John’s Believe It Or Not… July 28th

In 1755 – Nova Scotia Governor Charles Lawrence gets approval to deport Acadians who refuse oath of allegiance. In 1917 Silent Parade organized by James Weldon Johnson. In 1868 14th Amendment adopted. In 1945 Plane crashes into Empire State Building. In 1976 Worst modern earthquake.

John Fioravanti standing in fron of his classroom blackboard.

It’s Friday! TGIF! Did you know…

* 1755 – Nova Scotia Governor Charles Lawrence gets approval to deport Acadians who refuse oath of allegiance. (The French authorities were well aware of the travesties the English could inflict upon another race or culture. A report the French Governor and the Intendant at Quebec had submitted in 1745, ten years before the Expulsion, stated:

“We cannot imagine that they could entertain the idea of removing those people [the
Acadians] in order to substitute Englishmen in their stead, unless desertion of the
Indians would embolden them to adopt such a course, inhuman as it may be.”

Though these French authorities could not imagine such an inhuman act, the English could. The event made famous by the American poet Longfellow in his poem “Evangeline” was soon under way. In early 1755 the Acadian Deputies were summoned to Halifax by Governor Lawrence and ordered to swear an oath of allegiance to the British Crown. They refused, contending, as they had with Cornwallis in 1749, that if they did so the French would set the Indians against them and they would be massacred.

The English lost no time in responding. On July 28, 1755, Lawrence got the full approval of Nova Scotia’s Colonial Council to start dispersing the Acadians among the American Colonies. He sent Colonel Robert Monckton to Chignecto and Chepody, Lieutenant Colonel John Winslow to Minas, Pisiquid, and Cobequid, and Major John Handfield to Annapolis Royal to carry out the orders.

Colonel Robert Monckton rounded up the Acadians in Chignecto, while Colonel John Winslow ordered those at Minas to assemble at Grand Pré. They were loaded into the holds of ships and scattered to the four corners of the world. Families were separated, never to see one another again, and untold numbers died in transport. This included those who had sworn allegiance to the British Crown, there were no exceptions.

The Mi’kmaq faithfully stuck by their Acadian allies to the bitter end. Some of the Acadians tried to escape and were aided and protected by them to the best of their ability. They also joined forces with them to drive back the British, as was reported by the French Governor:

The British burned the Village, including the Church at Chipoudy and was responded to thus. Mr. Boishebert, at the head of 125 Indians and Acadians, overtook them at the River Pelkoudiak, attacked and fought them for three hours, and drove them vigorously back to their vessels. The English had 42 killed and 45 wounded. Mr. Gorham, a very active English Officer, was among the number of the wounded. We lost 1 Indian, and had three others wounded.

Many Acadians went into hiding among the Mi’kmaq and remained with them until the British and French ended their hostilities in 1763. A group of several hundred were hidden by the Mi’kmaq in the area known today as Kejimkujik National Park.

Note: Many of these expelled Acadians were also transported to Britain and France – and many of those found their way to the French colony of Louisiana, where they became known as the ‘Cajuns’.

Map showing the Acadian deportation destinations and movements of Acadians to other French colonies.
Red arrows show the first wave to the 13 colonies. The red arrow to Europe shows the second wave of expulsion. The blue arrow show expelled Acadians migrating to Louisiana, Canada, Cape Breton and Newfoundland. (Acadian Genealogy)

* 1917 Silent Parade organized by James Weldon Johnson. (The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) Silent Protest Parade, also known as the Silent March, was held in New York City on Saturday, July 28, 1917, on 5th Avenue. This parade came about because the violence acted upon African Americans, including the race riots, lynching, and outages in Texas, Tennessee, Illinois, and other states.

One incident in particular, the East St. Louis Race Riot, also called the East St. Louis Massacre, was a major catalyst of the silent parade. This horrific event drove close to six thousand blacks from their own burning homes and left several hundred dead.

James Weldon Johnson, the second vice president of the NAACP, brought together other civil rights leaders who gathered at St. Phillips Church in New York to plan protest strategies. None of the group wanted a mass protest, yet all agreed that a silent protest through the streets of the city could spark the idea of racial reform and an end to the violence. Johnson remembered the idea of a silent protest from A NAACP Conference in 1916 when Oswald Garrison Villard suggested it. All the organizations agreed that this parade needed to be comprised of the black citizens, rather than a racially-mixed gathering. They argued that as the principal victims of the violence, African Americans had a special responsibility to participate in this, the first major public protest of racial violence in U.S. history.

The parade went south down 5th Avenue, moved to 57th Street and then to Madison Square. It brought out nearly ten thousand black women, men, and children, who all marched in silence. Johnson urged that the only sound to be heard would be the “the sound of muffled drums.” Children, dressed in white, led the protest, followed by women behind, also dressed in white. Men followed at the rear, dressed in dark suits.

