Friday, January 24, 2020

Preview: Two Birthdays and One Massacre

On Monday, January 27, I'll continue my survey of 2020 historical anniversaries on the Son Rise Morning Show at my usual time (about 6:50 a.m. Central/7:50 a.m. Eastern). The next three anniversaries are: the 250th anniversary of the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770 and the 200th Anniversary of the births of Susan B. Anthony and  Florence Nightingale (February 15 and May 12, respectively).

The illustration above is based upon Paul Revere's engraving: the Independence Hall Association notes that "this is not an accurate depiction of the event"! Their website explains the significance of the event:

The Boston Massacre was a street fight that occurred on March 5, 1770, between a "patriot" mob, throwing snowballs, stones, and sticks, and a squad of British soldiers. Several colonists were killed and this led to a campaign by speech-writers to rouse the ire of the citizenry.

The presence of British troops in the city of Boston was increasingly unwelcome. The riot began when about 50 citizens attacked a British sentinel. A British officer, Captain Thomas Preston, called in additional soldiers, and these too were attacked, so the soldiers fired into the mob, killing 3 on the spot (a black sailor named Crispus Attucks, ropemaker Samuel Gray, and a mariner named James Caldwell), and wounding 8 others, two of whom died later (Samuel Maverick and Patrick Carr).

A town meeting was called demanding the removal of the British and the trial of Captain Preston and his men for murder. At the trial, John Adams and Josiah Quincy II defended the British, leading to their acquittal and release. Samuel Quincy and Robert Treat Paine were the attorneys for the prosecution. Later, two of the British soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter.

The Boston Massacre was a signal event leading to the Revolutionary War. It led directly to the Royal Governor evacuating the occupying army from the town of Boston. It would soon bring the revolution to armed rebellion throughout the colonies.

Note that the occupation of Boston by British troops in 1768 was not met by open resistance.

The first 200th birthday anniversary to commemorate is Susan B. Anthony's, born on February 15, 1820 (she died on March 13, 1906). She was a women's suffrage rights, anti-slavery, and temperance advocate, known as the great organizer of the suffragette movement in the USA, which would finally be successful one hundred years after her birth (1920) with the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List is named after her:

SBA List’s mission is to end abortion by electing national leaders and advocating for laws that save lives, with a special calling to promote pro-life women leaders.

SBA List is a nationwide network of more than 700,000 Americans. We combine politics with policy, investing heavily in voter education to ensure that pro-life Americans know where their lawmakers stand on protecting the unborn, and in issue advocacy, advancing pro-life laws through direct lobbying and grassroots campaigns.

SBA List is a family of organizations, an arsenal designed not to hurt but to heal; not to shame but to shield. We invite you to stand tall with us in that arena, to encircle the vulnerable ones who need us, and to fight until they are safe and free.

And Feminists for Life points out the early suffragettes' opposition to abortion on their website, although there is some controversy about Anthony's statements against abortion.

In 1979, the United States Mint issued the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin to replace the Eisenhower dollar piece. It was designed to be a smaller coin than its predecessor and that created confusion with the Quarter. The Susan B. Anthony dollar was reissued in 1999 while the Sacajawea dollar coin was being prepared for issue.

And the second birthday: Florence Nightingale, the famous "Lady with the Lamp", was born on May 12, 1820 (she died on August 13, 1910). She is known for her care for wounded soldiers during the Crimean War, her advocacy for professional nursing training, and other social reforms.

Since Catholic sisters could serve as nurses, Florence Nightingale, an Anglican with Unitarian Universalist views, thought for a time of becoming a Catholic. She and Henry Manning corresponded for a time before and after he became a Catholic in 1851. Emory University's Pitts Theology Library has some of those letters in its collection. Nightingale biographer Gillian Gill notes that her subject's interest in Catholicism was a means to an end: becoming a nurse in a hospital. Catholic sisters served as nurses during the Crimean War although they were segregated to Catholic wards so they could not proselytize the non-Catholic soldiers. One of the Protestant/Anglican nurses who came with Nightingale supervised those Catholic sisters and converted to Catholicism: Frances Taylor, who became a religious sister, Mother Mary Magdalen of the Sacred Heart as the founder of the Poor Servants of the Mother of God.

Florence Nightingale is honored by the Church of England on its Calendar of Saints on the date of her death (August 13) and there is a chapel dedicated to her and to nurses in Westminster Abbey. The Florence Nightingale Foundation was established in 1929 to provide "scholarships to the best nurses and midwives in the UK who then make a difference to patient care, policy and practice in their chosen fields." Finally, the Florence Nightingale Museum in London is celebrating her bicentennial with several events, using the #Nightingale2020!

These two women were obviously great organizers for their causes. Gillian Gill's biography of Florence Nightingale and her family recounts her upbringing and education, her adventures and achievements vividly. Neither she nor Susan B. Anthony ever married as both believed they could dedicate themselves more completely to their causes as single women.

No comments:

Post a Comment