Today in History – July 31

Patrick Francis Healy, SJ, was inaugurated as president of Georgetown University on July 31, 1874. The Reverend Father John Carroll (later Archbishop Carroll), who was neither president of Georgetown University, nor a faculty member, founded the university in 1789. Healy is considered Georgetown’s “second founder.”

Patrick Francis Healy. Prints & Photographs Division

One of the first African Americans to receive a PhD and the first to head a predominantly white university, Healy was born in Jones County, Georgia, to Michael Morris Healy, an Irish-immigrant planter, and Mary Eliza, a mulatto slave. Patrick was one of ten children. The boys were not allowed to attend schools in Georgia as they were considered slaves by state law so Michael Healy sent his four older sons North where they would become free and able to receive an education. They first attended a Quaker school in Flushing, New York, before they enrolled in Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Architectural drawing for the Healy Building, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., Perspective rendering. Paul J. Pelz, draftsman; J. L. Smithmeyer & Co., architect, 1875. Architecture, Design & Engineering Drawings. Prints & Photographs Division

After graduating, Patrick Healy entered the Jesuits in 1850. He took his vows in 1852 and became a teacher and prefect at St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia. In 1853 he returned to Holy Cross as a teacher and in 1858 he was assigned to study philosophy and theology at Georgetown University before receiving orders to go to Rome for further ecclesiastical studies. The Roman winter was hard on his health so he was sent to the Catholic University of Louvain (Leuven) in Belgium where he received a doctorate in philosophy in 1865. Healy became a priest in 1864. In 1866, he returned to teach philosophy at Georgetown, then a preparatory academy and small college.

Healy took his final vows as a Jesuit in 1867 and was named prefect of studies (dean) in 1868 and then vice president. The university’s board of directors voted him acting president in 1873 upon the unexpected death of the president, the Reverend John Early. The following year Healy was confirmed as president.

Healy Hall, Georgetown University. [Washington, D.C.] Theodor Horydczak, photographer, Oct. 1948. Horydczak Collection. Prints & Photographs Division

The unique Flemish Renaissance structure pictured above, a distinctive feature of the Washington, D.C., skyline, was a product of the Healy administration.

In the antebellum period, Georgetown attracted mainly Southern students: four-fifths of its alumni joined the Confederacy. After the war, however, students came in far greater numbers from the Northeast. The university’s colors — blue and gray — were selected to symbolize the healing and reuniting of the country.

Healy initiated Georgetown’s transformation from a small school to a modern university. In the post-Civil War years, he modernized the curriculum and his reforms included a new emphasis on science, expanding and upgrading the law and medical schools, and centralizing the university’s libraries. Healy also founded the Alumni Association and oversaw major construction projects. Due to ill health, his doctor advised him to retire; he did so in 1882. Patrick Francis Healy died in 1910.

Washington, D.C. The Aqueduct Bridge and Georgetown from the Virginia Bank. William Morris Smith, photographer, between 1860 and 1865. Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints. Prints & Photographs Division


Today in History – July 30

Automobile manufacturer Henry Ford was born July 30, 1863, on his family’s farm in what is present-day Dearborn, Michigan. From the time that he was a young boy, Ford enjoyed tinkering with machines. Farm work and a job in a Detroit machine shop afforded him ample opportunities to experiment. He worked successively as an apprentice machinist, a part-time employee for the Westinghouse Engine Company, and an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company. By then, he was earning enough money to experiment on building an internal combustion engine.

Old Zeke Perkins sold his hogs the other day,
The gosh-darned fool threw his money right away;
Rode into town, sittin’ on a board,
Came home ridin’ in a brand-new Ford!

A Ford Song External.” A. Flivver, composer; Boston: G. Schirmer, c1918. Historic American Sheet MusicExternal

Henry Ford, full-length portrait…leaving the White House after calling on the president. [1927]. National Photo Company Collection. Prints & Photographs Division

By 1896, Ford had constructed his first horseless carriage, a gasoline-powered motor car that he named the Quadricycle because it ran on four bicycle tires. He sold that vehicle, which was built on a steel frame and had a seat but no body, in order to finance work on an improved model.

