On this date, August 10, in 1835, hundreds of men from Canaan, New Hampshire, and surrounding towns, including Hanover, launched an assault on Noyes Academy, an experimental interracial school, after 14 African American students were enrolled. Arriving with 90 - 95 yokes of oxen, ropes, and chains and working in shifts, they physically dragged the schoolhouse off of its foundation and into a swamp outside of town.
By Andi Diehn
The rowdy crowd of men didn’t need to wait for the cover of darkness. About 500 New Hampshire residents gathered on the morning of August 10, 1835 in front of the Noyes Academy on Canaan Street in Canaan, New Hampshire. Protected from the law by a vote passed at an official town meeting a few days before, the men hooked 95 yokes of cattle to the building, slid skids underneath and ripped the school from the ground, dragging it about a mile down Canaan Street and leaving a shattered shell on the lawn of the town meeting house.
“It’s a sad ending to something that could have been great for the town,” says Donna Zani-Dunkerton, Canaan town historian.
What prompted such passionate destruction of a school? Fourteen of the attending students were black. The Noyes Academy was the second school in the country to admit black students, the first being an all girls’ school in Connecticut. The school, which grew out of abolitionist dreams of several leading members of society, only lasted 11 months before the fear and racism symptomatic of the times brought it to its knees. [Continue reading.]
And it continues: In 1999, New Hampshire finally relented and became the very last state to officially celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Martin Luther King, Jr. actually did care about Star Trek.
He had a conversation with Nichelle Nichols about her intention to quit the show to do stage work because her role on the show wasn’t very big. He told her that she had to stay on the show because her role had immense importance.
She was an officer on the bridge of a starship who just happened to be a black woman. He knew that her mere presence as a trusted and vital part of the operation would be a tremendous inspiration to black people and everyone who cared about equality in those tumultuous times, especially because no one made any reference to her race. And sure enough, Nichelle met and got mail from countless people telling her that she gave them hope for the future, even when present life got them down.
So we have him to thank for our ability to see 79 episodes with Nichelle’s legs in them.
- The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968.
- After strong opposition by Sen. Jesse Helms, President Reagan and Sen. John McCain, Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed on January 20, 1986.
- At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. It wasn’t officially observed in all 50 states until 2000.
- There are still businesses, schools and towns that refuse to recognize today as a memorial to Martin Luther King Jr., his legacy and his assassination.