July 31 1863: The Mother of a Black Soldier writes to Lincoln

My son went in the 54th regiment.  I am a colored woman and my son was strong and able as any to fight for his country and the colored people have as much to fight for as any.  My father was a Slave and escaped from Louisiana 54_Mass_Infantrybefore I was born morn forty years agone   I have but poor edication but I never went to schol, but I know just as well as any what is right between man and man.  Now I know it is right that a colored man should go and fight for his country, and so ought to a white man.  I know that a colored man ought to run no greater risques than a white, his pay is no greater his obligation to fight is the same.  So why should not our enemies be compelled to treat him the same, Made to do it.

My son fought at Fort Wagoner but thank God he was not taken prisoner, as many were   I thought of this thing before I let my boy go but then they said Mr. Lincoln will never let them sell our colored soldiers for slaves,  if they do he will get them back quck   he will rettallyate and stop it.  Now Mr Lincoln dont you think you oght to stop this thing and make them do the same by the colored men   they have lived in idleness all their lives on stolen labor and made savages of the colored people, but they now are so furious because they are proving themselves to be men, such as have come away and got some edication.  It must not be so.

You must put the rebels to work in State prisons to making shoes and things, if they sell our colored soldiers, till they let them all go.  And give their wounded the same treatment.  it would seem cruel, but their no other way, and a just man must do hard things sometimes, that shew him to be a great man.  They tell me some do you will take back the Proclamation,  don’t do it.  When you are dead and in Heaven, in a thousand years that action of yours will make the Angels sing your praises I know it.  Ought one man to own another, law for or not,  who made the law, surely the poor slave did not.  so it is wicked, and a horrible Outrage, there is no sense in it,  because a man has lived by robbing all his life and his father before him, should he complain because the stolen things found on him are taken.  Robbing the colored people of their labor is but a small part of the robbery   their souls are almost taken, they are made bruits of often.  You know all about this

Will you see that the colored men fighting now, are fairly treated.  You ought to do this, and do it at once, Not let the thing run along   meet it quickly and manfully, and stop this, mean cowardly cruelty.  We poor oppressed ones, appeal to you, and ask fair play.  Yours for Christs sake

Hannah Johnson.

July 30, 1715: The Spanish Treasure Fleet is Wrecked off Florida

Spain was on the verge of bankruptcy in 1713 after a decade of war when King Philip V ordered two fleets to sail to the Americas to bring back as much gold as possible.Escudos_Lima_1710

The “Nueva España” fleet of four galleons sailed to Veracruz, Mexico where the ships loaded six million pesos of gold and a cargo of indigo, vanilla, chocolate, and copper. A second “Tierra Firme” fleet of six ships sailed for Cartagena, Colombia where they loaded gold, silver, jewels, tobacco, and brazilwood.

The Crown was in desperate need of money, and merchants were impatient to sell their New World goods on the European market, so when the two fleets rendezvoused in Havana in the summer of 1715 they were under pressure to quickly set sail, even though it was early in hurricane season.

The combined convoy left Havana on July 24 carrying 14 million pesos worth of treasure. The trip should have been routine: up the coast of Florida on the Gulf Stream, which gradually turns outward into and then across the Atlantic and back to Spain. The convoy enjoyed calm weather as it made its way up the Bahama Channel, but on the 30th of July, the clouds started to thicken and the winds and waves kicked up.

Miguel de Lima, owner of the Urca de Lima, described what happened next:
“The sun disappeared and the wind increased in velocity coming from the east and east northeast. The seas became very giant in size, the wind continued blowing us toward shore, pushing us into shallow water. It soon happened that we were unable to use any sail at all…and we were at the mercy of the wind and water, always driven closer to shore. Having then lost all of our masts, all of the ships were wrecked on the shore, and with the exception of mine, broke to pieces.”

A tremendous hurricane had driven the fleets shoreward. The peak of the storm struck about 2 A.M. with a violent wind from the east north east while the fleet lay off the St. Lucie River and Cape Canaveral. The La Francesa and the San Miguel disappeared in the high waves, while the remaining eight ships were crushed in the shallow reefs and hard rock bottom. The Capitana was lost with 225 persons on board, and the flagship Almiranta ran aground a stone’s throw from the coast.