Ford incorporated the Ford Motor Company in 1903, proclaiming, “I will build a car for the great multitude.” In October 1908, he did so, offering the Model T for $850. In the Model T’s nineteen years of production, its price dipped as low as $260—without extras. More than 15 million cars were sold in the United States alone. The Model T heralds the beginning of the Motor Age; the car evolved from luxury item for the well-to-do to essential transportation for the ordinary man.

[Assembly]. [Possibly made for Ford Motor Co.] cMay 7, 1923. Detroit Publishing Company. Prints & Photographs Division

Durin’ war time I got ‘scripted and they sent me to Detroit to work in John Henry Ford’s shops. I was a moulder. I had to stay up there three long years, and Lawd! was I glad to get home.

[Jim McDowell]. Adyleen G. Merrick, interviewer; Tryon, North Carolina, April 6-17, 1939. American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1940. Manuscript Division

Automobile Parade. William Paley, camera; United States: Thomas A. Edison, Inc., 1900. The Life of a City: Early Films of New York, 1898 to 1906. Motion Picture, Broadcasting & Recorded Sound Division

This film shows what may be the first annual automobile parade. Held on November 4, 1899, in downtown Manhattan, the parade demonstrated at least ten different makes and models, including models with electric and steam-powered machines. Just three years earlier, in 1896, Henry Ford, Charles Brady King, Alexander Winton, and Ransom Eli Olds had each introduced gasoline cars. In 1900, the first National Auto Show was held at Madison Square Garden. Favorite models were the electrics and the steamers. In 1901, newly discovered Texas oil fields lowered gasoline prices. That same year, mass production techniques were introduced into car manufacturing. These two factors would prove to be key in the rapid growth of the American automobile industry.

Ford revolutionized manufacturing—combining precision manufacturing, standardized and interchangeable parts, division of labor, and by 1913, a continuous moving assembly line. By 1914, his Highland Park, Michigan, plant, using innovative production techniques, turned out a complete chassis every 93 minutes—a stunning improvement over the earlier production time of 728 minutes. Using a constantly moving assembly line, subdivision of labor, and careful coordination of operations, the company realized huge gains in productivity.

In 1914, Ford announced his plan to profit share with the workers and began paying his employees five dollars for an eight-hour day, nearly doubling the wages offered by other manufacturers. And, he reduced the workday from nine to eight hours in order to convert the factory to a three-shift workday. Ford’s mass-production techniques eventually allowed for the manufacture of a Model T every twenty-four seconds. His innovations made him an international celebrity.

Mrs. Gagne beside a Model T, 1920 External. Robert Runyon, photographer. The South Texas Border, 1900-1920: Photographs from the Robert Runyon Collection External
Stopping on a joy ride to repair a tire External. North Dakota, ca. 1910-1919. Fred Hultstrand History in Pictures Collection. Digital Horizons: Life on the Northern PlainsExternal
Negro youngsters and their Model ‘T’ near Pacolet, South Carolina. Jack Delano, photographer, March 1941. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives. Prints & Photographs Division

A Model T Tale

Jane said that Richard used to go out in an old model T Ford roadster and when he would return he would have the rumble seat filled with live alligators, and various animals that he had captured in the Everglades.

Jane Clayton.” Walter A. DeLamater, interviewer; Miami, Florida, January 15, 1939. American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1940. Manuscript Division

Ford’s affordable Model T irrevocably altered American society. As more Americans owned cars, urbanization patterns changed. The United States saw the growth of suburbia, the creation of a national highway system, and a population entranced with the possibility of going anywhere anytime. Ford witnessed many of these changes during his lifetime, all the while personally longing for the agrarian lifestyle of his youth.

