Today In History
Thanksgiving became a national holiday thanks in large part to Sarah Josepha Hale, author of “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” After the Battle At Gettysburg, Sarah Josepha Hale felt more compelled than ever to restore unity to the country. She wrote letters to Lincoln, In the end Sarah Josepha Hale won. President Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday to be held the final Thursday in Novenber.
On October 2, in 1967, Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first black Supreme Court Justice. Before serving on the Supreme Court, Marshall had made a reputation for himself as an advocate for racial equality. Of the many cases he argued before the Supreme Court, the most famous one was Brown Versus The Board Of Education In Topeka. In a landmark case that made racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Thurgood Marshall’s favor. As a Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshall continued to fight for the more vulnerable people in America.
In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln created the Yosemite Grant Act to protect the Yosemite Valley from private commercial interests, and set the land aside to preserve nature and for the public to enjoy. This set in motion a chain of decisions by future administrations that would eventually lead to the establishment of national parks and the National Park Service. In 1890, Yosemite became America’s third national park. For the last 130 years Yosemite National Park has remained one of the most popular places in the world for travelers and nature lovers.
Crazy Horse was a highly revered and well-liked leader of the Oglala Sioux, who fought to keep the lands and preserve the traditional ways of his people. He participated in many battles against the U.S. Army, including the Battle of Little Bighorn where George Armstrong Custer fell.
Little Big Man, also known as Charging Bear, also participated in these battles. He was known for his fearlessness as a warrior, and he rode with Crazy Horse, more or less as his lieutenant.
The year after the Battle of Little Big Horn, Crazy Horse and some others came to the conclusion they had little choice but to surrender. They saw no other way to stay alive and keep their people alive. Crazy Horse and other Oglala leaders went to the Red Cloud Agency, not far from Fort Robinson in Nebraska. On May 5, 1877 in a ceremony attended by Crazy Horse, Little Big Man, He Dog , and others, the northern Oglala Sioux leaders surrendered to the United States. For the next four months Crazy Horse stayed in his village close to the Red Cloud Agency.
In the summer of 1877, things were not going too well for the Native Americans at the Red Cloud Agency. A counsel of the Oglala leaders was called to meet at Fort Robinson. General George Crook went to Fort Robinson to meet with the Oglala leaders. While there, he heard a rumor that Crazy Horse was planning to kill him at the meeting. (Historians believe this rumor was the product of a miscommunication.) So General Crook cancelled the counsel and put out a standing order to lock up Crazy Horse when he would arrive at the fort. Then General Crook left Fort Robinson.
Unknown to Crazy Horse that the meeting would be cancelled, he set off on the morning of September 5 for Fort Robinson. He was accompanied by Lt. Lee, and a number of Indian scouts. When the party reached Ft. Robinson in the evening, Lt. Lee was told to hand Crazy Horse over to be arrested and locked up. Lt. Lee protested, but it was verified that there was a standing order for the arrest of Crazy Horse. So Lt. Lee had to comply.
The post guard, including Little Big Man, took Crazy Horse to the post guard house. Once inside, Crazy Horse struggled with the post guard and Little Big Man, and he tried to escape. Just outside the door of the post guard house, a member of the post guard used his bayonet to stab Crazy Horse in the back.
Though he was seriously wounded and dying, Crazy Horse refused to lie on a white man’s cot. He insisted on lying on the floor.
Dr. Valentine McGillycuddy, a controversial surgeon because of his efforts to build relationships between the U.S. and Native Americans, tended to Crazy Horse’s wounds. He pronounced Crazy Horse dead close to midnight.
The last words that Crazy Horse spoke to Little Big Man were (allegedly), “Let me go my friends. You have got me hurt enough.”
The question remains, “What was Little Big Man’s role in the killing of Crazy Horse.” They had gone to battles together, and they had been friends. They had also gone together to surrender.
Historians say that after the major battles, and certainly after the surrender, Little Big Man saw Crazy Horse as a rival. Could this explain why Little Big Man was with the post guard when they tried to lock up Crazy Horse?