Category Archives: Today in history

June 23 Peace Love Activism

June 23 Peace Love Activism


see The rape of slave Celia
June 23, 1855: in the summer of 1850, Robert Newsom, a sixty-year-old white man, purchased Celia, a fourteen-year-old black girl, from a man in a neighboring county. Before Newsom had even returned to his farm, he raped the enslaved girl, and he continued to do so frequently over the next five years. Newsom regularly came to Celia’s cabin and forced himself on her, and she gave birth to a child in 1855. At some point during the course of this abuse, Celia entered into a relationship with a man named George who was also enslaved by Newsom. When Celia became pregnant again in late winter of 1855, George insisted that she put an end to Newsom's sexual abuse.

Celia begged Newsom to stop “forcing her while she was sick” and even appealed to his daughters for help. The assaults continued. On June 23, 1855, Newsom told Celia he was “coming to her cabin” that night. When Newsom arrived and began to lower his face over hers, Celia struck him in the head with a stick. Eventually, Celia realized that Newsom had died from the blow. Not knowing what to do, she disposed of the evidence by cremating the body in her fireplace. (see Oct 10)
June 23, 1919: Marcus Garvey assisted with the incorporation of the Black Star Line, the Universal Negro Improvement Association's vehicle for promoting worldwide commerce among black communities. In Garvey's vision, Black Star Line ships would transport manufactured goods, raw materials, and produce among black businesses in North America, the Caribbean, and Africa, and become the linchpin in a global black economy. (see July 12)
Dyer Anti-lynching bill
June 23, 1922: at its thirteenth annual conference in Newark, the NAACP pledged the Association membership to “punish” those who oppose the Dyer bill. “The Republican Party has always received the bulk of the negro vote; the Republican Party is in power; the Republican Party has promised by its platform and its President to pass the Dyer bill. Unless the pledge is kept we solemnly pledge ourselves to use every avenue of influence to punish the persons who defeat it. We will regard no man as our friend who opposes this bill.”  (see June 30)
Eisenhower meets Black leaders

June 23 Peace Love Activism

June 23, 1958: President Dwight Eisenhower had been urged to meet with civil rights leaders for some time, and finally agreed to do so on this day. Attending were A. Philip Randolph, Dr. Martin Luther King, Roy Wilkins of the NAACP, and Lester Granger of the National Urban League. The meeting was cordial, even though the civil rights leaders had been critical of the president’s lack of leadership on racial justice. Eisenhower, for example, had failed to give a strong endorsement to the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision declaring separate but equal schools unconstitutional (May 17, 1954). The great African-American baseball star Jackie Robinson, who was normally not politically active, publicly criticized Eisenhower on May 13, 1958 for his lack of leadership on civil rights. The group at the meeting on this day presented him with a list of demands, but Eisenhower did not act on any of them. (BH, see June 29; MLK, see Sept 20)
Byron De La Beckwith
June 23, 1963: the FBI announced the arrest in Greenwood, MS of Byron De La Beckwith in the slaying of Medgar Evers in Jackson, MS. (BH, see June 25; Evers, see June 26)
Murders of Civil Rights Workers Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner

June 23 Peace Love Activism

June 23, 1964: the Neshoba Democrat reported that: “The car driven by three integrationists who disappeared after being arrested last Sunday night here has been found by Federal Bureau of Investigation officers about 13 miles from Philadelphia, in the northeast corner of Neshoba County. The car, a 1963 or 1964 Ford station wagon, was located in heavy sweetgum growth on Highway 21, about 100 feet from the Bogue Chitto creek and about 100 feet off the highway. The station wagon had been burned." (BH, see June 24; Murders, see June 29)

Exactly 41 years later, on June 23, 2005, Edgar Ray Killen was sentenced to 60 years in prison for the killing of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner. (see Aug 12)
Vernon Dahmer
June 23, 1966: a Federal grand jury returned indictments against 15 alleged Ku Klux Klansmen in connection with the firebomb slaying of a Hattiesburg, Miss., Vernon Dahmer. (BH, see next June 23; Dahmer, see Masrch 8, 1968)
Jim Bulloch
June 23, 1966: Black students in Grenada, Miss., tried to purchase tickets in the "white" section of the local movie theater — only to be denied service. When they sat down in front of the theater, police arrested 15 students, including Jim Bulloch, an SCLC organizer. (see June 25)
African National Congress
June 23, 1992: the African National Congress announced that it was withdrawing from talks on the political future of South Africa until the white-controlled Government took steps to restore the trust shattered by the Boipatong massacre. The 90-member executive committee of the congress led by Nelson Mandela said it was halting the peace process, which seemed just a month ago to have brought South Africa to the brink of majority rule, because of what it called a systematic Government campaign to subvert democracy through violence. (see April 10, 1993)
Grutter v. Bollinger
June 23, 2003: Colleges and universities have a legitimate interest in promoting diversity. Barbara Grutter alleged that her Equal Protection rights were violated when the University of Michigan Law School's attempt to gain a diverse student body resulted in the denial of her admission's application. The Supreme Court disagreed and held that institutions of higher education have a legitimate interest in promoting diversity.
Trayvon Martin Shooting
June 23, 2013:  the trial opened.  (see June 25)
Church Burning
June 23, 2015: an arsonist was blamed for a fire in the sanctuary s at God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon, Ga. (BH, see June 23; CB, June 24)
Confederate battle flag
June 23, 2015: South Carolina Gov Nikki R Haley called for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from in front of State House building in capital Columbia, marked reversal from her previous seeming indifference to issue; said the symbol must be viewed differently in light of church massacre in Charleston. (BH, see June 24; T, see January 10, 2017)
Affirmative Action
June 23, 2016: in a victory for diversity in higher education, a hamstrung Supreme Court narrowly upheld the affirmative action program at the University of Texas at Austin, effectively allowing the school to keep using race as one of many factors in its admissions process.

