Tag Archives: voting rights

Freedom Summer

Freedom Summer

Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee

On March 20, 1964 the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee [SNCC--"snick"] announced the “Freedom Summer” program that would train young people to go to Mississippi and help disenfranchised Blacks register to vote.
In 1962, less than 7% of eligible Black voters in Mississippi were registered to vote due to the many blatantly racist laws and customs that States had put into place and the Federal government had allowed.
It had only been on January 23, 1964, thirteen years after its proposal and nearly 2 years after its passage by the US Senate, that the 24th Amendment to the United States Constitution, prohibiting the use of poll taxes in national elections, was ratified. The huge gap was that the amendment appilied to national, not local, elections.

Civil Rights bill

A Civil Rights bill languished in Congress due to an 83-day filibuster by southern Senators until June 10, 1964 when  the Senate voted to limit further debate. On June 19 the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was approved. Voting for the bill were 46 Democrats and 27 Republicans. Voting against it were 21 Democrats and six Republicans. Except for Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, all the Democratic votes against the bill came from Southerners. Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona voted against the bill, as he said he would. The five other Republicans opposing it all supported  Goldwater's candidacy for the 1964 Republican Presidential nomination.

Andrew Goodman

The next day, June 20, 1964, the  first “Freedom Summer” volunteers arrived in Mississippi. Andrew "Andy" Goodman, 20, from New York City, was one of them. The next morning he sent a postcard home:

Freedom Summer

Freedom Summer

That same day, Andrew along with James E. Chaney, 21, and Michael Schwerner, 24, went to investigate the burning of a black church.
Police arrested the three on speeding charges, incarcerated them for several hours, and then released them after dark into the hands of the Ku Klux Klan.
Two days later, the station wagon Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner were driving was found. Burned.

Other threats

Meanwhile, on June 24  thirty Freedom Summer workers from Greenville, Miss. made the first effort to register black voters in Drew, Miss., and local whites resisted with open hostility. Whites circled the workers in cars and trucks, some equipped with gun racks, making violent threats. One white man stopped his car and said, "I've got something here for you," flaunting his gun.
Despite an intensive search, the bodies of Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner were not found until August 4.

Freedom Schools

The Freedom Summer workers established 41 Freedom Schools attended by more than 3,000 young black students throughout the state. In addition to math, reading, and other traditional courses, students were also taught black history, the philosophy of the civil rights movement, and leadership skills that provided them with the intellectual and practical tools to carry on the struggle after the summer volunteers departed. 

But, voter registration was the cornerstone of the summer project. Although approximately 17,000 black residents of Mississippi attempted to register to vote in the summer of 1964, only 1,600 of the completed applications were accepted by local registrars.


Three years later, on October 20, 1967 an all-white jury convicted seven conspirators related to the murders of Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner, including a deputy sheriff. The jury acquitted eight others. It was the first time a white jury had convicted a white official of civil rights killings. For three men, including Edgar Rice Killen, the trial ended in a hung jury, with the jurors deadlocked 11–1 in favor of conviction. The lone holdout said that she could not convict a preacher. The prosecution decided not to retry Killen and he was released.
None of the men found guilty would serve more than six years in prison.

November 15

November 15

November 15
Suffragists protest Woodrow Wilson’s suffragist policy

The Suffragists tortured…

and much more for 

November 15

Suffragists, The Suffragist

November 15
Rheta Louise Childe Dorr , first editor of the Suffragist newspaper.  In 1914 she told how she “…tried to get work on a newspaper, but they said I could only write such stuff as ‘Advice to the Lovelorn.’ I wouldn’t. Finally, in three years, I got a $25 a week job; and I never tot a raise in four years thereafter. That’s what I mean when I say women haven’t got the same right as men to work for promotion.”
November 15, 1913, Feminism & Voting Rights: first issue of The Suffragist published. Rheta Louise Childe Dorr was its first editor.

