April 3 Music et al

April 3 Music et al


Allen Ginsberg

April 3 Music et al

April 3, 1955]: the  American Civil Liberties Union announced it would defend Allen Ginsberg’s book Howl against obscenity charges. (see Oct 7)

Elvis Presley

Milton Berle Show

April 3 Music et al

April 3, 1956: Elvis Presley performed on "The Milton Berle Show." The show was broadcast live from the aircraft carrier USS Hancock. Elvis played the songs "Heartbreak Hotel," "Money, Honey," and "Blue Suede Shoes." An estimated 25% of the American population tuned in to hear him. (see Apr 4)


“Blue Moon”
April 3 – 23, 1961: written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1934, “Blue Moon” by the Marcels #1 Billboard Hot 100.

April 3 Music et al

John Lennon

April 3 Music et al

April 3, 1973: John Lennon  appealed of the order to leave the United States by May 21 and sought to show that the Justice Department's legal arguments in the action against him had made it "not just a John-and-Yoko case" but one where "many cases hinge on the outcome." (see “in May”)
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April 3 Peace Love Activism

April 3 Peace Love Activism


Thomas Sims

April 3 Peace Love Activism

April 3, 1851: in 1850, the U.S. Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act (see September 18, 1850), which sought to force Northern officials to apprehend alleged runaway slaves and ensure their return to slavery in the South. Any official who would “hinder or prevent” the arrest of a runaway slave or “harbor or conceal” a fugitive slave faced a fine of $1000 or six months imprisonment. Captured fugitives – as well as the many free blacks who were erroneously captured under the law as runaway slaves – had no right to a trial by jury and could not defend themselves in court.

In early 1851, Thomas Sims, a slave from Savannah, Georgia, successfully escaped and fled to Boston, Massachusetts, where slavery had been abolished. Only a few weeks later, on April 3, 1851, a United States Marshal and members of the local police force arrested Sims and took him to the federal courthouse. Fearing riots or an escape attempt, authorities surrounded the courthouse with chains and a heavy police force.

The morning after his capture, attorneys for James Potter, the man who purported to own Sims, presented a complaint to the United States Commissioner. After a short proceeding in which several individuals testified that Sims was the slave who had escaped from Potter’s possession, the Commissioner issued an order remanding Sims back to Georgia. Sims sought review from both the Massachusetts Supreme Court and the United States District Court in Boston, but was unsuccessful. On April 12, Sims left Boston and was returned to Savannah, where he promptly received 39 lashes as punishment for seeking freedom. The marshals who escorted Sims to Georgia received praise and a public dinner for their service.

After the Emancipation Proclamation and in the midst of the Civil War, Thomas Sims again escaped from slavery in 1863, this time fleeing Vicksburg, Mississippi, to return to Boston. (BH, see June 21; SR, see Oct 1)
Smith v Allwright
April 3, 1944: the US Supreme Court overturned the Texas state law that authorized the Democratic Party to set its internal rules, including the use of white primaries. The court ruled that the state had allowed discrimination to be practiced by delegating its authority to the Democratic Party. This affected all other states where the party used the rule.

The Democrats had excluded minority voter participation by this means, another device for legal disfranchisement of blacks across the South beginning in the late 19th century. (BH, see Apr 22; see June 10, 1946)
Thurgood Marshall
April 3, 1960: speaking at Bennett College, NAACP legal council Thurgood Marshall urged attendees not to compromise. The protests strengthened after an economic boycott of the two stores was organized by local leaders. (see April 16)
Military desegregation
April 3, 1962: President Harry Truman had desegregated the U.S. armed services on July 26, 1948. His order  did not cover the Reserves or the National Guard, however. The Defense Department on this day corrected that problem with regard to the Reserves and ordered them racially integrated. National Guard units, however, were still not covered. Although some states began integrating National Guard units in 1947, full integration did not come until the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The issue of whether the federal government or the states control state National Guard units arose again in 2013, when several states refused to comply with Pentagon policy that same-sex spouses of military personnel were entitled to military identification cards. (see Apr 9)
“B Day”
April 3, 1963: “B Day” (for Birmingham) marked the beginning of massive civil rights demonstrations protesting segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. The Birmingham campaign was Rev. Martin Luther King’s major project for 1963. King and other leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) began a freedom campaign of nonviolent direct action to demand an end to segregation in Birmingham public facilities and employment discrimination in the city. The Birmingham protests became one of the iconic events of the civil rights movement, marked by the use of police dogs and fire hoses against civil rights demonstrators, on May 3, 1963. Images of the protests sparked national and international protest.

