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 June 07:

1892African-American inventor George T. Sampson is issued U.S. patent #476,416 for his invention of an early automatic clothes dryer. Sampson's invention eliminated the need for an open flame to dry clothes. Learn more.
1917Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, author, teacher, and Illinois poet laureate Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks is born. Her work often dealt with the personal celebrations and struggles of ordinary people in her community. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950 for, making her the first African American to receive a Pulitzer Prize. Throughout her prolific writing career, Brooks received many more honors. A lifelong resident of Chicago, Brooks was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968, a position she held until her death 32 years later. She was also named the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress for the 1985–86 term. In 1976, she became the first African-American woman inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Learn more.
1920The Ku Klux Klan launches a professionally-created public relations campaign that exploits white anxieties following the first World War. The “100 Percent Americanism” campaign promotes the Klan as defenders of the white American nation from defilement by Black people, Catholics, Jewish people, foreigners, and “moral offenders.” This “neat package of hatred” caught attention quickly, and within 16 months, nearly 100,000 new members had joined. By 1924, there were three million active Klan members nationwide, including 35,000 in Detroit, 55,000 in Chicago, 200,000 in Ohio, 240,000 in Indiana, and 260,000 in Pennsylvania. Learn more.
1943Poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator Yolande Cornelia "Nikki" Giovanni Jr. is born. One of the world's most well-known African-American poets, her work includes poetry anthologies, poetry recordings, and nonfiction essays, and covers topics ranging from race and social issues to children's literature. She has won numerous awards, including the Langston Hughes Medal and the NAACP Image Award. She has been nominated for a Grammy Award for her poetry album, The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection. Learn more.
1998James Byrd Jr., an African-American man, is brutally murdered by three white supremacists in Jasper, Texas. Shawn Berry, Lawrence Brewer, and John King dragged him for three miles behind a pickup truck along an asphalt road. Byrd is killed about halfway through the dragging when his body hit the edge of a culvert, severing his right arm and head. The murderers drove on for another 1.5 miles (2.4 km) before dumping his torso in front of a black church. Brewer and King were the first white men to be sentenced to death for killing a black person in the history of modern Texas. Berry was sentenced to life imprisonment and will be eligible for parole in 2038. Byrd's lynching-by-dragging gave impetus to passage of a Texan hate crimes law, which later led to passage by Congress of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (commonly known as the Matthew Shepard Act) in 2009. 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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