Category Archives: Today in history

Happy Birthday Alvin Lee

Happy Birthday Alvin Lee

Alvin Lee was  born on December 19, 1944, in Nottingham, England

Happy Birthday Alvin Lee

And if you say Alvin Lee or Ten Years After, most music fans will say, "I'm Goin' Home"  and think of his Woodstock Music and Art Fair performance.

Happy birthday Alvin Lee

So much fame from that song’s performance likely surprised Lee.  An albatross laying a golden egg. He was already a great guitarist when he began his trek along 1969's festival trail. How many times did he play “I’m Going Home” that summer? He had already played at the Bath Festival of Blues on June 28. The Newport Jazz Festival (July 3 – 6), The Laurel Pop Festival (July 11 – 12).  The Seattle Pop Festival (July 25 – 27). And would play again a the Texas International Pop Festival (August 30 – September 1).
But its filming at Woodstock preserved it and sent it worldwide. His name was and will forever be associated with that song and that performance.

Some  facts about Lee:
  • originally influenced by his parent’s collection of jazz and blues records
  • began playing guitar age 13
  • by aged 15 his Jaybirds band formed the core of Ten Years After
  • moved to London and changed the band’s name to Ten Years After in 1966
  • the band’s performance at the Windsor Jazz & Blues Festival in 1967 led to their first recording contract.
  • October 1967. Release of Ten Years After, the band’s first album.
  • concert promoter Bill Graham who invited the band to tour America for the first time in the summer of 1968. Ten Years After would ultimately tour the USA 28 times in 7 years, more than any other U.K. band.
  • Ten Years After had great success, releasing ten albums together between 1967 and 1973.
  • after the breakup of Ten Years After, Lee continue to form bands and record music.
  • Lee’s overall musical output includes more than 20 albums.
  • neither Alvin Lee nor Ten Years After are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Alvin Lee website >>> Lee's site
Lee died on March 6, 2013 >>> NYT Obit

Happy birthday Alvin Lee

Happy birthday Alvin Lee. Happy birthday Alvin Lee. Happy birthday Alvin Lee. Happy birthday Alvin Lee.

Korematsu vs United States

Korematsu vs United States

Korematsu vs United States
Fred Korematsu in the 1940s
Executive Order No. 2537
On January 14, 1942,  President Roosevelt issued order No. 2537, requiring Italian, German, and Japanese aliens to register with the Department of Justice. (NYT article) and on February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt  issued  Order 9066, which cleared the way for the relocation of Japanese Americans to internment camps.

Three categories

The government created three categories of Japanese internees: Nisei (native U.S. citizens of Japanese immigrant parents), Issei (Japanese immigrants), and Kibei (native U.S. citizens educated largely in Japan).
aa_lange_relocation_2_eBy June, the government had relocated more than 110,000 Japanese Americans to camps scattered around the country. During the war the government convicted 10 Americans of spying for Japan, None were of Japanese ancestry.

Korematsu vs United States

Japanese American Fred Korematsu, 23, refused to go to the the incarceration camp. He was arrested and convicted of defying the government’s order. He appealed.

71 years ago today, December 18, 1944, the US Supreme court, in Korematsu vs United States, sided with the government ruling that the exclusion order was constitutional.
With today's often bitter discussions about who is American and who we should allow in the United States, it might be interesting to look at the aftermath of Korematsu vs the United States.

32 years after Korematsu vs United States, on February 19, 1976, President Gerald Ford signed "An American Promise," which formally rescinded 1942’s Executive Order 9066 but contained no apology.
Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians Act
36 years after Korematsu vs United States, on  July 31, 1980, President Carter signed the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians Act, which created a group to study Executive Order 9066. In 1983, the Commission  concluded that the exclusion, expulsion, and incarceration of Japanese-Americans were not justified by military necessity and the decisions to do so were based on race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.
39 years afterwards, on November 10, 1983, the San Francisco Federal District Court reversed Korematsu’s 1942 conviction and ruled that the internment was not justified.  (Court Overturns... (Korematsu)
44 years afterwards, on August 10, 1988 President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. It provided for a Presidential apology and appropriated $1.25 billion for reparations of $20,000 to most internees, evacuees, and others of Japanese ancestry who lost liberty or property,
46 years after Korematsu vs United States,  October 9, 1990, the  Japanese internment redress payment was issued at a Washington, D.C. ceremony to the Reverend Mamoru Eto, 107 years old. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh knelt as he made the presentation

