May 2 Peace Love Activism

May 2 Peace Love Activism


Weems v United States
May 2, 1910: in Weems v. United States, the Supreme Court made a ruling that would significantly affect the debate on the death penalty. The case concerned a defendant who had been sentenced to fifteen years of hard labor, a heavy fine, and a number of other penalties for the relatively minor crime of falsifying official records. The Court overturned the sentence, ruling that the penalty was too harsh considering the nature of the offense. Ultimately, in the Weems decision, the Court set three important precedents concerning any sentencing:
  1. Cruel and unusual punishment is defined by the changing norms and standards of society and therefore is not based on historical interpretations.
  2. Courts may decide whether a punishment is unnecessarily cruel with regard to physical pain.
  3. Courts may decide whether a punishment is unnecessarily cruel with regard to psychological pain. (see February 8, 1924)
May 2, 2013: Maryland's Governor Governor Martin O'Malley signed a bill repealing the death penalty. The legislation went into effect October 1, 2013. In those cases in which the state had filed a notice to seek a death sentence, ‘the notice shall be considered withdrawn and it shall be considered a notice to seek a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole under specified circumstances,’ according to a press release from the Governor’s office. (see Oct 30)


Voting Rights
May 2, 1914: suffrage parades and meetings held in nearly every state and Washington, D.C. (F, see May 9; VR, see Jan 12, 1915)


Buck v Bell

May 2 Peace Love Activism

May 2, 1927: with one dissenting vote, the US Supreme Court ruled in Buck v. Bell that the compulsory sterilization of mental defectives such as Carrie S. Buck, a young Virginia woman, was constitutional under "careful" state safeguards. In his majority opinion, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes writes:  "(It) is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind...Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

                This ruling has never been overturned.

                Carrie had became pregnant when she was seventeen as a result of being raped by her foster parent’s nephew. Reporters and researchers that visited Buck later in life claimed she was a woman of normal intelligence. Later in life, she expressed regret that she had been unable to have additional children. Carrie Buck died alone in a nursing home in 1983; she was buried in Charlottesville near her only child, Vivian, who had died at age eight. (see May 2, 2002)

                At the Nuremberg trials after World War II, Nazi doctors explicitly cited Holmes's opinion in Buck v. Bell as part of their defense. (see January 29, 1929)
Carrie Buck

May 2 Peace Love Activism

May 2, 2002: Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner offered the “Commonwealth's sincere apology for Virginia's participation in eugenics.” at the erection of an historical marker for Carrie Buck in Charlottesville, Virginia where she was born. (see June 20)


Joe McCarthy
May 2, 1957: Joe McCarthy died at the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland from a condition related to his cirrhotic liver.  He was forty-eight. (see May 18, 1957)
Dalton Trumbo
May 2, 1975: Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo finally received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the 1956 film, The Brave One. The announced winner of the award at the Oscars ceremony on March 27, 1957 was “Robert Rich,” Trumbo’s pseudonym while he was blacklisted for his political views. (see May 17, 1995)



Birmingham students fire-hosed
May 2, 1963: more than 700 black children protesting racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama, were arrested, blasted with fire hoses, clubbed by police, and attacked by police dogs. As part of the Children's Crusade launched by Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to revive the Birmingham anti-segregation campaign, more than 1000 African American children trained in nonviolent tactics walked out of their classes and assembled at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church to march to downtown Birmingham. Hundreds were arrested and transported to jail in school buses and paddy wagons but the children refused to relent. (see May 4)
Dee/Moore Murders

May 2 Peace Love Activism

May 2, 1964: members of the Ku Klux KIan kidnapped Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore from the main street in Meadville, Mississippi and took them to the Homochitto National Forest where they were tied to a tree and beaten. The Klansmen placed Dee and Moore in a trunk of a car and transported them to Tallulah, LA, where they dumped them, while they were still alive, into the Old Mississippi River. (Black History, see, May 5; Dee & Moore, see July 12)
Black Panthers