Justice Anthony Kennedy — joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor — ruled for a 4-3 majority that the university program did not violate the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws. (see Nov 2)

Native Americans

June 23 Peace Love Activism

June 23, 1865:  at Doaksville in the Choctaw Nation, General Stand Watie signed a cease-fire agreement with Union representatives for his command, the First Indian Brigade of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi. He was the last Confederate general in the field to surrender. (see April 29, 1868)


June 23, 1935: the Nazis began a legal campaign against homosexuals by adding to paragraph 175 another law, 175a, which created ten new criminal offenses including kisses between men, embraces, even homosexual fantasies. The Gestapo and the SS, under the leadership of Heinrich Himmler, became involved in a campaign to work gays to death in the camps. Himmler is quoted as follows: ‘Just as we today have gone back to the ancient Germanic view of the question of marriage mixing different races, so too in our judgment of homosexuality a symptom of degeneracy that could destroy our race we must return to the guiding Nordic principle: extermination.…” (see January 5, 1948)
Dale Jennings

June 23 Peace Love Activism

June 23, 1952: the trial of Dale Jennings began and lasted ten days. Jennings confessed to being a homosexual but denied any wrongdoing. While there were different accounts of what exactly occurred, by the end of the trial the jury voted 11–1 for acquittal on the basis of police intimidation, harassment, and entrapment of homosexuals, and the case was dismissed. (see January 1953)
Stonewall Inn a city landmark
June 23, 2015: a unanimous vote by the New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously to make the Stonewall Inn a city landmark. The designation would afford the bar a new set of protections, and marked the first time the city had landmarked a location due to its involvement in the Gay Rights Movement. (see NYT article)

The Christopher Street tavern served as a focal point at the start of the fight for gay rights—it was the site of the 1969 Stonewall riots, after police raided the bar and launched an ongoing movement. Though the Stonewall was part of the Greenwich Village Historic District, activists and elected officials had been attempting to get the bar landmarked for decades in hopes of increasing its level of protection. "We don’t want to see an important historical site turn into a nail salon. With real estate as crazy as it is, I would consider these sites to be generally threatened from those type of pressures," said state Senator Brad Hoylman. (see June 26)

US Labor Act

Taft-Hartley Act

June 23 Peace Love Activism

June 23, 1947: Taft-Hartley Act (also known as the Labor-Management Relations Act): Congress overrode President Truman's veto of the Taft-Hartley bill,  legislation that rolled back many of the advantages labor gained in the 1935 Wagner Act. Truman would subsequently use it twelve times during his presidency.(CW, see July 26; Labor History see Dec 12)
Brown lung

June 23 Peace Love Activism

June 23, 1978: the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a cotton dust standard to protect 600,000 workers from byssinosis, also known as “brown lung.” (see Apr 25)

June 23 Music et al

Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music
June 23 – September 28, 1962: Ray Charles’s Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music is Billboard’s #1 album.

The [bumpy] Road to Bethel
June 23, 1969: Jim Grant, a friend of Wes Pomeroy and asked by Pomeroy to go along with Stanley Goldstein to the Hog Farm meeting, sent at letter to Woodstock Ventures regarding the Hog Farm: “the entire affair appeared to be completely without organization or management.” (see June 26)

Nuclear/Chemical News

June 23, 1965:  Sen. Robert F. Kennedy called on the Johnson administration to give top priority to the problem of halting the spread of nuclear weapons — a problem he termed more urgent than the war in Vietnam. He added that at an ‘‘appropriate time and manner’’ the United States must ‘‘vigorously pursue negotiations on this subject with China.’’ ‘‘China is there, China will have nuclear weapons. And without her participation it will be infinitely more difficult, perhaps impossible in the long run to prevent nuclear proliferation.’’ Sen. Kennedy urged that in the ‘‘journey towards peace’’ the partial nuclear test ban treaty of 1963 be extended to cover certain underground tests. (see January 17, 1966)


Title IX

June 23 Peace Love Activism

June 23, 1972:  Congress enacted a series of Educational Amendments including Title IX, which states that "no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." While Title IX impacts multiple areas of federally subsidized education, its impact on athletics is the most controversial. Within 30 years, the number of girls participating in high school sports will double.  (see June 21, 1972)

Watergate Scandal

June 23, 1973: Nixon's advisor, H.R. Haldeman, told the president to put pressure on the head of the FBI to "stay the hell out of this [Watergate burglary investigation] business." In essence, Haldeman was telling Nixon to obstruct justice. (see June 26)
June 23 Peace Love Activism


June 23, 1978: Frank Collin and Nazi sympathizers cancelled their planned demonstration in Skokie scheduled for June 25.  (see June 25)

Religion and Public Education

June 23, 1997:  in Agostini v. Felton, the US Supreme Court overturned an earlier decision that a New York City program designed to provide tutoring and remedial education services to low-income children could not deliver these service on a religious school campus. Holding that allowing public employees to provide tutoring on a religious school campus would not constitute a "symbolic union" of church and state, the Court holds that the federally-funded program could deliver its services on a religious school campus without violating the establishment clause. (see February 1998)

Environmental Issues

June 23, 2014: in Utility Air v. E.P.A.a divided Supreme Court blocked the Obama administration from requiring permits for greenhouse gas emissions from new or modified industrial facilities, but the ruling won't prohibit other means of regulating the pollutant that causes global warming.

