Category Archives: History

John Thomas Scopes Monkey Trial

John Thomas Scopes Monkey Trial

“Evolution Mama” from Even Dozen Jug Band

Theory of Evolution

Charles Darwin is more widely known than Alfred Russell Wallace, but both men's observations led them to independently propose the theory of evolution through natural selection.

John Thomas Scopes Monkey Trial

Wallace had published his paper (with some of Darwin's writings) in 1858. It was called, "On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection." 

John Thomas Scopes Monkey Trial

The following year, Darwin published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life) or more commonly and simply known as On the Origin of Species.

And while both men are credited with the theory of evolution, they themselves had built on others' empirical  observation.

Butler Act

In certain parts of the United States, the ideas of natural selection and evolution became antithetical to those who believed that the world as they knew it had always been that way from the beginning.  And the beginning, for those who believers in the literal interpretation of the Bible, was relatively brief moments ("one week") when God began the world.

Tennessee was one of those places and on  March 13, 1925, the state enacted the Butler Act names after John Washington Butler, the State Representative who had introduced it two months earlier.

The Butler Act stated: AN ACT prohibiting the teaching of the Evolution Theory in all the Universities, and all other public schools of Tennessee, which are supported in whole or in part by the public school funds of the State, and to provide penalties for the violations thereof.

The Act did not make it illegal to teach evolution regarding other animals, only humans, though John Butler's intent was to keep the idea completely out of Tennessee's academic institutions and to strictly adhere to the Bible's story.

John Thomas Scopes

John Thomas Scopes Monkey Trial

John T Scopes was born on August 3, 1900. Darwin had died just 18 years earlier; Wallace was still alive and would be so for another 13 years.

 After he a degree from the University of Kentucky in 1924, with a major in law and a minor in geology, he moved to Dayton, Tennessee where he took a job as the Rhea County High School's football coach and occasionally filled in as a substitute teacher when regular members of the staff were off work

After the enactment of the Butler Act, the American Civil Liberties Union responded immediately with an offer to defend any teacher prosecuted under the law. John Scopes, who had covered evolution in a science class, agreed to stand as defendant in a test case to challenge the law. 

He was arrested on May 7, 1925, and charged with teaching the theory of evolution. Three days later, Scopes was given a preliminary hearing before three judges and 15 days later,  he was indicted by a grand jury for violating Tennessee's anti-evolution law. 
John Thomas Scopes Monkey Trial
John Thomas Scopes Monkey Trial
Clarence Darrow, left, and William Jennings Bryan
The well-known and oft unsuccessful Presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan was the lawyer for the prosecution. When the law had passed, Bryan had said, to Tennessee Governor Austin Peay, "The Christian parents of the state owe you a debt of gratitude for saving their children from the poisonous influence of an unproven hypothesis." '

Bryan chastised evolution for teaching children that humans were but one of (precisely) 35,000 types of mammals and bemoaned the notion that human beings were descended "Not even from American monkeys, but from old world monkeys"

Clarence Darrow represented Scopes.

The trial was followed on radio transmissions throughout the United States.
Trial begins
July 10, 1925: the trial began with jury selection. Judge John Raulston asks the Rev. Lemuel M. Cartright to open the proceedings with a prayer.

 Clarence Darrow

July 13, 1935: in an effort to have the Butler law declared unconstitutional, defense attorney Clarence Darrow delivered a long, fiery speech arguing that the law violates freedom of religion. Darrow argued that "we find today as brazen and as bold an attempt to destroy learning as was ever made in the Middle Ages."
Opening with prayer
July 14, 1925: the third day of the trial, Darrow objected to the practice of opening the trial with a prayer. Judge Raulston overruled the objection, noting that he has instructed the ministers who offer the prayer to "make no reference to the issues involved in this case."
Law not unconstitutional
July 15, 1925: Judge Raulston overruled the defense's motion to have the Butler law declared unconstitutional. Raulston says in his ruling that the law "gives no preference to any particular religion or mode of worship. Our public schools are not maintained as places of worship, but, on the contrary, were designed, instituted, and are maintained for the purpose of mental and moral development and discipline."