May 2 Peace Love Activism

May 2, 1967: armed members of the Black Panther Party entered the California state capital to protest a bill that restricted the carrying of arms in public. (BH, see May 6; BP, see Oct 28)


Student protests
May 2, 1964: Some 400–1,000 students march through Times Square, New York and another 700 in San Francisco, in the first major student demonstration against the Vietnam War. Smaller marches also occur in Boston, Seattle, and Madison, Wisconsin. (see May 24)

May 2 Music et al

The Beatles

May 2 Peace Love Activism

May 2 – June 5, 1964: The Beatles' Second Album (released April 10) became the Billboard #1 album (only four of the twelve songs were written by the Beatles). (see May 11)

May 2 Peace Love Activism

US Labor History

Sunshine silver mine

May 2 Peace Love Activism

May 2, 1972: a fire at the Sunshine silver mine in Kellogg, Idaho, caused the death of 91 workers who died from carbon monoxide poisoning, likely caused by toxic fumes emitted by burning polyurethane foam, used as a fire retardant. (see February 10, 1973)


Nationalist Socialist party
May 2, 1977: The Skokie Village Board, in response to a request from Nationalist Socialist party for a permit to march in front of Skokie Village Hall, passes three ordinances which 1) require a $350,000.00 indemnity bond to be posted in advance of any march 2) prohibits the distribution of printed material which promotes hatred of groups of people and 3) prohibits demonstrations by individuals wearing military style uniforms (see June 11)

see Calvin Graham for full story

May 2, 1978: the Secretary of the Navy authorized the issuance of an honorable discharge to Graham, effective April 5, 1943. (see November 15, 1978)

Nuclear/Chemical News

Falklands War

May 2 Peace Love Activism

May 2, 1982: the British submarine HMS Conqueror torpedoed and sank Argentine cruiser General Belgran. More than 320 Argentine sailors died – the single biggest loss of life in the war. Margaret Thatcher faced criticism over the sinking because the vessel was outside the 200-mile exclusion zone around the Falklands. (see May 4)

Jack Kevorkian

May 2, 1994:  a Detroit jury acquitted Kevorkian of charges he violated the state's assisted suicide ban in the death of Thomas Hyde. (see May 10)

Sexual Abuse of Children

May 2, 2002:  California police arrested Rev Paul Shanley and later charged on three counts of child rape. He denied the charges. (see June 14)

Immigration History

Luis Ramirez
May 2, 2009: Brandon Piekarsky and Derrick Donchak were acquitted of all serious charges against them stemming from the fatal beating of Luis Ramirez, a Mexican immigrant, on July 12, 2008 in Shenandoah. An all-white jury acquitted Brandon Piekarsky, 17, of third-degree murder and ethnic intimidation, and Derrick Donchak, 19, of aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation. Both were convicted of simple assault in an epithet-filled brawl that pitted popular football players against a 25-year-old Hispanic man. Prosecutors cast the man, Luis Ramirez, as the victim of a gang of drunken white teenagers motivated by their dislike of their small coal town’s burgeoning Hispanic population. Defense lawyers called Mr. Ramirez the aggressor and accused the district attorney’s office of twisting the facts.

                The two served roughly six months in jail before being released.

                In response to that verdict and outcry from Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, among others, federal prosecutors brought hate crime charges against Donchak and Piekarsky in December 2009. Witnesses testified that Donchak often wore a “Border Patrol” T-shirt and drove through town blasting from the speakers of his pickup truck “The White Man Marches On” – a racist song glorifying violence against minorities. The men were convicted of hate crimes and each sentenced to serve nine years in prison. A third participant in the beating pled guilty to the same charges and testified against his co-defendants, ultimately receiving a sentence of 55 months. (Immigration, see Oct 30; Ramirez, see Dec 10)


Osama bin Laden
May 2, 2011: a day after his death, U.S. forces buried Osama bin Laden's body at sea, The forces handled the body in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition. The sea buriel prevented a burial site from becoming a "terrorist shrine.” (see Oct 11)

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