At various points in black history, there have been events that have shaped our standing in American society. Known by many but understood by a small percentage, the plight of blacks has been nothing short of a mixture of pain and small steps of triumph.
We have come a long way, yet, there’s still work to be done for the advancement of people of color. Here are two historical black events that took place on this day.
Jefferson Davis authorizes the use of slaves in Confederate Army
On March 13, 1865, former president Jefferson Davis was in serious need of bodies to defend the Confederate party against the Union. One of his very limited options was to enable slaves to fight on behalf of the Confederate’s cause for the non-abolishment of slavery.
Davis signed the bill however, this did not guarantee slaves who fought freedom upon conclusion of their mission.
Anne Wiggins Brown dies
The African-American soprano and Broadway performer was best known for her role as “Bess” in the George Gershwin production of Porgy and Bess in 1935. Wiggins-Brown was also a radio and concert singer. At the age of 16, she became the first African-American singer to be accepted to and attend the Juilliard School of Music.
Touring Europe as a vocalist from 1942-1948, Wiggins-Brown eventually settled in Norway and became a Norwegian citizen in her 30s. She continued to sing well into her 50s and then became a voice teacher due to asthma.
Receiving various awards and accolades over the course of her life, Wiggins-Brown earned the George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America from the Peabody Institute, the same entity that previously denied her access to a musical education. In 2000 she also earned Norway’s Council of Cultures Honorary Awards.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland on August 9, 1912, Wiggins-Brown died at the age of 96 in Oslo, Norway.
It’s imperative to stay abreast of black history on a constant basis since it is not often discussed in mainstream media.