Peace & Justice History: July-September

You’ll notice that many of our daily blog entries are about Peace & Justice history, events that are often left out of the history textbooks (especially in Texas!) We’ve been maintaining this database for more than a decade now; it contains almost 2,000 entries.


APRIL-JUNE is available HERE


Here are a couple of ideas for teachers:

  • Assign students to report on a Peace & Justice history event that is on or closest to their birthdays. We’ve found that this heightens interest in an event because they have a connection, however random.
  • Divide students into small groups (three is a workable number) and give each group a printout of one month of the peace history events. Allow about 20 minutes for them to match as many events as they can to one of the 198 methods of nonviolent action listed by Gene Sharp in his taxonomy. You can download a copy of Sharp’s list here.
July 1 1853 The San Antonio Zeitung, a “Social-Democratic Newspaper for the Germans in West Texas,” began weekly publication as San Antonio’s first German-language newspaper on July 1, 1853, under the editorship of C. D. Adolph Douai, a German-born scholar, teacher, and social reformer. The newspaper, written largely in German, was aimed at the large German population in San Antonio and the surrounding region. In a prospectus Douai announced that the Zeitung would regard every political question from the viewpoint of social progress. In 1854 a series of editorials attacked the institution of slavery as an evil incompatible with democratic government, a form of government that required “free tillers of their own soil.”
July 1 1917 Eight thousand anti-war marchers demonstrated in Boston. Their banners read: “IS THIS A POPULAR WAR? WHY CONSCRIPTION? WHO STOLE PANAMA? WHO CRUSHED HAITI? WE DEMAND PEACE!” The march was attacked by soldiers and sailors on orders from their officers.
July 1 1941 Civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph had proposed an African-American March on Washington to demand an executive order banning race discrimination in the defense industries (full employment had returned because of the war in Europe). The march was canceled on this day after a dramatic confrontation between Randolph and President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the White House.. FDR had invited Randolph to the White House to persuade him to cancel the march, arguing that it would set back the cause of civil rights. When Randolph refused, FDR caved in and agreed to issue what became the historic Executive Order 8802 creating a Fair Employment Practices Committee
July 1 1944 A massive general strike and nonviolent protest in Guatemala led to the resignation of dictator Jorge Ubico who had harshly ruled Guatemala. A decade of peaceful democratic rule followed, until a CIA-backed coup in 1954 ushered in a new, even more brutal era of dictatorial and genocidal regimes.
July 1 1972 Publication of the first monthly issue of Ms. Magazine, founded by Gloria Steinem, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, and others.
July 1 2002 The International Criminal Court was established to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.
July 1 2003 500,000 people marched in Hong Kong to protest a new anti-subversion law.
July 1 2008 Nelson Mandela, the first post-apartheid president elected in South Africa, was taken off the terror watch list after then president George W. Bush signed the bill that officially removed him from the list. Mandela had originally been put on the list when South Africa’s apartheid government listed the African National Congress as a terrorist organization.
July 2 1822 Thirty-five slaves were hanged in South Carolina, including Denmark Vesey, after being accused of organizing a slave rebellion.
July 2 1917 The East St. Louis riots ended.
July 2 1934 The Night of the Long Knives, which started on June 30, ended. This was a series of 85 executions carried out by the when the Nazi regime against their opponents.
July 2 1964 U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, barring discrimination in public accommodations (restaurants, stores, theaters, etc.), employment, and voting. The law had survived an 83-day filibuster in the U.S. Senate by 21 members from southern states lead by Richard Russell (D-GA) who said “We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our (Southern) states.”
July 3 1835 Children employed in the silk mills at Paterson, New Jersey, went on strike for an eleven-hour workday and a six-day workweek rather than 12-14 hour days. With the help of adults, they won a compromise settlement of a 69-hour week.
July 3 1844 The last pair of great auks was killed.
July 3 1848 Peter von Scholten, Governor-Generl of the Danish West Indies, was opposed to Christian VIII of Denmark’s idea that every child born of an unfree woman should be free from birth, as he felt that such an arrangement could cause envy law . When this was brought into effect, he felt himself proven right as a slave rebellion broke out on St. Croix. Von Scholten responded on this day by emancipating all slaves in the Danish West Indian Islands.
July 3 1913 On the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, thousands of Civil War veterans descended on the town. A recreation of Pickett’s Charge was reenacted by 120 (Confederate) veterans of Pickett’s Division and 180 (Union) veterans from the Philadelphia Brigade. The Confederate veterans charged over 100 feet of ground to the wall and shook hands with the Union veterans. The New York Herald wrote: “Today fifty thousand veterans of the great War are moving on to take peaceful possession of the field where the ardor of youth they strove in such deadly conflict. No better evidence of healing of the nation’s wounds could be offered than the spectacle of men of the Grand Army and of the Confederacy striking hands on the spot where they made history.”
July 3 1966 4,000 Britons chanting, “Hands off Vietnam,” demonstrated in London against escalation of the Vietnam War. Police moved in after scuffles broke out at the demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in Grosvenor Square; 31 were arrested.
July 3 1978 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Federal Communications Commission had a right to reprimand NY radio station WBAI for broadcasting George Carlin’s “The Seven Words You Can’t Say On Television.” Note: the video of his performance (below) has the words bleeped out. The year before, Carlin was arrested for disturbing the peace when he performed the routine at a show at Summerfest in Milwaukee.
July 4 1965 The first of an annual picket in front of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall was held by gay and Lesbian Americans. Jack Nichols and Frank Kameny and members of the New York and Washington Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis wished to change the general perception that homosexuals were “perverted” or “sick.”
July 4 1966 The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was enacted, with an effective date one year later, July 4, 1967. It was repealed the next day but a virtually identical FOIA was enacted on July 5, 1967, and was effective from July 4, 1967.
July 4 1971 Three kayaks, three canoes and a rubber raft, crewed by Philadelphia Quakers, blocked the path of a Pakistani freighter steaming in to load arms in the port of Baltimore. The next day the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives voted to withhold military and economic aid from Pakistan, which was being used to repress East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.
July 4 1983 The Seneca Women’s Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice started their annual encampment in Romulus, NY, near Seneca Army Depot to demonstrate the connections among militarism, high rates of inflation, unemployment and global poverty, personal violence, addiction, abuse in all its forms and global environmental destruction. The Encampment continued as an active political presence in the Finger Lakes area for at least 5 more years and engaged thousands of women from Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Catholics against Nuclear Arms, the War Resisters League, Women Strike for Peace, Women’s Pentagon Action, Rochester Peace and Justice, and the Upstate Feminist Peace Alliance.
July 4 2007 The first of several Peace Caravans (Caravanes de Paix) set out from South Kivu and traveled across Africa’s Great Lakes region, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and Rwanda. The Scout Associations of the countries in the violence-ridden area trained hundreds of young people in conflict resolution through their focus on education for peace. The classes and the caravans included hundreds of young people in Scouts and Girl Guides from many ethnic groups (often with a history of mutual hostility) who act as community mediators.
July 5 1855 The Governor of Texas authorized James Hughes Callahan to cross the Rio Grande, ostensibly to retaliate for Apache raids but generally agreed upon by historians to be an expedition to capture runaway slaves who had escaped across the border to Nueva León and Coahuila, where slavery was illegal. Callahan crossed the border in October and a battle ensued at Rio Escondito, with casualties on both sides. Callahan retreated to Piedras Negras, captured the town, and burned it. A claims commission awarded the Mexican victims $500,000 in 1876.
July 5 1934 On “Bloody Thursday,” police armed with machine guns opened fire against striking longshoremen and their supporters, killing two, wounding 32 more by gunfire, and injuring 75 others at Rincon Hill in San Francisco.
July 5 1935 The National Labor Relations or Wagner Act (named for New York Senator Robert Wagner), recognizing workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively, was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The act was bitterly opposed by the Republican Party and business groups who launched a campaign of filing injunctions to keep the National Labor Relations Board from functioning. This campaign continued until the Act was found constitutional by the Supreme Court in National Labor Relations Board v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation (1937.)
July 5 1948 The British National Health Service Act was launched providing government-financed medical and dental care as an integral part of British society, largely “free at the point of delivery”, paid for by taxes.
July 5 1952 Congress passed the Gwinn Amendment, which required a loyalty oath of all residents of public housing who received federal funds. The oath requirement led to the highly publicized case of James Kutcher, a World War II veteran, who had lost both of his legs in the war, and who was a member of the Socialist Workers Party.
July 5 1989 Former National Security Council aide Oliver North received a $150,000 fine and a suspended prison term for his part in the Iran-Contra scandal. The scandal was a secret arrangement directed from the Reagan White House that provided funds to the Nicaraguan Contra rebels (despite specific congressional prohibition) from profits gained by selling arms to Iran (at war with Iraq at the time) in hopes of their releasing hostages, despite President Reagan’s claim that he would never negotiate with hostage-takers.
July 5 2000 Conservationists launched the largest ever airlift of wild birds. Over 18,000 penguins were moved to safety as an oil slick threatened their South African breeding ground during mating season. A third of the entire species of black-footed penguins (found only in Africa and classified as “threatened”) lived on the islands. Thousands of volunteers and zoo experts helped with both the airlift, and the cleaning of 20,000 birds.
July 6 1348 Pope Clement VI issued a decree protecting Jews during the Black Death. Popular opinion blamed the Jews for the plague, and massacres erupted throughout Europe. Pope Clement condemned the violence and said those who blamed the plague on the Jews had been “seduced by a liar.” He urged clergymen to take action to protect the innocent.
July 6 1892 In one of the worst cases of violent union-busting, a fierce battle broke out between the striking employees (members of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers) of Andrew Carnegie’s Homestead Steel Company and a Pinkerton Detective Agency private army brought on barges down the Monongahela River in the dead of night. Twelve were killed. Henry C. Frick, general manager of the plant in Homestead, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, had been given free rein by Carnegie to quash the strike. At Frick’s request, Pennsylvania Governor Robert E. Pattison then sent 8,500 troops to intervene on behalf of the company.
July 6 1911 Joe Hill’s song “The Preacher & the Slave” first appeared in the IWW (Wobbly) Little Red Song Book. You will eat by & by, / In that glorious land above the sky. / Work & pray, / Live on hay, / You’ll get Pie in the Sky, When you die, (that’s a lie!)
July 6 1924 The 1924 Democratic Party Convention was thrown into turmoil over a fight about the Ku Klux Klan; the delegates were split over a resolution proposed by northern and western delegates that condemned the Klan by name. After a tumultuous debate, the party adopted a plank on this day that “deplore[d] and condemn[ed] any effort to arouse religious or racial dissension,” but did not mention the Klan by name.
July 6 1944 During World War II, while stationed at Fort Hood, Texas as a Second Lieutenant, Baseball player Jackie Robinson refused to move to the back of an Army bus when requested to by the driver. The driver summoned the military police, who took Robinson into custody. When Robinson later confronted the investigating duty officer about racist questioning by the officer and his assistant, the officer recommended Robinson be court-martialed When his commander refused to authorize the legal action, Robinson was transferred to another unit and was charged with multiple offenses. Robinson was acquitted by an all-white panel of nine officers. Robinson’s court-martial proceedings prohibited him from being deployed overseas, thus he never saw combat action.
July 6 1944 Irene Morgan, a 28-year-old black woman, was arrested for refusing to move to the back of the bus eleven years before Rosa Parks did so. Her legal appeal, after her conviction for breaking a Virginia law forbidding integrated seating, resulted in a 7-1 Supreme Court decision barring segregation in interstate commerce.
July 6 2006 An ancient pass on the Silk Road between India and China, sealed during the Sino-Indian War, re-opened for trade after 44 years.
July 7 1540 The Spanish, led by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, attacked Hawikuh (Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico) believing it to be one of the Seven Cities of Gold. It was the first skirmish between Indigenous Americans and Europeans in western US. In 1628 the Mission La Purisima Concepcíón de Hawikuh was established. The Spanish attempted to suppress the Zuni religion, and introduced the encomienda forced-labor system. In 1632 the Hawikuh Zunis rebelled, burnt the church, and killed the priest.
July 7 1903 Labor organizer Mary Harris “Mother” Jones led the “March of the Mill Children” over 100 miles from Philadelphia to President Theodore Roosevelt’s Long Island summer home in Oyster Bay, New York, to publicize the harsh conditions of child labor and to demand a 55-hour work week. It is during this march, on about the 24th, she delivered her famed “The Wail of the Children” speech. Roosevelt refused to see them.
July 7 1911 The United States, Great Britain, Japan, and Russia signed the North Pacific Fur Seal Convention of 1911 banning open-water seal hunting, the first international treaty to address wildlife preservation issues.
July 7 1917 The Post Office notified the editors The Masses, a leading radical magazine and an outspoken opponent of American involvement in the World War I, that it would be barred from the mails. The Masses challenged the ban and won, but lost on appeal (November 2, 1917). The Masses went out of business in December. The editors founded The Liberator as a replacement, but were careful not to publish anything that would incur the wrath of the government regarding the war.
July 7 1957 Convened at the onset of the Cold War, a group of scientists held their first peace conference in the village of Pugwash, Nova Scotia, Canada. The mission of the Pugwash Conference was to “. . . bring scientific insight and reason to bear on threats to human security arising from science and technology in general, and above all from the catastrophic threat posed to humanity by nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction . . . .”
July 7 1979 2,000 American Indian activists and anti-nuclear demonstrators marched through the Black Hills of western South Dakota to protest the development of uranium mines on sacred native lands.
July 7 2005 Influenced by Live 8, the G8 leaders pledged to double 2004 levels of aid to Africa from US$25 to US$50 billion by the year 2010.
July 8 1853 US warships, commanded by Commodore Matthew Perry, under orders from American President Millard Fillmore arrived at Edo, capital of the closed country of Japan, to demand that it opens for trade. This is an example of “gunboat diplomacy, the pursuit of foreign policy objectives with the aid of conspicuous displays of naval power—implying or constituting a direct threat of warfare, should terms not be agreeable to the superior force.
July 8 1955 The University Texas Board of Regents voted to permit Texas Western University (Now the University of Texas-El Paso) to admit Black students. Thelma Joyce White had be denied admission and brought suit in Federal court, defended by Thurgood Marshall. Ms. White decided to attend New Mexico A&M, although her children attended UTEP.
July 8 1958 In an effort called “Omaha Action,” by the Committee for Nonviolent Action (CNVA), anti-nuclear activist Don Fortenberry was arrested after climbing a fence to protest against the building of ICBM sites in Nebraska. Also arrested during this series of actions was peace activist A. J. Muste.
July 8 1998 The first arrests were made in Great Britain for pulling up Genetically Engineered crops. Five women pull up almost 200 plants at Model Farm, Watlington in Oxfordshire. Thames Valley Police later released the women as the owners, Monsanto, did not press charges
July 8 2014 The French Senate votes to ban child beauty pageants for kids under the age of 16. The measure was prompted by a row over a photo shoot in Vogue magazine that showed a girl of 10 with two others, all three in heavy make-up and wearing tight dresses, high heels and expensive jewelry. photo
July 9 1917 During World War I, Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, leaders of the No-Conscription League, spoke out against the war and the draft. Both were found guilty in New York City of conspiracy against the draft, fined $10,000 each and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with the possibility of deportation at the end of their terms.
July 9 1945 Three black members of the US Women’s Army Corps were beaten in the Elizabethtown, Kentucky bus terminal for sitting in the “white” section when the “black” section was full; the policeman involved was acquitted.
July 9 1955 The Russell–Einstein Manifesto was released by Bertrand Russell in London, England, United Kingdom. It highlighted the dangers posed by nuclear weapons and called for world leaders to seek peaceful resolutions to international conflict.
July 10 1985 The Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior was blown up by the French Secret Service in Auckland Harbour, New Zealand, killing Fernando Pereira, a photographer, who drowned on the sinking ship. The attack had been authorized by French President François Mitterand because the environmental organization had plans to protest France’s nuclear bomb tests in the South Pacific.
July 10 2015 A blistering internal report by the American Psychological Association (APA) made public on this day revealed that top leaders of the APA had assisted torture programs operated by the CIA and the Pentagon in the war on terror. The report concluded that the association’s ethic office “prioritized the protection of psychologists –even those who might have engaged in unethical behavior- ab0ve the protection of the public.”
July 11 1905 At a four-day conference, African-American leaders who opposed the accommodationist racial policy of Booker T. Washington and wanted a more aggressive defense of civil rights, met and formed the Niagara Movement. The conference marked the beginning of the organized civil rights movement in the twentieth century.
July 11 1924 Eric Liddell won the gold medal in 400m at the 1924 Paris Olympics, after refusing to run in the heats for 100m, his favored distance, on the Sunday because of religious reasons. This is the incident shown in the film “Chariots of Fire.”
