October 20 Peace Love Art Activism

October 20 Peace Love Art Activism


Voting Rights

October 20, 1917: Alice Paul and three colleagues were arrested for picketing the White House on of women’s suffrage. Calling themselves “Silent Sentinels,” the purposefully went to the White House gates when staff were leaving work. A large crowd gathered, with some people cheering and other jeering. [CNN article] (see Oct 22)

October 20 Peace Love Art Activism


Virginia Legalizes murder

October 20, 1669: the Virginia Colonial Assembly enacted a law that removed criminal penalties for enslavers who killed enslaved people resisting authority. The assembly justified the law on the grounds that “the obstinacy of many [enslaved people] cannot be suppressed by other than violent means.” The law provided that an enslaver’s killing of an enslaved person could not constitute murder because the “premeditated malice” element of murder could not be formed against one’s own property.  [EJI article] (next BH, see Oct 29; next SR, see February 28, 1708; see SR for expanded chronology of slave revolts)

Dyer anti-lynching bill

October 20, 1921: the House Judiciary Committee favorably reported the Dyer anti-lynching bill, imposing heavy penalties on persons involved in mob action resulting in the taking of life. (next BH, see Nov 30 ; see Dyer for expanded story; next Lynching, see Nov 30 or see AL3 for expanded chronology)


October 20, 1933: The cases were removed from Judge Horton’s jurisdiction and transferred to Judge William Callahan’s court. (SB, see Scottsboro travesty)

“Durham Manifesto”

October 20, 1942: sixty leading Southern Blacks issued “Durham Manifesto” calling for fundamental changes in race relations after a Durham, North Carolina, meeting. (listen NC Museum of History) (see Dec 4)

Tallahassee bus boycott

October 20, 1956: modeled after the Montgomery bus boycott, the Tallahassee bus boycott had begun after a May 17, 1956 incident in which two Florida A&M students were arrested for sitting in the white section of a city bus. Because the city’s buses were primarily patronized by African American residents, the boycott left the vehicles nearly empty. In July 1956, city officials were forced to suspend bus service due to lost revenue. The bus company resumed services in August following an initiative led by the Junior Chamber of Commerce to get more white residents to ride the buses but the boycott continued. The Tallahassee Inter-Civic Council (ICC) led the boycott and organized a carpool to serve as alternative transportation.

In October 1956, 21 carpool drivers, including nine people who comprised the ICC’s executive committee, were arrested for not having “for hire” tags on their vehicles. On October 20, 1956, following a three-and-a-half-day trial, all 21 drivers were convicted. City Judge John Rudd sentenced them to pay a $500 fine or spend 60 days in jail, in addition to a suspended 60-day jail term and one year on probation.

Faced with this legal harassment, the ICC voted to end the carpool two days later. The boycott continued until December, however, ending only after federal courts ruled bus segregation unconstitutional. On January 7, 1957, the Tallahassee City Commission repealed the city’s bus segregation law. [Florida Memory dot com article] (see Nov 13)

Charles Mingus

October 20 Peace Love Art Activism

October 20, 1960: Charles Mingus recorded “Fables of Faubus” with lyrics for his Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus album for release on independent label after Columbia Records had refused to release it with lyrics.  The song was written as a direct protest against Arkansas governor Orval E. Faubus  who in 1957 had sent out the National Guard to prevent the integration of Little Rock Central High School by nine African American teenagers. (see Oct 25)


Oh, Lord, don’t let ’em shoot us!

Oh, Lord, don’t let ’em stab us!

Oh, Lord, don’t let ’em tar and feather us!

Oh, Lord, no more swastikas!

Oh, Lord, no more Ku Klux Klan!

 Name me someone who’s ridiculous, Dannie.

Governor Faubus!

Why is he so sick and ridiculous?

He won’t permit integrated schools.

Then he’s a fool! Boo! Nazi Fascist supremists!

Boo! Ku Klux Klan (with your Jim Crow plan)

 Name me a handful that’s ridiculous, Dannie Richmond.

Faubus, Rockefeller, Eisenhower

Why are they so sick and ridiculous?

 Two, four, six, eight:

They brainwash and teach you hate.

H-E-L-L-O, Hello.

March to Montgomery

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.” (NYT article) (see Liuzzo for expanded story)

Murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner

October 20, 1967: an all-white jury convicted seven conspirators, including the deputy sheriff, and acquitted eight others. It was the first time a white jury 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. (BH, see Oct 28; see Murders for expanded story)


October 20, 2014: Officer Jason Van Dyke followed in his car 17-year-old Laquan McDonald before shooting him 16 times in the middle of Pulaski Road on the Southwest Side. It will be more than a year before the video of the incident is released. [Chicago Tribune article] (B & S, see Nov 20; Van Dyke, see November 19, 2015)

October 20 Peace Love Art Activism

The Red Scare

October 20, 1947: the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) on this day opened its famous hearings into alleged Communist influence in Hollywood. The hearings began with a series of “friendly” witnesses who argued that there was Communist influence. The “friendly” witnesses included President of Screen Actors Guild and future U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who testified on October 23, 1947. Ayn Rand testified regarding the pro-communist slant of the film Song of Russia. (see Oct 23)

October 20 Peace Love Art Activism

see October 20 Music et al for more

“Monster Mash”

October 20 – November 2, 1962: “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers #1 Billboard Hot 100.

Peter, Paul, and Mary

October 20 – November 30, 1962: Peter, Paul, and Mary’s Peter, Paul, and Mary is Billboard’s #1 album.

Ken Kesey

October 20 Peace Love Activism

October 20, 1966: Ken Kesey arrested. (NYT article) (see Oct 31)

October 20 Peace Love Art ActivismOctober 20, 1969: John Lennon and Yoko Ono released their third album, Wedding Album.