More than 1,000 people died in the storm. Wreckage was scattered almost 30 miles along the coast. About 1500 people swam ashore, but after reaching land many died from exposure. The survivors managed to send a launch to Havana, and a month later relief boats arrived with supplies and salvage equipment.

The Spaniards undertook salvage operations to recover the sunken chests of treasure for four years and they recovered nearly half of the treasure from the holds of the wrecks that they could reach. The rest remained on the ocean floor.

After that, a gold doubloon occasionally washed up on the shore, but increasingly time and tide covered the lost fleet and erased it from memory. It was only after a hurricane in 1955 carried away 15 feet of sand bank that a trove of coins came back to light.

Kip Wagner, a housebuilder who lived in the vicinity, became curious and researched the story of the lost fleets. He obtained a metal detector and started to search. Within a half-acre he turned up of cannon balls, bits of melted gold, a pair of cutlasses, and a gold ring set with a large, crudely cut diamond.

His curiosity aroused, he started to search first by plane and then by boat. He located two of the lost ships and obtained leases from the state of Florida to commence salvage operations. Wagner recovered over a million dollars in gold and silver coins and bullion, jewelry, religious medals, and a wide variety of ships’ parts and equipment.

Still, the other ships have never been found, and doubloons continue to wash up on the shores around Vero Beach to this day…

July 29, 1878: Birth (reincarnation) of Don Marquis

One morning in 1933 Don Marquis, a New York Sun columnist, arrived in his office to find the following  message on his typewriter, all in lower case. Archy, a cockroach  reincarnated from a poet, had laboriously typed the message to Don by climbing upon the typewriter and jumping on the keys, one at a time. The message is all in  lower case, because Archy, being a cockroach, could not operate the shift key.

The Coming of Archy:Don Marquis

expression is the need of my soul
i was once a vers libre bard
but i died and my soul went into the body of a cockroach
it has given me a new outlook upon life
i see things from the under side now
thank you for the apple peelings in the wastepaper basket
but your paste is getting so stale i cant eat it
there is a cat here called mehitabel i wish you would have
removed she nearly ate me the other night why dont she
catch rats that is what she is supposed to be fore
there is a rat here she should get without delay
most of these rats here are just rats
but this rat is like me he has a human soul in him
he used to be a poet himself
night after night i have written poetry for you
on your typewriter
and this big brute of a rat who used to be a poet
comes out of his hole when it is done
and reads it and sniffs at it
he is jealous of my poetry
he used to make fun of it when we were both human
he was a punk poet himself
and after he has read it he sneers
and then he eats it
i wish you would have mehitabel kill that rat
or get a cat that is onto her job
and i will write you a series of poems showing how things look
to a cockroach
that rats name is freddy
the next time freddy dies i hope he wont be a rat
but something smaller i hope i will be a rat
in the next transmigration and freddy a cockroach
i will teach him to sneer at my poetry then
dont you ever eat any sandwiches in your office
i haven’t had a crumb of bread for i dont know how long
or a piece of ham or anything but apple parings
and paste and leave a piece of paper in your machine
every night you can call me archy

July 28 1966: Stokely Carmichael calls for Black Power

This is 1966 and it seems to me that it’s “time out” for nice words. It’s time black people got together. We have to say things nobody else in this country is willing to say and find the strength internally and from each other to say the things that need to be said. We have to understand the lies this country has spoken about black people and we have to set the record straight. No one else can do that but black people.Stokley Carmichael

I remember when I was in school they used to say, “If you work real hard, if you sweat, if you are ambitious, then you will be successful.” I’m here to tell you that if that was true, black people would own this country, because we sweat more than anybody else in this country. We have to say to this country that you have lied to us. We picked your cotton for $2.00 a day, we washed your dishes, we’re the porters in your bank and in your building, we are the janitors and the elevator men. We worked hard and all we get is a little pay and a hard way to go from you. …

