Sankofa Studies

August 28 – A Day to Remember

August 28, 2020

August 28 is probably the most interesting day in Black History. I have seen it referred to as the day of “historical reckoning.” So many turning points share the same date. It’s amazing and a history lovers dream. So let’s take a look at August 28th.

August 28, 1955 | Emmett Till’s Murder

Emmett Till was a 14-year old Black boy from Chicago who was visiting his family in Money, Mississippi. Emmett was brutally murdered for allegedly flirting with a white woman at a store. Roy Bryant, the proprietor of the store and the woman’s husband, returned from a business trip a few days later and heard how Emmett had allegedly spoken to his wife. Enraged, he went to the home of Till’s great uncle, Mose Wright, with his half-brother J.W. Milam in the early morning hours of August 28. Three days later, his corpse was recovered but was so disfigured that Mose Wright could only identify it by an initialed ring. Authorities wanted to bury the body quickly, but Till’s mother, Mamie Bradley, requested it be sent back to Chicago. Once she received the body, she made a decision that changed the course of history. She had an open-casket funeral for her son. She wanted the world to see what they had done to her baby. Jet Magazine published a photo of Emmett’s corpse, and soon the mainstream media picked up on the story. Milam and Bryant went on trial and on September 23, the all-white jury deliberated for less than an hour before issuing a verdict of “not guilty.” Many people around the country were outraged by the decision. The funeral and the trial showed the world the horrors of Jim Crow. The murder of Emmett Till was a turning point in the civil rights movement.

August 28, 1963 | The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

In 1963, in the wake of violent attacks on civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, Alabama, momentum built for another mass protest on the nation’s capital. With A. Phillip Randolph planning a march for jobs, and King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) planning one for freedom, the two groups decided to merge their efforts into one mass protest. That spring, Randolph and his chief aide, Bayard Rustin, planned a march that would call for fair treatment and equal opportunity for black Americans, as well as advocate for passage of the Civil Rights Act (then stalled in Congress). Of course it was at the March on Washington where the world heard Martin Luther King’s most famous speech that left a lasting impression. John Lewis was also the youngest speaker to address the crowd that day. This was yet another turning point in the movement and in our history.

August 28, 2005 | Hurricane Katrina

Just after midnight, Hurricane Katrina reached Category 4 intensity. By 7:00 AM, it was a Category 5 storm. Katrina was expected to make landfall overnight. Eventually, the Louisiana Superdome was opened as a, “refuge of last resort,” for those residents that were unable to obtain safe transport out of the city. 20,000 people entered the Dome. It went downhill from there. Media coverage showed Black people as “looters” and “refugees.” People were dying and in need of essentials. President Bush acted with little to no urgency and New Orleans and the surrounding areas would never be the same again.

August 28, 2008 | Barack H. Obama Accepts the Democratic Nomination

What a night it was…

At the Democratic National Convention, in Denver, Colorado, at Invesco Field, Senator Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination. There were 84,000 people in attendance, which set a record. Obama became the party’s first nonwhite nominee, and nominee of African descent, for president. He went on to become the 44th President of the United States. #forever44

August 28, 2016 | Colin Kaepernick Addresses the Nation

“People don’t realize what’s really going on in this country. There are a lot things that are going on that are unjust. People aren’t being held accountable for. And that’s something that needs to change. That’s something that this country stands for freedom, liberty and justice for all. And it’s not happening for all right now.” Kaep took a knee and explained his stance. He was blackballed from the league, ridiculed and punished. And now, years later, people are finally able to see why…and more in the sports industry and beyond are taking a knee.

Ava DuVernay created an exceptional film that premeired at the grand opening of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, called August 28: A Day in the Life of a People. The museum will also make the film available to view on the museum’s homepage and YouTube channel starting at 10 a.m. for 24 hours.

Take some time to dive into all of these historical days and make sure to catch the movie.


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