally considered ineffective compared to the Union President Abraham Lincoln. Davis failed to secure international support for the Confederacy, and caused rampant inflation when his administration printed money to cover the war costs, which led to violent protests in Richmond. Davis was imprisoned after the war but was never tried and was released after two years, being pardoned by President Andrew Johnson in December 1868. Davis died in 1889 aged 81, after having popularised the ‘Lost Cause’ interpretation of the war which praised pre-war Southern society, and condemned the following period of Reconstruction.


August 29th 1957: Thurmond filibuster ends

On this day in 1957, the Democratic Senator from South Carolina, Strom Thurmond, ended the longest filibuster in history. Thurmond was strongly opposed to the proposed 1957 Civil Rights Act, which aimed to protect African-American voting rights. An ardent segregationist, his desire to stop passage of the act led to him conducting a 24 hour, 18 minute long speech during which he read out state election laws, the Declaration of Independence, and even a recipe book. He did not sit down for the whole filibuster, and cots were brought into the Senate chamber for his fellow Senators to sleep. Thurmond began speaking at 8:54 pm on August 28th and continued until 9:12 pm the following evening. Despite his efforts, the bill was passed over his filibuster, marking the first time since the Reconstruction period following the Civil War that Congress passed a piece of civil rights legislation. However, the act was ultimately ineffective in protecting African-American voting rights, and widespread disenfranchisement continued throughout the country. Thurmond continued to oppose the Civil Rights Movement as it gained traction, eventually defecting from the Democratic Party after the party pushed through the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act. Strom Thurmond left office in 2003 aged 100, making him the oldest-serving and one of the longest-serving members of Congress.