Everybody in this country jumps up and says, “I’m a friend of the civil rights movement. I’m a friend of the Negro.” We haven’t had the chance to say whether or not that man is stabbing us in the back or not. All those people who are calling us friends are nothing but treacherous enemies and we can take care of our enemies but God deliver us from our “friends.” … We have to build a strong base to let them know if they touch one black man driving his wife to the hospital in Los Angeles, or one black man walking down a highway in Mississippi or if they take one black man who has a rebellion and put him in jail and start talking treason, we are going to disrupt this whole country…

We have to stop apologizing for each other. We must tell our black brothers and sisters who go to college, “Don’t take any job for IBM or Wall Street because you aren’t doing anything for us. You are helping this country perpetuate its lies about how democracy rises in this country.” They have to come back to the community, where they belong and use their skills to help develop us. We have to tell the doctors, “You can’t go to college and come back and charge us $5.00 and $10.00 a visit. You have to charge us 50 cents and be thankful you get that.” …

We have to talk about wars and soldiers and just what that means. A mercenary is a hired killer and any black man serving in this man’s army is a black mercenary, nothing else. A mercenary fights for a country for a price but does not enjoy the rights of the country for which he is fighting. A mercenary will go to Vietnam to fight for free elections for the Vietnamese but doesn’t have free elections in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina and Washington, D.C. …

We have to study black history but don’t get fooled. You should know who John Hullett is, and Fannie Lou Hamer is, who Lerone Bennett is, who Max Stanford is, who Lawrence Landry is, who May Mallory is and who Robert Williams is. You have to know these people yourselves because you can’t read about them in a book or in the press. You have to know what Mr. X said from his own lips not the Chicago Sun-Times. That responsibility is ours. The Muslims call themselves Muslims but the press calls them black Muslims. We have to call them Muslims and go to their mosque to find out what they are talking about.…

There is a psychological war going on in this country and it’s whether or not black people are going to be able to use the terms they want about their movement without white people’s blessing. We have to tell them we are going to use the term “Black Power” and we are going to define it because Black Power speaks to us. We can’t let them project Black Power because they can only project it from white power and we know what white power has done to us.

July 27, 1816: The Negro Fort is Blown to Smithereens

During the War of 1812, the British built a fort on Prospect Bluff along the Spanish side of the Apalachicola River in what is now northern Florida, and manned the garrison with a thousand Marines and several hundred African-American freedmen. After the end of the war, the British withdrew from the post and left the black population behind.

By the spring of 1816 more than 300 African-Americans lived on farms that extended for miles up the Apalachicola Negro FortRiver. The Fort became known as the “Negro Fort” and it quickly became a “beacon of light to restless and rebellious slaves.” As might be expected, many in the U.S. Government took a dim view of this station on the “Underground Railroad.”

Following the construction of Fort Scott on the nearby Flint River, Andrew Jackson decided that to resupply the post, he needed to send the navy in via the Apalachicola, even though it was at that time Spanish territory. During one of these resupply missions, a party of sailors stopped along the river near the Negro Fort to fill their canteens with water, and they were attacked by men from the fort in what became known as the “Watering Party Massacre.”

Andrew Jackson promptly requested permission to dispatch gunboats to destroy the Negro Fort. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams produced a letter from a Georgia planter complaining about “brigand Negroes” who made “this neighborhood extremely dangerous to a population like ours.” Southern leaders worried that even a small, impoverished island of rebel slaves in the Caribbean or a parcel of Florida land occupied by a few hundred blacks could threaten the institution of slavery.

The Negro Fort was occupied at this time by about 330 people. At least 200 were freedmen, armed with ten cannons and dozens of muskets. They were accompanied by thirty or so Seminole and Choctaw warriors under a Choctaw chief. The remaining were women and children.

Jackson ordered Brigadier General Edmund P. Gaines to move against the fort. Before beginning an attack General Gaines first requested surrender; the leader of the fort, an African named Garson, refused, telling Gaines that he had orders from the British military to hold the post, and he raised the Union Jack.