In an afternoon session that day, a not guilty plea is entered on Scopes' behalf. Each side presents its opening statements. The prosecution questioned the superintendent of schools and two of Scopes' students, who testified that Scopes taught his class about evolution. The defense questioned zoologist Maynard Metcalf, who testified that evolution was a widely embraced theory in the scientific community.
Bar expert testimony
July 17, 1925: Judge Raulston ruled in favor of a motion by prosecutors to bar expert testimony by scientists. Raulston argued that the experts' opinions on evolutionary theory would "shed no light" on the issue at hand in the trial — whether Scopes violated the state's anti-evolution laws. Many reporters leave town, believing that the trial is effectively over. Scopes was recruited to write news stories on the trial for some of the delinquent journalists. 
Heat moves trial outdoors

John Thomas Scopes Monkey Trial

July 20, 1925: with the proceedings taking place outdoors due to the heat, the defense — in a highly unusual move — calls Bryan to testify as a biblical expert. Clarence Darrow asks Bryan a series of questions about whether the Bible should be interpreted literally. As the questioning continued, Bryan accused Darrow of making a "slur at the Bible," while Darrow mocks Bryan for "fool ideas that no intelligent Christian on earth believes." 
Guilty
 July 21, 1925: the final day of the trial opened with Judge Raulston's ruling that Darrow could not call Bryan back to the stand and that Bryan's testimony should be expunged from the record. Raulston declared that Bryan's testimony "can shed no light upon any issues that will be pending before the higher courts." 

Darrow then asked the court to bring in the jury and find Scopes guilty — a move that would allow a higher court to consider an appeal. The jury returned its guilty verdict after nine minutes of deliberation. Scopes was fined $100, which both Bryan and the ACLU offer to pay for him.

After the verdict was read, John Scopes delivered his only statement of the trial, declaring his intent "to oppose this law in any way I can. Any other action would be in violation of my ideal of academic freedom — that is, to teach the truth as guaranteed in our constitution, of personal and religious freedom."
Bryan dies

John Thomas Scopes Monkey Trial

July 26, 1925: five days after the Scopes trial ends, Bryan died in his sleep in Dayton and on July 31 he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The words "He Kept the Faith" are inscribed on his tombstone.
Appeal
January 15, 1927: the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that the Butler law was constitutional. However, it overturned Scopes' verdict on a technicality, ruling that his fine should have been set by the jury hearing the case instead of by Judge Raulston. The justices declared in their ruling that "[n]othing is to be gained by prolonging the life of this bizarre case."
The end…sort of
May 17, 1967, more than 40 years later, Tennessee Governor Buford Ellington signed into law the repeal of the Butler Act

John Scopes after trial

Scopes accepted a scholarship for graduate study in geology at the University of Chicago. Later he worked for Gulf Oil in Venezuela where he met and married his wife, Mildred.

In 1930, he returned to the University of Chicago for a third year of graduate study. In 1932 he took a position as a geologist with the United Gas Corporation, for which he studied oil reserves. He worked, in Houston, Texas then in Shreveport, Louisiana, until he retired in 1963.

He died on October 21, 1970, of cancer in Shreveport, Louisiana at the age of 70.
John Thomas Scopes Monkey Trial

Legacy

Other state have since enacted laws that while not exactly copying the Butler Act, exactly copied its intent. These laws have met with resistance and typically failure after a court challenge. 

Here are some examples:

Arkansas

November 12, 1968: the NY Times reported: "John Scopes hailed today the Supreme Court's striking down Arkansas's anti-evolution law."
Tennessee, again
September 11, 1974 the NY Times reported Tennessee's 1973 “Genesis law,” which rekindled memories of the John. Scopes monkey trial, has been held unconstitutional.

The. Tennessee Legislattire passed the law in 1973; specifying that all biology textbooks in the state's public chools must give equal consideration to all theories of creation of man.

Nashville Chancellor Ben Cantrel ruled Yesterday that the law is an act “respectting the establishment Of religion” and thus runs counter to constititional doctrine of separation of state and Church. The Nashville Chancellery Court rules on all civi challenges to state laws.

