* Today in Black History - February 18 *
1688 - The first formal protest against slavery by an organized white body in the English American colonies is made by Germantown,Pennsylvania Quakers and Mennonites at a monthly meeting. When some members of the Quaker community began to buy slaves, Francis Daniel Pastorius, the founder of Germantown, was outraged. On this day, Pastorius will meet with three other Germantown Quaker men to draft a denunciation of slavery. Known as "The Germantown Protest," it is regarded as the first protest against slavery by whites in the American colonies. The reasoning of the denunciation was based on the Golden Rule: since white people did not want to be slaves themselves, they had no right to enslave black African men and women. Despite the Germantown Protest, some Quaker families continued to keep slaves. Nonetheless, by the 19th century Quakers were prominent in the movement to abolish slavery in the United States.
1865 - Confederate Troops abandon Charleston, South Carolina. The first Union troops to enter the city include the Twenty-first U.S. Colored Troops, followed by two companies of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers.
1867 - The Augusta Institute is founded in Georgia. It is established as an institution of higher learning for African American students, and moves to Atlanta in 1879. In 1913, the name is changed to Morehouse College.
1894 - Paul Revere Williams is born in Los Angeles, California. He will become one of the most famous African American architects, designer of private residences in Los Angeles, the Hollywood YMCA, the Beverly-Wiltshire Hotel, UCLA's Botany Building and many others. Among his many awards will be the NAACP's Spingarn Medal in 1953.
1931 - Toni Morrison is born in Lorain, Ohio. She will become one of the most celebrated modern novelists of the 20th century, winning the National Book Critics Award in 1978 for "Song of Solomon" and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988 for "Beloved." In 1993, she will become the first African American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
1965 - The Gambia gains its independence from Great Britain.
1973 - Palmer Hayden joins the ancestors in New York City. One of the principal artists of the Harlem Renaissance who, like Henry 0. Tanner and others, studied in Paris, his most enduring work often depicted everyday scenes of African American life.
1979 - The miniseries "Roots: The Next Generations" premiers on ABC TV.
1995 - The NAACP replaces veteran chairman William Gibson with Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, after the rank-and-file declared no confidence in Gibson's leadership.
2006 - Shani Davis, from Chicago's South Side, becomes the first Black athlete to claim an individual gold medal in Winter Olympic history, winning the 1,000-meter speedskating race in 1 min., 8.89 seconds.