On July 27, 1816 an American force and their Creek Indian allies launched their attack. The two sides exchanged cannon fire, but the black gunners had no experience with cannons, and were ineffective in their defense. Even so, the men of the fort refused to surrender, crying “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

The Americans, for their part, also fired their cannon for a while with little effect, until they loaded their cannon with a “hot shot” cannonball that had been heated until red hot. The “hot shot” sailed over the wall of the fort and directly into the open door of the powder magazine. A tremendous explosion was heard more than 100 miles away in Pensacola as the entire “Negro Fort” was blown to bits in the blink of an eye.

The fort’s commander, Garson, and the Choctaw chief, were among the few who survived. They were handed over to the Creeks, who shot Garson and scalped the chief. The few remaining survivors were carried upstream to Fort Scott and notices posted so their former “owners” could come to that post and claim them.

The site of the Fort at Prospect Bluff (or Negro Fort) is preserved today at Fort Gadsden Historic Site in Florida’s Apalachicola National Forest.

July 24, 1959: VP Richard Nixon debates Kitchens with Nikita Khrushchev

Nixon: I want to show you this kitchen. It is like those of our houses in California.
[Nixon points to dishwasher.]

Khrushchev: We have such things.kitchen

Nixon: This is our newest model. This is the kind which is built in thousands of units for direct installations in the houses. In America, we like to make life easier for women…

Khrushchev: Your capitalistic attitude toward women does not occur under Communism.

Nixon: I think that this attitude towards women is universal. What we want to do, is make life more easy for our housewives…..

Nixon: This house can be bought for $14,000, and most American veterans from World War II can buy a home in the bracket of $10,000 to $15,000. Let me give you an example that you can appreciate. Our steel workers as you know, are now on strike. But any steel worker could buy this house. They earn $3 an hour. This house costs about $100 a month to buy on a contract running 25 to 30 years.

Khrushchev: We have steel workers and peasants who can afford to spend $14,000 for a house. Your American houses are built to last only 20 years so builders could sell new houses at the end. We build firmly. We build for our children and grandchildren.

Nixon: American houses last for more than 20 years, but, even so, after twenty years, many Americans want a new house or a new kitchen. Their kitchen is obsolete by that time….The American system is designed to take advantage of new inventions and new techniques.

Khrushchev: This theory does not hold water. Some things never get out of date–houses,for instance, and furniture, furnishings–perhaps–but not houses. I have read much about America and American houses, and I do not think that this is exhibit and what you say is strictly accurate.

Nixon: Well, um…

Khrushchev: I hope I have not insulted you.

Nixon: I have been insulted by experts. Everything we say on the other hand is in good humor. Always speak frankly.

Khrushchev: The Americans have created their own image of the Soviet man. But he is not as you think. You think the Russian people will be dumbfounded to see these things, but the fact is that newly built Russian houses have all this equipment right now.

Nixon: Yes, but…

Khrushchev: In Russia, all you have to do to get a house is to be born in the Soviet Union. You are entitled to housing…In America, if you don’t have a dollar you have a right to choose between sleeping in a house or on the pavement. Yet you say we are the slave to Communism.

Nixon: I appreciate that you are very articulate and energetic…

Khrushchev: Energetic is not the same thing as wise.

Nixon: If you were in the Senate, we would call you a filibusterer! You do all the talking and don’t let anyone else talk. This exhibit was not designed to astound but to interest. Diversity, the right to choose, the fact that we have 1,000 builders building 1,000 different houses is the most important thing. We don’t have one decision made at the top by one government official. This is the difference.

Khrushchev: On politics, we will never agree with you. For instance, Mikoyan likes very peppery soup. I do not. But this does not mean that we do not get along.