The law decreed that the Adam and Eve theory of man's origin be described in text books aongside the theory Of evolution.
Ohio
On February 15, 2006, the NY Times reportedThe Ohio Board of Education voted 11 to 4...to toss out a mandate that 10th-grade biology classes include critical analysis of evolution and an accompanying model lesson plan, dealing the intelligent design movement its second serious defeat in two months.
And Tennessee yet again
On April 15, 2012, the NY Times reportedEighty-seven years after Tennessee was nationally embarrassed for criminally prosecuting the teaching of evolution, the state government is at it again. This time it has enacted a law that protects teachers who invite students to challenge the science underlying evolution and climate change. The measure is a transparent invitation to indulge pseudoscience in the classroom and a transparent pandering to a vocal, conservative fringe.
Louisiana
On November 19, 2017, the NY Times reportedDarwinism has long been under siege in parts of the United States, even if its critics have practiced their own form of evolution, adapting their arguments to accommodate altered legal circumstances. This installment of Retro Report shows the enduring strength of the forces that embrace the biblical account of Creation or reasonable facsimiles of it. For some of them, the rejection of broad scientific consensus extends to issues like climate change and stem-cell research.

And the beat goes on.

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Albany Georgia Civil Rights Movement

Albany Georgia Civil Rights Movement

 

Albany Georgia Civil Rights Movement

There were many American cities in which the black residents responded to their segregation, discrimination, and mistreatment in an organized way. The March to Montgomery is perhaps the most famous, but the demonstrations that took place in Albany, Georgia nearly four years earlier, was equally historic.

Charles Sherrod and Cordell Reagon

In October 1961: Students Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) members Charles Sherrod and Cordell Reagon traveled to Albany, to help organize the local black community. Although earlier protests had occurred, black residents were frustrated with the city commission’s failure to address their grievances. 

Sherrod and Reagon organized workshops around nonviolent tactics for Albany’s African American residents in anticipation of a showdown with the local police.

November 1, 1961: the day the Interstate Commerce Commission's new prohibition against segregated bus terminals was to go into effect. The Albany, Georgia bus terminal was located in the black section of town and on November 1st — with a neighborhood crowd watching — nine Black students attempted to use the terminal's "white-only" facilities. As planned, they left  when ordered out by the police and then filed immediate complaints with the ICC under the new ruling.

November 17, 1961: A coalition of SNCC, the NAACP and Southern Christian Leadership Conference members organized a series of civil rights actions. 

Police Chief Laurie Pritchett adroitly avoided confrontations that would bring unfavorable national publicity to him and the city. 

Bertha Gober

Albany Georgia Civil Rights Movement

November 22, 1961: when Albany (GA) State College students went to the bus terminal to return home for the Thanksgiving holiday, an Albany State dean — whose job depended on the all-white Georgia Board of Regents — was stationed there to direct them to the "Colored" waiting room. 

Five young people — 3 from the NAACP Youth Council and 2 from Albany State — defied the dean and the orders of Police Chief Pritchett to leave the white waiting room. They were arrested. Bertha Gober, one of the Albany State students, chose to remain in jail over the holidays to dramatize their demand for justice.

Bernice Johnson

Albany Georgia Civil Rights Movement
b Zellner, Bernice Reagon, Cordell Reagon, Dottie Miller (Zellner), and Avon Rollins singing in Danville, Virginia, June 1963
After the Thanksgiving holiday, more than 100 Albany State College students marched from campus to the courthouse where they picketed to protest the trial of those arrested at the bus depot. A mass meeting — the first in Albany history — packed Mt. Zion Baptist Church to protest the arrests, segregation, and a lifetime of subservience. At the end of the meeting they rise  to sing, "We Shall Overcome." Student song-leader Bernice Johnson (Reagan) described the effect, "When I opened my mouth and began to sing, there was a force and power within myself I had never heard before. Somehow this music ... released a kind of power and required a level of concentrated energy I did not know I had."

