May 1 Peace Love Activism
US Labor History
Federal Society of Journeymen Cordwainers
May 1, 1794: the Federal Society of Journeymen Cordwainers (shoemakers) was organized in Philadelphia to negotiate wages for its members, becoming the first trade union in the United States. (see "in 1810")
Five-day, 40-hour week
May 1, 1926: Ford Motor Company became one of the first companies in America to adopt a five-day, 40-hour week for workers in its automotive factories. (see May 20)
Federal minimum wage
May 1, 1974: the federal minimum wage rose to $2 per hour. (see June 3)
“A Day Without Immigrants”
May 1, 2006: rallies in cities across the U.S. for what organizers call “A Day Without Immigrants.” An estimated 100,000 immigrants and sympathizers gathered in San Jose, Calif., 200,000 in New York, 400,000 each in Chicago and Los Angeles. In all, there were demonstrations in at least 50 cities. (see May 29, 2007)
Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell
May 1, 1855: Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell were married by Thomas Wentworth Higginson, and issued a statement denouncing the loss of a woman's rights upon marriage. (see “in 1862”)
Dr. John Slawson
May 1, 1947: Dr. John Slawson, executive vice president of the American Jewish Committee presented a national program to protect civil rights to the President's Committee on Civil Rights. The program included plans to deal with violations of the basic privileges, and also to resist group dissension, race and religious discrimination, and bigotry of all kinds. (see June 29)
Charleston City Railway Company
May 1, 1861: the Charleston City Railway Company adopted a resolution allowing all persons equal access to streetcars. (see Sept 22)
Confederate slave treatment
May 1, 1863: On December 24, 1862, Confederate President Jefferson Davis had issued orders to the Confederate Army "that all negro slaves captured in arms be at once delivered over to the executive authorities of the respective States to which they belong, to be dealt with according to the law of said States." A joint resolution adopted by the Confederate Congress and signed by Mr. Davis on May 1, 1863, adjusted this policy to provide that all "negroes or mulattoes, slave or free, taken in arms should be turned over to the authorities in the state in which they were captured and that their officers would be tried by Confederate military tribunals for inciting insurrection and be subject, at the discretion of the court and the president, to the death penalty."
The treatment of African Americans in Confederate custody varied, depending on location and the capturing commander but atrocities committed against black troops during the Civil War, such as the massacre of surrendering black troops at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, have been well documented. (see July 13 to July 16)
May 1, 1866: three days of race riots in Memphis, one of the bloodiest outbreaks of Reconstruction, left 46 black residents and two white residents dead, five black women raped and 91 homes, four churches and eight schools destroyed by fires. Fighting had already taken place between black soldiers and white Memphis policemen. The Freedman's Bureau reported the police had been treating the African-American soldiers with brutality. False rumors spread among the white community that black citizens were planning an armed rebellion. No one was ever arrested or prosecuted for the killings. (BH, see May 10; RR, see September 4, 1875)
May 1, 1867: Registration of black and white voters began on this day in the South. By the end of October, 1.3 million citizens had registered, including 700,000 African Americans. These black voters constituted a majority in five states: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina. (BH, see May 9; VR, June 9, 1868)
Integrated political rally
May 1, 1948: Glenn Taylor, Progressive Party candidate for Vice President on Henry Wallace's ticket, is arrested in Alabama for violating segregation laws by attempting to hold an integrated political rally. Taylor's jailer is Birmingham police commissioner Bull Connor. (see June 24, 1948)
School Desegregation denied
May 1, 1959: ordered to integrate its schools under Brown v. Board of Education, Prince Edward County, Virginia, chose instead to close all public schools on this day. They remained closed until 1964, when the Supreme Court ordered the county to open them, in Griffin v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, on May 25, 1964.
While the schools were closed, the Prince Edward Foundation supported private academies to educate white students. There were no formal arrangements for African-American students; some were supported by private groups and others went to out-of-state schools. The “Lost Class of ’59” was one of the great tragedies of the struggle over school desegregation following Brown v. Board of Education. The Little Rock, Arkansas, schools were also closed for the academic year 1958–1959 because of resistance to racial integration.
The closing of the Prince Edward County schools was just one part of the program of “massive resistance” to school integration after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education, on May 17, 1954. Other actions included the Southern Manifesto, signed by 100 members of Congress on March 12, 1956; an Alabama law that would have required the disclosure of the names of NAACP members, but which the Supreme Court in NAACP v. Alabama declared unconstitutional on June 30, 1958; and a set of Virginia laws designed to restrict the activities of the NAACP (September 29, 1956; April 2, 1963).
The school closing episode left a lasting legacy for education and race in the county. The 2010 Census reported that the county population was 36 percent African-American. The public school population, however, was a majority African-American, while only 5 percent of the private schools, the legacy of the closing crisis, were African-American. (BH & SD, see June 26)
To Kill a Mockingbird
May 1, 1961: Harper Lee received Pulitzer Prize in fiction for To Kill a Mockingbird. (Black History, see May 4; Harper Lee, see May 21, 2006)
May 1, 1992: Rodney King made an emotional plea for calm, stating, "People, I just want to say, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it horrible for the older people and the kids?" (BH, see May 4; King, see Aug 4; RR, see May 4)
Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing
May 1, 2001: a jury convicted Thomas Blanton of taking part in the Ku Klux Klan's 1963 bombing of a Birmingham, Ala., church that killed four girls, and he was given four life sentences — one for the murder of each girl. After the verdict was announced, U.S. Attorney Doug Jones announced, "Justice delayed is still justice, and we have it in Birmingham, Ala." (BH, see June; 16th, see May 22, 2002)
Baltimore Police investigation
May 1, 2015: (from NYT) The state’s attorney of Baltimore, in an unexpected announcement, said...that she had probable cause to file homicide, manslaughter and misconduct charges against the police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, who died after sustaining a spinal cord injury while in police custody.
