Presbyterian minister John Miller Dickey and his wife, Sarah Emlen Cresson, founded Ashmun Institute, and later renamed it Lincoln University. They originally named it after Jehudi Ashmun, who was a religious leader and social reformer, but renamed it Lincoln University after President Lincoln's assassination. An advocate of educating African American freedmen, Dickey aspired to help educate Black men and then help them colonize Liberia - he was a supporter of African Americans migrating to Liberia following the Civil War.
Dr. Horace Mann Bond, an alumnus of Lincoln, was selected as the first African American President of Lincoln University in 1945. For nearly 100 years, Lincoln University graduates accounted for 20 percent of Black physicians and over 10 percent of Black lawyers in the United States. Lincoln University formally associated with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a state-related institution in 1972. Lincoln University main campus is 422 acres and has 56 buildings totaling over one million gross square feet. There are fifteen residence halls that accommodate over 1,600 students.
According to U.S. News & World Report in 2013, Lincoln University ranks 20 out of 81 in the first ranking of undergraduate education at HBCUs - it is ranked as a Tier One school on the list. Lincoln University offers 38 undergraduate majors and 23 undergraduate minors. The Alumni Memorial Arch, at the entrance to the university, was dedicated by President Warren G. Harding in 1921, to honor the Lincoln men who served in World War I. Lincoln University has several notable alumni, including US Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall; Civil Rights Activist, Langston Hughes; legendary performer, Cab Calloway; the first president of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe; the first president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, and many more.
Saartjie "Sarah" Baartman was born to a Khoisan family in South Africa. Her name was given to her by her future owners - her birth name however, is unknown. Baartman's father was killed when she was a child. The areas near Cape Town, South Africa - where Baartman was living - had recently come under British control. A free Black descendant of slaves, Hendrik Cezar, had been visiting his brother in-law's farm where Baartman had been living, he was mesmerized by her appearance. Physically, historians have described Baartman as having slender arms, "graceful" shoulders and back, hands and feet that were both "charming" and "pretty". Baartman had a steatopygia - which gave her a very large buttocks - and supposedly had an elongated labia. Her genitalia was greatly enlarged, which was typical of Khoisan woman, and hung 3-4 inches below the vulva when she stood, which was widely unseen or unheard of by most.
Cezar informed a military surgeon, Alexander Dunlop - who had a side business in supplying showmen in Britain with animal specimens - about Baartman, and Dunlop had the same reaction. He then suggested she travel to England for exhibition. Lord Caledon, Governor of Cape Town, gave permission for the trip, but regretted it later after he learned the full purpose of the trip.
Baartman was exhibited first in central London, where people lined up for hours just to get a glimpse at her exoticism. She was displayed under the term "Hottentot Venus" - "hottentot" being an offensive term to describe Khoikhoi peoples , and "Venus" being the Roman goddess of love. British and Jewish advertisers stared at Baartman for hours to draw images of her, exploiting her with degrading captions, and centered on what they deemed her "unusual" body characteristics. Some Jewish papers even contributed to the racist idea that she was "monkey-like", with small ears, and quick on her feet - continuing the idea that Blacks were nothing more than animals, and could only be tamed, if in control of another. Baartman refused to let her labia traits be shown, although it was to the dismay of Dunlop and the audience, who constantly requested she stand and spread her legs to reveal it. She was given a tight fitting garment to wear over her genitalia. When British abolitionists protested the treatment of Baartman and the inhuman indecency of displaying her, Cezar defended their actions, presenting a contract that said Baartman "agreed" to perform domestic duties for her master as well as be viewed in public in England and Ireland "just as she was". In return for her display, Baartman was promised to receive 12 guineas a year - roughly $20 dollars.
The African Association took the matter of her exhibition to court. But when Baartman was questioned before an attorney in Dutch, in which she was fluent, via interpreters, she had stated she was not under restraint, wasn't being sexually abused, and came to London on her own free will. The case was dismissed. However, its highly believed that Baartman was forced to make these statements, as eye witnesses contradicted her statements, and she also spoke in great detail of her abuse when she had it documented by Zachary Macaulay of the African Institution. Unfortunately, the publicity drew more attention to the exhibit, and thousands would line up to look and touch Baartman. It also gave her an international demand, and she toured as an exhibit in other parts of Britain and Ireland.
Baartman sought to be adopted by the British public, as so many other Blacks had in Europe, and was baptized while in England, at Manchester Cathedral. But she was sold to a Frenchman, who took her back to with him to France. An animal trainer, S. Réaux, exhibited her under more atrocious conditions for fifteen months. She was subject to medical examinations, experiments, and forced to sit still for hours to be painted so her images could be sold around Europe. At age 25, on December 29th 1815, Baartman died suddenly of an undetermined inflammatory ailment - some believe it was smallpox or syphilis, since Africans commonly contracted them both from Europeans. She was later said to have been a very intelligent woman, with an excellent memory, and spoke several languages including English, French, and Dutch. Additionally, she was also described as "lively" in personality, fond of music (she loved to dance and play the Jewish harp), and kept true to her roots as a Khoisan in trying to maintain as much modesty as she could control - she never showed her genitalia for money.
Immediately following Baartman's death, Geoffroy Saint Hilaire applied on behalf of the Muséum d' Histoire Naturelle to retain her corpse on the grounds that it was "of singular specimen of humanity", and therefore of special scientific interest. Hilaire's application was approved and Baartman's skeleton - as well as the body cast that was made of her once she died - were displayed in Muséum d'histoire naturelle d’Angers, where she continued to entertain visitors. There was even more interest from tourists to see her remains post-martem than there was when she was alive, and the opening of her new in death exhibit was a spectacle covered by international media.