July 11 1951 One of the biggest riots in U.S. history began after a young black couple, Harvey and Johnetta Clark, moved into an apartment in all-white Cicero, IL, west of Chicago. The sheriff turned them away when they first tried to move in. With a court order in hand, the couple finally moved their belongings into the apartment on July 11, as a mob formed around them, heckling and throwing rocks. The mob, many of them eastern European immigrants, grew to as many as 4,000 by nightfall. The couple fled, unable to stay overnight in their new apartment. That night, the mob stormed the apartment and hurled the family’s belongings out of a third floor window. The mob tore out the fixtures: the stove, the radiators, the sinks. They smashed the piano, overturned the refrigerator, bashed in the toilet. They set the family’s belongings on fire and then firebombed the buildings. The rioters overturned police cars and threw stones at firefighters who tried to put out the fire. The Illinois Governor, Adlai Stevenson, had to call in the National Guard for the first time since the 1919 race riots in Chicago. It took more than 600 guardsmen, police officers and sheriff’s deputies to beat back the mob that night and three more days for the rioting over the Clarks to subside. A total of 118 men were arrested in the rioting but none were indicted. Instead, the rental agent and the owner of the apartment building were indicted for inciting a riot by renting to the Clarks in the first place. (From the book, The Warmth of Other Suns)
July 11 1968 The American Indian Movement (AIM) was founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by George Mitchell, Dennis Banks, Clyde Bellecourt and 200 others. They gathered to organize in order to deal with widespread and persistent poverty among native Americans, and unjust treatment from all levels of government.
July 12 1917 About 2,000 vigilantes and law enforcement officers forcibly deported 1,185 striking working men associated with the radical IWW labor union and their supporters from Bisbee, Arizona. The deportees were loaded onto cattle cars and taken 200 miles away and left in New Mexico.
July 12 1974 The National Research Act was signed into law, creating the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. Revelations about the abuse of human research subjects, including the notorious Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (exposed by The New York Times in 1972), led to a movement to provide formal procedures to ensure that people were not subject to research that might endanger them in some way without their informed consent. This law led to the creation of Institutional Review Board (IRB) at universities and other research institutions to ensure the protection of human subjects.
July 13 1985 The first Live Aid concert raised $75 million for agricultural and technical assistance to Africa, many times what was expected. Described as the Woodstock of the ‘80s, the world’s biggest rock festival (in London, Philadelphia, Moscow and Sydney, Australia, simultaneously and linked by satellite) was organized by Boomtown Rats singer Bob Geldof to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia.
July 13 1863 New Yorkers angry about military conscription started three days of rioting that would go down in history as the worst US riot. White New Yorkers, largely poor Irish immigrants, could not afford to buy their way out of the draft or pay someone else to take their place. African Americans were not subject to the draft, inflaming rage against them. Beginning as a protest to the draft, the demonstration quickly turned into a riot with looting and with African Americans being attacked on sight. Abolitionists, Protestant churches and public buildings were also targets of angry rioters. Homes of African Americans were burned, as was the Colored Orphan Asylum. The police were overwhelmed. At least 120 were killed and 2,000 wound; some sources place the number of dead as high as 2,000. video
July 13 1956 Crusading San Antonio Priest Carmelo Antonio Tranchese, known as “El Padrecito,” died on this day. On July 7, 1932, Tranchese began his duties as the pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on the West Side of San Antonio, which was home for the majority of the city’s 82,000 Mexican Americans. Tranchese helped establish the Guadalupe Community Center, which, in cooperation with the Bexar County Tuberculosis Association, sponsored a health clinic that offered workshops in disease prevention and provided free vaccinations and other medical care. He encouraged efforts to improve working conditions and wages, supported local strikes and was particularly active in soliciting provisions and establishing breadlines for pecan workers who struck in 1935 and 1938. In October 1938, when the city’s pecan companies mechanized in response to the Fair Labor Standards Act (Wage-Hour Act), throwing approximately 8,000 shellers out of work, Tranchese helped organize the Catholic Relief Association, which solicited and distributed food, clothing, and shelter. Tranchese’s most noted accomplishment was his role in bringing a federal housing project to San Antonio. Opponents of public housing threatened Tranchese’s life and slandered his character. Tranchese’s determination contributed to the removal of some of the worst slums on the West Side and their replacement by the Alazan-Apache Courts for Mexican Americans. He also played a role in securing USHA loans and annual subsidies for courts built in other areas of the city, including Victoria Courts for Anglo families and Lincoln and Wheatley courts for blacks. The projects were completed in 1942. You can see Father Tranchese peeking over the shoulder of Patricia Castillo in Seeds of Solidarity, a 2005 mural on Guadalupe Street by Mary Agnes Rodriguez & Jose Cosme, which has since been destroyed.
July 14 1798 Congress passed the Sedition Act, making it a federal crime to “. . . unlawfully combine or conspire together, with intent to oppose any measure or measures of the government of the United States . . . or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States . . . .”
July 14 1934 The Catholic Legion of Decency and Protestant churches affiliated with the Federal Council of Churches ordered bulk copies of a pledge to boycott “indecent” motion pictures as part of a nationwide “clean film” campaign. The boycott of allegedly indecent films led by Catholic Church figures, had begun the year before, and scored a major victory with the 1934 Motion Picture Production Code, which involved a voluntary self-censorship process by the major Hollywood studios, and it imposed a repressive regime of censorship on American movies. Among films banned by the Legion of Decency were The Last Picture Show (1971), Grease (1978) and The Odd Couple (1968).
July 14 1948 Segregationist Southerners, reacting to President Harry Truman’s civil rights program, walked out of the Democratic Party Convention and founded an independent States’ Rights Party, dedicated to preserving racial segregation. On this same day, the Democratic Party had adopted a strong civil rights plank for its platform, the first major political party to do so. The States’ Rights Party nominated South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond as its presidential candidate.
July 14 1998 Twenty Eight Food Not Bombs and homeless activists were arrested in San Francisco’s United Nations Plaza during a non-violent, direct-action demonstration seeking to reclaim public space & parks which are increasingly being made inaccessible to homeless people.
July 15 1834 The Spanish Inquisition, a centuries-long brutal effort by the Catholic Church to root out heresy, begun in 1481, was officially abolished. The Inquisition was originally intended to ensure the orthodoxy of those who converted from Judaism and Islam after the royal decrees issued in 1492 and 1501 ordered Jews and Muslims to convert or leave Spain. Estimates of the number of persons charged with crimes by the Inquisition range up to 150,000 with 2,000 to 5,000 people actually executed.
July 15 1955 Eighteen Nobel laureate scientists signed the Mainau Declaration against nuclear weapons. Drafted by German nuclear scientists Otto Hahn and Max Born, the call to end such radioactive and perilous bombs drew the signatures of 52 Nobel laureates –mostly chemists and physicists – within a year.
July 15 1958 US President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized Operation Blue Bat, the first application of the Eisenhower Doctrine under which the U.S. announced that it would intervene to protect regimes it considered threatened by international communism. The goal was to bolster the Christian, pro-Western Lebanese government of President Camille Chamoun against internal opposition and threats from Syria and Egypt. Approximately 14,000 men were deployed. The U.S. withdrew its forces on October 25, 1958.
July 15 1978 The Longest Walk, a peaceful transcontinental trek for Native American justice, which had begun with a few hundred departing Alcatraz Island, California, ended this day when they arrived in Washington, D.C. accompanied by 30,000 marchers. They were calling attention to the ongoing problems plaguing Indian communities throughout the Americas: lack of jobs, housing, health care, as well as dozens of pieces of legislation before Congress canceling treaty obligations of the U.S. government toward various Indian tribes. They submitted petitions signed by one-and-a-half million Americans
to President Jimmy Carter.
July 15 2005 An estimated 50-75 people took part in a staged protest at a eucalyptus grove on the UC Berkeley campus, many of them stripping naked in doing so, to make clear their opposition to a proposed FEMA-funded tree-clearing program in the East Bay hills. The event was orchestrated by the Tree Spirit Project whose mission is “to raise awareness of the critical role trees play in our lives, both globally and personally.” The Federal Emergency Management Agency in March allocated $5.7 million to the California Office of Emergency Services to remove eucalyptus trees as part of fire hazard abatement in Claremont Canyon — scene of a devastating wildfire in 1991 — and other nearby areas. photo
July 16 1439 In response to an outbreak of the plague, the Parliament of King Henry VI of England issued a proclamation banning kissing. The ban was directed at ritual kissing and kissings of greetings,
July 16 1877 Firemen and brakemen for the Pennsylvania and Baltimore & Ohio Railroads refused to work, and refused to let replacements take their jobs. They managed to halt all railroad traffic at the Camden Junction just outside of Baltimore. The railroad companies had cut wages and shortened the work The work stoppage spread west and eventually became the first nationwide strike.
July 16 1917 Norman Thomas, a pacifist and opponent of American involvement in World War I, issued a defense of the role of heretics and dissenters as a crucial element of a democratic society. “Every movement worthwhile began with a minority,” he wrote. He might have added that important ideas usually originate with unpopular minorities. The essay was first published in the July 1917 issue of The World Tomorrow, the magazine of the Fellowship of Reconciliation in August,
July 16 1945 The first atomic bomb exploded, Trinity Site, Alamogordo, New Mexico. Detonation was not made public for three weeks, when two others like it devastated the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Powered by a sphere of plutonium the size of an orange, it produced a fireball that rose 8,000 feet in a fraction of a second, pushing a mushroom cloud 41,000 feet high. Nearby residents were told an ammunition dump had exploded.
July 16 1964 Igniting what was to become four years of unrest called “The Long Hot Summer,” a fatal shooting of a fifteen year-old African-American youth, James Powell, by a white off-duty New York City police officer sparked six days of rioting in Harlem, the center of the African-American community in New York City. An estimated 4,000 people participated in the riot, which left one person dead, 118 people injured, and considerable property damage.
July 16 1979 The largest release of radioactive material in the U.S. occurred in the Navajo Nation. More than 1200 metric tons (1,100 tons) of uranium tailings (mining waste) and 378 million liters (100 million gallons) of radioactive water burst through a packed-mud dam near Church Rock, New Mexico. The river contaminated by the spill, the Rio Puerco, showed 7,000 times the allowable standard of radioactivity for drinking water downstream from the broken dam shortly after the breach was repaired. A month later, only 5% of the tailings had been cleaned out. Warnings not to drink the contaminated water were issued by officials, but non-English-speaking Navajo never heard them, having no electrical power for TV or radio. Humans and livestock continued to drink the water.
July 16 1983 During a time of increasing tension between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), and an escalating nuclear arms race, 10,000 peace activists formed a human chain linking the two superpowers’ embassies in London, England.
July 16 2001 The Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation was signed by the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation.
July 17 1944 US P-38 fighter bombers dropped napalm bombs on a German Army fuel depot near St. Lo in Normandy, France, one of the earliest uses of napalm. Napalm, a mixture of gasoline and a thickening agent, stubbornly sticks to anything it comes in contact with, greatly increasing its lethality against humans and effectiveness in catching things on fire. Named for the thickening agents first used, naphthenic and palmitic acids, it was developed on a government contract by Harvard University in 1942. Napalm sticks to human skin, with no practical method for removal of the burning substance. On January 21, 2009, President Barack Obama’s first full day in office, he signed the 1980 United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), which bans the use of napalm.
July 17 1970 The Young Lords Party, a Puerto Rican nationalist movement, entered Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx, New York. The hospital, located in a condemned and dilapidated building, was filled with pain, degradation, neglect, flies, and humiliation. The YLP set up care units in the Hospital, drawing attention to the abysmal conditions. The direct action takeover prompted a response by the government, and the building of a new Lincoln Hospital.
July 17 1976 The opening ceremony of the 21st Olympic Games in Montreal was marked by the withdrawal of more than twenty African countries, Iraq and Guyana, and their 300 athletes. They had demanded that New Zealand be banned from participation because its national rugby team had toured South Africa, itself banned from the Olympics since 1964 for its refusal to end the racially separatist policy of apartheid.
July 18 1872 Great Britain, under the leadership of William Gladstone, passed a law requiring voting by secret ballot. Previously, people had to mount a platform in public and announce their choice of candidate to the officer who then recorded it in the poll book. Secrecy served to prevent the possibility of coercion and retaliation for one’s vote. Pictured is the first British secret ballot box.
July 18 1979 Canada began accepting 50,000 Vietnamese boat people into the country; 24,000 of the refugees were sponsored by the government and the rest through some 7,000 private humanitarian groups.
July 19 1848 The first Women’s Rights Convention in the U.S. was held at Seneca Falls, New York. Its “Declaration of Sentiments” launched the movement of women to be included in the constitution. When suffrage finally became a reality in 1920, seventy-two years after this first organized demand in 1848, only one signer of the Seneca Falls Declaration, Charlotte Woodward, then a young worker in a glove factory, had lived long enough to cast her first ballot.
July 19 1919 The Cenotaph, a monument to those killed or wounded during the First World War, was unveiled in Whitehall, London, during the first Peace Day celebration, which was celebrated throughout England. Many veterans, however, were outraged by the lavish public extravaganzas while they either could not find work or found only low paying menial jobs. Pensions for the maimed, crippled and disfigured men were meager and no programs to integrate them back into society were in place. As public ceremonies began for Peace Day, veterans began to jeer officials and then to riot, burning down the Luton Town Hall and dragging pianos into the street for music and singing. Bonfires were started and when the town hall was burned rioters cut the firemen’s hoses. video
July 19 1958 Several black teenagers, members of the local NAACP chapter (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), entered downtown Wichita’s Dockum Drug Store (then the largest drugstore chain in Kansas) and sat down at the lunch counter.The store refused to serve them because of their race. They returned at least twice a week for the next several weeks. They sat quietly all afternoon, creating no disturbance, but refused to leave without being served. Though the police once chased them away, they were breaking no law, only asking to make a purchase, a violation of store policy. This was the first instance of a sit-in to protest segregationist policies. Less than a month later, a white man around 40 walked in and looked at those sitting in for several minutes. Then he looked at the store manager, and said, “Serve them. I’m losing too much money.” That man was the owner of the Dockum drug store chain.
July 19 1974 Martha Tranquilli was jailed nine months for tax refusal over Vietnam War,Sacramento, California. photo
July 19 2000 A federal administrative law judge ordered white supremacist Ryan Wilson to pay $1.1 million in damages to fair housing advocate Bonnie Jouhari and her daughter, Dani. The decision stemmed from threats made against Jouhari by Wilson and his Philadelphia neo-Nazi group, ALPA HQ.
July 20 1944 In what they called “Operation Valkyrie,” a clique of officers attempted to kill Adolf Hitler and stage a coup. A briefcase concealing a time bomb was left at Hitler’s feet during a meeting. The bomb killed four people, but a table shielded Hitler. In Berlin, conspirators took over, believing Hitler dead. By midnight the participants were shot. The Gestapo arrested 7,000 and execute 4,980 people resulting in the destruction of the organized resistance movement in Germany.
July 20 1960 Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka became world’s first elected woman prime minister.
July 20 1967 The first Black Power conference was held in Newark, New Jersey, calling on black people in the U.S. “to unite, to recognize their heritage and to build a sense of community.”
July 20 1971 The first labor contract in the history of the federal government was signed by postal worker unions and the newly re-organized U.S. Postal Service. This contract was made possible by the postal strike of March 1970, in which 200,000 postal workers walked off the job, defying federal law. Prior to that, postal worker salaries started at $6,200 a year, a rate set by Congress, and many postal workers were eligible for food stamps.
July 21 1619 Earlier in the year, Polish artisans, brought to the new Jamestown Colony in Virginia to make pitch, tar, rosin and potash, went on strike to get the right to vote, which was only granted to white males of English descent. On this day, the courts emfranchised them: “Upon some dispute of the Polonians resident in Virginia, it was now agreed (notwithstanding any former order to the country) that they shall be enfranchised, and made as free as any inhabitant there whatsoever . . “
July 21 1954 The major world powers reached agreement on the terms of a ceasefire for Indochina. The war began in 1946 between nationalist forces of the Communist Viet Minh, under leader Ho Chi Minh, and France, the occupying colonial power after the Japanese lost control during World War II. The peace treaty called for independence for Vietnam and a 1956 election to unify the country. However, only France and Ho Chi Minh’s Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North) signed the document. The United States did not approve of the agreement; they instead backed Emperor Boa Dai and Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem’s government in South Vietnam and refused to allow the elections, knowing, in President Eisenhower’s words, that “Ho Chi Minh will win.” The result was the Second Indochina War, more commonly known as the Vietnam War.
