Category Archives: Civil Rights


13th Amendment Passed?

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.


In 1864 The Senate passed the 13th Amendment with vote of 38 to 6 but the bill was defeated by the Democrats in the House. After Lincoln’s re-election, he encouraged Congress to reconsider the bill. It was passed on January 31, 1865. It was voted for by 100% of the Republicans in Congress and 23% of the Democrats.

It was then sent to the states for ratification (approval), which happened in December 1865.

Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1963. It had freed slaves in the states that were in rebellion. It meant that once areas were taken and put under control of Union troops, the slaves in those areas could be freed.

Slavery continued in the border states of Delaware and Kentucky throughout the war and only ended there when the 13th Amendment went in effect.

Read more: Abolitionist Movement House Passes the 13th Amendment The 13th Amendment is Ratified


End of South African Apartheid?

Between 1948 and 1994, South Africa was governed by the National Party. The government used laws to maintain a segregation of the country’s black and white citizens. This allowed the minority whites to keep the majority blacks at a political, economical, and social disadvantage.

Inter-racial marriage between whites and other races was illegal. Black-owned businesses were restricted as to where they could operate. There were separate “black” and “white” buses. Even hospitals and ambulances were segregated. When non-whites went into white-controlled areas, they were required to carry papers with their fingerprints, photo, and identification information.

There were protests against apartheid throughout this time. Protesters could be locked up, whipped or fined. One of these activists, Nelson Mandela, was arrested in 1962 and was sentenced to life in prison with hard labor – he was forced to work in a limestone quarry. Inspite of having very limited contact with the outside world, he was only allowed one visitor every six months, he became the best known representative of the anti-apartheid movement. He ended up spending 27 years in prison before being released in 1990.

After his release, Mandela traveled and spoke in several countries, gaining international support for the end of apartheid. The final stop in his world tour was before the U.S. Congress. He was only the third private citizen to address Congress.

South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk and Mandela worked together to end apartheid. On April 27 and 28, 1994, black South Africans were allowed to vote in elections for the first time. They elected Nelson Mandela as the country’s first black president. He served from 1994 to 1999.


Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela 1918 – 2013, skilled ballroom dancer, lawyer, prisoner, and South African president.

To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity. – Nelson Mandela

Find More Information:
Biography of Nelson Mandela
End of Apartheid


Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Martin Luther King, Jr.?

October 14, 1964.

He was 35 when he won the award, and at that time, the youngest person to receive it. Since then Mairead Corrigan, 32; Tawakkol Karman, 32; and Malala Yousafzai, 17 have won. The average age for winners is 61.


There used to be a photographer that stayed in my bedroom while I slept, just in case I got a call from the Nobel committee or some other prestigious award but we were both disappointed. Or, at least, I was. The camera guy seemed happy with his stack of Polaroids. (It was a long time ago. Now that I’m older and wiser, I think I should have questioned his “news” credentials. Using a Polaroid seems kind of sketchy.) But I digress.

King won the award for showing that a struggle can be waged without violence, for making the message of brotherly love a reality, and for bringing this message to all men, to all nations and races.

Some men, especially prominent Jim Crow Democrats such as Eugene “Bull” Connor and Leander Perez weren’t so thrilled to hear King’s message. Connor, a former Birmingham, AL police commissioner said that the Nobel selection committee was “scraping the bottom of the barrel” when they chose King.

Leander Perez, whom Wikipedia calls the “Democratic political boss of Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes in southeastern Louisiana” said that King getting the prize “only shows the Communist influence nationally and internationally.” He credited (blamed?) communists and the “Jews who were supposed to have been cremated at Buchenwald and Dachau but weren’t”  for the American Civil Rights movement.

You can listen to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech here.

You can find more information here:
Martin Luther King Jr. and the Global Freedom Struggle
From the Archives: 45th anniversary of MLK Jr.’s death (UPI)