In 1827, just 12 years after he death, Baartman's skull was stolen- it was returned a few months later, and was restored with her skeleton. Baartman's remains were then moved to the Musée de l'Homme when it was founded in 1937, in Paris, France. Her body cast and skeleton stood side-by-side on display, to emphasize her steatopygia, making that the central focus of the display. The exhibit also included Baartman's preserved genitalia and her brain. Paris' Musée de l'Homme kept this exhibit even at the dismay of African rights organizations and protests from Black human rights groups. Baartman was kept as a top attraction until 1974 - her body cast remained on display until 1976.
African and African American slaves were understood as property in the United States. Various laws prohibited their freedom, including the Fugitive Slave Clause, and even the 5th Amendment was used as the legal basis for treating Blacks as such. Every state in the American North had provided for the gradual abolition of slavery, many who noted the Declaration of Independence that had stated all men were "created equal", as the reason behind this. States in the American South disagreed, and no state abolished slavery - it actually had the opposite affect, when Northerners abolished slavery, Southerns increased their demand for them. At its peak, the Black slave population was at 4 million in the American South.
During the American Civil War, where the issue of enslaving Blacks was at the root and forefront, President Lincoln acted on his presidential powers and issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. It would proclaim the freedom of all Black slaves in the 10 States that had formed their own country - the Confederate States of America. Unbeknownst to most, the Proclamation didn't have any effect whatsoever on the African American slaves that were still enslaved in the North or in the "border states" that had remained loyal to Union. Lincoln again used his powers by issuing a "Proclamation for Amnesty and Reconstruction", which offered the states in the American South a chance to peacefully rejoin the Union if they abolished slavery and collected loyalty oaths from 10% of their voting population. Southerners rejected the deal, and continued to fight.
Once the Confederacy was defeated by the Union Army and surrendered, there had to be a formal act that outlawed slavery throughout the entire United States. The Thirteenth Amendment was added to the United States Constitution, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude. It was passed by the Senate initially, then by he House almost a year later, and finally ratified by the required number of states (who were rejecting it and attempting to make edits) on December 6, 1865. On December 18 1865, Secretary of State William H. Seward proclaimed the Amendment's adoption in the Constitution. It was the first "Reconstruction" Amendment to be passed giving Blacks freedoms following the Civil War.
Even with the Amendment, there were three ex-confederate states that had given their assent, but had strings attached - it would take years for them to accept and respect the amendment in its entirety. Delaware, Kentucky, and Mississippi all rejected it, and didn't ratify until 1901, 1976, and 1995, respectively. 65,000 - 100,000 Blacks remained enslaved for years, by force from their masters, even though they were legally free. The Thirteenth Amendment made the Fugitive Slave Clause and the Three-Fifths Compromise null and void.
The Amendment made an immediate impact across the country, that was felt throughout. To limit power of the newly freed Black population, Southern and Northern Whites fought for power in Congress and the House of Representatives. Republicans tried to protect the African Americans freedoms and fought for their equality in the early years of post-slavery, even advocating for them to vote - it would take Blacks another 100 years before they were able to legally do so. Although Blacks were legally protected by the Thirteenth Amendment, Whites made their living conditions worse than they were before. There were 4 million Black freedmen, and most of them went back to work on the same plantation they had worked at as slaves, living in the same slave quarters they lived in prior to the war, subject to the same abuse and violence they had endured as slaves, but had to change their work title. Southern Whites were resentful at Blacks being the cause of the war, and at their fortunes being lost because of the abolishment of them working as slaves.
After President Johnson gave power back to the States, misleading the country into believing he was an abolitionist but was really a racist, slave codes were given different names, and the slave states once again had power to do what they pleased in respect to their businesses. This included the wages (if any) that were given to Blacks, the conditions of where they lived - or not allowing them to live in their rental properties at all - and segregating them from any public or private White-owned establishment. Blacks had been freed with practically no land, no money, no legal status, minimal rights, and with no protection. The majority of Blacks had no education (it was a crime punishable by death in most slave states to learn how to read or write), spoke broken English (since their native languages rooted from Africa), knew no other way of life outside of slavery, and were hated by most Whites. African Americans after the Thirteenth Amendment was passed would have the option to return to their old plantations or face homelessness, poverty, death, or imprisonment - it was illegal for recently freed Blacks to be unemployed, and every Black person had to have a White "sponsor" (his employer) who could vouch for his employment.
South Carolina immediately began to legislate Black Codes following the Thirteenth Amendment adoption, which created a separate set of laws, punishments, and tolerable "behaviors" for anyone with more than one black great-grandparent. Under these Black Codes, African Americans could basically only work as farmers or servants, and had limited Constitutional rights. Even if Blacks were able to save money, the restrictions on black land ownership threatened to make economic subservience to Whites permanent. Southern business owners sought to reproduce the profitable arrangement of slavery with a system called peonage, in which Black workers were entrapped by loans and compelled to work indefinitely because of their debts - this proved to be successful and continued in the South for decades, effecting generation after generation, since debts were passed on to spouses and children. The Jim Crow Laws would also govern the South, which would further confine and oppress African Americans after slavery was abolished. Sharecropping - where White landowners allowed Blacks to use their land to grow crops, in return for the majority of the share of the crops produced - was an easy transition for newly freed Blacks, since they were already used to tending to the crops during their work as slaves, and slaves were normally allowed to own their personal garden on their plantations. Sharecropping would be detrimental to African American evolvement in society and in the workforce, and would unfortunately be the primary work roles for Blacks in the American South for over 100 years after slavery ending - sharecropping continued in popularity in the United States until the mid 1950s.