In 1927, Ford decided on a plan for his museum. The Henry FordExternal houses the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. The complex was dedicated in 1929 and opened to the public in 1933. The Henry Ford Museum contains an important collection of Americana. Greenfield Village is an open-air outdoor village museum that influenced the historic preservation movement. Ford died on April 7, 1947.


Couple apologizes for sheltering accused school shooter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida couple regrets ever taking in a disturbed teenager in the months before he was accused of the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

In a letter that is part of a legal agreement to settle numerous civil lawsuits, James and Kimberly Snead said they should have believed what they were told — that Nikolas Cruz, now 21, was homicidal, untrustworthy and infatuated with firearms, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

“We thought we could handle this troubled young man, unfortunately, we were wrong,” the Sneads said in a public apology revealed Tuesday. “We were particularly wrong to allow him to store his firearms in our house, including the AR-15 used in this tragedy.”

The settlement also calls for them to pay $1 to the victims’ families and forbids them and their attorney from speaking of or profiting from the story. The families of those killed in the Parkland high school shooting released the letter Tuesday during a conference call with the newspaper.

Andrew Pollack, whose daughter was killed, said he and other families of the victims pushed for the public apology.

“They didn’t want to accept accountability, and we forced it on them. For us, that’s why we’re here. We want accountability,” Pollack told the newspaper.

Jim Lewis, who represents the Sneads, said he had no comment, adding, “I agreed and signed to say nothing.”

Cruz was 19 when he entered the campus where he once attended classes, carrying an AR-15 rifle, authorities said. He went into the freshman building and killed 14 students, a teacher, a coach and the athletic director, prosecutors said.

The teen had been living with the Sneads for about 2½ months. He was orphaned when his mother died in 2017, and the Sneads were parents of one of his casual friends.

Cruz had spent several years at a special school for students with serious behavioral disorders and had been labeled “emotionally disturbed.”

In the letter, the Sneads said they “will forever regret” taking in Cruz, the newspaper reported..

“We did so believing we were helping a troubled young man who needed help,” the Sneads wrote. “We are profoundly sorry for the actions and inactions which may have contributed to Nikolas Cruz’s ability to carry out the murders on Feb. 14, 2018.”

The couple had told investigators they allowed Cruz to keep a collection of knives and guns at their home, including the assault-style rifle authorities said was used in the killing.

James Snead, an Army veteran, said the family had rifles in a gun safe.

The couple still say they thought Cruz’s guns were secure in a locked cabinet and only they had the key. But they now admit: “We were particularly wrong to allow him to store his firearms in our house.”

They were hit with more than a dozen civil lawsuits after the shootings.

In the letter, the Sneads admit that Rocxanne Deschamps, a neighbor of the Cruz family, warned them about the teen, the newspaper reported. Deschamps briefly took in Cruz after his mother died in November 2017, but kicked him out after arguments.

“Ms. Deschamps informed us of warning signs of his behavior which occurred in her home and that he had chosen to keep his rifle over continuing to live with her,” the Sneads wrote.

The letter also said they received an even more dire warning from Katherine Blaine, a New York cousin of Cruz’s mother.

“Kathy Blaine informed us that Nikolas Cruz was violent, dangerous, infatuated with guns and knives, untrustworthy and threatened to kill people on Instagram, among other things,” the letter said..

Blaine, reached by phone on Tuesday, told the newspaper: “I blame them for not listening to me; that’s what I blame them for. Why the hell didn’t you listen to Rocxanne and me, to get the guns away from him?”

The letter is meant to serve as a warning to others who may find themselves in a similar situation — wanting to help a teen in need. They advise making sure all firearms are securely locked, and frequent reviews of social media accounts.

“If they have a history or exhibit any warning signs you must immediately get him or her the professional help they need and contact law enforcement,” the letter states.

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Florida hits 216 virus deaths; governor wants schools open

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday continued his push to reopen schools amid pushback from the state’s teachers union, as health officials reported a new record of COVID-19 deaths reported in one day.

