Friday, November 6th. This is National American Indian Heritage Month, conceived almost a century ago but made official by a congressional resolution signed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990. The American Community Survey finds 5.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives in the U.S., about 2 percent of the total population. By the year 2060, that percentage is projected to grow to 2.7 percent, or some 11 million people. California is home to the greatest number of these groups at over a million, followed by Oklahoma with over a half-million. American Indian and Alaska Native populations, alone or in combination with other races, surpass 100,000 in 19 states from Florida to Alaska. At over 14 percent, Alaska has the highest percentage of population in the honored group. Profile America is in its19th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Saturday, November 7th. Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the opening in 1837 of the first American college for women — Mount Holyoke Seminary in South Hadley, Massachusetts. The new institution began instruction with 80 students, who paid annual tuition and boarding fees of $64. Receiving a collegiate charter in 1888, the school became Mount Holyoke College in 1893 and remains a prestigious liberal arts college for women. Among its prominent alumni are poet Emily Dickinson, and former Secretaries of Labor Frances Perkins and Elaine Chao. Today, there are 10.9 million women attending college, almost 2,200 off them at Mount Holyoke. In comparison, male higher education enrollment stands at 8.5 million students. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <www.census.gov>.
Sunday, November 8th. On this date in 1966, Edward Brooke became the nation’s first African-American to win election to the U.S. Senate by popular vote, and only the third to serve in that chamber. During Reconstruction in the 1870s, two blacks chosen by Mississippi’s legislature briefly represented the state as senators. Brooke’s election ended an 85-year drought of black senators. Since his defeat in a bid for a third term in 1978, the chamber has seated six more African-Americans, one of whom cut his term short to become President. In the 2012 election, 56.5 percent of registered Americans voted. Massachusetts, with 65.4 percent participation, trailed very few states. One of them was Mississippi, with the nation’s highest state voting rate of 73.3 percent. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey, at <www.census.gov>.