Week of December 1st:
Haverly's United Mastodon Minstrels
The British Royal Navy controlled the world's seas as the time, and established the West Africa Squadron in 1808 to patrol the coast of West Africa - their primary focus was seizing slave ships that were illegally buying and selling African slaves to the Americas, after the British abolished the act. In 1807, an Act of Congress abolished the intercontinental slave trade in the United States, but was loosely enforced, and ships found new routes to drop off their slaves in the American South.
Despite the laws banning their importation, between 1808 and 1888 more than one million new African slaves were forcibly shipped off to Brazil, bound for the United States. Between 1808 and 1860, the British Squadron seized approximately 1,600 slave ships and freed roughly 150,000 Africans who were onboard. Most slave ships were heading to South America, which was the first stop of almost every slave ship regardless of final destination, because of the winds and difficulty of the ocean routes going straight from Africa to the United States. Brazil was the biggest importer of slaves during the slave trade era.
Able Seaman Joseph Chidwick, was a serving aboard HMS Sphinx while on armed patrol off the Zanzibar and Mozambique coast in 1907. He and fellow members of the British Navy who were on patrol came across several African slaves while on a cruise off the Batineh Coast in West Africa, between October 10th and 14th. The six Black fugitives were on the coast, all of them chained together. The Africans had escaped in a canoe from a slave trading village after they heard a British Navy ship was patrolling the area. One of the victims had been manacled for nearly 3 years, and had leg irons still on.
Chiswick raised the alarm and the Squadron rescued the fugitives, bringing them on board, and immediately looked for tools to break their shackles. The British Military then sent their Marines ashore to track down the slave traders. 2 of the slave traders were caught, and were of Arab descent. Because the British found slavery of Blacks to be despicable, they weren't kind to the slave traders once they were captured. The military gave the Africans food and water, after some revealed they hadn't been given either in days, and gave them the Africans their own personal clothing to cover them - the Africans had only been wearing groin cloths, had no shoes, socks, undergarments, or shirts. The British supplied the newly freed Africans all of the above, with the exception of shoes, which the Africans had preferred to be without. The British Navy and Marines also took turns in trying to teach the Africans the English language, so they could better communicate with them, and understand where there were more fugitives that they could let free. Most of the Africans who were freed by the British, were welcomed to move to British colonies if they didn't want to return to Africa, or couldn't communicate their home because of the language barrier.
In his report dated 15th October 1907, Commander Litchfield exposed the photographs that Chadwick had taken, along with the reports of the navy who freed the African slaves, sparring them from generations of devastation due to slavery in America. The photographs and report have been available for viewing at the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth, Hampshire in England.
Dec 18, 1865
The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution is Ratified, Abolishing Slavery, On Paper
Tensions were high between the executive and legislative branches of United States Government almost immediately after Johnson ascended the Presidency, following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Although Johnson was a Southerner himself, he was critical against the Confederate States that had seceded and formed their own country over the enslavement of Blacks, and had strong opinions about how the treasonous leaders should be punished. He also fiercely supported Lincoln's plans for "Reconstruction", and championed giving African Americans freedoms and equalities to Whites following the war. But President Johnson proved to have different objectives once he gained control of the Presidency, following Lincoln's untimely death.
Republicans were convinced that Johnson would enact their Reconstruction policies of protection for newly freed Black slaves and seek punishment for former slave owners, government, and military officials. They were wrong. President Johnson was secretly a Democrat, which was a party that consisted of Southern White racists and former slave owners, and sought to restore power to the South. President Johnson switched his public ideology and beliefs overnight, and denounced his party, rejecting all Republican ideas and their influence in Government. Within six weeks of taking office, Johnson offered proclamations of general amnesty for nearly all former Confederates, and the stricter plans he promised for high-ranking government and military officers dissolved as if they never existed. President Johnson then declared his support for Democrats and White racists by vetoing legislation that extended civil rights and financial support for former Black slaves. It would be an ongoing battle between Congress overriding Johnson's vetoes, and a struggle between their powers for the remainder of his Presidency.
A number of Southern states passed Black Codes, which bound African American laborers to farms on annual contracts they couldn't escape, with nearly exact same repercussions as slavery, and also allowed law enforcement to arrest Blacks for vagrancy - in which then, Blacks would be "rented out" for labor. Most White Southerners elected to Congress were former Confederates, with the most prominent being former Confederate Vice President Alexandra Stephens, who was elected as the Senator of Georgia. Southern Whites were unrepentant of forming a country out of their Southern states and launching a civil war, and Northern Whites were outraged that Confederate leaders like Stephens were even able to rejoin the federal government, since the emotions of the war were still raw, and their racist ideals never changed. The Black Codes put African Americans in a position that was barely above slavery, and found new ways to reference Blacks as property, so that there would be no misconception of them being slaves to liberals. Titles like "sharecroppers" were given to Black ex-slaves who continued to work in fields, with similar living situations and conditions as they were as slaves.
President Johnson would veto the Civil Rights Bill, and cited his reasons that it discriminated in favor of African Americans against Whites. The Republican Congress was able to override his veto 3 weeks later, passing the bill - the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Congress soon proposed the Fourteenth Amendment, that would grant African Americans citizenship, give them the freedom to vote, and granted a few basic civil rights that were equal to Whites. It additionally disqualified many former Confederates from taking office. President Johnson opposed it. He went a step further, and then also vetoed the Freedmen's Bureau Act - but his veto was overwritten, and the Fourteenth Amendment was passed on July 9, 1868. It would bring irreversible embarrassment to Johnson and created many enemies from his once friends and colleagues. Never in United States history had a President joined a political party and then once taking power, shift his views and intentions to the polar opposite party. After President Johnson tried to remove everyone in Government who had liberal views (including Edwin Stanton), Congress had enough, and the stage was set for his impeachment.
