April 21 Peace Love Activism
SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
Maryland Toleration Act
April 21, 1649: the Maryland assembly passed the Maryland Toleration Act, which provided for freedom of worship for all Christians: And whereas the inforceing of the conscience in matters of Religion hath frequently fallen out to be of dangerous Consequence in those commonwealthes where it hath been practised, And for the more quiett and peaceable governement of this Province, and the better to preserve mutuall Love and amity amongst the Inhabitants thereof, Be it Therefore also by the Lord Proprietary with the advise and consent of this Assembly Ordeyned and enacted (except as in this present Act is before Declared and sett forth) that noe person or persons whatsoever within this Province, or the Islands, Ports, Harbors, Creekes, or havens thereunto belonging professing to beleive in Jesus Christ, shall from henceforth bee any waies troubled, Molested or discountenanced for or in respect of his or her religion nor in the free exercise thereof within this Province or the Islands thereunto belonging nor any way compelled to the beleife or exercise of any other Religion against his or her consent, soe as they be not unfaithfull to the Lord Proprietary, or molest or conspire against the civill Governement established or to bee established in this Province under him or his heires. (see October 27, 1659)
Comics Code Authority
April 21, 1954: a U. S. Senate committee held hearings in New York City on the alleged dangers of comic books. The hearings were part of a nationwide panic over comics contributing to juvenile delinquency. Further hearings were held on April 22nd and June 4th. The major result was the Comics Code Authority, an exercise in self-censorship by the major publishers, on October 26, 1954. (see Oct 26)
see: April 21 Music et al
Roots of Rock
April 21, 1956: Elvis Presley had his first number one hit with "Heartbreak Hotel". (see May 5)
Good Luck Charm
April 21 – May 4, 1962: “Good Luck Charm” by Elvis Presley #1 Billboard Hot 100. (see April 11, 1964)
The Merry Pranksters
April 21, 1965: The Merry Pranksters got a tip that a warrant had been drawn up and police would raid their camp in La Honda, California. (see April 23)
The Road to Bethel
April 21, 1969: Canned Heat signed ($13,000) (see week of April 28)
Kress store lunch counter
April 21, 1960: police arrested forty-five students (including Ezell Blair, Jr., Joseph McNeil, David Richmond and 13 Bennett College students) for trespassing as they sat at the Kress store lunch counter. All were released without bail. (BH, see Apr 24; TGF, see "in June")
April 21, 1966: Milton Olive III became the first African American to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Olive and fellow members of the 3d Platoon of Company B had been making their way through the jungles to locate Viet Cong (aka, National Liberation Front) operating in the area. As the soldiers pursued the enemy, a grenade was thrown into the middle of them. Olive grabbed the grenade and fell on it, absorbing the blast with his body. His actions saved the lives of his platoon members. Olive's parents received the medal on his behalf. (see May 13)
April 21, 1969: after hearing a news report of the attempted murder of James Meredith, Sidney Street, took a 48-star U.S. flag and burned it. Upon being questioned by police, he said, "Yes; that is my flag; I burned it. If they let that happen to Meredith, we don't need an American flag." He was arrested, and a document was prepared that charged him with “the crime of Malicious Mischief in that [he] did willfully and unlawfully defile, cast contempt upon and burn an American Flag, in violation of 1425-16-D of the Penal Law, under the following circumstances: . . . [he] did willfully and unlawfully set fire to an American Flag and shout, "If they did that to Meredith, We don't need an American Flag."
On this date in Street v New York, the US Supreme Court that a New York state law making it a crime "publicly [to] mutilate, deface, defile, or defy, trample upon, or cast contempt upon either by words or act [any flag of the United States]" was, in part, unconstitutional because it prohibited speech against the flag. The Court left for a later day the question of whether it is constitutional or unconstitutional to prohibit, without reference to the utterance of words, the burning of the flag (FS, see Apr 25; Texas v. Johnson, see June 21, 1989)
Turner County High School
April 21, 2007: Turner County High School students attended the school's first racially integrated prom. Located in Ashburn, Georgia, a small, rural, peanut-farming town of 4400 residents, the school's racial demographics reflected those of the local community: 55% black and 45% white. The prom theme, "Breakaway," was chosen to signify a break from the tradition of privately-funded, separate "white" and "black" proms sponsored by parent groups.
The school administration's handbook provided for funding an official school-wide prom but stipulated that the senior class officers and student body had to express genuine support for an integrated event. During the 2006-2007 school year, the school's four senior class officers ? two white and two black ? approached the principal to discuss holding a school-wide prom. Regarding the segregated proms, senior class president James Hall said, "Everybody says that's just how it's always been. It's just the way of this very small town. But it's time for a change."
Turner County High School's class of 2007 also abandoned the "tradition" of electing both a white and a black homecoming queen. White parents still held a private, whites-only prom one week before the school-wide event and some parents refused to allow their children to attend the integrated prom. Principal Chad Stone, who is white, said he would not make efforts to end private proms for future classes but favored the integrated approach, "We already go to school together ? let's start a tradition so that 20 years from now, this is no big deal at all." (see May 3)
April 21, 1965: the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency report a "most ominous" development: a regiment of the People's Army of Vietnam--the regular army of North Vietnam--division was operating with the Viet Cong (aka, National Liberation Front) in South Vietnam. Prior to this, it was believed that South Vietnam was dealing with an internal insurgency by the Viet Cong only. The report detailed that, in fact, the Viet Cong forces were being joined in the war against the Saigon government by North Vietnamese army units.
