Category Archives: Environmental Issues

Cuyahoga River Burns Revives

Cuyahoga River Burns Revives

June 22, 1969
Randy Newman, “Burn On”
Cuyahoga River Burns Revives
A fire tug fights flames on the Cuyahoga River near downtown Cleveland, Ohio, where oil and other industrial wastes caught fire June 25, 1952. (AP Photo)
Cuyahoga River Burns Revives

Cuyahoga River Burns Again

Now, the Lord can make you tumble,

The Lord can make you turn,

The Lord can make you overflow,

But the Lord can't make you burn.


--Randy Newman
Cuyahoga River Burns Revives

June 22, 1969

             On June 22, 1969, the oil-sodden floating debris on the Cuyahoga River  near Cleveland, Ohio ignited (perhaps by sparks from a passing train) and burned with flames reported up to five stories high.

          Again.

             This was simply the latest of several Cuyahoga River fires during the century. Although fire-fighters extinguished this blaze in a half-hour or so, it caused $50,000 in damage. The Cleveland, Ohio river (and nearly every other urban industrial river in the USA) had been an open sewer for industrial waste, through the times when factory production and easy release of raw sewage was more important than  their environmental impact.

             Time magazine covered the story. Since Time didn’t have a picture of the June 22 fire, it used a picture from June 25, 1952. In its article, Time noted that, “ The Potomac left Washington ‘stinking from the 240 million gallons of wastes that are flushed into it daily’ while “Omaha’s meatpackers fill the Missouri River with animal grease balls as big as oranges.”  [Time magazine article]

Cuyahoga River Burns Revives

Silent Springs

             1962’s Silent Spring by Rachel Carson had lighted a fuse and it seemed this Cuyahoga River fire, however small and common, had tipped the balance of popular opinion. 

             Like many other activist issues of the 60s, environmentalism had come to the fore.  In exactly 10 months, on April 22, 1970, Americans observed the first Earth Day. An estimated 20 million people nationwide attended events.  Senator Gaylord Nelson promoted Earth Day, calling upon students to fight for environmental causes and oppose environmental degradation with the same energy that they displayed in opposing the Vietnam War. 

             Later that year, on November 20, the Nixon administration announced a halt to residential use of the pesticide DDT as part of a total phase-out.

Cuyahoga River Burns Revives

Environmental Protection Agency

             On December 2, 1970,  the Environmental Protection Agency began operating under director William Ruckelshaus.

             On October 18, 1972, the Clean Water Act went into effect.

Cuyahoga River Burns Revives

 Eagles Return

On February 28, 2018, Cleveland dot com reported that, “The remarkable recovery of bald eagles in Ohio has reached a new milestone with the discovery of the first active nest in Cleveland in more than a century.

The nest is located in the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation, a narrow stretch of green space situated in the heart of the city’s industrial valley, amid factories, highways and landfills.

Cuyahoga River Burns Revives
Please follow and like us:

September 20 Peace Love Activism

September 20 Peace Love Activism

Feminism

Equal Rights Party
September 20, 1884: a group of American suffragists formed the Equal Rights Party in San Francisco, dedicated to "equal and exact justice to every class of our citizens, without distinction of color, sex, or nationality" and in support of the proposition that "the laws of the several states be so amended that women will be recognized as voters, and their property-rights made equal with that of the male population, to the end that they may become self-supporting - rather than a dependent class." (see March 1886)
“Battle of the Sexes”

September 20 Peace Love Activism

September 20, 1973:  in a highly publicized "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match, top women's player Billie Jean King, 29, beat Bobby Riggs, 55, a former No. 1 ranked men's player. Riggs (1918-1995), a self-proclaimed male chauvinist, had boasted that women were inferior, that they couldn't handle the pressure of the game and that even at his age he could beat any female player. The match was a huge media event, witnessed in person by over 30,000 spectators at the Houston Astrodome and by another 50 million TV viewers worldwide. King made a Cleopatra-style entrance on a gold litter carried by men dressed as ancient slaves, while Riggs arrived in a rickshaw pulled by female models. Legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell called the match, in which King beat Riggs 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. King's achievement not only helped legitimize women's professional tennis and female athletes, but it was seen as a victory for women's rights in general. NYT pdf: King defeats Riggs  (see Nov 12)

BLACK HISTORY

US Labor History
September 20, 1891:  African American sharecroppers affiliated with the Colored Farmers’ National Alliance and Union go on strike for higher wages and an end to peonage in Lee County, Arkansas. By the time a white mob – led by the local sheriff – put down the strike, more than a dozen people had been killed. (BH, see March 9, 1892; Labor, see Oct 31)

Emmett Till

September 20, 1955:  Judge Curtis Swango recesses the court to allow more witnesses to be found. It is the first time in Mississippi history that local law enforcement, local NAACP leaders and black and white reporters team up to locate sharecroppers who saw Milam's truck and overheard Emmett being beaten. (see Emmett Till)
see Martin Luther King, Jr assassination attempt for more

September 20 Peace Love Activism

September 20, 1958: Dr Aubre de L Maynard, chief of surgery at Harlem Hospital, removed a letter opener from the chest of Martin Luther King, Jr. King. Izola Ware Curry had stabbed King with a steel letter opener while he signed copies of his book, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story.  Curry also carried a fully loaded .25-calibre automatic. 