In a news conference...the state’s attorney, Marilyn J. Mosby, said that the death of Mr. Gray had been ruled a homicide and that the police had been negligent in his death. (see June 9)
“We have probable cause to file criminal charges,” Ms. Mosby said. As she spoke outside the War Memorial here, dozens of police officers dressed in riot gear stood nearby.
Ms. Mosby described repeated mistreatment of Mr. Gray. She said that time and again police officers had mistreated him . She said they had arrested him with no grounds, violating police procedure by putting him in cuffs and leg cuffs in the van without seat belting him and then repeatedly failing to get him medical attention.
She said that when he was removed from the wagon, “Mr. Gray was no longer breathing at all.”
The death, Ms. Mosby said, is believed to be the result of a fatal injury to Mr. Gray while he was riding in the van without a seatbelt. (see June 9)
May 1 Peace Love Activism
May 1, 1932: the baby son of Charles A. Lindbergh was kidnapped from his home in Hopewell, New Jersey. The body of the infant is found in the nearby woods two months later. The incident leads Congress to pass a federal kidnapping statute, popularly known as the Lindbergh Act, that makes the crime a capital offense. Similar 'Lindbergh laws' are enacted in more than 20 states by the end of the decade. (see August 14, 1936)
The Cold War
May 1, 1960: the Soviets shot down a U-2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers. The 31-year-old Powers was already a veteran of several covert aerial reconnaissance missions. The CIA recruited him in 1956 to fly the Lockheed U-2, a spy plane that could reach altitudes of 80,000 feet, essentially making it invulnerable to Soviet anti-aircraft weapons. The U-2 was equipped with a state-of-the-art camera designed to snap high-resolution photos from the edge of the atmosphere.(CW, see May 12; Powers, see May 16)
May 1, 1957: the first issue of 16 Magazine came out, with Elvis on the cover. (see Aug 5)
May 1 – 21, 1965: “Mrs Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” by Herman’s Hermits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Beatles’ final scheduled live appearance in Britain
May 1, 1966: The Beatles’ final scheduled live appearance in Britain. It was their fourth appearance at the New Musical Express Annual Poll-Winners’ All-Star Concert, which took place at the Empire Pool in Wembley, London. The Beatles performed before an audience of 10,000.
The group were on a bill which also included The Spencer Davis Group, The Fortunes, Herman’s Hermits, Roy Orbison, The Overlanders, The Alan Price Set, Cliff Richard and The Shadows, The Rolling Stones, The Seekers, The Small Faces, Sounds Incorporated, Dusty Springfield, Crispian St Peters, The Walker Brothers, The Who, The Yardbirds and Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich. The comperes were Peter Murray and Jimmy Savile.
The Beatles played a 15-minute set which included five songs: I Feel Fine, Nowhere Man, Day Tripper, If I Needed Someone and I’m Down.
Although ABC TV was filming the concert, Brian Epstein failed to reach an agreement over terms, so the cameras were turned off while The Beatles performed. The group was, however, filmed receiving their poll awards. (see May 16)
May 1, 1972: Judge Bernard J. Lasker signed a temporary order in Federal Court restraining the Immigration and Naturalization Service from holding a deportation hearing for John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Judge Lasker ruled that the Government must first hold a hearing on a motion made by the Lennons before it takes up the matter of deportation. Lennon’s motion asks that they be classified as “aliens of distinguished merit and ability.” (see May 11)
Technological Milestone & Cultural Milestone
Super 8 film
May 1, 1965: after press releases in April, Eastman Kodak Co. introduced its Super 8 film format at the International Photography Exposition in New York. One of the main selling points: the plastic cartridge that made loading the film much easier. (TM, see August 20, 1967; CM, see September 8, 1966)
May 1, 1969: in a speech on the floor of the Senate, George Aiken (R-Vermont), senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged the Nixon administration to begin an immediate “orderly withdrawal” of U.S. forces from South Vietnam. Aiken said, “It should be started without delay.” The speech was widely regarded as the end of the self-imposed moratorium on criticism that senators had been following since the Nixon administration took office. (see May 9)
College campus protests
May 1, 1970: protests erupted on campuses across the US over the Cambodian invasion including Kent State University (Ohio). (see May 3)
May 1, 1971: in a televised news conference responding to question about the White House Conference on Youth, which had voted to legalize marijuana, President Nixon said: "As you know, there is a Commission that is supposed to make recommendations to me about this subject; in this instance, however, I have such strong views that I will express them. I am against legalizing marijuana. Even if the Commission does recommend that it be legalized, I will not follow that recommendation... I can see no social or moral justification whatever for legalizing marijuana. I think it would be exactly the wrong step. It would simply encourage more and more of our young people to start down the long, dismal road that leads to hard drugs and eventually self-destruction." (see June 17)
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. (see May 2, 1978)
Iraq War II
May 1, 2003: President George W. Bush landed in a jet on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the California coast and, in a speech to the nation, declared: [M]y fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. (next IWII, see May 29; last troops leave Iraq, August 18, 2010)
Stop and Frisk Policy
May 1, 2009: a new analysis of NYPD stop-and-frisk data prompted critics to raise new questions about the tactic's effectiveness. (see May 12)
Osama bin Laden
May 1, 2011: U.S. officials announced that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a Special Operation conducted by the CIA and United States Navy SEALs (under the direction of President Obama), in Pakistan. (see May 2)
May 1, 2014: several CSX tanker cars carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire along the James River near downtown Lynchburg, Va. (see June 23)
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