Tag Archives: Free Speech

November 25

November 25

BLACK HISTORY & TERRORISM

November 25, 1915, : a cross was burned on Stone Mountain, Georgia, on this day, marking the revival of the Ku Klux Klan in the early 20th century. The Klan had been a powerful racist force during the Reconstruction Era in the South following the Civil War. It gradually faded away, but was revived as part of the racist mood of the country in the first decades of the century.

November 25, 1930: a delegation from the Anti-Lynching Congress, which was meeting in Washington, D.C., delivered a protest to President Herbert Hoover, demanding that he take action to end the lynching of African-Americans. The group was led by Maurice W. Spencer, president of the National Equal Rights League and Race Congress. President Hoover did not respond.

                Herbert Hoover was basically sympathetic to the needs of African-Americans in American society, but was not willing to expend any political capital on civil rights. He was very upset, for example, when Southern bigots protested when First Lady Lou Henry Hoover invited the wife of African-American Congressman Oscar DePriest to the White House for tea (along with all the other Congressional wives), on June 12, 1929. He responded by inviting Robert Moton, President of Tuskegee University, to the White House in a symbolic gesture.

BLACK HISTORY

November 25, 1955: the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), the federal agency that regulated railroads and other transporters of goods, banned racial segregation on interstate buses, train lines, and in waiting rooms. The ICC ruled that “the disadvantages to a traveler who is assigned accommodations or facilities so designated as to imply his inferiority solely because of his race must be regarded under present conditions as unreasonable.” The ban was consistent with a 1946 United States Supreme Court decision, Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia (see June 3, 1946), which held that a state law requiring segregation on interstate buses traveling through the state was unconstitutional.

                However, neither the Supreme Court decision nor the ICC ban covered intrastate travel, and 13 states still required segregation on buses and railways that traveled exclusively within state borders. Some of these states ignored the new ban on segregated interstate travel and continued to enforce unconstitutional laws. According to a report issued by the Public Affairs Research Committee in December 1957, police in Flomaton, Alabama, had been called to arrest African Americans traveling in the white section of an interstate railroad line. The report additionally found that employees of rail and bus lines in Alabama “have flagrantly segregated colored travelers or called police to arrest those who would not easily be intimidated where their rights were involved.”

                It was not until November 1961, six years after the ICC ban, that it was given force by order of the ICC and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, largely spurred by the Freedom Rides.

November 25, 1976, Thanksgiving Day: NYC  police officer Robert Torsney fired a bullet into the head of Randolph Evans, 15, outside a housing project in Brooklyn. Officer Torsney would later claim he had been afflicted with a rare form of epilepsy that had never been noticed before the killing and was never seen after it. The ''epilepsy'' defense worked. A jury acquittted  Torsney of any criminal wrongdoing.

November 25, 2006: a team of plainclothes and undercover NYPD officers shot a total of 50 times at  three men killing one of the men, Sean Bell, on the morning before his wedding, and severely wounding two of his friends.

November 25, 2015: Minneapolis police released the names of four men arrested in connection with a shooting during a Black Lives Matter protest outside a police station that injured five protesters. The authorities identified the suspects in the shooting as Allen Lawrence Scarsella, 23; Nathan Gustavsson, 21; Daniel Macey, 26; and Joseph Backman, 27. All were white.

FREE SPEECH

November 25, 1930, : an agent of the New England Watch and Ward Society purchased a copy of Lady Chatterly's Lover at the Dunster House Book shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts. James Delancy, the manager, and Joseph Sullivan, his clerk, were both convicted of selling obscene literature, a crime for which Mr. Delancy was fined $800. and assigned four months in the house of corrections while Mr. Sullivan was sentenced to two weeks in prison and a $200. fine.

US Labor History

November 25, 1946: teachers strike in St. Paul, Minn., the first organized walkout by teachers in the country. The month-long “strike for better schools” involving some 1,100 teachers—and principals—led to a number of reforms in the way schools were administered and operated.

Red Scare

November 25, 1947:  movie studio executives agreed to blacklist the Hollywood 10, who were jailed for contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee.

