Category Archives: Today in history

August 1 Music et al

August 1 Music et al

Moondog Alan Freed

August 1, 1954: Moondog Jubilee Alan Freed, working as a disc jockey in New York, throws the “Moondog Jubilee of Stars Under the Stars” at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York. The performing line-up included black artists Fats Domino and Muddy Waters. (Pop History Dig article) (see February 23, 1955)

August 1 Music et al

Bob Newhart

August 1 – September 25, 1960: comedian Bob Newhart’s The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart comedy album is Billboard #1.

August 1 Music et al

Hard Day’s Night

August 1 Music et al

August 1 – 14, 1964:  “A Hard Day’s Night” #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. (see Aug 11)

August 1 Music et al

Atlantic City Pop Festival

August 1 – 3, 1969: Atlantic City (NJ) Pop Festival took place at the Atlantic City Race Track. Approximately 100,000 people were there.  (see Atlantic City for expanded story)

August 1 Music et al

Concert for Bangladesh

August 1, 1971: George Harrison and Ravi Shankar organized and hosted The Concert for Bangladesh raising nearly a quarter of a million dollars for the hungry of the poor country. The concert ushered in a new type of proactive political activism (Live for Live Music article) (Beatles, see Sept 9; Bangladesh, see Dec 16; concert movie, see March 23, 1972)

August 1 Music et al

MTV

August 1, 1981: MTV (Music Television) made its debut at 12:01 a.m. The first music video shown on the rock-video cable channel was, appropriately, Video Killed the Radio Star, by the Buggles. MTV’s original five veejays were Martha Quinn, Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, J.J. Jackson and Alan Hunter. MTV changed the way that popular music was presented from the traditional way of simply listening to watching as well as listening. (MTV, see March 1983; CM, see July 29, 1987)

August 1 Music et al
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KKK Kills Activist Viola Liuzzo

KKK Kills Activist Viola Liuzzo


Viola Fauver Gregg


KKK Kills Activist Viola Liuzzo


Viola Fauver Gregg was born on  April 11, 1925 in California, PA. Her family was poor and often moved to find work. 


 While living in Detroit, she witnessed the cruelty that its black citizens were subjected to and became sympathetic.  In 1964 she joined the National Association for the Advancement of Color People.

 By then she had married Anthony Liuzzo and they had three children.

 Watching the horrors of the March to Montgomery’s first attempt, Liuzzo decided to go to Selma and participate.

KKK Kills Activist Viola Liuzzo

Activist murdered

She joined parts of the march to Montgomery and on March 25, 1965 listened to Dr Martin Luther King,  Jr’s famous “How Long Will It Take” speech.
 
 

It would be the last speech she heard.


Using her car, Viola Liuzzo and  Leroy Moton, a 19-year-old black man who had  also marched and assisted with the March to Montgomery,  were helping to  shuttle people from Montgomery back to Selma.


KKK Kills Activist Viola Liuzzo


After dropping passengers in Selma, she and Moton headed back to Montgomery. On the way another car  pulled alongside and a passenger in that car shot directly at Liuzzo, hitting her twice in the head, and killing her instantly. Moton was uninjured.


KKK Kills Activist Viola Liuzzo

Arrests immediate


Within 24 hours President Lyndon Johnson appeared on national TV  to announce the arrest of Collie Wilkins (21), William Eaton (41) and Eugene Thomas (41) and  Gary Rowe (34). (text of announcement)


 

Johnson stated, “Mrs. Liuzzo went to Alabama to serve the struggle for justice. She was murdered by the enemies of justice, who for decades have used the rope and the gun and the tar and feathers to terrorize their neighbors.” 


March 27, 1965 : a group of about 200 protesters, black and white, led by the Rev. James Orange of the SCLC marched to the Dallas County courthouse in Selma. The Rev. James Bevel told them, “[Viola Liuzzo] gave her life that freedom might be saved throughout this land.” 


