Today in History - November 21 : Rebecca Latimer Felton of Georgia, the first female United States Senator.

November 21 is the 325th day of the year. There are 40 days remaining until the end of the year.
Reb Felton-Geo Senate.jpg
Rebecca Latimer Felton


Today's Highlight in History
1922 – Rebecca Latimer Felton of Georgia takes the oath of office, becoming the first female United States Senator.

Rebecca Ann Latimer Felton (June 10, 1835 – January 24, 1930) was an American writer, lecturer, reformer, and politician who became the first woman to serve in the United States Senate.She was the most prominent woman in Georgia in the Progressive Era, and was honored by appointment to the Senate. She was sworn in November 21, 1922, and served just 24 hours. At 87 years, nine months, and 22 days old, she was the oldest freshman senator to enter the Senate. To date, she is also the only woman to have served as a Senator from Georgia. Her husband William Harrell Felton was a member of the United States House of Representatives and Georgia House of Representatives and she ran his campaigns. She was a prominent society woman; an advocate of prison reform, women's suffrage and educational modernization; and one of the few prominent women who spoke in favor of lynching. Bartley reports that by 1915 she "was championing a lengthy feminist program that ranged from prohibition to equal pay for equal work."

A respected leader in the women's suffrage movement in Georgia Felton criticized what she saw as the hypocrisy of Southern men who boasted of superior Southern "chivalry" but opposed women's rights, and she expressed her dislike of the fact that Southern states resisted women's suffrage longer than other regions of the US. She wrote, in 1915, that women were denied fair political participation "except in the States which have been franchised by the good sense and common honesty of the men of those States—after due consideration, and with the chivalric instinct that differentiates the coarse brutal male from the gentlemen of our nation. Shall the men of the South be less generous, less chivalrous? They have given the Southern women more praise than the man of the West—but judged by their actions Southern men have been less sincere. Honeyed phrases are pleasant to listen to, but the sensible women of our country would prefer more substantial gifts....

Felton was a white supremacist. She claimed, for instance, that the more money that Georgia spent on black education, the more crimes blacks committed  Felton considered "young blacks" who sought equal treatment "half-civilized gorillas," and ascribed to them a "brutal lust" for white women.While seeking suffrage for women, she decried voting rights for blacks, arguing that it led directly to the rape of white women.


In 1899, a massive crowd of white Georgians tortured, mutilated, and burned a black man, Sam Hose, who purportedly had killed a white man in self-defense but had not committed the rape of the white woman whites accused him of. The crowd divided and sold his physical remains as souvenirs, Felton said that any "true-hearted husband or father" would have killed "the beast" and that Hose was due less sympathy than a rabid dog.
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She advocated more lynchings of black men, saying that such was "elysian" compared to the rape of white women.
On at least one occasion, she stated that white Southerners should "lynch a thousand [black men] a week if it becomes necessary" to "protect woman's dearest possession

In 1922, Governor Thomas W. Hardwick was a candidate for the next general election to the Senate, when Senator Thomas E. Watson died prematurely. Seeking an appointee who would not be a competitor in the coming special election to fill the vacant seat and a way to secure the vote of the new women voters alienated by his opposition to the 19th Amendment, Hardwick chose Felton to serve as senator on October 3, 1922.

Congress was not expected to reconvene until after the election, so the chances were slim that Felton would be sworn in. However, Walter F. George won the special election despite Hardwick's ploy. Rather than take his seat immediately when the Senate reconvened on November 21, 1922, George allowed Felton to be sworn in. This was due in part to persuasion by Felton and a supportive campaign launched by the women of Georgia Felton thus became the first woman seated in the Senate and served until George took office on November 22, 1922, one day later.

She was the last former slaveowner to serve in the U.S. Senate.
Wikipedia



World Events

1783 – In Paris, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes, make the first untethered hot air balloon flight.
1789 – North Carolina ratifies the United States Constitution and is admitted as the 12th U.S. state.
1861 – American Civil War: Confederate President Jefferson Davis appoints Judah Benjamin secretary of war.
1877 – Thomas Edison announces his invention of the phonograph, a machine that can record and play sound.
1902 – The Philadelphia Football Athletics defeated the Kanaweola Athletic Club of Elmira, New York, 39-0, in the first ever professional American football night game.
1905 – Albert Einstein's paper, "Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?", is published in the journal Annalen der Physik. This paper reveals the relationship between energy and mass. This leads to the mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc².
1922 – Rebecca Latimer Felton of Georgia takes the oath of office, becoming the first female United States Senator.
1959 – American disc jockey Alan Freed, who had popularized the term "rock and roll" and music of that style, is fired from WABC-AM radio for refusing to deny allegations that he had participated in the payola scandal.
1980 – A deadly fire breaks out at the MGM Grand Hotel in Paradise, Nevada (now Bally's Las Vegas). 87 people are killed and more than 650 are injured in the worst disaster in Nevada history.
1985 – United States Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard is arrested for spying after being caught giving Israel classified information on Arab nations. He is subsequently sentenced to life in prison.
1986 – Iran–Contra affair: National Security Council member Oliver North and his secretary start to shred documents allegedly implicating them in the sale of weapons to Iran and channeling the proceeds to help fund the Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
1992 – A major tornado strikes the Houston, Texas area during the afternoon. Over the next two days the largest tornado outbreak ever to occur in the US during November spawns over 100 tornadoes before ending on the 23rd.
1995 – The Dayton Peace Agreement is initialed at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton, Ohio, ending three and a half years of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The agreement is formally ratified in Paris, on December 14 that same year.
2004 – The second round of the Ukrainian presidential election is held, giving rise to massive protests and controversy over the election's integrity.
2004 – The island of Dominica is hit by the most destructive earthquake in its history. The northern half of the island receives the most damage, especially the town of Portsmouth. It is also felt in neighboring Guadeloupe, where one person is killed.
2004 – The Paris Club agrees to write off 80% (up to $100 billion) of Iraq's external debt.
2009 – A mine explosion in Heilongjiang province, northeastern China, kills 108.
2012 – At least 28 are wounded after a bomb is thrown onto a bus in Tel Aviv.
2013 – A supermarket roof collapse in Riga, Zolitude, Latvia killing 54 people.

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