April 27 Peace Love Activism

April 27 Peace Love Activism

BLACK HISTORY

Voting Rights
April 27, 1903: Giles v. Harris, US Supreme Court upheld Alabama’s state constitution's requirements for voter registration and qualifications. Although the plaintiff accused the state of discriminating in practice against black citizens, the Court found that the requirements applied to all citizens and refused to review the results in practice, which it considered overseeing the state's process. (BH, see Apr 27; VR, see “in 1908”)
The Souls of Black Folk

April 27 Peace Love Activism

April 27, 1903: A. C. McClurg Co. published W.E.B. Du Bois' book, The Souls of Black Folk. In it, Du Bois rejected the gradualism advocated by Booker T. Washington and called for active resistance to racist policies. (see September 22, 1906)
Marcus Garvey

April 27 Peace Love Activism

April 27, 1919: Garvey announced his plan to start the Black Star Line. The Black Star Line was to be the U.N.I.A.'s vehicle for promoting worldwide commerce among black communities. In Garvey's vision, Black Star Line ships would transport manufactured goods, raw materials, and produce among black businesses in North America, the Caribbean, and Africa, and become the linchpin in a global black economy. (BH, see May 10-11; MG, see June 23)
Viola Liuzzo
April 27, 1967: the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the conspiracy convictions of Viola Liuzzo’s murderers Eugene Thomas and Collie Leroy Wilkins, Jr. William O Eaton, the third person, had already died. (BH, see Apr 28; MS, see May 17, 1982)
Nelson Mandela

April 27 Peace Love Activism

April 27, 1994: general voting opened in the first election in South African history that included black participation. Despite months of violence leading up to the vote, not a single person was reported killed in election-related violence. When the voting concluded on April 29, the A.N.C. had won more than 62 percent of the vote, earning 252 of the 400 seats in Parliament's National Assembly. Voters choes Mandela as president without opposition. (see May 6)
Integrated prom
April 27, 2013: for the first time in the history of Wilcox County, Georgia, black students and white students danced arm-in-arm at prom. Nearly 60 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools was illegal, half of the students from rural Wilcox County High School ended their community's tradition of segregation after raising money for an integrated prom dance. (BH, see June 20; SD see Sept 13)
137 SHOTS
April 27, 2015: Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John P. O'Donnell declined to acquit Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo and bring an end to his voluntary manslaughter trial before hearing any defense witnesses. O'Donnell, ruling on a defense request for the acquittal, ruled that the prosecution has presented enough evidence in the trial to warrant hearing the other side's case.

In his ruling, O'Donnell wrote, "taking the evidence in a light most favorable to the state, at least 34 of Brelo's 49 shots were reasonable to deal with a perceived threat. If he is eventually found guilty of voluntary manslaughter beyond a reasonable doubt in the face of his affirmative defense that all of his shots were legally justified it will mean only that he was not justified in taking one or more of those last 15 shots to confront the perceived threat." (see May 23)
Freddie Gray

April 27 Peace Love Activism

April 27, 2015: (from the NYT) with the words “black lives matter” projected in capital letters on the walls, thousands of mourners crowded into a church ...to bid an emotional goodbye to Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old who died from a spinal cord injury while in police custody, and to demand reforms in law enforcement and far beyond it.

Friends, neighbors, activists and government officials from the local level to the White House filled New Shiloh Baptist Church and filed past the open, white coffin bearing the body of Mr. Gray, whose death on April 19 fed claims of discriminatory and brutal policing, and set off a week of protests here. The church, with seating for 2,200, was filled to overflowing for the funeral, with many people standing inside and more standing outside, unable to crowd in. (Black, see Apr 28; Shot, see May 1)

US Labor History

Feminism
April 27, 1911: James Oppenheim’s poem “Bread and Roses” published in IWW newspaper Industrial Solidarity. (see Oct 18)
As we come marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,

A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill-lofts gray

Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,

For the people hear us singing, “Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses.”