KKK Kills Activist Viola Liuzzo

Funeral services


March 29, 1965 : the NAACP sponsored a memorial service for Viola Liuzzo at the People’s Community Church in Detroit. Fifteen hundred people attended, among them, Rosa Parks.


March 30, 1965: funeral services were held for Viola Liuzzo. Her funeral was held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic church in Detroit, with many prominent members of both the civil rights movement and government there to pay their respects. Included in this group were Martin Luther King, Jr.; NAACP executive director Roy Wilkins; Congress on Racial Equality national leader James Farmer; Michigan lieutenant governor William G. Milliken; Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa; and United Auto Workers president Walter Reuther. At San Francisco’s Grace Episcopal Cathedral, Martin Luther King said of Liuzzo, “If physical death is the price some must pay to save us and our white brothers from eternal death of the spirit, then no sacrifice could be more redemptive.


On April 1, a cross was burned in front of four Detroit homes, including the Liuzzo residence. (History Engine article)


April 3, 1965 : the mother of Collie Leory Wilkins told President Johnson that he has made it impossible for her son to have a fair trial.


KKK Kills Activist Viola Liuzzo

Indictments and trials

KKK Kills Activist Viola Liuzzo
From Left to Right; Collie Leroy Wilkins Jr., Eugene Thomas, and William Orville Eaton.


April 6, 1965 : a grand jury indicted Collie Wilkins, William Eaton, Eugene Thomas, and Gary Rowe.


April 15, 1965 : all charges against Gary Rowe were dropped, and he was identified as a paid undercover FBI informant who would testify for the prosecution. [It will later be revealed that Rowe had participated in the beatings of Freedom Riders in Birmingham in 1961 and was suspected of involvement in the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.]


May 3, 1965 : the Wilkins trial began. 


May 6, 1965 : during his final defense argumentsWilkens’s lawyer, Matt Murphy, made blatantly racist comments, including calling Liuzzo a “white nigger,” in order to sway the jury. The tactic was successful enough to result in a mistrial the following day (10-2 in favor of conviction)


May 10, 1965 : Collie Wilkins, William Eaton, and Eugene Thomas participated in a Ku Klux Klan parade. Collie Wikkins, free on bond after the mistrial, carried a Confederate flag.  After the parade, the Imperial Wizard of the United Klans of America, Robert Shelton, asked the three men to stand. They received a standing ovation.


August 20, 1965 :  Matt Murphy, the defendants’ lawyer in the Viola Liuzzo murder, died in an automobile accident after he fell asleep while driving and crashed into a gas tank truck. Segregationist and former mayor of Birmingham, Art Hanes, agree\ds to represent three accused killers.


October 19, 1965 : State Attorney General, Richmond M Flowers, interrupted the second Liuzzo trial and asked the Alabama Supreme Court to purge some jurists, a number of whom stated during jury selection that they believed white civil rights workers to be inferior to other whites. The request was denied. 

October 20, 1965 : Roy Reed in the NY Times reported that, ”an all-white jury dominated by self-proclaimed white supremacists was chosen…for the retrial of Collie Leroy Wilkins, Jr, a Ku Klux Klansman charged with the murder of Viola Liuzzo.” 


October 22, 1965 : the jury took less than two hours to acquit Collie Wilkins in Liuzzo’s slaying.


KKK Kills Activist Viola Liuzzo

Federal trial


November 30, 1965 : Collie Wilkins (already acquitted in State Court), Eugene Thomas, and William Eaton faced trial on Federal charges that grew out of the killing of a Viola Liuzzo. They were charged with conspiracy under the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act, a Reconstruction civil rights statute. The charges did not specifically refer to Liuzzo’s murder.


December 3, 1965 : an all-white jury found Collie Wilkins, Eugene Thomas, and William Eaton guilty. The three were sentenced to 10 years in prison.


