1956 Martin Luther King Jr.’s home is bombed

On January 30, 1956, an unidentified suspected white supremacist terrorist bombed the Montgomery home of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. No one was harmed, but the explosion outraged the community and was a major test of King’s steadfast commitment to non-violence. King was …read more

READ MORE: Why Martin Luther King’s Family Believes James Earl Ray Was Not His Killer

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Martin Luther King Jr.’s home is bombed

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Access Date

January 29, 2023


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January 11, 2023

Original Published Date

October 21, 2019


1972 How the Troubles Began in Northern Ireland1972


“Bloody Sunday” in Northern Ireland

In Londonderry, Northern Ireland, 13 unarmed civil rights demonstrators are shot dead by British Army paratroopers in an event that becomes known as “Bloody Sunday.” The protesters, all Northern Catholics, were marching in protest of the British policy of internment of suspected …read more

1800 US population: 5,308,483; African American population 1,002,037 (18.9%)

The 1800 population census was the First Decennial Census of the United States. Taken every 10 years since 1790, census records provide a snapshot of the nation’s population. 

Frequently Asked Questions About the 1800 Census

Why was the 1800 Census taken?

The U.S. Constitution was ratified September 17, 1787.  Article I, Section 2, established that representation in the U.S. House of Representatives was based on population determined by a census taken at 10 year intervals: “The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they [Congress] shall by Law Direct.”

What was the official census day? 

Monday, August 4, 1800.

When was it taken?

The census began on Monday, August 4, 1800, and was finished within 9 months, under the rules and directions established in an Act of Congress approved February 28, 1800 ( “An Act providing for the second Census or enumeration of the Inhabitants of the United States,” 2 Statutes at Large 11).

Who was counted? 

The law required “That every person whose usual place of abode shall be in any family on [August 4, 1800], shall be returned as of such family, and the name of every person, who shall be an inhabitant of any district or territory, but without a settled place of residence, shall be inserted in the column of the aforesaid schedule, which is allotted for the heads of families, in that division where he or she shall be on [August 4, 1800], and every person occasionally absent at the time of the enumeration, as belonging to that place in which he usually resides in the United States.”

Who was involved?

  • Secretaries of State John Marshall (1800-1801) and James Madison (1801-1809) had general supervision of census operations and tabulating and reporting the results to the President and Congress.
  • The U.S. Marshal for each Federal judicial district was responsible for taking the census in his district with the help of assistant marshals whom he appointed. Each took an oath or affirmation that “I will well and truly cause to be made, a just and perfect enumeration and description of all persons resident within my district or territory, and return the same to the Secretary of State, agreeably to the directions of an act of Congress, intitualed [sic, entitled], ‘An act providing for the enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States,’ according to the best of my ability.”
  • Every free person over age 16 was required to cooperate: “That each and every free person more than sixteen years of age, whether heads of families or not … shall be, and hereby is obligated to render to such assistant of the division, a true account, if required, to the best of his or her knowledge, of all and every person belonging to such family … on pain of forfeiting twenty dollars….”

What questions did the census ask?

  • Name of head of family
  • Number of free white males under 10 years of age
  • Number of free white males of 10 and under 16 years of age
  • Number of free white males of 16 and under 26 years of age
  • Number of free white males of twenty six and under 45 years of age
  • Number of free white males of 45  years of age and upwards
  • Number of free white females under 10 years of age
  • Number of free white females of 10 and under 16 years of age
  • Number of free white females of 16 and under 26 years of age
  • Number of free white females of twenty six and under 45 years of age
  • Number of free white females of 45  years of age and upwards
  • Number of all other free persons, except Indians, not taxed [free African-Americans]
  • Number of slaves

1797 US Congress refuses to accept 1st petition from African American

National Humanities Center Resource Toolbox
The Making of African American Identity: Vol. I, 1500-1865

“a direct violation of the declared
fundamental principles of the Constitution”
to Congress from four free African Americans
to protect freed slaves from capture and resale
in the House of Representatives to consider the
petition and the vote to deny its hearing in committee
♦ SUBMITTED 23 January 1797 by Jupiter Nicholson, Jacob Nicholson, Joe Albert, and Thomas Pritchet, residents of
Philadelphia; Pennsylvania, formerly enslaved in North Carolina before being freed by their owners
♦ PRESENTED by Congressman John Swanwick, Pennsylvania, 30 January 1797
♦ DEBATED and consideration denied in the U.S. House of Representatives, 30 January 1797*

In 1775 North Carolina made it illegal to free slaves unless approved by a county court. Over the next decade, however, “persons
from religious motives,” mostly members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), continued to free their slaves, in some cases buying
slaves in order to free them. In response, North Carolina passed another law in 1788 allowing the capture and sale of any former
slave who had been freed without court approval, with twenty percent of the sale price going to the person who reported the illegal
manumission. Many freed African Americans fled the state to avoid being captured and sold back into slavery.
Four such men, living in the North after being freed in North Carolina, petitioned the U.S. Congress in 1797 to consider the plight of
these former slaves and adopt “some remedy for an evil of such magnitude.” Was not this act of North Carolina, they asked, “a
direct violation of the declared fundamental principles of the Constitution?” Below are excerpts from the men’s petition (written by
the black religious leader Absalom Jones) and the congressmen’s debate on sending the petition to a committee for consideration,
as recorded in the Annals of Congress, 1797.

Mr. SWANWICK presented the following petition: To the President, Senate, and House of Representatives.
The Petition and Representation of the under-named Freemen, respectfully showeth: —

THAT, being of African descent, late inhabitants and natives of North Carolina, to you only,
under God, can we apply with any hope of effect, for redress of our grievances, having
been compelled to leave the State wherein we had a right of residence, as freemen liberated
under the hand and seal of humane and conscientious masters, the validity of which act of
justice, in restoring us to our native right of freedom, was confirmed by judgment of the
Superior Court of North Carolina, wherein it was brought to trial; yet, not long after this decision, a law of that State was enacted, under which men of cruel disposition, and void of
just principle, received countenance and authority in violently seizing, imprisoning, and
selling into slavery, such as had been so emancipated; whereby we were reduced to the
necessity of separating from some of our nearest and most tender connexions, and of
seeking refuge in such parts of the Union where more regard is paid to the public
declaration in favor of liberty and the common right of man, several hundreds, under our
circumstances, having in consequence of the said law, been hunted day and night, like
beasts of the forest, by armed men with dogs, and made a prey of as free and lawful
late: in the
recent past
petition for
redress of
one of the
five rights
by the First
(Bill of Rights),
i.e., to petition
Congress if
one’s rights
have been
violated by the

Among others thus exposed, I, JUPITER NICHOLSON, of Perquimans county, N.C.,
after being set free by my master, Thomas Nicholson, and having been about two years
employed as a seaman in the service of Zachary Nickson, on coming on shore, was pursued

  • National Humanities Center, 2007: nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/. In Annals of the Congress of the United States, 4th Congress, 2nd Session
    [March 1795-March 1797] VI (Washington, DC: 1849), pp. 2015-2024; online in American Memory (Library of Congress) at memory.loc.gov/ammem/
    amlaw/lwac.html. In the public domain. Sidenotes, some paragraphing, and bracketed comments (except names of previous speakers) added by NHC.
    Image from petition from Annals of Congress. Complete image credits at nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai/imagecredits.htm.