Presidential Medal of Freedom

On January 15, 1998, President Clinton awarded Fred Korematsu the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Korematsu vs United States

55 years after Korematsu vs United States, on October 22, 1999,  groundbreaking on construction of a national memorial to both Japanese-American soldiers and those sent to internment camps takes place in Washington, D.C.Korematsu vs United States
On March 30, 2005, Fred Korematu died. (>>> NYT articleKorematsu vs United States
Tule Lake Segregation Center
Korematsu vs United States
Tulle Lake Center
62 years after Korematsu vs United States, on February 17, 2006, the government designated Tule Lake Segregation Center  a National Historic Landmark.

Don Miyada

Korematsu vs United States
Don Miyada with high school diploma
70 years afterward, on June 19, 2014, Don Miyada, 89, joined Newport (CA) Harbor High School's 2014 graduating class on stage and received a standing ovation. He became an inaugural member of the school's hall of fame. Miyada had missed his 1942 graduation because he was locked in an internment camp.





Tinker v Des Moines

Tinker v Des Moines

1969. It was a time of empowerment. Blacks. Women. College students. The disabled. Migrant laborers.
And high school students.

Tinker v Des Moines

On December 11, 1965, high school student Christopher Eckhardt held a meeting with a group of students at his Des Moines, Iowa home. The group decided to wear black armbands in school on December 16 as both a Vietnam War protest and in support of Robert F Kennedy's proposed extension of a truce the Viet Cong proposed truce on Christmas Eve. The student would keep wearing the bands until January 1, 1966. (click >>> RFK truce proposal)

Principals of the Des Moines schools learned of the plan and on December 14, 1965, adopted a policy that required any student wearing an armband in school to remove it. Any student who refused would be suspended until they agreed to comply.

On December 16, 1965, Chrisopher Eckhardt (16), Mary Beth Tinker (13) and her siblings, Hope (11) and Paul (8) wore black armbands. Christopher and Mary were suspended. The two younger students were not.  Mary Beth's brother, John Tinker (15), was suspended for doing the same on the following day.
Tinker v DesMoines
Mary and John Tinker
Christopher Eckhardt: I wore the black armband over a camel-colored jacket. The captain of the football team attempted to rip it off. I turned myself in to the principal’s office where the vice principal asked if ‘I wanted a busted nose.’ He said seniors wouldn’t like the armband. Tears welled up in my eyes because I was afraid of violence. He called my mom to get her to ask me to take the armband off. Then he called a school counselor in. The counselor asked if I wanted to go to college, and said that colleges didn’t accept protesters. She said I would probably need to look for a new high school if I didn’t take the armband off.

Tinker v Des Moines begins…

The Iowa Civil Liberties Union approached the families and the ACLU agreed to help the family with a lawsuit. The Tinker and Eckhardts filed suit in U.S. District Court which upheld the board's decision.

Tinker v Des Moines continues…

A tie vote in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit meant that the U.S. District Court's decision continued to stand.

Tinker v Des Moines still continues…

The Tinkers and Eckhardts to appealed to the Supreme Court. The case was argued before the court on November 12, 1968.

Tinker v Des Moines decided

On February 24, 1969 the US Supreme Court sided with the Tinkers in  Tinker v. Des Moines. Justice Abe Fortas delivered the opinion of the 7-2 majority. The Supreme Court held that the armbands represented pure speech that is entirely separate from the actions or conduct of those participating in it. The Court also held that the students did not lose their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech when they stepped onto school property. In order to justify the suppression of speech, the school officials must be able to prove that the conduct in question would "materially and substantially interfere" with the operation of the school. In this case, the school district's actions evidently stemmed from a fear of possible disruption rather than any actual interference.
(click for more >>>Tinker article)
Tinker v Des Moines
Mary Beth Tinker, and her brother, John Tinker, stand next to locker 319 in 2013 at Harding Elementary School in Des Moines
Appropriately, on December 16, 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono put up eleven billboards in major cities worldwide with the slogan: War Is Over!
Tinker v Des Moines
John & Yoko’s billboard