Nixon: You can learn from us, and we can learn from you. There must be a free exchange. Let the people choose the kind of house, the kind of soup, the kind of ideas that they want…

July 23, 1865: Martin Robinson Delany addresses the free blacks of St. Helena Island, South Carolina

People say that you are too lazy to work, that you have no intelligence to get on for yourselves, without being guided and driven to the work by overseers. I say it is a lie, and a blasphemous lie, and I will prove it to be so.Delany

I am going to tell you now, what you are worth. As you know Christopher Columbus landed here in 1492. They came here only for the purpose to dig gold, gather precious pearls, diamonds and all sorts of jewels, only for the “proud Aristocracy of White Spaniards” and Portuguese, to adorn their persons, to have brooches for their breasts, earrings for their ears, Bracelets for their ankles and rings for their limbs and fingers. They found here… Indians whom they obliged to dig and work and slave for them—but they found out that they died away too fast and cannot stand the work. In course of time they had taken some blacks… along with them and put them to work— they could not stand it—and yet the Whites say they are superior to our race, though they could not stand it….

The work was so profitable which those poor blacks did, that in the year 1502 Charles the V gave permission to import into America yearly 4,000 blacks. The profit of these sales was so immense, that afterwards even the Virgin Queen of England and James the II took part in the Slave trade and were accumulating great wealth for the Treasury of the Government. And so you always have been the means of riches. …

So you ought further to know, that all the spices, cotton, rice, and coffee has only been brought over by you, from the land of our brethren.

Your masters who lived in opulence, kept you to hard work by some contemptible being called overseer—who chastised and beat you whenever he pleased—while your master lived in some Northern town or in Europe to squander away the wealth only you acquired for him. He never earned a single Dollar in his life. You men and women, every one of you around me, made thousands and thousands of dollars for your master. Only you were the means for your masters to lead the ideal and inglorious life, and to give his children the education, which he denied to you, for fear you may awake to conscience. …

So I will come to the main purpose for which I have come to see you. As before the whole South depended upon you, now the whole country will depend upon you. I give you an advice how to get along. Get up a community and get all the lands you can—if you cannot get any singly.

Grow as much vegetables, etc., as you want for your families; on the other part of the land you cultivate Rice and Cotton. Now for instance one acre will grow a crop of Cotton of $90—now a land with ten acres will bring $900 every year: if you cannot get the land all yourself,—the community can, and so you can divide the profit. There is Tobacco for instance (Virginia is the great place for Tobacco). There are whole squares at Dublin and Liverpool named after some place of Tobacco notoriety, so you see of what enormous value your labor was to the benefits of your masters. Now you understand that I want you to be the producers of this country. It is the wish of the Government for you to be so. We will send friends to you, who will further instruct you how to come to the end of our wishes. You see that by so adhering to our views, you will become a wealthy and powerful population. …

I tell you slavery is over, and shall never return again. We have now 200,000 of our men well drilled in arms and used to Warfare, and I tell you … that slavery shall not come back again, if you are determined it will not return again.

Now go to work, and in a short time I will see you again, and other friends will come to show you how to begin.

Have your fields in good order and well tilled and planted, and when I pass the fields and see a land well planted and well cared for, then I may be sure from the look of it, that it belongs to a free Negro, and when I see a field thinly-planted and little cared for, then I may think it belongs to some man who works it with slaves.

July 22, 1893, Katharine Lee Bates views America, the Beautiful!

Katie Bates was on the crest of the wave. She was thirty-three years old, and headed out west on a sort of a honeymoon. After graduating from Wellesley College, and after teaching briefly at Natick High School and then at Dana Hall, she PikesPeakwas back at Wellesley as a professor of English, and had fallen head over heels into a “Boston Marriage” with Katharine Coman, professor of economics and history.

Both women were enthusiastic about the West (Coman would write on the Economic Beginnings of the Far West), and were excited when they were invited to teach a summer session at Colorado College. The two Katharines boarded a train and headed west. They passed through Massachusetts and New York, stopped briefly at Niagara Falls, then set off to Chicago for a stopover at the Coman family home and a tour of the World’s Columbian Exposition. From Chicago, they boarded another train, bound for their summer classes, passing fields of wheat as they traveled west through Kansas and on to Colorado Springs.