November 25, 1956: the film Friendly Persuasion, starring Gary Cooper and later nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor, was released on this day — but without any screenwriter credit. The actual screenwriter was Michael Wilson, who had been blacklisted for refusing to cooperate with the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) in September 1951. Hollywood motion picture companies refused to hire or credit people who did not cooperate with HUAC. The official blacklist began on December 3, 1947.

                Wilson’s screenwriting credit was restored in later versions of the film. Wilson also co-wrote the script for the award-winning Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), but was not listed on the credits. Wilson was posthumously awarded an Academy Award in 1995 for his work on the Bridge on the River Kwai.

                Wilson took his revenge for having been blacklisted when he wrote the script for Planet of the Apes (1968), which includes a scene that is a wicked parody of the House Un-American Activities Committee. In the scene, Charlton Heston has to stand naked and testify before what is, in effect, an Un-Ape Activities Committee.

Billboard #1

November 25 – December 1, 1967: “Incense and Peppermints” by the Strawberry Alarm Clock #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

November 25, 1969, President Nixon ordered all US germ warfare stockpiles destroyed.

INDEPENDENCE DAY

November 25, 1975, Suriname independent of Netherlands.

November 25, 1984: Band Aid recorded the charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" to raise money to combat the famine in Ethiopia. It is released December 3.

AIDS

November 25

November 25, 1985: Ryan White: Indiana Department of Education ruled that White must be admitted despite parent and government opposition.

 Iran–Contra Affair

November 25, 1986: the Iran-Contra affair erupted as President Reagan and Attorney General Edwin Meese revealed that profits from secret arms sales to Iran had been diverted to Nicaraguan rebels.

Jack Kevorkian

November 25, 1998, : Michigan charged Kevorkian with first-degree murder, violating the assisted suicide law and delivering a controlled substance without a license in the death of Thomas Youk. Prosecutors later drop the suicide charge. Kevorkian insists on defending himself during the trial and threatens to starve himself if he is sent to jail.

Terrorism

November 25, 2001: John Phillip Walker Lindh, a US citizen, was captured as an enemy combatant during the invasion of Afghanistan.

November 25, 2002: President Bush signed legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security.

November 25, 2003: Yemen arrested Mohammed Hamdi al-Ahdal, a top al-Qaida member suspected of masterminding the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole and the 2002 bombing of a French oil tanker off Yemen's coast.

LGBTQ

November 25, 2014, : U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker struck down Arkansas' gay marriage ban, which paved the way for county clerks to resume issuing licenses. Baker ruled in favor of two same-sex couples who had challenged a 2004 constitutional amendment and earlier state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman, arguing that the ban violated the U.S. Constitution and discriminated based on sexual orientation.

November 25, 2014: U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves ruled against Mississippi’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex couples from marrying.  Attorney Roberta Kaplan represented two plaintiff couples on behalf of Campaign for Southern Equality, arguing that Mississippi’s marriage ban violates the U.S. Constitution. 

November 12

November 12

George Washington, Slaves

November 12
George Washington and one of his many slaves
November 12, 1775: General Washington, owner of more than 300 slaves, issued an order which forbade recruiting officers to enlist blacks.

Immigration History, Ellis Island

November 12

November 12, 1954: Ellis Island closed after processing more than 20 million immigrants since opening in New York Harbor in 1892. (click >>> NYT article)

Free Speech, Religion & Public Education

November 12

November 12, 1968: in Epperson v. Arkansas, the US Supreme Court struck down an Arkansas state law that prohibited the teaching of Darwinian evolution. The Court argued that the First Amendment required government neutrality on questions of religion and overturned the Arkansas State Supreme Court, which had ruled that the state's law represented a legitimate exercise of its authority to determine school curriculum.

                Justice Fortas wrote, "The State's undoubted right to prescribe the curriculum for its public schools does not carry with it the right to prohibit, on pain of criminal penalty, the teaching of a scientific theory or doctrine where that prohibition is based upon reasons that violate the First Amendment." The two other members of the Court concurred in the result, writing that it violated either the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment (because it was unconstitutionally vague) or the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment.

Feminism and US Labor History

November 12, 1973: in the case of Laffey v. Northwest, decided on this day, stewardesses employed by Northwest Airlines won a sweeping ruling regarding sex discrimination over issues related to unequal pay, the lack of promotions, unequal benefits compared to male employees, and weight monitoring for stewardesses. The job of stewardess was a separate all-female job category, and women were forced to retire in their early 30s, not allowed to be married, and subject to monitoring of their weight.

