Events Turning 100 in 2021

  1. The Sheppard-Towner Act of 1921 was the first federal law that would provide funds and resources to those in need. The infant and maternal mortality rate was still high in 1921, and the act would provide numerous services to mothers and children, such as setting up health clinics, hiring nurses to educate new mothers, and training midwives. However, the act faced opposition by people who saw it as socialism and a violation of states’ rights. The act lost funding in 1929, facing even more opposition from a changing political climate and powerful organisations such as the American Medical Association.

  2. In May 1921, one of the most horrific incidents of racial violence in American history took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as a white mob burned down the prosperous black neighborhood of Greenwood. The Tulsa Race Massacre  almost 10,000 people homeless and an estimated 300 people dead. While little was done to acknowledge the event throughout the rest of the century, a commission was created in 1997 to investigate the event, and recently, more light has been shed on the event. Finally, it has been decided to incorporate the event into Oklahoma schools’ curriculum.

  3. In 1921, this organization that would later be preceded by Planned Parenthood, formed to promote the burgeoning movement for womens’ reproductive rights and access to then-demonized birth control. The organization would promote research and education about women’s health, infant mortality, and the legitimacy of birth control. They would also promote repealing or changing laws against birth control.

  4. In the summer of 1921, future president Franklin Delano Roosevelt was diagnosed with poliomyelitis, also known as infantile paralysis or polio. While polio was a feared virus throughout the twentieth century, it was uncommon for someone as old as he was at the time, 39, as it existed mostly in young children.  He took a break from his political career to recover and regain some of his strength, before returning some years later. However, he wanted to keep his paralysis private, fearing the American public would think of their leader as weak.