The demonstrations led directly to President John F. Kennedy’s nationally televised speech, on June 11, 1963, when he called for a federal civil rights bill. The bill eventually became law on July 2, 1964. (BH, see Apr 4; MLK, see Apr 12)
Viola Liuzzo
April 3, 1965: Mrs C L Wilkins, the mother of Collie Leory Wilkins, one of four men held in connection with the death of Mrs. Viola Liuzzo, told President Johnson that he made it impossible for her son to have a fair trial. (see April 6)
“I Have Been to the Mountaintop”
April 3, 1968: Martin Luther King spoke publicly for the last time. He delivered the “I Have Been to the Mountaintop.” speech at the Mason Temple (Church of God in Christ Headquarters) in Memphis, Tennessee. [Text]

Rep John Conyers

April 3 Peace Love Activism

April 3, 2001: Rep. John Conyers introduced the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. It was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime. The bill died when it failed to advance in the committee. (see April 22, 2004)

April 3 Peace Love Activism

see Anthony Ray Hinton for full story…

April 3, 2015: (from the NYT) nearly 30 years after the Alabama authorities relied on analyses of a handgun and bullets to send him to death row, Anthony Ray Hinton was freed after experts undermined the state’s case.

Mr. Hinton’s release from the Jefferson County jail, where he was being held awaiting a new trial that was ordered last year, came close to three decades after a court-appointed lawyer mounted such a feeble defense that the United States Supreme Court ruled it was “constitutionally deficient.”

At the time of Mr. Hinton’s initial trial, his lawyer used a visually impaired civil engineer with little expertise in firearms to rebut prosecutors whose case hinged on linking the handgun found in Mr. Hinton’s home to a string of shootings in and around Birmingham.

Despite pleas by Mr. Hinton’s lawyers, who cited conclusions by newly enlisted specialists, the state refused for years to reconsider the evidence. And so it was not until Friday at 9:30 a.m., one day after a Circuit Court judge ordered his release, that Mr. Hinton exited the jail to hugs, tears and wails of “Thank you, Lord!”

“The State of Alabama let me down tremendously,” Mr. Hinton said in his first interview after his release. “I have no respect for the prosecutors, the judges. And I say that not with malice in my heart. I say it because they took 30 years from me.” (see Apr 29)

April 3 Music et al


April 3 Peace Love Activism

April 3, 1955: the  American Civil Liberties Union announced it would defend Allen Ginsberg’s book Howl against obscenity charges. (see Oct 7)
Elvis Presley

April 3 Peace Love Activism

On April 3, 1956: NBC broadcast the Milton Berle Show live from the deck of the USS Hancock while it was docked at the Naval Air Base in San Diego, California. The show was one of the most popular programs on TV. This one starred Esther Williams, Berle's comedy sidekick, Arnold Stang and the Harry James Orchestra featuring Buddy Rich.

More importantly, Elvis appeared.  Afterwards the Elvis Presley Fan Club sent members a 12" x 18 1/2" TV/Concert double-sided announcement / promotional handbill from the Colonel to publicly thank Milton Berle for having Elvis perform on his program and to promote the upcoming concerts in San Diego.

Elvis played  "Heartbreak Hotel," "Money, Honey," and "Blue Suede Shoes." An estimated 25% of the Americans tuned in to hear him. (see Apr 4)
“Blue Moon”
April 3 – 23, 1961: written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1934, “Blue Moon” by the Marcels #1 Billboard Hot 100.

The song had been a hit twice already in 1949 with by Billy Eckstine and Mel Tormé.

Over the years, "Blue Moon" has been covered by various artists including versions by Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Elvis Presley, the Mavericks, Dean Martin, The Supremes, and Rod Stewart.