July 21 1955 During a Geneva summit, US President Dwight Eisenhower presented his “Open Skies” proposal under which the US and the Soviet Union would trade maps detailing locations of each others military facilities and offer mutual aerial observation. Though his offer was rejected in that Cold War environment, it was enacted 37 years later when reintroduced by Pres. George H. W. Bush. Twenty three nations, including Russia, Ukraine, and other former Soviet states, signed the Treaty on Open Skies which went into force in 2002, establishing a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its participants to help build trust.
July 21 1988 With the passage of the Multiculturalism Act, Canada became the first country in the world to make multiculturalism its national policy. “It is hereby declared to be the policy of the Government of Canada to recognize and promote the understanding that multiculturalism reflects the cultural and racial diversity of Canadian society and acknowledges the freedom of all members of Canadian society to preserve, enhance and share their cultural heritage . . .”
July 21 1998 A group of ten activists from ACT UP and harm reduction programs, demanding that President Clinton lift the ban on funding of needle exchanges to prevent the spread of HIV, seized control of the office of Presidential AIDS Policy Coordinator Sandra Thurman in Washington, DC. The activists chained themselves inside her office immediately after Thurman refused to publicly condemn Clinton’s April 20 decision to uphold the ban on federal funding for needle exchange. Nine were arrested.
July 22 1756 The “The Friendly Association for gaining and preserving Peace with the Indians by Pacific Measures.” was founded in Philadelphia. It was comprised primarily of Quakers who wished to pursue peaceful coexistence between the native peoples and the European immigrants to Pennsylvania.
July 22 1937 President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed to add five new justices to the Supreme Court, because the Court was overturning many of his programs; the Senate turned down his proposal.
July 22 1987 President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act which provided emergency relief provisions for shelter, food, mobile health care and transitional housing.
July 22 1992 Following bombings in Palermo, Sicily in 1992, which killed two judges and many others, seven women began a fast; by the end of the month, they numbered 30 women. They took three-day shifts during which they stayed in Piazza Castelnuovo, the main square in Palermo, for the entirety of their shift. The Mafia threatened to place a bomb in the square if they didn’t end their hunger strike.
July 23 1789 In an atmosphere of popular rebellion against the French King, the commons refused to leave the chamber when directed by Louis XVI, claiming that “no one can give orders to the assembled nation.”
July 23 1846 Protesting slavery and US involvement in the Mexican War, Henry David Thoreau refuses to pay his $1 poll tax and was tossed into jail by the Concord, Massachusetts town constable — an experience that moved him to write “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience.”
July 24 1903 Mother Jones delivered her famed “The Wail of the Children” speech during the “March of the Mill Children.” On July 7 1903 Labor organizer Mary Harris (“Mother”) Jones begins the “March of the Mill Children” from Philadelphia to Beloved & Respected Comrade Leader Pres. Theodore Roosevelt’s summer home in Oyster Bay, Long Island, NY to publicize the harsh conditions of child labor & in demanding a 55 hour work week. The President refused to meet with them.
July 24 1959 Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev engaged in a heated debate about capitalism and communism in the middle of a model kitchen set up for the American National Exhibition in Moscow.
July 24 1983 Canadians and Americans spanned the international border at Thousand Islands Bridge, linking New York and Ontario, to protest nuclear weapons and border harassment of peace activists.
July 25 1898 With 16,000 troops, the United States invaded Puerto Rico at Guánica, asserting that they were liberating the inhabitants from Spanish colonial rule, which had recently granted the island’s government limited autonomy. The island, as well as Cuba and the Philippines, were spoils of the Spanish-American War which ended the following month. Puerto Rico remains a U.S. commonwealth today.
July 25 1994 After generations of hostility, Jordan‘s King Hussein and Israel‘s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed the Washington Declaration formally ending 46 years of bloodshed, due in part to the initiative and personal involvement of President Bill Clinton and his untiring work for peace in the Middle East.
July 25 1997 K.R. Narayanan was sworn in as President of India–the first from an “untouchable” caste. In his inaugural, after receiving 95 percent of the votes in the electoral college, he said, “That the nation has found a consensus for its highest office in someone who has sprung from the grass-roots of our society and grown up in the dust and heat of this sacred land is symbolic of the fact that the concerns of the common man have now moved to the centre stage of our social and political life.”
July 26 1935 Labor activist Bill Bailey and some fellow merchant seamen tore down the swastika-emblazoned flag that flew from the bow of the German ship Bremen docked in Manhattan and threw it into the Hudson river, watched by a cheering crowd of 5,000. In response to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels’ protest, New York mayor La Guardia sent ten Jewish detectives to the German consulate. They were turned away by the Nazis.
July 26 1937 Congress repealed a law, passed in 1933, which required that if both members of a married couple worked for the federal government and layoffs were necessary, the wife would be the one fired. The offensive law was Section 213 of the 1933 Economy Act.
July 26 1948 Segregation in the U.S. military and federal government was banned by order of President Harry Truman.
July 26 1990 The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. It prohibited discrimination based on disability in employment, in public accommodation, in transportation services, and in all activities of state and local governments. The law did not go into effect until January 26, 1992.
July 26 1998 Three hundred Mexicans and Americans blockaded the Juarez-El Paso bridge in protest of the Texas Radioactive Waste Bill, which permitted the disposal of nuclear waste along the US-Mexico border.
July 26 2000 A lawsuit ended with Swiss banks awarding $1.25 billion to more than a half million plaintiffs who alleged the banks had hoarded money deposited by Holocaust victims.
July 26 2013 The French parliament lifted a ban on insulting the president that had been in place since 1881. It had be illegal to insult the French president and those who risked it could be fined, but the government lifted the ban after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the law violated the freedom of expression.
July 27 1929 The Geneva Convention of 1929, dealing with treatment of prisoners-of-war, is signed by 53 nations.
July 27 1940 Lonnie E. Smith, a black dentist and civil-rights activist, attempted to vote in the Democratic primary in his Harris County precinct in Houston. As an African American, he was denied a ballot under the white primary rules of the time; the US Supreme Court had ruled in 1935 that the Democratic Party was a private organization and could set its own rules. Smith, with the assistance of attorneys supplied by the NAACP (including the future US Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall), filed suit in the US District Court, petitioning for redress for the denial of his rights under the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Seventeenth amendments. Following an unfavorable ruling in the district court, Smith’s attorneys lodged appeals that ultimately reached the Supreme Court. On April 3, 1944, the court’s decision in Smith v. Allwright reversed the prior decisions against Smith by a margin of eight to one. Since that time, all eligible Texans have had the right to vote in the primary election of their choice.
July 27 2000 La Marcha de los Quatro Suyos or the March of the Four Directions began. About 20,000 demonstrators, from the four corners of Peru and many of whom had to travel by bus for several days, peacefully marched down the streets of Peru’s capital, Lima, to protest against President Alberto Fujimori’s illegal third term election. Peasants and city-dwellers alike shouted “¡Abajo la dictadura!” (“Down with Dictatorship!”) and paraded all day long. That evening, reportedly 100,000 demonstrators convened in the Paseo de la República, one of Lima’s principal avenues. Because of this and other events, Fujimori’ resigned in November
July 28 1868 The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing due process, equal protection of the law, and full citizenship to all males over 21 went into effect.
July 28 1982 San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to ban the sale and possession of handguns.
July 28 2005 The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) officially ended its 30-year armed campaign to win the independence of Northern Ireland and began the full decommissioning of its weapons under international supervision, which was completed two months later. From that day on, they said they would pursue exclusively peaceful means to its ends.
July 29 1899 The First Hague Convention was signed, one of two of international treaties and declarations negotiated at two international peace conferences at The Hague in the Netherlands. The Second Hague Conference was in 1907. Along with the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Conventions were among the first formal statements of the laws of war and war crimes in the body of secular international law. Among its provisions were the creation of the Permanent Court of Arbitration; the protection of marked hospital ships; the prohibition, for the next five years that no projectiles or explosives would be launched from balloons, “or by other new methods of a similar nature.” It also stated that the parties will abstain from using projectiles “the sole object of which is the diffusion of asphyxiating or deleterious gases” and from using “bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body.” The US abstained from these last two provisions.
July 29 1957 The International Atomic Energy Agency was established to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to inhibit its use for military purposes.
July 29 1970 After a five-year strike, the United Farm Workers (UFW) signed a contract with the table grape growers in California, ending the first grape boycott.
July 29 1972 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the death penalty to be cruel and unusual punishment by a 5-4 vote. The Court called the wide discretion in application of capital punishment, including the appearance of racial bias against black defendants, “arbitrary and capricious” and thus in violation of due process guarantees in the 14th Amendment.
July 30 1935 Penguin paperbacks are launched to make books affordable to all, creating a revolution in publishing. Penguin’s success demonstrated that large audiences existed for serious books and had a significant impact on public debate in Britain, through its books on politics, the arts, and science.
July 30 1956 “In God We Trust” was adopted as the official motto of the United States. The phrase first started appearing on coins during the Civil War, generally thought to be an attempt to link the Union cause with God. In 1956, the nation was at a tense time in the Cold War, and the United States wanted to distinguish itself from the Soviet Union, which promoted state atheism. The motto was first challenged by champions of the separation of church and state in Aronow v. United States in 1970, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled: “It is quite obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency ‘In God We Trust’ has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion. Its use is of patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise.”
July 30 1965 President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law. At the time nearly half of all Americans over 65 had no health insurance and family savings were ever in jeopardy of being wiped out. Today, the number of elderly Americans without insurance today is 2 percent.
July 31 1492 The Jews were expelled from Spain when the Alhambra Decree took effect. The edict was formally revoked in 1968, following the Second Vatican Council. In 2014, the government of Spain passed a law allowing dual citizenship to Jewish descendants who apply, in order to “compensate for shameful events in the country’s past. Scholars disagree about how many Jews left Spain as a result of the decree; the numbers vary between 130,000 and 800,000.
July 31 1703 Daniel Defoe was placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet, but was pelted with flowers.
July 31 1896 The National Association of Colored Women (NACW) was established in Washington, D.C. Its two leading members were Josephine Ruffin and Mary Church Terrell. Founders also included some of the most renowned African-American women educators, community leaders, and civil-rights activists in America, including Harriet Tubman, Frances E.W. Harper, Margaret Murray Washington, and Ida B. Wells-Barnett. The original intention of the organization was “to furnish evidence of the moral, mental and material progress made by people of colour through the efforts of our women.” However, over the next ten years the NACW became involved in campaigns favoring women’s suffrage and opposing lynching and Jim Crow laws. By the time the United States entered the First World War, membership had reached 300,000.
July 31 1962 A rally of supporters of Sir Oswald Mosley and his anti-Semitic Blackshirt group in London’s east end ends when missiles including rotten fruit, pennies and stones are thrown at him and police are forced to end the rally when he knocked to the ground by protesters.
July 31 1986 25,000 people rallied in Namibia for freedom from South African colonial rule. In June, 1971 the International Court of Justice had ruled the South African presence in Namibia to be illegal. Eventually, open elections for a 72-member Constituent Assembly were held under U.N. supervision in November, 1989. Three months later Namibia gained its independence, and maintains it today.
July 31 1991 The worlds two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) an historic agreement reducing their stockpiles of nuclear warheads by more than 30%.
July 31 1998 A total ban on the use of landmines was announced by the British government, after significant public pressure to endorse an international landmines treaty.
July 31 2001 Judge Roy Moore of Alabama, a justice on the Alabama Supreme Court, installed a 5,280-pound granite block inscribed with the Ten Commandments in the Alabama Judicial Building. In November 2002, the U.S. District Court declared the monument a violation of the Establishment Clause and ordered it removed. Judge Moore announced he would not obey the decision. In November 2003, Judge Moore was removed from office for violating the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics. In 2012, Moore was reelected to his old job.
August 1 1715 The Riot Act, which authorized local authorities to declare any group of twelve or more people to be unlawfully assembled, and thus have to disperse or face punitive action, came into force in England. It was repealed in 1967. When you read someone the riot act, you’re saying: “Our sovereign lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God save the King.”
August 1 1842 The Lombard Street riot erupted in Philadelphia. In the morning,1,000 members of the black Young Men’s Vigilant Association held a parade in commemoration of the eighth anniversary of the end of slavery in Jamaica. As the paraders neared Mother Bethel Church, they were attacked by an Irish Catholic mob, resentful of having to compete with African-Americans for jobs. The rioters moved west, setting fires and attacking fire fighters and police as they went. Requests to the mayor and police for protection initially led to the arrest of several of the victims and none of the rioters.
August 1 1914 As World War I began, Harry Hodgkin, a British Quaker, and Friedrich Siegmund-Schulte, a German Lutheran pastor, attending a conference in Germany, pledged to continue sowing the “seeds of peace and love, no matter what the future might bring,” germinating the idea for the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR).
August 1 1920 Mohandas Gandhi began the movement of “non-violent non-cooperation” with the British Raj (ruling colonial authority) in India. The strategy was to bring the British administrative machine to a halt by the total withdrawal of Indian popular support, both Hindu and Muslim. British-made goods were boycotted, as were schools, courts of law, and elective offices.
August 1 1938 Now remembered as the Hilo Massacre or Bloody Monday, more than 70 police officers attempted to disband 200 unarmed, nonviolent protesters during a strike, injuring 50 of the demonstrators. In their attempts to disband the crowd, officers tear gassed, hosed and finally fired their riot guns, leading to 50 injuries, but no deaths. These protesters included Chinese, Japanese, Native Hawaiian, Luso and Filipino Americans and were members of many different unions, including the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union (ILWU). The different groups, long at odds, put aside their differences to challenge the Inter-Island Steam Navigation Company, demanding equal wages with workers on the West Coast of the United States. The Wagner Act, passed in 1935, legalized workers’ right to join and be represented by labor unions but Hawaii — not yet a State — was controlled by five corporations that played the races against each other, which kept wages low.
August 1 1938 Possibly one of the most controversial Olympic games of modern times opened in Berlin, Germany with a ceremony presided over by Adolf Hitler. The Games of the XI Olympiad were used by Germany as a tool for propaganda. to promote their ideology and its promotion of the superiority of the “Aryan Race” by only allowing Germans of “Aryan race” to compete for Germany.
August 1 1952 Pfc. Sarah Louise Keys traveled from Fort Dix, N.J., to her family’s home in Washington, NC. During a stop to change drivers, she was told to relinquish her seat to a white Marine and move to the back of the bus. Keys refused to move, whereupon the driver emptied the bus, directed the other passengers to another vehicle, and barred Keys from boarding it. When Keys asked why she shouldn’t ride the bus, she was arrested, and spent 13 hours in a cell. Keys was eventually ordered to pay a $25 fine for disorderly conduct, was released, and put on a bus to her hometown. Her case was brought before the Interstate Commerce Commission and wasn’t settled until 1955. In Sarah Keys vs. Carolina Coach Company, the ICC favored Keys Evans, ruling the Interstate Commerce Act forbids segregation. Photo
August 1 1974 The United Nations Security Council authorized the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus to create the “Green Line”, dividing Cyprus into two zones, Turkish and Greek.
August 1 1975 The U.S. and the U.S.S.R, represented by President Gerald Ford and General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, along with 33 other nations, signed the Helsinki Accords at the close of the Finland meeting of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The agreement recognized the inherent relationship between respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the attainment of genuine peace and security. All signatories agreed to respect freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, as well as freedom of religion and belief, and to facilitate the free movement of people, ideas, and information between nations.
August 1 2010 The Convention on Cluster Munitions entered into force. The international treaty prohibits the use, transfer and stockpile of cluster bombs, a type of explosive weapon which scatters submunitions (“bomblets”) over an area.
August 1 2014 The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence went into effect. Also called the Istanbul Convention, it aims at prevention of violence, victim protection and “to end with the impunity of perpetrators.”
August 2 1869 Japan abolished its samurai, farmer, artisan, merchant class system as part of the Meiji Restoration reforms.
August 2 1937 The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed in America, the effect of which was to render marijuana and all its by-products illegal.
August 2 1939 President Roosevelt signed into law the Hatch Act (officially An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities), which prohibits political activity by employees of the federal government. The Act was spurred by widespread allegations that local Democratic Party politicians used employees of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the congressional elections of 1938. The Act forbids the intimidation or bribery of voters and restricts political campaign activities by federal employees. It prohibits using any public funds designated for relief or public works for electoral purposes. It forbids officials paid with federal funds from using promises of jobs, promotion, financial assistance, contracts, or any other benefit to coerce campaign contributions or political support. It provides that persons below the policy-making level in the executive branch of the federal government must not only refrain from political practices that would be illegal for any citizen, but must abstain from “any active part” in political campaigns. In 1940 the Act was amended to include local officials who are paid with Federal funds, including appointed local law enforcement agency officials with oversight of federal grant funds. The Hatch Act bars state and local government employees from running for public office if any federal funds support the position, even if the position is funded almost entirely with local funds. The Hatch Act does not apply to actively serving uniformed members of the U.S. Armed Forces, although it does apply to Department of Defense civilians and the active duty Coast Guard.