The state’s death toll from the coronavirus now stands at more than 6,330 after health officials added 216 additional casualties Wednesday. The number of confirmed cases in Florida stood at 9,446, with the cumulative tally of infections now more than 450,000.

One of the new cases was that of state Sen. Rob Bradley, who is his chamber’s budget chief. Bradley tested positive for the coronavirus Wednesday morning. The Republican from Clay County said he has a low-grade fever and fatigue, but otherwise no serious symptoms.

“All things considered, I feel OK,” Bradley said. “I have no idea how I got the virus.”

He said his wife, Jennifer Bradley, tested negative at the same time he tested positive. She is running to replace him in the Senate. Democratic Rep. Shevrin Jones and Republican Rep. Randy Fine have also tested positive.

During a roundtable at a special needs school in Clearwater, Florida, the Republican governor did not focus on the latest grim numbers. Instead, he made another case for reopening schools, despite concern about the health and safety of children and school employees.

The state continues to be one of the epicenters of the coronavirus outbreak, although virus-linked hospitalizations were down slightly Wednesday.

The governor said parents should decide for themselves whether to send their children back into the classroom next month.

“We do believe fundamentally in providing parents with the choice. And that choice can be to continue with distance learning or to choose to go back into the classroom where students can get face-to-face instruction,” DeSantis said.

“If we need to delay the year, then delay the year by a couple weeks,” the governor added. “I’d much rather have a successful school year that’s a couple weeks late, rather than kind of go into it and not be ready to handle the situations that may develop.”

The governor was joined by state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, who again asserted that current law requires school campuses to reopen for in-person instruction or risk losing some funding. President Donald Trump and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have both threatened to withhold federal money for schools that do not reopen.

Parents and teachers who assembled on behalf of the governor echoed his call for getting students back in the classroom, arguing that specials needs students would especially benefit from face-to-face instruction.

As the outbreak began spreading across the state last spring, state officials shuttered schools and teachers began providing instruction virtually to the state’s 2.9 million public school students.

Some districts in South Florida and in the Florida Keys have recently announced that they will delay school reopenings.

The state’s largest school district, located in Miami, which has been hardest hit by the pandemic, announced Wednesday that it will not reopen schools for in-person learning for the first six weeks of the school year, but will instead implement a fully remote instruction model.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ superintendent Alberto Carvalho said the school year would begin virtually on Aug. 31, a week after it was set to start. He said a decision of whether to begin in-person learning would be made in late September with a potential reopening date of Oct. 5.

“Our facilities and teachers are prepared to open, but based on all scientific indicators, it is not prudent to return to in-person schooling at this time,” Carvalho said.

The Florida Education Association, which includes unions representing teachers and other school employees, expressed concerns about the ability of schools to keep children and teachers healthy.

“Floridians don’t need more lectures or roundtables from our governor. We need a solid plan on how students and staff will be kept safe,” said association president Fedrick Ingram.

The association has sued the state to block the mandatory reopening of campuses. Ingram has noted that some school districts don’t have adequate plans to procure soap, hand sanitizers and protective masks. He also raised concern about how schools will address infections among students and teachers.

The new numbers released Wednesday by health officials raised the average number of deaths reported daily to 142 over the past week. That’s second only to Texas overall, and to Arizona in per-capita deaths. The highest number of daily deaths reported in the U.S. on a seven-day average during the pandemic has been 760, in New York at the height of its outbreak in mid-April.

One promising sign in Florida is a decline in the number of people treated in hospitals for COVID-19: 8,727 patients Wednesday morning compared to a high of about 9,500 last week.

Meanwhile, the Florida Division of Emergency Management has announced that all state-supported drive-thru and walk-up COVID-19 testing sites will temporarily close at 5 p.m. Thursday in anticipation of Tropical Storm Isaias, which is forecast to reach South Florida on Saturday.

