Investigators in Atlanta are revisiting the Atlanta Child Murders. I mention in My Jams 1980 that these murders horrified Black parents and children in Atlanta, and, frankly, throughout Georgia–myself included.
If I’m being honest, I have never believed that the man that they arrested was responsible for all of those murders. Authorities linked him to two adults who were murdered around the same time and called that shit good.
Basically, after they arrested him, THAT was IT…
It seemed that they decided that he was probably the one who killed them all!
So they packed the whole thing up and were pretty much done with it…
Now, although they were finished with it, Black folks were most assuredly NOT!
Back in those days, we were convinced that the murderer had to be someone who could compel children to do as they were told.
To put it bluntly, we all thought it was a police officer working in concert with the KKK. Or, worse, someone who was one and the same.
According to the article linked below, cases are being re-evaluated in light of DNA testing advancements; and, the timeline for these murders is being extended all the way back to 1970 moving forward to 1985.
We were under the impression that the timeline began around 1980.
Just when you think we’ve hit rock bottom, there is always more American underbelly to explore.
Dr. James McCune Smith entered Glasgow University in Scotland and earned three academic degrees, including a doctorate in medicine. When Smith returned to New York, his intellect and energy made him an instrumental figure in an emerging black community.
-The New York African Free School Collection
James McCune Smith 4/18/1813- 11/17/1865
First African American to receive a medical degree.
Smith entered Glasgow University in Scotland and earned three academic degrees, including a doctorate in medicine after he was unable to attend college in the United States because he was black,
February is Black History Month, but it is also the month of love.
This post is about tragedy, fear of loss, and ultimately, love shared between two cousins.
All of this takes place against the backdrop of The Khobar Towers attack (1996) in Saudi Arabia. Of course, we start with a bit of comedy about rent, mortgage and the fact that LadyG cannot pronounce the name “Dhahran.” We also joke about the importance of accuracy and the need for documenting historical events like what happened with the Khobar Towers.
Please enjoy our true family story. Part II will be posted next Friday.
You can learn more about the Khobar Towers attack, which resulted in the deaths of 19 U.S. Air Force personnel, HERE.
As an aside, I have heard it said that the Khobar Towers attack, along with the attack of the USS Cole (2000), were precursors to the devastation of 9/11.
Sadly, we had a family friend, Charone Gunn, killed on the Cole.
In 1820, (Thomas Jennings) applied for a patent. Under the Patent Act of 1793, an individual had to sign an oath declaring that he was a citizen of the United States. Jennings, being a freeman, was a citizen and so was awarded the patent.
–National Inventors Hall of Fame
Thomas Jennings 1/1/1791- 2/11/1859
Unhappy with conventional methods of cleaning, Jennings discovers a more effective method (“dry scouring”) that did not harm clothes.
Jennings emerged as a leader in the abolitionist and civil rights movement in New York City.
After Jennings’ death, Frederick Douglass stressed that Jennings’ U.S. Patent recognized him as a “citizen of the United States,” a “shocking” designation for many during that time.
Courtesy of The Time Tunnel. In this post, Ron Brown, masterfully details one of the UGLY sides of black history. It’s very tempting to gloss over this portion of our history, but that does a huge disservice to all of the sacrifices that were made to hold our country up to its democratic ideal. Thanks for this awesome piece Ron, again, it’s hard to look at but we MUST. Love always, LadyG
On the evening of February 18, 1965, a group of civil rights activists gathered at the Zion United Methodist Church in Marion, Alabama for a night march in support of James Orange, the recently arrested field secretary for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
27 year-old, Jimmie Lee Jackson–an Army veteran and church Deacon–his eighty-two year old grandfather Cager Lee, and his mother Viola participated in the protest. After the meeting at the church, state troopers–who knew of the protest thanks to surveillance by the FBI–attacked the protesters.
“I GOT HIM!”
Wandering through crowd, Jimmie finds his grandfather, and the two seek refuge in the nearby Mack’s Café. Inside, Viola Jackson was attacked by two state troopers and fell to the ground. While Jackson was rescuing his mother, a trooper grabbed him and shoved him into a cigarette machine and shot him twice in the stomach.
Today, these incredible cells— nicknamed “HeLa” cells, from the first two letters of her first and last names — are used to study the effects of toxins, drugs, hormones and viruses on the growth of cancer cells without experimenting on humans. They have been used to test the effects of radiation and poisons, to study the human genome, to learn more about how viruses work, and played a crucial role in the development of the polio vaccine.
Diagnosed with cervical cancer after giving birth to her fifth child
Lacks’ cancer cells were used, without her knowledge, to create the HeLa cell line which is still used in medical research today.
(2013) Researchers published DNA sequencing information of a strain of HeLa cells, which prompted Henrietta Lacks’ family to raise privacy concerns.
Lacks’ family is now involved in access and control of HeLa DNA via committee; even still, knowledge and use of her genetic information (and cells) continues to be an critical issue relative to patient privacy and rights.
Women’s leadership was no less important to the development of the Montgomery Bus Boycott than was the male and minister-dominated leadership.
-Jo Ann Robinson
Jo Ann Robinson 4/17/1912 – 8/29/92
Educator who studied at Fort Valley State University, Atlanta University and Columbia University
Organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott after the arrest of Rosa Parks in 1955. Robinson, hadpreviouslybegan work to desegregate Montgomery’s city bus system in 1950 after having been verbally attacked by a bus driver for sitting in the “Whites Only” section
Targeted, arrested and harassed by police for her leadership role in the bus boycott
Published a memoir (1987) entitled The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It
In 1962, as NASA prepared for the orbital mission of John Glenn, (Katherine)Johnson was called upon to do the work that she would become most known for. The complexity of the orbital flight had required the construction of a worldwide communications network, linking tracking stations around the world to IBM computers in Washington, Cape Canaveral in Florida, and Bermuda. The computers had been programmed with the orbital equations that would control the trajectory of the capsule in Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission from liftoff to splashdown, but the astronauts were wary of putting their lives in the care of the electronic calculating machines, which were prone to hiccups and blackouts. As a part of the preflight checklist, Glenn asked engineers to “get the girl”—Johnson—to run the same numbers through the same equations that had been programmed into the computer, but by hand, on her desktop mechanical calculating machine. “If she says they’re good,’”Katherine Johnson remembers the astronaut saying, “then I’m ready to go.” Glenn’s flight was a success, and marked a turning point in the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union in space.
Source: NASA website (See below)
Katherine Johnson 8/26/1918 – 2/24/2020
Degrees in Mathematics and French
Mentored by fellow African American, W.W. Schieffelin Claytor, PhD in Mathematics
Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama
NASA research facility named in her honor
Played by Taraji P. Henson in the movie Hidden Figures, based a book by the same name, written by Margot Lee Shetterly