The marchers carried banners and posters stating their reasons for the march. Both participants and onlookers remarked that this protest was unlike any other seen in the city and the nation. There were no chants, no songs, just silence. As those participating in the parade continued down the streets of New York, black Boy Scouts handed out flyers to those watching that described the NAACP’s struggle against segregation, lynching, and discrimination, as well as other forms of racist oppression.

James Weldon Johnson wrote in his 1938 autobiography, Along This Way, that “the streets of New York have witnessed many strange sites, but I judge, never one stranger than this; among the watchers were those with tears in their eyes.”)

Silent protest parade in New York City against the East St. Louis riots, 1917 - Stock Image
Silent protest parade in New York City against the East St. Louis riots, 1917 – Stock Image (

* 1868 14th Amendment adopted. (Following its ratification by the necessary three-quarters of U.S. states, the 14th Amendment, guaranteeing to African Americans citizenship and all its privileges, is officially adopted into the U.S. Constitution.

Two years after the Civil War, the Reconstruction Acts of 1867 divided the South into five military districts, where new state governments, based on universal manhood suffrage, were to be established. Thus began the period known as Radical Reconstruction, which saw the 14th Amendment, which had been passed by Congress in 1866, ratified in July 1868. The amendment resolved pre-Civil War questions of African American citizenship by stating that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States…are citizens of the United States and of the state in which they reside.” The amendment then reaffirmed the privileges and rights of all citizens, and granted all these citizens the “equal protection of the laws.”

In the decades after its adoption, the equal protection clause was cited by a number of African American activists who argued that racial segregation denied them the equal protection of the law. However, in 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that states could constitutionally provide segregated facilities for African Americans, so long as they were equal to those afforded white persons. The Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which announced federal toleration of the so-called “separate but equal” doctrine, was eventually used to justify segregating all public facilities, including railroad cars, restaurants, hospitals, and schools. However, “colored” facilities were never equal to their white counterparts, and African Americans suffered through decades of debilitating discrimination in the South and elsewhere. In 1954, Plessy v. Ferguson was finally struck down by the Supreme Court in its ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.)

The 14th amendment granted equal rights to all citizens including the freedmen. The amendment was made because of Jim crow laws. The Jim crow laws made it impossible to truly be free.
The 14th amendment granted equal rights to all citizens including the freedmen. The amendment was made because of Jim crow laws. The Jim crow laws made it impossible to truly be free. (

* 1945 Plane crashes into Empire State Building. (A United States military plane crashes into the Empire State Building on this day in 1945, killing 14 people. The freak accident was caused by heavy fog.

The B-25 Mitchell bomber, with two pilots and one passenger aboard, was flying from New Bedford, Massachusetts, to LaGuardia Airport in New York City. As it came into the metropolitan area on that Saturday morning, the fog was particularly thick. Air-traffic controllers instructed the plane to fly to Newark Airport instead.

This new flight plan took the plane over Manhattan; the crew was specifically warned that the Empire State Building, the tallest building in the city at the time, was not visible. The bomber was flying relatively slowly and quite low, seeking better visibility, when it came upon the Chrysler Building in midtown. It swerved to avoid the building but the move sent it straight into the north side of the Empire State Building, near the 79th floor.

Upon impact, the plane’s jet fuel exploded, filling the interior of the building with flames all the way down to the 75th floor and sending flames out of the hole the plane had ripped open in the building’s side. One engine from the plane went straight through the building and landed in a penthouse apartment across the street. Other plane parts ended up embedded in and on top of nearby buildings. The other engine snapped an elevator cable while at least one woman was riding in the elevator car. The emergency auto brake saved the woman from crashing to the bottom, but the engine fell down the shaft and landed on top of it. Quick-thinking rescuers pulled the woman from the elevator, saving her life.

Since it was a Saturday, fewer workers than normal were in the building. Only 11 people in the building were killed, some suffering burns from the fiery jet fuel and others after being thrown out of the building. All 11 victims were workers from War Relief Services department of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, into the offices of which the plane had crashed. The three people on the plane were also killed.

An 18 foot by 20-foot hole was left in the side of the Empire State Building. Though its structural integrity was not affected, the crash did cause nearly $1 million in damages, about $10.5 million in today’s money.)

Photo doctored to show impact and fire locations on the Empire State Building.

* 1976 Worst modern earthquake. (At 3:42 a.m., an earthquake measuring between 7.8 and 8.2 magnitude on the Richter scale flattens Tangshan, a Chinese industrial city with a population of about one million people. As almost everyone was asleep in their beds, instead of outside in the relative safety of the streets, the quake was especially costly in terms of human life. An estimated 242,000 people in Tangshan and surrounding areas were killed, making the earthquake one of the deadliest in recorded history, surpassed only by the 300,000 who died in the Calcutta earthquake in 1737, and the 830,000 thought to have perished in China’s Shaanxi province in 1556.

Caught between the Indian and Pacific plates, China has been a very active location for earthquakes throughout history. Earthquakes have also played a significant part in China’s culture and science, and the Chinese were the first to develop functioning seismometers. The area of northern China hit by the Tangshan earthquake is particularly prone to the westward movement of the Pacific plate.

