Revisit: HOLMES V. FORD (1853)

The lawsuit filed by Robin and Polly Holmes against Nathaniel Ford in 1852 is often cited as the legal event that ended slavery in Oregon. This is not accurate. Legally, Oregon was anti-slavery throughout the antebellum period. The provisional government prohibited slavery in 1843; the territorial government did so in 1848. Finally, Oregonians included an anti-slavery article in the 1857 statehood constitution. The Holmes v. Ford case … Continue reading Revisit: HOLMES V. FORD (1853)

FORT PILLOW MASSACRE (1864)

On April 12, 1864, some 3,000 rebels under the command of Nathan Bedford Forrest overran Fort Pillow, a former Confederate stronghold situated on a bluff on the Tennessee bank of the Mississippi, some 40 miles north of Memphis. The garrison consisted of about 600 Union soldiers, roughly evenly divided between runaway slaves-turned-artillerists from nearby Tennessee communities and white Southern Unionist cavalry mostly from East Tennessee. Under a flag … Continue reading FORT PILLOW MASSACRE (1864)

TUSKEGEE SYPHILIS EXPERIMENT (1932-1972)

Acting on the presumption that rural southern blacks were generally more promiscuous and syphilitic than whites, and without sufficient funding to establish an effective treatment program for them, doctors working with the Public Health Service (PHS) commenced a multi-year experiment in 1932. Their actions deprived 400 largely uneducated and poor African Americans in Tuskegee, Alabama of proper and reasonable treatment for syphilis, a disease whose symptoms could … Continue reading TUSKEGEE SYPHILIS EXPERIMENT (1932-1972)