1970—A student protest on the campus of Mississippi’s Jackson State University leads to a massive confrontation with local police authorities. When the smoke cleared, two students had been shot and killed and another 12 injured or wounded.
Week of March 11-17
1933—Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan is born Eugene Walcott on this day in the Bronx, N.Y. He was raised by his St. Kitts-born mother in Roxbury, Mass. Prior to joining the Nation of Islam in 1955, Walcott had achieved celebrity status in the Boston area as a Calypso singer, dancer and violinist known as “The Charmer.”
1968—Nine caravans of protesters arrived in Washington, D.C., for the first phase of the Poor Peoples Campaign—an anti-poverty effort conceived by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The campaign aimed to united Black, white and Hispanic poor people in an effort to pressure the government to do more to eliminate poverty in America. King had been assassinated the previous April, so the campaign was led by his lieutenant, Rev. Ralph Abernathy. The campaign erected Resurrection City near the Lincoln Monument and held daily demonstrations in Washington from May 14 to June 24.
1862—In a bold and heroic endeavor, Robert Smalls led 12 other slaves and stole a Confederate warship, then turning it over to Union forces. The White captain of the steamer Planter and other officers had gone ashore for a party in Charleston, S.C. Smalls, a wheelman, quickly organized the Black crew and steered the ship out of Charleston harbor right past the unsuspecting Confederate forces. For his daring deed, Smalls was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant. After the Civil War, he was elected congressman from South Carolina.
1940—Jazz singer Al Jarreau was born on this day in Milwaukee, Wisc.