Suffragist Tortured, Night of Terror

November 15

November 15
Suffragists tortured: Lucy Burns pictured outside the cell she was tortured in. Burns, co-founded the Congressional Union and the National Woman’s Party (NWP) with Alice Paul, and led the militant wing of American suffrage. A brilliant scholar at Vassar and at the University of Berlin, visits to Britain imbued her with a passion for the vote. She was a paid organizer for the militant British movement, was jailed, hunger struck, and force-fed. Meeting Alice Paul, Burns returned with her to the U. S. to set up an organization to work solely for a constitutional amendment for the vote.)
November 15, 1917, Feminism & Voting Rights:  “Night of Terror” pickets (arrested Nov.10) transferred to Occoquan Workhouse, where Superintendent Raymond Whittaker, just back from White House meeting of district commissioners, set in motion a brutal reception for newly arrived prisoners. Whittaker summarily dismissed demands for political prisoner status and watched guards hurl Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smash her head against an iron bed, and knock her. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head, and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air. Julia Emory showed support and sympathy by assuming same position. The next day, 16 women went on hunger strike. Click for a complete accounting of the event and afterward from a University of San Francisco site >>> the full story)

The Cold War, Nikita Khrushchev

November 15
from NYT headline: “Nikita S. Khrushchev today asserted Soviet superiority in the field of missiles and challenged the United States to a rocket-range ‘shooting match.'”
November 15, 1957, the Cold War: in a long and rambling interview with an American reporter, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev claims that the Soviet Union has missile superiority over the United States and challenges America to a missile "shooting match" to prove his assertion. The interview further fueled fears in the United States that the nation was falling perilously behind the Soviets in the arms race. (click for full NYT article re challenge >>> Khruschev challenges)

Vietnam, Brown University

November 15
President Johnson with Gen. Earle Wheeler in the center. From the NYT: A dozen students clashed with policemen tonight in a Pembroke College auditorium after a speech on Vietnam by Gen. Earle G. Wheeler, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
November 15, 1966, Vietnam:, Gen. Earle Wheeler, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressed a gathering at Brown University and approximately 60 students walk out to protest his defense of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Some of those who remained shouted and heckled Wheeler, while others attempted to storm the stage. Outside, over 100 students continued the protest. (click >>> Wheeler article)

March for Peace in Washington, DC

November 15
From the NYT article: “A vast throng of Americans, predominantly youthful and constituting the largest mass march in the nation’s capital, demonstrated peacefully in the heart of the city today, demanding a rapid withdrawal of United States troops from Vietnam.”
November 15, 1969, Vietnam:  250,000 people marched for peace in Washington, DC . It was the largest antiwar rally in U.S. history. Some of the speakers: McCarthy, McGovern, Coretta King, Dick Gregory, Leonard Bernstein. Singers: Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul, & Mary, John Denver, Mitch Miller, touring cast of Hair . (click >>> full NYT article)

Native Americans, The Code Talkers

November 15
Navajo Code Talkers stand and salute as the colors are posted during Code Talkers Day event in Window Rock, Ariz., Aug. 14. Photo courtesy of Morris Bitsie
November 15
Chester Nez and other members of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers receive Congressional Gold Medals in appreciation for their dedicated and exceptional service during World War II
November 15, 2008: The Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008 was signed into law by President George W. Bush, which recognized every Native American code talker who served in the US military during WWI or WWII with a Congressional Gold Medal for his tribe (to be retained by the Smithsonian Institution), and a silver medal duplicate to each code talker.