In 1968, the day before he was assassinated, King spoke to a group and referred to this incident:

It came out in the New York Times the next morning, that if I had merely sneezed, I would have died. Well, about four days later, they allowed me, after the operation, after my chest had been opened, and the blade had been taken out, to move around in the wheel chair in the hospital. They allowed me to read some of the mail that came in, and from all over the states and the world, kind letters came in. I read a few, but one of them I will never forget. I had received one from the President and the Vice-President. I've forgotten what those telegrams said. I'd received a visit and a letter from the Governor of New York, but I've forgotten what that letter said. But there was another letter that came from a little girl, a young girl who was a student at the White Plains High School. And I looked at that letter, and I'll never forget it. It said simply,
Dear Dr. King,

I am a ninth-grade student at the White Plains High School.”

And she said,

While it should not matter, I would like to mention that I’m a white girl. I read in the paper of your misfortune, and of your suffering. And I read that if you had sneezed, you would have died. And I’m simply writing you to say that I’m so happy that you didn’t sneeze.

 And I want to say tonight -- I want to say tonight that I too am happy that I didn't sneeze. Because if I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been around here in 1960, when students all over the South started sitting-in at lunch counters. And I knew that as they were sitting in, they were really standing up for the best in the American dream, and taking the whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. (BH, see  Sept 27; MLK, see January 24, 1960; Curry, see March 7, 2015) (PDF NYT article: MLK stabbed)
James H Meredith
September 20, 1962: defying orders of the Federal courts, Mississippi Governor Ross R Barnett denied Meredith admission to the University of Mississippi. The Justice Department immediately obtained contempt of court citations against Dr J D Williams, university chancellor; Dr Robert B Ellis, registrar, and Dean Anthony B Lewis. (see September 25, 1962)

September 20 Music et al

Beatles break-up
September 20, 1969: John Lennon announced to the others that he was leaving the band. (see Sept 26)
Blind Faith
September 20, 1969 – October 3, 1969: Blind Faith’s Blind Faith is the Billboard #1 album. (article about cover)
 
“Sugar, Sugar”
September 20 – October 17, 1969: “Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. This was the most successful song in the bubblegum rock genre. There was no actual Archies group  but a group of studio musicians who played behind the animated Archie TV characters.
 
September 20 Peace Love Activism

Calvin Graham

September 20, 1976: Graham again requested an honorable discharge from the Navy. (see Calvin Graham)

TERRORISM

East Beirut, Lebanon

September 20 Peace Love Activism

September 20, 1984:  the Shi'a Islamic militant group Hezbollah, with support and direction from the Islamic Republic of Iran, carried out a suicide car bombing targeting the U.S. embassy annex in East Beirut, Lebanon. The attack killed 24 people. including 2 U.S. military. (see Dec 4)
Oklahoma City Explosion
September 20, 1994:  Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh rented a storage shed and began gathering supplies for the truck bomb they would use in Oklahoma City.(see April 19, 1995)

Native Americans

September 20, 1998: California made Native American Day an official state holiday. (see, March 22, 1999)

Japanese Internment Camps

September 20 Peace Love Activism

September 20, 2006: The Heart Mountain Relocation Center, which had held almost 11,000 Japanese-Americans interned during World War II, was designated a National Historic Landmark on this day, to be maintained by the National Park Service. The closest town to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center is Ralston, Wyoming, with a population of less than 300 people, about 76 miles from Billings, Montana. (see Dec 21)
September 20 Peace Love Activism

LGBTQ

September 20, 2011: the US military officially ended its policy of “Don't ask, don't tell” allowing gay and lesbian personal to publicly declare their sexual orientation.  (see Sept 29)

Environmental Issues

September 20, 2014: hundreds of thousands of demonstrators from around the world turned out for the massive People’s Climate March, filling the streets of midtown Manhattan with demands for global leaders take action to avert catastrophic climate change. (see Dec 17)

September 20 Peace Love Activism,  September 20 Peace Love Activism,  September 20 Peace Love Activism,  September 20 Peace Love Activism,  September 20 Peace Love Activism,  September 20 Peace Love Activism,  September 20 Peace Love Activism,  

Please follow and like us: