This Week In Black History 8-14-13

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August 19

BenjaminBanneker1791—Benjamin Banneker writes a letter to Secretary of State (later president) Thomas Jefferson denouncing slavery. In his letter, Banneker declared, “I freely and cheerfully acknowledge that I am of the African race” and then precedes to label America’s recently achieved freedom from England a “hypocrisy” as long as Blacks continued to suffer under “groaning captivity and cruel oppression.” Banneker was a Black activist against slavery even though he is generally recognized for his mathematical achievements, designing one of the first clocks made in America and laying out the nation’s capital after Pierre L’Enfant abandoned the job.

1954—African-American diplomat Ralph Bunch is named Undersecretary of the United Nations. Bunch had already received the Nobel Peace Prize (1950) for his work as a UN negotiator during the Arab-Israeli war of 1948-1949. Bunch would later become UN Secretary General. He was born in Detroit but raised in Los Angeles.

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