The court's conservative wing ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency exceeded its authority by changing the emissions threshold for greenhouse gases in the Clean Air Act to regulate more stationary sources. That action can only be taken by Congress, Justice Antonin Scalia's opinion said.

The 5-4 ruling, which partially reverses a 2012 federal appeals court decision, represents a moral but somewhat hollow victory for industry and state government opponents of the federal regulations. They have complained that the rules could cost billions of dollars to implement and threaten thousands of jobs.

But the court said the EPA can regulate greenhouse gas emissions from industries already required to get permits for other air pollutants. Those generally are the largest power plants, refineries and other industrial facilities responsible for most such emissions. (see Sept 20)

Immigration History

June 23, 2016: the Supreme Court did not reach a majority for or against President Barack Obama’s plan to defer deportation for millions, effectively leaving his executive actions on hold and undocumented immigrants in limbo.

In a one-sentence ruling, the justices simply said, “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided court.” But they didn’t indicate how they voted — a sign that the court was sharply at odds along ideological lines.

The split decision meant a lower court ruling that effectively blocked the program will stand, and no national precedent will be set as to whether the president acted within the law when he announced it in November 2014. (see Dec 22)

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June 22 Peace Love Activism

June 22 Peace Love Activism

US Labor History

Herrin, Ill

June 22 Peace Love Activism

June 22, 1922: violence erupted during a coal mine strike at Herrin, Ill. A total of 36 were killed, 21 of them non-union miners. (see Nov 6)

Black history

June 22, 1931: Alabama Supreme Court stayed executions pending appeal. (SB, see  “in January 1932”)

June 22, 1933: Haywood Patterson granted a new trial on the basis that the prosecution's testimony was uncorroborated. (SB, see Oct 20)
Freedom Riders (Florida)
June 22, 1961: Judge John Rudd acquitted the local activists of the unlawful assembly charge but convicted the ten interfaith riders and sentenced them to thirty days in jail or a $500 fine. The riders appealed to the United States Supreme Court but were denied relief. In August 1964, nine of the interfaith riders returned to Tallahassee to serve their jail sentences. After they were released, the riders enjoyed a meal at the airport restaurant which had been desegregated by federal order just months after their convictions. (BH, see Aug 4; Freedom Riders, see Sept 22)
March on Washington
June 22, 1963:  at a White House meeting with the nation’s top civil rights leaders, President Kennedy tried but failed to persuade the group to call off their planned March on Washington, scheduled for August 1963. Kennedy argued that a march would have a “negative impact” on Congress. Civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph, who had attempted to organize a march on Washington in 1941 (see January 14, 1941; June 18, 1941), replied, “Mr. President, the Negroes are already in the street. It is very likely impossible to get them off.”

At this same meeting, Kennedy took Rev. Martin Luther King aside and tried to persuade him to fire one of his top aides because he was alleged to be a Communist. Kennedy had not been supportive of the civil rights movement, and this was one more occasion when he sought to control the tempo of the movement. He did not, for example, give strong support to the 1961 Freedom Rides that began on May 4, 1961. (BH, see June 23; MLK, see Aug 28)
Wright v. Council of the City of Emporia
United States v. Scotland Neck City Board of Education.
June 22, 1972: the US Supreme Court refused to allow public school systems to avoid desegregation by creating new, mostly or all-white "splinter districts." (BH, see July 25, 1972; SD, see March 21, 1973)
June 22, 2013: U.S. District Judge Christopher Boyko gave the green light to a lawsuit filed against the city of Cleveland by police Sgt. Johnny Hamm who claimed he was wrongfully suspended for Facebook posts he made about the 2012 police chase and fatal shooting of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.

Boyko wrote that Hamm had a "plausible claim for deprivation" of his right to due process, if what Hamm alleges is true. Boyko wrote that the complaint over the Facebook posts was lodged by police Chief Calvin Williams and decided at a disciplinary hearing that was also presided over by the chief.

