History & Celebrations Today – October 2

Celebrations Today – October 2

Holidays and observances

Celebrations Today – USA: October 2

National Custodial Workers Recognition Day
National Name Your Car Day
National Fried Scallops Day
National Child Health Day – First Monday in October
National Guardian Angel Day
International Day of Non-Violence
National Custodial Worker Day
National Research Maniacs Food Day
National Phileas Fogg’s Wager Day
World Day for Farmed Animals
World No Alcohol Day

Today in US History: October 2

Thurgood Marshall

George E.C. Hayes, Thurgood Marshall, and James Nabrit
George E.C. Hayes, Thurgood Marshall, and James Nabrit, Congratulating Each Other,
Following Supreme Court Decision Declaring Segregation Unconstitutional,
New York World-Telegram and Sun Photograph Collection,
Copyprint, 1954.
Prints and Photographs Division
Courtesy of AP/Wide World Photos.
African American Odyssey

On October 2, 1967, Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice. Long before President Lyndon Johnson appointed him the first African-American Supreme Court justice, Marshall had established himself as the nation’s leading legal civil rights advocate.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland on July 2, 1908, Marshall graduated with honors from Lincoln University and received his law degree from Howard University in 1933, ranking first in his class. He soon joined the legal staff of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and, for the twenty years between 1940 and 1961, headed the organization’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

In 1954, Marshall achieved national recognition for his successful argument of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case. The Supreme Court’s decision in this landmark case overturned Plessy v. Ferguson (1889) by ruling that public school segregation constituted an unconstitutional violation of rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. The Court’s unanimous decision in this case surprised many, including Marshall, and lent enhanced legitimacy to this major development in constitutional law. The Brown decision, along with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, brought the demise of a web of state and local laws which had bound blacks to second-class citizenship.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Marshall to the U.S. Court of Appeals, and four years later President Johnson named him solicitor general of the United States before appointing him to the Supreme Court. Marshall spent nearly twenty-five years on the Court continuing to play a leading role in the legal fight to end racial discrimination in America by working to solidify the Brown decision and other civil rights victories through a series of judicial remedies.

Cartoon on Marshall's Death
A Pillar of Justice
Thurgood Marshall, 1908-1993

Paul Conrad, editorial cartoonist, Los Angeles Times
copyright 1993.
American Treasures of the Library of Congress

Justice Marshall retired in 1991 and passed away on January 24, 1993. The Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress holds significant collections of his personal papers both in the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Collection and the Thurgood Marshall Papers. Although these collections have not been digitized, there is considerable information available through the Library’s Web site on Marshall and the civil rights era:

Major John André and Brigadier General Benedict Arnold

The Honorable the Congress have been pleased in just Abhorrence of the perfidy of his conduct to pass the following Act…Resolved, That the Board of War be and hereby are directed to erase from the register of the names of the officers of the army of the United States, the name of Benedict Arnold.George Washington, October 19, 1780, General Orders.
George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799

André Monument
André Monument,
Tarrytown, New York, c1903.
Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920

On October 2, 1780, British intelligence officer Major John André was hanged as a spy in Tappan, New York. Captured on his return to New York City by American militiamen fighting in the War of Independence, Major André was found to have papers hidden in his boot concerning Continental army Brigadier General Benedict Arnold‘s negotiation for the surrender of West Point. (Arnold had recently been appointed commandant of the fort at West Point.)

General George Washington designated a board of officers to hear the case. André was found guilty of spying and sentenced to death.

George Washington with a small group of soldiers
The Capture of Andre,
John Paulding, David Williams, and Isaac Van War, 1780,
Currier and Ives, c1845.
Prints & Photographs Online Catalog

Arnold, motivated by greed, by his opposition to the French alliance of 1778, and by his resentment towards authorities who had reprimanded him for irregularities during his command in Philadelphia, had maintained a secret correspondence with Major André since May 1779. On September 21, 1780, Arnold had agreed to surrender West Point to the British in exchange for 20,000 pounds.

Upon hearing of André’s arrest, Arnold fled to the Vulture, a British warship on the Hudson River. That same day, he wrote to General Washington, begging mercy for his wife, Loyalist sympathizer Peggy Shippen Arnold:

I have no favor to ask for myself, I have too often experienced the ingratitude of my Country to attempt it: but from the known humanity of your Excellence I am induced to ask your protection for Mrs. Arnold from every Insult and Injury that the mistaken vengeance of my Country may expose her to. It ought to fall only on me. She is as good, and as Innocent as an Angel, and is incapable of doing wrong.

image of letter
Letter, Benedict Arnold to George Washington,
Pleading Mercy for his Wife,
September 25, 1780.
Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division’s First 100 Years

Unaware of her participation in her husband’s duplicitous dealings with the British, Washington provided an escort for Mrs. Arnold back to her family home in Philadelphia. Authorities in that city forced her to flee to her husband in New York where he was shunned as a traitor by British officers.

During the remainder of the Revolutionary War, Arnold served as a brigadier general in the British army, leading raids on Virginia and Connecticut. After the surrender of the British army at Yorktown in October 1781, he and his family moved to England, where he died in 1801. In the United States, his name became synonymous with traitor.

Today in History – October 2-External Links

Today’s Weather in History
Today in Earthquake History
This Day in Naval History
Today’s Document from the National Archives
Today’s Events, Births & Deaths –Wikipedia
Today in History by AP
On this Day -1950 to 2005 – Today’s Story–BBC
On This Day: The New York Times
This Day in History –History.com
Today in Canadian History – Canada Channel
History of Britain that took place On This Day
Russia in History –Russiapedia