1922

Flashback Friday: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 1924

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Macys Parade Clowns ABC News Image
Photo Credit: ABC News

Ninety-six years ago, today, the very first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held.

From History Channel:

As the United States prospered during the Roaring Twenties, so did New York City’s iconic department store, Macy’s. After going public in 1922, R. H. Macy & Co. started to acquire competitors and open regional locations. Macy’s flagship store in Manhattan’s Herald Square did such a brisk business that it expanded in 1924 to cover an entire city block, stretching from Broadway to Seventh Avenue along 34th Street.

To showcase the opening of the “World’s Largest Store” and its one million square feet of retail space at the start of the busy holiday shopping season, Macy’s decided to throw New York a parade on Thanksgiving morning. In spite of its timing, the parade was not actually about Thanksgiving at all but the next major holiday on the calendar…Christmas. Macy’s hoped its “Christmas Parade” would whet the appetites of consumers for a holiday shopping feast.

[Previously], the only Thanksgiving parade that had previously passed through the city’s streets was its peculiar, and to many annoying, tradition of children painting their faces and donning tattered clothes to masquerade as “ragamuffins” who asked “Anything for Thanksgiving?” as they begged door-to-door for pennies, apples and pieces of candy.

At [9:00am EST], on the sunlit morning of November 27, 1924, Macy’s gave the children of New York a particularly special Thanksgiving treat as a police escort led the start of the parade from the intersection of 145th Street and Convent Avenue. Macy’s had promised parade-goers “a marathon of mirth” in its full-page newspaper advertisements. While the parade route may not have extended over 26 miles, its 6-mile length certainly made for a long hike for those marching from Harlem to Herald Square.

Although the parade garnered only two sentences the following day in the New York Herald, […] it proved such a smash that Macy’s announced in a newspaper advertisement the following morning that it would stage the parade, again, the following Thanksgiving. “We did not dare dream its success would be so great.”

Macy’s History (NYC Tourist)

Wayback Wednesday: Leser vs. Garnett 1922

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Nineteenth Amendment Image One
Photo Credit: triviatoday.com

The Nineteenth Amendent to the U.S. Constitution was ratified on August 18, 1920, with Tennessee being the last state to vote in favor of, achieving the 3/4 majority needed to amend. One would think that this event would have been the end of any argument against a woman’s right to vote but, one more hurdle had to be cleared.

Ninety-seven years ago, today, the U.S. Supreme Court made a ruling on the constitutionality of the amendment.

From Cornell Law (some case-law text):

On October 12, 1920, Cecilia Streett Waters and Mary D. Randolph, citizens of Maryland, applied for and were granted registration as qualified voters in Baltimore City. To have their names stricken from the list Oscar Leser and others brought this suit in the court of common pleas. The only ground of disqualification alleged was that the applicants for registration were women, whereas the Constitution of Maryland limits the suffrage to men. Ratification of the proposed amendment to the federal Constitution, now known as the Nineteenth, 41 Stat. 362, had been proclaimed on August 26, 1920, 41 Stat. 1823, pursuant to Revised Statutes, § 205 (Comp. St. § 303). The Legislature of Maryland had refused to ratify it. The petitioners contended, on several grounds, that the amendment had not become part of the federal Constitution. […] the case comes here on writ of error. That writ must be dismissed but, the petition for a writ of certiorari, also duly filed, is granted. The laws of Maryland authorize such a suit by a qualified voter against the board of registry. Whether the Nineteenth Amendment has become part of the federal Constitution is the question presented for decision.

Justice Brandeis Image Two
Photo Credit: law.edu

There were three claims:
[1] The power to amend the Constitution did not cover this amendment due to its character.

Quote from Leser:

“[…] the amendment “destroyed State autonomy” because it increased Maryland’s electorate without the state’s consent.”

[2] Several states that had ratified the amendment had constitutions that prohibited women from voting, rendering them unable to ratify an amendment to the contrary.

[3] The ratifications of Tennessee and West Virginia were invalid, because they were adopted without following the rules of legislative procedure in place in those states.

Justice Brandeis delivered the opinion of the Court:
[1] This amendment is in character and phraseology precisely similar to the Fifteenth. For each, the same method of adoption was pursued. One cannot be valid and the other invalid. That the Fifteenth is valid, although rejected by six states, including Maryland, has been recognized and acted on for half a century.

[2] […] But the function of a state Legislature in ratifying a proposed amendment to the federal Constitution, like the function of Congress in proposing the amendment, is a federal function derived from the federal Constitution and, it transcends any limitations sought to be imposed by the people of a state.

[3] The question raised may have been rendered immaterial by the fact that since the proclamation the Legislatures of two other states—Connecticut and Vermont—have adopted resolutions of ratification. But, a broader answer should be given to the contention. The proclamation by the Secretary certified that, from official documents on file in the Department of State, it appeared that the proposed amendment was ratified by the Legislatures of 36 states and, that it ‘has become valid to all intents and purposes as a part of the Constitution of the United States.’ As the Legislatures of Tennessee and of West Virginia had power to adopt the resolutions of ratification, official notice to the Secretary, duly authenticated, that they had done so, was conclusive upon him, and, being certified to by his proclamation, is conclusive upon the courts.

Quote From Time Magazine:

“So, while the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote, Leser made sure that the right could actually be used, even where the state constitution said otherwise. It’s not one of the more famous Supreme Court decisions in American history but, without it, the electorate would be, well, lesser.”

~Lily Rothman

As an addendum to the above, Maryland finally ratified the amendment on March 29, 1941 but, didn’t certify that until February 25, 1958, two days shy of an exact 36 year delay. And, I am sad to say that my home state of North Carolina didn’t ratify until May 6, 1971, making it third to last behind South Carolina (ratified July 1, 1969 but, not certified until August 22, 1973) and Mississippi (ratified March 22, 1984).

Little video snippet regarding this case:


 

And, I grew up watching Schoolhouse Rock, I just had to put this up:

Wayback Wednesday: The Revenue Act of 1913

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Underwood Simmons Act Image
Image Credit: pixfeeds.com (defunct) &
buzzle.com

In 1913, The Revenue Act or the Underwood Act or the Underwood Tariff or the Underwood Tariff Act or the Underwood-Simmons Act or, simply, the Tariff Act (Federal Income Tax) was signed into law (re-imposed) by President Woodrow Wilson after the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment. It was sponsored/introduced by House Majority Leader Oscar Underwood from Alabama.

The very first personal income tax was signed into law in 1861 by Abraham Lincoln as a way to fund the Civil War. It was largely ineffective and, was, originally, a flat rate tax before being repealed and replaced with the Revenue Act of 1862, converting the flat rate into a progressive rate. This act ended in 1866.

When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the income tax provision of the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act of 1894 via Pollock vs Farmers’ Loan & Trust in 1895, that opened the door for the Sixteenth Amendment 18 years later, affirming that “…the Constitution did not deny Congress the power to impose a tax on real and personal property“… Yay for us.

Thomas Kelley Unsplash Image
Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

Other things from October 3…

1922Rebecca Ann Latimer Felton of Georgia is the 1st woman in the U.S. Senate, if only for one day.

1929…The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes changes its name to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

1945Elvis Presley has his first public appearance at the age of 10. He was dressed as a cowboy, stood on a chair and sang “Old Shep” at the Mississippi–Alabama Fair and Dairy Show.

1955Captain Kangaroo and The Mickey Mouse Club both premier on CBS and ABC, respectively.

1990…At midnight on this day, the flag of West Germany was raised over Brandenburg Gate, signifying the reunification of Germany.