Also Wednesday, DeSantis extended for the fourth time an executive order that placed a freeze on evictions and mortgage foreclosures. The freeze had been set to end Saturday but will now last until September 1. The original order was signed April 2.


Calvan reported from Tallahassee, Florida. Associated Press writer Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee and Adriana Gomez Licon in Miami contributed.

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Today in History – July 29

Don Carter, one of the greatest professional bowlers of all time, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on July 29, 1926. A childhood job as a pinsetter gave Carter his start. Practicing on a lane that he constructed in his basement, Carter perfected his game and joined the St. Louis Budweiser team. In 1953, he received the first of six “bowler of the year” designations. He dominated the sport during its heyday.

Bowling alley, Clinton, Indiana. Arthur Rothstein, photographer, Feb. 1940. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives. Prints & Photographs Division.

Carter set several bowling “firsts.” In 1961 he was the first person to win bowling’s Grand Slam: the All-Star tournament, the World’s Invitational, the Professional Bowlers’ Association (PBA) National Championship, and the American Bowling Congress (ABC) Masters tournament. He also was the first athlete to sign a $1 million promotional contract, the first bowler to have a PBA tournament named for him, and the first bowler selected for the Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame.

Since ancient times, people have rolled balls at pins for sport. An Egyptian child’s tomb dating to 3,200 B.C. contained bowling balls and pins. Various forms of bowling have been popular in America since colonial times—English, Dutch, and German settlers all imported their own variations of bowling. By the 1870s, competitive bowling between clubs was common in big cities such as New York, Chicago, and Milwaukee. Tenpin bowling dominated the sport, but without official rules and equipment standards the game flourished only at the local level.

American Bowling Congress, Milwaukee, Wis.. Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co., distributor; Chicago: Geo. R. Lawrence Co., c1905. Panoramic Photographs. Prints & Photographs Division.

Bowling organizations were formed in the United States beginning in the late nineteenth century. On September 9, 1895, the American Bowling Congress (ABC) was organized in New York City. The ABC held its first national tournament in 1901. The Women’s International Bowling Congress (WIBC), first established in 1916 as the Ladies National Bowling Association, later named the Women’s National Bowling Association, began championship games the following year. The United States Bowling Congress was founded in 2005 with the merger of the American Bowling Congress, Women’s International Bowling Congress, Young American Bowling Alliance, and USA Bowling.

American Bowling Congress, Bowling Tournament, Milwaukee, Wis. Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company, distributor; Chicago: Geo. R. Lawrence Co., c1905. Panoramic Photographs. Prints & Photographs Division

Important technological advances in the sport included the introduction of the hard rubber ball in 1905 and the development of automatic pinspotting machines in the early 1950s. A sign of growing prosperity and leisure in postwar America, the game became increasingly popular in the 1950s and 1960s—in bowling alleys and on television.

Today, an estimated 70 million people bowl at least once a year in the United States. Many people bowl in leagues composed of eight to twelve teams, but leagues can be as large as forty teams depending on the size of the local alley. Although tenpin games continue to prevail, bowlers loyal to duckpins are active through the National Duckpin Bowling Congress, founded in 1927.

Don Carter and others founded the Professional Bowlers Association of America in 1958; Carter served as the first president. In the early twenty-first century the PBA had nearly 4,300 members representing thirteen countries. Annual tournament prize money is now more than $9 million; in the 1970s prize money was approximately $1 million.


New 2020/21 School Choice Application Window Takes Place August 3-5, 2020

July 28, 2020

Attention parents and guardians! Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) announces the addition of a new School Choice application window for the 2020/21 school year. The three-day application window is open August 3 – 5, 2020, and will be the final application opportunity for School Choice for the upcoming school year.

Parents and guardians may submit their School Choice application online at for magnet programs and school reassignments at schools that still have available seats  following previous School Choice application windows. Application results will be provided on August 14, allowing families to plan for eLearning prior to the start of the school year on August 19. 


