May 11 Peace Love Activism

May 11 Peace Love Activism

May 11 Peace Love Activism



May 11 Peace Love Activism

May 11, 1682: the Massachusetts General Court repealed two laws that had banned the celebration of Christmas and had authorized capital punishment for expelled Quakers returning to the colony. (DP, see June 10, 1692; Separation, see April 22, 1864)


Leasing state convicts
After the Civil War, Georgia and other Southern states faced economic uncertainty. Dependent on enslaved black labor that was no longer available after emancipation and ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, Southern economies struggled to find a new solution. For many, leasing state convicts to labor for private businesses seemed the perfect answer.

 Ratified in 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment prohibited involuntary servitude "except as punishment for crime" and seemingly permitted the forced labor of prisoners. At the same time, Southern prison populations had grown greatly following the Civil War, and that increase was disproportionately fueled by newly-emancipated black men and women incarcerated for violating discriminatory Black Codes that criminalized unemployment and vagrancy and severely punished even the most minor thefts.

On May 11, 1868, in the midst of Reconstruction, Georgia Provisional Governor Thomas Ruger leased 100 black prisoners to William A. Fort of the Georgia & Alabama Railroad for one year for $2500 under an agreement that made Mr. Fort responsible for their well-being. Sixteen prisoners died before the end of the contract. Undeterred, Georgia officials expanded the system the following year, leasing all 393 state prisoners to work on another railroad. Over the next several years, convict leasing in Georgia proved both deadly and profitable. The state legislature routinely turned a blind eye to reports of inhumane treatment and even murder and, in 1876, authorized the state to enter into long-term, twenty-year convict leasing contracts valued at $500,000. (BH, see July 9; C & P, see February 22, 1922)
KKK in Birmingham
May 11, 1963: Klansmen in Birmingham set off two bombs in an African-American neighborhood and rioting broke out, despite pleas by movement leaders for nonviolence. (see May 13)
Benjamin Brown
May 11, 1967: Benjamin Brown, a former civil rights organizer, was shot in the back in Jackson, Miss. He had walked with a friend into a café to pick up a sandwich to take home to his wife. On his way back, he encountered a standoff between law enforcement officers and students from Jackson St College, who had been hurling rocks and bottles at them. Brown was hit in the back by two shotgun blasts. No arrests were ever made. In 2001, a Hinds County grand jury reviewing the case blamed two deceased officers: Jackson police officer Buddy Kane and Mississippi Highway Patrolman Lloyd Jones. The Brown family filed a lawsuit, and the city of Jackson settled for $50,000. (see May 15)
Poor People’s Campaign

May 11 Peace Love Activism

May 11, 1968: the Poor People's Campaign arrived in Washington, D.C. A shantytown called "Resurrection City" was erected as a tribute to the slain Martin Luther King Jr. He had conceived the campaign, which was led by his successor at the head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Ralph David Abernathy. (see May 12)
Race Riots
May 11, 1970: 
May 11 Peace Love Activism
  • Henry Marrow, a 23-year-old black Vietnam veteran, walked toward a white-owned store in Oxford, NC. Something Marrow said was interpreted as a slight to a young white woman. He was chased from the store by owner Robert Teel and his two sons, who beat and then fatally shot him. The events sparked a mass riot in the streets of Oxford by black residents that same night. After the three men were arrested, they were tried by an all-white jury and acquitted of all charges, despite the eyewitness accounts and inconsistent testimonies of the suspects.
  • in Augusta, Ga., a race riot after a prison killing of a mentally handicapped Black teenager at the hands of prisoners. Black residents in the town frustrated by the treatment of police and the conditions of the jail marched through the town before it was a full-fledged riot. By the next day, six people were dead and more than 60 were injured after the melee. (BH, see June 16, 1970; RR, see October 12, 1972)
James Byrd Jr
May 11, 2004: Joshua Lee Talley, 19 and John Matthew Fowler, 18, were arrested and charged with criminal mischief for desecrating James Byrd Jr.'s grave with racial slurs and profanities. (BH, see June 6; BH etc...see May 26, 2005

US Labor History

Eugene Victor Debs
May 11, 1894: led by Eugene Victor Debs of the American Railway Union, the future founder of the Socialist Party of America, workers at the Pullman factory begin a strike that leads to the death of 34 people after violence breaks out between workers and federal troops deployed by President Grover Cleveland. (Anarchism, see Aug 17, 1894; Labor, see June 26)

Environmental Issues

Dust storm

May 11 Peace Love Activism

May 11, 1934: a massive storm sent millions of tons of topsoil flying from across the parched Great Plains region of the United States as far east as New York, Boston and Atlanta. (see April 14, 1935)
May 11, 1977: the U.S. announced a timetable for the phase out of the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in aerosol products.  By December 15, 1978, companies must stop using chlorofluorocarbons as propellants in aerosol products. (see January 29, 1978)

Women’s Health

Dr John Rock

May 11 Peace Love Activism

May 11, 1960: the FDA approved Searle's contraceptive pill, Enovid, the first drug approved in order to prevent a medical happening. In 1959, Searle had applied to license the "Pill" - an oral progestin - as a contraceptive. They chose Dr John Rock to present the findings of the experiences of 897 women before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

 Rock (1890-1984) was an American obstetrician and gynecologist who was an expert in human fertility, the requirement at the time was that a drug must be proven safe and not necessarily effective. However, the young reviewer, who was aware of the implications of the Pill, was thorough in his examination, requiring further lab tests before approval. By 1964 some four million women were on the pill. (see “in December”)


Special Forces
May 11, 1961: President Kennedy approved sending 400 Special Forces troops and 100 other U.S. military advisers to South Vietnam. On the same day, he ordered the start of clandestine warfare against North Vietnam to be conducted by South Vietnamese agents under the direction and training of the CIA and U.S. Special Forces troops. Kennedy’s orders also called for South Vietnamese forces to infiltrate Laos to locate and disrupt communist bases and supply lines there. (see June 16)

May 11 Music et al

Canadian Beatles album
May 11, 1964: recorded in 1963, the Beatles  released The Beatles’ Long Tall Sally album in Canada on the Capital Canada label. It was the last time such a type of release was done.
The Byrds
May 11, 1965: The Byrds made their TV debut with "Mr. Tambourine Man" on NBC's "Hullabaloo." (see June 16)
The Road to Bethel
May 11, 1970:  release of the triple soundtrack album 'Woodstock' in the US, going gold within two weeks. (see February 9, 1973)
John Lennon
May 11, 1972: John Lennon appeared on the 'Dick Cavett Show', claiming he was under surveillance from the FBI. (see May 17)
All Those Years Ago
May 11, 1989, The Beatles post break-up: the collaborative effort by the three remaining Beatles, All Those Years Ago, released. (see June 22)


May 11, 1966: NYC Police Commissioner Howard Leary instructed policemen not to lure gays into breaking the law and to "make every effort" to find witnesses whenever an arrest occurs involving homosexual advances to a plainclothesman. (see in August)
May 11 Peace Love Activism

Nuclear/Chemical News

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
May 11, 1995: signatory nations agreed to extend the Nuclear Non  Proliferation Treaty (NPT) (see July 1, 1968) indefinitely. The NPT is an agreement signed by 189 countries to control the spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear technology based on the principles of disarmament, non-proliferation, and the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. The treaty was opened for signature in 1968 with a provision for review conferences every five years. During the 1995 review conference in New York City, member countries decided to keep the treaty open indefinitely. (see September 24, 1996)

May 11 Peace Love Activism

May 11, 1998: India conducted 3 underground nuclear tests in Pokhran, India. (see May 28)


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