May 21 Peace Love Activism
May 21, 1919: the House of Representatives passed the Nineteenth Amendment. (see June 4, 1919)
May 21, 1961: more than 1000 black residents and civil rights leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth attended a service at Montgomery's First Baptist Church organized by Rev. Ralph Abernathy to support the Freedom Riders. A white mob surrounded the church and vandalized parked cars. From the church's basement, Dr. King called United States Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and requested help. United States Marshals soon arrived to dispel the riot; the growing mob pelted them with bricks and bottles. The marshals responded with tear gas. When police arrived to assist the marshals, the mob broke into smaller groups and overturned cars, attacked black residences with bullets and firebombs, and assaulted black people in the streets. Alabama Governor John Patterson declared martial law in Montgomery and ordered National Guard troops to restore order. Authorities arrested seventeen white rioters and, by midnight, the streets were calm. Only then were those in the church permitted to leave. (BH & FR, see May 22; MLK, see Dec 15)
May 21, 2006: the University of Notre Dame awarded awarded an Honorary Doctorate to Harper Lee. Graduates saluted her with a standing ovation and hoisting a copy of her classic novel at Lee's hooding. (see November 5, 2007)
May 21 Music et al
The Mamas and the Papas
May 21 – May 27, 1966: The Mamas and the Papas If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears is the Billboard #1 album. One of the album's songs is a cover of John Lennon's "I Call Your Name."
May 21, 1967: Reprise Records signed Hendrix on the US Warner Brothers label. The label will eventually release his ‘Are You Experienced’’, ‘Axis: Bold as Love’ and ‘Electric Ladyland’ albums. (see June 4)
The Road to Bethel
May 21, 1969: Woodstock Ventures signed The Band. ($15,000) (see May 27)
May 21, 1970: the Weathermen, (calling themselves the Weather Underground), released a declaration of war on the government of the United States.
Hello. This is Bernardine Dohrn.
I'm going to read A DECLARATION OF A STATE OF WAR.
This is the first communication from the Weatherman underground.
All over the world, people fighting Amerikan imperialism look to Amerika's youth to use our strategic position behind enemy lines to join forces in the destruction of the empire.
Black people have been fighting almost alone for years. We've known that our job is to lead white kids into armed revolution. We never intended to spend the next five or twenty-five years of our lives in jail. Ever since SDS became revolutionary, we've been trying to show how it is possible to overcome the frustration and impotence that comes from trying to reform this system. Kids know the lines are drawn revolution is touching all of our lives. Tens of thousands have learned that protest and marches don't do it. Revolutionary violence is the only way.
Now we are adapting the classic guerrilla strategy of the Viet Cong and the urban guerrilla strategy of the Tupamaros to our own situation here in the most technically advanced country in the world.
Ché taught us that "revolutionaries move like fish in the sea." The alienation and contempt that young people have for this country has created the ocean for this revolution.
The hundreds and thousands of young people who demonstrated in the Sixties against the war and for civil rights grew to hundreds of thousands in the past few weeks actively fighting Nixon's invasion of Cambodia and the attempted genocide against black people. The insanity of Amerikan "justice" has added to its list of atrocities six blacks killed in Augusta, two in Jackson and four white Kent State students, making thousands more into revolutionaries.
The parents of "privileged" kids have been saying for years that the revolution was a game for us. But the war and the racism of this society show that it is too fucked-up. We will never live peaceably under this system.
This was totally true of those who died in the New York townhouse explosion. The third person who was killed there was Terry Robbins, who led the first rebellion at Kent State less than two years ago.
The twelve Weathermen who were indicted for leading last October's riots in Chicago have never left the country. Terry is dead, Linda was captured by a pig informer, but the rest of us move freely in and out of every city and youth scene in this country. We're not hiding out but we're invisible.
There are several hundred members of the Weatherman underground and some of us face more years in jail than the fifty thousand deserters and draft dodgers now in Canada. Already many of them are coming back to join us in the underground or to return to the Man's army and tear it up from inside along with those who never left.
We fight in many ways. Dope is one of our weapons. The laws against marijuana mean that millions of us are outlaws long before we actually split. Guns and grass are united in the youth underground.
Freaks are revolutionaries and revolutionaries are freaks. If you want to find us, this is where we are. In every tribe, commune, dormitory, farmhouse, barracks and townhouse where kids are making love, smoking dope and loading guns—fugitives from Amerikan justice are free to go.
For Diana Oughton, Ted Gold and Terry Robbins, and for all the revolutionaries who are still on the move here, there has been no question for a long time now—we will never go back.
Within the next fourteen days we will attack a symbol or institution of Amerikan injustice. This is the way we celebrate the example of Eldridge Cleaver and H. Rap Brown and all black revolutionaries who first inspired us by their fight behind enemy lines for the liberation of their people.
Never again will they fight alone.