John Lennon

April 3 Peace Love Activism

April 3, 1973: John Lennon  appealed of the order to leave the United States by May 21 and sought to show that the Justice Department's legal arguments in the action against him had made it "not just a John-and-Yoko case" but one where "many cases hinge on the outcome." (see “in May”)

April 3 Peace Love Activism

Technological Milestone

April 3 Peace Love Activism

April 3, 1973: in New York City Martin Cooper made the first handheld cellular phone call . (see December 17, 1976)


April 3, 1965: an American campaign against North Vietnam's transport system began. In a month-long offensive, Navy and Air Force planes hit bridges, road and rail junctions, truck parks and supply depots. (see April 6)

Symbionese Liberation Army

April 3, 1974: In a fifth tape recording, sent to KSAN radio station 59 days after the kidnapping, Patty Hearst denounces her family and claims allegiance to the S.L.A. She takes the guerrilla name "Tania." Her family claims she has been brainwashed. (see Apr 15)

Falklands War

April 3, 1982: the UN Security Council condemned the invasion (see Apr 5)

Iraq War II

April 3, 2003:  U.S. forces seized control of Bagdad’s Saddam International Airport. (see April 9)


April 3, 2009: the Iowa Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision in favor of the freedom to marry in Varnum v. Brien. The ruling went into effect on April 27, and same-sex couples begin marrying. (see April 7)

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World War II Hero Calvin Graham

World War II Hero Calvin Graham

World War II Hero Calvin Graham

Calvin Graham

Throughout our history, there have been few times when our military has not served in combat zones whether there was a declared war or not.

Because of that fact, we have always had veterans and while we support their efforts with huge amounts of money toward combat, our record of support for the wounded and homeless veterans is less stellar.

When World War II began, thousands of young men enthusiastically joined to defeat the Axis powers. 

Calvin Graham was one of those young men.


World War II Hero Calvin Graham
USS Dakota
On August 16, 1942 Graham enlisted at the Naval Recruiting Station in his hometown of Houston, TX. The age certification, signed by Graham’s mother, showed a birth date of April 3, 1925, making Graham 17. 

After boot camp, the Navy sent Graham Pearl Harbor where he was assigned to the USS South Dakota.

Seventy-two days after his enlistment, on October 26, 1942, the USS South Dakota took part in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. The ship shot down 26 Japanese planes. Graham's gun crew accounted for seven of them. 

Twenty-one days later, on November 15, 1942, during the Battle of Guadalcanal, Japanese fire hit USS South Dakota  forty-seven times. One explosion threw Calvin down three decks of stairs. Shrapnel tore through his jaw and mouth. In spite of his injuries, he helped pull fellow sailors from danger. Half the ship's crew of 3,300 were killed or wounded. 


In Texas, Graham had been one of seven children living at home. His father had died in a car accident, and his mother, a hotel maid, had remarried. With an abusive stepfather, Graham and an older brother moved into a cheap rooming house, 

He supported himself by selling newspapers and delivering telegrams on weekends and after school. His mother occasionally visited—sometimes to simply sign his report cards at the end of a semester.  With the country at war, his newspapers had afforded him the opportunity to keep up on events overseas.

World War II Hero Calvin Graham

On December 18, 1942, the USS South Dakota returned to the Brooklyn Navy Yard for major repairs, The media profiled the crew for their heroic deeds.

Calvin Graham received a Bronze Star for distinguishing himself in combat, as well as a Purple Heart for his injuries, but he couldn’t bask in glory with his fellow crewmen. 

But Graham's ruse was up. It turned out that back in August, Graham and a friend had signed the other's enlistment papers where it listed "parent's approval." Then they tricked a desk clerk on their paper route to leave the desk and they used his notary public's seal to stamp their papers."

Now Graham’s mother, having recognized her son in newsreel footage, wrote to the Navy and revealed her son's true age. She stated that she “did willingly and knowingly sign consent papers and age certificate to the effect that…Graham was born…on [April  3, 1925] whereas…he was born on April 3, 1930.”

Graham returned to Texas and was thrown in a brig at Corpus Christi, Texas, for almost three months.

He had been 12-years-old at enlistment.  He was 12-years-old when he saved sailors. He was still 12-years-old.

