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First African-American Senator

Grimke and Revels

February 25, 1805, saw the birth of Angelina Emily Grimké Weld, American abolitionist and feminist. She was the younger sister of the equally famed Sarah Moore Grimké. On February 25, 1870, the first African-American entered Congress to serve in the U. S. Senate. Hiram Rhodes Revels (Sep 27, 1827 –






zimmermannTelegram

A telegram, and a decision

A century ago today, on February 24, 1917, United States ambassador to the United Kingdom, Walter Hines Page, was shown the intercepted Zimmermann Telegram, in which Germany offered to give the American Southwest back to Mexico if Mexico were to declare war on the United States. On February 24 1803,

Carl Menger

Zola and Menger

On February 23, 1898, Émile Zola was imprisoned in France after writing J’accuse, a letter accusing the French government of anti-Semitism and wrongfully imprisoning Captain Alfred Dreyfus. Zola is perhaps most famous for his leadership in extending realistic naturalism to the novel, in such works as Germinal (1885). Fifty-eight years






The White Rose

Heroes Executed

On Feb. 22, 1943, brother and sister Hans and Sophie Scholl, and their colleague in the White Rose resistance organization, Christoph Probst, stood trial before the Volksgericht — the People’s Court that tried political offenses against the Nazi German state. Found guilty of treason by Roland Freisler, head judge of






Osho-on-karl-marx

Three Horrors

On Feb. 21, 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published The Communist Manifesto. On Feb. 21, 1916, the Battle of Verdun began with German bombardment of the city of Verdun, France.  For ten months, the longest single engagement of World War II, German forces attacked the French along a 20-kilometer front






1944 Big Week Bombing

The Big Week

Beginning on Feb. 20, 1944, and lasting through Feb. 25, 1944, the United States Strategic Air Forces (USSTAF) launched a series of missions against the Third Reich that became known as “Big Week.” In six days, the Eighth Air Force bombers based in England flew more than 3,000 sorties and






Hans and Sophie

White Rose

On Feb. 18, 1943, Hans and Sophie Scholl, a brother and sister, were arrested at the University of Munich for secretly (or not so secretly) putting out leaflets calling on Germans to revolt against Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. In the previous year Hans had founded a group of






Thomas  Jefferson

President Jefferson

On Feb. 17, 1801, Thomas Jefferson was elected by the U.S. House of Representatives to be the third president of the United States, after an arduous election process that ended only 15 days prior to inauguration. The fracas included a tie vote in the Electoral College followed by 35 indecisive






Morgan Silver Dollar

Silver Coinage

On Feb. 16, 1878, the Bland-Allison Act, which provided for a return to the minting of silver coins, became U.S. law. Today, the value of American money is secured only by public faith in the stability of the government, but during the 19th Century, money was backed by actual deposits






Remember the Maine

Remember the Maine

On Feb. 15, 1898, the USS Maine, a battleship, exploded in the Cuba’s Havana harbor, killing 260 American sailors. An official U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry ruled in March 1898 that the ship was blown up by a mine, without directly blaming Spain. Nonetheless, Congress declared war and, within three






David Teniers III, St. Valentine

St. Valentine’s Day

On Feb. 14, 278 A.D., Valentine, a priest in Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius II, was executed. In order to facilitate the raising of an army for his unpopular military campaigns, the emperor outlawed all marriages and engagements. Valentine defied Claudius’s order and continued to perform marriages for






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