Podcast: Play in new window | Download
On this day in history, the US declared war on Great Britain in 1812, the birth of Paul McCartney, and the federal government declared an eight hour day for federal workers.
Aretha Franklin – Freeway Of Love
That’s “Freeway of Love” by Aretha Franklin, which features Clarence Clemons on the saxophone. Born in Norfolk County, Virginia in 1942, he was known as “The Big Man”. He was a prominent member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band from 1972 until he passed away on this day in 2011.
And today in 1812, the US declared war on Great Britain, kicking off the War of 1812. That war gave us the Star Spangled Banner in the Battle of Fort McHenry, but it was also a battle to finish the War of Independence with the British, to secure maritime power and to defeat the Native American forces supplied by the British in their effort to keep the Americans out of what is now Ohio, Indiana and the Midwest.
Another event that altered the course of modern history began today when the French began the invasion of the Sultanate of Algiers today in 1830. While France beat the forces of the Sultan, they established what would be French Algeria for the next 160 years, fighting a fierce resistance for 45 years against Arab and Berber forces. One of those who led the guerrilla troops against the French was woman warrior and leader Lalla Fadhma n’Soumer.
You know that reversible stroller that lets your baby look at you or look out front, that pram you push with wheels rolling independently … well it was patented today in 1889 by African American inventor William Richardson.
And in 1923 the first Checker Cab hit the roads of New York. It became the symbol of that city and the car became huge and powerful, loved by America.
And speaking of beloved by America:
Five years later today in 1928, Amelia Earhart took off in her plane from Newfoundland and 20 hours and 40 minutes later touched down in Wales, becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
And in 1940, the president of the North American Aviation Co declared that:
“While we are in complete sympathy with the Negro, it is against company policy to employ them as aircraft workers or mechanics, regardless of their training though There will be some jobs as janitors for Negroes.”
Well, that did not sit so well with A. Phillip Randolph, President of the Brotherhood of Sleep Car Porters and Bayard Rustin, who organized the March on Washington Movement, saying that they would take hundreds of thousands to the streets of Washington, DC. And on this day in 1941, Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked them to call off the demonstration. Randolph and Rustin refused, and soon thereafter, seeing the threat as real, Roosevelt issued Presidential Proclamations saying war industries would be desegregated and that Blacks could have any job they qualified for. The March was called off on the eve of the war that was about to begin.
And the battle heated up in the Supreme Court over the Fair Housing Act, specifically against the act’s provision known the Disparate Impact Rule, which states not only intentional bias but any policy that has a discriminatory effect that is illegal. Today in 1968, the Supreme Court declared that racial discrimination was illegal in the sale and rental of housing.
And today in 1912, the battle for the 8 hour workday picked up steam when the federal government declared it for all federal workers.
Here’s a song for your June the 18th. Great singer songwriter Paul McCartney was born today in Liverpool, England in 1942. We got to know him as the frontman of The Beatles and he has continued making music til this day. Here’s The Beatles’ “I’ll Follow the Sun” as we celebrate Paul’s birthday.
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
The Marc Steiner Show currently airs on The Real News Network. The show covers the topics that matter, engaging real voices, from Charm City to Cairo and beyond. Email us to share your comments with us.