Online Applications May Be Submitted

Application Status Notification

August 3, 2020 – August 5, 2020  (Application window opens at 8 a.m. on August 3)

August 14, 2020


Please note:

  • Families of students placed in a waitpool following the Phase I application window or previous Phase II application windows, do not need to submit another application in August, unless a different school or magnet program is The application remains active during the entire process, which includes the newly added application window.
  • Families submitting their first School Choice application during the new application window will receive an email confirmation and have their child’s application status updated on the Check Your Status webpage.
  • If a student’s current or previous application (for students in the waitpool) is not awarded as of August 14, parents should arrange for their child to attend their assigned school.

To learn more about School Choice options, application windows and notification timelines, and to apply online (beginning

August 3, 2020 at 8 a.m.), visit

Parents and guardians are encouraged to explore all the District’s School Choice options. BCPS is a national leader in offering innovative, personalized learning programs to meet students’ interests and prepare them for college and careers.

For more information, contact the Office of School Choice at




“Committed to educating all students to reach their highest potential.”

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth largest school district in the nation and the second largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has nearly 270,000 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 241 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 89 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population, with students representing 204 different countries and 191 different languages. To connect with BCPS, visit, follow us on Twitter @browardschools, on Facebook at and download the free BCPS mobile app.


Operation Tidal Wave: U.S. forces attempt risky air raid on Axis oil refineries

Month Day
August 01

On August 1, 1943, 177 B-24 bombers take off from an Allied base in Libya, bound for the oil-producing city Ploiești, Romania, nicknamed “Hitler’s gas station.” The daring raid, known as Operation Tidal Wave, resulted in five men being awarded the Medal of Honor—three of them posthumously—but failed to strike the fatal blow its planners had intended.

Operation Tidal Wave began ominously, with an overloaded bomber crashing shortly after takeoff and another plunging into the Adriatic Sea. 167 of the original 177 bombers made it to Ploiești, whose oil fields and refineries provided the Germans with over 8.5 million tons of oil per year. Whereas most Allied bombing in World War II was carried out from a high altitude, the bombers that raided Ploiești flew exceptionally low in order to evade the Germans’ radar. The bombers lost the element of surprise, however, when one group veered off on the wrong direction, forcing the others to break radio silence in order to direct them back on course. This unplanned adjustment also led to the bombers approaching from the south, where the Nazis had concentrated their anti-aircraft batteries.

READ MORE: One of the Most Daring WWII Air Raids Targeted Hitler’s Critical ‘Gas Station’

The ensuing attack was dramatic, chaotic and costly. The Allies suffered heavy casualties, and smoke from the explosions caused by the first wave of bombers made visibility difficult for subsequent waves. Survivors reported debris like branches and barbed wire hitting and even ending up on the inside of their planes. Lt. Col. Addison Baker and Maj. John Jerstad were awarded the Medal of Honor for their (unsuccessful) attempt to fly higher and allow the crew to bail of our their badly damaged plane. Another pilot, Lt. Lloyd Herbert Hughes, also received a posthumous Medal of Honor for flying his critically-damaged B-24 into its target. Col. John Kane and Col. Leon Johnson, who each led bombing groups that reached their targets, were the only men who won the Medal of Honor and survived the raid.

Although the Allies estimated that the raid had reduced Ploiești’s capacity by 40 percent, the damage was quickly repaired and within months the refineries had outstripped their previous capacity. The region continued to serve as “Hitler’s gas station” until the Soviet Union captured it in August of 1944. 310 airmen died, 108 were captured and another 78 were interned in neighboring Turkey. 88 of the original 177 B-24s returned, most of them seriously damaged. Despite setting the record for most Medals of Honor awarded to airmen in a single mission, Operation Tidal wave was never repeated—the Allies never again attempted a low-altitude assault against German air defenses.