Albany State students Bertha Gober and Blanton Hall were expelled for disobeying the dean's orders to use the "Colored" waiting room. Students marched to the college President's office to protest the expulsions and 40 more were expelled for disagreeing with the administration. Gober will later compose civil rights song, “We’ll Never Turn Back.” 

Freedom Riders

December 10, 1961: nine Freedom Riders from Atlanta arrived at the Albany Trailways bus terminal and were met by a crowd of approximately three hundred black onlookers and a squad of Albany policemen. Chief Pritchett arrested the riders without incident, telling the press that white Albany would “not stand for these troublemakers coming into our city for the sole purpose of disturbing the peace and quiet in the city of Albany.”

December 11, 1961:  over four hundred people marched to city hall in downtown Albany, protesting the arrest of the Freedom Riders. The city gave the marchers permission to circle the block twice, and when the marchers refused to stop after the allotted distance, Chief Pritchett ordered the protestors arrested. Herding the protestors into the alley between police headquarters, Pritchett arrested 267 protestors. Pritchett informed the press that “We can’t  tolerate the NAACP or the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee or any other ‘nigger’ organization to take over this town with mass demonstrations.

Martin Luther King, Jr arrives

December 15, 1961: going against some of his Southern Christian Leadership Conference advisers, King accepted an invitation to Albany, Georgia and speaks at a rally in support of activists that had be arrested the previous day.

December 16, 1961: New York Times: The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 264 other Negroes and one white youth were arrested today as they marched on City Hall for a prayer demonstration. All were jailed. There was no violence, despite the tension aroused by week-long racial controversy and the breakdown of negotiations between white and Negro leaders aimed at restoring this city of 56,000 persons to normal.

Albany Georgia Civil Rights Movement

December 18, 1961: an agreement was reached that paved the way for the release of the King and about 300 other Negroes from prison.

January 5, 1962: Groups protested to state and college officials regarding the dismissal of students from Albany State College for participating in anti-segregation demonstrations,

March 26, 1962: the original Freedom Riders arrested in December went on trial. Charles Sherrod was beaten to the floor for sitting in the "white" section at the front of the courtroom and white SNCC activists Bob Zellner, Per Laurson, Sandra & Tom Hayden were violently dragged from the courtroom when they sit in the "Colored" section at the rear. (NYT article)

King & Abernathy jailed

July 10, 1962: Martin Luther King Jr and Ralph Abernathy, convicted of having violated a street and sidewalk assembly ordinance without a permit on December 16, 1961, went to jail to emphasize their nonviolent defiance of racial barriers. They had been given the choice of a $178 fine each or 45 days in jail. They choose jail.

July 12, 1962: King’s and Abernathy’s fines were anonymously paid and the two men were reluctantly freed. Years later it was revealed that Albany Mayor Asa Kelley paid the fines as a ploy to divide the movement and diffuse media attention on King's imprisonment.
Judge deems demonstrations deny equal protection

July 20, 1962: Robert Elliott, a Federal judge had issued an injunction against mass marches using the legal reasoning that demonstrations require the presence of policemen; policemen who are present during demonstrations could not handle other complaints of other citizens in the community; therefore, the demonstrations were denying other citizens — white citizens — equal protection of the law. 

Defying that injuntion, 160 protesters were arrested

July 22, 1962: Martin Luther King Jr. said that Federal District Judge J.Robert Elliott was engaged to an extent in a "conspiracy" to maintain segregation.  

July 24, 1962: Chief Judge Elbert P Tuttle of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned the ban on demonstrations, stating, “The trial court had no jurisdiction to enter this order at all.” Later that day, the Albany police dispersed a crowd of 2,000 protestors.

July 25, 1962: Martin Luther King Jr. canceled plans to lead a mass demonstration and declared a day of penance for the previous night’s outbreak of violence.

Dr W.G. Anderson

July 26, 1962: WG Anderson, president of the Albany Movement, warned that the group would give a “lesson” to white officials who had spurned repeated requests for negotiations over demands for desegregation of public facilities.