May 21, 1970
(Vietnam & Cambodia, see "in June"; WU see June 9)
May 21 Peace Love Activism
May 21, 1976: Democratic Party presidential candidate Jimmy Carter, on this day, said that homosexuals should not be singled out for discrimination. He became the first major party candidate for president to oppose discrimination against homosexuals. (LGBTQ, see Sept 16; Carter, see March 26, 1977)
Dan White verdict
May 21, 1979: former San Francisco City Supervisor Dan White was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting deaths of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk.. Outraged by what they believed to be a lenient sentence, more than 5,000 protesters ransacked San Francisco's City Hall, doing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property damage in the surrounding area. (see May 22, 1979)
May 21, 2015
Alabama & Gay marriages
S. District Judge Callie V. S. Granade ordered that all Alabama probate judges must comply with the U.S. Constitution and may not refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples after four leading civil rights organizations requested the court expand a lawsuit to cover all same-sex couples and probate judges statewide. The district court’s order will take effect when the United States Supreme Court issues its decision in several pending cases seeking the freedom to marry in four states. The Supreme Court marriage cases were argued in April, and a ruling is expected by the end of June.
Granade’s ruling applied to all probate judges in Alabama’s 67 counties. The state’s probate judges were responsible for issuing marriage licenses. The ruling expanded the court’s order earlier this year requiring the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in Mobile County. The order made clear that probate judges were obligated to obey the United States Constitution and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples regardless of a ruling issued earlier in 2015 by the Alabama Supreme Court, which stated that county probate judges could not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Licenses must be issued in Alabama as soon as the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the marriage cases now pending before it. (Grande order, see July 1)
Boy Scouts of America
Robert M. Gates, the president of the Boy Scouts of America, urged the group during its annual meeting in Atlanta to end its ban on gay leaders, saying the prohibition “cannot be sustained.” “I truly fear that any other alternative will be the end of us as a national movement,” said Gates, former CIA director and secretary of Defense. He recommended that local Scouting groups be allowed to decide for themselves whether to allow gay leaders. (see May 22; BSA, see July 27)
Raymond McCreesh & Patsy O’Hara
May 21 1981: McCreesh (24), an Irish Republican Army prisoner, and O'Hara (23), an Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) prisoner, both died after a 61-day hunger strike. (see May 22)
May 21, 1982: British landings began at San Carlos. Argentine aircraft sink frigate HMS Ardent, killing 22 sailors. British shoot down fifteen Argentine aircraft. (see May 24)
Japanese Internment Camps
Civil Liberties Act of 1988
May 21, 1999: Congress passed legislation for additional funding to pay remaining eligible claimants who had filed timely claims under the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and the Mochizuki settlement agreement. (see Oct 22)
Iraq War II
Pfc. Steven Dale Green
May 21, 2009: a jury in Kentucky sentenced 24-year-old former 101st Airborne Division Pfc. Steven Dale Green to life in prison without parole on Thursday for raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and murdering her, her parents and a younger sister in Iraq. [New York Times, 5/21/09] (see September 15)
May 21, 2014: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito granted a stay of execution for Russell Bucklew, a Missouri death row inmate, whose rare birth defect, his lawyers argued, would have made his death an "excruciating" process. The stay was in place pending further action by the 8th Circuit Court, which will hold a hearing on the matter.
Russell Bucklew had been scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. CT Wednesday at Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri. It would have been the first execution since Oklahoma botched a procedure April 29.
Bucklew, who had turned 46 the previous week, was already in pain, as his condition included unstable tumors in his head and neck, causing him to bleed regularly from his mouth, nose, eyes and ears, said defense attorney Cheryl Pilate. (see May 27)
Noll v. IBM
May 21, 2015: the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision that employers may choose a reasonably effective measure even if it is not the one preferred by the employee. Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities in order for them to perform the essential functions of their jobs. Employers and employees often disagree over whether a particular measure effectively accommodates the needs of the disabled worker.
The plaintiff was a deaf software engineer who encountered problems understanding videos posted on the company’s intranet. He requested that all such files be transcribed and accompanied by close captions before being posted. As an alternative measure, IBM agreed to provide ASL interpreters to the plaintiff to allow real-time translation of the videos, and to transcribe selected video and audio materials after receiving his request.
The plaintiff sued, claiming that IBM failed to provide a reasonable accommodation. He contended that the ASL interpretation service was not an effective accommodation because it required him to divide his attention between the video and the interpreter. IBM noted that although more difficult, the accommodation offered still provided the plaintiff with an effective way to accomplish his essential job functions.
The Second Circuit agreed with IBM, affirming dismissal of the lawsuit. In its opinion, the majority noted that the ADA does not require employers to provide disabled employees with requested accommodations, only effective ones of its own choosing. In this case, the translation service was an effective accommodation, even if the plaintiff preferred a perfect solution. IBM was not required to engage in an interactive process to explore other alternatives once it had identified an effective accommodation. The dissenting judge believed that a jury should decide whether the ASL translation was an effective accommodation. (see July 16)
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