 

As we come marching, marching, we battle, too, for men —

For they are women’s children, and we mother them again.

Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes —

Hearts starve as well as bodies: Give us Bread, but give us Roses.

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead

Go crying through our singing their ancient song of Bread;

Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew —

Yes, it is bread we fight for — but we fight for Roses, too.

 

As we come marching, marching, we bring the Greater Days —

The rising of the women means the rising of the race —

No more the drudge and idler — ten that toil where one reposes —

But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses.

Willow Island, West Virginia

April 27 Peace Love Activism

April 27, 1978: a cooling tower for a power plant under construction in Willow Island, West Virginia collapsed, killing 51 construction workers in what is thought to be the largest construction accident in U.S. history. OSHA cited contractors for 20 violations, including failures to field test concrete. The cases were settled for $85,000—about $1,700 per worker killed. (see June 22)
Dolores Huerta

April 27 Peace Love Activism

April 27, 2012: President Obama awarded Dolores Huerta the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. (see Oct 8, 2012)

Judicial Milestone

Goldman v. United States
April 27, 1942, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Martin Goldman and a fellow lawyer for conspiracy to violate the Bankruptcy Act through a plan to defraud creditors, noting that the government's use of eavesdropping to gather evidence did not violate the Fourth Amendment. After receiving notice of the lawyers' intentions, federal agents had obtained evidence of the plan by surreptitiously listening to conversations through a wall in an adjacent room with a detectaphone device attached to the wall. (see June 1)

LGBTQ

see Executive Order 10450 for more
April 27, 1953: President Dwight Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10450 banning homosexuals from working for the federal government or any of its private contractors. It read, in part: 

                WHEREAS the interests of the national security require that all persons privileged to be employed in the departments and agencies of the Government, shall be reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and of complete and unswerving loyalty to the United States...

                Sec. 8. (a) The investigations conducted pursuant to this order shall be designed to develop information as to whether the employment or retention in employment in the Federal service of the person being investigated is clearly consistent with the interests of the national security. Such information shall relate, but shall not be limited, to the following:

                (1) Depending on the relation of the Government employment to the national security:

                                (i) Any behavior, activities, or associations which tend to show that the individual is not reliable or trustworthy.

                                (ii) Any deliberate misrepresentations, falsifications, or omissions of material facts.

                                (iii) Any criminal, infamous, dishonest, immoral, or notoriously disgraceful conduct, habitual use of intoxicants to excess, drug addiction, sexual perversion.

                                (iv) Any illness, including any mental condition, of a nature which in the opinion of competent medical authority may cause significant defect in the judgment or reliability of the employee, with due regard to the transient or continuing effect of the illness and the medical findings in such case.

                                (v) Any facts which furnish reason to believe that the individual may be subjected to coercion, influence, or pressure which may cause him to act contrary to the best interests of the national security.

                (2) Commission of any act of sabotage, espionage, treason, or sedition, or attempts thereat or preparation therefore, or conspiring with, or aiding or abetting, another to commit or attempt to commit any act of sabotage, espionage, treason, or sedition.

Homosexuality was considered a sexual perversion and a reasonable security risk along with drug addiction, sabotage, treason, and sedition.  [Complete text of order] (see September 14, 1953)

LGBTQ

April 27, 2013: in a major step regarding openness in the Boy Scouts of America, Mormon Church officials approved the scout organization's acceptance of gay scouts. The new ruling remained controversial because it continued to ban gay scout leaders. (BSA & LGBTQ, see April 29)

INDEPENDENCE DAYS

April 27 Peace Love Activism

April 27, 1960:  Togo independent from France. (see June 26)

April 27 Peace Love Activism

April 27, 1961: Sierra Leone independent from United Kingdom. (see Dec 9)

