President Barack Obama
Columbia Space Shuttle astronaut, Michael Anderson
By Brian W. Carter, Sentinel Staff Writer
“Hell on wheels,” “awesome,” “challenging,” “momentous,” and “still here” are just some of the descriptions that could apply to the last decade. As 2011 begins, let’s take a look back at some of the events that shocked, rocked and brought us to this point.
The year brought about many changes, some that may last forever. President-elect George W. Bush nominated Colin Powell to Secretary of State and Condoleezza Rice was appointed as National Security Advisor to the Bush Administration. This would be the first time that either post had been held by an African American.
The United States would later be devastated by the second most infamous attack on U.S. soil in history on Sept. 11. About 3,000 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia; and in rural Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
A sequence of anthrax attacks occurred later that year as letters containing anthrax spores were mailed from Princeton, New Jersey to news stations ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, and national papers, the New York Post, and the National Enquirer. There were 22 people in total exposed and of the 22, five people died as a result.
The war in Afghanistan started and continues to this day. The United States invaded Afghanistan, with the help and participation from other nations.
In Africa, the country of Algeria suffered heavy rains and mudslides that killed more than 900.
Shirley Clarke Franklin became the first African American woman to head the government of a major Southern city when she was elected mayor of Atlanta.
The volcano, Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo erupted, displacing 400,000 people.
At the Oscars, actress, Halle Berry and actor, Denzel Washington, both won Oscars for best actress and best actor for their performances in films, “Monster’s Ball” and “Training Day” respectively.
France agreed to return the remains of Saartjie Baartman to South Africa. Baartman was a slave of Khoisan descent, from South African, and was known for her unusually-shaped body parts, which were exploited throughout Europe, as part of a freak show act in the early 19th century.
A jury in Birmingham, Alabama convicted former Ku Klux Klan member, Bobby Frank Cherry of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963. Four Black girls were murdered in that bombing as a result.
Tennis athletes, Serena Williams and her sister, Venus Williams competed against each other in the French Open. Serena defeated Venus in straight sets to win the 2002 French Open.
Tragedy struck as 281 people are killed in the worst rail disaster in the history of Africa. The train accident took place in Igandu, which is in Dodoma Region, Tanzania.
The Organization of African Unity is disbanded and replaced by the African Union.
Montgomery County, Maryland entered into some of its most frightening days as the “Beltway sniper” began shooting innocent people randomly. Later, two men were arrested for the attacks, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo.
Dennis Archer, former Mayor of Detroit, became the first African American to be elected President of the American Bar Association.
During its re-entry, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during over Texas, killing all of the 7 astronauts onboard. Michael Anderson was the sole African-American member aboard the shuttle.
The war on Iraq began with armed forces from the U.S. and United Kingdom to invading the country to establish democracy and recover weapons of mass destruction.
The Cricket World Cup began in South Africa.
Dewey, the deer was born and was the first cloned by scientists at Texas A&M University.
The Supreme Court of the United States upholds affirmative action in university admissions of Michigan Law School in the case of Grutter v. Bollinger. In a simultaneous running case Gratz v. Bollinger, the Supreme Court required the University of Michigan to dismantle its affirmative action policy for undergraduate admissions.
Oil prices began to increase steadily. The global oil production began to go into a 4-year plateau and subsequent decline.
This year closed out to Libya’s admittance to building a nuclear bomb.
There was a noticeable population shift and change in residential integration. This resulted in more African Americans moving into the suburbs of Los Angeles and Seattle.
The CIA admitted that there was no threat from weapons of mass destruction before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Riots broke out between New South Wales Police and Aboriginal residents of Redfern, New South Wales, a suburb in Sydney, Australia.
A large 6.5 earthquake shook Northern Morocco in the Rif Mountains near the city of Al Hoceima, and killed 400 people. Ait Kamara was destroyed and 517 were killed.
After 23 years, the U.S. lifted its travel ban against Libya.
Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigned as president of Haiti. The chief justice of the Haitian Supreme Court, Boniface Alexandre, was sworn in as the interim president.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup is awarded to South Africa.
A plan to overthrow the president of Chad, Idriss Déby, failed.
The Freedom Tower has its groundbreaking at Ground Zero in New York City.
