This Black History month we salute African American who made American history.
On this day in black history in 1704, a Frenchman named Elias Neau
opened school for enslaved African Americans in New York City.   It was a catechizing/Christian teaching/religious school.
St. Philip's Episcopalian Church-youtube

The congregation of St. Philip’s has roots that reach back to 1704. That was when Elias Neau, a Frenchman who had himself suffered slavery himself, opened his home to teach enslaved New Yorkers to read the Bible.  Neau was connected to Trinity Church on Wall Street, and soon his students began to worship there on Sunday afternoons.

1st Rhode Island
On this day in 1778, Rhode Island General Assembly took place and authorized the enlistment of slaves.  After a suggestion from General James Varnum, and the fact that couldn't meet their troop quotas, the Continental Congress enlisted slaves into the Continental Army.  The assembly voted to allow "every able-bodied negro, mulatto, or Indian man slave in this state to enlist into either of the Continental Battalions being raised. Every slave so enlisting shall, upon his passing muster before Colonel Christopher Greene, be immediately discharged from the service of his master or mistress, and be absolutely free."
Colonel Christopher Greene-wikimedia

Rhode Island slave owners opposed the new law fearing that consequences of armed ex-slaves on those still in bondage.  Their opposition won over the law and in June the Rhode Island Assembly was forced to repeal its law.  In that four month period, however, over 100 free and formerly enslaved African Americans enlisted.

The 1st Rhode Island Regiment eventually had 225 men and of them were 140 African Americans.  By far blacks were the largest percentage of the integrated military unit during the American Revolution.

Their first bout of combat was at the Battle of Bloody Run Brook August 28, 1778.  In 1781, Colonel Greene and a many of his black soldiers were killed by a white mob; Greene's body was reported mutilated, as punishment for having black soldiers.

On this day in 1859, Arkansas legislature required free Blacks the heartbreaking choice to be exiled or enslaved. The bill basically banned the residency of free blacks or mixed-race (“mulatto”) people anywhere within the bounds of the state.  By the way in 1846, the Statutes of Arkansas had legally defined the term "mulatto" as anyone who had one grandparent who was Negro.
The expulsion law provided for the enforcement to carry out its provisions, but no documentation has surfaced showing that any such enforcement occurred.  For that matter, just a few years after the act was passed, African Americans in Arkansas were no longer subjected to slavery. Besides with the coming of the Civil War, it made the expulsion law meaningless.

John C. Churchill-youtube

In 1871, the Second Enforcement Act gave federal officers and courts control of registration and voting in congressional elections.  The act is sometimes called the Civil Rights Act of 1871 or the Second Ku Klux Klan Act and was a federal law.  The act was passed by Congress during the Reconstruction Era to stop attacks on the African Americans from groups like the Ku Klux Klan.

Republican Representative John C. Churchill from New York introduced this bill in the 41st United States Congress and passed on this day and signed into law by President Ulyses S. Grant.


Benjamin Pap Singleton-wikimedia

In 1879 on this day, blacks from the South fled political and economic exploitation in the great "Exodus of 1879." Led by former slave Benjamin "Pap" Singleton, the Exodus would continued for several years.  It was the first general migration of blacks from Mississippi to Kansas following the Civil War.


On this day in 1943 the legendary Broadway "Porgy and Bess" opened starring Anne Brown and Todd Duncan.

On this day in 1984, Michael Jackson won and unbelievable eight Grammy Awards for "Thriller".  The album broke all sales records to-date, and remains one of the top-grossing albums of all time.

On this day in 1990, Philip Emeagwali was awarded the Gordon Bell Prize (computing's Nobel Prize) for solving one of the twenty most difficult problems in the computing field.