Welcome to part two of the current week in history. Access part one of this two-part piece by following the link provided below. Now, let’s dive into Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in history.
February 1st ~ 1790
This Monday centuries past saw the birth of what could be contemporary America’s most influential collection of persons: The United States’ Supreme Court. The Supreme Court first assembled in New York City on this date. Six justices comprised the original high-court assembly representing five states: John Jay, John Blair, William Cushing, James Iredell, John Rutledge, and James Wilson. Though its housing was indefinitely indeterminate, and its official proceedings and protocols were yet in raw development that continues to this date, the Supreme Court of the young republic survived its vulnerability and released its first opinion in 1791 – a mortgage dispute.
February 2nd ~ 1887
You know the story… The groundhog emerges and is instantly presented two options with national, humanistic consequences attached to each:
- The groundhog sees its shadow, retreats to its underground dwelling, and solidifies six more weeks of winter.
- The groundhog does not see its shadow and voila! Springtime is nearly here!
The tradition of Groundhog’s Day has both Christian and German roots, though groundhogs were not originally used. The groundhog-specific tradition was formalized by early Pennsylvania settlers and in 1887, “Phil,” the original and perpetuated name for the day’s true mascot, was cemented. Even though nature’s reality is that groundhogs emerge from their dwellings at this time of the year to seek a mate, the tale of the meteorologist… er, groundhog… still, to this day, draws thousands upon thousands of participants to Gobbler’s Knob in, naturally, Pennsylvania.
February 3rd ~ 1870
In completion of this two-part piece on the current week in history is a giant of historical value. February 3rd, 1870 was witness to the ratification of the 15th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. The 15th Amendment granted voting rights to black males.
“…right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
– the 15th Amendment
Though the pivotal ratification of this amendment and, subsequently, the momentous advancement of civil rights there forward was inked and completed, immanent obstacles remained for African American men in southern states. These obstacles, particularly imposed poll taxes and literacy tests, ensured southern-bound African American men remained suppressed when it came to voting rights. And suppressed they would stay for literal lifetimes until 1965 when The Voting Rights Act was passed by congress. And that’s a wrap! This week is soon gone and a new batch of days – made up of weekend exploits and a fresh Monday start – is forthcoming. Take it as you will but remember that every day is pertinent to humanity’s ever-evolving history. Happy weekend, everyone!