Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from September 15 to October 15. This month corresponds with Mexican Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16, and recognizes the revolution in 1810 that ended Spanish dictatorship.
National Recovery Month
September is National Recovery Month, which celebrates gains made by those in recovery from substance use disorders.
September 6th- Jane Addams was the founder of Hull House in Chicago, first major settlement house, first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (1931), suffragist, helped establish American Civil Liberties Union (1920).
September 7th- In 1993 M. Joycelyn Elders, MD became the first African American and the second woman to be named U.S. Surgeon General. She held the military rank of Vice Admiral in the United State Navy in this position. Elders kept pushing boundaries while in office, advocating for robust sex education and studies on drug legalization—and drawing critics.
September 7th- Little Rock Nine – First Day of Integration following Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
Integration began in Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD public schools. The Little Rock Nine were a group of nine Black students who enrolled at formerly all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in September 1957. Their attendance at the school was a test of Brown v. Board of Education, a landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling that declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional. On September 4, 1957, the first day of classes at Central High, Governor Orval Faubus called in the Arkansas National Guard to block the Black students’ entry into the high school. Later that month, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent in federal troops to escort the Little Rock Nine into the school. It drew national attention to the civil rights movement.
The image below is of Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine, as she walked to school.
September 9th- Civil Rights Act of 1957
President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the first civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. The new act established the Civil Rights Section of the Justice Department and empowered federal prosecutors to obtain court injunctions against interference with the right to vote. It also established a federal Civil Rights Commission with authority to investigate discriminatory conditions and recommend corrective measures. The final act was significantly weakened by the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Democratic Senator, James Eastland, of Mississippi, representing the resounding lack of support for civil rights among Southern Democrats.
September 12th- Mae C. Jemison was the first Black American woman in space on board the space shuttle Endeavor (1992).
September 12th- Happy Birthday, Jesse Owens! (1913 – 1980)
African American Olympic athlete Jesse Owens was born in Oakville, Alabama (as James Cleveland Owens). He won four medals in track and field at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, defeating Nazi athletes and disappointing Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
September 14th- Selective Service Act (1940)
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the law allowing Black people to enter all branches of the U.S. Military Service.
September 15th-17th- Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)
Rosh Hashanah is a celebration, marking the creation of the world. The first two days of the Jewish new year, Tishrei 1 and 2, begin at sundown on the eve of Tishrei 1. Rosh Hashanah 2023 begins at sundown on September 15 and continues through nightfall on September 17. The celebration is marked by candle lighting in the evenings, festive meals with sweet delicacies during the night and day, prayer services that include the sounding of the ram’s horn (shofar) on both mornings and desisting from creative work.
September 15th- National Negro Convention (1830)
The Convention arose out of a question asked by a sixteen-year-old free Black teenager named Hezekiel Grice. Grice, troubled by “the hopelessness of contending against oppression in the United States,” who wondered if Black people should be encouraged to emigrate, en mass, to Canada. Grice wrote to several Black leaders who approved his proposal for a ten-day convention to discuss the issue. The Convention was attended by forty Black people from nine states, including Bishop Richard Allen. From the meeting emerged a new organization, the “American Society of Free People of Colour for improving their condition in the United States; for purchasing lands; and for the establishment of a settlement in the Province of Canada,” of which Allen was named president. As a result, although moving to Canada was encouraged, especially for Black people with children, the society also acknowledged the need to improve the lives of those who remained in the U.S.
September 17th- Constitutional Convention of 1787 – Enactment of the Three Fifths Clause
The Constitution of the United States was signed, which allowed an enslaved man to count as three-fifths of a man in determining representation in the House of Representatives. The three-fifths clause was part of a series of compromises enacted by the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Other clauses prohibited slavery in the Northwest Territories and ended U.S. participation in the international slave trade in 1807. The post-Civil War 13th Amendment freed all enslaved people in the United States, the 14th amendment gave formerly enslaved people full citizenship, and the 15th Amendment granted Black men the right to vote. Unfortunately, despite these “compromises” and amendments, for the next 100 years until 1968 the passage of Jim Crow laws legalized racial segregation and the marginalization of African Americans. For example, “Black codes were strict local and state laws that detailed when, where and how formerly enslaved people could work, and for how much compensation. The codes appeared throughout the South as a legal way to put Black citizens into indentured servitude, to take voting rights away, to control where they lived and how they traveled and to seize children for labor purposes.” The impact of these “compromises” and Jim Crow laws, such as redlining and Black codes, is felt reverberating today in the form of institutionalized racism.
September 18th- Fugitive Slave Act of 1850
Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Law which was part of the Compromise of 1850. The act required that slaves be returned to their owners, even if they were in a free state. The act also made the federal government responsible for finding, returning, and trying escaped slaves. This 1850 act came after the original Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 which authorized local governments to seize and return escapees to their owners and imposed penalties on anyone who aided in their flight. Widespread resistance to the 1793 law led to the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which added more provisions regarding runaways and levied even harsher punishments for interfering in their capture. The Fugitive Slave Acts were among the most controversial laws of the early 19th century. These same types of laws are being used today as the template for citizen-enforced abortion restrictions and bans.
September 28th- Meskel
Meskel is a religious holiday in the Ethiopian Orthodox and Eritrean Orthodox churches that commemorates the discovery of the True Cross by the Roman Empress, Helena, in the fourth century.
September 29th- Mid-Autumn Festival
Celebrating the end of the autumn harvest, this important festival is recognized across East and Southeast Asia. This three-day festival is marked by lighting lanterns, sharing meals with family, and partaking in public contests, games, and social gatherings. In Mainland China, where the festival is celebrated on par with that of Chinese New Year, celebrants mark the festival by making and sharing traditional “mooncakes,” a rich pastry filled with sweet-bean, egg yolk, meat, or lotus-seed paste. In Chinese culture, the round shape of the mooncake symbolizes completeness and reunion, so the sharing and eating of them during the festivals symbolizes the completeness and unity of families.