July 27, 1962: police arrest ten demonstrators in front of Albany's City Hall. After that arrest, a group of 17 demonstrators appeared. Police arrested them as well. 

July 28, 1962: Martin Luther King Jr and, twenty-seven were arrested and jailed during two prayer protests in front of Albany City Hall.

President Kennedy comments

August 10 1962: King agreed to leave Albany, ending his involvement in the Albany Movement. Almost all of Albany’s public facilities remained segregated after King’s departure.
Albany Georgia Civil Rights Movement

Continues…

August 11, 1962: Albany shut down its three public parks and two public libraries after small groups sought to desegregate them.

August 28, 1962: Albany police arrested and jailed seventy religious leaders from the North and Midwest during an anti-segregation protest at the City Hall.

August 31, 1962: Judge J Robert Elliot denied lawyers a preliminary injunction to stop Albany from practicing segregation. Martin Luther King asked President Kennedy to intervene in the racial troubles in Albany.

September 12, 1962: Martin Luther King Jr. decried the pace of civil rights progress in the United States. He also said that "no President can be great, or even fit for office, if he attempts to accommodate injustice to maintain his political balance

September 25, 1962: a pre-dawn fire at St. Matthew's Baptist Church in Macon, Georgia destroyed the building. It was the fifth black church to burn over the past month.

FBI and status quo

November 18, 1962: Martin Luther King, Jr accused agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Albany, Ga., of siding with the segregationists. “One of the great problems we face with the FBI is the South is that the agents are white Southerners who have been influenced by the mores of the community. To maintain their status, they have to be friendly with the local police and people who are promoting segregation. Every time I saw an FBI man in Albany, they were with the local police force.” 

1963

March 7, 1963: the Albany City Commission voted 6 – 1 to repeal all segregation ordinances. The Commission also voted 4 – 3  to re-open the library after being closed for seven months, though the city removed the chairs to prevent blacks and whites sitting together.

No action was taken regarding the city’s tennis courts, swimming pools, park recreation areas and teen centers which had been closed at the same time.

March 9, 1963: four black girls took seats at a white lunch counter at Albany Lee Drugs. There were asked to leave and the police were called. The girls were arrested a block away and charged with violating an antitresspassing ordinance.

March 12, 1963: five Black high school-age girls were turned away from two white theaters by the assistant manager for the chain. “We don’t want your business,” the manager told them.

March 13, 1963: Blacks resumed a 16 month fight against segregation in Albany, GA realizing that the March 7 announcement was simply a legal ploy. 

 A NYT article quoted Police Chief Pritchett, "I don't know of anything for them to be overjoyed about. You look around and see if anything's integrated and if it is, call me, will you?"

June 21, 1963: Albany, Georgia police temporarily closed all black businesses and banned blacks from sidewalks after an attempted walk by blacks toward the white shopping district for a sit-in at a lunch counter.

1964

April 6, 1964: the first step toward integration in Albany, GA came quiet­ly when five black children registered to attend classes the following fall with whites.

Three of the children registered at one elementary school and two at another. All were accompanied by their parents.

Medals of Freedom

June 4, 2011: President Barak Obamma presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Charles Sherrod and his wife Shirley at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Southwest Georgia Project in Albany. 

 

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November 20 Peace Love Activism