Black History, Jimmie Lee Jackson

November 15
Jimmie Lee Jackson (December 16, 1938 – February 26, 1965) was a civil rights activist in Marion, Alabama, and a deacon in the Baptist church. On February 18, 1965, while participating in a peaceful voting rights march in his city, he was beaten by troopers and shot by Alabama State Trooper James Bonard Fowler.
On February 18, 1965, during a protest near the Perry County Jail in Perry, Alabama, twenty-six-year-old Jimmie Lee Jackson, his mother Viola Jackson, and his 82-year-old grandfather, Cager Lee, ran into a cafe pursued by Alabama State Troopers. Police clubbed Cager Lee to the floor in the kitchen. His daughter Viola attempted to pull the police off, she was also beaten. When Jimmie Lee attempted to protect his mother, one trooper threw him against a cigarette machine. A second trooper shot Jimmie Lee twice in the abdomen. Jimmie Lee Jackson died 8 days later.  A grand jury will not indict James Fowler, the trooper who shot Jackson, but on May 10, 2007, 42 years after the homicide, an Alabama grand jury did indict the former state trooper for the February 18, 1965 murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson. On this date, November 15, 2010, : James Fowler apologized for his shooting of Jimmie Lee Jackson, but insisted that he had acted in self-defense, believing that Mr. Jackson was trying to grab his gun. Fowler was sentenced to six months in prison. Perry County commissioner, Albert Turner Jr, called the agreement “a slap in the face of the people of this county.” Fowler served 5 of the 6 months.

Occupy Wall Street, Zuccotti Park

November 15, 2011, day 60 of Occupy Wall Street. NYPD began to clear Zuccotti Park. Mayor Bloomberg released the following statement: “At one o’clock this morning, the New York City Police Department and the owners of Zuccotti Park notified protestors in the park that they had to immediately remove tents, sleeping bags and other belongings, and must follow the park rules if they wished to continue to use it to protest. Many protestors peacefully complied and left. At Brookfield’s request, members of the NYPD and Sanitation Department assisted in removing any remaining tents and sleeping bags. This action was taken at this time of day to reduce the risk of confrontation in the park, and to minimize disruption to the surrounding neighborhood.” (click >>> NYT article)

LGBT, Gay marriage

November 15, 2013, LGBT: Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed legislation into law, making Hawaii the 15th state to legalize gay marriage. (click >>> NYT article)

November 14

November 14

National Women’s Trade Union League

November 14

November 14, 1903:  at the AFL convention in Boston, women unionists united to form the National Women's Trade Union League and elect Mary Morton Kehew president and Jane Addams vice-president. The National Women's Trade Union League (WTUL) was established to advocate for improved wages and working conditions for women.

Yale University admits women

November 14
Amy Solomon ’73 (center) was the first woman to register as a student in Yale College.
November 14, 1968:  Yale University announced would admit admit women. From the New York Times, "For the first time in its 265-year history Yale University will admit undergraduate women next fall to "enhance its contribution to the generations ahead." (click >>> Yale to admit women)

Nancy Pelosi minority whip

November 14

November 14, 2002, Feminist Steps: minority whip since 2001, Californian Nancy Pelosi became the first woman elected as Democratic Minority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The NY Times article began: House Democrats turned to Representative Nancy Pelosi of California today to try to reverse their political fortunes, electing her their leader. She becomes the first woman to head a party in either house of Congress. (click for the rest of the article >>> Pelosi chosen)

BLACK HISTORY, Voting Rights

November 14

November 14, 1960, BLACK HISTORY & Voting Rights: in Gomillion v. Lightfoot, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a redistricting plan enacted by the Alabama legislature, which redrew the boundaries of the City of Tuskegee. The court found that the plan -- which changed the city's shape from a square to a 28-sided border violated the 15th Amendment to the Constitution and was done expressly to exclude black voters from city elections.

Black History, School Desegregation

November 14

November 14, 1960: 6-year-old Ruby Bridges became the first black child to attend an all-white school in New Orleans.  Bridges was in first-grade when she started attending William Frantz Elementary School as the court-ordered integration of public schools began in New Orleans. Some in the crowd carried a black doll in a baby's casket. Federal marshell Charles Burks and three other marshals escorted the Bridges to and from school for several weeks before local police took over that duty. Eventually the crowds dispersed and she no longer needed protection. Normal Rockwell's cover depicting Ruby Bridges first day at an all-white school.
In 1963 Norman Rockwell depicted a young black girl carrying textbooks and a ruler being led by marshals past a wall marred by a splattered tomato and a scrawled racial epithet.