April 27 Music et al

I Will Follow Him
April 27 – May 17, 1963, Margaret Annemarie Battavio's very first single, "I Will Follow Him," reached #1 on the U.S. pop charts. With her 15th birthday only six weeks behind her, and three more years of high school ahead of her, the singer better known as Little Peggy March became the youngest female performer ever to top the Billboard Hot 100, but she'd never crack the top 10 again. (see May 2)

In His Own Write

April 27 Peace Love Activism

April 27, 1964: John Lennon's "In His Own Write", a collection of funny poems and drawings, was published in the U.S. (see May 2 – June 5)

Cultural & Technological Milestone

April 27 Peace Love Activism

April 27, 1965:  R. C. Duncan was granted a patent for 'Pampers' disposable diapers. (see May 1)

Vietnam

April 27, 1968
  • In New York, 200,000 students refused to attend classes as a protest.
  • Vice President Hubert Humphrey announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. In an interview, he said he supported the current U.S. policy of sending troops “where required by our own national security.” (see May 9)

Jack Kevorkian

April 27, 1993: a California law judge suspended Kevokian’s medical license after a request from that state's medical board. (see Aug 4)
April 27 Peace Love Activism

Iraq War II

Abu Ghraib
April 27, 2004: CBS “60 Minutes II” showed the first photos of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal were shown. (see May 16)

World Trade Center

April 27, 2006: construction began on the 1,776-foot building on the site of the bombed World Trade Center in New York City. (see Apr 4)

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

April 27 Peace Love Activism

April 27, 2010: slick grows to 100 miles  across and 20 miles from Louisiana coast (see Apr 28)

Women’s Health

Affordable Care Act
April 27, 2015: the U.S. Supreme Court revived religious objections by Catholic groups in Michigan and Tennessee to the Obamacare requirement for contraception coverage, throwing out a lower court decision favoring President Barack Obama's administration.

The justices asked the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision that backed the Obama administration in light of the Supreme Court's June 2014 ruling that allowed certain privately owned corporations to seek exemptions from the provision.

Obama's healthcare law, known as Obamacare, requires employers to provide health insurance policies that cover preventive services for women including access to contraception and sterilization.

Various challengers, including family-owned companies and religious affiliated nonprofits that oppose abortion and sometimes the use of contraceptives, say the requirement infringes on their religious beliefs.

The high court threw out a June 2014 appeals court ruling that went in favor of the government. In March, the court took a similar approach in a case concerning the University of Notre Dame. (see May 19)

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April 26 Peace Love Activism

April 26 Peace Love Activism

US Labor History

House Joint Resolution No. 184
April 26, 1924: the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution No. 184, a constitutional amendment to prohibit the labor of persons under 18 years of age. The Senate approved the measure a few weeks later, but it was never ratified by the states and is still technically pending. (see Apr 28)

Free Speech

April 26, 1938: Jehovah’s Witness members Newton Cantwell and his sons, Jesse and Russell, were arrested in New Haven, Connecticut, and charged on this day with breach of the peace. They were later convicted. The Cassius Street neighborhood was 90 percent Catholic, and people took offense at the anti-Catholic propaganda the Cantwells played on a portable record player. (FS, see Nov 21; Cantwells, see May 20, 1940)
Dombrowski v. Pfister
April 26, 1965: a case brought forth by Dr. James Dombrowski along with William Kunstler, founder of the Center for Constitutional Rights, against the governor of Louisiana, law enforcement officers, and the chairperson of the state's Legislative Joint Committee on Un-American Activities for prosecuting or threatening to prosecute his organization under several state subversion statutes.

A a three-judge Federal district court had dismissed the claim, stating that Dombrowski had failed to show evidence of irreparable damage and asserted the abstention doctrine, stating that State Courts had the right to refrain from ruling in Constitutional questions.