"These allegations raise the claim, beyond the speculative level, that Plaintiff was denied a meaningful hearing due to the bias and/or conflict of interest of the supervisory official, Chief of Police, Calvin D. Williams," Boyko wrote. (see June 30)
Church Burning

June 22 Peace Love Activism

June 22, 2015: an arson fire occurred in the early morning hours at the College Hills Seventh Day Adventist Church, home to a predominately black congregation, in Knoxville, Tenn. (see June 23)

Pledge of Allegiance

June 22 Peace Love Activism

June 22, 1942: The United States Congress officially recognized the Pledge for the first time, in the following form: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. (see December 22)

Bonus March

June 22 Peace Love Activism

June 22, 1944: Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the “G.I. Bill.” It was designed to compensate returning members of the armed services--known as G.I.s--for their efforts in World War II. As the last of its sweeping New Deal reforms, Roosevelt's administration created the G.I. Bill--officially the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944--hoping to avoid a relapse into the Great Depression after the war ended. FDR particularly wanted to prevent a repeat of the Bonus March of 1932, when 20,000 unemployed veterans and their families flocked in protest to Washington. The American Legion, a veteran's organization, successfully fought for many of the provisions included in the bill, which gave returning servicemen access to unemployment compensation, low-interest home and business loans, and--most importantly--funding for education. By giving veterans money for tuition, living expenses, books, supplies and equipment, the G.I. Bill effectively transformed higher education in America.
Red Channels: The Report of Communist Influence in Radio and Television

June 22 Peace Love Activism

June 22, 1950: American Business Consultants, Inc published the report that ostensibly listed alleged Communists and Communist sympathizers in the broadcast and entertainment industries. Two former FBI agents founded ABC.  The report named 151 actors, writers, musicians, journalists, including such notable figures as Orson Welles, Leonard Bernstein, Pete Seeger, Edward G. Robinson, as well as many others. Many people named in the report were blacklisted from employment in their respective fields.

The Red Channels report operated on the principle of guilt by association, naming people because of groups they had once belonged to or meetings they had once attended, or friends they had. People were listed, for example, because they once signed a letter or petition sponsored by a group that was associated with the Communist Party. Naming people as being Communists or Communist sympathizers did not take into account individuals’ current political views or associations. (RS, see June 25; list, see May 14, 1951)

Music et al

see Tony Sheridan and The Beatles for more
June 22 & 23, 1961: Tony Sheridan and The Beatles do first session recordings for Bert Kaempfert with the following songs: My Bonnie (Lies Over the Ocean); The Saints (When the Saints Go Marching In); Why; Cry For a Shadow; Ain't She Sweet;Take Out Some Insurance On Me Baby and Nobody's Child. (see July 3)
This Guy’s In Love With You
June 22 – July 19, 1968: “This Guy’s In Love With You” by Herb Albert #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

June 29 – July 26, 1968: Simon and Garfunkel’s Bookends  returns to  the Billboard #1 album spot.

Mark David Chapman
June 22, 1981: Mark David Chapman pleaded guilty to killing  John Lennon. (see Aug 24)

Judicial Milestone

Escobedo v. Illinois
June 22, 1964:  the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that suspects have the right to an attorney while they are questioned by police. Danny Escobedo confessed to the murder of his brother-in-law after being detained for hours without access to his lawyer. Over the course of the interrogation, police denied Escobedo's repeated requests to speak with his lawyer and denied the lawyer's requests to speak with his client. The Supreme Court overturned Escobedo's confession on the ground that it violated his "absolute right to remain silent". (see December 18, 1967)


Jacobellis v. Ohio
June 22, 1964: the US Supreme Court ruled whether the state of Ohio could, consistent with the First Amendment, ban the showing of a French film called The Lovers (Les Amants) which the state had deemed obscene. Nico Jacobellis, manager of the Heights Art Theatre in the Coventry Village neighborhood of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, was convicted and fined $2,500 by a judge of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas for exhibiting the film, and his conviction was upheld by the Supreme Court of Ohio.

The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the conviction, ruling that the film was not obscene and hence constitutionally protected. However, the Court could not agree as to a rationale, yielding four different opinions from the majority, with none garnering the support of more than two justices, as well as two dissenting opinions. The judgment of the Court was announced by William J. Brennan, but his opinion was joined only by Justice Arthur Goldberg. Justice Hugo Black, joined by Justice William O. Douglas, reiterated his well-known view that the First Amendment does not permit censorship of any kind. Chief Justice Earl Warren, in dissent, decried the confused state of the Court's obscenity jurisprudence and argued that Ohio's action was consistent with the Court's decision in Roth v. United States (June 24, 1957)  and furthered important state interests. Justice John Marshall Harlan II also dissented, believing that states should have "wide, but not federally unrestricted" power to ban obscene films.

The most famous opinion from Jacobellis, however, was Justice Potter Stewart's concurrence, holding that the Constitution protected all obscenity except "hard-core pornography." Stewart wrote, "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that." (emphasis added) (see Oct 1)
Frank Collin/Nazis

June 22 Peace Love Activism

June 22, 1977: Frank Collin and his band of Nazis applied to Skokie officials for a permit to march in Skokie. (see June 24). Exactly a year later, after many legal back and forths,  Skokie Police Chief Kenneth Chamberlain issued a directive that the area bounded by Edens Highway, Howard Street, Skokie Blvd. and Main Street would be cordoned off to vehicular traffic on June 25. Only residents might enter into the cordoned off area. All vehicles would be subject to cursory searches for weapons. (see June 23)
R.A.V., Petitioner v. City of St. Paul, Minnesota
June 22, 1992: the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled that hate-crime laws that ban cross-burning and similar expressions of racial bias violate free-speech rights. The St. Paul Bias-Motivated Crime Ordinance was struck down both because it was overbroad, proscribing both "fighting words" and protected speech, and because the regulation was "content-based," proscribing only activities which conveyed messages concerning particular topics. Judgment of the Supreme Court of Minnesota reversed. (see June 11, 1993)

Crime and Punishment

June 22, 1966: President Lyndon Johnson signed into law on this day the historic federal Bail Reform Act, which created a presumption of release before trial for federal criminal suspects. The law largely replaced the old money bail system, which meant that poor defendants had to remain in jail while awaiting trial. Perhaps most important, the federal law inspired similar bail reform laws in the 50 states. Attorney General Robert Kennedy had set in motion bail reform on May 27, 1964, at a national bail reform conference.

