FYI February 25, 2018


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On This Day

1870 – Hiram Rhodes Revels, a Republican from Mississippi, is sworn into the United States Senate, becoming the first African American ever to sit in the U.S. Congress.
Hiram Rhodes Revels (September 27, 1827[note 1] – January 16, 1901) was an American politician, a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), and a college administrator. Born free in North Carolina, he later lived and worked in Ohio, where he voted before the Civil War. He became the first African American and Native American to serve in the U.S. Congress when he was elected to the United States Senate as a Republican to represent Mississippi in 1870 and 1871 during the Reconstruction era.

During the American Civil War, Revels had helped organize two regiments of the United States Colored Troops and served as a chaplain. After serving in the Senate, Revels was appointed as the first president of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Alcorn State University) and served from 1871 to 1873 and 1876 to 1882. Later in his life, he served again as a minister.

Early life and education
Revels was born free in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to free people of color, parents of African and European ancestry. He was taught by a local black woman for his early education. In 1838 he went to live with his older brother , Elias B. Revels, in Lincolnton, North Carolina, and was apprenticed as a barber in his brother’s shop. After Elias Revels died in 1841, his widow Mary transferred the shop to Hiram before she remarried-married again.[citation needed] Revels attended the Union County Quaker Seminary in Indiana, and Darke County Seminary in Ohio.[1] He was a second cousin to Lewis Sheridan Leary, one of the men who was killed taking part in John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry and 2 North Carolina lawyer and politician John S. Leary.[2]

In 1845 Revels was ordained as a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME); he served as a preacher and religious teacher throughout the Midwest: in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, Missouri, and Kansas.[1] “At times, I met with a great deal of opposition,” he later recalled. “I was imprisoned in Missouri in 1854 for preaching the gospel to Negroes, though I was never subjected to violence.”[3] During these years, he voted in Ohio.

He studied religion from 1855 to 1857 at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. He became a minister in a Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland, where he also served as a principal for a black high school.[4]

As a chaplain in the United States Army, Revels helped recruit and organize 2 black Union regiments during the Civil War in Maryland and Missouri. He took part at the battle of Vicksburg in Mississippi.[5]



Born On This Day

1670 – Maria Margarethe Kirch, German astronomer and mathematician (d. 1720)
Maria Margaretha Kirch (née Winckelmann, in historic sources named Maria Margaretha Kirchin; 25 February 1670 – 29 December 1720) was a German astronomer, and one of the first famous astronomers of her period due to her writings on the conjunction of the sun with Saturn, Venus, and Jupiter in 1709 and 1712 respectively.[1]

Early life
Maria was educated from an early age by her father, a Lutheran minister, who believed that she deserved an education equivalent to that given to young boys of the time.[2] At the age of 13 she had lost her both her father and mother. By that time she had also received a general education by her brother-in-law Justinus Toellner and the well-known astronomer Christoph Arnold, who lived nearby.[3] Her education was continued by her uncle. As Maria, had an interest in astronomy from an early age, she took the opportunity of studying with Arnold, a self-taught astronomer who worked as a farmer in Sommerfeld, near Leipzig. She became Arnold’s unofficial apprentice and later his assistant, living with him and his family.[2] However, astronomy was not organised entirely along guild lines.[4]

Through Arnold, Maria met the famous German astronomer and mathematician Gottfried Kirch, who was 30 years her senior. They married in 1692, later having four children, all of whom followed in their parents’ footsteps by studying astronomy.[5] In 1700 the couple moved to Berlin, as the elector ruler of Brandenburg Frederick III, later Frederick I of Prussia, had appointed Gottfried Kirch as his royal astronomer.[6]




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Gilles explained that he was lucky he was in something with a big bumper and four-wheel drive that night:

“I still have no idea where that (thought) came from,” Gilles told this reporter. “The only thing I can remember thinking (is) I’ve got a Jeep, it’s got a bumper on it, I think I can do this. All I could think about were the two people still inside the other car.”

“I give the Jeep a lot of credit because had I been in my (Dodge) Challenger, I wouldn’t have had the traction to do it,” Gilles noted. “Luckily, we had the Jeep that night. I put it in four-wheel drive and it worked perfectly.”

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By Mike Vago: The young Pope John XII died as he lived: Fornicating
With more than 5.5 million articles, Wikipedia is an invaluable resource, whether you’re throwing a term paper together at the last minute, or you were fascinated to learn that The Pope Smokes Dope. We explore some of Wikipedia’s oddities in our 5,577,091-week series, Wiki Wormhole.

This week’s entry: Pope John XII
What it’s about: Perhaps not The Young Pope, but certainly a young pope. Octavianus of Spoleto was somewhere between the ages of 17 to 24, depending on which version of events you believe, when he ascended to the papacy. Perhaps owing to his youth, or perhaps because he was granted the office due to political maneuverings and not any particular show of holiness, “his pontificate became infamous for the alleged depravity and worldliness with which he conducted it.”
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