READ MORE: Meet the Night Witches, the Daring Female Pilots Who Bombed Nazis By Night



Today in History – July 28

On July 28, 1868, Secretary of State William Seward issued a proclamation certifying without reservation that the Fourteenth Amendment was a part of the United States Constitution. The required number of states had ratified the Fourteenth Amendment a few weeks earlier on July 9, 1868. Known as one of the “Reconstruction Amendments” along with the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, the Fourteenth Amendment forbids any state to deny to any person “life, liberty or property, without due process of law” or to “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” With its broadly phrased language, the Fourteenth Amendment continues to provide a basis for civil rights claims in the United States.

Supreme Court Room. c1894. Wittemann Collection. Prints & Photographs Division

Soon after ratification, the Slaughterhouse Case tested the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment. Brought before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1873, the suit argued that the monopoly the Louisiana legislature granted to a New Orleans slaughtering company abridged other businessmen’s privileges as American citizens and deprived them of property without due process of the law. The court ruled against the slaughterhouses, narrowly interpreting “the privileges and immunities” of citizens and stating that the amendment did not extend to the property rights of businessmen. In their dissenting opinion, Justices Stephen Johnson Field, Joseph P. Bradley, and Noah Haynes Swayne wrote that, in considering the Fourteenth Amendment,

the right to pursue any lawful trade or avocation, without other restraint than such as equally affects all persons, is one of the privileges of citizens of the United States which can not be abridged by state legislation.

Stephen Johnson Field, Joseph P. Bradley, and Noah Haynes Swayne, The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution Considered… Washington, D.C.: Chas. W. Gordon, Printer, 1873. African American Perspectives: Materials Selected from the Rare Book Collection. Rare Book & Special Collections Division

Women tried to use the new amendment to affirm their right to vote. In 1871, Sara J. Spencer and Sarah E. Webster each brought cases before the District of Columbia court arguing that they were enfranchised by the Fourteenth Amendment. Their lawyers argued that while District law specified that “male residents” could vote, passage of the Fourteenth Amendment nullified that requirement.

…in the presence of the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment, which confers the elective franchise upon “all persons,” this word “male” is as if unwritten, and, [therefore], the statute, constitutionally, reads, “That all citizens shall be entitled to vote.”

Albert Gallatin Riddle, Suffrage Conferred by the Fourteenth Amendment… Washington, D.C.: Judd & Detweiler, Printers and Publishers, 1871. National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection. Rare Book & Special Collections Division

Riddle further argued on the women’s behalf that “the right to vote is a natural right,” central to the notion of citizenship. Today, the right to vote is considered a fundamental civil right of all United States citizens. But, in nineteenth-century America, political rights, including enfranchisement, were viewed as distinct from civil rights.

George E. C. Hayes, Thurgood Marshall, and James Nabrit…following Supreme Court Decision… Courtesy of AP/Wide World Photos, 1954. The African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship. New York World-Telegram and Sun Photograph Collection. Prints & Photographs Division

On May 18, 1896, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson that “separate but equal” facilities were considered sufficient to satisfy the Fourteenth Amendment. This decision established a pattern in American society, until May 17, 1954, when the Court reversed the Plessy decision. In the case of Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka (argued for Brown by Thurgood Marshall), the Court held that segregation of public schools is a denial of equal protection under the law.


Today in History – July 27

On July 27, 1946, American avant-garde writer and art connoisseur Gertrude Stein died in France. Her longtime companion, Alice B. Toklas, was at her side. In their last conversation, Stein reportedly questioned Toklas about the meaning of life: “Alice, what is the answer?” When Toklas was unable to reply, Stein queried, “In that case, what was the question?”

[Portrait of Gertrude Stein, with American flag as backdrop]. Carl Van Vechten, photographer, Jan. 4, 1935. Van Vechten Collection. Prints & Photographs Division

Stein was born on February 3, 1874, in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. Her family moved when she was three years old—first to Vienna, then to Paris. They returned to the U.S. and settled in Oakland, California, in 1879. After her parents died, she joined her eldest brother, Michael, in San Francisco in 1891. Next, she moved to Baltimore with her brother, Leo, and sister, Bertha, to live with an aunt. Stein attended the Harvard Annex—the precursor to Radcliffe College, from 1893-97 and then enrolled at Johns Hopkins University Medical School (1897-1901)—but decided not to pursue a medical career. She joined Leo in Paris in 1903.

