September 12, 1958, BLACK HISTORY & School Desegregation: in Cooper v. Aaron, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal judge’s decision to postpone desegregation at a Little Rock high school until 1960 because of the threat of continued violence. Justices concluded the states were bound by the court’s decisions.
September 12, 1962, Space Race: President Kennedy gave a speech at Rice University, future home of the Manned Spacecraft Center (which later will be renamed Johnson Space Center)
In it he uttered the famous words: We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
September 12, 1962, BLACK HISTORY: Martin Luther King Jr. decried the pace of civil rights progress in the United States. He also said that “no President can be great, or even fit for office, if he attempts to accommodate injustice to maintain his political balance.”
September 12, 1963, BLACK HISTORY & School Desegregation: white students in Birmingham, Alabama, drag an African American effigy past West End High School. Two African American girls attended the desegregated school and a majority of the white students were staying away from classes. Police stopped this car in a segregationist caravan in front of the school to caution them about fast driving and blowing auto horns in front of a school.
September 12, 1965, The Beatles: an August 14 taped performance broadcast on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Taped before a live studio audience at Studio 50 in NY. The Beatles perform: 1) I Feel Fine 2) I’m Down 3) Act Naturally 4) Ticket to Ride 5) Yesterday 6) Help!
September 12, 1966, BLACK HISTORY & School Desegregation: twelve years after the United States Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling holding school segregation unconstitutional, the city of Grenada, Mississippi, continued to operate a segregated school system. In August of 1966, a federal judge ordered that African American students be permitted to enroll in the formerly whites-only schools. Approximately 450 African American students enrolled prior to the scheduled start of the school year on September 2, 1966.
On September 2, the school district postponed the start of school by ten days. White leaders used that time to attempt to coerce African American parents into withdrawing their children from the white schools by threatening them with firing or eviction; as a result, 200 students withdrew.
On September 12, 1966, the Grenada schools opened, and 250 African American students attempted to integrate the schools. A large white mob surrounded the school and turned away most of the African American students. As the students retreated, members of the mob pursued them through the streets, beating them with chains, pipes, and clubs. At lunchtime, the mob returned to the school to attack the few African American students who had successfully entered. As the students left for lunch, members of the mob attacked them, leaving some hospitalized with broken bones. Reporters covering the story were also beaten.
The mob violence continued for several days, with no intervention from law enforcement. On September 16, a federal judge ordered protection for the students, and on September 17, thirteen members of the mob were arrested by the FBI.Ticket to Ride 5) Yesterday 6) Help!
September 12, 1966, Teenage Culture: the made-for-TV show band, The Monkees, premiered on NBC. Episode 1: The Monkees foil a fiendish plot to assassinate princess Bettina, the Duchess of Harmonica.
September 12, 1972, Feminism: Maude, a spin-off of All in the Family, premiers, starring Beatrice Arthur as Maude Findlay, a leftist feminist who supports abortion and civil rights.
September 12, 1974, BLACK HISTORY & School Desegregation: in Boston, opposition to court-ordered school busing turned violent on the opening day of classes. School buses carrying African-American children were pelted with eggs, bricks and bottles, and police in combat gear fought to control angry white protesters besieging the schools. The protests continued, and many parents, black and white, kept their children at home. In October, the National Guard was mobilized to enforce the federal desegregation order.