On February 24, three days after Johnson's dismissal of Stanton, the House of Representatives voted 126 to 47 in favor of a resolution to impeach the president of high crimes and misdemeanors. Charges included: dismissing Stanton from office, conspiring to unlawfully curtail faithful execution of the Tenure of Office Act, and conspiring to "seize, take, and possess the property of the United States in the Department of War". 36 guilty votes were required to remove Johnson from office - 35 Senators voted him guilty, 19 non-guilty. So he was acquitted of all charges and left to carry out the remainder of his term. As a final parting gift with just months shy of the next President taking office (Ulysses S. Grant), on December 25th 1868, President Johnson used his power to issue a pardon - Proclamation 179 - to those Confederates who participated in the Civil War, and to all treasonous participants who spent 4 years in the independent nation they formed to continue enslaving African Americans, the Confederate States of America.
Week of November 20th:
Kennedy Birthday, Kennedy Death
Week of December 29th:
The Most Famous Zoo Exhibit Dies But Stays on Display
Shirley Hill Chisholm's strong voice was heard at Brooklyn College, where she won prizes for her debating skills, later earning a Bachelor of Arts degree there. Her passion was education. She received a Masters of Arts degree in elementary education, and even taught in a nursery school while she was furthering her education. It was while Chisholm was running a day care center when she first got interested in politics. Her opinions were based off of her views while working as a volunteer for a White-dominated political clubs in Brooklyn, and the Bedford-Stuyvesant Political League and the League of Women Voters.
In 1968 Chisholm ran for the U.S. House of Representatives from New York's 12th congressional district - her campaign slogan was "Unbought and unbossed". She defeated two other black opponents, State Senator William S. Thompson and labor official Dollie Robertson, and in the general election, defeated James L. Farmer, Jr., the former director of the Congress of Racial Equality. Chisholm became the first African American woman elected to Congress.
Chisholm hired a staff of all-women, in which half of her employees were African American. In 1971, Chisholm help found the Congressional Black Caucus as well as the National Women's Political Caucus. She was at the center of the movement for women's rights and African Americans in the workplace. Chisholm would elevate her political career the following year due to displeasure about her role in congress (she felt she should be working more with African Americans, rather than in the agriculture role she was placed in), making history in the process.
On January 25th 1972, Chisholm became the first female candidate and the first major party African American candidate for President of the United States. She campaigned heavily that week in key states, daunting her slogan, and rounding feminists and women's rights advocates across the country. Although Black, her stern views on women's rights was promoted by White women, and was widely accepted by them because of her advocacy. Although outspoken regarding African American rights, she attracted little support from Black men during her Presidential campaign. Similar to her early legislative days, Chisholm stated that she "always met more discrimination being a woman that being Black".
Chisholm would receive more than 150 votes at the Democratic National Convention, but she failed to win a primary. George McGovern would secure the nomination from the Democratic Party, and would ultimately lose to already-serving President Richard Nixon in the general election - Nixon would remain as the President of the United States until 1974, when he resigned.
November 18, 1978
Jonestown, Guyana - The Peoples Temple Massacre
Jim Jones was born and raised in Indiana, to a lower income White family who was struggling during the Great Depression and fell on the poverty line. His father was a World War I veteran who was a known racist, and prominent Ku Klux Klan member. His mother had claimed when she was birthing Jim, that she was giving birth to the messiah. Jones took on the ideology of being such in his early years, and invested much of his time studying great leaders, dictators, and cult icons - he was greatly influenced by Mao Zedong, and an avid fan of Marxism. Childhood acquaintances said he was a "really weird kid" who was "obsessed with religion", and noted he was also obsessed with death. He killed small animals during his childhood - like birds, raccoons, squirrels - and violently stabbed cats to death. Jones would host funerals for the animals afterwards. He claimed he empathized with African Americans because of his own oppression and experiences as an outcast. He soon established a church, where he hoped to gain a predominately Black following, along with liberal Whites, dubbing it the Peoples Temple. He emphasized that his church would reject the segregationist practices that were happening allover the country, and found every ethnicity equal, which won immediate support from Blacks that he came across.
A vocal communist, Jones attended meetings and rallies of the Communist Party USA in Indianapolis, but started parting ways with them after the CIA started infiltrating the group under J Edgar Hoover. Jones shifted his focus on advocating integration, started attending NAACP meetings, and advocating the integration of churches, the police department, theaters, the hospital, and other public establishments, making him a local White hero for Black equality. After Nazi swastikas were painted on a few homes owned by Black families, Jones walked the neighborhood - Bible in hand - trying to comfort Blacks, and encouraged Whites to stay put and not flight. To gain more welcoming from Blacks in his neighborhood, Jones even staged a few break-ins at his home and his church, claimed to receive a series of threatening phone calls from the KKK, and said a dead cat was thrown at his home. He and his wife soon adopted several children, all of different ethnic backgrounds - referred to as the "rainbow family" - including a Black child; Jones was the first White person in the state of Indiana to adopt an African American child.
By the early 1970s, Jones shifted his preaching to include rejecting the Bible, regarding it as a tool to oppress anyone who wasn't a White man - which was a concept well adopted by Blacks and women. He derided Christianity as a "fly away religion" and denounced the notion of entrusting faith in a "sky God" who didn't exist. Jones was quoted as saying to his members, "What you need to believe in is what you can see ... If you see me as your friend, I'll be your friend. As you see me as your father, I'll be your father, for those of you that don't have a father ... If you see me as your savior, I'll be your savior. If you see me as your God, I'll be your God."