Represented by attorney and civil rights leader Arthur Kinoy, Dombrowski appealed the case directly to the Supreme Court under then-operational procedures. The Court overturned the earlier dismissal, making note of the "chilling effect" the ruling below would have had on First amendment rights. (see May 24)
Fuck the Draft
April 26, 1968: police arrested 19-year old Paul Robert Cohen for wearing a jacket bearing the words "Fuck the Draft" inside the Los Angeles Courthouse in the corridor outside the division 20 of the municipal court. He was convicted of violating section 415 of the California Penal Code, which prohibited "maliciously and willfully disturb[ing] the peace or quiet of any neighborhood or person [by] offensive conduct,“ and sentenced to 30 days in jail. (Vietnam, see Apr 27; FS, see May 27)

Technological Milestone

Salk polio vaccine

April 26 Peace Love Activism

April 26, 1954: the Salk polio vaccine field trials, involving 1.8 million children, begin at the Franklin Sherman Elementary School in McLean, Virginia. Children in the United States, Canada and Finland participated in the trials, which used for the first time the now-standard double-blind method, whereby neither the patient nor attending doctor knew if the inoculation was the vaccine or a placebo. (TM, see Oct 18;Polio, see April 12, 1955)

Vietnam

April 26 Peace Love Activism

April 26, 1971: the U.S. command in Saigon announces that the U.S. force level in Vietnam is 281,400 men, the lowest since July 1966. (see April 29)

April 26, 1972: President Nixon, despite an ongoing communist offensive, announced that another 20,000 U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Vietnam in May and June, reducing authorized troop strength to 49,000. Nixon emphasized that while U.S. ground troops were being withdrawn, sea and air support for the South Vietnamese would continue. In fact, the U.S. Navy doubled the number of its fighting ships off Vietnam. (see June 28)

April 26 Music et al

April 26 Peace Love Activism

April 26 - July 25, 1969: the original cast album Hair is the Billboard #1 album.

Student Rights

Matthew Fraser
April 26, 1983: Matthew Fraser, a Pierce County, Washington high school senior, gave a speech nominating classmate Jeff Kuhlman for Associated Student Body Vice President. The speech was filled with sexual innuendos, but not obscenity, prompting disciplinary action from the administration. School officials suspended Fraser from school for three days, prohibited him from speaking at his graduation ceremony, and struck his name from the ballot used to elect three graduation speakers. (SR, see"in May"; Fraser, see July 7, 1986)

Nuclear/Chemical News

Chernobyl

April 26 Peace Love Activism

 

April 26,1986: an explosion occurred at one of  the four nuclear reactors at the Soviet Union’s Chernobyl power plant. The resulting fire burned for nine days and released at least 100 times more radiation than the atom bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Radioactive deposits were found in nearly every country in the northern hemisphere. Two people died in the explosion and another 28 from acute radiation sickness in the immediate aftermath. Some experts predicted thousands of extra cancer deaths as a result of the disaster. A huge cover, known as the New Safe Confinement, was expected to be completed by 2015 remains unfinished. (see Aug 22)

April 26 Peace Love Activism

April 26 Peace Love Activism

Women’s Health

Rachelle “Shelley” Shannon
April 26, 1994: Rachelle "Shelley" Shannon, who admitted shooting and wounding George Tiller (see August 19, 1993) outside his clinic, was sentenced in Wichita, Kan., to nearly 11 years in prison. (see Dec 30)

LGBTQ

Vermont
April 26, 2000: Vermont becomes the first state in the U.S. to legalize civil unions and registered partnerships between same-sex couples. (see June 28, 2000)

Stop and Frisk Policy

April 26, 2011: the NYPD argued that Stop-and-Frisk helped find illegal weapons, but an investigation by WNYC shows it may be leading to more low-level marijuana possession arrests. (see May 26)

Environmental Issues

April 26, 2015: the City of Abilene (Texas) Water Department experienced a spill of domestic wastewater from the City’s wastewater collection system. The area of the spill was cultivated agricultural farm land. The estimated spill volume was about 1.5 million gallons. The spill occurred due to a failure of the sewer force-main pipeline.

