May 4 Peace Love Activism

May 4 Peace Love Activism

BLACK HISTORY

Ida B. Wells

May 4 Peace Love Activism

May 4, 1884:  Wells, an African-American native of Holly Springs, Miss., refused to give up her seat on a train, only to be dragged off by white men. After a lynch mob killed two of her friends, she started a crusade against lynching and was forced to flee Memphis. She later helped co-found the NAACP. (see March 17, 1886; Wells, see March 9, 1892)
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR
May 4, 1960: police arrested King for driving without a Georgia license (he had one from Alabama and lived in Georgia at the time.) (BH, see May 4; MLK, see Oct 19)
Freedom Riders

May 4 Peace Love Activism

May 4, 1961: Freedom Ride with two buses began from Washington D.C. to New Orleans to test Boynton v Virginia. Organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE, founded on March 9, 1942) and its director, James Farmer, the Freedom Ride began to challenge racial segregation in interstate bus travel in the deep south. The Freedom Ride was one of the most dramatic events of the civil rights movement, generating headlines around the country and around the world. Thirteen people boarded buses in Washington, D.C., planning to travel through the south (including Alabama and Mississippi) and reach New Orleans on May 17th, the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. The Ride was marked by violence and assaults of individual Freedom Riders (see particularly May 14, 1961). (see May 9)
“Free Huey”
May 4, 1969: "Free Huey" [Huey Newton] rallies were held in 20 major cities at U.S. federal district courts. (BH, see May 10, Panthers, see Aug 16)
Rodney King
May 4, 1992: Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley lifted the emergency dawn-to-dusk curfew acknowledging the official end of the riots, but scattered violence continued for several days and the city maintained a military presence for weeks. The riots resulted in approximately 58 deaths, more than 3000 buildings destroyed, and upwards of $1 billion in property damage. (BH, see May 9; RR, see May 28, 1993)

US Labor History

Haymarket Riot

May 4 Peace Love Activism

May 4, 1886: a labor demonstration for an eight-hour workday at Haymarket Square in Chicago turned into a riot when a bomb exploded leaving more than 100 wounded and 8 police officers dead. After Chicago authorities arrested and detained nearly every anarchist and socialist in town, eight men, who were either speakers in or organizers of the protest, were charged with murder. (Anarchism, see Aug 20; LH, see Sept 23)

Marijuana

Marihuana Tax Act

May 4 Peace Love Activism

May 4, 1937: the American Medical Association opposed the proposed Marihuana Tax Act and supported research on medical cannabis The Committee on Ways and Means had held hearings on the proposed taxation of marijuana between 27 April and 4 May 1937. The last witness to be heard was Dr. William C. Woodward, legislative counsel of the American Medical Association (AMA). He announced his opposition to the bill and sought to dispel any impression that either the AMA or enlightened medical opinion sponsored this legislation. Marijuana, he argued, was largely an unknown quantity, but might have important uses in medicine and psychology. He stated: "There is nothing in the medicinal use of Cannabis that has any relation to Cannabis addiction. I use the word 'Cannabis' in preference to the word 'marijuana', because Cannabis is the correct term for describing the plant and its products. The term 'marijuana' is a mongrel word that has crept into this country over the Mexican border and has no general meaning, except as it relates to the use of Cannabis preparations for smoking..To say, however, as has been proposed here, that the use of the drug should be prevented by a prohibitive tax, loses sight of the fact that future investigation may show that there are substantial medical uses for Cannabis." (see Aug 2)

FREE SPEECH

May 4, 1961: the State Supreme Court upheld NYC’s ban against folk singing in Washington Square Park. (see May 7)

Vietnam

National Liberation Front
May 4, 1961: at a press conference, Secretary of State Dean Rusk reported that Viet Cong (aka, National Liberation Front) forces had grown to 12,000 men and that they had killed or kidnapped more than 3,000 persons in 1960. While declaring that the United States would supply South Vietnam with any possible help, he refused to say whether the United States would intervene militarily. (see May 11)
Kent State

May 4 Peace Love Activism

May 4, 1970: at Kent State University, national guardsmen ordered a noontime rally of some 2,000 students to disperse. The guardsmen fired tear gas and charged the crowd. A number of guardsmen fired their rifles at the students for 13 seconds, killing four and wounding from 9 to 11 others. (see May 6)

May 4 Music et al

Andy Williams
May 4 – August 30, 1963 – Andy Williams’s Days of Wine and Roses is the Billboard #1 album. 

May 4 Peace Love Activism

Feminism

No-fault divorce
May 4, 1969: California became the first state to adopt the no-fault divorce law, which enabled either party to terminate a marriage without cause. (see Dec 15)

SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE

Walz v. Tax Commissioner the Supreme Court
May 4, 1970: in Walz v. Tax Commissioner the Supreme Court rejected the argument that tax exemptions for churches violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The Court held that tax exemptions were granted to a broad range of non-profit organizations and that the exemption involved a minimal involvement with religion.

                Justice William O. Douglas dissented, arguing that the tax exemption violated the Establishment Clause.“A tax exemption is a subsidy. Is my Brother [Justice William J.] Brennan correct in saying that we would hold that state or federal grants to churches, say, to construct the edifice itself would be unconstitutional? What is the difference between that kind of subsidy and the present subsidy?” (see January 7, 1974)

Falklands War

May 4 Peace Love Activism

May 4, 1982: an Exocet missile hit the HMS Sheffield. The ship burned out of control; 20 sailors killed; it sank on May 10. (see May 19)

Iran–Contra Affair

Lt. Col. Oliver North
May 4, 1989: Lt. Col. Oliver North, staff member with the National Security Council under President Ronald Reagan, was convicted on this day on three counts for crimes associated with the Iran-Contra scandal. In fact, the Iran-Contra affair was based on North’s “neat idea” of secretly and illegally selling arms to Iran and then using the profits from the sales to secretly and illegally providing funds to the anti-Communist Contras in Nicaragua through the CIA. North was originally indicted on 16 counts of criminal conduct for his actions during the scandal; on this day, he was convicted of accepting a gratuity, obstructing a Congressional investigation, and ordering the destruction of government documents (see, for example, his infamous “shredding party” on November 21, 1986). His convictions were subsequently overturned on a technicality. For his defiant testimony before Congress on July 7, 1987, in which he belligerently refused to apologize for his illegal actions, he immediately became a hero among conservatives. (see April 7, 1990)

DEATH PENALTY

May 4 Peace Love Activism

May 4, 1990: Florida executed Jesse Tafero despite three electric chair malfunctions which caused flames to leap from his head. Tafero’s death sparked a new debate on humane methods of execution. Several states ceased use of the electric chair and adopted lethal injection as their means of capital punishment. (see April 21, 1992)

Dissolution of the USSR

Latvia

May 4 Peace Love Activism

May 4, 1990:  Latvia declared independence from the Soviet Union. (Dissoulution, see Aug 30, ID, see April 9, 1991)

TERRORISM

World Trade Center
May 4, 2006: a federal judge sentenced Zacarias Moussaoui to life in prison for his role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (Terror, see April 7, 2007 :WTC, see January 22, 2009).

LGBTQ

King v. New Jersey
May 4, 2015: the US Supreme Court left intact New Jersey's ban on counseling intended to change the sexual orientation of gay children.

                The court declined to hear a challenge to the law, meaning that a September ruling by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the ban was the final word on the matter. The appeals court said the ban, which Republican Governor Chris Christie signed into law in August 2013, did not violate the free speech or religious rights of counselors offering "gay conversion therapy" to convert homosexual minors into heterosexuals. (see May 21)

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