January 15, 1966 : the Birmingham News newspaper published an ad offering Viola Liuzzo’s bullet-ridden car for sale. Asking $3,500, the ad read, “Do you need a crowd-getter? I have a 1963 Oldsmobile two-door in which Mrs. Viola Liuzzo was killed. Bullet holes and everything intact. Ideal to bring in crowds.”


April 27, 1967 : the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the conspiracy convictions of  Thomas and Wilkins, Jr. William O Eaton, the third person, had died.


May 17, 1982 : the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that Alabama could prosecute Gary Rowe, the FBI informer, in the 1965 slaying of Viola Luizzo. The ruling affirmed an order by a lower court.

KKK Kills Activist Viola Liuzzo
Gary Rowe

October 30, 1982 : a newly released report said the FBI  covered up the violent activities of their informant, Gary Thomas Rowe Jr., but his lawyer said the Government knew it was not getting ”a Sunday school teacher” when it asked Mr. Rowe to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. (NYT article)


Rowe, who was a Klan informant from 1959 to 1965, was charged with murder in the 1965 killing of Viola Liuzzo, a civil rights worker, but a federal appeals court barred him from being brought to trial because of an earlier agreement giving him immunity.


The 1979 report was released publicly for the first time because the Justice Department lost a Freedom of Information suit filed by Playboy magazine. In the report department investigators said agents protected Mr. Rowe because the informant ”was simply too valuable to abandon.’


KKK Kills Activist Viola Liuzzo


KKK Kills Activist Viola Liuzzo

Family must pay


April 2, 1983 : final arguments in the $2 million negligence suit against the FBI were made in Federal court by lawyers for the children of Viola Liuzzo, whose murder they attributed to a paid F.B.I. informer, Gary Rowe.


Viola Liuzzo’s children  not only lost their suit against the Federal Government  but were ordered to pay court costs of $79,800, in addition to legal fees that amounted to more than $60,000. They appealed the ruling which was reduced to a smaller amount.


The Liuzzo family’s court costs alone were estimated at $60,000, according to Jeffrey Long, one of their lawyers. Last week, Judge Joiner dismissed the family’s $2 million lawsuit against the Federal Government. The family maintained Gary Rowe, an informer for the FBI, either shot at Mrs. Liuzzo or could have prevented the shooting.

February 7, 1997 : from the NYT, “Last week, a Confederate battle flag was spray-painted on a monument in Hayneville, Ala., to Viola Liuzzo.”

KKK Kills Activist Viola Liuzzo

Legacy


April 10, 2015: Wayne State University posthumously awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree to Viola Liuzzo.  Liuzzo’s family traveled from around the country to attend the ceremony and accept the award on her behalf. 

KKK Kills Activist Viola Liuzzo
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July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

Technological Milestone

July 29, 1870:   America’s first asphalt pavement was laid in Newark, N.J. Previously, coal tar was used for many pavements laid in the 1860s. The first recorded asphalt pavement in the U.S. was a sand mix placed in front of the City Hall in Newark, N.J., in 1870. Edmund J. DeSmedt, a Belgian chemist (who became the inspector of asphalt and cements for the District of Columbia) held a U.S. patent for this asphalt paving method, granted on 31 May 1867. In that century most roads, even in cities, were wide dirt pathways, severely affected by weather. Smooth surfaced asphalt roads originally were for the benefit of bicyclists. By 1904, only 141 miles were surfaced, but commonplace by 1916. Natural asphalt deposits were originally used, but almost all of the asphalt used commercially is now made from petroleum. (National Asphalt article) (see March 7, 1876)

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

BLACK HISTORY

National Conference of Colored Women

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

July 29, 1895: the First National Conference of Colored Women Convention was held in Boston. The participants gathered to assert their position as a critical component of the women’s movement, to discuss the issues and challenges facing African-American women, and to debate how best to move forward in light of those challenges.  (Black Past dot org article) (see January 12, 1896)

Lynchings protest

July 29, 1918: in response to the increase of racially motivated killings (83 lynchings were recorded in 1918 alone), the National Liberty Congress of Colored Americans asked Congress to make lynching a federal crime. Despite attempts over the next several decades, anti-lynching legislation never passed. (Black In Time article) (see Aug 17)

