RECENT EVENTS

Englishwoman Wins International Pancake Day Race
February 26, 2020
Katie Godof 2020 Pancake Day Race The Pancake title is back across the Pond. Katie Godof (right), an Englishwoman from Olney, won this year's international Pancake Day race, finishing in a time of 1 minute, 6 seconds. The winner of the Liberal, Ks., race was Whitney Hay; her finish time was 1 minute, 9 seconds. The race is a 415-yard course that follows an "S" shape, to mirror the route supposedly taken by the woman late for church all those years ago. Competitors must wear a head scarf, an apron, and a skirt; they must carry a frying pan, and they must flip the pancake in the pan at least twice, once at the start and once at the finish.

U.K. Unveils Post-Brexit Passport
February 24, 2020
New U.K. passport Citizens of the United Kingdom will once again have blue passports, now that the U.K. has left the European Union. The government will start issuing the passports in March, said Home Secretary Priti Patel. U.K. citizens last had blue passports in 1998. Between then and now, they have had burgundy colored passports, as have all other members of the EU. Manufacturing the new blue colored passports has been Gemalto, a company based in Poland and run by people from France and the Netherlands. Gemalto won the contract in 2018. More than 80 other countries, including the United States, issue their citizens blue colored passports.

Barbie Dolls to Mark New Olympic Sports
February 24, 2020
Barbie surfing 2020 Olympics Five new Barbie dolls will help celebrate new sports at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Coming soon to toy vendors around the world will be Barbie athletes showcasing baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing. Baseball was an Olympic sport from 1992 to 2008. Softball was on offer at the Olympics from 1996 to 2008. The other sports will be offered as Olympic sports for the first time in 2020. Barbie doll manufacturer Mattel has also announced the imminent release of a new collection of Hot Wheels toys, to commemorate the Olympics through the years, and a version of the card game UNO that features the Tokyo 2020 mascot Miraitowa, along with a new rule just for the Olympics.

IN DAYS GONE BY

Supreme Court Establishes Judicial Review
On Feb. 24, 1803, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in Marbury v. Madison, the first case in which anything was declared unconstitutional. This was the case of John Adams and his frantic appointment of the "Midnight Judges." The Court, under Chief Justice John Marshall, asserted itself as the arbitrator of laws and acts of Congress and how those laws and acts could be thought as consistent with the Constitution or, in this case, unconstitutional.

Hiram Revels: 1st African-American in Congress

Hiram Revels was the first African-American in Congress. A free man, he worked tirelessly for the abolitionist cause and for the Union during the Civil War. He was rewarded for his service with a seat in the U.S. Senate. Revels was born a free man even though he was born in North Carolina and in his teen years made his way to Indiana, where he studied at a Quaker school in Liberty. He went to school in Ohio as well and was ordained as a minister by the African Methodist Church, for which he traveled to many states across the center of the country, including Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee. With the coming of the Civil War, Revels threw himself into supporting the Union cause, helping organize African-American regiments of troops in Maryland, a so-called "border state," which had many people on both sides of the war. He also moved to Missouri, another border state, and helped organize African-American troops there in 1863. He even went deep into the South to serve as chaplain for a Mississippi regiment of free African-Americans there. Revels settled in Mississippi after the Civil War ended and joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Natchez. He helped build new churches across the South. He also continued to impress people around him with his ability to cool political tensions and also build coalitions, two skills that politicians need in abundance. In 1870, he was elected to the Mississippi State Senate, the first African-American so elected. He didn't serve very long in that capacity because he was also elected to the U.S. Senate, to fill the seat vacated by Confederacy President Jefferson Davis. And on Feb. 25, 1870, he became the first African-American in the U.S. Senate and in Congress as a whole.


BLACK HISTORY MONTH

These African-Americans are famous for their deeds in wartime.

The 54th Massachusetts: History on the Battlefield
One of the extreme ironies of the American Civil War was that in later years, when one of the main causes of the fighting was clearly defined as the slavery of Africans by the Southern states, neither the Union nor the Confederacy gave much thought to having Black Americans fight for themselves. The North was undoubtedly more sympathetic than the South, but regiments of the Union were overwhelmingly not Black, and this was the case for a good part of the war. This changed significantly with, among other things, the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation and the organization of an "experimental" all-Black regiment, the 54th Massachusetts. This regiment was formed in March 1863, nearly two full years into the war.

The Extraordinary Story of William Carney
With the Emancipation Proclamation came the drive for Black men to fight for the North in the Civil War. The first regiment to be mustered and sent into battle was the 54th Massachusetts. Among the men mustered in that historic regiment was William Carney, a former slave who had suspended his pursuit of the ministry to fight for the Union. Carney and the rest of the 54th Massachusetts trained for several months in early 1863 and then reported to Hilton Head, South Carolina. After a brief first engagement, they faced their first real test, in an attack on Fort Wagner, on Morris Island, on July 18. The fort was heavily defended, with both cannons and sharpshooters. Nonetheless, the order came for the 54th Massachusetts to lead the way in storming the fort. They did just that, advancing through a withering storm of enemy fire. Carney carried the flag alongside other members of his regiment, who continued to advance even though they probably knew that their attack had little chance of succeeding. Carney, even though he was shot in one leg, made it through the enemy's defenses and entered the fort. He planted the flagpole atop the high wall and proudly displayed the colors of the United States Flag. He was shot in the chest, the right arm, and the right leg, twice. Amazingly, he made it back to the Union forces, where he was promptly ushered into the medical tent. He had achieved both of his goals. William Carney survived his multiple wounds and later became the first Black recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The Tuskegee Airmen
The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American pilots group in the U.S. Army. They were also one of the most distinguished units to fight in World War II. The Tuskegee Institute, a university in Tuskegee, Alabama, was the first home of the 99th Fighter Squadron. There, soldiers underwent initial training to be pilots and ground crew. Tuskegee was considered an ideal place for aviation training because the area had good flying weather year-round and because the university had ample land to support an airfield and its needs. The first training took place at Moton Field, and the Airmen then moved to Tuskegee Army Air Field. Once there, the Airmen came under the command of Capt. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. Davis (left) was one of a select few African-Americans who had graduated from the U.S. Army Academy at West Point. In fact, Benjamin O. Davis Sr. was the first African-American general in the Army.


THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

The Presidential Primary Elections
Presidential SealBefore the general election can take place, American political parties must trim the list of candidates to one, since no more than one candidate from any one political party may appear on the ballot for President. (It used to be the case that the Vice-President would be the second-highest vote-getter, no matter which party he or she represented. This is no longer the case. Common practice now is for one candidate to choose a running mate, who would serve as Vice-President if both candidates were elected as a team.) The main way that the two major American political parties choose their final candidate is by having a series of initial elections, in the various American states. These initial elections can take one of three forms: primary elections, caucuses, and conventions.

Presidential Candidates Cross Wide Field of Experience
Find out more about all of the candidates still in the race to be the nominees of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.

2020 Presidential Primaries and Caucuses
It starts in Iowa on February 3 and ends in June in the Virgin Islands. In between, candidates will seek votes from people in all the states and territories. Check this page for the results of each election and for the schedule of what's coming up next.

How the President Is Elected
Good step-by-step examination of the electoral process, from campaigns to the election




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Social Studies for Kids
copyright 2002–2020
David White