1776 – In America, the Continental Congress formed a committee to draft a Declaration of Independence from Britain.


On June 11, in 1776, the Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, named a five-member committee to draft a declaration of independence from Britain. Its members were Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert Livingston of New York

Adams suggested that Jefferson write the first draft. Adams and Franklin edited it and then gave their work to Congress on June 28 for review. It began:
“When, in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation.”

Congress set the draft aside to debate a resolution that Richard Henry Lee had introduced on June 7. His motion called on Congress to declare independence, form foreign alliances and prepare a plan of colonial confederation.

Lee’s proposal read: “Resolved that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

source – Politico

1963 University of Alabama desegregated


 

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Facing federalized Alabama National Guard troops, Alabama Governor George Wallace ends his blockade of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and allows two African American students to enroll.

George Wallace, one of the most controversial politicians in U.S. history, was elected governor of Alabama in 1962 under an ultra-segregationist platform. In his 1963 inaugural address, he promised his white followers: “Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!” When African American students attempted to desegregate the University of Alabama in June 1963, Alabama’s new governor, flanked by state troopers, literally blocked the door of the enrollment office. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, had declared segregation unconstitutional in 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education, and the executive branch undertook aggressive tactics to enforce the ruling.

On June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy federalized National Guard troops and deployed them to the University of Alabama to force its desegregation. The next day, Governor Wallace yielded to the federal pressure, and two African American students–Vivian Malone and James A. Hood–successfully enrolled. In September of the same year, Wallace again attempted to block the desegregation of an Alabama public school–this time Tuskegee High School in Huntsville–but President Kennedy once again employed his executive authority and federalized National Guard troops. Wallace had little choice but to yield.

1963 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested in Florida for trying to integrate restaurants


BY RYAN M. JONES

June 11, 1963 was a sweaty and humid day. The weather fit the climate of tension around Tuscaloosa, Alabama and throughout the state. For months, the University of Alabama was on edge and judgment had finally arrived. Two African-American students were going to be enrolled at the University under a Federal Court order.

 

The last time that happened, President John F. Kennedy was forced to send in 500 Federal Marshals to ensure the protection of James Meredith, who was attempting to integrate the University of Mississippi. Twenty-eight marshals received gunshot wounds. Two men were killed. Governor Ross Barnett attempted to deny Meredith admittance. Kennedy overruled and Meredith was enrolled.GeorgeWallaceConfrontMarshalls

 

The eyes of the nation were now on Tuscaloosa and Alabama Governor, George Wallace. Wallace had just been inaugurated on January 14, where he declared the intolerable proclamation: “I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever.”

 

This was Alabama 1963, where months later, the presence of Dr. Martin Luther King calling out for morality of man from a Birmingham jail and children are senselessly attacked by the order of Bull Connor’s fire hoses and police dogs. The two students, James Hood and Vivian Malone arrived at Foster’s Auditorium. Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach was met in the doorway by Governor Wallace, who claimed he was there to uphold the heritage of the South and the state of Alabama.

 

JFK got word of Wallace’s best response of brinkmanship and federalized the Alabama National Guard. The two enrolled and Tuscaloosa remained quiet. Kennedy could relax for a few hours. He too, was about to change history.

 

The President ignored his closest advisors on when to go public about Civil Rights. He and his brother Bobby, the Attorney General shared a moderate view on Civil Rights. Eliminate the violence, avoid open support. The violent images of Birmingham resonated with him. He was going on national television for 15 minutes. The nation listened as the 35th president of the United States spoke out on peaking civil rights movement and race relations, itself as a moral issue. He also announced he would ask Congress to pass a Civil Rights bill that would entirely end the era of Jim Crow. This speech came exactly one century after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

 

One thousand miles south, a man is driving home to his wife and three small children after a civil rights rally and hears the President’s speech on his radio. It is almost midnight.

 

MedgarEversIt had been nine years since Medgar Evers accepted the position of field secretary for the NAACP in Mississippi. Organizing boycotts and investigating murders throughout the state made him a target of white segregationists overnight. He reached his driveway shortly after midnight after feeling overjoyed by the President’s speech. He was physically tired. Because of so many death threats, he trained himself to get out of the car on the passenger side door. He forgot on this night. Carrying t-shirts that said “Jim Crow Must Go,” a missile tore into his back and exited out of his chest, going through the front window, landing on the kitchen counter. The World War II veteran pulled his way up into his garage. His young wife Myrlie and children found him lying in a pool of blood. His eyes met hers and stated “Sit me up, turn me loose.” He was pronounced dead 30 minutes later.

 

June 11, 1963, was the height of the American civil rights movement. The next night, people woke up to the news of the first political assassination of the decade. The President’s courage might have caused him the election of 1964 (which he never saw because of his tragic assassination in Dallas that November) and George Wallace, the most outspoken Governor of his time was neutralized to the entire globe.

 

The iconic March on Washington picked up where June 11 left off. Two hundred fifty thousand Americans of all races celebrated the proposed Civil Rights bill and mourned the death of a civil rights hero. Sixty-two years later, we reflect to that pastime and remember those historical giants as the story for freedom, justice and equality continues.