On signing the law, President Johnson affirmed the constitutional rights of criminal suspects, as he had previously done, on March 8, 1965. Johnson is the only president to have publicly supported the constitutional rights of criminal suspects.

The presumption of a right to bail has been severely undermined by the policy of preventive detention, which allows judges to deny to criminal defendants they believe are “dangerous.” See President Richard Nixon’s endorsement of preventive detention on January 31, 1969, shortly after he took office, and the Supreme Court decision on May 26, 1987 which upheld the constitutionality of the federal preventive detention law. (see May 15, 1967)

Environmental Issues

see Cuyahoga River for more
June 22, 1969: oil-sodden floating debris on the Cuyahoga River (Cleveland, OH) ignited (perhaps by sparks from a passing train) and burned with flames reported up to five stories high. Although fire-fighters extinguished the blaze in a half-hour or so, it caused $50,000 in damage. For a century the Cleveland, Ohio river had been an open sewer for industrial waste, through the times when factory production seemed more important than worrying about the environment. Several fires had happened in the prior hundred years, but attitudes changed to outrage as this time, national attention was aroused. It became one of several disasters that led to the Clean Water Act and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (see Nov 20)
Santa Barbara oil spill
June 22, 2015: “…of the 96.5 miles of shoreline surveyed in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, 91 percent have met cleanup goals," the unified command said in its latest operational update. (EI, see June 29; Santa Barbara, see July 16)
June 22 Peace Love Activism

Voting Rights

June 22, 1970: President Richard Nixon signed an extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which included a provision granting 18-year-olds the right to vote in federal and state elections. (This was not the 26th amendment) (see Dec 21)

Watergate Scandal

June 22, 1977: John N. Mitchell became the first former U.S. Attorney General to go to prison as he began serving a sentence for his role in the Watergate cover-up. (see Jan 19, 1979)


Leonard Matlovich
June 22, 1988: less than a month before his 45th birthday, Leonard Matlovich died in Los Angeles of complications from HIV/AIDS. By his choice, his name does not appear on his gravestone. (see Nov 19)
Execution of gays

June 22 Peace Love Activism

June 22, 2015: California Superior Judge Raymond M. Cadei ruled against a proposed ballot initiative authorizing the execution of gay and lesbian people, calling the suggested measure "unconstitutional on its face."

The proposed Sodomite Suppression Act called for "any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method." The measure also would have outlawed advocating gay rights to minors, punishable by 10 years in prison and permanent expulsion from California.

While the measure was publicly ridiculed and stood little chance of collecting more than 365,000 signatures necessary to appear on the 2016 ballot, California Attorney General Kamala Harris was required by state law to circulate the proposed initiative because its backer, attorney Matt McLaughlin, paid a $200 filing fee ahead of the February deadline. In March, Harris asked for legal permission to toss out the initiative. (see June 23)
Sexual Abuse of Children
June 22, 2012: Msgr. William J. Lynn, a former archbishop’s aide, was found guilty of one count of endangering children, becoming the first senior official of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States to be convicted of covering up child sexual abuses by priests under his supervision. (SA, see Oct 8, 2012; Lynn, see December  26, 2013)

Fourth Amendment

June 22, 2015: in City of Los Angeles v. Patel the Supreme Court considered a Los Angeles city ordinance that allowed police to walk into a hotel, request a copy of the guest registry, and look through the names of everyone who had checked in—all without a warrant.

Naranjibhai and Ramilaben Patel, two Los Angeles hotel owners, challenged the law as authorizing a regime of unconstitutional searches. After considering arguments from the city, the Patels, the Solicitor General, and amici including EFF, the Supreme Court struck down the law (5 – 4) as an unconstitutional invasion on the rights of the hotel owners because “it penalizes them for declining to turn over their records without affording them any opportunity for pre-compliance review.”


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June 21 Peace Love Activism

June 21 Peace Love Activism


Sojourner Truth
June 21, 1851: Marius Robinson, published the first recorded version of Sojourner Truth’s "Ain't I a Woman?" speech in the Anti-Slavery Bugle. He wrote: One of the most unique and interesting speeches of the convention was made by Sojourner Truth, an emancipated slave. It is impossible to transfer it to paper, or convey any adequate idea of the effect it produced upon the audience. Those only can appreciate it who saw her powerful form, her whole-souled, earnest gesture, and listened to her strong and truthful tones. She came forward to the platform and addressing the President said with great simplicity: "May I say a few words?" Receiving an affirmative answer, she proceeded: 

