March 2016

This Day in History… March 25, 1931

Death of Ida B. Wells 

U.S. #2442 – Wells was the 13th honoree in the Black Heritage Series.

On March 25, 1931, Civil Rights leader, journalist, and suffragette Ida B. Wells died at the age of 68.

Ida Bell Wells was born July 16, 1862, in Holly Springs, Mississippi, just before President Abraham Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. After the Civil War, Wells’ parents were freed and she attended the freedman’s school Shaw University. Then, at the age of 14, both her parents and her 10-month-old brother died of yellow fever. Rather than allow herself and her five siblings to be split up, Wells dropped out of high school and got a job as a teacher in an African-American school. Discovering that she was only making $30 a month while white teachers were paid $80, Wells grew increasingly interested in racial politics and improving African-American education.

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This Day in History… March 24, 1958

Elvis is Inducted into the Army 

U.S. #5009 – 2015 Music Icons stamp.

On March 24, 1958, Elvis Presley was inducted into the U.S. Army.

Shortly after his 18th birthday on January 19, 1953, Elvis did as all American men must do.  He registered with the U.S. Selective Service System.  As the draft system of the day required, healthy young men were expected to serve two years of active military duty and four years in the reserves.

Over the next four years Elvis became one of the nation’s biggest entertainers, releasing numerous hit songs and starring in popular films. Then on January 4, 1957 he went to the Kennedy Veterans Hospital in Memphis for his army pre-induction physical. On his 22nd birthday the Memphis Draft Board announced at a press conference that Elvis would likely be drafted some time that year.

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This Day in History… March 23, 1775

Patrick Henry Delivers Famous Speech 

U.S. #1052 – Henry stamp from the Liberty Series.

On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry addressed the Second Virginia Convention to convince them to raise a militia.

Virginia native Patrick Henry was a prominent statesman best remembered for his fiery speeches that helped inspire the American Revolution. Henry was born in Hanover County, Virginia, and attended public schools for a short time. Although he was quite capable intellectually, it was generally understood that Henry lacked ambition at an early age. His father assumed responsibility for Henry’s education, and eventually set the young man up with a business that he soon bankrupted.

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This Day in History… March 22, 1963

The Beatles Release First Album 

U.S. #3188o – The Beatles came to America in February 1964, launching the British Invasion.

On March 22, 1963, the Beatles released their first full-length album, Please Please Me.

The Beatles first formed in 1957 as the Quarrymen and established themselves as a popular live act in Liverpool and Hamburg, Germany. In 1962, the band signed with Parlophone and recorded their first two singles, “Love Me Do” and “Please Please Me.” By early 1963, “Love Me Do” reached number 17 on the U.K. charts. Then on January 19, they appeared on the popular television show Thank Your Lucky Stars, and performed “Please Please Me.”

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This Day in History… March 21, 1965

Final Selma March Begins

U.S. #3937i was issued as part of a 10-stamp sheet marking the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act.


On March 21, 1965, Martin Luther King, Jr. led the third (and finally successful) march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, to protest for voting rights.

The 15th and 19th Amendments to the United States Constitution granted black citizens the right to vote. However, Southern registration boards used poll taxes, literacy tests, and other strategies to deny this right.

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This Day in History… March 20, 1852

Publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin

U.S. #3430 – Stowe was the 9th honoree in the Distinguished Americans Series.

On March 20, 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was first published in America.

From the late 1700s to the mid-1800s, the issue of slavery was hotly debated in the American government. Northern and Southern politicians clashed over the addition of new states that did or did not allow slavery. To diffuse the tension, the Missouri Compromise was passed in 1820. This bill allowed Missouri into the Union as a slave state and Maine as a free state, maintaining an equal balance of representatives from pro- and anti-slavery regions in Congress.

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Posted in March 2016, This Day in History | 11 Comments