After moving the Peoples Temple to California, Jones would see a rapid growth and following. He opened branches in cities including Los Angeles, San Fernando, and most notably San Francisco, which would become his new headquarters. The San Francisco Bay Area (Oakland, Berkeley) had been at the forefront of hippie culture, the Black Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and radical protests. Peoples Temple members and Jones became heavily involved in politics while in San Francisco, helping Mayor George Moscone win the election in 1975, which landed Jones the Chairman of the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission position. He gained support from First Lady Rosalynn Carter (during President Jimmy Carter's term), Walter Mondale, and even California assemblyman Willie Brown (who was later Mayor of San Francisco); Brown served as master of ceremonies at a dinner for Jones. At that dinner, Brown praised Jones in saying "what you should see every day when you look in the mirror in the early morning hours... a combination of Martin King, Angela Davis, Albert Einstein... Chairman Mao". The Peoples Temple had nearly 3,000 members after their move to San Francisco. Jones additionally befriended and developed a close working relationship with Black civil rights activist (and famous Black Panther Party member) Angela Davis. She frequently visited Jones' San Francisco apartment, wore Peoples Temple trinkets, and visited the Peoples Temple San Francisco congregations regularly - members even held rallies for her.
Jones and The People's Temple typically used 15 charter bus cruisers to transport members up and down California freeways every week to recruit new members and fundraise. His annual goal for the net income from the bus trips was $1 million. They distributed pamphlets in cities along the route of their fundraising trips, and members would tout that Jones had power to spiritually and physically heal those who followed him. During these trips, Peoples Temple members pretended to be locals in the city, and acted in stage performances that Jones would put on in front of new crowds, where they would pretend to be sick, but healed by Jones.
Members would go into packed rented churches in these cities and watch Jones perform "live" surgeries on those who claimed to be sick, dying, or in ailment. Only his elite staff knew it was a farce - Jones claimed he needed to perform these acts in front of people, because he knew that seeing acts in plain sight would differentiate him from the "sky God" he had been preaching against, even if they were fabricated. He would listen to their declared suffering, in the presence of the congregation (who would all be members pretending to be locals), he'd pray over them, touch them, often creating a spectacle after doing so, and then their suffering was gone. It was magical to witnesses who were fooled in thinking it was a real-life miracle happening before their eyes. In one service, Jones had a woman lay atop of an operating table staged at the front of the church, and after she claimed to have kidney cancer with only days to live, Jones - who had his elite members purchase fake blood and animal intestines prior to the service - got in full surgeon attire in front of the congregation, covered the woman with a sheet cloth, requested scalpels and other incision tools, and pretended to perform operate on her. He would then left the animal intestines up in the air and proclaim that he removed the cancer from the woman - to which she would rejoice that her pain was gone, and would after he "stitched" her up, she ran around the church in tears of joy saying Jones saved her life and was God. Members of the church, after seeing acts like this, felt the same way.
The weekly take from offerings and "healing services" was $15,000 to $25,000 in Los Angeles and $8,000 to $12,000 in San Francisco. In addition to receiving donations, Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple also sold "trinkets", such as pieces of Jones' robes, "healing" oil, rings for Peoples Temple members, key chains, and more. With church funds, Jones even formed Brotherhood Records, a subsidiary that produced records from the Temple's interracial youth choir and orchestra". Jones also established Truth Enterprises, a direct-mailing branch that sent out 30,000 to 50,000 mailers monthly to people who had attended Temple services, or had written to the Temple after listening to Temple radio shows. The mailer revenue grossed between $300 to $400 daily, and was a fully operational business.
During the 1970s, The Peoples Temple regularly drew 2,000 - 3,000 people to its San Francisco services, and outside of its other physical locations, had also established nearly a dozen satellite locations throughout California. Jones additionally maintained a Peoples Temple branch, a college tuition program, and dormitory at Santa Rosa Junior College, in Santa Rosa, California. His church owned and ran several elderly residential care homes, 6 homes for foster children, and a state-licensed 40-acre ranch for the developmentally disabled. Jones and his elite staff handled People Temple members finances, insurance claims, legal problems, taxes, and more, at the willingness of most members. Many members forfeited their mortgages and land deeds to Jones and the Peoples Temple. The devotion to Jones by his followers, his growing influence and cult of personality, opened him up to media investigation, and later scrutiny. It increased as members looked to part with the church, and revealed the true nature of Jones.
Those that joined the Peoples Temple and attempted to break from it faced harsh consequences. Jones ridiculed any members who left the group, calling them "traitors" and "enemies", and stated that anyone who left the church would intentionally try to harm them and ruin their name, as a conspiracy. He also claimed that those who joined and let the church were possible CIA or FBI informants, sent to disrupt their strong organization, just as they had all of the other influential Black organizations with their COINTELPRO operation. Jones would employ search parties for members who were missing or hadn't been seen at service - including one incident where Jones rented an airplane to scan Bay Area freeways. He also would infamously turn families against one another. Many married couples weren't on the same page on their dedication, and usually one was more loyal than the other, and sought closeness to Jones as a first priority. If a husband attempted to leave the church, or may have expressed distrust in Jones or his teachings, his wife would likely report it to Peoples Temple elite and Jones himself. It would result in public and private ridicule from Jones to the person looking to leave - aka a "defect" - and he/she normally endured physical beatings or lashings, shame, and other forms of abuse. When Jones felt threatened by someone, he developed a need to compromise them sexually or humiliate them, or both - public humiliation was reserved for those he typically could not compromise sexually. In the late 1970s, as more Peoples Temple members opted to leave the church, due to Jones' erratic behavior, abuse, drug usage, and paranoia, a group of "defectors" (who left the church at different times) formed the Temple and the Concerned Relatives, and began a media campaign accusing Jones and his staff of abuse.