I want to say a few words about this matter. I am a woman's rights. I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that? I have heard much about the sexes being equal. I can carry as much as any man, and can eat as much too, if I can get it. I am as strong as any man that is now. As for intellect, all I can say is, if a woman have a pint, and a man a quart – why can't she have her little pint full? You need not be afraid to give us our rights for fear we will take too much, – for we can't take more than our pint'll hold. The poor men seems to be all in confusion, and don't know what to do. Why children, if you have woman's rights, give it to her and you will feel better. You will have your own rights, and they won't be so much trouble. I can't read, but I can hear. I have heard the bible and have learned that Eve caused man to sin. Well, if woman upset the world, do give her a chance to set it right side up again. The Lady has spoken about Jesus, how he never spurned woman from him, and she was right. When Lazarus died, Mary and Martha came to him with faith and love and besought him to raise their brother. And Jesus wept and Lazarus came forth. And how came Jesus into the world? Through God who created him and the woman who bore him. Man, where was your part? But the women are coming up blessed be God and a few of the men are coming up with them. But man is in a tight place, the poor slave is on him, woman is coming on him, he is surely between a hawk and a buzzard. (F, see Sept 11;  BH, see October 1, 1851)
Guinn v. United States
June 21, 1915: the US Supreme Court held that “grandfather” clauses were unconstitutional. Grandfather clauses were 19th century laws that exempted people from voter literacy tests if a grandfather had been a registered voter, had voted in some other country, or had served in the armed forces before 1866. The clauses were designed to permit illiterate white voters, but not African-Americans, to vote. The decision invalidated clauses in Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Virginia and North Carolina laws. (see Sept 29)
Marcus Garvey
June 21, 1923: Garvey sentenced to 5 years in prison for mail fraud. His appeal is soon denied, and he is taken to Tombs Prison in New York. He was freed on bail on September 10. (see Feb 8, 1925)
Jesse Thornton lynched
June 21, 1940: twenty-six-year-old black man Jesse Thornton addressed a passing police officer by his name, Doris Rhodes. When the officer, a white man, overheard Mr. Thornton and ordered him to clarify his statement, Thorton attempted to correct himself by referring to the officer as “Mr. Doris Rhodes.” The officer hurled a racial slur at Mr. Thornton while knocking him to the ground and arresting him. Rhodes then walked Thornton into the city jail as a mob of white men formed just outside.

Thornton tried to escape and managed to flee a short distance while the mob quickly pursued, firing gunshots and throwing bricks, bats, and stones at him.  Thornton was injured by gunfire and eventually collapsed. The mob dumped him into a truck and drove to an isolated street where he was dragged into a nearby swamp and shot again. Thornton’s decomposing, vulture-ravaged body was found a week later by a local fisherman in the Patsaliga River, near Tuskegee Institute.

Dr. Charles A.J. McPherson, a local leader in the Birmingham branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People , wrote a detailed report on Thornton’s lynching. Thurgood Marshall, then an attorney with the NAACP, provided the Department of Justice with the report and requested a federal investigation. The Justice Department instructed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine whether law enforcement or other officials were complicit in the lynching but there is no record that anyone was ever prosecuted for Mr. Thornton’s murder. (see Sept 27)
Albany Movement
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. (BH, see June 22)
June 21 & the Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner murders
June 21, 1964: James E. Chaney, 21; Andrew Goodman, 21; and Michael Schwerner, 24, “Freedom Summer’ volunteers had gone to investigate the burning of a black church (see June 16). Police arrested them on speeding charges, incarcerated them for several hours, and then released them after dark into the hands of the Ku Klux Klan, who murdered them near Philadelphia, Mississippi. (June 23)

June 21, 2005: exactly 41 years later, a jury found Edgar Ray Killen, an 80-year-old former Ku Klux Klansman, guilty of manslaughter in the deaths of three civil rights workers. (see July 12)

June 21, 2016: exactly 11 years after Killen's conviction, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood announced an end to the active federal and state investigation into the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers in Mississippi.

"There's nothing else that can be done," he said in a news conference Monday.

"The FBI, my office and other law enforcement agencies have spent decades chasing leads, searching for evidence and fighting for justice for the three young men who were senselessly murdered on June 21, 1964," he said. "It has been a thorough and complete investigation. I am convinced that during the last 52 years, investigators have done everything possible under the law to find those responsible and hold them accountable; however, We have determined that there is no likelihood of any additional convictions. Absent any new information presented to the FBI or my office, this case will be closed."  (BH, see June 23)
Keyes v. Denver School District No. 1
June 21, 1973: in Keyes v. Denver School District No. 1 the US Supreme Court found that the Denver school board intentionally segregated Mexican American and black students from white students. The Court distinguished between state-mandated segregation (de jure) and segregation that is the result of private choices (de facto). The latter form of segregation, the Court rules, was not unconstitutional. (see June 25)
Morgan v. Hennigan
June 21, 1974: decided by Jundge Wendell Aurthur Garity. It was the case that defined the school busing controversy in Boston, Massachusetts during the 1970s. Garotu ruled that the city defendants had contributed to the "establishment of a dual school system," one for each race. (BH & SD, see July 25)
Church burnings
June 21, 1995: in Manning, SC, four former members of the Ku Klux Klan set fire to the Macedonia Baptist Church, one of several burned by arsonists in the mid-1990s.  A fire was set the day before at the Mount Zion A.M.E. Church in Greeleyville, S.C. Macedonia Baptist was awarded $37.8 million in a decision against the Klan. A jury believed the Klan's rhetoric motivated the men to set the fire. (BH, see June 30: CB, see January 8, 1996)

US Labor History

“Molly Maguires” hung
June 21, 1877: the Molly Maguires was an Irish 19th-century secret society active in Ireland, Liverpool and parts of the eastern United States. It was best known for their activism among Irish-American and Irish immigrant coal miners in Pennsylvania. 

