Today in “Hidden” History

Today in “Hidden” History is a daily listing of important but little-known events illustrating the range of innovators, contributors, or incidents excluded from formal history lessons or common knowledge. Hidden history is intended not as an exhaustive review, but merely as an illustration of how popular narratives "hide" many matters of fundamental importance. Bookmark this page and check daily to quickly expand your knowledge. Suggest entries for Today in “Hidden” History by clicking the Contact Us link. Entries for May 14:

1888Architect and engineer Archibald Alphonso Alexander is born. He was an early African-American graduate of the University of Iowa and the first to graduate from the University of Iowa's College of Engineering. Through the firm he founded, A. A. Alexander, Inc. (later Alexander & Repass), Alexander spearheaded over 300 projects, including major bridge and highway design and construction projects, garnering multiple awards and honors for achievements in engineering and business. In 1954, Alexander was appointed Governor of the United States Virgin Islands by PresidentDwight D. Eisenhower. Learn more.
1913Clara Stanton Jones, the first African American and the first woman to serve as director of a major library system in America (the Detroit Public Library) and later the first African-American president of the American Library Association (ALA), is born. She heavily aided the ALA adoption of a "Resolution on Racism and Sexism Awareness" to encourage librarians to raise the awareness of library patrons and staff to problems of racism and sexism. President Jimmy Carter appointed Jones as Commissioner to the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. In 1984, Jones and Aileen Clarke Hernandez, former President of the National Organization for Women (NOW), founded the black women's discussion group Black Women Stirring the Waters, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jones received the Trailblazer Award in 1990 from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, the highest award given by BCALA. Learn more.
1961On Mother's Day, May 14, 1961, the Greyhound bus carrying Freedom Riders arrived at the Anniston, Alabama, bus station shortly after 1:00 pm to a mob of 50 men armed with pipes, chains, and bats led by Ku Klux Klan leader William Chapel. The mob smashed windows, slashed tires, and dented the sides of the Riders' bus. Local police, aware of the mob in advance, did not arrive until after the assault was well underway. Police then pretended to escort the crippled bus to safety, but instead abandoned it at the Anniston city limits. Another armed white mob then surrounded and attacked the bus, while two highway patrolmen watched without intervening. When a member of the mob tossed a firebomb through a broken bus window, others in the mob attempted to trap the passengers inside the burning vehicle by barricading the door. The mob stepped back when the fuel tank began to explode. The Riders were able to escape the ensuing flames and smoke through the bus windows and main door, only to be attacked and beaten by the mob outside. After police finally dispersed their attackers, the Freedom Riders received limited medical care. They were soon evacuated from Anniston in a convoy organized by Birmingham Civil Rights leader, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth. Learn more.
1970In the evening, city and state police confront a group of students at Jackson State College (now Jackson State University) in Jackson, Mississippi, one of the largest historically Black colleges or universities (HCBU) in the United States. At roughly 12:05 am (on May 15), the police open fire on the crowd gathered in front of Alexander Hall, a women's dormitory, killing two students and injuring twelve. The gunfire lasted for 30 seconds and more than 460 shots were fired by a reported 40 state highway patrolmen, who used shotguns from 30 to 50 feet. Every window on the side of the building facing the street was shattered. In December 1970, a federal grand jury was discharged after it failed to produce an indictment or written findings in a five-month recess, despite having summoned about 40 state patrol men and 26 city police officers. The President's Commission on Campus Unrest investigated the event and concluded "that the 28-second fusillade from police officers was an unreasonable, unjustified overreaction.... A broad barrage of gunfire in response to reported and unconfirmed sniper fire is never warranted." The event, subsequently become known as the Jackson State Killings. Learn more.

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Author Talk w/ Marc Lamont Hill and Todd Brewster

May 24, 2022 @ 7:00 pm 8:30 pm EDT

Click Here to Register for this Event at Ridgefield Library

Todd Brewster and Marc Lamont Hill talk about their new book, Seen and Unseen: Technology, Social Media, and the Fight for Racial JusticeMr. Hill will be joining by Zoom and Mr. Brewster will be in person. read more

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