Hazel Scott

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

July 29, 1950: Hazel Scott was a popular jazz pianist/singer in the early 1940s. For several months in 1950, she had a regular television show on the small Dumont network (which soon went out of business). As such, she was the first African-American to have his or her own television show. (Most people believe that Nat King Cole was the first). Scott was politically active on civil rights and left-wing issues, performing at many fund-raising events. She was named as a Communist sympathizer in the notorious anti-communist report Red Channels (see June 22). Then, on July 22, she was called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee HUAC). A week later, on this day, Dumont cancelled her show, and her career never fully recovered. (Smithsonian article on Scott) (Red Scare, see Sept 22; BH, see Sept 1)

Moderation urged

July 29, 1964: in response to urban riots in New York City, Philadelphia, and other cities, moderate civil rights groups on this day urged a moratorium on demonstrations and other forms of protest until after the presidential election. They were concerned that any future violence might help elect Republican candidate Barry Goldwater, who had opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as president in November. The more militant groups, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), refused to suspend protests and issued a separate statement arguing that demonstrations had been crucial to civil rights progress and should not be suspended. (see July 30)

Stop and Frisk Policy

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

July 29, 2014: Police unions lost their bid to challenge a ruling concluding that the city’s stop-and-frisk tactics are sometimes discriminatory — moving the city a step closer toward changing the program.

                The stop, question and frisk program had drawn criticism for its effect on minorities, but has also won praise for its role in reducing crime.

                In a written ruling, U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres said five police unions representing the majority of the NYPD’s 35,000 employees lacked legal standing to pick up where the city left off when it decided to settle the case last year rather than pursue an appeal.

                The unions said a finding of discrimination against minorities within the stop-and-frisk program had damaged the reputations of the nation’s largest police force.

But Torres said unions’ claims rested “on the flawed assumption that anonymous officers who have not taken part in this litigation have a reputational interest arising from the court’s finding against their employer.”

                She added: “As a general matter, employees suffer no legally protectable reputational harm merely because their employer is found liable in a lawsuit.”

The judge said the unions had presented no evidence of serious reputational harm or how the findings were highly injurious.

                “Nor do the unions provide examples of how their members’ careers have been `tarnished,’ `adversely affected’ or how officer integrity has been impugned,” Torres said. (see Nov 11)

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

US Labor History

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones

July 29, 1903:  Mary Harris “Mother” Jones led a march to New York City to plead with President Theodore Roosevelt to help improve conditions for the children, demanding a 55 hour work week. On this date, a preliminary delegation from the March of the Mill Children from Philadelphia to President Theodore Roosevelt’s summer home in Oyster Bay, Long Island, publicizing the harsh conditions of child labor, arrived. They were not allowed through the gates. (Fem Bio article on Jones) (see Nov 14)

United Farm Workers

July 29, 1970: 26 grape growers in Delano signed contracts with UFW ending a five year strike. (see July 30, 1970)

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

Nuclear/Chemical News

July 29, 1957: the U.S. Ratification of the International Atomic Energy Agency by President Eisenhower, marked the official birth of the IAEA. In the press conference following the signing ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., President Eisenhower evoked his address to the UN General Assembly in December 8, 1953, at which he had proposed to establish the IAEA.

                “In fact, we did no more than crystallize a hope that was developing in many minds in many places … the splitting of the atom may lead to the unifying of the entire divided world.” (Nations Encyclopedia article) (see Aug 1)

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

Space Race

July 29, 1958: President Dwight Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 into law, establishing NASA. The American program had been delayed in part because Eisenhower insisted that the space program should be a non-military operation, and that it should not reconfigure defense missiles for space exploration. (text) (see Dec 6)

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

July 29 Music et al

Suze Rotolos

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

July 29, 1961: after seeing him play at a folk musc day at the Riverside Church. Suze Rotolos became an enthusiastic fan. The Rotolos family lived above the Cafe Society Downtown, a little theatre in Greenwich Village. She lived with her mother, Mary, a widow, and her sister Carla, Above the Rotolos, on the fourth floor, lived Miki Isaacson, whose living room was a permanent crash pad for folk singers, including Dylan, who was pleased to be staying near Suze. The two soon became an item.

