This week in history
For the week of Feb. 26, 2017
Blanche K. Bruce (1841-1898): African American. Legislator. Born into slavery, Bruce represented Mississippi in the United State Senate from 1875 to 1881. The only African American to serve a full term in the Senate before Reconstruction. Bruce opposed the exclusion of Chinese from the United States and fought for citizenship rights for American Indians.
Ralph Ellison (1914-1994): African American. Writer. Introduced to literature by his mother, who worked as a domestic, Ellison attended Tuskegee Institute on a music scholarship. However, in 1936 he moved to New York City, where he began to write short stories while supporting himself as a freelance photographer and audio engineer. He served in the merchant marines during World War II. After seven years of effort, he published Invisible Man in 1952, which won the National Book Award. Since then, the book has become a classic of African American literature and has been translated into seventeen languages. He taught and lectured widely, was appointed to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, served on the National Council on the Arts and Humanities and the Carnegie Commission on public television, and was a trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He died on this day at his home in New York City.
Independence Movement Day: South Korea. Although Japan annexed Korea in 1910, a movement for independence arose in 1919. However, it was not until the end of World War II that Korea became independent, and then only as the two separate states of North and South Korea.
Three nOne Day (Samil-Jol): Korea. From 1905 to 1945, Japan dominated Korea. This day commemorates the March movement of 1919 of massive demonstrations against Japanese rule. The movement was suppressed and Korea, although divided at the 38th parallel, became independent only after the end of World War II.
Granting of citizenship to Puerto Ricans (1917): United States. On this date the United States Congress passed the Jones Act, which conferred U.S. citizenship on Puerto Ricans and gave them the right to elect representatives to both houses of the territorial legislature. The act was opposed by some of the most prominent Puerto Rican leaders because they felt it was a poor substitute for full independence.
Alexander Crummell (1819-1898): African American. Minister, missionary, and writer. After his ordination as an Episcopal minister, Crummell traveled to England to raise funds to support his work among African Americans. He decided instead to enroll at Cambridge University, where he took a degree. From 1853 to 1873 he worked as a missionary and teacher of theology in Monrovia, Liberia. He then returned to the United States and served as rector of a church in Washington D.C. Crummellis published works include collections of sermons and essays on contemporary topics of concern to African Americans.
Doll Festival (Hina Matsuri): Japan. This is one of the major social festivals in traditional Japan. There is much visiting among family members and friends, and visitors bring gifts of dolls. The traditional holiday foods are red-bean-flavored rice, rice dumplings wrapped in cherry leaves, and a special sweet cake.
Indian Appropriations Act (1871): United States. This act declared that no American Indian tribe was to be recognized as a nation empowered to make treaties with the U.S. government. It asserted the right of the federal government to manage American Indian affairs without tribal consent.
National Day: Morocco. In 1915 Morocco became independent from France and Spain. The king is especially honored on this day. The holiday feast traditionally includes mechoiu (whole roasted lamb) and pastilla (salted pie filled with lamb, eggs, pigeon, chicken, vegetables, and spices.)
Garrett Morgan (1877 n 1963): African American. Inventor, Morgan patented two widely known inventions, the gas mask (1914) and the three-light traffic signal system (1923).
Kazimierz (Casimir) Pulaski (1748 n 1779): Polish. Soldier. An aristocrat and patriot, Pulaski left Poland after participating in a failed uprising protesting the increasing dominance of foreign powers in Polish affairs. He then offered his services to the American Revolution. He fought in a number of engagements before being mortally wounded at the siege of Savannah, Georgia.
Eid al-Adha (The Feast of Sacrifice): Islam. *This religious observance commemorates the story of Abraham and Ishmail as told in the Qurian. God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his only son as a proof of his faith. Before Abraham completed the sacrifice, God stopped him and provided a ram for sacrifice in place of Ishmail. After a solemn service at the mosque, worshippers visit cemeteries to pay tribute to the dead. When they return home, a festive meal is eaten. This is also the time when many Muslims observe one of the five Pillars of Islam, which requires those who can to make a pilgrimage once in their lifetime to Meccais Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia, Islamis holiest site. *