December 16: This Day In History

William Cooper NellDecember 16, 2014 – Segment 1

Marc talks about what happened on this day in history, including the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge, the birthday of African American historian William Cooper Nell, and NAACP co-founder Fanny Garrison Villard.

Transcript of this day in history and resources included below.

This is Marc Steiner, and today is December the 16th.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States…

Ladies and gentlemen,

This war must be waged, it is being waged, to the greatest and most insistent intensity. Everything we are, everything we have, is at stake. Everything we are, and have, will be given. We have no question of the ultimate victory, we have no question of the cost. Our losses will be heavy, but we and our allies will go on fighting together to total victory.”

That was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt speaking to the American people during the Battle of the Bulge, which began on this day in 1944. The month long battle was a major German offensive towards the end of World War Two. It caught the allies off guard, it was the bloodiest battle of World War II, 19,000 American soldiers died, making it the battle with the highest number of US casualties during World War Two. For most of it seemed as if the Germans would defeat the American and British but General Patton’s Third Army prevailed, and the tide of the war changed. The Nazis were now on the verge of defeat.

1816 – William Cooper Nell was born on this date – he is considered by Carter Goodwin Woodson to be the first African American historian – Nell, Garrison’s ‘right-hand’ on The Liberator, published several treatises, the most outstanding of which was “Colored Patriots of the American Revolution …” he also is acknowledged to be the first federal employee of the United States, having been employed in the Boston Post Office in 1863. He died May 25, 1874

In 1942, SS Commander Heinrich Himmler ordered the deportation of Romani people to Auschwitz. There, hundreds of thousands of Roma were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust. The Roma, like the Jews, were targeted for Mass Extermination. They were beaten, shot, tortured, and used for medical experiments.

1844 – Fanny Garrison Villard, suffragist, co-founder of the NAACP, daughter of publisher and abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison (d.1928)
She became a leading peace activist opposing war, the invasions of Cuba and Phillipines and World War I. On August 29th 1914 she led 1200 women down the streets of Manhatten to protest US involvement in World War I. In 1919 she became one of the founders of the NAACP, The Garrisson family from Abolition to the 20th century were fighters for social justice.

We lost Robert Smith Vance (May 10, 1931 – December 16, 1989) was a United States federal judge. He had a history of fighting for human and civil rights, took on segregationist George Wallace, the Klan and others. On this day he opened a package at his home which exploited and killed him. Walter Leroy Moody, Jr. with the murders of Judge Vance and of Robert E. Robinson, a black civil rights attorney in Savannah, Georgia, who had been killed in a separate explosion He is one of the few judges in American history to have been assassinated as the result of his judicial service.

Here’s a song for you to think about on this December the 16th. This piece of music is by a composer who was committed to small r republican ideals. Like many other European republicans of the early 19th century, he saw Napoleon, who he saw as the embodiment of republican ideals. But when Napoleon crowned himself emperor of France Beethoven tore the title page from his third symphony, which had been dedicated to Napoleon, tore it in two, threw it on the floor, and stomped on it. And the now renamed Eroica Symphony was ground breaking musically that changed the course of classical composition and opened the limitless possibilities of Western music .. Eroica by Ludwig van Beethoven, born on this day in 1770.

This Day In History is produced by the Center for Emerging Media at WEAA 88.9FM in Baltimore, Maryland with Producers Stefanie Mavronis and Mark Gunnery and Research Producer Cianna Greaves.

To continue your exploration of This Day In History, visit for resources. I’m Marc Steiner. Thanks for listening.

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;; 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