According to Lennon, It was like our sharing our wedding with whoever wanted to share it with us. We didn’t expect a hit record out of it. It was more of a… that’s why we called it Wedding Album. You know, people make a wedding album, show it to the relatives when they come round. Well, our relatives are the… what you call fans, or people that follow us outside. So that was our way of letting them join in on the wedding.”

Wedding Album commemorated their wedding in Gibraltar on 20 March 1969. Although it was the final installment in their trilogy of avant garde and experimental recordings, the couple continued to document their lives on tape until Lennon’s death in 1980. [Beatles Bible article] (see Nov 1)

John & Yoko

October 20, 1973: John Lennon filed suit asking the court to force the Immigration and Naturalization Service to produce the records under which deportation decisions were made. [NYT article] (see Oct 29)

Mark David Chapman

October 20, 1980: Mark David Chapman quit his security job and signed out for the last time. Instead of the usual “Chappy” he wrote “John Lennon”.

Chapman murdered Lennon on December 8. (see Nov 17)

October 20 Peace Love Art Activism


Benjamin Spock

October 20 Peace Love Art Activism

October 20, 1967: Dr Benjamin Spock turned in a briefcase full of what he said were draft cards to officials at the Justice Department building here and later accused one of them of being “derelict in his duty” for not having arrested him. He said he wanted to be arrested in order to precipitate a “moral, legal confrontation” with the Government over the draft. Justice Department officials said later that the briefcase had contained draft cards and other matter. (Vietnam, see Oct 21 -22; DCB, see January 5, 1968)

October 20 Peace Love Art Activism

Watergate Scandal

October 20, 1973: “Saturday Night Massacre”. Solicitor General Robert Bork fired Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox at the direction of President Richard Nixon after Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Assistant Attorney General Ruckelshaus had refused and resigned. (see Watergate for expanded story)

October 20 Peace Love Art Activism

Iran hostage crisis

October 20, 1979: the U.S. government allowed the deposed Shah of Iran to travel to New York for medical treatment. [NYT article] (see Nov 4)

October 20 Peace Love Art Activism

US Labor History

October 20, 1980: Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan wrote to PATCO President Robert Poli with this promise: if the union endorsed Reagan, “I will take whatever steps are necessary to provide our air traffic controllers with the most modern equipment available and to adjust staff levels and work days so that they are commensurate with achieving a maximum degree of public safety.” He got the endorsement. Nine months after the election (see August 5, 1981) he fired the air traffic controllers for engaging in an illegal walkout over staffing levels and working conditions. (see June 12, 1981)

Weather Underground

October 20, 1981: the 1981 Brink’s robbery was an armed robbery and three related murders committed by several Black Liberation Army members and four former members of the Weather Underground, now associated with the May 19th Communist Organization. The plan called for the BLA members to carry out the robbery, with the M19CO members — David GilbertJudith Alice ClarkKathy Boudin, and Marilyn Buck — to serve as getaway drivers in switchcars.

The conspirators stole $1.6 million in cash from a Brink’s armored car at the Nanuet Mall, in Nanuet, New York, killing a Brink’s guard, Peter Paige, seriously wounding Brink’s guard Joseph Trombino, slightly wounding Brink’s truck driver guard, James Kelly, subsequently killing two Nyack police officers, Edward O’Grady and Waverly Brown, and seriously wounding Police Detective Artie Keenan. [Wikipedia article] (next WU, see )


October 20, 2000: Robert D Ray (see August 28, 1987) died. (next AIDS related entry, see July 7 > 12, 2002)


October 20, 2010: Barack Obama’s administration announced it would also appeal the judge’s ruling on the constitutionally of Don’t ask, don’t tell even though Obama announced earlier in the year that he wished to end the policy. (see Nov 1)

Nuclear/Chemical News

October 20, 2018: President Trump said he would pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia. The treaty limited the number of missiles in each country.

Trump said Moscow had violated Treaty and he would halt the agreement.

Trump said the U.S. would pull out “and then we are going to develop the weapons” unless Russia and China agree to a new deal, though China isn’t currently a party of the agreement.

“Russia has violated the agreement. They have been violating it for many years,” the president said. “And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to.” [USA Today article] (see Nov 1)


October 20, 2020: NASA’s OSIRIS-REX spacecraft touched the surface of an asteroid  200 million miles away to gather a sample of rocks and dirt. The operation proceeded smoothly. The sampling mechanism set down partly on a rock about 8 inches wide. [NYT article] (next Space, see Oct 23; asteroid, see September 24, 2023)

October 20 Peace Love Art Activism

Fair Housing

October 20, 2022: three real estate companies operating in Washington, DC, were ordered to pay record-breaking penalties in a suit brought by the city for illegally discriminating against tenants who use Section 8 vouchers and other forms of housing assistance.

The attorney general for the District of Columbia, Karl Racine, announced a settlement for $10 million. While fair housing cases involving lenders have resulted in larger compensation payouts, $10 million was the largest civil penalty ever levied in a housing discrimination case. [Bloomberg article] (next FH, see January 20, 2023)

October 20 Peace Love Art Activism

Women’s Health

October 20, 2022:  in a move that cames as many states had rolled back access to abortion since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Pentagon announced that it would pay for service members to travel for such care.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin directed the department in a memo  to adopt a suite of reproductive health care policies in response to the Supreme Court’s June decision to end the federal right to abortion.

“The practical effect of the recent changes was that service members may be forced to travel greater distances, take more time off work and pay more out-of-pocket expenses to access reproductive health care, all of which have readiness, recruiting and retention implications for America’s armed forces,” said Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesperson, speaking to reporters  [NPR article] (next WH, see Oct 21)

October 20 Peace Love Art Activism

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