Posts Tagged ‘US history’

Black History / President Month: Our Black Presidents

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

It’s Black History Month, and also the month in which we celebrate our presidents on Presidents Day. So throughout February on the PhLog, we’re publishing a few posts about Black History as it pertains to our presidents.

Today’s post is about our black presidents.

We all know that Barack Obama is the first African-American president of the United States.

Or is he?

There have been rumors throughout US history that certain presidents had black heritage. Most of these claims were made by political opponents who were trying to cause a scandal. Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, and Harding were all called black by their enemies.

Each of these claims are unverified and considered untrue by historians.

But there’s been one rumor about a president thought to be black that that keeps coming back: Calvin Coolidge.

Was Silent Cal silent about his true ancestry?

Coolidge was open about his Native American ancestry, which he attributed his dark features to. But was that the whole story?*


Calvin Coolidge: Passing?

*there is no historical evidence stating the contrary, but this is the internet so we’re allowed to spread unfounded rumors.

Black History / President Month: Black Presidential Candidates

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

It’s Black History Month, and also the month in which we celebrate our presidents on Presidents Day. So throughout February on the PhLog, we’re publishing a few posts about Black History as it pertains to our presidents.

Today’s post is about African Americans who ran for president.

Before Barack Obama, several African Americans unsuccessfully ran for president. Some received the nomination of minor parties, others tried for major party support and failed.

The first black candidate to appear on a presidential ticket was Frederick Douglass, but as VP rather than president. In 1872, Douglass ran alongside a woman – suffragist leader Victoria Woodhull. And in 1888, Douglass became the first black man to receive a vote for president at a major party convention (the Republicans).

In the many years that followed, a slew of African Americans ran on various fringe party tickets. George Edwin Taylor ran in 1904. Eldridge Cleaver and Dick Gregory in 1968.

In 1972, Shirley Chisholm became the first African American woman to run for the presidential nomination of a major party. A Democtatic member of U.S. House of Representatives, Chisholm failed to win the nomination, but she did get the most votes for a female candidate at a major party convention in U.S. history.


Jesse Jackson ran for the Democratic nomination in 1984 and 1988. He failed to win, but he was quite a popular candidate in 1988, winning many primaries before losing to Michael Dukakis.

In 1988, Psychologist and activist Lenora Fulani was the first African American presidential candidate (and the first woman) to appear on ballots in all 50 states, under the New Alliance Party banner.

And then in 2008, Barack Obama became the first African-American major party nominee and was elected president.

It’s Civil War Generals Week!

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

In case you want to visit some Civil War generals today:

Civil War General’s Week – Lost Opportunity

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Lost Opportunity

Union General Winfield Scott Hancock had an identical twin.  This advantage was unfortunately not used by the Union.  If only they had foresight, the Union could have terrorized the rebels with a general who appeared to be everywhere – a general who could fight on two fronts at once!

Civil War Generals and YOU

Friday, January 20th, 2012

What Civil War General are YOU like?
Here’s a quiz we found online that will tell you:

Civil War Generals Week – Match the General to his Nickname

Thursday, January 19th, 2012


1 Winfield Scott Hancock A the Rock of Chickamauga
2 Thomas J. Jackson B “Curly”, “Fanny” & “Autie”
3 Richard S. Ewell C Grumble
4 John Magruder D Bobbin-Boy
5 William L. Jackson E Baldy Dick
6 George Armstrong Custer F Stonewall
7 James Ewell Brown Stuart G “Bad Old Man” & “Old Jube”
8 William E. Jones H Mudwall
9 George B. McClellan I Little Napoleon
10 George H. Thomas J Hancock the Superb
11 John Mosby K Prince John
12 Nathaniel Banks L Jeb
13 William Rosecrans M Gray Ghost
14 P.G.T. Beauregard N Old Rosy
15 Jubal A. Early O Little Creole
16 Joshua L. Chamberlain P Lion of the Round Top

[Answers: 1) J, 2) F, 3) E, 4) K, 5) H, 6) B, 7) L, 8 ) C, 9) I, 10) A, 11) M, 12) D, 13) N, 14) O, 15) G, 16) P]

Civil War Generals Week – Trivia

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

U.S. Brig. General Alexander Schimmelfennig had the longest name of any general in the war (14 letters).

George Custer was the youngest general in the Union army (age 23).

Ulysses S. Grant inherited a slave named William James.  Often in need of money. Grant could have sold him for cash, but instead he freed him.

On February 24, 1914, General Joshua Chamberlain, the “Lion of Little Round Top” died at the age of 85 in Portland, ME. His death was largely the result of complications of his wounds, making him the last Civil War veteran to die from wounds received in battle.

It’s Civil War Generals Week!

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

In honor of Robert E. Lee’s birthday (January 19th), we’re posting about Civil War Generals this week.

Our first entry:

General Means Presidential

Being a Civil War General pretty much assured you a chance to run for President.

Besides Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, and Chester Arthur held the rank of General.  And lots of Generals ran and didn’t win.  Most notoriously, General George McClellan ran against Lincoln during the war in 1864!  Winfield Scott Hancock ran as a democrat in 1880 and lost to Garfield in the closest vote in U.S. history.

The one that got away was William Tecumseh Sherman.  He refused to run although the Republicans begged him over and over again. (He would probably have been better at the job than Grant.)  He resisted so vehemently that his type of unequivocal denial to run for the office has been termed “the Sherman pledge”.  In 1871 Sherman declared: “I hereby state, and mean all that I say, that I never have been and never will be a candidate for President; that if nominated by either party, I should peremptorily decline; and even if unanimously elected I should decline to serve.” In 1884, he was forced again to state: “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.”