In short, the report revealed that South Vietnam was now involved in a much larger war than originally believed. The situation far outstripped the combat capability of the South Vietnamese forces. In order to stabilize the situation, President Lyndon B. Johnson would have to commit U.S. ground combat units, leading to a much greater American involvement in the war. Indeed, eventually over 500,000 U.S. troops were stationed in South Vietnam. (see May 3)
April 21, 1975:
- South Vietnam president, Nguyen Van Thieu, resigned, condemning the United States.
- Xuan Loc, the last South Vietnamese outpost blocking a direct North Vietnamese assault on Saigon, fell to the communists. (see April 23)
April 21, 1966: members of the Mattachine Society stage a "sip-in" at the Julius Bar in Greenwich Village, where the New York Liquor Authority prohibits serving gay patrons in bars on the basis that homosexuals are "disorderly." Society president Dick Leitsch and other members announced their homosexuality and were immediately refused service. Following the sip-in, the Mattachine Society sued the New York Liquor Authority. Although no laws are overturned, the New York City Commission on Human Rights declared that homosexuals have the right to be served. (see May 11)
April 21, 2007: Washington state Governor Christine Gregoire signed a domestic partnership bill into law. In the weeks that follow, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongski and New Hampshire Governor John Lynch also signed a domestic partnership law and a civil union law, respectively. (see May 3, 2007)
April 21 Peace Love Activism
United States v. Vuitch
April 21, 1971: United States v. Vuitch, decided on this day, was the first abortion case heard by the Supreme Court. Dr. Milan Vuitch was prosecuted in the District of Columbia for performing abortions. Vuitch argued that the law permitting abortion when it was necessary for the life or health of the woman was unconstitutionally vague. The District Court agreed and dismissed the indictment. In Vuitch, however, the Supreme Court held that the law was not unconstitutionally vague. Justice Hugo Black’s majority opinion, however, interpreted the law in such way as to make criminal prosecutions extremely difficult. Although technically losing in Supreme Court, Dr. Vuitch said he was pleased with the decision. (see March 22, 1972)
Symbionese Liberation Army
April 21, 1975: four members of the S.L.A. held up the Crocker Bank in Carmichael, California. During the hold up, Emily Harris shot and killed a bystander, Myrna Opsahl. (see Sept 18)
April 21, 1989: Chinese students begin protesting in Tiananmen Square.
April 21, 1992: after an extraordinary bicoastal judicial duel kept his fate in doubt throughout the night, Robert Alton Harris died in San Quentin's gas chamber at sunrise becoming the first person executed in California in 25 years. Harris, 39, was pronounced dead at 6:21 a.m., just 36 minutes after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the last of four overnight reprieves that delayed his execution by more than six hours. Earlier that day, Harris came within seconds of death but was rescued by a federal judge, who halted the execution even as the acid used to form the lethal gas flowed into a vat beneath the prisoner's seat. That final stay was quickly tossed out by the U.S. Supreme Court, which clearly had had its fill of the Harris case. In an unprecedented ruling that capped a night of coast-to-coast faxes and deliberations the justices voted 7 to 2 to forbid any federal court from meddling further in the execution. (see June 25, 1993)
Oklahoma City Explosion
April 21, 1995: Terry Nichols learned he was wanted for questioning, turned himself in, and consented to a search of his home. The search turned up blasting caps, detonating cords, ground ammonium nitrate, barrels made of plastic similar to fragments found at the bombing site, 33 firearms, anti-government warfare literature, a receipt for ammonium nitrate fertilizer with McVeigh's fingerprints on it, a telephone credit card that McVeigh had used when he was shopping for bomb making equipment, and a hand-drawn map of downtown Oklahoma City. (see May 10)
April 21, 2009: county charges were dropped against Colin Walsh, 17, one of three teenagers arrested in the beating death of Luis Ramirez because the Walsh entered a guilty plea to charges in federal court. (IH & Ramirez, see May 2)
April 21, 2015: the US Supreme Court ruled that the police may not prolong traffic stops to wait for drug sniffing dogs to inspect vehicles. “A police stop exceeding the time needed to handle the matter for which the stop was made violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the majority. The vote was 6 to 3.
The case, Rodriguez v. United States, started when a Nebraska police officer saw a Mercury Mountaineer driven by Dennys Rodriguez veer onto the shoulder of a state highway just after midnight. The officer, Morgan Struble performed a routine traffic stop, questioning Mr. Rodriguez and his passenger and running a records check. He then issued Mr. Rodriguez a written warning.
That completed the stop, Justice Ginsburg wrote. But Officer Struble then had his drug-sniffing dog, Floyd, circle the vehicle. Floyd smelled drugs and led his officer to a large bag of methamphetamine. About eight minutes elapsed between the written warning and Floyd’s alert. (see May 7)
Sexual Abuse of Children
April 21, 2015: three years after Bishop Robert W. Finn became the first Roman Catholic prelate to be convicted of failing to report a pedophile priest, he resigned as head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in northern and western Missouri. (see June 5)
April 21, 2015: (from NYT) abandoning years of official skepticism, Oklahoma’s government embraced a scientific consensus that earthquakes rocking the state are largely caused by the underground disposal of billions of barrels of wastewater from oil and gas wells.
The state’s energy and environment cabinet introduced a website detailing the evidence behind that conclusion Tuesday, including links to expert studies of Oklahoma’s quakes. The site includes an interactive map that plots not only earthquake locations, but also the sites of more than 3,000 active wastewater-injection wells. The website coincided with a statement by the Oklahoma Geological Survey that it “considers it very likely” that wastewater wells are causing the majority of the state’s earthquakes. (see Apr 22)
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