On this day in Black history: Black national anthem, birth of the NAACP, Macon bus boycott and more


On this day in Black history, February 12:

— In 1865, Henry Highland Garnet became the first Black person to speak in the U.S. Capitol, delivering a sermon to the U.S. House of Representatives on the abolition of slavery. 

— In 1898, educator Booker T. Washington gave his “Madison Square Garden address” in New York City. In his speech, he advised Black people to seek training and education in industrial and agricultural sciences.

— In 1900, during a birthday celebration for Abraham Lincoln, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was sung for the first time. The lyrics were written by James Weldon Johnson, with music by his brother, J. Rosamond Johnson. The NAACP later adopted the song as the Black national anthem. 

— In 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, was established. The nation’s largest and most widely recognized civil rights organization, its mission is to advance justice for Black people. 

— In 1962, the boycott of the Macon, Georgia, buses began in an effort to end segregation on city buses and to increase the employment of Black people as bus drivers and mechanics. The boycott is said to have lasted three weeks. 

— Happy birthday to Bill RussellRoberta MartinArsenio HallRadric “Gucci Mane” DavisElle VarnerDeMarco Murray and Robert Griffin III.

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