Black History Month with President Coolidge

February 9, 2017

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February is Black History Month, and every week we will share information about President Coolidge’s contributions to civil rights and equality during his years in the White House.

On September 24, 2016, America’s first African American president, Barack Obama, presided over the ceremony to inaugurate the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This living monument to America’s black heritage was many decades in the making, and in some respects the effort can be traced back to President Calvin Coolidge. On his final day in office, March 4, 1929, President Coolidge signed Public Resolution 107 which initiated a commission to design and construct a national monument to the Negro that would stand as a “tribute to the Negro’s contributions to the achievements of America.”

Unfortunately, the legislation was signed without any funding attached, due to the demands of recalcitrant southern Democrats in Congress. With the onset of the Great Depression during Herbert Hoover’s presidency, the project eventually fizzled out. It was not until the 1960s Civil Rights era that African American lawmakers and leaders reignited the plan. After many years of struggle, President George W. Bush signed the authorizing legislation for the museum in 2003. The National Museum of African American History and Culture now stands as the fulfillment of the initiative President Coolidge launched in 1929.

To learn more, check out our most recent edition of the Coolidge Quarterly. Or come to Plymouth Notch on February 20th at 2:00 pm for a Presidents’ Day talk by Rushad Thomas on Coolidge and Civil Rights. You will not want to miss it!

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Coolidge Blog

When Life Strikes the President

“It costs a great deal to be president,” President Calvin Coolidge remarked when he reflected on the March 1926 death of his elderly father. In writing those words Coolidge spoke for all his predecessors, as well as presidents who came after him. Every president has dealt with tragedies and personal challenges during their tenure in the White House. Now an impressive assemblage of presidential historians have joined together to examine those challenges in the recently released book When Life Strikes the President: Scandal, Death, and Illness in the White House.

Coolidge Debate Goes to Dallas

The Coolidge Foundation’s second annual Dallas Debate Tournament was held on Saturday, 15 April at Southern Methodist University. Local debate students, and students from as far away as Houston, came together to debate the resolution “A significant tariff on imported goods from Mexico is a good policy for the U.S. economy.” More than 30 students spent the day debating this very timely issue.

Remembering the Great War

April 6th marks the Centenary of America’s entry into the Great War, as World War I was call back then.

Some of our anniversaries are more significant than others. This Great War anniversary is most definitely one that warrants public recognition and solemn commemoration. And it is especially meaningful for those of us born in the last century.

Why? The war was a mighty engine of destruction and change. The old order of things was consumed by it, with a new order taking its place. The war, no doubt, became the greatest historical force shaping the 20th Century. For example, in its wake, the United States would rise to the status of a major world power. In far off Russia, the Czarist regime would be replaced the Soviet Union, which would attempt through force and subterfuge to impose its communist ideology on the world. In the Middle East, the consequences of the break up of the Ottoman Empire into small, artificial states still haunt us to this day.

The Pilgrim’s Faith: Coolidge and Religion

If one crosses New England’s valleys and hills one will inevitably encounter ubiquitous clapboard Congregational meetinghouses. These places of worship crown the town greens of villages throughout the region. Their faith, the faith of the Puritan pilgrims, is a foundational element of the American ethos. Theirs is the faith of the first Thanksgiving, of Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” of the Salem witch trials, and of the heart and soul of the First Amendment: the freedom of religion (though most of the early Puritans came to the shores British North America seeking religious freedom for themselves, not for others). Puritan Congregationalism has shaped the contours of American civic and religious life for hundreds of years.