Jones had a deviant sex life, and had his way with nearly any Peoples Temple member that he desired. Because most members believed he was either God or a the Messiah, he encouraged them to please him. Jones had sexual affairs with hundreds of female church members, dozens of males, and had child sexual companions as young as 10. His preference were teenage pale-skinned White virgins. Not long after Jones formed the Peoples Temple in Los Angeles, he was arrested in the restroom of a late-night movie theater that was frequented by gay men. He had approached an undercover agent with an erect penis provocatively, and attempted to engage with him. Jones' attorneys worked diligently to get the arrest sealed, as it threatened to take down the church, but even then, members stood by him. His notion was that he had to relate to men's homosexuality, to reach them on their level, or he would propose that he was introducing men to their inner homosexuality that they may not have recognized. He peached that all men were homosexual by nature, except him. Women often gave themselves to him sexually as sacrifices, and with the belief that they were doing an honorable act that pleased God. But he would rape them violently as a form of punishment. Jones demanded celibacy amongst all church members, even married couples, and left sexual desires to be relieved only by him. But a San Francisco Chronicle reporter published an exposé on the group in New West magazine, which soon put a spotlight on Jones, his operation, and his influence - it would change the church's direction literally and indefinitely. Jones left San Francisco the same night that the editor read him the article, which alleged abuse by former Temple members, and flew to Guyana.
Jones had already been looking for a location outside of the United States to relocate his followers to years prior, after the media and federal government started investigated his operations. He believed that Guyana, a predominantly Indian, English-speaking socialist country, would afford Black members of the Peoples Temple a place to live in peace. Jones and his elite negotiated a lease of over 3,800 acres of jungle land located 150 miles west of Georgetown - the Guyanese capital - not far from Guyana's disputed border with Venezuela. Jones named the area "Jonestown" after himself. 500 members began the construction of Jonestown and it was formally named the "Peoples Temple Agricultural Project". Roughly $65,000 in monthly welfare payments from U.S. government agencies were sent to Jonestown residents, and were signed over to the Peoples Temple. Jonestown was promoted as a utopia, a "socialist paradise" and a "sanctuary" from media scrutiny. However, as a compromise, Jones demanded excessive control over Jonestown member's lives.
Movies were mostly eliminated in favor of Soviet propaganda shorts and documentaries on American social problems. Peoples Temple members worked 6 days a week, from approximately 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with one hour for lunch. After the day's work ended, church members were forced to attend several hours of activities in a pavilion, including exercise, and classes in socialism (similar to North Korean principles, where they believe in 8 hours for work, 8 hours for study). Temple members lived in small communal houses, some with walls made from troolie palm, and ate meals consisting sometimes of nothing more than rice, beans, greens, and occasionally meat and eggs. Despite having access to an estimated $26 million by late 1978, Jones also lived modestly in a tiny house, reportedly featuring a small refrigerator that sometimes contained eggs, meat, fruit, salads, and soft drinks. Children were generally surrendered to communal care, and addressed Jones as "Dad" - most were only allowed to see their real parents briefly at night, at the daily general assembly and dinner for Jonestown members. Most church members were physically healthy in Jonestown, although severe diarrhea and high fevers struck half the community in February 1978.
There was no dedicated prison or form of capital punishment in Jonestown, but various forms of punishment were used against members considered to have serious disciplinary problems. Methods included imprisonment in a 6 x 4 x 3-foot plywood box, and children were forced to spend the night at the bottom of a well - sometimes upside down. For some members who attempted escape, drugs such as Thorazine, sodium pentathol, chloral hydrate, and Valium were administered in an "extended care unit."Armed guards patrolled the area day and night to enforce "proper" conduct and Jonestown rules. When purported emergencies arose, mostly at the behest of Jones claiming conspiracy, Peoples Temple members sometimes conducted what Jones dubbed as "White Nights" where he would give Jonestown members four choices: attempt to flee to the Soviet Union; commit "revolutionary suicide"; stay in Jonestown and fight the purported attackers; or flee into the jungle. Jonestown's population was just under 1,000 at its peak in 1978. By that time, Jones had been receiving monthly half-pound shipments of cyanide for two years, claiming to need it to clean jewelry.
Congressman Leo Ryan, who represented California's 11th congressional district, made a public, highly-anticipated televised visit to Jonestown. His trip came after a Peoples Temple member's body - Bob Houston - was found mutilated near train tracks just 3 days after a taped phone conversation where he discussed leaving the church. Ryan brought his staff with him, along with reporters from various newspapers and NBC. When Ryan was at Jonestown, attending a concert thrown at one of the banquet halls, he witnessed hundreds of residents who were overjoyed to be there, claimed to be there at their own free will - and not forced as the media reported - and said wonderful things about Jones. But after a member snuck a note for him pleading to help members escape, it changed the direction of Jones' actions and the mood of members, immediately. When confronted about the note, with Ryan's reporters around him, Jones became erratic, and believed that their presence was causing disruption and started pleading with them to leave. Congressman Ryan assured him he had nothing to fear, because the 60+ people he had interviewed - along with the roughly 900 population total - all proclaimed their joy in being there, and the 14 that wanted to leave constituted a very small amount of the population. Ryan further assured Jones and all of the members of Jonestown that he would basically describe their establishment as a "good terms" and that they were a happy society. Jones however, wasn't buying it, and adamantly believed that he and his church were finished, because the negative images that would return to America with Ryan would ruin their reputation.
