October 25: First African American promoted to rank of general, Invasion of Grenada, and other events
A number of important events took place on October 25 in U.S. history. Here is our take on the most interesting and valuable of them.
1940 - Benjamin Oliver Davis Sr. becomes first African American General in history
What sensational news! An African American (well, American people might have called him something else in the past) becomes a U.S. General! And this occurred well before the social changes of the end of the 1950s that broke through centuries-old stereotypes about non-white Americans. Thus, Davis’ achievement was even more important and deserving of respect.
Born in Washington, D.C., he was the third child of Louis P. H. Davis and Henrietta (née Stewart) Davis. Interesting fact: Davis’s biographer Marvin Fletcher has presented evidence that the future U.S. General was born in May 1880, citing a June 1880 census document, so he had the opportunity to enlist in the army without his parents’ permission. Davis was a true patriot.
He served in all significant conflicts the U.S. was involved in the first part of the 20th century, including the Philippine-American War, the First World War and, of course, the Second World War, as an attaché in Liberia. He also worked as a professor at Tuskegee University in Alabama from 1920 to 1924, where he taught the students military science and tactics.
Having lived a very long life (he died in 1970, aged 90), he raised his son Benjamin Davis Jr. in a loyal and patriotic way as well, which later led to him becoming the first African American General officer in the United States Air Force.
1983 – U.S. Invasion of Grenada
Infamous and ridiculous by the mere fact of its existence, this operation was bravely called “Urgent Fury” by Washington war-hawks.
The island of Grenada has a population of just about 91,000 people and is located about 100 miles away from the Northern shores of Venezuela. The nation gained independence from Great Britain back in 1974 with the Marxist-Leninist-oriented New Jewel Movement becoming the dominant political power of the country in 1979 under the leadership of Maurice Bishop, a popular Grenadian revolutionary of the time, as he overthrew the first Prime Minister of the newly-founded nation, Eric Gairy, during the March 13, 1979 revolution.
Of course, the U.S. couldn’t let the power that stood for social equality, black liberation, and the promotion of education among locals exist in their traditional “sphere of influence,” so the decision was made to get rid of this “dictator.” The American-sponsored junta managed to capture Bishop, so he was prosecuted and executed October 16, 1983, yet, this wasn’t enough for Washington and they wanted the total annihilation of any Marxists from the island, which, in its turn, became the reason for invasion.
The military invasion began shortly after Bishop was killed (6 days later), on the morning of October 25, 1983. The invading force consisted of the U.S. Army's Rapid Deployment Force (the 1st and 2nd Ranger Battalions and 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers); U.S. Marines; U.S. Army Delta Force; U.S. Navy SEALs, and ancillary forces. In total, 7,600 U.S. soldiers and officers landed in Grenada along with Jamaicans, who supported this cruel war crime. Of course, the Americans soon defeated the Grenadians and seized the key airports and infrastructure objects of the country. America soon after proclaimed Grenada a “democratic nation.”
The invasion was followed by a huge wave of criticism from the international community. Even Canada, America’s loyal ally, stood against the invasion in the UN.
1995 – Fox River Grove bus-train collision
A true tragedy occurred this day 23 years ago in Illinois, as a bus full of school children collided with a train en route to Chicago in Fox River Grove. 7 were killed and 21 wounded.
As the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation later found, while the bus driver was not aware that a portion of the bus was on the tracks as she should have been, the timing of the signals was so insufficient that even if she had identified the hazard as the train approached, she would have had to proceed against a red traffic signal into the highway intersection to have moved out of the train's path.
Basically, the collision was unavoidable.
These are the most notable events in U.S. history that occurred on October 25, at least in our view.