1. In 1773, 238 Years ago Today, Massachusetts slaves petitioned the legislature for freedom. There is a record of eight freedom petitions during the Revolutionary War period.
2. In 1820, 191 Years ago Today, The first organized emigration to Africa begins when 86 free African Americans leave New York Harbor aboard the Mayflower of Liberia. They are bound for the British colony of Sierra Leone, which welcomes free African Americans and fugitive slaves.
3. In 1831, 180 Years ago Today, The World Anti-Slavery Convention opensI n London
4. In 1832, 179 Years ago Today, New England Anti-Slavery Society organized at African Baptist Church on Boston’s Beacon Hill.
5. In 1867, 144 Years ago Today, The Peabody Fund is established to provide monies for construction, endowments, scholarships, teacher, and industrial education for newly freed slaves.
6. In 1874, 137 Years ago Today, Congressman Robert Brown Elliot delivered one of the most eloquent speeches of the times in defense of Charles Sumner’s civil rights bill. Elliot’s hour-long speech began: ‘I regred, sir, the dark hue of my skin may lend color to the imputation that I am controlled by motives personal to myself in advocacy of this great measure of national justice. Sir, the motive that impels me is restricted to no such narrow boundary, but is as broad as your Constitution. I advocate it, sir, because it is right.’ A major sourthern Reconstruction politician, Elliot was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives at the age of 38 and was among the first African-Americans in the U.S. government.
7. In 1961, 50 Years ago Today, The “jail-in” movement starts in Rock Hill, S.C. when arrested students demand jail rather than fines.
8. In 1971, 40 Years ago Today, Cecil A. Partee elected president pro tem of the Illinois state senate.