A private corporation initiated an investigation the group through a private detective agency. A private police force arrested them, and private attorneys for the coal companies prosecuted them. Twenty were sentenced to death and on June 21, 1877, also known as Black Thursday, six men were hanged in the prison at Pottsville, PA and four at Mauch Chunk, Carbon County, PA. 

From Although the existence of the Molly Maguires as an organized band of outlaws in America is still debated, most historians now agree that the trials and executions were an outrageous perversion of the criminal justice system. In 1979, more than 100 years following his hanging, John Kehoe—the supposed “king” of the Molly Maguires—was granted a full pardon by the state of Pennsylvania.  (see July 14)
United States v. Congress of Industrial Organizations
June 21, 1948: the US Supreme Court held that a labor union's publication of a statement advocating that its members vote for a certain candidate for Congress did not violate the Federal Corrupt Practices Act as amended by the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947.  (see January 2, 1949) 

Theoretically, the bracero program provided standard contracts covering wages, hours, transportation, housing, and working conditions. The American government guaranteed the provision of emergency medical care, workmen's compensation, and disability and death benefits. In reality, many of these provisions were never enforced and  the bracero system perpetuated the poverty of California's migratory laborers. Between 1950 and 1960, the earnings of three million Mexican nationals employed in 275 crop areas were effectively frozen; average annual wages in fact declined slightly, from $1,680 in 1950 to $1,666 in 1959. (UFW, see 1958; Bracero, see December 31, 1964)

Technological Milestones

George Washington Ferris
June 21, 1893:  the first Ferris wheel premiered at Chicago’s Columbian Exposition, America’s third world’s fair. It was invented by George Washington Ferris, a Pittsburgh bridge builder, for the purpose of creating an attraction like the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Each of the 36 cars carried 60 passengers, making a full passenger load of 150 tons. Ferris didn’t use rigid spokes: instead, he used a web of taut cables, like a bicycle wheel. Supported by two 140 foot steel towers, its 45 foot axle was the largest single piece of forged steel at the time in the world. The highest point of the wheel was 264 feet. The wheel and cars weighed 2100 tons, with another 2200 tons of associated levers and machinery. Ferris died just four years later, at the age of only 38. (see November 8, 1895)
Microgroove phonograph records
June 21, 1948: the first successful long-playing microgroove phonograph records were introduced to the public at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Made of nonbreakable Vinilyte plastic, and designed for the new speed of 33-1/3 r.p.m., the records were developed by Dr. Peter Goldmark of Columbia Records. The 12 inch record could play 23 minutes per side, as compared to only 4 minutes per side on the earlier 78 rpm record. The LP was also an improvement by the quietness of its surfaces and its greatly increased fidelity. The first LP featured violinist Yehudi Menuhin. Columbia originated the term "LP" itself, which was copyrighted. Thus, although many other firms could make long-playing records, only Columbia could make an LP. (see June 30)

Japanese Internment Camps

June 21, 1943: Gordon Hirabayashi was convicted of violating the curfew affecting Japanese-Americans in Seattle in 1942. In Hirabayashi v. United States — the first Japanese-American case to reach the Supreme Court — the Court upheld the curfew. (see Oct 15)

Cold War

Arthur Miller
June 21, 1956: playwright Arthur Miller defied the House Committee on Un-American Activities and refused to name suspected communists. Miller's defiance of McCarthyism won him a conviction for contempt of court, which was later reversed by the Supreme Court. His passport had already been denied when he tried to go to Brussels to attend the premiere of his play The Crucible, about the Salem witch trials. (see June 26)

June 21 Music et al

Beatles and Bruce Channel
June 21, 1962, The Beatles before their US appearance: as part of manager Brian Epstein's plan to get The Beatles wider exposure by having them open for established acts, they opened for Bruce Channel of "Hey! Baby!" fame at the Tower Ballroom, in New Brighton, England, Backstage, Delbert McClinton,  Channel's harmonica player, offered John Lennon some tips on playing harmonica, which Lennon later put to use on the band's first single, "Love Me Do." (see Aug 14)
The First Big Sur Folk Festival
June 21, 1964: The First Big Sur Folk Festival (held on the grounds of the Esalen Institute. From the Richard and Mimi Farina site: The festivals were founded by Nancy Carlen, a friend of Richard, Mimi and Joan [Baez], .... The annual event started as folk music seminars, and as they evolved into concerts, they became known as well-managed, small affairs that emphasized quality and atmosphere over publicity and commercial success. Even when big names like CSN&Y or the Beach Boys appeared, the audiences were limited to a few thousand to preserve an intimate atmosphere and human scale. Although Big Sur is now sometimes remembered as the anti-Woodstock, it was originally the anti-Newport. 

