Sept. 17, 1849: Harriet Tubman Attempts to Escape From Slavery
On this day in 1849, American abolitionist Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery. She escaped alongside her brothers, Ben and Henry, who forced her to turn back with them after they had second thoughts.
Tubman ran away again shortly afterward without her brothers, this time successfully, using the Underground Railroad as her escape route to the North.
The Underground Railroad was a lifeline for slaves escaping to freedom, and Harriet Tubman became undoubtedly one of its most famous “conductors.”
Photo: Harriet Tubman, full-length portrait, standing with hands on back of a chair between ca. 1860 and 1875 (Library of Congress)
The Grape-Vine Swing
Photographer, location unidentified
Smithsonian American Art Museum
50-year anniversary of the 9/15/1963 murder of four African-American girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama.
Their names are Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robinson, Addie Mae Collins and Denise McNair.
Her name was Simone Segouin, also known by her war name, Nicole Minet. When this photo was taken on August 19th 1944 she was 18 years old. She had killed two Germans in the Paris fighting two days previously, and also had assisted in capturing 25 German POWs during the fall of Chartres.
Simone Segouin was involved in armed actions against enemy convoys and trains, attacks against enemy detachments, acts of sabotages, etc. The French newspaper Independent Eure-et-Loir on its August 26, 1944 issue described her as “one of the purest fighters of heroic French Resistance who prepared the way for the Liberation”. She was present at the fall of Chartres, on August 23, 1944, and at the Liberation of Paris. She was promoted to lieutenant, and awarded the Croix de guerre. A street in Courville-sur-Eure was named for her.
Two young women stand near a turning aircraft propeller, 1940.
Photograph by Luis Marden, National Geographic Creative
Today, September 8th, is the 60th birthday of Ruby Nell Bridges - a woman who, being the first black child to attend an all-white school in New Orleans in 1960, underwent a traumatizing ordeal that came to signify the deeply troubled state of race relations in America.
On her first day of school at William Frantz Elementary School, during a 1997 NewsHour interview Bridges recalled that she was perplexed by the site that befell, thinking that it was some sort of Mardi Gras celebration:
"Driving up I could see the crowd, but living in New Orleans, I actually thought it was Mardi Gras. There was a large crowd of people outside of the school. They were throwing things and shouting, and that sort of goes on in New Orleans at Mardi Gras.”
Only six-years-old at the time, little Ruby had to deal with a slew of disgusting and violent harassment, beginning with threats of violence that prompted then President Eisenhower to dispatch U.S Marshals as her official escorts, to teachers refusing to teach her and a woman who put a black baby doll in a coffin and demonstrated outside the school in protest of Ruby’s presence there. This particular ordeal had a profound effect on young Ruby who said that it “scared me more than the nasty things people screamed at us.”
Only one teacher, Barbara Henry, would teach Ruby and did so for over a year with Ruby being the only pupil in her class.
The Bridges family suffered greatly for their brave decision. Her father lost his job, they were barred from shopping at their local grocery store, her grandparents, who were sharecroppers, were forcibly removed from their land, not to mention the psychological effect this entire ordeal had on her family. There were, however, members of their community - both black and white - who gathered behind the Bridges family in a show of support, including providing her father with a new job and taking turns to babysit Ruby.
Part of her experience was immortalized in a 1964 Norman Rockwell painting, pictured above, titled The Problem We All Live With. Her entire story was made into a TV movie released in 1998.
Today, still living in New Orleans, Bridges works as an activist, who has spoken at TEDx, and is now chair of the Ruby Bridges Foundation.
Brassaï - Paris ( 1937-38)