                At about the time she met Dylan, Rotolo began working full time as a political activist in the office of the Congress of Racial Equality and the anti-nuclear group SANE. It was not until they met that Dylan’s writing began to address issues such as the civil rights movement and the threat of nuclear war.

                Unfortunately the love affair was doomed. Their breakup in 1964 yielded some of his greatest early love songs – Tomorrow Is A Long Time, Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right and subsequent family squabbles with the Rotolos were documented in Ballad In Plain D, on Another Side Of Bob Dylan. (see Sept 14)

Help!

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

July 29, 1965: The Beatles’ second film Help! had its royal première at the London Pavilion, Piccadilly Circus, London. Ten thousand fans gathered outside to see the group arrive in a black Rolls-Royce. Inside the Pavilion they met Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon, who had delayed their summer holiday for the event. (see Aug 6)

Dylan’s motorcycle accident

July 29, 1966: Dylan was involved in a motorcycle accident. The seriousness of the accident is still unknown. Dylan’s biographers have written that the crash offered him the much-needed chance to escape from the pressures that had built up around him. Dylan confirmed this interpretation of the crash when he stated in his autobiography, “I had been in a motorcycle accident and I’d been hurt, but I recovered. Truth was that I wanted to get out of the rat race.” In the wake of his accident, Dylan withdrew from the public and, apart from a few select appearances, did not tour again for almost eight years.(see December 27, 1967)

Beatles v Jesus

July 29, 1966: John Lennon’s March 4 interview with Maureen Cleave in which he says “We’re more popular than Jesus” appeared in American teen magazine, “Datebook.” Within days of publication, anti-Beatle sentiment builds up and American disc jockeys in the southern States encourages the destruction of Beatle records and memorabilia at bonfire rallies. Also enforced was a radio ban on Beatle records that was started by a Birmingham, Alabama D.J. The ban picked up momentum by other radio stations in the southern Bible belt. By August 6, thirty US radio stations have banned all Beatles records from airplay.

World reaction to John’s remarks:

  • South Africa: Piet Myer of the South African Broadcasting Corporation temporarily banned Beatles records from being played and noted that “The Beatles arrogance has passed the ultimate limit of decency. It is clowning no longer.”
  • Spain: three radio stations immediately bans the airing Beatle records.
  • Holland: one radio station banned the airing of Beatle records. (Beatles, see July 3- – Sept 2; Lennon’s remarks, see Aug 5 )

July 29 – August 18, 1967: “Light My Fire” by the Doors #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Road to Bethel

July 29, 1969: Woodstock Ventures served with papers to appear in court regarding impact of festival on local summer youth camps and local homeowners. An out-of-court settlement agreed to with camps. Judge George Cobb stated that he’d hand down his decision on August 14—the day before the festival was to begin.

                The abandoned Diamond Horseshoe hotel ready for workers to move in. 

Cherry Garcia

July 29, 1987: Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream introduced their signature flavor, and first celebrity-themed flavor, “Cherry Garcia.” (GD, see August 9, 1995; CM, see December 17, 1989)

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

Vietnam

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

 

July 29, 1967: fire swept the U.S. aircraft carrier Forrestal off the coast of North Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin. It was the worst U.S. naval disaster in a combat zone since World War II. The accident took the lives of 134 crewmen and injured 62 more. Of the carrier’s 80 planes, 21 were destroyed and 42 were damaged. (Times Machine article) (see Aug 4)

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

Charles & Di

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

July 29, 1981: a worldwide television audience of over 700 million people watched the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