Jones told everyone who wanted to leave Jonestown, that they could do so the next morning with Ryan and his staff - which sparked a violent and emotional scene amongst members who were split in whether to stay or go. The Congressman, his staff, the reporters, and 14 Jonestown members who wanted to return to America, made it to the airstrip and were boarding the plane, when they were gunned down by Peoples Temple guards. Jones ordered them to kill Ryan, his staff, and the "traitors"who wanted to leave Jonestown. The first few seconds of the shooting were captured on videotape by NBC cameraman Bob Brown, who had been filming scenes of Jonestown members in route to returning home. Congressman Ryan was killed after being shot more than 20 times. Brown was killed along with Robinson, Harris, and newly-ex Peoples Temple member Patricia Parks. After their confirmed murders, Jones declared to his congregation the the "White Nights" they had prepared for were going to take place in real life. His only option out of the 4 he had previously given members, was revolutionary suicide. There were only a handful of opposers from Peoples Temple members, one who was even recorded arguing back and forth with Jones (Christine Miller) at the thought of suicide, and pleaded to instead of seek refuge in Russia, as Jones had previously boasted.
Under Jones' direction, Peoples Temple elite members gather the cyanide that Jones had been purchasing monthly, and mix it with a kool-aid drink (to mask the taste), that would cause the imminent deaths of anyone who consumed it. He encouraged members to do it quickly, literally within an hour of the shooting, and had his same brigade that shot those on the airstrip, oversee a smooth massive suicide operation. Jones had mothers give the drink to their babies first, via a syringe in their mouth. It caused death within 5 minutes of ingestion. Jones pleaded with mothers not to cry when their children were dying, so that the children would have positive images and happy thoughts during their possible agony in death - and had the mother's hold their children through their transition into death. He believed that by mothers seeing how quickly and "painless" the poison was for their babies and children, it would ease concerns for taking it themselves.
Church members were lined up in single-file lines and given a small cup with the poisonous drink. Most were asked to drink it on the spot, in front of one of the Peoples Temple elite staff - only a few had the option to drink it with their loved ones in preferred locations throughout the compound. Once the members drank the liquid, they were led down a path outside of the pavilion, and were shown a place on the grass to lay down and live out their final moments of life with their loved ones. They were encouraged to lay in positions that they wanted to "wake up" in - so many families embraced each other, and mothers held their children, hoping to be resurrected with them. The violent convulsions that normally ensue with the ingestion of poison orally frightened many members, which led to some opting to take the poison via injection. Those that refused to commit suicide were simply held down against their will and injected with cyanide, some who Jones believed would have influence on members to refuse suicide, were shot. Only a few Peoples Temples members managed to escape that day after the suicides began, due to hiding, playing dead, or tricking elite members and running into the Guyana jungles.
Jones was later found dead, with a gunshot wound to the head, that appeared to be self inflicted. 909 Americans died at Jonestown, and the massacre constituted the greatest single losses of American civilian life in a deliberate act - it would keep that title until the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001.
Dec 25, 1868
President Andrew Johnson Grants Amnesty to All Confederates
Week of October 15th:
The British Remove Shackles from Escaped Slaves
May 24, 1854
The First Black College, Lincoln University, is Founded
Week of January 25th:
Shirley Chisholm Runs for the Presidency
The Kennedy Family gave America the closest it's ever seen to a monarchy in the United States. Many even often refer to the period of time that the Kennedy family led the country as "camelot", as iconic of the administration, and the charisma of the Kennedy family. Born into a political family of Irish descent in Boston, Massachusetts, the Kennedy's rise to fame was spearheaded by their wealthy businessman father - Joe Kennedy - who personally saw to it that his 4 sons all had promising careers in politics.
The Kennedy Brothers - Joseph Jr., John, Robert, and Ted - all had a privileged upbringing, and each were set up to attend wealthy private schools, gain acceptance to and eventually graduate from Harvard University, which was generally known as the best college in the world. Eldest Kennedy child Joseph Jr. was groomed from nearly childbirth by his father and predicted to be the first Roman Catholic Irish-American President of the United States of America. Even his grandfather, John F Fitzgerald, who was the Mayor of Boston at the time, told the news "This child is the future President of the Nation", a feeling shared by many across the country. Joe Jr was sent to Germany by his father to study Hitler, since the young Jr had expressed mixed feelings about the rising dictator, later praising his policies. Joe Jr. would write to his family that Hitler’s sterilization policy was a “a great thing” that “will do away with many of the disgusting specimens of men.” and further explained that "Hitler is building a spirit in his men that could be envied in any country." At 25, Joe Jr. was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, and with a short military career planned, he would be well on his way into fulfilling his plans to become President. However, they would be cut short when Joe Jr. was killed in a plane crash while serving in a top secret mission for the United States military when he was only 29 - his remains were never recovered. The Kennedy family was devastated, and the pressure and responsibilities of becoming President fell upon the second Kennedy son, John (JFK).
John F. Kennedy was more interested in social life and enjoying the family prestige, over being President. But with pressures from his father after Joe Jr.'s death, JFK would change the course of his career. After serving in the U.S. House of Representatives for 6 years, and the U.S. Senate for 7 years, JFK would win the election of 1960, narrowly beating Richard Nixon. Support from Black civil rights leaders, influence from mob leaders, purchased votes, and good looks on television were what separated him from Nixon and won him he election. Once he won, he appointed his brother Robert - known as Bobby - as United States Attorney General. Here, Bobby would use his power to develop programs with J Edgar Hoover that would ruin relationships with Cuba for over 50 years, bring America to the closest nuclear conflict it has ever seen, and successfully destroyed the Black civil rights movement of the 1960s, repressing the Black community. JFK and Bobby Kennedy would publicly comment on the most controversial issues at the time, like race relations, particularly equality for Blacks in America, and declare their support. However, they would both show little action to back their claims, and made no effort to formalize basic civil rights for African Americans. On the contrary, the Kennedy-sponsored COINTELPRO operation with J Edgar Hoover caused detriment to Black society.