August 2 1931 Albert Einstein urged all scientists to refuse military work. “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
August 3 1882 Congress passed the first U.S. law to restrict immigration of a particular ethnic group into the United States, the Chinese Exclusion Act. It stopped all further Chinese immigration for ten years, and denied citizenship to those already in the country, most of whom had been recruited by American railroad and mining companies. The law remained in effect until 1943.
August 3 1913 Four died and many others were injured in the Wheatland Hop Riot when police and vigilantes fired into a crowd of California hop pickers trying to organize. At the Durst Ranch in Wheatland, the state’s largest single agricultural employer, hundreds of workers—whites, Mexicans, and Filipinos—had put down their tools because of terrible working conditions, low wages, and a lack of sanitation and decent housing. It was one of the first attempts to organize agricultural workers in the US.
August 3 1986 Laurie McBride and seven other Motherpeace members of the Nanoose Conversion Campaign were arrested for picnicking on Winchelsea Island, east of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island. They, along with dozens of volunteer witnesses and supporters who had set off by boat from the town of Nanoose Bay, were protesting the ten-year extension of free use by the U.S. of the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental Test Range (CFMETR). It is a joint Canadian-American facility for torpedos, other maritime warfare and detection equipment; the island held the command and control center. The Campaign advocated conversion of the area back to peaceful purposes.
August 3 1988 One hundred forty-three white English and Afrikaans conscripts from four cities in South Africa announced their refusal to serve in the South African Defense Force. The SADF was engaged in actions to preserve apartheid, the social and economic system of racial separatism, in South Africa, and to occupy and thwart independence for South Africa’s neighbors, Angola and Namibia
August 4 1735 Freedom of the Press: John Peter Zenger, writer and publisher of the New-York Weekly Journal, is acquitted of charges of seditious libel against the royal governor of New York. The New York City jury, which only deliberated for ten minutes, says: “the truth is not libelous.” By establishing that the truth, even if defamatory, is an absolute defense against accusation of libel, this case firmly establishes the freedom of the press in America.
August 4 1942 The United States government signed the Mexican Farm Labor Program Agreement with Mexico, the first among several agreements aimed at legalizing and controlling Mexican migrant farmworkers along the southern border of the United States. Conceived as a temporary measure to supply much-needed workers during the early years of World War II, the bracero program continued uninterrupted until 1964. The agreement guaranteed a minimum wage of thirty cents an hour and humane treatment (in the form of adequate shelter, food, sanitation, etc.) of Mexican farmworkers in the United States. It has been estimated that in the 1950s the United States imported as many as 300,000 Mexican workers annually; Between 1942 and 1964 more than 4.5 million braceros entered the United States.
August 4 1964 FBI agents discovered the bodies of three missing civil rights workers buried deep in an earthen dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi. James Chaney was a local African-American man who had joined the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner had traveled from New York to heavily segregated Mississippi that year to help register voters with the support of CORE.
August 4 1985 Peace Ribbons made by thousands of women were wrapped around the U.S. Pentagon, the White House and the Capitol. Twenty thousand people participated, and the 27,000 panels making up the ribbon stretched for 15 miles.
August 4 1987 The Federal Communications Commission rescinded the Fairness Doctrine which had required radio and television stations to present controversial issues “fairly”.
August 5 1884 The Statue of Liberty‘s cornerstone was laid on Bedloe’s Island, New York Harbor to begin the assembly and ascension of the gift to the US from the people of France.
August 5 1963 The Nuclear test ban treaty was signed by the United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union, which banned testing in the atmosphere, space and underwater.
August 5 1964 President Lyndon Johnson asked Congress ”for a resolution expressing the unity and determination of the United States in supporting freedom and in protecting peace in southeast Asia.” The resulting Gulf of Tonkin Resolution authorizing military force in Vietnam, Passed on August 7, was the legal basis for the war there that lasted until 1975. Only two members of the senate voted against the resolution: Ernest Greuning of Alaska and Wayne Morse of Oregon.
August 5 1981 President Ronald Reagan, having ordered striking air traffic controllers back to work within 48 hours, fired 11,359 (more than 70%) who ignored the order, and permanently banned them from federal service (a ban later lifted by President Bill Clinton). The controllers, seeking a shorter workweek among other things, were concerned the long hours they were required to work performing their high-stress jobs were a danger to both their health and the public safety
August 6 1727 French Ursuline nuns first arrived at New Orleans and establish the first Catholic charitable institution in America, consisting of orphanage, a hospital and a school for girls.
August 6 1890 At Auburn Prison in New York state, William Kemmler became the first person to be executed in the electric chair, developed by the Medico-Legal Society and Harold Brown, a colleague of Thomas Edison. Kemmler received two applications of 1,300 volts of alternating current. The first lasted for only 17 seconds because a leather belt was about to fall off one of the second-hand Westinghouse generators. Kemmler was still alive. The second jolt lasted until the smell of burning flesh filled the room, about four minutes. As soon as his charred body stopped smoldering, Kemmler was pronounced dead.
August 6 1945 The United States dropped the first atomic bomb used in warfare on Hiroshima, An estimated 140,000 died from the immediate effects of this bomb and tens of thousands more died in subsequent years from burns and other injuries, and radiation-related illnesses.
August 6 1957 Eleven activists from the Committee for Nonviolent Action (CNVA) were arrested attempting to enter the atomic testing grounds at Camp Mercury, Nevada, the first of what eventually became many thousands of arrests at the Nevada test site.
August 6 1965 The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed by President Johnson, making illegal century-old practices aimed at preventing African Americans from exercising their constitutional right to vote. It created federal oversight of election laws in six Southern states (Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia) and in many counties of North Carolina where black voter turnout was very low.
August 6 1975 Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-TX) led an effort to have the 1965 Voting Rights Act was expanded to include language minorities. Congress amended the definition of “test or device” to prohibit laws requiring ballots and voting information be provided exclusively in English in jurisdictions where a single-language minority group comprised more than 5% of the voting-age population. Congress also enacted bilingual election requirements, which require election officials in certain jurisdictions to provide ballots and voting information in the language of language minority groups.
August 6 1945 The United States dropped the first atomic bomb used in warfare on Hiroshima, Japan. An estimated 140,000 died from the immediate effects of this bomb and tens of thousands more died in subsequent years from burns and other injuries, and radiation-related illnesses.
August 6 1964 Prometheus, a bristlecone pine and the world’s oldest tree, was cut down. The tree, which was at least 4862 years old and possibly more than 5000, was cut down in 1964 by a graduate student and United States Forest Service personnel at Wheeler Peak in eastern Nevada for research purposes. The people involved did not know of its world-record age before the cutting
August 6 1988 The Alphabet City/East Village neighborhood, in which the Tompkins Square Park was located, was divided about what, if anything, should be done about groups of “drug pushers, homeless people and young people known as ‘skinheads'” had largely taken over the park. The local governing body adopted a 1 a.m. curfew in an attempt to bring it under control. At a rally on this day,the police charged a crowd of protesters, and a riot ensued. Bystanders, activists, police officers, neighborhood residents and journalists were caught up in the violence. The mêlée continued until 6 a.m. the next day. The neighborhood was unanimous in its condemnation of the heavy-handed actions of the police and more than 100 complaints of police brutality were lodged following the riot. Police Commissioner Benjamin Ward confirmed what media images made clear: the NYPD were responsible for inciting a riot.
August 6 1990 The U.S. imposed trade sanctions on Iraq. As a result, the lack of much-needed medicines, water purification equipment and other items led to the death of many innocent Iraqis. According to British Member of Parliament George Galloway in his testimony to a committee of the U.S. Congress on May 17, 2005, these sanctions “ . . . killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to be born at that time . . . .”
August 6 2005 During August 2005, when President George W. Bush took a vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq in April, vowed to go to Crawford and demand a meeting with the President, challenging his rationale for the Iraq War. Hadi Jawad offered her the use of the Crawford Peace House as a base. On August 6 approximately 75 people began a walk for peace towards President Bush’s ranch. They were stopped by police, and ended up making the field where they stopped “Camp Casey.” In the first week, more than 700 activists passed through. They suffered vandalism and death threats: one neighbor ran, with his truck, over a shrine of crossed erected by Veterans for Peace in the memory of dead soldiers; another fired a rifle into the camp. On 26 August, 1,500 counter-protesters gathered in Crawford to support pro-war efforts. They spoke out against Ms. Sheehan and accused the anti-war message of being anti-American. At the same time, 2,500 people gathered at Camp Casey for an anti-war rally (including a busload of activists from San Antonio.) Camp Casey was disbanded on August 29 when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and President Bush’s vacation was cut short.
August 7 1495 The Diet of Worms abolished private warfare in Holy Roman Empire. The Ewiger Landfriede (variously translated as “Perpetual Peace”, “Eternal Peace”, “Perpetual Public Peace”) of 1495, banned the medieval right of vendetta (Fehderecht.) It established the monopoly of the state in the use of force: internal conflicts were to be resolved by legal process. (A Diet is a general assembly; it is derived from the Greek diaita, meaning “way of living.” The Japanese and German assemblies are still called Diets. Worms is a city in Germany.)
August 7 1854 The St. Louis “Know Nothing” riots started when rumors started that recent Catholic immigrants — many of them Irish Catholics who immigrated after the Irish potato famine of 1845–1846 and the failed Irish uprising of 1848— were attempting to vote. That morning, the Missouri Republic announced: “A large number of illegal votes will be attempted. Watch them close.” Vigilante groups deployed to the heavily Irish 5th Ward. Ten people were killed, 33 wounded, and 93 buildings were damaged. The influx of Irish Catholic immigrants was sparked by the Irish potato famine of 1845–1846 and the failed Irish uprising of 1848. Similar riots occurred in Philadelphia in 1844, Louisville in 1855, Baltimore in 1857 and New Orleans in 1858. The illustration below is of the Philadelphia riots.
August 7 1927 The Peace Bridge opened between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York.
August 7 1972 Ugandan leader Idi Amin ordered an estimated 60,000 Asians, most of them residents for several generations, to leave the country within 90 days. The ethnic cleansing was conducted in a climate of Indophobia, in which the Ugandan government claimed that the Indians were hoarding wealth and goods to the detriment of indigenous Ugandans and “sabotaging” the Ugandan economy. Many of the Indians were citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies and subsequently emigrated to the United Kingdom. Others became stateless after being stripped of Ugandan citizenship. Most of the Ugandan Indian refugees who were accounted for went to Britain, which took around 27,200 refugees. 6,000 refugees went to Canada, 4,500 refugees ended up in India and 2,500 refugees went to nearby Kenya. Malawi, Pakistan, West Germany and the United States took 1,000 refugees each, with smaller numbers emigrating to Australia, Austria, Sweden, Norway Mauritius and New Zealand. About 20,000 refugees were unaccounted for. All were stripped of their businesses and property.
August 7 1978 President Jimmy Carter declared a federal emergency at Love Canal due to toxic waste that had been disposed of negligently. en years after the incident, New York State Health Department Commissioner David Axelrod stated that Love Canal would long be remembered as a “national symbol of a failure to exercise a sense of concern for future generations.”
August 7 2004 After agonizing for a month, Sgt. Joseph Darby reported that his fellow soldiers were abusing Iraqi prisoners. He turned in two CD’s of photos that revealed inmates hooded and naked being led around on a leash like dogs.
August 8 1942 The Quit India Movement was launched at the Bombay session of the All India Congress Committee in response to Gandhi’s call for immediate independence of India. In a speech at the Gowalia Tank Maidan, renamed August Revolution Ground, Gandhi urged Indians to follow a course of non-violent civil disobedience to bring the British Govt. to the negotiating table. He told the masses to act as an independent nation and not to follow the orders of the British. His call “to Do or Die” found support among a large number of Indians.
August 8 1970 Janis Joplin bought a gravestone for blues legend Bessie Smith, who was buried in an unmarked grave after she died in a car accident in 1937. Joplin often called Smith’s raspy blues voice her greatest inspiration. The marker, in Mount Lawn Cemetery in Sharon Hill, PA, reads, “The Greatest Blues Singer in the World Will Never Stop Singing.”
August 8 1974 President Richard M. Nixon resigned from office, the first U.S. president ever to do so. The House Judiciary Committee had, with bipartisan support, voted for three articles of impeachment: obstruction of justice, abuse of power and contempt of Congress.
August 8 1988 In what is known as the 8888 uprising, Burmese students begin protesting for a return to democracy and were joined Burmese citizens from all walks of life, including Buddhist monks. The demonstrations were peaceful and spread from the Burmese capital to other cities in Burma. As the numbers of protesters grew Burma’s military government leader Ne Win put military soldiers on the streets with orders, “That Guns were not to shoot upwards.” It is estimated that the soldiers killed more than 2,500 students and Buddhist monks before the uprising ended . (Burma was renamed Myanmar the next year.)
August 8 1999 A 53-mile peace walk commemorating the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended near Clam Lake, Wisconsin, at the site of the U.S. Navy’s Project Elf (extremely low frequency) submarine communications transmitter. Twelve of the demonstrators were arrested for trespassing, adding to the nearly 500 previously arrested for sit-ins, Citizen Inspections, blockades and disarmament actions at the transmitter site in Ashland County.
August 9 1854 Henry David Thoreau published “Walden,” which described his experiences living near Walden Pond in Massachusetts.
August 9 1925 Ku Klux Klan members flooded Washington; Pennsylvania Avenue was awash in white robes and official Klansmen asserted that they had met their quota of 50,000 marchers. As they awaited the speeches of high ranking Klan officials rain, thunder, and lightening broke up the crowd that met on Saturday. However, many stayed for meetings on Sunday. They went to the tomb of the unknown soldier and burned a gigantic cross. A huge number of women, garbed in white robes, marched alongside of the men.
August 9 1956 20,000 women demonstrated against the pass laws in Pretoria, South Africa. Pass laws required that Africans carry identity documents with them at all times.
August 9 1966 Two hundred people sat in at the New York City offices of Dow Chemical Company to protest the widespread use in Vietnam of Dow’s flammable defoliant Napalm.
August 9 2007 Mauritania passed a law criminalizing slavery for the first time.
August 10 1883 Adrian “Cap” Anson refused to field his visiting Chicago White Stockings team in an exhibition baseball game if the Toledo Mud Hens included star catcher Moses Fleetwood Walker in their lineup. Anson, who grew up in slave-holding Iowa, said he wouldn’t share the diamond with a non-white player. After more than an hour’s delay, Charlie Morton, the Toledo manager, insisted that if Chicago forfeited the game, it would also lose its share of the gate receipts; Anson relented. Morton had not planned to have Walker catch due to injury, but insisted on putting him in at centerfield, despite Cap Anson’s objections.
August 10 1931 The Wickersham Commission, appointed by President Herbert Hoover, was the first federal study of the American criminal justice system. It published 14 volumes on different aspects of crime and criminal justice. The most famous report was “Lawlessness in Law Enforcement,” issued on this day. It created a sensation as a blistering account of police abuse of citizens, including widespread physical brutality, prolonged detention, and coercion of confessions.
August 10 1988 President George H.W. Bush signed legislation apologizing and compensating for the World War II internment of Japanese Americans.
August 11 1943 Conscientious objectors at the Danbury Federal Prison in Connecticut, incarcerated for refusing to cooperate with the draft during World War II, staged a hunger strike to protest racial segregation of the dining hall. The strike, which began on this day, lasted 135 days, ending on December 23, 1943, when the warden announced that the dining hall would soon be integrated.
August 11 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed to protect and preserve the traditional religious rights and cultural practices of American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, and Native Hawaiians. These rights include, but are not limited to, access to sacred sites, freedom to worship through ceremonial and traditional rights, and use and possession of objects considered sacred, such as eagle feathers or bones and peyote.
August 12 1883 The world’s last quagga, a now-extinct subspecies of plains zebra that lived in South Africa, died at the Artis Magistra zoo in Amsterdam, Netherlands
August 12 1949 The IV Geneva Convention was adopted. Based on the experiences of World War II, it granted additional protections to civilians in wartime, including an agreement that occupiers would not settle occupied territory with their own people.
August 12 1998 Representatives of Swiss banks and holocaust survivors agreed to a settlement of $1.25 billion in reparations for victims of the Nazi regime.
