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February 19: ON THIS DAY in 1963, Asian Flu here called epidemic

February 19, 2020 Brooklyn Eagle History

ON THIS DAY IN 1913, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “The men of the Second Unitarian Church, Clinton and Congress streets, held their monthly Round Table dinner and conference last night, in the church parlors. A number of prominent men attended the dinner and heard an interesting discussion of the Negro question. The speaker of the evening was Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, editor of The Crisis and author of “The Souls of Black Folk.” Dr. Du Bois took as the subject of his talk the question of the inner development of the Negro group in the United States. He spoke of the various lines of progress along which the Negroes of the United States are moving and showed what efforts the Negroes themselves are making to help advance the race.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1945, the Eagle reported, “Admiral Nimitz’ Headquarters, Guam (UP) — Two divisions of U.S. Marines — 30,000 — stormed Iwo Island from an 800-ship armada today and in two hours of bitter fighting established a 2 1/2-mile beachhead, extending to the edge of Suribachi Yama Airfield. Casualties were moderate and the operation was proceeding satisfactorily, Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz said in his latest communique. Resistance from the trapped enemy forces was increasing as the veteran marines pushed inland on the tiny eight-square-mile island 750 miles from Tokyo, the communique said. Two hours after the initial landing was made, the marine veterans had pushed inland on an average of 500 yards and the defenses of Suribachi Yama airstrip were penetrated east of the field, the communique added. The marine beachhead extended northward along the southeastern coast from the 546-foot-high volcano that forms the southern tip of the island. Radio Tokyo conceded the Americans had won footholds on the southwest, south and east coasts.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1963, the Eagle reported, “The city is in the throes of an Asian flu epidemic and there’s been an increase of 200 in pneumonia and Asian flu deaths in the first six weeks of this year, Health Commissioner George James disclosed yesterday. The city’s death toll from all causes in the first seven weeks of the year was reported to be 984 more than ‘normally expected,’ and Brooklyn was second only to Manhattan in the number of fatalities. There was no specific breakdown in Asian flu deaths. A spokesman for Mayor [Robert] Wagner told the Eagle that the mayor is in touch with city health authorities and will take ‘appropriate action’ when necessary. A spot check by the Board of Education of a number of city schools indicated that pupil attendance fell 2 percent below normal so far this month. Dr. John B. King, acting schools superintendent, said ‘the board will watch the situation very carefully.’ A Health Department spokesman said the city was expected to stay in the grip of Asian flu until mid-March.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1963, the Eagle reported, “Rochester, N.Y. (UPI) — The head of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has called for unity with the militant Black Muslim sect against alleged abuses of Negro rights by law enforcement authorities. The Rev. Wendell Phillips, president of the local NAACP chapter, told about 600 persons in the Baden Street Settlement House, ‘It is high time to unite and no longer stand by while our brothers in Christ are so unjustly treated.’ … Rochester was the scene of one clash between the sect and police and another with fire officials last month. On Jan. 6,  police attempted to enter a Muslim meeting to check a report that someone had a gun. On the following Sunday, fire officials were barred from investigating an alleged report of a fire at the meeting. Fifteen Muslims have been arrested on charges of riot and third-degree assault in connection with the Jan. 6 incident in which two policemen were beaten. They are to appear in court today. Malcolm X, second-ranked head of the sect, told the rally, ‘You don’t get anywhere by being polite. The only time you get anywhere is when you let ‘the man’ know you’re fed up.’”


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