History Matters A feature courtesy of The Grateful American Book Prize Showing our children that their past is prelude to their future.

Published 12:30 pm Sunday, August 20, 2023

August 16 to August 31

Roanoke Colony—just off the coast of North Carolina—was the first settlement in America. It was founded by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1585, but a year later, the newcomers were suffering so badly from “dwindling food supplies and Indian attacks” that they sailed back to England. History.com reports, “in 1587, Raleigh sent out another group of 100…under John White. [He sailed] to England to procure more supplies, but the war with Spain delayed his return…By the time [he] finally [re-appeared] in August 1590, everyone had vanished.”

Even today, nobody knows why.

The Grateful American Book Prize recommends Roanoke: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony by Lee Miller.


The Civil Rights Act of 1964 “was one of the most important pieces of legislation in American history, but it did not singlehandedly put a stop to discrimination in public education,” according to History.com. “Aside from the famous ‘Massive Resistance’ campaign against desegregation in the South, schools continued to fail racial minorities and students for whom English was not their first language.”

Because of that gap, the Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA) was consummated on August 21, 1974.  It categorically barred states from discriminating against students because of gender, race, color, or nationality—and–it obliged public schools to provide for students who did not speak English.

The Grateful American Book Prize recommends We Are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson and Tonya Bolden.



As a lawyer for the “little man,” as History.com puts it, Thurgood Marshall, was an extraordinary attorney. He attended Howard University Law School and graduated magna cum laude in 1933. A year later he was working for the Baltimore NAACP, and by the time he was 32—in 1940–Marshall was the organization’s chief counsel.

“Over the next two decades, Marshall distinguished himself as one of the country’s leading advocates for individual rights, winning 29 of the 32 cases he argued in front of the Supreme Court.” In 1954, he protested the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka before the Supreme Court upending the so-called “separate but equal” principal of “laws designed to achieve racial segregation by means of separate and equal public facilities and services for African Americans and whites.”

On August 30, 1967, Thurgood Marshall became the first African American confirmed as a Supreme Court justice.

The Grateful American Book Prize recommends Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary by Juan Williams.