War Department General Order 143: Ordering the Creation of the U.S. Colored Troops, May 22, 1863
The outbreak of the Civil War set off a rush by free black men to enlist in U.S. military units. They were turned away, however, because a Federal law dating from 1792 barred Negroes from bearing arms for the U.S. Army. The Lincoln administration wrestled with the idea of authorizing the recruitment of black troops, concerned that such a move would prompt the border states to secede.
However, following the Emancipation Proclamation and faced with dwindling white volunteers, black recruitment was pursued in earnest. Volunteers from South Carolina, Tennessee, and Massachusetts filled the first authorized black regiments. Recruitment was slow until black leaders such as Frederick Douglass encouraged black men to become soldiers to ensure eventual full citizenship. (Two of Douglass’s own sons contributed to the war effort.) Volunteers began to respond, and in May 1863 the Government established the Bureau of Colored Troops to manage the burgeoning numbers of black soldiers. By the end of the Civil War, roughly 179,000 black men (10 percent of the Union Army) served as soldiers in the U.S. Army, and another 19,000 served in the Navy.
via Our Documents
Among the black soldiers who served during the Civil War were those belonging to the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, popularized in modern times by the exceptional film “Glory.” In fact, a monument honoring the 54th stands on Boston Common, right across from the Massachusetts State House.
Also on this day, May 22:
- War of the Roses (1455)
- Great Emigration leaves Independence, MO for Oregon (1843)
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of “Sherlock Holmes,” was born (1859)
Yup, I saw the monument there last fall!
“I respectfully remind you sir, that we have been the most patient of all people.”
-Letter from Jackie Robinson to President Eisenhower of May 13, 1958
After he retired from Major League Baseball, Jackie Robinson went on to champion the cause of civil rights from his position as a prominent executive of the Chock Full o’Nuts Corporation.
Robinson had grown increasingly impatient with what he regarded as President Eisenhower’s failure to act decisively in combating racism. In this letter dated May 13, 1958, he expresses his frustration and calls upon the President to finally guarantee Federal support of black civil rights.
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“When I speak with atheists, I will sometimes discuss social concerns, but I do not propose the problem of God as a starting point, except in the case that they propose it to me. If this occurs, I tell them why I believe. But that which is human is so rich to share and to work at that very easily…
Say what you want about Tintin in the Congo, but Herge pretty much destroys racism here. Chang and Tintin’s friendship defies cultural differences. Love it.
“This planet is not terra firma. It is a delicate flower and it must be cared for. It’s lonely. It’s small. It’s isolated, and there is no resupply. And we are mistreating it. Clearly, the highest loyalty we should have is not to our own country or our own religion or our hometown or even to ourselves. It should be to, number two, the family of man, and number one, the planet at large. This is our home, and this is all we’ve got.” — Scott Carpenter, Mecury 7 astronaut
Every day is Earth day 🌍
“When you’re finally up on the moon, looking back at the earth, all these differences and nationalistic traits are pretty well going to blend, and you’re going to get a concept that maybe this is really one world, and why the hell can’t we learn to live together like decent people?”
- Frank Borman
We must all work to ensure that the possibilities offered by technology, both in outer space and here on Earth, are used to foster tolerance, trust and shared values. They must not be allowed to become instruments of discord or division. We must guard against the misuse of outer space, and, in particular, against the creation of an arms race in outer space. Space exploration should advance the twin objectives of maintaining international peace and security and promoting international cooperation.
Space utilization and exploration is not a special programme with limited implications on human activities. It should not be a privilege of a limited few. Space is the eternal frontier which promises to help of all of humanity create a safer, more prosperous and better connected world.
U.N. Secretary-General Says Benefits of Space Exploration Should Not Be Limited To Privileged Few (April 2001)
People, wherever they live, are not statistics. They are not abstractions.
Bad things happen to good people all the time. When they do, hopefully, you’ll have a better idea who, and what, on a human scale, is involved.
I’m not saying that sitting down with people and sharing a plate is the answer to world peace. Not by a long shot.
But it can’t hurt.