In Paris, Stein enjoyed a reputation both as a cultural figure and for her circle of friends. She cultivated friendships with Picasso, Henri Matisse, and other experimental painters who frequently gathered for food and conversation at her home.

[Portrait of Alice B. Toklas, Chartres]. Carl Van Vechten, photographer, Oct. 8, 1949. Van Vechten Collection. Prints & Photographs Division

During the 1920s, Stein’s talent for the apt turn-of-phrase and her willingness to mentor others made her Paris salon a gathering place for American expatriates Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Carl Van Vechten, Virgil Thomson, and Archibald MacLeish. Watching these young men struggle to come to terms with World War I’s devastation, Stein observed to Hemingway, “You are all a lost generation.”

Stein’s writing—a fragmented, abstract style intended to capture the moment, was influenced by the Cubist school of art. Her first book was the novel Three Lives (1909). Her second book, Tender Buttons: Objects, Food, Rooms (1914), a poetry collection, exemplified the effect that modern painting had on her writing. Her other influential works include The Making of Americans (1925) and How to Write (1931). Her best seller, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933) tells Stein’s life from Toklas’ point of view.

The composer Virgil Thomson scored Stein’s operas, Four Saints in Three Acts (1933) and The Mother of Us All (1947). Based on the life and career of Susan B. Anthony, the latter is described in its foreword as a “pageant” on the theme of winning rights for women in the United States.


Today in History – July 26

Joseph Jenkins Roberts declared Liberia, formerly a colony of the American Colonization Society, an independent republic on July 26, 1847. He was elected the first president of the republic in 1848.

Joseph Jenkins Roberts. [President of Liberia]. Augustus Washington, original photographer, ca. 1851. Daguerreotypes. Prints & Photographs Division
Jane Roberts. [First Lady of Liberia]. Augustus Washington, original photographer, [between 1851 and 1860]. Daguerreotypes. Prints & Photographs Division.

A native of Petersburg, Virginia, Roberts immigrated to Liberia in 1829 at the age of twenty under the auspices of the American Colonization Society. The Society was organized in late December 1816 by a group which included Henry Clay, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Francis Scott Key, Bushrod Washington, and Daniel Webster. The colonization scheme, controversial from the outset among blacks and whites alike, was conceived as an alternative to emancipation. The idea grew from the recognition of the difficulty that the Republic would face should it choose the path of becoming an integrated nation.

Map of the West Coast of Africa from Sierra Leone to Cape Palmas, including the Colony of Liberia. Philadelphia Pa.: A. Finley, 1830. Maps of Liberia, 1830 to 1870. Geography & Map Division.

This map was compiled chiefly from the surveys and observations of the Reverend Jehudi Ashmun, who led the settlement of what was to become the country of Liberia.

With difficulty, funds were found for the venture and, after an initial unsuccessful attempt, a colony was finally founded in Mesurado Bay on Providence Island in 1822. Reverend Ashmun negotiated with the native people to grant a tract of land at Cape Mesurado at the mouth of the St. Pauls River.

Expansion of the original colony at times resulted in conflict with indigenous Africans. The colony grew as it became a home for freed African Americans and slaves released from the West Indies and from slave ships as well as many native tribal people. Nevertheless, confrontations between the descendants of African Americans and indigenous tribes have remained a factor in Liberian politics through the twentieth century.

Learn more about the colonization movement in the online exhibition The African-American Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History & Culture. The first section of the exhibition, entitled “Colonization,” includes an overview of the origins of the American Colonization Society and the founding and early history of Liberia. Of particular interest is a treaty between the American Colonization Society and African tribal leaders for rights to tribal lands along the Grain Coast and on major rivers leading inland.