  • Joan Baez
  • Roger Abraham
  • Nancy Carlen
  • Malvina Reynolds
  • Mark Spoelstra
  • Janet Smith
  • Mimi & Richard Fariña

(see September 13 – 14, 1965)

Byrds Mr Tambourine Man album
June 21, 1965: the Byrds' debut album, Mr. Tambourine Man, marked the beginning of the folk-rock revolution. In just a few months, the Byrds had become a household name, with a #1 single and a smash-hit album that married the ringing guitars and backbeat of the British Invasion with the harmonies and lyrical depth of folk to create an entirely new sound. (see June 26 – July 2)
Summer of Love
June 21, 1967, to kick off the "Summer of Love" in San Francisco this poster for the Summer Solstice Celebration was circulated calling for a "Love In" in Golden Gate Park. There were several concerts in Golden Gate Park during that summer that are documented as who played, but that was later on during the Summer of that same year.
The [bumpy] Road to Bethel
June 21, 1969: Stanley Goldstein met with Hugh Romney and the Hog Farm in New Mexico to discuss the Hog Farm’s role in the festival. Jim Grant, a friend and fellow law enforcement official of Wes Pomeroy, accompanied Goldstein. (see June 23)
June 21 – 22, 1969 – see Toronto Pop Festival (Varsity Stadium).
June 21 Peace Love Activism


Miller v. California
June 21, 1973: the US Supreme Court developed a three-pronged test for whether a work was obscene and therefore not protected by the First Amendment. The three-prong test became known as the “Miller Test.” The Miller test, however, contains a number of unresolved issues: how are “contemporary community standards” defined? How are the terms “patently offensive” and “prurient interest” defined? What constitutes “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value”?

                The Miller Test: “(a) whether ‘the average person, applying contemporary community standards’ would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest . . . (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”  (see February 20, 1974)
Burning the American flag
June 21, 1989: the Supreme Court ruled that burning the American flag as a form of political protest was protected by the First Amendment.  In Texas v. Johnson, the Supreme Court invalidated prohibitions on desecrating the American flag enforced in 48 of the 50 states. Justice William Brennan wrote for a five-justice majority in holding that the defendant Gregory Lee Johnson's act of flag burning was protected speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. (FS, see Oct 28)
Burning crosses
June 21, 1990: several teenagers had assembled a crudely made cross by taping together broken chair legs. They erected the cross and burned it in the front yard of an African American family that lived across the street from the house where one of the teenagers was staying. That teenager, who was a juvenile, was charged with two counts, one of which a violation of the St. Paul Bias-Motivated Crime Ordinance. The Ordinance provided: “Whoever places on public or private property, a symbol, object, appellation, characterization or graffiti, including, but not limited to, a burning cross or Nazi swastika, which one knows or has reasonable grounds to know arouses anger, alarm or resentment in others on the basis of race, color, creed, religion or gender commits disorderly conduct and shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.” (see Oct 5)


Pittsburgh Press Co. v. Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations
June 21, 1973: the Supreme Court ruled that ordinances prohibiting sex-segregated employment advertisements do not violate the First Amendment. The ruling successfully concluded a five-year campaign by the National Organization for Women against sex-segregated job ads.

The case involved an ordinance passed after Wilma Scott Heide of the Pittsburgh chapter of the National Organization of Women filed a complaint with the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations, in which it argued that the practice of the Pittsburgh Press of advertising help wanted classified advertising under headings of "help wanted-male" and "help wanted-female" was discriminatory. Evidence from Gerald Gardner quantified the discriminatory nature of the advertising, showing that fewer jobs and ones with lower pay were being offered for women. (see Feminism   Aug 22, 1973)
Women’s National Basketball Association
June 21, 1997: the first season of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) begins. (see Feminism  Dec 10, 1997)


June 21, 1977 , in San Francisco, 19 year-old John Cordova attacked Robert Hillsborough and Jerry Taylor . Taylor managed to escape but Cordova, yelling "Faggot! Faggot" stabbed Hillsborough 15 times. Cordova was later convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to ten years in prison. (see June 26)

see Calvin Graham for full story

June 21, 1994, Calvin Graham: at a ceremony in Arlington, Texas Secretary of the Navy, John Dalton presented Graham’s Purple Heart to his widow.

Marijuana & AIDS

June 21, 2006: the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to support access to medical marijuana for people who have a doctor’s recommendation. “This resolution declares support for the medicinal use of cannabis sativa (also known as marijuana), and directs the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to actively urge the Federal government to amend and adopt such laws as will allow the benefits of marijuana treatment for such diseases as cancer, AIDS, and muscular dystrophy.” (Marijuana, see March 13, 2007; AIDS, see “in December 2007”)

Occupy Wall Street

June 21, 201: residents of “Bloombergville,” an encampment outside New York City Hall to protest deep budget cuts to education and other public services, issues a declaration which states:

                 We stand with all those struggling against austerity around the world.

                We are in active solidarity with those refusing any and all cuts when solutions to deficits are clearly available.  The solution demands a reorientation of the fundamental priorities of our countries.  We reject our money going to war, tax breaks for the rich, and subsides to banks.

                No library should close.  No teacher or worker laid off.  No tuition raised.  No fire station closed.  No unaffordable housing.  And no social services ended.

                By increasing taxes on the wealthy and ending the wars and occupations the US engages in, we could help those most affected by the budget cuts: working people, people of color, women, students, the homeless, among others.  The solution is clear, and will only come from collective struggle.

                Bloombergville is an encampment to intensify and strengthen the struggle against austerity in New York City.  It is a site of struggle and a community of resistance.  We have drawn our inspiration from similar actions around the world, and we hope to inspire others.

                We are the supporters and participants of Bloombergville. (see July 13)


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