Black history, Miscegenation

On April 18, 1946, : a thirty-two-year-old Navy veteran named Davis Knight married Junie Lee Spradley, a white woman. In June 1948, the state of Mississippi indicted Mr. Knight for violating a law that prohibited “marriage or cohabitation between white persons and those with one-eighth or more Negro or Mongolian blood.” At trial, Mr. Knight insisted that he was white: his wife believed him to be white and his Navy service records listed him as white. Mississippi set out to prove he was black.

                The whole case turned on the race of Mr. Knight’s deceased great-grandmother, Rachel; if she was black, Mr. Knight was at least one-eighth black and guilty of the charge. As evidence of Rachel’s race, the State presented several elderly witnesses, including an eighty-nine-year-old white man who testified that Rachel had lived on his father’s plantation and was a “known Negro.”

On December 18, 1948 Mississippi convicted Knight of miscegenation and sentenced him to five years in prison for marrying outside of his race. Knight appealed. 

On November 14, 1949 the  Mississippi State Supreme Court  reversed Knight’s conviction. The Court held that, in Mr. Knight’s particular case, the State had failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove that his grandmother Rachel was fully black, so it had not proved that Mr. Knight was at least one-eighth black.

                Though the decision did not strike down the state’s miscegenation law, or prevent future prosecutions of others, many white Mississippians protested the decision, hanging members of the court in effigy. The state’s ban on interracial marriage would stand for nearly two more decades, until the United States Supreme Court’s 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia struck down remaining anti-miscegenation laws in Mississippi and seventeen other states. 


November 14, 1965: the Battle of Ia Drang Valley was the first major battle between regular U.S. and People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) troops. The two-part battle occurred at landing zones X-Ray and Albany in Ia Drang Valley, Central Highlands of South Vietnam. Despite heavy casualties on both sides, both claimed the battle was a victory. The battle was considered essential as it set the blueprint for tactics for both sides. American troops continued to reply on air mobility and artillery fire, while the Viet Cong learned that by quickly engaging their combat forces close to the enemy, they could neutralize American advantages

Space Race, Apollo 12

November 14

November 14 - 24, 1969,  Space Race: Apollo 12 takes off.  Pete Conrad and Alan Bean will collect lunar samples, as well as parts of the unmanned Surveyor 3. From the New York Times, "Three American astronauts were ready tonight to embark tomorrow on man's second voyage to land on the moon, a trip aimed at a more thorough scientific investigation into the origin and nature of the earth's only natural satellite." (click >>> Apollo 12) [the audio clip is the Byrds song, Armstrong, Aldrin, & Collins. I know it's not for Apollo 12, but I like the song and...well...close enough.]

November 14

Iran hostage crisis

November 14, 1979: President Jimmy Carter issued Executive Order 12170, freezing all Iranian assets in the United States and U.S. banks in response to the hostage crisis.


November 14, 1985: lesbian and gay rights activists held a town hall meeting on this day in New York City. Two weeks later, GLAAD [Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation] was formed. GLAAD gave special focus to changing American culture regarding homosexuality. (see June 30, 1986)

                The GLAAD Mission Statement (in part): “GLAAD works with print, broadcast and online news sources to bring people powerful stories from the LGBTQ community that build support for equality. And when news outlets get it wrong, GLAAD is there to respond and advocate for fairness and accuracy.”

November 14, 2015: Catholic Bishops sided with those who conscientiously object to gay marriage and maintain their opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide. These pro-traditional marriage views were expressed during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' fall General Assembly meeting, the first meeting for the bishops since the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.
                Bishop Richard J. Malone of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth explained at the gathering in Baltimore what the Church intends to do in the wake of the landmark decision.

Stop and Frisk

November 14, 2013: New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman analyzed 150,000 arrests that resulted from 2.4 millions stops by the NYPD between 2009 and 2012. About half of the arrests lead to convictions and about a quarter lead to prison sentences, according to the report released. The other half were never prosecuted, dismissed or resulted in adjournments in contemplation of dismissal - a legal term for cases in which a judge allows a case to be dismissed after a probationary period of usually six months to a year. The report also said the stop-and-frisk arrests resulted in a 24 percent incarceration rate.

                The chief spokesman for the police, John McCarthy, called the analysis "flawed" and said it underestimated the value of the tactic.