The city advised persons using private drinking water supply wells located within one half mile of the spill site or within the potentially affected area to use only water that was been distilled or boiled at a rolling boil for at least one minute for all personal uses including drinking, cooking, bathing, and tooth brushing. Individuals with private water wells should have their well water tested and disinfected, if necessary, prior to discontinuing distillation or boiling. (see May 19)

Voting Rights

April 26, 2016: U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman struck down the Wisconsin's voter ID law, saying it violated the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution.

The law known as Act 23 had already been blocked by a state judge.

"There is no way to determine exactly how many people Act 23 will prevent or deter from voting without considering the individual circumstances of each of the 300,000 plus citizens who lack an ID," Adelman wrote in his 70-page ruling. "But no matter how imprecise my estimate may be, it is absolutely clear that Act 23 will prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes." (see July 29)

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April 25 Peace Love Activism

April 25 Peace Love Activism

US Labor History

8-hour workday

April 25 Peace Love Activism

April 25, 1886: The New York Times declared the struggle for an 8-hour workday to be “un-American” and calls public demonstrations for the shorter hours “labor disturbances brought about by foreigners.”  (see May 3)
National Child Labor Committee

April 25 Peace Love Activism

April 25, 1904: the National Child Labor Committee is formed. The NCLC is a private, non-profit organization and incorporated by an Act of Congress in 1907 with the mission of promoting the rights, dignity, well-being and education of children and youth as they relate to work and working. Despite years of enlightened laws and public scrutiny, the work of NCLC's founding visionaries is still relevant and necessary today. (NCLC) (see June 8)
Feminism
April 25, 1978: in the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power v. Manhart, the US Supreme Court ruled that employers may not require female employees to make larger contributions to pension plans in order to obtain the same monthly benefits as men. (LH, see Apr 27, F, see June 9)

BLACK HISTORY

Voting Rights
April 25, 1898: in Williams v. Mississippi, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled there was no racial discrimination in Mississippi's 1890 Constitution, which required all voters to pay poll taxes and pass literacy tests. This ruling came despite public discussion by the framers of the state Constitution on how to maintain white supremacy and keep African Americans from voting. Many other Southern states followed Mississippi's lead. (see May 12)
Marcus Garvey
April 25, 1916: Garvey visited W.E.B. Du Bois, the editor of The Crisis, the magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. (BH, see May 15; MG, see May – June, 1916)
Mack Charles Parker

April 25 Peace Love Activism

April 25, 1959: three days before his scheduled trial, Mack Charles Parker, a 23-year-old African American truck driver, was lynched by a hooded mob of white men in Poplarville, Mississippi. Parker had been accused of raping a pregnant white woman and was being held in a local jail. The mob took him from his cell, beat him, took him to a bridge, shot and killed him, then weighed his body down with chains and dumped him in the river. Many people knew the identity of the killers, but the community closed ranks and refused to talk. Echoing the Till case, the FBI would investigate and identify at least 10 men involved, but the U.S. Department of Justice would rule there were no federal grounds to make an arrest and press charges. Two grand juries -- one county and one federal -- adjourned without indictments. (see May 1)
Harlem Riot
April 25, 1968: the Appellate Division ruled that Lieutenant Thomas Gilligan, who fatally shot a 15-year-old James Powell preceding the Harlem riots in 1964, had the legal right to press his claim for more than $5-million in punitive damages against those who had called him a murderer. (BH, see May 3; RR, see May 27)
US Labor History
April 25, 1969: South Carolina Governor Robert Evander McNairhe declared a state of emergency in Charleston and ordered more than 100,000 state troopers and members of the National Guard to break a strike by predominantly African American Medical University Hospital workers seeking recognition for their union, Local 1199B of the Retail Drug and Hospital Employees. In the end, the employer promised to rehire the striking workers they had fired, abide by a newly established grievance process, and provide modest pay increases. (BH, see May 4; LH, see Dec 31)
FREE SPEECH
April 25, 1969:  Black students at West Senior High School in Rockford, Illinois had presented their grievances to school administrators. When the principal took no action on crucial complaints, a more public demonstration of protest was planned. On this date, approximately 200 people—students, their family members, and friends—gathered next to the school grounds of West Senior High School in Rockford, Illinois. Richar Grayned, brother and twin sisters attended the school, was part of the group. The demonstrators marched around on a sidewalk about 100 feet from the school building, which was set back from the street. Many carried signs which summarized the grievances: "Black cheerleaders to cheer too"; "Black history with black teachers"; "Equal rights, Negro counselors." Others, without placards, made the "power to the people" sign with their upraised and clenched fists.