At Colorado College for three weeks, the two instructors toured the area in their free time. One of the perks of being a visiting professor was a carriage ride up Pikes Peak. On July 22 a group from the college set out for the mountain climb. They hired a prairie wagon with a sign “Pikes Peak or Bust!” When they reached the Halfway House they had to leave the horse-drawn wagon and climb the final six miles on burros. It was exhausting, climbing at 14,000 feet, but they finally reached the summit.

“We stood at last on that Gate-of-Heaven summit….and gazed in wordless rapture over the far expanse of mountain ranges and the sea-like sweep of plain…When I saw the view, I felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse ..”.

Katie returned to her room in the Antler’s Hotel that night, and remarked to her friends that countries such as England had failed because, while they may have been “great”, they had not been “good” and that “unless we are willing to crown our greatness with goodness, and our bounty with brotherhood, our beloved America may go the same way.

Then she started to write:

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

July 21, 1861: The First Battle of Bull Run proves to be No Picnic

On the morning of July 21, 1861, a throng of sightseers, including Senators and Congressmen, rode out from Washington to Centreville, Virginia, to watch the Union Army rout the upstart rebels and march on to Richmond.

“They came in all manner of ways, some in stylish carriages, others in city hacks, and still others in buggies, on bullrun3horseback and even on foot. Apparently everything in the shape of vehicles in and around Washington had been pressed into service for the occasion. It was Sunday and everybody seemed to have taken a general holiday; that is all the male population, for I saw none of the other sex there, except a few huckster women who had driven out in carts loaded with pies and other edibles. All manner of people were represented in this crowd, from the most grave and noble senators to hotel waiters.”

“On the hill beside me there was a crowd of civilians on horseback, and in all sorts of vehicles, with a few of the fairer, if not gentler sex …. The spectators were all excited, and a lady with an opera glass who was near me was quite beside herself when an unusually heavy discharge roused the current of her blood —‘That is splendid, Oh my! Is not that first rate? I guess we will be in Richmond tomorrow.’ ”

Near the battlefield, a group of senators were eating lunch. They heard a loud noise and looked around to see the road filled with soldiers, horses, and wagons–all headed in the wrong direction. “Turn back, turn back, we’re whipped,” Union soldiers cried as they ran past the spectators.

Startled, Michigan Senator Zachariah Chandler tried to block the road to stop the retreat. Senator Ben Wade of Ohio, sensing a disastrous defeat, picked up a discarded rifle and threatened to shoot any soldier who ran. While Senator Henry Wilson distributed sandwiches, a Confederate shell destroyed his buggy, forcing him to escape on a stray mule. Iowa Senator James Grimes barely avoided capture and vowed never to go near another battlefield.
One notable exception was Congressman Ely who strayed too close to the battle and became a prisoner of the 8th South Carolina Infantry.

Alone among all the politicians clamoring, “On to Richmond!” Ely was successful; he spent the next five months residing at Libby Prison.

July 20, 1969: President Nixon place an interplanetary phone call

PRESIDENT NIXON: Hello Neil and Buzz, I am talking to you by telephone from the Oval Room at the White House, and this certainly has to be the most historic telephone call ever made from the White House.

I just can’t tell you how proud we all are of what you have done. For every American this has to be the proudest day of Nixon_Telephones_Armstrong_on_the_Moon_our lives, and for people all over the world I am sure that they, too, join with Americans in recognizing what an immense feat this is.

Because of what you have done the heavens have become a part of man’s world, and as you talk to us from the Sea of Tranquility, it inspires us to redouble our efforts to bring peace and tranquility to earth.

For one priceless moment in the whole history of man all the people on this earth are truly one–one in their pride in what you have done and one in our prayers that you will return safely to earth.

ASTRONAUT ARMSTRONG. Thank you, Mr. President. It is a great honor and privilege for us to be here representing not only the United States, but men of peaceable nations, men with an interest and a curiosity, and men with a vision for the future. It is an honor for us to be able to participate here today.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much, and I look forward, all of us look forward, to seeing you on the Hornet on Thursday.

ASTRONAUT ARMSTRONG. Thank you. We look forward to that very much, sir.

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