The Marc Steiner Show

February 5: This Day in History

leopoldFebruary 4, 2015 – Segment 1

Marc shares some of the events that happened on this day in history, including the 1885 declaration by King Leopold II of Belgium that the Congo would be his personal possession, and proceeded to murder and torture millions of Congolese people.

Today in 1885, on the heels of the Conference of Berlin that divided up control of Africa to the European powers, King Leopold II of Belgium declared that the Congo would be his personal possession.  He looted the place they called Congo, and killed, murdered and tortured tens of thousands of native people in one of the most vicious colonization process in all of world history.

Note: Although this segment was broadcast on February 4th, the day in history information is for February 5th.

Transcript below:

 

Aqua – Barbie Girl

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyhrYis509A

That’s “Barbie Girl” by the group Aqua. As America debates what to do with plastic bags as thousands of miles of plastic islands float on the ocean, we remember that is was today in 1909 that Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland announced the creation of Bakelite, the world’s first synthetic plastic.  And today, there are few things we buy, use, ride and touch that are not made with plastic.

In 1866, radical Republican leader and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Congressman Thaddeus Stevens offered an amendment to the Freedmen’s Bureau bill, which would authorize the distribution of public and confiscated land to freedmen and loyal refugees in 40 acre lots. The measure was defeated in the House by a vote of 126 to 37. A Black delegation led by Frederick Douglas called on President Andrew Johnson to ensure to that formerly enslaved men would have voting ballots and would be assured protection for their right to vote. However, President Andrew Johnson, who was President Lincoln’s Vice President who became President upon Lincoln’s assassination, would not agree and would not budge on his opposition to Black suffrage.

Today in 1885, on the heels of the Conference of Berlin that divided up control of Africa to the European powers, King Leopold II of Belgium declared that the Congo would be his personal possession.  He looted the place they called Congo, and killed, murdered and tortured tens of thousands of native people in one of the most vicious colonization process in all of world history.

And today, the Immigration Act of 1917 was passed by US Congress. It was called the Asiatic Barred Zone Act, and it forbade immigration from nearly all of south and southeast Asia.  The anti-Chinese fervor ran deep in America, as did anti-immigrant feeling.  Only Filipinos were allowed into the United States, and all this led to the closing of Ellis Island 7 years later. Ellis Island was the gateway for many Jews, Italians, Greeks, Russians and Poles to enter into the United States.

By 1919, movies were taking the country by storm, becoming America’s new entertainment medium. Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith launched United Artists, which was an amazing group featuring a woman in the mix, and a man, Charlie Chaplin, who could not abide racism and was a socialist, teaming up with successful, yet deeply racist DW Griffith. America …

And in 1982, Neil Aggett, the unpaid Transvaal organizer for the Food and Canning Workers Union, became the first white person to die since 1963 while in detention in South Africa.  He and his girlfriend Liz Floyd were arrested. Aggett was tortured, with wet towels wrapped so tightly around his head he could not breathe while they beat and electrocuted him in a damp cold cell.  The South African authorities said that he committed suicide while in detention.

And the Mayors of Rome and Carthage met in Tunis today in 1985 to sign a treaty of friendship, which officially ended the Third Punic War after Rome sacked and destroyed Carthage. That war lasted 2,131 years.

Here’s a song for us to think about on this February the 4th. Trayvon Martin would have been 20 years old today.  He was murdered, and the man who murdered him, George Zimmerman, still walks free.  His death launched a nationwide movement to end police violence and systemic racism, and it created the next level of the struggle for equality in America.  We remember Trayvon Martin, and our hearts go out to his family. Here’s a song that Wyclef Jean wrote in tribute to him, called “Justice (If You’re 17).”

Wyclef Jean – Justice (If You’re 17)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J70xd4g79Ls

To continue your exploration of this day in history, take a look at some of our favorite sources:Charles H. Wright Museum: Today in Black History; African American Registry;BlackPast; NYTimes on this Day; EyewitnessToHistory.com; The Civil War Trust;Voices in Labor: Today in Labor History; Union Communication Services at The Worker Institute: Today in Labor History; BBC On This Day; The Holocaust History Project; PBS African American World; PBS; Today in Women’s History; South African History Online; This Day In North American Indian History; Jewish Virtual Library; The People History; Wikipedia List of Historical Anniversaries; Yenoba; and This Day in Music

Written by Marc Steiner

Marc Steiner

The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday thru Friday from 10AM to Noon on WEAA 88.9 FM. The show covers the topics that matter, engaging real voices, from Charm City to Cairo and beyond. Call us at 410.319.8888 or email us to participate live in the show, or share your comments on our site! Aren’t in Baltimore but want to listen? Stream the show live.


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