On September 16, 1928, a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 miles per hour made landfall in Palm Beach County, Florida. The hurricane destroyed a levee that protected a number of small, low-lying farming communities from the waters of Lake Okeechobee. Water from Lake Okeechobee rushed in when the levee was destroyed, killing thousands. Most residents in these areas were Black migrant farm workers.
After the hurricane, Black survivors were forced to recover the bodies of those killed. The officials in charge of the recovery effort ordered that food would be provided only to those who worked, and some people who refused to work were shot.
The bodies of white storm victims were buried in coffins in local cemeteries, but local officials refused to provide coffins or proper burials for Black victims. Instead, their corpses were stacked in piles by the side of the roads, doused in fuel oil, and burned. Authorities bulldozed the bodies of 674 Black victims into a mass grave in West Palm Beach. The mass grave was not marked and the site was later sold for private industrial use—first used as a garbage dump, then a slaughterhouse, and then a sewage treatment plant.
On September 16, 1893, the largest land run in history begins with more than 100,000 people pouring into the Cherokee Strip of Oklahoma to claim valuable land that had once belonged to Native Americans. With a single shot from a pistol the mad dash began, and land-hungry pioneers on horseback and in carriages raced forward to stake their claims to the best acres.
Ironically, not many years before that same land had once been considered worthless desert. Early explorers of Oklahoma believed that the territory was too arid and treeless for white settlement, but several suggested it might be the perfect place to resettle Native Americans, whose rich and fertile lands in the southeast were increasingly coveted by Americans. The U.S. government later took this advice and began removing eastern tribes like the Cherokee and Choctaw to Oklahoma Territory in 1817. No more eager than the whites to leave their green and well-watered lands for the arid plains, some Native Americans resisted and had to be removed by force-most tragically, the 4,000 Cherokee who died during the brutal overland march known appropriately as the “Trail of Tears.”
1620 – The Mayflower departed from Plymouth, England. The ship arrived at Provincetown, MA, on November 21st and then at Plymouth, MA, on December 26th. There were 102 passengers on board.
1893 – The “Cherokee Strip” in Oklahoma was swarmed by hundreds of thousands of settlers aka white people
1990 – An eight-minute videotape of an address by U.S. President George H.W. Bush was shown on Iraqi television. The message warned that action of Saddam Hussein could plunge them into a war “against the world.”
1994 – Exxon Corporation was ordered by federal jury to pay $5 billion in punitive damages to the people harmed by the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.
1994 – Two astronauts from the space shuttle Discovery went on the first untethered spacewalk in 10 years.