LGBTQ & BSA

July 29, 1992: James Dale, 21-year-old Rutgers University student and former Eagle Scout, sued the Boy Scouts of America, saying his membership was revoked two years ago after the Scouts found out he was gay. Dale said the Boy Scouts taught him to take pride in who he is. “I owe it to the organization to point out to them how bad and wrong this policy is,

                The Monmouth Council [NJ] of the Boy Scouts of America said Mr. Dale did not meet the standards of leadership set by the national organization, which prohibits homosexuals. (BSA/Dale, see March 3, 1998; LGBTQ, see May 5, 1993)

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

Feminism

July 29, 1994: abortion opponent Paul Hill shot and killed Dr. John Bayard Britton and Britton’s bodyguard, James H. Barrett, outside the Ladies Center clinic in Pensacola, Florida. (Hill was executed on September 4, 2003.) (NY Times article) (see Sept 13)

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

CLINTON IMPEACHMENT

Clinton testifies

July 29, 1998: Clinton agreed to testify voluntarily and Starr’s office withdraws the subpoena. Clinton’s testimony is set for August 17 at the White House. 

Clinton fined

July 29, 1999: U.S. District Court Judge Susan Webber Wright ordered President Bill Clinton to pay $90,686 for giving false testimony in the civil sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by Paula Jones. (see Clinton for expanded story)

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

Native Americans

July 29, 2010: President Obama signed the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010, an act to help the Federal Government better address the unique public safety challenges that confront tribal communities. According to a Department of Justice report, Native American women suffer from violent crime at a rate three and a half times greater than the national average. One in three Native American women will be raped in their lifetimes. (NCAI article) (see February 14, 2011)

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

Watergate Scandal

July 29, 2011: U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth granted a request by historian Stanley Kutler, and others to unseal the testimony given by President Richard Nixon on June 23 and 24 in 1975. Nixon had been questioned about the political scandal during the 1970s that resulted from the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington.

                Lamberth ruled in the 15-page opinion that the special circumstances, especially the undisputed historical interest in Nixon’s testimony, far outweighed the need to keep the records secret. “Watergate significance in American history cannot be overstated,” Lamberth wrote, adding that the scandal continues to attract both scholarly and public interest. “The disclosure of President Nixon’s grand jury testimony would likely enhance the existing historical record, foster scholarly discussion and improve the public’s understanding of a significant historical event,” he said. (see Watergate for expanded story)

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

LGBTQ & Westboro Baptist Church

July 29, 2013: members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., appeared at a Macklemore concert in Kansas City, Mo. to protest the song “Same Love,” about sexual equality and gay marriage. (MYNorthwest article) (LGBTQ, see Aug 26 ; WBC, see August 20)

July 29 Peace Love Art Activism

Voting Rights

July 29, 2016

  • a U.S. appeals court struck down a North Carolina law that required voters to show photo identification when casting ballots, ruling that it intentionally discriminated against African-American residents. The ruling, a victory for rights advocates that enabled thousands of people to vote more easily. (NPR article)
  • Judge Larry Hendricks, a Shawnee County district judge, ruled that the votes of 17,500 people whose registrations had been questioned would be tallied in Tuesday’s primary. Hendricks issued a temporary order, meaning the votes will be counted Tuesday. The American Civil Liberties Union had filed the lawsuit against Secretary of State Kobach on behalf of Kansas voters who were told that they could vote in federal elections but that their votes in state and local elections would not be counted. Kobach argued that by ruling against him, the state would be letting people who weren’t U.S. citizens vote in the primary.
  • S. District Judge James Peterson threw out as unconstitutional a host of Wisconsin election laws passed in recent years, saying they unfairly benefited Republicans who had enacted them and made it more difficult for Democrats to vote. Peterson’s ruling keeps in place the state’s voter identification law, unlike recent rulings in North Carolina and Texas, but he ordered broad changes. (Chicago Tribune article) (see May 11, 2017)
July 29 Peace Love Art Activism
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