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1733 A shipload of forty-two Jewish immigrants from Europe arrived at the new settlement of Savannah hoping to join the English colonists that had arrived five months earlier.
Against Trustee policy, James Oglethorpe allowed the Jewish immigrants to land – due in part to the fact that among the new colonists was Dr. Samuel Nunes. The colony's only doctor had died earlier, so the need for a physician overrode Trustee reluctance to allow Jewish colonists.
1742 Three Spanish ships sailed up the Frederica River on the back side of St. Simons Island looking for a location to land troops to launch a land and river attack on Fort Frederica, which guarded the river.
Oglethorpe's forces opened fire, forcing the ships to retreat back down the river. This marked the last Spanish offensive against the fort, the island, and Georgia.
1782 British officers formally surrendered Savannah to Col. James Jackson.
The last British troops and officials then boarded ships and departed for England, thus ending the American Revolution for Georgia.
1864 Union Army engineers and work crews were busy rebuilding a 650-foot-long wooden bridge across the Chattahoochee River at Roswell which had been burned by retreating Confederate forces. This would be one of several sites where Sherman's army crossed the Chattahoochee during the coming six days.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1877 In Atlanta, a convention of 185 delegates convened in the Kimball Opera House, then serving as Georgia's state capitol.
Their mission was to complete the "redemption" of Georgia by adopting a new state constitution to replace the Reconstruction-era Constitution of 1868. The most prominent voice in the convention proved to be "unreconstructed rebel" Robert Toombs.
1905 Atlanta University professor and civil rights leader W.E.B. Du Bois organized the Niagara Movement, which met July 11-13 in Fort Erie, Ontario, and led to the formation of the NAACP four years later.
1925 Opera soprano Mattiwilda Dobbs was born in Atlanta. After graduating from Spelman College in 1946, she won an international music competition in 1951. In 1955 she became the first black artist to perform a major role with the San Francisco Opera, and the following year the first to play a romantic lead role with the Metropolitan Opera. She later refused to perform for segregated audiences in Atlanta, but did sing at the inauguration of her nephew Maynard Jackson in 1974.
1943 Capt. Charles Dobbins was reported missing in action, when his plane failed to return to its North African base from a raid on Sicily. He was assigned to an Air Force paratroopers division as a pilot. A member of a prominent Marietta family, Capt. Dobbins belonged to the Marietta Country Club and the First United Methodist Church, where he had been a member of the choir and a leader in youth work. After the war Dobbins Air Base in Marietta would be named in his memory. [Contributed by Dr. Tom Scott, Kennesaw State University] For more information on Dobbins' death, click here.
1964 While driving through Madison County, Ga., Lt. Col. Lemuel Penn, a black U.S. Army Reserve officer, was killed by a shotgun blast from a passing car.
Penn had been on annual summer active duty at Fort Benning and was returning to his home in Washington, D.C. The driver of the car from which the blast occurred later signed a statement admitting his role and identifying two members of the Klan – Howard Sims and Cecil Myers – as being the ones who actually fired the shots that killed Penn. Sims and Myers were subsequently tried in state superior court, but an all-white jury found them innocent. Federal prosecutors subsequently charged Sims and Myers with violating Penn's civil rights. A federal district court jury found them guilty, and the two served approximately six years in federal prison.
Penn's murder occurred just nine days before Pres. Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by Congress. Following Penn's murder, The trial and successful prosecution of Sims and Myers were important factors leading the U.S. Justice Department to set up as civil rights task force. Their efforts led to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. In recognition of this fact, the Georgia Historical Society in 2006 erected a historical marker where the murder took place on Georgia Highway 172 just west of the bridge over the Broad River, which serves as the boundary between Madison and Elbert County.
1977 President Jimmy Carter posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Martin Luther King nine years after his death. This is the nation's highest civilian award given to citizens who have enriched America through their achievements and service. It is bestowed at the sole discretion of the president.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
Source: [no author or editor cited], Our First Visit in America: Early Reports from the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1740 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1974), pp. 291-292.
Source: George Fenwick Jones and Renate Wilson (ed. and trans.), Detailed Reports on the Salzburger Emigrants Who Settled in America. . . Edited by Samuel Urlsperger (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1981), p. 149.
1775 Meeting at Tondee's Tavern in Savannah, a committee of Georgia's Provincial Congress composed a letter to royal governor Sir James Wright stating that Georgia would no longer be the weak link among American colonies in opposition to Parliaments attempts to unconstitutionally tax colonists:
Source: George White, Historical Collections of Georgia (New York: Pudney & Russell, 1855), p. 75.
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