So Much for Free Speech – Today In Southern History

25 May 1861  

On this date in 1861…

U.S. President Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus enabling him to imprison any critics for as long as he pleased without charge. One of the first uses Lincoln put the suspension to was to imprison any Maryland legislators that support their state’s secession.

Other Years:

  • 1539 – Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto started his exploration of the American South at present-day Tampa Bay, Florida.
  • 1816 – Confederate General Henry H. Sibley was born.
  • 1856 – Northern terrorist John Brown led the Pottawatomie Massacre of Southern settlers in Kansas.
  • 1863 – Ohio Democrat leader Clement Vallandigham was banished to the Confederate States for violating a U.S. General Order banning public criticism of the War of Northern Aggression.
  • 1864 – Battle of New Hope Church, outside Dallas, Georgia.
  • 1878 – Performer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson was born in Richmond, Virginia.
  • 1925 – John T. Scopes was indicted in Tennessee for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution.
  • 1943 – A riot occurred at a Mobile, Alabama, shipyard when it was learned that 12 black workers would be promoted ahead of whites.
  • 1953 – The first non-commercial educational television station began broadcast in Houston, Texas.
  • 1959 – A U.S. Supreme Court decision declared that a Louisiana law prohibiting black-white boxing was unconstitutional.
  • 1961 – In a speech at Rice University in Houston, Texas U.S. President John F. Kennedy challenged Americans to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

Read: Why Know Southern History?

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