Tag Archives: Red Scare

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. 

Pete Seeger Does Not Testify

Pete Seeger Does Not Testify

August 18, 1955

Pete Seeger Does Not Testify

McCarthyism

      Despite its importance in the Allied victory in World War II, after the war most  Americans viewed Communist Soviet Union as a dangerous enemy.
                A number of American politicians, most notably Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin, said that many Americans were sympathetic to Communism, worked for Communists, or were  spies for Communists.      

               In February 1950, McCarthy charged that there were over 200 “known communists” in the Department of State. 

House on Un-American Activities

       Established in 1938, the House on Un-American Activities Committee subpoenaed citizens to testify before Congress about possible or imagined Communist sympathies.

      Many felt that HUAC was simply a political tool used by the Republicans. In 1947, HUAC had decided not to investigate the Ku Klux Klan. HUAC’s chief counsel, Ernest Adamson, announced: "The committee has decided that it lacks sufficient data on which to base a probe," HUAC member John Rankin added: "After all, the KKK is an old American institution.” 

      That same year, Ronald Reagan, along with his wife Jane Wyman, provided the FBI with a list of names of Screen Actors Guild members they believed were or had been Communists. 

      On October 20, 1947, HUAC opened hearings into alleged Communist influence in Hollywood. A “friendly” witness included President of Screen Actors Guild Ronald Reagan.

      On November 24, 1947 the House of Representatives issued citations for Contempt of Congress to the so-called Hollywood Ten—John Howard Lawson, Alvah Bessie, Herbert Biberman, Lester Cole, Edward Dmytryk, Ring Lardner Jr., Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, Adrian Scott, and Dalton Trumbo. They had refused to cooperate at hearings dealing with communism in the movie industry. The men were sentenced to one year in jail. The Supreme Court later upheld the contempt charges.

Other artists targeted

      On September 4, 1949  racists injured more than 140 attendees after a benefit for a civil rights group in Peekskill, N.Y.
       The victims were among the 20,000 people leaving a concert featuring African-American Paul Robeson, well-known for his strong pro-unionism, civil rights activism and left-wing affiliations.
              The departing concert-goers had to drive through a miles-long gauntlet of rock-throwing racists and others chanting "go on back to Russia, you niggers" and "white niggers."
                 On February 6, 1952, a former Communist Party member and now an FBI informant,  named members of the popular folk singing group The Weavers as Communists. Pete Seeger was a member of the group.

Pete Seeger Does Not Testify

      On this date, HUAC called Pete Seeger to testify. 

      Seeger refused to invoke the Fifth Amendment, protecting citizens from self-incrimination. Instead he insisted that the Committee had no right to question him regarding his political beliefs or associations. 

      HUAC cited Seeger for contempt of court and in March 1961 he stood trial. The court found him guilty of obstructing HUAC’s work. At his sentencing he asked if he could sing, “Wasn’t That a Time”? The judge refused Seeger’s request and sentenced him to a year and a day in prison.

      A court overturned the verdict in May 1962. The same week Peter, Paul, and Mary's cover of Seeger's "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" hit the top 40 list.

      That same year, Seeger used words from the Book of Ecclesiastes to write "Turn Turn Turn."

Blacklisted

      Though the Court had overturned his conviction, TV and other media continued to blacklist Seeger. It would not be until September 10, 1967, on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Show that Pete Seeger appeared for the first time on television. It had been 17 years since blacklisting. He sang Waist Deep in the Big Muddy, but CBS dropped the performance when Seeger refused to edit the obviously the song's anti-Vietnam sentiments. 

      On February 25, 1968, CBS allowed Seeger to return to the show and sing the song among others.

Pete Seeger Does Not Testify, Pete Seeger Does Not Testify, Pete Seeger Does Not Testify, Pete Seeger Does Not Testify, Pete Seeger Does Not Testify, 

November 16

November 16

US Labor History

No More Mailing Children

November 16, 1916,: to the huge relief of Post Office Department employees, the service sets a limit of 200 pounds a day to be shipped by any one customer.  Builders were finding it cheaper to send supplies via post than via wagon freight. In one instance, 80,000 bricks for a new bank were shipped parcel post from Salt Lake City to Vernal, Utah, 170 miles away.  The new directive also barred the shipment of humans: a child involved in a couple’s custody fight was shipped—for 17¢—from Stillwell to South Bend, Ind., in a crate labeled “live baby”

NFL Strike Ends

November 16, 1982, the National Football League Players Association ended a 57-day strike that shortened the season to nine games. The players wanted, but failed to win until many years later, a higher share of gross team revenues

Vietnam from Kennedy to Clinton

November 16
“President Kennedy has decided on the measures that the United States is prepared to take to strengthen South Vietnam against attack by Communists.”
November 16, 1961, Vietnam: President Kennedy decided to increase military aid to South Vietnam without committing U.S. combat troops. (click >>> NYT Article)

President Clinton, Vietnam

November 16

November 16, 2000, Vietnam: Bill Clinton became the first sitting U.S. President to visit Vietnam.  (click >>> Vietnam)

November 16

November 16, 1938: Albert Hofmann, a chemist working for Sandoz Pharmaceutical in Basel, Switzerland, was the first to synthesize LSD-25. He discovered LSD, a semi-synthetic derivative of ergot alkaloids, while looking for a blood stimulant.
November 16, 1945, The Red Scare and the Cold War:  in a move that stirred up some controversy, the US shipped 88 German scientists to America to assist the nation in its production of rocket technology. Most of the men had served under the Nazi regime and critics questioned the morality of placing them in the service of America. Nevertheless, the U.S. government, desperate to acquire the scientific know-how that had produced the terrifying and destructive V-1 and V-2 rockets for Germany during WWII, and fearful that the Russians were also utilizing captured German scientists for the same end, welcomed the men with open arms.
November 16
Susquehannock artifacts on display at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in 2007
November 16, 1990, Native Americans: The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act required federal agencies and institutions that receive federal funding to return Native American "cultural items" to lineal descendants and culturally affiliated Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations. Cultural items include human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony. A program of federal grants assists in the repatriation process and the Secretary of the Interior could assess civil penalties on museums that failed to comply.