BASN Classic BlackBox: Barack Obama Remember

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Updated: February 24, 2008

A BASN Classic BlackBox Originally Published: February 25,2005 BARACK OBAMA REMEMBER U.S. SENATOR HIRAM REVELS AND ALL THE AFRICAN AMERICAN CONGRESSIONAL PIONEERS FEBRUARY 25, 1870

Congressional Pioneers

U.S. SENATOR REVELS SEATED ON FAR LEFT WITH OTHER AFRICAN AMERICAN CONGRESSIONAL PIONEERS

On rare Occasions once or twice a year

( more now with Barack Obama running )

and always on February 25th each year

in the Box we take the Liberty

of a story which is not specifically related to Sports but since Sports is an integral part of our lives it does.

The story of February 25th is much like the progress and the lack of Progress we chronicle day after day in the Box. Much as Jackie Robinson breaking the Color Barrier in 1947 is among the greatest if not the greatest moment in sports history for its Reality and its Symbolism.

Yet as well Jackie Robinson’s great success is a mark of our Failure as well. There is no doubt if Jackie Robinson were alive today he would be extremely disappointed that in 2005 African Americans are disappearing from Baseball. Likewise there is no doubt Robinson would be outraged that over 50 years later there has still not been even one African American owner in Major League Baseball.

Likewise alive today as the seminal defining figure Jackie Robinson was in Life and is in Death, his grief and disappointment would extend to all the other sports in which Black America had been allowed so little progress in so many areas of management and ownership.

Hopefully not

but were he alive now

Jackie Robinson

might even judge

Himself

A Failure

that so little Progress

has taken place.

From these perspectives, and highlighting the interconnectedness of all history we bring you U.S. Senator Hiram Revels and February 25, 1870, in Washington, DC, a pivotal milestone in all of American history, and arguably more so than Jackie Robinson and his Achievement.

Without a doubt

each would have appreciated

the other

and understood

each others Ordeal

and Triumph.

On February 25, 1870 an Event took place that many Americans thought was Impossible, would never happen. Slavery or no Slavery. Freeing African Americans from total life long Bondage was one thing allowing African Americans to participate in the life of the nation …

something very Different

the idea of a

Black man

in the U.S. Senate

most of all

too radical

to even imagine.

Until it happened on February 25, 1870 in Washington, DC, in the very same Senate Chambers in use today. And the power the majesty of the Moment extended far beyond Senator Revels Himself.

Following Revels into the U.S Congress in the following 2 decades would be other Southern African Americans most former Slaves, others free men all their lives …

…. another Black U.S. Senator and 22 African American Members of the House of Representatives led by Joseph Rainy of South Carolina who was elected by popular vote and entered Congress later the very same year December 12, 1870.

These African American Congressional Pioneers started to become so successful and developing into a powerful voting block in Congress, whites throughout the South as well as many in the North, began to fear this Movement, as much if not very much more than the end of Slavery.

The result were the then Democrat Carpetbaggers, and waves of White Southern Terror against Southern African Americans that resulted in the elimination of every last Black Congressman by the 1890s.

Even more the virtual rewriting of history

to wipe the memory of these

African American

Congressional Pioneers

from the very consciousness

of the Nation

So that today rather than being Celebrated as one of the most remarkable and inspiring chapters in American history, the Magnificent African American Congressional Pioneers led by ….

U.S. Senator Hiram Revels

of Mississippi

elected in January 1870

to fill the unexpired Senate term of

Jefferson Davis

president of the now defunct Confederacy.

But who the Senate

refused to accept his Credentials

and allow

Hiram Revels

to become

U.S. Senator Hiram Revels

until finally taking the Oath

late in the winter afternoon of

Friday, February 25, 1870.

The greatest single Moment

in the history of Congress

the Senate galleries

filled to overflowing

to witness History made.

Only to be Forgotten

by us and History.

Until now let us Resolve.

Always Remember

Never Forget

Jackie Robinson

FROM HIRAM REVELS TO JACKIE ROBINSON DIFFERENT “FIELDS” BUT SAME COURAGE