Congress set a side a particular day, August 14th, to honor and remember the Navajo Code Talkers, Native American men who developed codes using the Navajo language to help win WWII. Still, even now, much of the code talker story remains shrouded in history.
The Navajo Code Talkers contributions to the victory in WWII was kept secret until the war department declassified the program in 1968. Since then, their story has become known around the world, but code talkers came from as many as 34 Native Nations, and the first to serve were Choctaw, in the First World War!
If not for a chance circumstance, when an US officer overheard two Choctaw soldiers speaking their language, WWI might have turned out differently.
Jane Bolin paid little attention to the history she was making as the first Black woman judge in America, and more to the needs of kids, a human resource we can't afford to waste.
In 1931, with segregation prevalent throughout the country, Jane Bolin became the first Black woman to graduate from Yale Law School, where racist students thought it good fun to slam doors in her face.
Though black and female, Jane armed herself with her degrees, ambition and desire to do good and moved to New York City. She became the first black woman to join the New York City Bar Association, and the first to work in the city’s legal department.
“Everyone else makes a fuss about [all these firsts], but I didn’t think about it, and I still don’t,” she told the New York Times in a 1993 interview. “I wasn’t concerned about first, second or last. My work was my primary concern.”
Her 40-year career in New York City's Domestic Relations Court primarily focused on protecting the city's children, particularly under-privileged youngsters, a human resource she insisted American could not afford to waste. Judge Jane Bolin may not have cared about making history, but her legacy challenges and inspires us today.
I'm fascinated to discover little-known history, stories of people and events that provide a new perspective on why and how things happened, new voices that haven't been heard, insight into how the past brought us here today, and how it might guide us to a better future.
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