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February 12, 2008

On this Day in Our History

Congress enacted the first fugitive slave law on this date in 1793. This law made it illegal to harbor slaves or to perform any actions preventing their arrests.

"Lift Every Voice and Sing," co-composed by James Weldon Johnson and his brother James Rosamond Johnson, was first performed by a chorus of 500 school children on this date in 1900.

The NAACP was founded on this date in 1909 after riots in Springfield, IL. With W. E. B. Du Bois as one of its chief organizers, the group originally fought to abolish forced segregation and enforce the 14th and 15th Amendments.

Ernest E. Just, biologist and pioneer of cell division, received the 1st NAACP Spingarn Medal on this date in 1915 for his pioneering research on fertilization and cell division.

Major Charles Young received the 2nd NAACP Spingarn Medal on this date in 1916 for his participation in building Liberia's infrastructure.

First Lieutenant Nancy C. Leftenant was accepted in the regular Army Nursing Corps on this date in 1948. Leftenant became its first Black member.

James Hubert "Eubie" Blake, pianist and composer, died in New York City on this date in 1983-five days after his 100th birthday.

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