On November 20th 1963, Robert Kennedy's birthday 43rd birthday, the United Nations General Assembly stepped in by adopting the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Although not legally binding, it served as an important precursor, and provided activity during a time when the Kennedy's were focused on other things. John F. Kennedy would be assassinated 2 days later, on November 22nd 1963 - he was shot multiple times, with the fatal wound nearly blowing apart his head. The entire murder was captured on amateur video - by Jewish citizen Abraham Zapruder film - but has uncovered no suspects. Much of the promises that Kennedy would make to African Americans, especially pertaining to their legal equality to Whites in the United States, or at least an extension of basic rights, would die with him.
The President that succeeded JFK, Lyndon B. Johnson, would be a true a hero to the 1960s civil rights movement, granting Blacks basic civil rights in 1964 as well as the right to vote in America. Bobby Kennedy would take his turn at running the country, and continuing his brother John's legacy as President, but like his brothers before him, Bobby Kennedy's chances were also cut short, when he was shot and killed just a few years later, in 1968, by a 24 year old Palestinian. The reasons behind his assassination were over the Kennedy support - this the United States support - over their support for Israel, especially through the Six-Day War, which had begun a year earlier, and unlawfully stripped Palestinians from their land to give to Jews in the area. The Kennedy's would continue their political legacy through the only son remaining, Ted Kennedy, who would stay a United States Senator for decades, but none have yet to take the Presidential seat since.
Jack H. Haverly (or J.H. Haverly), a White businessman from Pennsylvania, was known as the "Minstrel King", and was responsible for spreading Minstrel Shows throughout the United States and making it the most popular form of entertainment in America for nearly 40 years. He originated as a salesmen, and then became a promoter of local minstrel shows, working directly under P.T. Barnum (of Barnum & Bailey) who had excited White audiences with Blackface performances during his circus routines. Seeing the adoption and market demand to see Whites perform in Blackface to mimic the lifestyles of the South just years prior, Heavenly would create an entertainment empire. He was one of a new wave of theater troupe owners who had not entered the profession as a performer. The most famous and popular would be his "Negro Minstrels" and his "United Mastodon Minstrels".
Haverly's United Mastodon Minstrels was a troupe created in 1877 after merging four of the companies he had owned and managed. The Blackface troupes were great sizes, some 40 - 50 performers in each, and featured elaborate sets, as well as flamboyant costumes; Harvey's largest ensemble would feature over 100 performers. They toured all over the United States, including Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco, to sold-out audiences. Harvey became a millionaire within a year. His methods would spark a minstrel revolution and other troupes assembled trying to copy his prestige, and earn his millions.
To promote Harvey's massive Mastodon Minstrel, he would use techniques from P.T. Barnum by advertising in newspapers and playbills. Harvey would also parade in every city that his minstrels played, preceded by a brass band. Because of his uniqueness and elaborateness of his shows, Harvey stressed the high costs of production and entertainers in most of his advertisements. He promoted that his minstrels were unlike any others and "that for extraordinary excellence, merit, and magnitude [would] astonish and satisfy the most exacting amusement seeker in the world." The Mastodon Minstrels were promoted to family markets, and their emphasis on Blackface humor was a favorite among young White children. In areas that didn't request his troupes to perform, he would send drum corps to play simultaneously and musicians play for hours in town streets, attracting a demand.
Harvey reinforced the belief to Whites that Black minstrels were authentic portrayers of African American life. He at one point shifted to a format of almost all plantation-themed material - he received standing ovations after the final act of every show. He advertised that the audience got "THE DARKY AS HE IS AT HOME, DARKY LIFE IN THE CORNFIELD, CANEBRAKE, BARNYARD, AND ON THE LEVEE AND FLATBOAT". Harvey even went so far as to create a mock plantation in a Boston field with over 100 actors in Blackface, and included "overseers, bloodhounds, and drakes at work... indulging in songs, dances [and] antics peculiar to their people". Thousands gathered to watch the show. White audiences were fascinated with Black culture and the only opportunities they were able to experience it, was while Blacks were their slaves - the minstrel shows provided similar songs and entertainment that the Blacks would perform in the slave quarters.
The Mastodon Minstrels gained such notoriety in the United States that they were invited to open in London, at Her Majesty's Theatre. In 1881, when the 65-strong Haverly's Negro Minstrels performed there, The Times wrote: "There can be no doubt of the spontaneity of the outbursts of sound, or of the enjoyment with which the performers take part in the dances and frolics of the evening. The heartiness of their fun seems to communicate itself to the audience."
Harvey's Mastodon Minstrel played there for 17 weeks, and then toured all over London and ended their final UK tour in Glasgow, Scotland. Harvey's success in his minstrels enabled him to finance other ventures. At the height of Harvey's fame and fortune, he owned and managed multiple minstrel troupes and theater groups, 3 theaters in New York, a theater in Chicago, a theater in San Francisco, 3 mining companies, and a museum. He also invested a large chunk of his earnings into the stock market. Harvey's investments in stock failed, as did all of his other businesses, and combined with his gambling addictions, most of his funds were wiped clean. But his minstrel shows stayed strong and were his only reliable source of income.
When minstrel shows started getting outshined by vaudeville performances, Harvey would take most of his fortune and invest it in other ventures, buying hotels, printing companies, and silver mines (in Colorado and Utah). Will Davis and some of Harvey's road managers became some of the most successful theater owners and managers in the country. His performers went on to have notable vaudeville careers, and many of his actors went on to have success in Hollywood silent films. After Harvey's death, his family would continue his "Minstrel King" legacy by establishing theaters through his estate, and continue financial investments in various hotels, banks, and other ventures.