November 20 Peace Love Activism

Feminism

Jessie Daniel Ames

November 20 Peace Love Activism

November 20, 1930: The Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching founded in Atlanta, Georgia by Jessie Daniel Ames, a white Texas-born woman active in suffrage and interracial reform movements. The ASWPL was comprised of middle and upper-class white women who objected to the lynching of African Americans. (Black History, see Nov 22)
Florence Reece
In 1931 Florence Reece (1900-1986) “was a writer and social activist whose song ‘Which Side Are You On?’ became an anthem for the labor movement. Borrowing from the melody of the old hymn ''Lay the Lily Low,'' Mrs. Reece wrote the union song...to describe the plight of mine workers who were organizing a strike in Harlan County, Ky. Mrs. Reece's husband, Sam, who died in 1978, was one of those workers. Pete Seeger, the folk singer, recorded the song in 1941. It has since been used worldwide by groups espousing labor and social issues.” -- New York Times Obituaries, August 6, 1986. (Labor, see March 3; Feminism, see Dec 10; see News Music )
Hoyt v Florida
November 20, 1961: in Hoyt v Florida, decided on this day, the Supreme Court held that women could be excluded from serving on juries, in part because a “woman is still regarded as the center of home and family life.” Women could serve on juries, but they had to go to the courthouse and register as being interested and willing to serve. At the time this case first went to trial, only 20 out of about 46,000 women who were registered to vote in Hillsborough County, Florida, had also registered to be a juror. The Court reversed itself 14 years later, in Taylor v. Louisiana (January 21, 1975), which affirmed the right of women to serve on juries. (see Dec 14)
Malala Yousafzai
November 20, 2013: Yousufzai received the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Named after the Russian dissident and scientist Andrei Sakharov, who spoke against the tyranny of the Soviet Union, its previous recipients included Nelson Mandela in 1988 and followed by Kofi Annan and Aung San Suu Kyi. (see Dec 6)

Black History

Scottsboro Travesty
November 20, 1933: the seven oldest youths were tried in front of the new judge and jury. Haywood Patterson and Clarence Norris were sentenced to death. (see Scottsboro for full story)
Fair Housing
November 20, 1962:  President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 11063, banning federally funded housing organizations from discriminating against individuals on the basis of race. The order attempted to end the rampant racial prejudice influencing the loan decisions of government-backed organizations like the Federal Housing Administration. These organizations commonly engaged in practices like “red-lining,” a color-coded method of labeling the riskiness of a mortgage based on the racial demographics of a borrower’s neighborhood. Under this system, black neighborhoods typically received the worst ratings (red). As a result, home loans were channeled away from those communities and into mostly white, “less risky” neighborhoods. In the face of high levels of residential segregation, African Americans found themselves without ready access to federal home loans and largely unable to purchase homes regardless of their financial situation. Many African Americans were thus relegated to living in segregated, impoverished areas.

Kennedy had promised to sign the order during the 1960 election campaign, saying he could do it with a “stroke of the pen,” but he then angered civil rights activists by refusing to sign it for over a year and a half.

While President Kennedy’s executive order marked an important symbolic step in redressing the problem of discriminatory housing policies in the United States, it did not immediately have a dramatic impact. Because the order failed to provide a strong enforcement mechanism, impacted agencies were simply directed to take steps to police themselves. This allowed discriminatory lending practices to continue without the threat of federal intervention. It was not until the passage of the Fair Housing Act of April 11, 1968 that a mechanism for enforcing fair housing regulations was established. (BH, see Dec 14; FH, see August 10, 1965)
BLACK & SHOT

November 20 Peace Love Activism

November 20, 2014: 28-year-old Akai Gurley exited his girlfriend's apartment in a Brooklyn, New York, public housing building. He started going down a dark stairwell that had a broken light. Rookie New York Police Department Officer Peter Liang, who had his gun drawn as he patrolled the stairwell, shot and killed Gurley. Police said the shooting was accidental. The New York Daily News reported that, instead of calling an ambulance, Liang texted his union. (NYT article) (see Nov 22)

Religion and Public Education

November 20 Peace Love Activism

November 20, 1947: a new organization, Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State (POAU), was formed on this day in Chicago to fight for the separation of church and state and to defend the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

The creation of POAU was prompted by the Supreme Court’s Everson v. Board of Education decision, on February 10, 1947, which permitted public funds for the transportation of students to private and parochial schools. POAU continues today under the name Americans United. (see Nov 22)
U.S. Catholic Bishops
November 20, 1948: U.S. Catholic Bishops condemned public school secularism and wanted the Supreme Court McCollum v. Board of Education (January 26, 1946) decision reversed. (see Dec 9)

November 20 Music et al

see George Harrison deported for more
November 20, 1960: German authorities ordered Harrison deported. He stayed up all that night teaching John Lennon his guitar parts, so The Beatles could continue without him. (see Nov 21)
I Hear a Symphony
November 20 – December 3, 1965, “I Hear a Symphony” by the Supremes #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
 

