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 and common knowledge. 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 April 12:

1825Reverend Richard Harvey Cain is born. Cain was a  minister, abolitionist, and United States Representative from South Carolina from 1873–1875 and 1877-1879. After the Civil War, he was appointed by Bishop Daniel Payne as a missionaryof the African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina. He also was one of the founders of Lincolnville, South Carolina. Learn more.
1864Rebel troops commanded by Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest commit the Fort Pillow Massacre, murdering several hundred Union soldiers, the vast majority of whom were Black, after they had already surrendered. Forrest, who after the war become the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, initially described a river as “dyed with the blood of the slaughtered for 200 yards,” and his field commander bragged that his men had taught “the mongrel garrison” a memorable lesson; later, Forrest and his staff later either denied there was a massacre or blamed it on the garrison itself. The Fort Pillow affair became a target of Southern revisionists, and many reference works balk at deeming the battle a massacre. But recent accounts drawn from primary sources conclude emphatically that a massacre did indeed transpire, and that Forrest’s field officers did little to stop it, for which Forrest himself bears the ultimate responsibility. Learn more here and here.

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March 31: Transgender Day of Visibility

An “ally” opposes institutional or systemic injustice in every form, and supports and advocates for members of every community that suffer such injustice. Today and everyday we are in solidarity with transgender individuals against injustices they face.

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An Ally to Our Asian Neighbors

On Tuesday night (March 16, 2021) a man with a gun shot and killed eight people, including six young Asian women. According to the New York Times, Asian Americans were targeted in nearly 3,800 hate incidents in the past year. Words cannot fully express the senselessness of this violence, nor can they fully measure the amount of pain and suffering that will endure long after last night’s carnage. And that is why we say that words alone are simply not enough. read more

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Allies Exclusive: Children’s Book Reading

In a Ridgefield Allies video exclusive to celebrate Black History Month and to illustrate how parents can and should begin educating their children to be antiracist as early as possible, Ridgefield native Lily Robinson reads the children’s book Antiracist Baby, by Ibram X. Kendi. Ridgefield Allies urge parents to view this video with their children and to make this and similar children’s books regular volumes they read to and with their very young children. As the book explains, antiracist babies (and the toddlers, teens, and adults they grow into) are made through learning. Let us all take steps to advance such learning. For additional antiracism resources, including resources aimed at young children, please visit our Resources page.

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MLK Jr Actively Sought Out, Confronted, & Challenged Injustice and Complacency

He Pursued Justice As An End In Itself And As The Only True Healing

Today we commemorate the life, work, and meaning of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. Unfortunately, too many in pop culture and in our community will celebrate a faux Dr. King, an ersatz posthumous version drained of his righteous moral power, erudite learned wisdom, and unyielding bravery, a domesticated Stuart Smalley-esque construction that does not challenge us to be more than simply superficially “nice” to one another. That is not the Dr King who existed nor to whom we owe so much. This artifice is as a blasphemy to Dr. King’s teachings and to the multitudes of lesser known and wholly unknown collaborators who worked and toiled with him over the two decades of his publicly-visible activism and in the over five decades since. Millions of black women and men, most without Dr. King’s immense oratorical and intellectual gifts, but who nonetheless took up the power and righteousness of their shared mission, and who still toil today, are insulted and demeaned by such impotent depictions. read more

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UPDATED TIME: Ridgefield’s MLK, Jr Celebration Marks 25th Anniversary Milestone — Live Stream Monday, Jan 18, 2021 @ 1 pm

Every year The Spirit of Dr. King Award is given to a Ridgefield resident for their outstanding commitment to community service and selflessness, as we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King. This year will be special, not only because it is it the 25th Anniversary of this event, but because, for the first time, it will all be done virtually and can be viewed LIVE on Monday, January 18. 2020, beginning at 1 pm on the Ridgefield Playhouse YouTube Channel, and will be available for replay viewing anytime thereafter.” read more

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What happens when you tell folks they’re racist?

(That wasn’t a rhetorical question.)

I take it as a good thing and as a measure of meaningful progress that white people absolutely lose their minds when someone suggests that they are racist.  After all, it wasn’t that long ago that a disturbingly large segment of America’s white citizens was unabashedly proud of their racist identity.  It was an explicit expression of their superiority, intellectually, culturally, economically and politically, over people of color.  In 1972 and 1976, George Wallace ran for president as a Democrat and won several state primaries each time.  This is the same man who passionately declared, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” read more

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3 Simple Steps

As an organization, Ridgefield Allies accepts that it cannot respond to every headline. Given the history of our country and the pace of current events, chasing headlines would divert our actions and our purpose into a meaningless blur. read more

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