Today in History (1862) - The U.S. government forbids all Union army officers from returning fugitive slaves, thus effectively annulling the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and setting the stage for the Emancipation Proclamation. On the same day in 1865, the Confederate Congress voted to enlist 300,000 black troops, granting them freedom with the consent of their owners. Lee surrendered a few weeks later.
Today in Equality History (1965) - President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act into law. Portions are scheduled to expire in 2007. Prof. Richard Hasen recently claimed that Judge John Roberts may be unfriendly to expansive voting rights.