                Grayned was convicted for his part in the demonstration. (BH, see May 10; FS, see May 15, Grayned, see March 31, 1970)
Sean Bell incident

April 25 Peace Love Activism

April 25, 2008: three detectives were found not guilty on all charges in the shooting death of Sean Bell, who died in a hail of 50 police bullets outside a club in Jamaica, Queens. The verdict prompted calls for calm from Mayor Bloomberg, angry promises of protests by those speaking for the Bell family, and expressions of relief by the detectives. (see May 7)

Women’s Health

Margaret Sanger
April 25, 1951: Margaret Sanger managed to secure a tiny grant for researcher Gregory Pincus from Planned Parenthood, and Pincus begins initial work on the use of hormones as a contraceptive at The Worcester Foundation. Pincus sets out to prove his hypothesis that injections of the hormone progesterone will inhibit ovulation and thus prevent pregnancy in his lab animals. (see "in January" 1952)

Technological Milestones

DNA

April 25 Peace Love Activism

April 25, 1953: Cambridge University scientists, James D Watson and Francis Crick, published an article in Nature Magazine explaining the structure of DNA and that DNA was the material that makes up genes which pass hereditary characteristics in all life from one parent to another. They concluded that it consisted of a double helix of two strands coiled around each other and could even be considered the "secret of life". (TM, see Dec 17; DNA, see April 25, 2003)
Hubble Space Telescope

April 25 Peace Love Activism

April 25, 1990:  the $2.5 billion Hubble Space Telescope was deployed in space from the Space Shuttle Discovery into an orbit 381 miles above Earth. It was the first major orbiting observatory, named in honour of American astronomer, Edwin Powell Hubble. (see December 3, 1992)
Human Genome Project

April 25 Peace Love Activism

April 25, 2003: The Human Genome Project to determine the sequence of chemical base pairs which make up DNA of the human genome consisting of 20,000-25,000 genes started in 1990 was published. The project started in the US with James D. Watson who was head of the National Center for Human Genome Research at the National Institutes of Health but over the next 10 years geneticists in China, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom all worked together on the project helping the project end two years earlier than planned. One of the most important aspects of this research was that it was available to anyone on the Internet and not owned or controlled by any one company or government. (see “in 2006”)

April 25 Music et al

Stu Cook
April 25, 1945: Stuart Alden Cook, bassist for Creedence Clearwater Revival born. 
Stuck on You
April 25 – May 22, 1960: “Stuck on You” by Elvis #1 Billboard Hot 100, his first since his Army discharge and his thirteenth overall. (see August 15, 1960)

Nuclear/Chemical News
April 25, 1962: on the same day that the United States resumed nuclear testing after a 3-year moratorium, Bob Dylan recorded ”Let Me Die in My Footsteps” a song was inspired by the construction of fallout shelters. (Nuclear/Chemical News, see May 6; Dylan, July 9, 1962)

April 25 Peace Love Activism

Vietnam

Gen. William Westmoreland
April 25, 1964: President Lyndon B. Johnson announced that Gen. William Westmoreland would replace Gen. Paul Harkins as head of U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) as of June 20. (see May 2)

