August 28 marks a significant date in Black history. Several pivotal events have occurred across generations on this date– a coincidence highlighting both tragic and triumphant moments in Black history.
The day and the events that have taken place on it over the years are so significant that acclaimed filmmaker Ava DuVernay made the 22-minute docu-drama ‘August 28: A Day in the Life of a People’ in 2016, highlighting Black “progress, protest, passion, and perseverance” that have all occurred on August 28. Here’s more about some of these significant dates in our history.
August 28, 1833: Slavery Was Abolished In The United Kingdom.
The Slavery Abolition Act was passed by Parliament in 1833. This act abolished slavery for over 800,000 enslaved Africans in South Africa, the Caribbean, and Canada. On August 28, 1833, it got Royal Assent, which means the Queen officially recognized the bill as an Act of Parliament. The Slavery Abolition Act was influential in ending slavery in the United States with the Emancipation Proclamation of the United States in 1863.
August 28, 1955: The Murder Of Emmett Till
On this day, the 14-year-old Chicago boy was abducted by two white men while visiting family in Money, Mississippi. Till was beaten beyond recognition, shot in the head, and thrown in the Tallahatchie River by two white men, one of whom was Carolyn Bryant’s husband, a white woman who said the teen made advances toward her at the grocery store where she worked. An all-white jury tried and acquitted both men. The teen’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, decided to open her son’s casket for his funeral in Chicago to show the horror of what occurred. His death helped spark the Civil Rights Movement.
August 28, 1961: Motown Records Makes Its Mark
Motown released its first number-one hit, “Please Mr. Postman” by the Marvelettes, on this day in 1961, marking a turning point for Black music and the beginning of the long-lasting success of one a record label that brought us so many music legends like Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations and many others.
August 28, 1963: The March On Washington
On this day, more than a quarter million people participated in the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, gathering near the Lincoln Memorial. The rally drew over 260,000 attendees from across the country, spurred by a growing tide of grassroots support and outrage over racial inequities.
August 28, 1963: “I Have A Dream Speech”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech in Washington, D.C., during the March On Washington.
August 28, 2005: Hurricane Katrina Made Landfall In Louisiana
The category three storm and the destruction it would cause was greatly underestimated. New Orleans’ Black residents were disproportionately impacted by the storm, which devastated the city. Thousands of people were displaced, and many died in the storm, bringing much-needed attention to racial inequities in the government’s response.
August 28, 2008: Barack Obama Accepts Democratic Nomination For President
On this day, then-Senator Barack Obama delivered an address to the Democratic National Convention and accepted the Democratic presidential nomination. Obama became the first Black person to win the nomination and bid for the presidency. “This election is our chance to keep the American promise alive in the twenty-first century,” he said in his historic speech.
August 28, 2016, Colin Kaepernick Protests The National Anthem
On August 28 of this year, former San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick delivered remarks on his decision to protest the national anthem. “People don’t realize what’s really going on in this country. There are a lot of things that are going on that are unjust. People aren’t being held accountable. And that’s something that needs to change. That’s something that this country stands for — freedom, liberty, and justice for all. And it’s not happening for all right now,” said Colin Kaepernick.
August 28, 2020 Beloved Actor Chadwick Boseman Dies
Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman died on this day after a four-year battle with colon cancer. The actor is known for his onscreen portrayals of Black history makers like Thurgood Marshall, James Brown, and Jackie Robinson. He would make history as the first Black Marvel comics superhero, The Black Panther. He was 43 years old.