August 13 1906 The Brownsville Raid, an alleged rampage by soldiers from the all-black Twenty-fifth United States Infantry, resulted in the largest summary dismissals in the history of the United States Army. The battalion arrived at Brownsville, then a community of 6,000, from recent duty in the Philippines and Fort Niobrara, Nebraska. A reported attack on a white woman during the night of August 12 incensed many townspeople and an early curfew was imposed. Around midnight, a bartender and policeman were shot. Although the officers swore that the curfew was not violated and all of the soldiers denied the shootings, civilian and military investigations presumed the guilt of the soldiers without identifying individual culprits. On November 5 President Theodore Roosevelt summarily discharged “without honor” all 167 enlisted men. This action of Roosevelt shocked his black constituency and moved the controversy to the national stage. In 1972, President Richard Nixon pardoned the men and granted them honorable discharges, most of whom had since died.
August 13 1961 The city of Berlin was divided as East Germany sealed off the border between the city’s eastern (Soviet Union-controlled) and western (American-, British- and French-controlled) sectors in order to halt the flight of economic and political refugees to the West. Two days later, work began on the Berlin Wall.
August 14 1904 The cattle-herding Hereros, a tribe of Southwest Africa (later Namibia), became the first genocide victims of the 20th century. Kaiser Wilhelm II had sent General Lothar von Trotha to put down a Herero uprising along with the groups of rebellious Khoikhoi. Trotha drove the Hereros into the desert and then issued a formal “extermination order” (Schrecklichkeit) authorizing the slaughter of all who refused to surrender. Out of some 80,000 Hereros, 60,000 died in the desert. Of the 15,000 who surrendered, half of those died in prison camps. Some 9,000 escaped to neighboring countries.
August 14 1912 The US Public Health Service was established under the Dept. of the Treasury by the Public Health and Marine Hospital Service Act.
August 14 1935 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law, creating unemployment compensation, old-age benefits and aid to dependent children.
August 14 1936 Rainey Bethea was hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky in the last public execution in the United States.
August 14 1941 In the German Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, a group of prisoners had been chosen by the camp’s commander for death by starvation. Roman Catholic Fr. Maximilian Maria Kolbe offered himself for death instead of one of the condemned because the man had a family he needed to be alive to support. Fr. Kolbe was put to death on this day by lethal injection following two weeks of starvation. Pope John Paul II declared him a Saint in 1982.
August 14 1948 The States’ Rights Party was formed by southern Democrats (usually called Dixiecrats) who walked out of the Democratic Party Convention in July because of that party’s strong civil rights plank. South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond became the States’ Rights Party’s candidate for president. On this day, the party adopted a defense of racial segregation in its platform: “We stand for the segregation of the races and the racial integrity of each race; the constitutional right to choose one’s associates; to accept private employment without governmental interference, and to earn one’s living in any lawful way. We oppose the elimination of segregation, the repeal of miscegenation statutes, the control of private employment by Federal bureaucrats called for by the misnamed civil rights program. We favor home-rule, local self-government and a minimum interference with individual rights.”
August 14 1980 Some 17,000 Polish workers, led by Lech Walesa, began a 17-day strike at the Lenin Shipyards in Gdansk. This resulted in the creation of the Solidarity labor movement.
August 14 2000 The Democratic convention opened in Los Angeles at Staples Auditorium. Demonstrators fought with police following a concert by the band Rage Against the Machine. The concert followed a “March of Corporate Shame” through downtown LA. VIDEO
August 14 2002 Mexican President Vicente Fox angrily canceled a scheduled meeting with President Bush hours after Texas executed a Mexican national for killing a Dallas police officer despite pleas from the Mexican leadership. Javier Suarez Medina, a Mexican national, was never told he could contact the Mexican consulate for help after his 1988 arrest, a violation of the 1963 Vienna Convention of Consular Relations.
August 14 2011 Chinese state media said authorities in the northeastern port city of Dalian ordered a petrochemical plant be shut down after more than 12,000 people demonstrated over pollution concerns. Calls to relocate the plant grew after waves from Tropical Storm Muifa broke a dike guarding it on August 8 and raised fears that flood waters could release toxic chemicals.
August 14 2012 In Tunisia, thousands of protesters gathered in the capital, Tunis, to protest against moves made by the Islamist-controlled government which could potentially reduce women’s rights. The concern was over wording in a draft of the new constitution for the country that stated that women were “complementary” to men.
August 14 2012 Malaysia’s PM Najib Razak said he would review a legal amendment that critics claim threatens free expression online after they staged a one-day “Internet blackout.” NGOs, bloggers and opposition politicians staged the protest earlier in the day by replacing their homepages with black screens featuring messages attacking the new section of the Evidence Act, which went into effect in April despite widespread opposition.
August 14 2015 The US Embassy in Havana, Cuba re-opened after 54 years of being closed when Cuba–United States relations were broken off.
August 15 1819 The Peterloo Massacre occurred at St Peter’s Field, Manchester, England, , when cavalry charged into a peaceful crowd of 60,000–80,000 that had gathered to demand the reform of parliamentary representation.
August 15 1876 Congress passed a law to remove the Lakota Sioux and their allies from the Black Hills country of South Dakota after gold was found there. Often referred to as the “starve or sell” bill, it provided that no further appropriations would be made for 1868 Treaty-guaranteed rations for the Sioux unless they gave up their sacred Black Hills, or Paha Sapa. That treaty had granted them the territory and hunting rights in exchange for peace.
August 15 1967 The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking at a Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta, urged a massive civil disobedience drive in northern cities. Responding to the widespread rioting there, he said, “It is purposeless to tell Negroes they should not be enraged when they should be . . . Civil disobedience can utilize the militance wasted in riots . . . .”
August 15 1967 Convinced that foreign governments were behind anti-Vietnam War protests, President Lyndon Johnson ordered Central Intelligence Agency Director Richard Helms to begin spying on the anti-war movement. The exact date of the meeting is not known, but this day marks the first official CIA memo on the program. Although Helms told LBJ that such a program would be illegal, LBJ ordered him to do it anyway. The CIA delivered four reports on the anti-war movement, all of which concluded that the anti-war movement was home-grown. LBJ rejected the conclusions of all four of them and remained convinced that the anti-war movement was influenced or controlled by foreign governments. The CIA domestic spying program grew in size and was later renamed Operation Chaos. It was exposed by The New York Times on December 22, 1974.
August 15 1975 One hundred Native American protesters took over the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) building in Portland, Oregon, in response to the killing of Joseph Stuntz, member of the American Indian Movement (AIM) who was killed in a shootout with FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
August 15 1996 In South Korea some 6,000 police clashed with 7,000 students who protested for reunification with North Korea and the removal of 37,000 US troops.
August 15 1998 In Britain it was reported that 6,000 mink from a fur farm in Ringworm had been released by animal rights activists. The released mink caused a wildlife disaster as they preyed on all wildlife.
August 15 2007 In Kenya hundreds of journalists wearing black gags marched silently through Nairobi to protest a proposed law that would allow courts to compel reporters to reveal their sources.
August 15 2012 Australia highest court upheld the world’s toughest law on cigarette promotion, which prohibits tobacco companies from displaying their logos on cigarette packs. Starting in December, packs will instead come in a uniformly drab shade of olive and feature graphic health warnings and images of cancer-riddled mouths, blinded eyeballs and sickly children.
August 16 1819 English police charged unemployed demonstrators at St. Peter’s Field in the Manchester Massacre. 11 people were killed in the Peterloo massacre. The press responded with a volley of attacks that included “The Political House that Jack Built” by William Hone and illustrator George Cruikshank.
August 16 1846 When President John Tyler vetoed a second attempt by Congress to re-establish the Bank of the United States, angry congressman who supported the bank stormed down Pennsylvania Avenue, gathered outside the White House and burned an effigy of Tyler.
August 16 1894 Chiefs from the Sioux & Onondaga tribes met to urge their people to renounce Christianity and return to their traditional beliefs.
August 16 1971 A memo from White House Counsel John Dean set forth his ideas about using federal agencies, such as the IRS, to punish people the Nixon administration believed were their enemies. The list was exposed in the Watergate hearings two years later. JOHN DEAN: “This memorandum addresses the matter of how we can maximize the fact of our incumbency in dealing with persons known to be active in their opposition to our Administration; stated a bit more bluntly — how we can use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.”
August 16 2001 In Nepal the government outlawed discrimination against members of the lowest caste, the Dalits, who would be free to enter any temple or religious structure.
August 16 2005 The Bush administration reduced the estimated value of recreation in national forests from $111 billion to $11 billion. Environmentalists warned the new Forest Service assessment could be used to justify increased logging.
August 16 2005 In Taize, France, Brother Roger, the 90-year-old founder of an ecumenical religious community dedicated to peace and reconciliation, was knifed to death by an apparently deranged Romanian woman at an evening prayer service attended by 2,500 people. Brother Roger founded the Taize religious community in 1940 emphasizing the need for all Christians to come together in peace, love and reconciliation.
August 16 2007 A CARE spokeswoman said the donation of wheat and other crops does not help in regions where people consistently go hungry because local farming has been weakened by international competition. The Atlanta-based group turned down $46 million worth of US food aid, arguing that the way the American government distributes its help hurts poor farmers. CARE was founded in the United States in 1945 when it sent food parcels to Europe. The name stood for ‘Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe’. As CARE’s activities broadened, this was changed to the ‘Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere’. Today the name is used in its own right rather than as an acronym.
August 16 2010 US-based Rapaport Diamond Trading Network, one of the world’s largest diamond trading networks, said it will expel members who knowingly trade Zimbabwean stones tainted by allegations of killings and human rights abuses.
August 16 2010 In Bolivia protesters suspended road blockades and hunger strikes, saying government officials agreed to address their grievances after 19 days of demonstrations that paralyzed Bolivia’s southern Potosi region. The government agreed to build a new airport and cement factory in the area to end the 3-weeks of roadblocks.
August 16 2011 In India anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare (74), arrested for planning a public hunger strike, began his fast behind bars as his supporters held protests across the country, with thousands detained by police. The government decided to release as public anger rose, but Hazare refused to leave jail unless he was given written permission to resume his fast in a park in central Delhi.
August 16 2012 A solar powered toilet that turns urine and feces into hydrogen and electricity won a $100,000 first prize in the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge in Seattle, sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
August 17 1870 Esther Morris was named a justice of the peace in South Pass City, Wyoming, the first woman to hold public office in the US.
August 17 1915 Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager, was lynched by a mob of anti-Semites in Cob County, Georgia. He had been convicted in the killing of Mary Phagan, a 13-year-old girl who worked at his pencil factory. The governor believed him innocent and commuted his death sentence in June.
August 17 1962 East German border guards shoot & kill Peter Fechter, an 18 year old bricklayer, as he attempted to cross the Berlin Wall into the western sector. Fechter was shot in the pelvis in plain view of hundreds of witnesses. He fell back into the death-strip on the Eastern side, where he remained in view of Western onlookers. Despite his screams, he received no medical assistance from the East side, and could not be tended to by those on the West side. Western police threw him bandages, which he could not reach. He bled to death after approximately one hour.
August 17 1982 The first draft resister since the Vietnam era, Enten Eller, was convicted. A member of the Church of the Brethren, an historic peace church, he received probation with two years’ alternative service for refusing to register for the draft. Support demonstrations occurred all over the U.S. “I have not registered simply because the U.S. Government has asked be to do something God would not have me do,” Eller wrote in a statement describing his position on this issue. Today, the Selective Service System accommodates conscientious objectors by allowing them to apply for CO status at the time of registration.
August 17 1915 Leo Frank, a Jewish-American in Atlanta, Georgia, was lynched by a mob in Marietta, Georgia, one of the worst incidents of anti-Semitism of the period. Frank had been convicted of the murder of Mary Phagan, who worked at a factory where he was a superintendent. Frank was the last person to see Phagan alive, but there were many questions about whether he was in fact guilty. In 1986, Frank was granted a pardon because of the failure of authorities to protect him when he was lynched. Reportedly, half of the Jews living in Georgia left after the lynching. The lynching was closely related to the revival of the Ku Klux Klan, which was newly organized at Stone Mountain, Georgia,, three months after the lynching. The Klan in this period directed its hatred against Catholics and Jews almost as much as African-Americans, particularly in states outside the South.
August 18 1856 Congress passed The Guano Islands Act, which enables citizens of the U.S. to take possession of islands containing guano deposits so long as they are not occupied and not within the jurisdiction of other governments. It also empowers the President of the United States to use the military to protect such interests. Guano, bird, bat and seal poop, was prized as a source of saltpeter for gunpowder as well as an agricultural fertilizer. More than 100 islands have been claimed for the U.S. under the Guano Islands Act.
August 18 1920 The Nineteenth Amendment granting women the right to vote was ratified when Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment. Anti-women’s suffrage forces attempted to reverse the state’s ratification; the governor finally signed the certificate of ratification on August 24th. U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed the Nineteenth Amendment into law on August 26th. Women voted in presidential elections for the first time on November 2, 1920.
August 18 1964 South Africa was banned from taking part in the 18th Olympic Games in Tokyo due to the country’s refusal to reform its racially separatist apartheid system.
August 18 2008 Tens of thousands of Muslims waving green and black protest flags gathered in Indian Kashmir’s main city for a march to UN offices demanding freedom from India and intervention by the world body.
August 18 2010 A leading Venezuelan newspaper replaced front-page photos with the word “censored” to protest a court’s month-long ban on the publication of information and photos about violence.
August 18 2011 Chile officially recognized 9,800 more victims of the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990), increasing the total number of people killed, tortured or imprisoned for political reasons to 40,018. Victims, relatives of those killed and survivors were entitled to benefits and compensation.
August 19 1749 According to the Texas State History Association, on this day four Apache chiefs, accompanied by many followers, buried a hatchet, along with other instruments of war, in a peace Ceremony in San Antonio. TSHA states that the ceremony indicated the Apache’s conversion to Christianity in exchange for protection by the Spanish from Comanche raids. The plaque embedded in Main Plaza in 2008 tells a different story, and cites a different date and year: Captain Toribio de Urrutia and Fray Santa Ana now determined to do their best to establish a permanent and lasting peace with the Apache nation. …this was a great day for San Antonio. After thirty years of depredations, the harassed settlement was about to secure, as was thought, a lasting peace. Early in the morning the plaza began to fill with an eager throng… First, a great hole was dug in the center of the plaza, and in this were placed a live horse, a hatchet, a lance, and six arrows, all instruments of war. Then Captain Urrutia and the four chiefs, joining hands, danced three times around the hole, the Indians afterwards doing the same with the priests and the citizens. When this ceremony was concluded, all retired to their respective places. Then, upon a given signal, all rushed to the hold and rapidly buried the live horse, together with the weapons, thus signifying the end of war…
August 19 1791 Benjamin Banneker sends a copy of his just-published almanac to Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, along with an appeal on behalf of African-Americans’ “humiliating condition (slavery)…”
August 19 1839 The French government announced that Louis Daguerre’s photographic process is a gift “free to the world”.
August 19 1989 The “Pan-European Picnic” helped precipitate the fall nearly three months later of the Berlin Wall. Members of Hungary’s budding opposition organized a picnic at the border with Austria to press for greater political freedom and promote friendship with their Western neighbors.
August 19 1998 In Italy the Assicurazioni Generali insurance company announced that it will pay $100 million to Holocaust survivors and the heirs of victims for life insurance and annuity policies that it refused to honor after WW II.
August 20 1619 The first Africans were brought to Jamestown, Virginia, as servants.
August 20 2014 Russian police arrested four people who climbed a Moscow skyscraper, attached a Ukrainian flag to its spire and painted the upper part of the massive golden-colored star on top of the spire blue, so that it would also resemble the yellow-blue Ukrainian national flag. They were charged with vandalism and face a fine of 40,000 rubles (around $1,100), correctional labor of up to a year or up to 3 months’ detention. “It’s symbolic that today, perhaps, the tallest skyscraper in Moscow was painted in our colors,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page. “I invite Ukrainians around the world to put out Ukrainian flags on the eve of our Independence Day as part of Our Colors Initiative. Glory to Ukraine!”
August 21 1939 In an action coordinated by a young black attorney, five African-American men applied for library cards in Alexandria, Virginia’s new library. When they were refused because of their race, each quietly took a book from the shelves, sat down and read. They were arrested for disorderly conduct. Their case went to court in September. In January a judge ruled that Alexandria must issue library cards to it Black taxpayers. Within days, hundreds applied. The city then immediately appropriated funds to build a “separate but equal” black library,; it opened in April and was far inferior to the white library. The Alexandria libraries did not integrate until the 1960s.
August 21 1944 The US, Britain, the Soviet Union and China opened the Dumbarton Oaks conference in Washington, D.C. It laid the foundation for the establishment of the UN.
August 21 1968 The Czechoslovakian people spontaneously, nonviolently and ultimately unsuccessfully resisted invasion of their country of 14 million by hundreds of thousands of troops and 5,000+ tanks from the Soviet Union and four other Warsaw Pact countries. The troops were enforcing the overthrow and arrest of Alexander Dubček and his government, who had been implementing significant democratic reforms known collectively as “socialism with a human face,” or the Prague Spring.
