Trivia Short Takes|
First African-American to Play in the Major Leagues
Jackie Robinson wasnt the first African-American to play Major League Baseball. Actually, the first African-American to play in the major leagues was Moses Fleetwood Walker. His first major league appearance was on May 1, 1884 for the Toledo Blue Stockings against the Louisville Eclipse. In 1884 Toledo joined the American Association, which was a Major League at that time in competition with the National League. He played in 42 major league games, had 23 runs to his credit and a batting average of .263. He also had a brother named Welday Walker who later played six games with the Toledo Blue Stockings. Until 1947, the Walkers were the only black players ever to play in the major leagues. In 1891, Fleetwood Walker was assaulted outside a Syracuse bar on a Sunday afternoon as he returned home from church. He killed his attacker with a knife in self-defense. A jury acquitted him to the cheers of the spectators. Subsequent to this event, Moses retired from playing baseball and returned to his home in Steubenville, Ohio.
First Female Senator
In 1922, Governor Thomas W. Hardwick was a candidate for the next general election to the senate in Georgia, when senator Thomas E. Watson died prematurely. Seeking an appointee who would not be a competitor in the coming special election to fill the vacant seat, and a way to secure the vote of the new women voters alienated by his opposition to the 19th Amendment, Hardwick chose Rebecca Latimer Felton to serve as senator on October 3, 1922. Congress was not expected to reconvene until after the election, so the chances were slim that Felton would be formally sworn in as senator. However, Walter F. George won the special election despite Hardwick's ploy. Rather than take his seat immediately when the senate reconvened on November 21, 1922, George allowed Felton to be officially sworn in. Felton thus became the first woman seated in the senate, and served until George took office on November 22, 1922, one day later. Her tenure was the shortest for any senator in history. She was also the last former slave-owner to serve in the U.S. Senate. Hattie Caraway became the first woman to win election to the Senate in 1930.
First African-American Senator
Hiram Rhodes Revels was the first African-American to serve in the United States Senate. Since he preceded any African American in the House, he was the first African American in the U.S. Congress as well. He represented Mississippi in 1870 and 1871 during Reconstruction. At the time, the state legislature elected U. S. senators. Revels was elected by a vote of 81 to 15 in the Mississippi state senate to finish the term of one of the state's two seats in the United States senate left vacant since the Civil War.
The election of Revels was met with opposition from Southern conservative Democrats who cited the Dred Scott Decision which was considered by many to have been a central cause of the American Civil War. They argued that no black man was a citizen before the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868. Because election to the senate required nine years' prior citizenship, opponents of Revels claimed he could not be seated, having been a citizen by law for only two years. Supporters of Revels countered by stating that the Dred Scott decision applied only to those blacks who were of pure African blood. Revels was of mixed black and white ancestry, and therefore exempt, they said, and had been a citizen all his life. This argument prevailed, and on February 25, 1870, Revels, by a vote of 48 to 8, became the first black man to be seated in the United States Senate.
Abraham Lincoln's Little-known Legacy
When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, workers hastily built a catafalque (platform) for his coffin to rest on while being viewed in the White House and Capitol building. Little did they know it would survive and be utilized for over 140 years. The catafalque is a simple flat frame of rough pine boards nailed together and covered with black cloth. Although the base and platform have occasionally been altered to accommodate the larger size of modern coffins and for the ease of the attending military personnel, it is basically the same today as it was in Lincoln's time. This same catafalque has been used for over twenty-six distinguished Americans including John F. Kennedy, many other presidents, senators, military commanders, and others.
Presently the catafalque measures 7 feet 1 inch long, 2 feet 6 inches wide, and 2 feet high. The attached base is 8 feet 10 inches long, 4 feet 3-1/2 inches wide, and 2 inches high. The platform is 11 feet 1 inch long, 6 feet wide, and 9-1/4 inches high. Although the cloth covering the catafalque has been replaced several times, the style of the drapery is similar to that used in 1865.
The catafalque was previously kept in an area called Washington's Tomb, which was originally intended, but never used, as the burial place for the first American president. Washington's Tomb is a small room in the basement of the United States Capitol building. It was designed to entomb the body of President George Washington, the first President of the United States. The tomb is two levels beneath the ornate Capitol rotunda.
The original design of the rotunda, and the crypt beneath it, included a central glass floor allowing the public to view Washington's Tomb two floors below. This design was never implemented, however, and Washington was buried at Mount Vernon, his estate in nearby Virginia, in accordance with his will. When not in use, the catafalque is now kept in the United States Capitol Visitor Center in a small vaulted chamber.
North Dakota or South Dakota; Which Was First?
There is an interesting story to relate about a newspaper and the Dakota territory. President Benjamin Harrison was about to sign the proclamations which would admit the 39th and 4Oth states to the Union - North Dakota and South Dakota. Before signing the documents, he had his secretary place each document inside an identical edition of a newspaper. He then shuffled them back and forth until no one present could tell which document was which state.
Just enough of the proclamations were left exposed for the President to sign. He signed them and then shuffled the papers again before the documents were removed. Because of this "shell game," no one will ever know which of the Dakotas was actually the 39th or 4Oth state!
President Garfield's Unusual Ability
President James Garfield could perform a very unique parlor feat that entertained many. He could write in Latin with one hand, while writing in Greek with the other hand at the same time.
A Home Gets A New Name
The home of the President of the U.S. was originally called the Presidential Palace and didn't really become widely accepted as the White House until President Franklin Roosevelt had the name engraved on the stationary he sent out, while President.