BLACK HISTORY & Race Riots

November 12, 1976, : a deadly race riot erupted at Reidsville State Prison, now known as Georgia State Prison, in Reidsville, Georgia. Just a few years prior, a federal judge had ordered the prison to desegregate inmate living quarters. According to newspaper reports at the time, the riot began when 50-75 white prisoners armed with shanks attacked a group of black prisoners; in the end, 47 prisoners were injured and five were killed. Prison officials blamed the incident on an argument between homosexual inmates.

                In 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Georgia state law requiring racial separation of prisoners at Reidsville (where 60-65% of prisoners were black). However, after an initial attempt at integration, the prison had repeatedly reverted to segregation in supposed efforts to cool racial tensions. At the time, ACLU of Georgia Director Gene Guerrero remarked, “It's the worst sort of cop-out – to lay the problems at Reidsville on integration.”

                Following the November 1976 riot and several other incidents of deadly violence, U.S. District Judge Anthony Aliamo issued an order on July 3, 1978, to re-segregate dormitories at Reidsville for a period of 60 days. The common areas, such as the mess hall and recreation yard, were to remain integrated. When another deadly racial attack occurred in August 1978, the state successfully sought an extension of the re-segregation order, resulting in eight months of segregated dorms. At the time, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Offender Rehabilitation said that he thought the prison would have a “hard time going back” to integrated dormitories.

Iran hostage crisis

November 12, 1979: in response to the hostage situation in Tehran, U.S. President Jimmy Carter orders a halt to all oil imports into the United States from Iran.

Terrorism, World Trade Center

November 12
World Trade center bomber Ramzi Yousef
November 12, 1997:  Ramzi Yousef was found guilty of masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. (click >>> NYT article)

AIDS, Ricky Ray

November 12
Ricky Ray’s parents were prevented from enrolling their son in school.
November 12, 1998: the U.S. Congress enacts the Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund Act, honoring the Florida teenager who was infected with HIV through contaminated blood products. The Act authorized payments to individuals with hemophilia and other blood clotting disorders who were infected with HIV by unscreened blood-clotting agents between 1982 and 1987. (click for more information >>> Federal site info)

LGBTQ, Same-sex Marriage

November 12, 2008, LGBT: same-sex marriages begin to be officially performed in Connecticut. (click >>> NYT article)

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

November 12
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell protest
November 12, 2010: The US Supreme Court refused to intervene on the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy while it was on appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. (click >>> NYT article)

November 12

Banning Marriage Equality

November 12, 2014: U.S. District Judge Richard Mark Gergel ruled against South Carolina’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality.  In Condon v. Haley, Lambda Legal and private attorneys sued the state on behalf of same-sex couples who argued that South Carolina’s ban on marriage equality violated the U.S. Constitution.  In his ruling, Judge Gergel cited the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in Bostic v. Shaeffer, in which the federal appeals court struck down Virginia’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. The Fourth Circuit ruling in Bostic was binding precedent on South Carolina. (click >>> NYT article)

Medical marijuana

November 12, 2013:  a University of Utah neurologist and two other Utah doctors announced their support for allowing a medical use of a marijuana extract for children who suffer from seizures. In a letter sent to the state Controlled Substances Advisory Committee on Tuesday, pediatric neurologist Dr. Francis Filloux said the liquid form of medical marijuana is a promising option for children with epilepsy.

Fair Housing & Consumer Protection

November 12, 2015: a proposed federal rule announced on this date would prohibit smoking in public housing homes nationwide under, a move that would affect nearly one million households and open the latest front in the long-running campaign to curb unwanted exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.

                The ban, by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, would also require that common areas and administrative offices on public housing property be smoke-free. 

November 10

November 10

The past is prologue

Vietnam, Robert McNamara

Three events re Vietnam:
November 10, 1964:  at a news conference, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara said that the United States has no plans to send combat troops into Vietnam. When asked whether the US intended to increase its activities in Vietnam, he replied, "Wait and see."

