September 21 Peace Love Activism

September 21 Peace Love Activism

US Labor History

September 21, 1921: a collector from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (now the Internal Revenue Service) assessed $6,312.79 in excise taxes against Drexel, a furniture manufacturing company in North Carolina, for employing a child under fourteen during the 1919 tax year. Drexel paid the tax under protest and sued for a refund. (Nov 3)

BLACK HISTORY

Emmett Till

September 21 Peace Love Activism

September 21, 1955: Moses Wright, Emmett Till's great uncle, does the unthinkable--he accused two white men in open court. While on the witness stand, he stands up and points his finger at Milam and Bryant, and accuses them of coming to his house and kidnapping Emmett. (see Sept 23)
James Byrd
September 21, 2011: Lawrence  Brewer, murderer of James Byrd, Jr, executed. Shawn Berry was sentenced to life in prison. John King remained on death row. (News media report)
Troy Davis
September 21, 2011: the State of Georgia executed Troy Davis despite evidence of his innocence. Davis, a black man, was sentenced to death in the 1989 fatal shooting of white off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail in Savannah, Georgia. Supporters of Davis, including the NAACP, Amnesty International, former President Jimmy Carter, and Pope Benedict XVI, had been encouraged by a 2009 United States Supreme Court ruling permitting him to present evidence of his innocence in court, but when the federal trial judge denied relief, the Court refused to review the case and an execution date was set.

Georgia's Board of Pardons and Paroles, not the governor, has exclusive authority to grant clemency. Two days before Davis’s scheduled execution, the board held a full clemency hearing, where it heard from Davis's attorneys and supporters, prosecutors, and the victim's family. By that time, seven of the prosecution's nine key witnesses against Davis had either recanted or backed off their trial testimony and others had come forward to give sworn statements that the State's main witness had himself confessed to the shooting.

The evidence undercutting Davis’s guilt was so compelling that three jurors who sentenced him to death at his 1991 trial urged the board to stop the execution. In addition, more than 600,000 people worldwide signed petitions urging the board to commute Davis's sentence, citing concerns that executing a man amid so much uncertainty about his guilt would deeply undermine the public's confidence in the justice system. The board denied clemency on September 20, 2011. In his final words, Davis professed his innocence, expressed condolences to Officer MacPhail’s family, and expressed appreciation to his family and supporters. He was executed by lethal injection on September 21, 2011, and pronounced dead at 11:08 p.m. (CNN report) (BH, see Oct 16; DP, see April 25, 2012)

LGBTQ

Daughters of Bilitis

September 21 Peace Love Activism

September 21, 1955: In San Francisco, the Daughters of Bilitis became the first lesbian rights organization in the US. The organization hosted social functions, providing alternatives to lesbian bars and clubs, which were frequently raided by police.

The name Bilitis is the name given to a lesbian contemporary of Sappho by the French poet Pierre Louÿs in his collection, The Songs of Bilitis (1894). (LGBTQ, see August 30, 1956; Bilitis, see September 7, 1957)
Defense of Marriage Act
September 21, 1996: President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law. The law defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman and that no state is required to recognize a same-sex marriage from out of state. It established a Federal definition of: (1) ‘marriage' as only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife; and (2) ‘spouse' as only a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.”  (see Feb 21, 1997)
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
September 21, 2010: The US Senate struck down a bill that would end Don't Ask, Don't Tell with a vote of 56–43, almost completely along party lines. (see Oct 13)
Kentucky
September 21, 2015: gay couples in Kentucky said altered marriage licenses issued by Kim Davis were invalid and a federal judge should order her office to reissue them or put the office in receivership and have someone else do it. When Davis returned to work, she altered the license forms to say they were issued under the authority of the federal court instead of her office. On this date, lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union asked the judge to force the clerk’s office to reissue the licenses. (see Sept 24)

September 21 Music et al

Blue Velvet
September 21 – October 11, 1963, “Blue Velvet” by Bobby Vinton #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Written in 1950, it had been recorded already by Tony Bennett (1951) and The Clovers (1955).

“Harper Valley, PTA”
September 21 – 27, 1968: “Harper Valley, PTA” by Jeannie C Riley #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

INDEPENDENCE DAYS

Malta

September 21 Peace Love Activism

September 21, 1964: Malta independent from United Kingdom. (see Oct 24)
Belize

September 21 Peace Love Activism

September 21, 1981: Belize independent of the United Kingdom. (see Nov 1)
Armenia

September 21 Peace Love Activism

September 21, 1991: Armenia declared independence from the Soviet Union. (Dissolution, see Oct 27; ID, see Oct 8)
September 21 Peace Love Activism

United Farm Workers

September 21, 1983: Rene Lopez, a 21 year old, farm worker, was fatally wounded after voting in an election at the Sikkema Dairy Ranch. The UFW charged that Lopez was shot by the brother-in-law of owner, Ralph Sikkema and an accomplice, Donato Estrada.  David Stirling, the General Counsel to the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, dismissed charges on the basis of lack of evidence. (see October 8, 2012)

Hurricane Katrina

September 21, 2005: the official death toll was raised to 1,036, with 63 additional deaths recognized in Louisiana. This marked the first time since 1928 that a natural disaster in the U.S. had been officially acknowledged to have killed at least 1,000 people. State-by-state death tolls: Louisiana 799, Mississippi 218, Florida 14, Alabama 2, Georgia 2, Tennessee 1. (see January 3, 2007)

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