On This Day in Black History: January 16
1865
"Forty acres and a mule": General Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 15, which stated that "the islands of Charleston south, the abandoned rice fields along the rivers for thirty miles back from the sea, and the country bordering St. Johns River, Florida are reserved and set apart for the settlement of Negroes now made free by the acts of war and the proclamation of the President of the United States." Freed settlers' families were given title to 40-acre plots and Sherman also granted them surplus army mules. However, land titles were quickly rescinded and the land was given to white owners. No forty acres. No mule.
1901
Hiram R. Revels, the first African-American to be elected to the U.S. Senate, died.
1941
The 99th Pursuit Squadron, an all-black unit known as the Tuskegee Airmen, was formed. These African-American pilots made a major contribution to World War II with their skill and daring.
1966
Major-General Johnson Thomas Umurakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi became the first military head of state in Nigeria after a military coup ended the first republic.
1967
Lynden Pindling headed the first black government in the Bahamas.
1970
Curt Flood filed suit against Major League Baseball and its reserve clause, citing that federal antitrust laws had been violated.
1975
Angola gained independence from Portugal.
1978
Major Frederick D. Gregory, Major Guion Bluford and Dr. Ronald McNair were selected for training in NASA's astronaut program.
1994
South Africa's Pan-Africanist Congress suspended its armed struggle against the government of President F.W. de Klerk.
2001
President Laurent-Désiré Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo was assassinated by one of his own bodyguards.
2006
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female president of an African country, was sworn in as President of Liberia.

Today's Featured Page
Behanzin
Behanzin, the King of Dahomey, chose the strategy of confrontation to resist French occupation of his kingdom. More...


Previously Featured Pages
Dr. Benjamin Carson
Dr. Benjamin Carson is best known for his role as pediatric neurosurgeon in a complex operation separating Siamese twins joined at the head. More...

Askia Mohammed I (Askia the Great)
Askia Mohammed I encouraged learning and literacy. Under Askia, Timbuktu experienced a cultural revival and flourished as a center of learning. More...

World War II Medals of Honor
During the Civil War, 24 blacks were presented the Medal of Honor, America's highest award for heroism. During the Spanish-American War, six blacks were honored. However, only three were honored during World War I, II and the Korean War combined. No blacks received the award for World War II. On January 13, 1997, the Army finally righted these wrongs. More...

Augusta Savage
Born Augusta Fells in 1892 in Green Cove Springs, Florida, Augusta Savage was one of the luminaries of the Harlem Renaissance. More...

Yaa Asantewa/The Asante Wars
The British found few people as difficult to subdue as the Asante of Ghana in their quest to build their West African colonial empire. More...

Annie Onieta Plummer
Dubbed The Dictionary Lady, Annie Onieta Plummer was born in 1936 in Sylvania, Georgia. In 1992, she noticed that many school children in Savannah, Georgia were not carrying any books. More...


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