No combat fatalities

November 10, 1970: for the first time in five years, no U.S. combat fatalities in Southeast Asia were reported for the previous week.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

November 10, 1982: the newly finished Vietnam Veterans Memorial was opened to its first visitors in Washington, D.C.

Feminism, Voting Rights

Two events re feminism:
November 10 November 10
November 10, 1917: large picket demonstration held to protest treatment of Alice Paul and other suffrage prisoners. Thirty-one pickets arrested, including Dora Lewis and just-released-from-prison Lucy Burns. Pickets sentenced to varying terms at Occoquan Workhouse; Burns receives harshest penalty of six months.

Malala Yousafzai, Free Speech

November 10

November 10, 2013: in a decision announced by All Pakistan Private Schools Federation President Mirza Kashif, Malala Yousufzai’s recent book I am Malala will be banned in all schools across the country due to its ‘controversial’ content. In order to justify the decision, Mr. Kashif stated that the reason behind the ban is to avoid any confusion that the book may cause for students. It bears mentioning that the decision was taken by the private school owners; the government remained neutral toward the development. Furthermore, Mr. Kashif said that the book had little to do with the curriculum in schools and therefore should not be included in the syllabus.

Free Speech, Abrams v. United States

November 10, 1919:  the US Supreme Court ruled in Abrams v. United States that the federal government could criminalize free speech if it was of a type tending to bring about harmful results, in this case resistance to the United States war effort. In a powerful dissenting opinion, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes countered that even during wartime, free speech could only be curtailed when there was clear and "present danger of immediate evil or an intent to bring it about." (click >>> Abrams v. United States)

Japanese Internment Camps

November 10, 1983: the 1944 challenge that Fred Korematsu brought regarding the Japanese internment and that the Supreme Court sided with the government in Korematsu v. United States ruling that the exclusion order was constitutional, in response to a petition of error coram nobis (“error before us”) by Fred Korematsu, the San Francisco Federal District Court reversed Korematsu’s 1942 conviction and rules that the internment was not justified. (click >>> NYT article)

Black History

November 10, 1952:  Jeremiah Reeves, a 16-year-old black high school student and jazz drummer, was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, and interrogated about the rape of Mabel Ann Crowder the previous July. Ms. Crowder, a white woman, had claimed rape after she and was discovered in her home having sex with Jeremiah – sex many in the black community suspected was part of a consensual, ongoing affair. Within minutes of his arrest, Jeremiah was taken to Kilby Prison where, during “questioning” by police, he was strapped into the electric chair and told that he would be electrocuted unless he admitted committing all of the rapes of white women reported that summer. The fearful boy soon confessed to the charges against him. Alabama executed him on March 8, 1958.

Kate Smith, God Bless America

November 10, 1938, Kate Smith first sang Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" on network radio.

Technological and Cultural Milestone

Direct-dial phone call

November 10, 1951: direct-dial, coast-to-coast telephone service began with a call between the mayors of Englewood, N.J., and Alameda, Calif. (click >>> coast to coast telephone service)

November 10

Sesame Street

November 10, 1969: "Sesame Street" made its broadcast debut. The show was the brainchild of Joan Ganz Cooney, a former documentary producer for public television. Cooney's goal was to create programming for preschoolers that was both entertaining and educational. She also wanted to use TV as a way to help underprivileged 3- to 5- year-olds prepare for kindergarten.

November 10

Marijuana, American Medical Association

November 10, 2009:  The American Medical Association softened its position on medical marijuana. The statement read in part: "Our AMA urges that marijuana's status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods. This should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug product."

BLACK HISTORY

Murders of Three Civil Rights Workers

November 10, 2014: President Barack Obama announced 19 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, including James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, the three civil rights workers killed by the KKK, on June 21, 1964 in Mississippi.
"From activists who fought for change to artists who explored the furthest reaches of our imagination; from scientists who kept America on the cutting edge to public servants who help write new chapters in our American story, these citizens have made extraordinary contributions to our country and the world," he said.

Ken Kesey

November 10, 2001:  Ken Kesey died in a hospital in Eugene, Ore. He was 66 and lived in Pleasant Hill, Ore. The cause was complications after surgery for liver cancer late last month, said his friend and business associate, Ken Babbs.