April 5, 1943

A string of denials
  1. the Navy cancelled Graham’s enlistment
  2. the Navy denied accrued pay and allowances and travel allowances
  3. the Navy denied credit for his military service (including the more than 4 months foreign service)
  4. the Navy denied mustering out pay
  5. the Navy gave him a dishonorable discharge and revoked his disability benefit
  6. the Navy took back his decorations, including a Purple Heart and Bronze Star

Still more denials

On May 26, 1943, Graham requested 36 days’ pay he considered to be due him at the time of his release from the Navy. 


February 14, 1944, Calvin Graham: Graham filed an application with the Chief of Naval Personnel for mustering-out payment.


October 4, 1944, Graham wrote to the Chief of Naval Personnel requesting a discharge certificate. 


The basis for each Navy denial was that his enlistment was void and therefore canceled. 

Also in October 1944, Graham  presented a claim for arrears of pay and mustering-out pay to the General Accounting Office.


US Marine

Graham married at age 14, became a father the following year, and found work as a welder in a Houston shipyard. Neither his job nor his marriage lasted long. He soon broke his back in a fall, for which he received a 20 percent service-connected disability. The only work he could find after that was selling magazine subscriptions.

On November 6, 1950, At 17 years old (really!), divorced, and with no service record, Graham was about to be drafted when he enlisted in the Marine Corps.

On August 1, 1951 after injuring his back in a fall off a pier, he left the US Marines and received a 20 percent service-connected disability. He drove a cab for a while, then sold magazine subscriptions door to door. 


September 20, 1976, Graham again requested an honorable discharge from the Navy for his World War II service. 


From the Smithsonian magazine article: When President Jimmy Carter was elected, in 1976, Graham began writing letters, hoping that Carter, “an old Navy man,” might be sympathetic. All Graham had wanted was an honorable discharge so he could get help with his medical and dental expenses. “I had already given up fighting” for the discharge, Graham said at the time. “But then they came along with this discharge program for deserters. I know they had their reasons for doing what they did, but I figure I damn sure deserved more than they did.”

People magazine

On October 24, 1977, People magazine reported that Graham, 47, was unable to work, had spent some $5,000 on dental repairs, suffered from diabetes, and heart trouble. As a result of pier fall, he walked only with a cane. He and his wife lived on $600 a month—part of which came from limited Marine disability payments. 

World War II Hero Calvin Graham

On April 20, 1978, the New York Times reported that US Senators Lloyd Bentsen and John Tower of Texas had introduced a bill to give Graham his long-sought discharge. 

35 years, 27 days days later

On May 1, 1978, the General Counsel of the Navy informed the Secretary of the Navy that authority existed on April 5, 1943 (date of Graham’s enlistment cancellation) for the issuance of an honorable discharge.  The next day, May 2, 1978 the Secretary of the Navy authorized the issuance of an honorable discharge to Graham, effective April 5, 1943.

On November 15, 1978, the General Accounting Office received Graham’s claim from back-pay due him from his World War II service. 


February 14, 1979, Graham’s claim for back-pay from his World War II service was denied on the basis that the claim was filed more than 6 years after discharge and, by statute, the claim was too late. The existence of the earlier claim (within the 6-year limit) was not known at the time of this decision. The Navy reinstated all of his medals with the exception of the Purple Heart. He was awarded $337 in back pay but was denied health benefits except for disability.


Too Young to be a Hero

March 27, 1988, Calvin Graham: Too Young to be a Hero, a made-for-TV movie, starring Rick Schroder (age 17). It told  the story of Calvin Graham. Graham received $50,000, but 50% went to two agents, and 20% went to a writer of an unpublished book.

Reagan intervention

November 12, 1988: President Reagan signed legislation that granted Calvin full disability benefits, increased his back pay to $4917, and allowed $18,000 for past medical bills, contingent on receipts for the medical services. By this time, some of the doctors who treated him had died and many medical bills were lost. Calvin received only $2,100 of the possible $18,000.

in 1991,  Allan Stover created The Veterans of Underage Military Service in Ellicott City, Maryland.  “Some of these guys came from large families and there wasn’t enough food to go around, and this was a way out,” a member Jackson said, “Others just had family problems and wanted to get away.”

June 6, 1992, Calvin Graham: Graham died at age 62.

On June 21, 1994 at a ceremony in Arlington, Texas Secretary of the Navy, John Dalton presented Graham’s Purple Heart to Mary Graham, his widow.


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