Easter Offensive

April 25 Peace Love Activism

April 25, 1972: North Vietnamese Army close to cutting South Vietnam in two. Hanoi's 320th Division drives 5,000 South Vietnamese troops into retreat and traps about 2,500 others in a border outpost northwest of Kontum in the Central Highlands. This campaign was part of the ongoing North Vietnamese Nguyen Hue Offensive, also known as the "Easter Offensive," which included an invasion by 120,000 North Vietnamese troops. (see April 26)

The Cold War

April 25 Peace Love Activism

April 25, 1983: the Soviet Union released a letter that Russian leader Yuri Andropov wrote to Samantha Smith, an American fifth-grader from Manchester, Maine, inviting her to visit his country. Andropov’s letter came in response to a note Smith had sent him in December 1982, asking if the Soviets were planning to start a nuclear war. At the time, the United States and Soviet Union were Cold War enemies.

                Andropov’s letter said that Russian people wanted to “live in peace, to trade and cooperate with all our neighbors on the globe, no matter how close or far away they are, and, certainly, with such a great country as the United States of America.” In response to Smith’s question about whether the Soviet Union wished to prevent nuclear war, Andropov declared, “Yes, Samantha, we in the Soviet Union are endeavoring and doing everything so that there will be no war between our two countries, so that there will be no war at all on earth.” Andropov also complimented Smith, comparing her to the spunky character Becky Thatcher from “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain.

                Smith, born June 29, 1972, accepted Andropov’s invitation and flew to the Soviet Union with her parents for a visit. Afterward, she became an international celebrity and peace ambassador, making speeches, writing a book and even landing a role on an American television series. In February 1984, Yuri Andropov died from kidney failure and was succeeded by Konstantin Chernenko. The following year, in August 1985, Samantha Smith died tragically in a plane crash at age 13. (see August 11, 1984)

Iraq War II

April 25, 2007:  Laura Bush stated that “No one suffers more than the President and I do.”  (see June 7)

DEATH PENALTY

April 25, 2012:  Connecticut Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy signed into law a repeal of the death penalty, making it the fifth state in recent years to abandon capital punishment. Malloy stated it was 'a moment for sober reflection, not celebration.' With the law, which replaced the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole, Connecticut joined 16 other states and the District of Columbia that do not allow capital punishment. The repeal in Connecticut applied only to future sentences, and the 11 men on its death row now still face execution. However some legal experts have said defense attorneys could use the repeal measure to win life sentences for those inmates. (see May 2, 2013)

LGBTQ

April 25, 2012:  Robert Spitzer, MD, apologized to the gay community in Apr. 2012 for a study published in Oct. 2003 that said some people were able to change their sexual orientation. In a letter to Ken Zucker, the editor of Archives of Sexual Behavior (which published the study), Spitzer wrote: "I offered several (unconvincing) reasons why it was reasonable to assume that the subject’s reports of change were credible and not self-deception or outright lying. But the simple fact is that there was no way to determine if the subject’s accounts of change were valid. I believe I owe the gay community an apology for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy.") (see May 8)

Voting Rights

April 25, 2016: Judge Thomas D. Schroeder of Federal District Court in Winston-Salem upheld Republican-backed changes to election rules, including a voter identification provision, that civil rights groups said unfairly targeted African-Americans and other minorities.

                Schroeder’s ruling upheld the repeal of a provision that allowed people to register and vote on the same day. It also upheld a seven-day reduction in the early-voting period; the end of preregistration, which allowed some people to sign up before their 18th birthdays; and the repeal of a provision that allowed for the counting of ballots cast outside voters’ home precinct.

                It also left intact North Carolina’s voter identification requirement, which legislators softened last year to permit residents to cast ballots, even if they lack the required documentation, if they submit affidavits. (see Apr 26)

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