Eleanor Roosevelt Resigns from the DAR — Today in History
In February 1939, Howard University invited Marian Anderson, the internationally famous African American contralto singer, to give a concert. They asked the Washington headquartered Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) if they could use their auditorium, Constitution Hall.
The DAR refused, explaining that local conditions and custom did not favor such a move. In protest, DAR member and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the organization.
A Gallup poll taken at the time showed that 67% of the public approved of her action.
Moving quickly to capitalize on this public support, Anderson’s manager Sol Hurok proposed that Anderson give an open-air concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Harold Ickes, the Secretary of the Interior promptly approved the idea and on April 9th a crowd of 75,000 people assembled before the Lincoln Memorial to hear Ms. Anderson sing.
Above is a copy of Mrs. Roosevelt’s DAR resignation letter, 2/26/39. Read More
-from the FDR Library
Hans Christian Ørsted, born this day in 1777, was a Danish physicist and chemist who was one of the first to publish on the relationship between electric currents and magnetic fields, an important aspect of electromagnetism. He was also a philosopher and poet whose ideas, including his scientific theories, were strongly influenced by Kant.
Image from Hans Christian Oersted’s Der Geist in der Natur (1850) (via Smithsonian Institution Libraries : Color patterns 2003-28012)
Today is Juneteenth, which commemorates the ending of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, it was not enforced in the state of Texas due to a lack of Union troop presence and enforcement in the confederate state.
However on June 19, 1865, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger and his regiment entered Galveston, Texas to override the resistance to the law and to enforce the Executive Orders. Union Major-General Gordon Granger read General Orders, No.3 to the people of Galveston. It stated:
"The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere."
Since 1865 black Americans have regarded June 19th as the official emancipation day, and on January 1, 1980, the state of Texas proclaimed June 19 an official state holiday thanks to the African American state legislator Al Edwards.
In 1957 when Governor Faubus of Arkansas refused to desegregate the schools in Little Rock, if President Eisenhower with all his enormous prestige had personally led a black child up the steps to where the authorities were blocking the school entrance, it might have been one of the great moments in history. It is heartbreaking to think of the opportunity missed.
The “Codex Rotundus” owes its name to its round shape. It is a small book of hours (9 cm diameter) made in Bruges in 1480. Thumbnails are most likely from the workshop of Dutchman Willem Date illuminator (active from 1450 to 1482). (Hildesheim Cathedral Library, Germany)
Phurba (dagger), late 15th century
From the late seventeenth century onwards, a few American colonists, mostly Quakers, had expressed their moral opposition to the spread of black slavery throughout British America. It was not until the coming of the Revolution, however, that the first concerted protests arose, first against the continued importation of slaves and then against slavery itself, as contrary to the liberties and natural rights for which the war was being fought. Some New England states adopted immediate emancipation: Vermont’s 1777 constitution explicitly outlawed slavery and in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, a series of judicial interpretations during the 1780s declared the institution in violation of the bills of rights contained in their new state constitutions. Elsewhere in the northern states, a policy of gradual emancipation was adopted, in Pennsylvania in 1780 and Rhode Island and Connecticut in 1784, but not until 1799 and 1804 in New York and New Jersey. This legislation provided for those born into slavery after the act to be freed at a certain age (21 in Pennsylvania and 28 in New York), so that masters would still receive the bulk of their slaves’ working lives as compensation for their ultimate loss of “property.” Slavery was excluded from the territories north and west of the Ohio River. Still further north, British Canada harbored several thousand former slaves freed by British forces during the revolutionary war.
"Girls deliver ice. Heavy work that formerly belonged to men only is being done by girls. The girls are delivering ice on a route and their work requires brawn as well as the patriotic ambition to help." September 16, 1918.
The Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab
The Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab was a toy produced between 1950 and 1951. The toy allowed the user to conduct simple experiments with radioactive materials. Kit included;
- A Geiger counter
- An electroscope
- A Wilson cloud chamber
- A spinthariscope
- Four samples of uranium ore
- Pb-210 lead isotope
- various other accessories
After only a year of production, the toy was pulled from the market for obvious reasons.