In the days preceding the earthquake, people began to notice strange phenomena in and around Tangshan. Well-water levels rose and fell. Rats were seen running in panicked packs in broad daylight. Chickens refused to eat. During the evening of July 27 and the early morning hours of July 28, people reported flashes of colored light and roaring fireballs. Still, at 3:42 a.m. most people were sleeping quietly when the earthquake struck. It lasted for 23 seconds and leveled 90 percent of Tangshan’s buildings. At least a quarter-of-a-million people were killed and 160,000 others injured. The earthquake came during the heat of midsummer, and many stunned survivors crawled out of their ruined houses naked, covered only in dust and blood. The earthquake started fires and ignited explosives and poisonous gases in Tangshan’s factories. Water and electricity were cut off, and rail and road access to the city was destroyed.

The Chinese government was ill-prepared for a disaster of this scale. The day following the quake, helicopters and planes began dropping food and medicine into the city. Some 100,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army were ordered to Tangshan, and many had to march on foot from Jinzhou, a distance of more than 180 miles. About 30,000 medical personnel were called in, along with 30,000 construction workers. The Chinese government, boasting self-sufficiency, refused all offers of foreign relief aid. In the crucial first week after the crisis, many died from lack of medical care. Troops and relief workers lacked the kind of heavy rescue training necessary to efficiently pull survivors from the rubble. Looting was also epidemic. More than 160,000 families were left homeless, and more than 4,000 children were orphaned.

Tangshan was eventually rebuilt with adequate earthquake precautions. Today, nearly two million people live there. There is speculation that the death toll from the 1976 quake was much higher than the official Chinese government figure of 242,000. Some Chinese sources have spoken privately of more than 500,000 deaths.)

Map showing the earthquake location in northern China

Today’s Sources:

* Canadian History Timeline – Canada’s Historical Chronology

* Daniel N. Paul 

* On This Day – History, Film, Music and Sport

* Black Past                               

* This Day In History – What Happened Today


Author: John Fioravanti

I'm a retired History teacher (35 years), husband, father of three, grandfather of three. My wife, Anne, and I became business partners in December, 2013, and launched our own publishing company, Fiora Books (, to publish my books. We have been married since 1973 and hope our joint business venture will be as successful as our marriage.

28 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… July 28th”

  1. John – you have a habit of highlighting things I did not know about. I knew the shame of the Arcadian business but I didn’t know a plane had flown into the Empire State building. Remarkable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, Opher – I look for things like that. I had no clue about that 1945 incident either. People sometimes think that the treatment of human beings by governments today is just awful. Today, we’re not seeing horrific events like the Acadian deportation. I think the standards of behavior are better. We must also realize that democracy was in its infancy back in the 18th Century – few people in Britain had a vote – and therefore had no influence. As well, there was no mass media or social media so the people wouldn’t have known about these types of events until much later. Government leaders today are very cognizant about what will be tolerated and what won’t. Thanks for commenting.


  2. I’m amazed that the Empire State Building didn’t collapse. I don’t think it was retrofitted back then ~ not that it would have made much difference. I can’t imagine being in a falling elevator and hearing a jet engine crash on top! Instant heart attack 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That story goes to prove that you can create laws but you can’t eradicate the hate in people’s hearts – nor can you look for empathy from the current White House. That’s going to get worse before it gets better. He’s getting very frustrated and is lashing out. Thanks for commenting, Christy.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting news today, John. The plane hitting the Empire State Building had to have been a shock for all near. The 18th amendment passed in 1868 and the silent march in 1917 shows how long it takes to change prejudicial behavior.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s tough to change prejudicial behavior when hate resides in people’s hearts. Unfortunately, when it comes to racism and sexual preferences, etc., there’s still a lot of hate in people’s hearts. Some of that is fueled by the intolerant teachings of some religions – and that infuriates me no end. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, John.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Today was a sad day in history. Tough to hit “like” today.

    I played Evangeline in a U. of N.O. company production – so the downside of this particular edict will always be firmly implanted. I pray that the students who attended as part of their curriculum will recall it when reading about US political plans today. PEOPLE must always be considered when setting policies!

    May Silent Protests like the one described be forever unnecessary! The 14th Amendment is almost 150 years old now. Past time!

    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I found it terribly significant that the acceptance of the Amendment fell on the same date as the silent protest against horrific acts of inhumanity carried out despite the rights enshrined in the Constitution. And now the Buffoon is striking out at Transgender members of the US military. Trudeau should invite them to join our military… I understand your difficulty around the “Like” button, Madelyn. Thanks for commenting. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I deliberately post stories like these so that we can put current acts of inhumanity into perspective. It doesn’t sanitize anything, but I think it helps us to see that there has always been a dark side to human nature and that today’s manifestations do not mean that humanity has become terribly evil. We need to work at these things – to put human rights above all else – even in the face of Trump’s violation of the rights of transgenders in the US military. Because the dark side of human nature does not take a vacation, we need to be ever vigilant. Thanks for your insightful comment today, Robbie.

      Liked by 1 person

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