February 28 Peace Love Activism
February 28, 1708: seven white people were killed in Newton, Long Island. Following the rebellion, two black male slaves and an Indian slave were hanged, and a black woman was burned alive. In 1709 a plot involving enslaved Indians as well as Africans spread through at least three Virginia counties—James City, Surry, and Isle of Wight. Of the four ringleaders, Scipio, Salvadore, Tom Shaw, and Peter, all but Peter were quickly jailed. (see April 20 (Easter), 1710)
February 28, 1854: about 50 slavery opponents met in Ripon, Wis., to call for creation of a new political group that became the Republican Party. (see Apr 29)
February 28, 1943: the Detroit rebellion occurred. At 9 a.m Black renters, having signed leases and paid their rent, attempted to enter their homes. Many left the area fearing trouble. Fighting began when two blacks in a car attempted to run through the picket line. Clashes between white and Black groups continued into the afternoon when 16 mounted police attempted to break up the fighting. Tear gas and shotgun shells were used. Officials announced an indefinite postponement of the move. Detroit newspapers, union leaders, and many other whites campaigned for the government to allow the Black workers to move into the homes.
In April, 1,100 city and state police officers and 1,600 Michigan National Guard troops were mobilized and sent to the area to allow the renters to enter homes. (see Apr 17) February 28, 1946: (see Feb 26 & 27 for preceding story) Columbia, Tennessee policemen killed two black prisoners in custody. During an interrogation of James Johnson, William Gordon, and Napoleon Stewart, the police reported that two of the prisoners grabbed guns from white officers and began shooting. In defense, the police retaliated, killing two and wounding the third suspect. A federal grand jury was convened to investigate the charges of misconduct by the white policemen, but the local all-white jury absolved the police of any wrong doing. Eventually, twenty-five blacks were tried in for the shootings of the white officers during the riot. Two of the accused were found guilty but were never retried due to lack of evidence. The one valid conviction came in a second trial at Columbia in November. Lloyd Kennedy was found guilty and served time in jail for shooting at a white highway patrolman. (BH, see Apr 18; RR, see Aug 10)
Ben Chester White
February 28, 2003: on June 10, 1966 three Klansmen had approached Ben Chester White at his home near Natchez, Mississippi and asked for him help in finding a lost dog. White, a 67-year old sharecropper, was then driven to the Homochitto National Forest, where they shot White repeatedly, then dumped over him over a bridge into a creek bed below. Three men, Ernest , Claude Fuller, and James Lloyd Jones, had allegedly killed White in an attempt to lure Martin Luther King, Jr. to Natchez, Mississippi. Ernest Avants was tried in 1967 but acquitted. In 2003, the New York Times described Chester this way: Ben Chester White used twists of wire to hold the soles on his shoes, patched his own clothes with scrap and said "yes, sir," to white men, and when he made a little money, he wrapped the $1 bills in wax paper so they would not be ruined by his own sweat. He was not registered to vote, and had never fought against the segregation that was as much a fact of life for him as a hoe handle or cotton sack. On this date, because Homochitto National Forest was federal property, the federal government could retry Ernest Avents for White's murder. Allan Kornblum, the FBI agent who investigated the crime in 1967 testified that Mr. Avants said that his lawyer had told him that he would not be convicted in that case:
|” ‘Because you can’t be convicted of killing a dead man.’ ”
” ‘Yeah, I shot that nigger,’ ” Mr. Kornblum said Mr. Avants told him. But Mr. Avants said that by the time he shot Mr. White, another man had shot Mr. White several times — investigators have said about 16 times — with an automatic carbine.
” ‘I blew his head off with a shotgun,’ ” Mr. Avants told him, Mr. Kornblum said. But by then, Mr. Avants told him that day, there was no life left in Mr. White.
”It’s been 37 years,” said Paige Fitzgerald, a trial lawyer with the United States Department of Justice. ”How do you remember?”
Mr. Kornblum answered, ”It’s one of those singular events in a person’s life…It’s burned in my memory,”
At that time, Agent Kornblum was legal adviser to the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and had a national security clearance that is higher than top secret. (see March 1)
February 28, 1877: the US Congress ratified the Manypenny Agreement with the Lakota Sioux, under which the United States took control of 900,000 acres of the Black Hills. The Lakota argue to this day that the Agreement was illegal, was obtained by coercion associated with starvation, and that the Black Hills should be returned to them. (see May 5)
US Labor History
February 28, 1898: Holden v. Hardy, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld a Utah state law limiting the number of work hours for miners and smelters as a legitimate exercise of the police power. The majority held that such a law was legitimate, provided that there was indeed a rational basis, supported by facts, for the legislature to believe particular work conditions were dangerous. The court was quick to distinguish this case from other cases of the era which imposed universal maximum hour rules, which it held unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. (see April 29, 1899)
February 28, 1953: Cambridge University scientists James D. Watson and Frances H.C. Crick announced that they had determined the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule containing human genes. (see March 26)
February 28 Music et al
February 28, 1964: despite the arrival of “Beatlemania” Time magazine featured musician Thelonious Monk on its cover reflecting the continued importance and popularity of jazz in the US. (see Mar 21)
The Road to Bethel and the Woodstock Festival
February 28, 1969: Joel Rosenman, John Roberts, and Michael Lang signed the contract creating Woodstock Ventures and its plan for 1) a recording studio in Woodstock, NY and 2) a festival in Saugerties, NY. Artie Kornfeld could not sign the contract because he was still under contract with with Capital. Michael Lang agreed to hold Kornfeld’s share until the Capitol contract expired. (see March 29)
February 28, 1985: the Provisional Irish Republican Army carried out a mortar attack on the Royal Ulster Constabulary police station at Newry, killing 9 officers in the highest loss of life for the RUC on a single day. (see Nov 15)
February 28 Peace Love Activism
The Cold War & Nuclear/Chemical Weapons News
February 28, 1987: in a surprising announcement, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev indicated that the USSR was ready to sign "without delay" a treaty designed to eliminate U.S. and Soviet medium-range nuclear missiles from Europe. (CW, see June 12; NN, see Nov 24)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
February 28, 1994, US F-16s shot down 4 Serbian J-21s over Bosnia and Herzegovina for violation of the Operation Deny Flight and its no-fly zone.
Pledge of Allegiance
February 28, 2003: the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that the addition of "under God" to the The Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional, refused to reconsider its ruling, saying it would be wrong to allow public outrage to influence its decisions. (see March 4)
Iraq War II
February 28, 2006: The Washington Times reported that the Bush administration never drew up a comprehensive plan for rebuilding Iraq after the March 2003 invasion. (see March 19)
February 28, 2013: after the House plan endorsed by conservatives was defeated, the House or Representatives gave final approval to a renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, sending a bipartisan Senate measure to President Obama. (see March 13)
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