Vietnam

Beatrice Whitnah
November 20, 1965: approximately 10,000 demonstrators marched into Oaklad protesting US involvement in the Viet Nam war. In fron twas Beatrice Whitnah, 84, of Berkeley being pushed in a wheelchair. She was a Gold Star mother who loast a son in World War II. (see Nov 26)

Dow Chemical

November 20 Peace Love Activism

November 20, 1967: San Jose State College (CA) students demonstrated against the Dow Chemical Company, the maker of napalm. Police were sent in, but the students refused to disperse and several protest leaders were arrested. The next day the students defied California governor Ronald Reagan's warning against further demonstrations and again staged an anti-Dow demonstration. (see Nov 21)
My Lai Massacre
November 20, 1969: Seymour Hersh, an independent investigative journalist, filed a second My Lai story based on interviews with Michael Terry and Michael Bernhardt, who served under 1st Lt. William Calley during the action that was later dubbed the My Lai massacre.

Also on this day, the Cleveland Plain Dealer published explicit photos of the dead at My Lai. (Vietnam, see Nov 26; MLM, see Nov 24)
Sgt Ron Haeberle

November 20 Peace Love Activism

November 20, 2009: former Army photographer Sgt Ron Haeberle admitted that he destroyed photographs that depicted soldiers in the act of killing civilians at My Lai. (Vietnam, see May 23, 2016; My Lai, see December 3, 2016)
November 20 Peace Love Activism

Native Americans

Alcatraz Takeover
November 20, 1969: seventy-nine Native-Americans seized control of the island of Alcatraz, the former federal prison and now a national park, to dramatize the campaign for Native-American rights. The occupation on this day was led by the Indians of All Tribes (IAT), who claimed that the island belonged to Native Americans under the 1868 Treaty of Ft. Laramie, which provided for the return of all abandoned federal property to Native-Americans. (NYT article)(see Dec 22)

 Environmental Issues

November 20, 1969: the Nixon administration announced a halt to residential use of the pesticide DDT as part of a total phase-out. (see April 22, 1970)

Jack Kevorkian

November 20, 1991: the Michigan state Board of Medicine summarily revoked Kevorkian's license to practice medicine in Michigan. (see May 15 and July 21, 1992)

Stop and Frisk Policy

November 20, 2007: a RAND study found that the NYPD's stop-and-frisk program did not engage in racial profiling.  (see Dec)

LGBTQ

November 20, 2013: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law and made Illinois the 16th state to allow same-sex marriage. The governor slowly signed the bill with 100 pens that quickly became souvenirs. He did so at a desk shipped from Springfield that the administration said President Abraham Lincoln used to write his first inaugural address in 1861 — a speech on the cusp of the Civil War that called on Americans to heed "the better angels of our nature." Referring to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, Quinn said, “"In the very beginning of the Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln of Illinois said that our nation was conceived in liberty. And he said it's dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, and that's really what we're celebrating today," he said. "It's a triumph of democracy." (see Nov 21)
South Carolina
November 20, 2014: the U.S. Supreme Court denied a South Carolina request to block same-same weddings from proceeding. (see Nov 25)

Immigration History

November 20, 2014: President Obama asserted the powers of the Oval Office to reshape the nation’s immigration system and all but dared members of next year’s Republican-controlled Congress to reverse his actions on behalf of millions of immigrants.

In a 15-minute address from the East Room of the White House that sought to appeal to a nation’s compassion, Mr. Obama told Americans that deporting millions is “not who we are” and cited Scripture, saying, “We shall not oppress a stranger for we know the heart of a stranger — we were strangers once, too.”

His directive would shield up to five million people from deportation and allow many to work legally, although it offers no path to citizenship.

In 1986, Ronald Reagan signed the so-called “amnesty” law passed by Congress that granted legal status to three million undocumented immigrants, and then acted on his own the following year to expand it to about 100,000 more. (Immigration, see Dec 17; Obama, see February 16, 2015; Supreme Court decision, see June 23, 2016)

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