August 21 1983 Exiled popular Philippine political leader Benigno Aquino was assassinated by soldiers of the Aviation Security Command as he crossed the tarmac at Manila International Airport. He had spent three years of asylum in the U.S. Upon his return, he intended to lead the political opposition to Pres. Ferdinand Marcos and the martial law he had imposed. The Aquino funeral drew millions and gave impetus to the broad-based People’s Power movement which eventually forced Marcos from power.
August 21 2008 Protests were held in Mbabane, the capital of Swaziland, by hundreds of women. The women protested against a shopping trip to Europe and the Middle East by nine of the king’s wives. As one of the poorest countries in the world, the protesters believed the money could be spent in a better way.
August 22 1849 The 2nd International Peace Congress met for three days in Salle Sainte-Cecile, Paris, with Victor Hugo as President. Hugo called for the creation of a United States of Europe. Hugo, then in exile on the Island of Guernsey, planted a tree in the grounds of his residence, saying that when this tree matured the United States of Europe would have come into being. This tree is still growing in the gardens there.
August 22 1864 In Geneva, Switzerland, representatives of 12 nations agreed to sign the First Geneva Contention “for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field.” By 1866 twenty countries had signed. 194 states were signatories as of 2008.
August 22 1924 The famed attorney Clarence Darrow on this day gave a celebrated closing argument in the trial of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, on trial for the murder of Bobby Franks in Chicago. The two highly intellectual sons of wealthy parents committed the murder to see if they could commit the perfect crime. Darrow’s closing argument lasted for an incredible 12 hours as he pleaded that the defendants not be sentenced to death. (He did not argue that they were innocent.) Darrow was a passionate and longtime opponent of the death penalty. At the end of his argument, the judge was in tears, and he then sentenced the two to life in prison.
August 22 1964 Fannie Lou Hamer, leader of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), testified in front of the Credentials Committee at the Democratic National Convention. She was challenging the all-white delegation that the segregated regular Mississippi Democrats had sent to the presidential nominating convention. Mississippi’s Democratic Party excluded African Americans from participation. The MFDP, on the other hand, sought to create a racially inclusive new party, signing up 60,000 members.
August 22 1971 The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) arrested twenty in Camden, New Jersey, and five in Buffalo, New York, for conspiracy to steal and destroy draft records. Eventually known as the Camden 28, most were Roman Catholic activists, including four priests, and a Lutheran minister.
August 23 1927 Italian-born anarchist immigrants Nicola Sacco (right) and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, convicted of murder in 1921, were executed in Boston in spite of worldwide protests. On April 15, 1920, a paymaster and his guard at a shoe factory in Braintree, Massachusetts, were killed in a robbery. In the national climate of suspicion of anarchists, communists and foreigners in general, Sacco and Vanzetti, two admitted radicals, were arrested for the crime and convicted on flimsy circumstantial evidence in a trial presided over by the openly prejudiced Judge Webster Thayer. For six years, the two gained support as they attempted to obtain a new trial, but their request was denied even after a convicted killer confessed to the 1920 murders. In April 1927, Judge Thayer sentenced Sacco and Vanzetti to die in the electric chair. In 1977 Sacco and Vanzetti were vindicated when Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis established a memorial in the victims’ honor.
August 23 1948 The World Council of Churches (WCC) was formed in Amsterdam by delegates from 147 churches to help reconcile differences among Christians.
August 23 1954 The small community of Charleston, Arkansas, became the first in the South to end segregation in its schools. This was in response to the May 17 US Supreme Court ruling on Brown vs. Board of Education.
August 23 1971 Shamu the Whale, the 1st of a number of Shamus, died at Sea World in San Diego, Ca., after 6 years in captivity.
August 23 1989 Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — the three nations living by the Baltic Sea — surprised the world by taking hold of each other’s hands and jointly demanding the re-establishment of the independence of the Baltic States, which was bargained away by the Germans & Russians in the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact in the early days of World War II. More than a million people joined hands to create a 400 mile long human chain from the foot of Toompea in Tallinn to the foot of the Gediminas Tower in Vilnius, crossing Riga and the River Daugava on its way, creating a synergy in the drive for freedom that united the three countries.
August 23 1999 In Jordan the National Popular Campaign for Ending So-Called Honor Crimes began efforts to get rights for women and harsher laws against men who kill female relatives for family honor.
August 23 2014 7,500 people from 27 countries formed an 8-kilometer long human chain across the German-Polish border to protest opencast brown coal (lignite) mining, which could entail the destruction of villages in both countries.
August 24 1662 An Act of Uniformity, a part of the Clarendon Code (1661-1665), was passed by the English Parliament and required that England’s college fellows and clergymen accept the newly published Book of Common Prayer.
August 24 1967 Led by Abbie Hoffman, the Youth International Party temporarily disrupted trading at the New York Stock Exchange by throwing dollar bills from the viewing gallery, causing trading to cease as brokers scrambled to grab them.
August 24 1970 United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC) leader Cesar Chavez called for a consumer boycott of lettuce to support the strike against lettuce growers who would not negotiate contracts with the farm workers for decent wages and working conditions.
August 24 2008 In India about 40,000 protesters surrounded the Tata Motors factory slated to produce the Nano, the world’s cheapest car, alleging land for the site was forcibly taken from local farmers. A day earlier Ratan Tata, whose Tata Motors is India’s top vehicle-maker, warned he would move the plant out of the state if the demonstrations kept up, although his company has already invested 350 million dollars in the project.
August 25 1950 The University of California Regents voted to fire 31 faculty members who refused to sign a Loyalty Oath. The state Supreme Court declared the University of California loyalty oath unconstitutional on October 17, 1952. The oath stated, in part, “I am not a member of the Communist Party or any other organization which advocates the overthrow of the Government by force or violence, and that I have no commitments in conflict with my responsibilities with respect to impartial scholarship and free pursuit of truth.”
August 25 2004 ACT UP protested naked outside of Penn Station on the eve of the Republican National Convention in NYC, demanding that the Bush Administration drop the debt of poor countries with large HIV/AIDS epidemics. ACT UP & Health GAP and allies pushed for debt reduction in a sustained movement with other allies that resulted in over $100 billion of debt cancelled in 29 countries–freeing up money to pay for the fight against AIDS and to pay health workers instead of paying back rich-countries’ banks.
August 26 1789 The French National Assembly agreed to a document known as the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen,” a set of principles for gauging the legitimacy of any governing system. It included: Men are born and remain free and equal in rights; Those rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression; Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; and The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man.
August 26 1920 The 19th amendment (women’s suffrage) was ratified, making it legal for the first time for women in the United States to participate in elections.
August 26 1999 In Tibet Tashi Tsering, a carpenter, lowered the Chinese flag in the capital and attempted to put up the banned Tibetan flag. He was arrested and died on Oct 13 from beatings while under Chinese police custody.
August 26 2012 In Togo women in the civil rights group “Let’s Save Togo” said they will have a week long sex strike to demand the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbé.
August 27 1685 The Strasbourg Agreement, signed between France and the Holy Roman Empire, banned the use of poison bullets in conflict. The next major agreement on chemical weapons did not occur until the 1925 Geneva Protocol.
August 27 1928 The Kellogg–Briand Pact (officially the General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy) was an international agreement in which signatory states promised not to use war to resolve “disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them.” It was signed by Germany, France and the United States on August 27 and by most other nations soon after. The Pact renounced the use of war and called for the peaceful settlement of disputes. Ultimately, the pact blurred the legal distinction between war and peace because the signatories, having renounced the use of war, began to wage wars without declaring them as in the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, the Italian invasion of Abyssinia in 1935, the Soviet invasion of Finland in 1939, and the German and Soviet Union invasions of Poland.
August 27 2004 Thousands of cyclists snarled traffic in NYC and police said they arrested more than 250 people and confiscated their bicycles in the first significant protest against President Bush before the Republican convention.
August 27 2008 In Honolulu Marcus Eriksen and fellow eco-mariner Joel Paschal celebrated the end of their 2,600-mile voyage on what they call the JUNK raft. They had spent three months crossing the Pacific on a raft made of plastic bottles to raise awareness of ocean debris. Research suggested that every square kilometer of the ocean has an average of 13,000 pieces of plastic floating in it. The floating portion was thought to make up only 15% of marine litter.
August 28 1957 The Massachusetts legislature “cleared” six victims of the notorious 1692 Salem Witch Trials. The Salem Witch Hunt, in which twenty people were convicted and executed for being witches, is one of the worst examples of mass hysteria in American history. The resolution passed on this day named Ann Pudeator and five other unnamed persons.
August 28 1963 Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of half a million gathered on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
August 28 1976 60,000 joined the Community of Peace People demonstrations in Belfast and Dublin, Ireland. Peace People was founded by two women, Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan to decry the painful violence between Catholics and Protestants, between unionists and republicans, and to move the peace process forward in Northern Ireland. They jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize for 1976.
August 28 1987 The administration of President Ronald Reagan adopted a formal policy barring visas to people with the HIV infection. The policy was one of several similar policies that reflected both an indifference to the HIV/AIDS crisis and hostility to homosexuality. The policy was finally rescinded by the administration of President Barack Obama on January 5, 2010, when the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) removed HIV from the list of diseases that barred people from obtaining visas to enter the U.S.
August 28 2006 In South Africa Adriaan Vlok, whose ministry helped suppress anti-apartheid protests, last weekend visited the offices of the Rev. Frank Chikane, a top presidential aide, to apologize. Vlok brought his Bible and washed Chikane’s feet in an attempt to atone for the sins of the white racist regime that ruled the country until 1994.
August 28 2009 Denmark announced the 5 winners of its biennial Index design awards. The winners included:, of the SF Bay Area for bringing money and intellectual capital to the working poor; Better Place, of the SF Bay Area for a clean energy system for all-electric cars; the Freeplay fetal heart rate monitor; Philip Design for its India-team designed safe kitchen stove for one-room homes; and Rotterdam-based Pig 05049 for its list of 185 good and bad products made from a single pig.
August 29 1756 New Jersey established the first American Indian Reservation, on the edge of the Pine Barrens, near Burlington. Traditional Lenni Lenape lands encompassed the Delaware Valley of eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey from the Lehigh River south into eastern Delaware and the Delaware Bay, and western Long Island, New York Bay, and the Lower Hudson Valley in New York. In exchange for this 3,000 acres, they agreed to renounce all further claim to lands anywhere else in New Jersey, except for the right to fish in all the rivers and bays north of the Raritan River, and to hunt on unenclosed land. This community of Lenni-Lenape (Delaware) Indians did not last very long. The remnants of the tribe were eventually removed to Western reservations. Most Lenape now reside in the US state of Oklahoma, with some communities living also in Wisconsin, Ontario (Canada.) Some Delaware’s migrated to Texas; In 1847, John Meusebach was assisted by Delaware Jim Shaw in settling the German communities in the Texas Hill Country. In 1859, the US government forced the last of the Texas Delaware to move to Oklahoma.
August 29 1933 In response to an “outbreak of intolerance abroad,” notably the Nazis coming to power in Germany and the rise of militaristic fascist groups in the U.S., the National Conference of Christians and Jews began a speaking tour of the U.S. on this day, featuring representatives of the three major faiths in the country. The Rabbi, priest and minister were known as the “Tolerance Trio.”
August 29 1957 The U.S. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, the first such law since reconstruction. The bill established a Civil Rights Commission which was given the authority to investigate discriminatory conditions. A Civil Rights Division was created in the Department of Justice, allowing federal prosecutors to obtain court injunctions against interference with the right to vote, among other things. In an ultimately futile attempt to block passage, then-Democrat, former Dixiecrat, and later Republican Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina set the all-time filibuster record: 24 hours, 19 minutes of non-stop speaking on the floor of the Senate.
August 29 1958 Britain’s Notting Hill Riots began when a gang of white youths attacked a Swedish woman, Majbritt Morrison. The youths had seen her the previous night arguing with her Jamaican husband, Raymond, at Latimer Road tube station. This led to a series of violent demonstrations against non-white West Indians in the ethnically diverse northwest London neighborhood of Notting Hill and first drew public attention to the growing problem of racial tension in Britain.
August 29 1970 Some 30,000 Chicanos gathered in East Los Angeles’ Laguna Park at the culmination of the Chicano National Moratorium to protest the disproportionate number of deaths of Chicano soldiers in Vietnam. Three died when the anti-war march turned violent. The Los Angeles Police Department attacked and one gunshot, fired into the Silver Dollar Bar, killed Ruben Salazar, a Los Angeles Times columnist and a commentator on KMEX-TV.
August 29 1970 Members of the United Native Americans, with support from the American Indian Movement, occupied Mount Rushmore to reclaim the land that had been promised to the Oceti Sakowin (The Great Sioux Nation) in the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie in perpetuity. When gold was found in the mountains, prospectors migrated there in the 1870s and the federal government forced the Sioux to relinquish the Black Hills portion of their reservation. When park officials asked protesters how long they intended to stay, UNA president Lehman Brightman replied, “As long as the grass grows, the water flows, and the sun shines.” This phase referenced President Jackson’s, then General, promise to protect the life and land of the Native people of Mississippi before his massive campaign to exterminate them.
August 29 2004 Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the fortified streets of Manhattan to protest President Bush’s foreign and domestic policies as Republican delegates gathered to nominate the president for a second term. Organizers estimated up to 400,000 participants.
August 30 1861 Union General John Fremont declared martial law throughout Missouri and issued his own emancipation proclamation to free slaves in the state. However, Fremont’s order was countermanded days later by President Lincoln. Fremont was soon relieved of command after refusing Lincoln’s order to rescind his proclamation and adhere to the terms of the August 6 Confiscation Act, which treated slaves as confiscated property of the US government and did not grant them freedom.
August 30 1956 From the Texas State History Association: Though the Mansfield school district numbered fewer than 700 whites and sixty blacks in 1956, it segregated black children to an inferior elementary school. Black teenagers were obliged to ride public buses, which dropped them twenty blocks from a school in Fort Worth. In response to a suit brought by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on behalf of three black high school students, the Mansfield school district was the first in the state ordered by a federal court to desegregate. The school board acquiesced, but white citizens resisted, aided by the complicity of the mayor and chief of police. While some 100 other, mostly West Texas, school districts desegregated quietly that fall, angry mobs of 300 to 400 whites ringed Mansfield High School on August 30 and 31, preventing the enrollment of the three students. During demonstrations whites hanged three blacks in effigy, roughed up several outside observers, and threatened the sheriff. Downtown stores closed in a show of support. Vigilantes met all cars entering town, barring suspected sympathizers with integration. Governor Allan Shivers, calling the Mansfield demonstration an orderly protest, defied the federal court order by dispatching Texas Rangers to uphold segregation and authorizing the Mansfield school board to transfer black students to Fort Worth. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in the midst of a reelection campaign, did not intervene. The demonstrations ended as the segregated status quo was restored. A year before Little Rock, the Mansfield uprising was the nation’s first clear example of failure to enforce a federal court order for the desegregation of a public school. In 1965, faced with the loss of federal funds, the Mansfield school district quietly desegregated.
August 30 1940 Senpo Chinne Sugihara, the Japanese diplomat in Lithuania, received orders from Japan to stop issuing visas immediately. He disobeyed the order and continued issuing visas until the end of the month when the consulate closed. In all, Sugihara issued visas to some 3,500 Jewish refugees.
August 30 1971 Ten empty school buses were dynamited in Pontiac, Michigan, eight days before a school integration plan was to begin. Following Federal Judge Damon Keith’s finding that Pontiac’s school board had “intentionally” perpetuated segregation, a plan was developed by the board that included bussing of 8700 children. The bombers were later identified as leaders and members of the Ku Klux Klan, arrested, tried, convicted and imprisoned.
August 30 2015 120,000 of protesters rallied outside Japan’s parliament in Tokyo to oppose a proposed constitutional change that could see troops in the officially pacifist nation engage in combat for the first time since World War II. Protesters chanted “No to war legislation!” ”Scrap the bills now!” and “Abe, quit!” Other protests were held throughout the country. photo
August 31 1835 Angry mob in Charleston, South Carolina, seized US mail containing abolitionist literature and burned it in public.
