On December 1, 1955, a 42-year-old seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama was arrested for refusing to move to the back of a bus. The incarceration of Rosa Parks triggered a year-long boycott of the city’s bus system by African Americans; it ended with a Supreme Court ruling that declared racial segregation on public transportation illegal. Mrs. Parks became known as the “mother of the civil rights movement.”
For more information, the Grateful American Book Prize recommends Rosa Parks: My Story by Rosa Parks and Jim Haskins.
On December 2, 1823 President James Monroe sent his annual message to Congress prohibiting foreign colonization of the Americas by European nations. It stated that “we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety.”
According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Monroe made four basic points in his message: the United States would not interfere in the internal affairs of, or the wars between European powers; the United States recognized and would not interfere with existing colonies and dependencies in the Western Hemisphere; and, the Western Hemisphere was closed to future colonization; any attempt by a European power to oppress or control any nation in the Western Hemisphere would be viewed as a hostile act against the United States.
For more information, read the Monroe Doctrine: The Cornerstone of American Foreign Policy by Edward J. Renehan Jr.
It was a balmy Sunday morning; December 7, 1941. The U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii was perfectly calm, but the stillness would not last. At precisely 7:55, an armada of approximately 360 Japanese warplanes attacked, killing 2,400 Americans, and wounding 1,200. Five of the eight American battleships, three destroyers, and seven other ships were sunk, or damaged in the surprise ambush that lasted just two hours. The next day, President Franklin Roosevelt declared war on Japan– a devastation that would pull in the rest of the world, and last four years.
For more information the Grateful American Book Prize suggests My Friend the Enemy by J.B. Cheaney.
History Matters is a biweekly feature courtesy of The Grateful American Book Prize.