Hurricane Jeanne caused havoc and mudslides in Haiti, which killed 3006.
Congressional Gold Medals are presented in honor to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King.
State Senator Barack Obama is elected to the U.S. Senate from Illinois. He became the second African American elected to the Senate from that state and only the fifth Black senator in U.S. history.
United States Secretary of State Colin Powell submitted his resignation. After her confirmation, Condoleezza Rice is appointed to the position.
A massive 9.3 earthquake hit the Indonesian island, Sumatra and generated enormous tsunami waves that ravished the coasts of nations including Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. The official death toll stands at 186,983, with more than 40,000 people still missing and is said to be one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history.
Condoleezza Rice became Secretary of State. She was the second woman and the first African American woman to hold the position.
Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the U.S. Gulf Coast and the state of Louisiana, which is home to a large African American community. Thousands of people are killed and property damage reached into the billions.
The Democratic takeover of both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in the November mid-term elections, made way for the first time in U.S. history, four African American members of Congress chair full committees in the House: Rep. John Conyers (MI.), Judiciary, Rep. Juanita Millender McDonald (CA.), House Administration Committee, Rep. Charles Rangel (N.Y.), House Ways and Means, and Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (MS.), Homeland Security.
Deval Patrick is elected Governor of Massachusetts. He became the second African American in the nation, after L. Douglas Wilder in Virginia in 1989, to be elected by popular vote to this position.
The Africa EU Summit took place as European Union and African Union leaders gathered in Lisbon, Portugal, for the first joint summit in 7 years. The British and Czech prime ministers boycotted the event due to the attendance of Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe.
The U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, and Meredith v. Jefferson County (Kentucky) Board of Education, ruled that race can’t be a factor in determining school assignments.
Stock markets around the world began to plunge with the growing fears of a U.S. recession, which was caused by the 2007 mortgage crisis.
David A. Paterson is sworn in as Governor of New York after the resignation of former governor, Elliott Spitzer. Paterson was the first Black, legally blind American Governor of New York State and the only fourth Black Governor of any state.
The presidential and parliamentary elections are held in Zimbabwe.
Raila Odinga became the new Prime Minister of Kenya. This happened after the formation of a coalition government, which ended the political crisis in Kenya.
Zimbabwe President, Robert Mugabe is reelected having 85.5% of the vote. Later following negotiations, President Mugabe and opposition leaders, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, signed a deal to share power, making Tsvangirai the new Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.
South African President, Thabo Mbeki, resigned after receiving a call from the African National Congress. Kgalema Motlanthe is elected by the National Assembly of South Africa as the President of South Africa,
Barack Obama is elected the 44th President of the United States. Obama became the first African-American to be elected to the office.
The year ends with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda convicting Théoneste Bagosora and two other Rwandan army officers of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and they are sentenced to life in prison.
Barack Obama is inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America.
The Congolese rebel leader, Laurent Nkunda is captured by Rwandan forces after he crossed over the border into Rwanda. The first trial is held at the International Criminal Court. Former Union of Congolese Patriots leader, Thomas Lubanga is accused of training children to kill, pillage, and rape.
Morgan Tsvangirai is sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Zimbabwe after the power-sharing deal signed with President Robert Mugabe.
The tragic death of pop king, Michael Jackson, caused worldwide grief. Online, the reactions disabled several major websites and services, as people accessed the web addresses pushing internet traffic to almost unprecedented and historic levels.
Former Maryland Lt. Governor, Michael S. Steele, became the Chairman of National Republican Committee and thus effectively headed the Republican Party.
And in 2010…
The Togo national football team was involved in the attack in Angola, and withdrew from the Africa Cup of Nations.
A 7.0 earthquake devastated Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. The confirmed death toll stands at over 230,000 and is considered one of the worst disasters on record.
The Kasubi Tombs in Uganda, a cultural World Heritage Site, are destroyed by a fire.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup is held in South Africa. Spain won the cup.
As 2011 slowly comes into view, there can only be hope that the next ten years will hold good fortune for everyone. The world will hopefully be able to look on the past 10 years and commit to making the next 10 the best to come.
Information and research for this article was conducted on the internet. For more information on Black history in review, please visit www.blackpast.org.