August 31 1962 After over seven harsh years of war, Algeria claimed its independence from France in 1962. However, internal turmoil threatened Civil War. On August 31, 20,000 workers gathered in a square in Algiers for a rally organized by the General Union of Algerian Workers to protest the fighting between the two rival factions. Union leaders gave speeches to the assembly and the demonstrators shouted, “Seven years is enough!” The entire rally voted in favor of a general strike if a civil war began. The leaders of the one province addressed the crowd and called for them to stand without weapons before the tanks and machine guns and to shout in anger at the troops to prevent them from fighting. Several times unarmed citizens stood in rival factions way to prevent fighting. In the area of Boghari, when two groups of rival troops were about to meet, local villagers stood between the two groups and shouted to them, “No more bloodshed!” In another instance, local Algerians laid down in the road to prevent troops from moving towards each other. At the border between two provinces unarmed citizens again intervened with a demonstration, blocking the troops. After talking with the soldiers they were able to convince first the soldiers, then the officers, to lay down their weapons and shake hands with the other side. Although bloody confrontations continued, the peacemakers were able to leverage the memory of the devastating seven-year war for independence in order to deter an all out civil war.
August 31 1994 The Irish Republican Army (IRA) declared a permanent and “complete cessation of military operations” after 25 years of bombing and 3000 deaths (both republican and unionist) intended to end British control of Northern Ireland.
August 31 2013 Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, hosted TEDx talks. Academics, activists artists and entrepreneurs gathered to challenge the negative images of the infamously dangerous and war-ravaged city.
September 1 1914 The Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) became extinct when Martha, the last bird, died at age 29 in the Cincinnati Zoo. The species lived in enormous migratory flocks until the early 20th century, when hunting and habitat destruction led to its demise..
Passenger Pigeons
Slowly the passenger pigeons increased, then suddenly their numbers
Became enormous, they would flatten ten miles of forest
When they flew down to roost, & the cloud of their rising
Eclipsed the dawns. They became too many, they are all dead
Not one remains…
Robinson Jeffers
September 1 1987 The Olof Palme Peace March began, an 18-day-long transnational peace march/demonstration that took place in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany.). The peace march involved people from West Germany, East Germany and Czechoslovakia. It began at Stralsund on the Baltic Sea coast, and crossed the territory of East Germany, taking a far from direct route, to end at Dresden. It was considered remarkable because members of East German political opposition groups were permitted to participate in the march legally. The march was named to honor the former prime minister of Sweden, Olof Palme, who had been shot dead by an unidentified assailant on a Stockholm street the previous year Palme had opposed the nuclear arms race and advocated a nuclear weapons-free corridor in central Europe.
September 1 1987 In California S. Brian Wilson (46), Vietnam veteran, had his legs sliced off when a munitions train at the Concord Naval Weapons Station ran him over during the Nuremberg Actions protest against weapons shipments to Central America.
September 1 1997 Kurdish and British activists blockaded an arms trade exhibition outside London. Eighty nine members of Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT)were arrested for protesting the presence of Turkish, Chinese and Indonesian government representatives in Britain to purchase weapons.
September 1 2001 In Durban, South Africa, a variety of African leaders at the UN World Conference Against Racism demanded apologies, and in some cases financial reparations, from Western countries that benefited from slavery and colonization of African countries for over 3 centuries. Activists at the conference developed a strategy, later known as “BDS,” that included boycotts, divestments and sanctions, to push their agenda.
September 2 1885 A mob of white coal miners, led by the Knights of Labor, violently attacked their Chinese co-workers in Rock Springs, Wyoming, killing 28 and burning the homes of 75 Chinese families. The white miners wanted the Chinese barred from working in the mine. The mine owners and operators had brought in the Chinese ten years earlier to keep labor costs down and to suppress strikes.
September 2 1939 FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover on this day established a Custodial Detention Index of people to be rounded up and detained in case of a U.S. national emergency. The list reflected Hoover’s political prejudices against left-wing and liberal activists and included no due process provisions for people on the secret list.
September 2 1998 A United Nations court found Jean-Paul Akayesu, the former mayor of a small town in Rwanda, guilty of nine counts of genocide, marking the first time that the 1948 law banning genocide was enforced.
September 2 2009 In El Salvador Christian Poveda, a French filmmaker who recently made a documentary about the lives of members of El Salvador’s street gangs, was found shot dead in Tonacatepeque, a rural region north of San Salvador. Earlier this year, Poveda, made the documentary “La Vida Loca,” which follows the lives of members
September 2 2009 Vietnamese authorities arrested blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh at her home in Nha Trang. Quynh’s arrest was the latest in a series of police moves against writers who criticized government policies toward China. The government tightened its rules for bloggers earlier in the year year, saying they must restrict their writings to personal matters.
September 3 1838 Frederick Douglass made his escape from slavery in Baltimore and went on in life to become an abolitionist, journalist, author, and human rights advocate.
September 3 1940 In France more than 700,000 books were seized from bookshops and destroyed. The “Otto lists,” or liste Otto, were comprised of books banned by the German occupying authorities in Vichy France. By September, 1940, 1,060 titles were on the list. The list aimed to ban anti-German, antifascist, pro-Marxists books, works by Jewish authors and British and American books.
September 3 1963 President. Johnson signed the Wilderness Act and designated 9 million acres as an area “where the Earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” It allowed for roadless federal lands to qualify for wilderness protection.
September 4 1894 Twelve thousand New York tailors went out on strike to protest the sweatshop system that exploited their labor for half a year and then gave them no work off for the other half. Their demands were “for a ten hours’ day, from 7 A.M. to 6 P.M., with an hour off at noon, a weekly minimum wage, and a weekly pay-day.
September 4 1948 As the performers and 20,000 concert-goers left a benefit concert given by Paul Robeson, Pete Seeger and others in Peekskill, NY they were attacked by an angry mob who objected to their support for unions, integration, worker’s rights and peace. More than 140 people were injured in what has come to be known as the Peekskill Riots.
September 4 1950 In August 1949, Euless, TX school superintendent O. B. Powell attempted to transfer forty-six black students from the Mosier Valley community to “colored” schools in Fort Worth, claiming that busing them would be cheaper than maintaining the ramshackle Mosier Valley facility. On this day, Mosier Valley parents and thirty-five grade-school students entered the all-White Euless school and tried to enroll. A crowd of some 150 whites gathered outside, harassed photographers, and jeered as the blacks later filed out. Powell told the blacks that state segregation laws took precedence over all others. Under federal duress, in 1968 the Mosier Valley school closed and the Euless district was fully integrated.
September 4 1957 Arkansas National Guard troops prevented nine African-American students from entering Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.
September 4 1970 During the Labor Day weekend of September 4–7, 1970, Operation RAW (“Rapid American Withdrawal”) took place. It was a three-day protest march from Morristown, New Jersey, to Valley Forge State Park in Pennsylvania by over 200 veterans. Vietnam Veterans Against the War were joined by members of “Nurses for Peace” and other peace groups. The march was designed to dramatize a Vietnam-type search and destroy mission as they passed through numerous towns. Upon entering each town along the march, the group made sweeps, took and interrogated prisoners, seized property and cleared homes with the aid of previously planted “guerrilla theater” actors portraying civilians. The 86-mile-long march culminated in a four-hour rally at Valley Forge attended by more than 1,500 people.
September 4 2005 In Nepal police fired tear gas and used bamboo batons to stop pro-democracy demonstrators from marching into the capital’s center, arresting former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala (80) and dozens of other protesters.
September 4 2009 Thousands of opponents of Hugo Chavez marched against the Venezuelan president across Latin America, accusing him of everything from authoritarianism to international meddling. The protests, coordinated through Twitter and Facebook, drew more than 5,000 people in Bogota, and thousands more in the capitals of Venezuela and Honduras. Smaller demonstrations were held in other Latin American capitals, as well as New York and Madrid.
September 4 2010 In France Roma migrants whose camp was bulldozed led a protest in Paris against the French government’s security crackdown, with similar demonstrations taking place across the country and abroad.
September 4 2010 Thousands of Indonesian Muslims rallied outside the US Embassy in Jakarta to denounce an American church’s plan to mark the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by burning copies of the Quran.
September 4 2015 Indigenous Mayans of Guatemala took to the streets and overturned the “Monsanto Law,” passed in July, which would have given multinational corporations such control over corn seed that it would have made their traditional farming methods, which include saving seed corn, impossible. The Monsanto Law in Guatemala meant that farmers would not be allowed to grow food from natural seeds. They would have to license patented seeds from transnational companies such as Monsanto, and pay patent fees even if GM seeds got mixed with their natural crop as a result of pollination or wind. photo
September 5 1882 More than 10,000 workers demanding the 8-hour day marched to protest working conditions in the first-ever U.S. Labor Day parade, held in New York City. About a quarter million New Yorkers turned out to watch. Originally the second Tuesday of the month, it is now the first Monday, and recognized as a national holiday.
September 5 1958 Martin Luther King was arrested in an Alabama protest for loitering and fined $14 for refusing to obey police.
September 5 1980 The opera “Satyagraha” by Philip Glass, commissioned by the city of Rotterdam, was first performed by the Netherlands Opera.
September 5 1981 The Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp was established outside Greenham Air Base in England, as “Women For Life On Earth.”
September 5 2002 In Illinois Judge Harold Frobish of Livingston County ruled that prison inmates can choose to starve themselves rather than endure years of solitary confinement and that right outweighs the state’s duty to keep them alive.
September 5 2013 In Indonesia some 1,000 members of the Islamic group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia resumed protests against the Miss World pageant to be held this weekend in Bali. The week before, the Indonesia Ulema Council, whose fatwas are followed by many devoted Muslims, urged the government to cancel the event, saying the exposure of skin by women in such a competition violated Islamic teachings.
September 5 2015 Malawi said it plans to use the $15 million it gained from selling its presidential jet to feed the more than 1 million people suffering chronic food shortages. Joyce Banda, Malawi’s new president, also announced she would be selling the impoverished country’s fleet of 60 Mercedes.
September 6 1865 Russia forbade the use of Latin letters in the Lithuanian language. Following the 1863 uprising the Czarist authorities prohibited the publication of Lithuanian books in Roman letters. Books in Cyrillic were allowed but not accepted by the people. Secret book couriers smuggled in Latin lettered books until 1904.
September 6 1941 All Jews over the age of six in German-occupied territories were ordered by the Nazi regime to wear a yellow Star of David on their clothing.
September 6 1968 The Latin American Episcopal Conference, in response to Vatican II, issued what has come to be known as the Medellin Statement.
September 6 1986 Some 300 invitees paid $5,000 apiece to hear Barbra Streisand’s benefit concert. Streisand launched her concert One Voice, in part, as a protest against Reagan-era nuclear arms proliferation in the late Cold War. video
September 6 1998 In Peshawar, Pakistan, an estimated 15,000 members of the Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Law (Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi) marched to protest an American missile attack on Afghanistan border. The US did not inform Pakistan of the strikes that crossed Pakistani air space.
September 8 2000 The UN Millennium Summit ended in NYC with the adoption of an 8-page plan, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to cure the world’s direst problems. Pledges were made to halve the proportion of people in poverty by 2015, to reverse the spread of AIDS, and to strengthen the UN’s ability to keep peace.
September 6 2001 Ethiopia banned the Ethiopian Women’s Lawyers Assoc. The group had organized a Feb. march of some 1,000 women to the office of PM Meles Zenawi and parliament to protest domestic violence.
September 6 2003 President Bush asked Congress to pass the Military Commission Act of 2006 which re-defined U.S. obligations under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions to change the absolute prohibition on inhumane treatment with a “flexible” standard, which would assess on a case-by-case basis whether particular conduct would amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention places an absolute prohibition on inhumane treatment of detainees during an armed conflict.
September 6 2008 Thousands of Armenians lined the streets of the Yerevan to protest the first-ever visit by a Turkish leader and to demand that Turkey acknowledge the World War I massacres of Armenian civilians as genocide.
September 6 2011 In Swaziland more than 1,000 people marched through the main city of Manzini in one of the largest protests yet against Africa’s last absolute monarch, King Mswati III.
September 7 1989 The US Senate voted 76-8 to approve the Americans with Disabilities Act, forbidding discrimination in employment, public accommodations, transportation and communications.
September 7 1996 Two women were arrested for trespass at the Norfolk (Virginia) Naval Base after walking into the base with a banner reading, “Love Your Enemies.”
September 7 1998 Feminists and others protested the demeaning image of women at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Contrary to popular myth, they did not burn their bras; women did throw into a trash can items that were symbols of traditional femininity, including high heeled shoes, girdles, bras, and other items.
September 7 2007 Sunni, Shiite, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Christian, and Shinto leaders gathered in Greenland for a 6-day coastal tour and symposium called “The Arctic: Mirror of Life,” designed to focus global attention on climate change.
September 7 2007 Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Eshagh al-Fayyadh, one of the top four Shiite clerics in Iraq, called on Muslims to keep religion out of politics and not use mosques and religious events for the interest of political groups, sects or personalities.
September 7 2013 Thousands of Cambodians, many holding lotus flowers symbolizing peace, joined a mass protest in the capital Phnom Penh in a last-ditch bid to challenge Prime Minister Hun Sen’s disputed election win.
September 8 1941 In Norway, 2000 workers in the shipyards went on strike against diversion of milk, “depriving mothers and babies,” to military use by the German soldiers in Finland. In retaliation, Oslo was placed under a 7 o’clock nightly curfew, after which transportation was stopped, public meetings prohibited, radios seized, dancing forbidden. Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and Salvation Army organizations were all dissolved.
September 8 1965 Table grape pickers, the mostly Filipino members of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), led by Larry Itliong, went on strike for higher wages in Delano, California.
September 8 2000 The UN Millennium Summit ended in NYC with the adoption of an 8-page plan, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to cure the world’s direst problems. Pledges were made to halve the proportion of people in poverty by 2015, to reverse the spread of AIDS, and to strengthen the UN’s ability to keep peace. The plan under Jeffrey Sachs proposed 7 basic reforms to improve lives and provide livelihoods.
September 8 2005 Russians flew humanitarian aid to the United States following Hurricane Katrina, landing three Il-76 aircraft at a disaster aid staging area at Little Rock, Arkansas, marking the first time Russia’s international aid group, EMERCOM, has flown such a mission to North America. The delivery of more than 60 tons of medical supplies, rations, tents, blankets and 6 tons of drinking water, also set in motion a cooperative relationship between the two countries’ two disaster aid agencies, FEMA and EMERCOM.
September 8 2009 Sudanese journalist Lubna Ahmed Hussein, who spent a day in jail for refusing to pay a fine for wearing “indecent trousers,” vowed on her release to keep up the battle against the law.
September 8 2012 The Hong Kong government backed down from its plan to implement “moral and national education” in public schools, a victory for civil society in the semiautonomous Chinese territory. The official about-face came in response to hunger strikes by protesters and 10 days of well-organized and peaceful student-led demonstrations that included a broad cross section of the population.
September 9 1963 Students at Chu Van An boys’ high school in Saigon tore down the government flag and raised a Buddhist flag to protest the corrupt Diem regime in South Vietnam; 1,000 were arrested.
September 9 1980 Eight activists from the Atlantic Life Community were arrested after hammering the nose cones of two Mark 12 missiles at the General Electric plant in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. This action would become the first of an international movement of dozens of “Plowshares” anti-nuclear direct actions.
September 9 1997 Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican Army’s allied political party, formally renounced violence by accepting the principles put forward by former U.S. Senator George Mitchell (D-Maine) who was mediating the talks between the Irish Republicans and the British Unionists on Northern Ireland’s future.
September 10 1897 in the Lattimer massacre, 19 mineworkers were killed and dozens were wounded while marching peacefully. The strike began weeks prior as miners from eastern Penn. protested extremely dangerous working conditions, unpaid overtime, and the company store. On Sept. 10, about 400 miners, most immigrants, began an unarmed peaceful march to Lattimer to support the newly formed UMW there. When they arrived, the sheriff and his deputies opened fire.
September 10 1977 At Baumetes Prison in Marseille, France, Hamida Djandoubi, a Tunisian immigrant convicted of murder, became the last person executed by guillotine. The guillotine first gained fame during the French Revolution when physician and revolutionary Joseph-Ignace Guillotin won passage of a law requiring all death sentences to be carried out by “means of a machine,” viewed as more humane than other execution techniques, such as hanging or firing squad. Use of the guillotine continued in France in the 19th and 20th centuries. In September 1981, France outlawed capital punishment altogether, thus abandoning the guillotine forever. The last public / outdoor execution in France was in 1939.
September 10 1981 Pablo Picasso’s painting Guernica was returned to Spain and installed in Madrid’s Prado Museum. Picasso had stated in his will that the painting was not to return to Spain until the Fascists lost power and democracy was restored.
September 10 1996 Sheryl Crow’s second album was banned from Wal-Mart stores because the song she co-wrote with Tad Wadhams, “Love Is A Good Thing” opens with
“Watch out sister, watch out brother,
Watch our children while they kill each other
With a gun they bought at Wal-Mart discount stores….”
