Good News in History, December 12

Good News in History, December 12

Joseph_Rainey-congress-portrait146 years ago today, Joseph Rainey of South Carolina became the first black congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives. Born into slavery in South Carolina, he was freed in the 1840s by his father who had been allowed to work as a barber and split the profits with his master. With his savings, he purchased the freedom of his entire family. As a respectable leader in Charleston, Rainey joined the Republican Party and eventually won four elections to Congress, where he worked hard to gain passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1875. (1870)

(CLICK to enlarge his portrait, LEARN more at Wikipedia, or CHECK out the book, The Epic Story of Reconstruction Through the Lives of the First Black Congressmen)

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • Father Flanagan opened Boys Town as home for wayward boys in Nebraska (1917)
  • The UN accepted John D. Rockefeller Jr.‘s gift of a six-block tract of Manhattan real estate to become the site of U.N. headquarters (1946)
  • Paula Ackerman becomes the first woman Rabbi in the US (1950)
  • Kenya gained independence from the United Kingdom (1963)
  • 30,000 women held hands and formed a chain around the 9 mile (14.5 km) Greenham Common in a peace rally against use of cruise missiles (1982)
  • Houston became the largest U.S. city to elect an openly gay mayor, when
    a large percentage of voters chose City Controller Annise Parker (2009)
  • A 6th grade boy, Gerry Orz, persuaded the California state government to declare December 12 as a “Day of Silence” to officially honor the victims of bullying (2013)