September 10 2012 In India political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, whose drawings mock Indian government corruption, has been jailed in a sedition investigation that was widely condemned as evidence of political leaders’ growing intolerance of criticism. Trivedi refused bail at a court hearing in Mumbai, saying he would remain in jail until the sedition charges against him were lifted.
September 11 1906 Mohandas Gandhi, then a young Indian lawyer, began a nonviolent resistance campaign in Johannesburg, South Africa, demanding rights and respect for those of Asian descent. It was the birth of his concept of political progress through nonviolent resistance known as Satyagraha, or truth-force. He led a meeting of 3000 of the town’s Indians, protesting the Transvaal Asiatic Law Amendment Ordinance that required all Asians to carry passes for which they had to give their fingerprints and limited where they could live and work. The meeting produced the Fourth Resolution, in which all Indians resolved to go to prison rather than submit to the ordinance
September 11 2006 Hundreds of thousands of Catalans held hands in a 250-mile human chain across their region on Wednesday to press the Spanish government to let them vote on breaking away and forming their own country.
September 12 1960 John F. Kennedy, Democratic Party candidate for president, gave a speech to Baptist ministers in Houston, Texas, on this evening, in which he explained his views on the place of religion in politics. Kennedy had recently been attacked by a Protestant group as a Catholic who would impose his faith’s doctrines on the country.. Kennedy explained that he strongly supported both the free exercise of religion and the separation of church and state. The speech was immediately regarded as a great success, winning over a generally hostile audience and putting to rest the religious objections to his candidacy.
September 12 1970 South African anti-apartheid activist Stephen Bantu Biko died in police custody.
September 13 1860 Anthony Bewley, an abolitionist (anti-slavery) Methodist minister, was lynched by pro-slavery vigilantes in Fort Worth Texas. His body was allowed to hang until the next day, when he was buried in a shallow grave. Three weeks later his bones were unearthed, stripped of their remaining flesh, and placed on top of Ephraim Daggett’s storehouse, where children made a habit of playing with them. After Bewley’s death the Northern, anti-slavery Methodists ended their activities in Texas.
September 13 1982 The European Parliament voted for phasing out promotion and advertising of war toys.
September 13 1983 The first group from Peace Brigades International (PBI) arrived in Guatemala to provide unarmed and nonviolent witness protection for indigenous leaders. Following decades of severe repression of native ethnic groups by the unelected military government, the PBI team accompanied the Mutual Support Group (GAM in Spanish) of Families of the Disappeared, the first human rights group to emerge from the terror and survive.
September 13 1994 The 1994 Violent Crime Control Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The act was one of the most important law enforcement acts of modern time, addressing community policing, police abuse, and violence against women. Section 14141 of the law addressed police misconduct by authorizing the U. S. Justice Department to sue law enforcement agencies that engage in a “pattern or practice” of abuse of peoples’ rights.
September 14 1872 A joint arbitration commission ordered Great Britain to pay the US $15.5 million as compensation for damages during the Civil War. The peaceful resolution of these claims seven years after the war ended set an important precedent for solving serious international disputes through arbitration. The controversy began when Confederate agents contracted for warships from British boatyards. Disguised as merchant vessels during their construction in order to circumvent British neutrality laws, the craft were actually intended as commerce raiders which eventually sank more than 150 Northern ships and impelled much of the U.S. Merchant Marine to adopt foreign registry. Charles Sumner, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, argued that British aid to the Confederacy had prolonged the Civil War by 2 years, and indirectly cost the United States hundreds of millions, or even billions of dollars (the figure Sumner suggested was $2.125 billion). Some Americans adopted this argument and suggested that Britain should offer Canada to the United States in compensation.
September 14 1911 The Congreso Mexicanista, sometimes referred to as El Primer Congreso Mexicanista, met in Laredo from September 14 to 22. Clemente Idar, whose family owned and published La Crónica, proposed the meeting to organize the Gran Liga Mexicanista de Beneficencia y Protección (Great Mexican League for Benefit and Protection) to advance education, culture, and civil rights for Mexican Americans. Their motto was motto “Por la Raza y Para la Raza.”
September 14 1918 Eugene V. Debs was sentenced to ten years in prison for opposing U.S. entry into World War I. Debs had been an elected official in Indiana, a labor organizer, writer and editor, had founded the first industrial union in the U.S., the American Railway Union, and had run for President four times on the Socialist Party ticket. He ran again for president from prison in 1920 with the slogan “From Atlanta Prison to the White House,” and received nearly one million.
September 14 1989 An ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) protest of pharmaceutical price-gouging on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange stopped trading for the first time in history.
September 15 1829 The Guerrero Decree, which abolished slavery throughout the Republic of Mexico except in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, was issued by President Vicente R. Guerrero
September 15 1963 During Sunday School, 15 sticks of dynamite blew apart the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four children in the basement changing room and injuring 23 others. A week before the bombing Governor George C. Wallace had told The New York Times that to stop integration, Alabama needed a “few first-class funerals.”
September 15 1982 In what is considered to be the birth of the environmental justice movement, protesters in the predominantly poor & Black Warren County, North Carolina, attempted to block the dumping of toxic PCBs in their community. Over the course of the next few weeks, more than 500 were arrested.
September 15 2001 Four days after 9/11, Representative Barbara Lee (D-California) cast the only congressional vote against authorizing President Bush to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against anyone associated with the terrorist attacks of September 11. “I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States.”
September 16 1837 William Whipper, a Negro from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, published “An Address on Non-Resistance to Offensive Aggression” in the The Colored American, outlining his commitment to a strictly non-violent response to the evils of slavery. This landmark essay predated Thoreau’s “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” by 12 years.“As a people we have suffered much from the pestilential influence of mob violence that has spread its devastating influence over our country. And it is to me no matter of astonishment that they continue to exist. They do but put in practice a common every day theory that pervades every neighborhood, and almost every family, viz.: That it is right, under certain circumstances, to violate all law, both civil and national, and abuse, kick and cuff your fellow man, when they deem that he has offended or insulted the community in which he resides.”
September 16 1939 August Dickmann, a German Jehovah’s Witness, became the first conscientious objector to be executed by the Nazis during World War II. The execution by firing squad took place in Sachsenhausen concentration camp before all of the prisoners, including 400 Jehovah’s Witness inmates. Though threatened with the same fate, none of the remaining 400 Witnesses renounced their CO position. German military courts sentenced and executed 270 Jehovah’s Witnesses, the largest number of COs executed from any victim group during World War II.
September 16 1996 6,000 rallied and 1,033 were arrested near the Headwaters Grove in rural Carlotta, California, in protest against cutting one of the last large unlogged stands of redwood trees in the world
September 17 1787 The US Constitution was officially adopted, in Philadelphia.
September 17 1944 The Dutch begin a railroad strike against German occupiers to prevent the transportation of Jews to concentration camps in the East as well as prevent the movement of German troops back to Germany to protect from the Allied invasion. Although this strike was intended to hinder the Nazi war machine, it also caused the halting of coal, gas, and food to Dutch cities, which resulted in a very difficult winter before the Nazis were defeated by the Allied forces that spring.
September 17 1961 1,314 anti-nuclear protesters were arrested during a sit-down in London’s Trafalgar Square by 12,000 (authorities had denied a permit.) The organizers hoped to to ‘fill the jails’, with the intention of causing prison overload and large-scale disorder.
September 17 2011 the Occupy Wall Street movement began in Zuccotti Park, in New York’s financial district. Within weeks, encampments sprang up around the world to join the protest against social and economic inequality for “the 99%”.
September 18 1850 Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, allowing slave owners to reclaim slaves who escaped into another state, and levying harsh penalties on those who would interfere with the apprehension of runaway slaves. As part of the Compromise of 1850, it offered federal officers a fee for each captured slave and denied the slaves the right to a jury trial.
September 19 1796 George Washington delivered his farewell address: Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it – It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature.
September 19 1893 New Zealand’s Electoral Act of this date made this country of the British Empire the first in the world to grant women the right to vote in parliamentary elections. The bill granted the vote to women of all races. New Zealand women were denied the right to stand for parliament, however, until 1920. In 2005 almost a third of the Members of Parliament elected were female.
September 19 1966 After 300 members of Grenada, Mississippi’s white community called for “an end to violence,” hundreds of Negro schoolchildren were allowed to integrate the local public schools. The leaders of the vicious organized attack on the kids the previous week (including the town’s justice of the peace) had been arrested by the FBI, and the mobs were gone, but the children were all escorted to school by community members, or driven in cars for safety.
September 19 2001 The Harkin-Engel Protocol called for action from the chocolate and cocoa industry to put an end to exploitative child labor by 2005 (the deadline was not met.) It also included a commitment to develop voluntary and industry-wide standards of public certification that cocoa beans had been grown and processed without the use of child labor. almost 2 million children had worked on cocoa farms or plantations. Tens of thousands of them were illegally trafficked and sold into child slavery. They are forced to work long hours in dangerous conditions with little or no pay for their work. 70% of the world’s cocoa comes from Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, where these children are forced to work in the fields. A handful of western corporations control almost all of the cocoa exports from the West Coast of Africa. All major chocolate companies buy from producers that use child labor.
September 19 2013 After Greenpeace activists attempted to scale the Prirazlomnaya drilling platform on 18 September 2013, as part of a protest against Arctic oil production, Russian authorities seized the Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise in international waters, arrested the crew at gunpoint, towed the ship to Murmansk, and detained the crew of 28 activists (from 17 countries) and two freelance journalists. The Investigative Committee of Russia opened a criminal investigation, charging the activists initially with piracy and later with hooliganism. The Russians eventually released the crew as part of a general amnesty after two months of detention.
September 20 1830 The National Negro Convention, a group of 38 free black Americans from eight states, met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with the express purpose of abolishing slavery and improving the social status of African Americans. They elected Richard Allen president and agreed to boycott slave-produced goods and encourage free-produce organizations. One of the most active would be the Colored Female Free Produce Society, which urged the boycott of all slave-produced goods.
September 20 1906 Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle,” a realist novel, was published, exposing the dangerous conditions and deplorable sanitation in Chicago’s meat-packing plants. Reaction from readers was intense, including President Theodore Roosevelt who coined the term, muckrakers, to describe Sinclair, Lincoln Steffens, Ida Tarbell and other writers who exposed corruption in government and business.
September 20 1932 Rabindranath Tagore, recipient of the 1913 Nobel Prize for Literature, began a campaign of resistance to practice of “untouchability” in then-British India. He penned Dalit heroes for his poems and his dramas, and he campaigned—successfully—to open Guruvayoor Temple to Dalits. (Dalit, meaning “oppressed” in Marathi, is the self-chosen political name of the castes who were formerly considered “untouchable” according to the Hindu varna system.)
September 20 1997 3,000 protesters helped to rip up the railroad tracks leading from Krummel nuclear power station to the main Hamburg-Berlin line. The previous year two doctors had sued for closure of the plant due to the increased incidence of leukemia among the population around the plant. In January, a train carrying nuclear waste derailed near the reactor at Krummel.
September 20 2014 Hundreds of people from both sides of the Canada-U.S. border converged at Peace Arch Park for a climate action rally. Environmentalists, First Nations, and scientists arrived at the park in busloads to protest coal, oil and liquefied natural gas projects happening in British Columbia. and Washington State that they say are fuelling climate change. “The Salish Sea is poised to become one of the largest exporters of fossil fuels in the world,” the organizers claimed.
September 21 1981 Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female Supreme Court Justice.
September 21 1981 International Day of Peace was established by United Nations General Assembly resolution 36/37 as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. Furthering the Day’s mission, the General Assembly voted unanimously in 2001 to adopt resolution 55/282 establishing 21 September as an annual day of non-violence and cease- fire.
September 22 1966 Eight hundred Puerto Rican men pledged to refuse the U.S. Vietnam draft. They saw compliance as “part of the colonial subjugation of our country.”
September 22 1985 The first Farm Aid concert was held with more than 50 musicians raising $9 million for debt-ridden U.S. Farmers
September 23 1857 The “Little Rock Nine” returned to Central High School where they were finally enrolled. Units of the United States Army remained at the school for the rest of the academic year to guarantee their safety. The nine students arrived at Central High School on September 3 and were greeted by an angry mob of white students, parents, and citizens determined to stop integration. Governor Orval M. Faubus intervened, ordering the Arkansas National Guard to keep the nine African American students from entering the school. Faced with no other choice, the “Little Rock Nine” gave up their attempt to attend Central High School which soon became the center of a national debate about civil rights, racial discrimination and States’s rights. On September 20, 1957, Federal Judge Ronald Davies ordered Governor Faubus to remove the National Guard from the Central High School’s entrance and to allow integration to take its course in Little Rock. When Faubus defied the court order, President Dwight Eisenhower dispatched nearly 1,000 paratroopers and federalized the 10,000 Arkansas National Guard troops who were to ensure that the school would be open to the nine students.
September 24 1838 The Anti-Corn Law League was formed, a successful political movement in Great Britain aimed at the abolition of the unpopular Corn Laws, which protected landowners’ interests by levying taxes on imported wheat, thus raising the price of bread at a time when factory-owners were trying to cut wages. The League marked the emergence of the first powerful national lobbying group into politics, one with a centralized office, consistency of purpose, rich funding, very strong local and national organization, and single-minded dedicated leaders. It elected men to Parliament. Many of its procedures were innovative, while others were borrowed from the anti-slavery movement. It became the model for later reform movements.
September 25 1555 The Peace of Augsburg was signed, a treaty between Charles V and the forces of the Schmalkaldic League, an alliance of Lutheran princes, in present-day Bavaria, Germany. It officially ended the religious struggle between the two groups and made the legal division of Christendom permanent within the Holy Roman Empire. The Peace established the principle Cuius regio, eius religio (who rules, his religion), which allowed Holy Roman Empire’s states’ princes to select either Lutheranism or Catholicism within the domains they controlled. Subjects who did not wish to conform to the prince’s choice were given a period in which they were free to emigrate to different regions in which their desired religion had been accepted.
September 26 1983 Soviet military officer Stanislav Petrov single-handedly averted a worldwide nuclear war when he chose to believe his intuition instead of the computer screen with its indication that the U.S. had launched a nuclear missile attack against the Soviet Union. The country was already on high alert, expecting retaliation for its downing of a Korean Air Boeing 747. The Lieutenant Colonel had no confirmation and only minutes to decide his course of action.
September 26 2005 International weapons inspectors certified the Irish Republican Army‘s full disarmament.
September 26 2007 The Myanmar military junta began a crackdown on the tens of thousands of Buddhist monks and their lay supporters who nonviolently had taken to the street earlier in the week to protest the repressive regime.
September 27 1990 The last U.S. Pershing II tactical nuclear missiles were removed from Germany, fewer than ten years after their installation provoked a massive anti-nuclear movement across Europe.
September 28 1943 In Denmark, underground anti-Nazi activists began systematic smuggling of Jews to Sweden. The Nazis began rounding up Danish Jews on the evening of October 1, Rosh Hashanah. In just three weeks, all but 481 of Denmark’s 8,000 Jews had been moved to safety in Sweden.
September 29 1943 Six conscientious objectors, in prison for refusing to cooperate with the draft during WW II, began a hunger strike to protest the censorship of mail and reading material in prison. The strike ended in December 1943. James V. Bennett, head of the federal Bureau of Prisons, ended the censorship but retained the right to open and read mail for security purposes. At the time one out of six inmates held in United States’ federal prisons was a conscientious objector.
September 29 1983 The municipal council of Woensdrecht, a southern Dutch town, voted against cooperating in the possible siting of 48 U.S. nuclear-tipped cruise missiles at the nearby air base. The council voted not to cooperate with the national government, and to stop any activities that might lead to the missiles being sited at the base.
September 20 2002 A London crowd – estimated between 200,000 and 500,000 – protested British and U.S. plans for a “preemptive” invasion of Iraq.
September 29 2012 62,000 people attended the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, enjoying concert performances by Neil Young, Foo Fighters, and The Black Keys to promote anti-poverty initiatives with the Global Poverty Project. $167.5 million in new commitments were raised.
September 30 1962 Hundreds of Ku Klux Klan members, white students and others, tried to keep a black student, James Meredith, 29, from attending classes at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. They were supported by the governor, Ross Barnett, who had explicitly resisted the order of the Federal Circuit Court. In spite of the efforts to block his court-ordered registration, a deal to allow Meredith to register had been made between U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Governor Barnett. Meredith was secretly escorted onto campus; deputy U.S. marshals, border patrolmen and federal prison guards were stationed on and around the campus to protect him. Those standing guard were assaulted throughout the night with guns, bricks, Molotov cocktails, and bottles. Tear gas was used to try and control the crowd. Federal troops arrived, bringing the total to 12,000, and the mob finally retreated. In the end, two were dead, 160 U.S. Marshalls were injured, 200 others injured, and 300 arrested.

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