February 18 Peace Love Art Activism

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism



February 18, 1688:  in response to fellow Quaker families in Germantown, Pennsylvania, who had decided to practice slavery, members of the Society drafted the first protest against slavery in the new world.

Slave Revolt

In 1709  a plot involving enslaved Indians as well as Africans spread through at least three Virginia counties—James City, Surry, and Isle of Wight. Of the four ringleaders, Scipio, Salvadore, Tom Shaw, and Peter, all but Peter were quickly jailed. [newafrikan77 article] (see April 20 (Easter), 1710)

In Dahomey

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism

February 18, 1903: In Dahomey, the first full-length musical written and performed by African Americans appeared on Broadway. It featured music by Will Marion Cook, book by Jesse A. Shipp, and lyrics by poet Paul Laurence Dunbar.The play ran for 53 performances. (Curtain Up article) (see Apr 15)

Wilson Watches KKK in White House

February 18, 1915: President Woodrow Wilson had never seen a motion picture until he was offered a chance to see Birth of a Nation in the White House on this day. He had known the author of the book (The Clansman) and play, Thomas Dixon, Jr., in graduate school at Johns Hopkins. The film was also the first motion picture to be shown at the White House. Directed by D. W. Griffith, Birth of a Nation is one of the most important and controversial films in the history of motion pictures. It presented the Southern view of post-Civil War Reconstruction (1865–1877), with racist stereotypes of African-Americans, played by white actors with painted faces, and also presented a heroic view of Ku Klux Klan. Birth of a Nation is famous and influential in the history of motion pictures for its bold and innovative cinematographic techniques.

President Wilson reportedly enjoyed the movie. Born in Virginia, he was sympathetic to the Southern view of Reconstruction. In his own five-volume History of the American People, written before he entered politics, Wilson embraced a similar view of Reconstruction, with a critical view of African-Americans and favorable view of the KKK.

Wilson is often quoted as having said that the movie is “Like writing history with lightening,” but there is no evidence that he actually said that. It is generally assumed that the producers of the film invented the quote to promote the film. (next BH, see Apr 17; Birth, see December 8, 1922)

Fred D. Gray

February 18, 1956:  a Montgomery, AL grand jury charged Fred D Gray, the lawyer for Jeanette Reese,  with “unlawful appearance as an attorney” for representing  Reese after she had withdrawn from the suit. (2017 Case Western PDF “In Honor of Fred Gray”) (see MBB for expanded chronology)

Jimmie Lee Jackson 

February 18, 1965: the Rev James Orange had been arrested and jailed in Perry County, Alabama on charges of disorderly conduct and contributing to the delinquency of minors for enlisting students to aid in voting rights drives. On the night of February 18, around 500 people left Zion United Methodist Church in Marion and attempted a peaceful walk to the Perry County Jail about a half a block away where Orange was being held. The marchers planned to sing hymns and return to the church.

The marchers were met at the Post Office by a line of Marion City police officers, sheriff’s deputies, and Alabama State Troopers. In the standoff, streetlights were abruptly turned off and the police began to beat the protestors. Among those beaten were two United Press International photographers, whose cameras were smashed, and NBC News correspondent Richard Valeriani, who was beaten so badly that he was hospitalized. The marchers turned and scattered back towards the church.

Twenty-six-year-old Jimmie Lee Jackson, his mother Viola Jackson, and his 82-year-old grandfather, Cager Lee, ran into Mack’s Café behind the church, pursued by Alabama State Troopers. Police clubbed Cager Lee to the floor in the kitchen. The police continued to beat the cowering octogenarian Lee, and when 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. James Bonard Fowler later admitted to being that trooper. Although shot twice, Jimmie Lee fled the café amid additional blows from police clubs and collapsed in front of the bus station. Jackson made a statement to a lawyer, Oscar Adams of Birmingham in the presence of FBI officials stating he was “clubbed down” by State Troopers after he was shot and had run away from the café. (BH, see Feb 21; see Jackson for expanded story)

Emmett Till

February 18, 2013: Epic Records Chairman Antonio “L.A.” Reid apologized to the family of slain civil rights figure Emmett Till, and said tht his label is working to remove from circulation a remix of the track “Karate Chop” by Atlanta rapper Future that included a vulgar sexual reference by fellow rapper Lil Wayne invoking Till’s name. “Just ended a conversation with L.A. Reid, CEO of Epic,” reads a recent post on the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation Facebook page. Mobley was Till’s mother. (BH, see April 5; see Till for expanded story)

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism

Cultural Milestones

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism

February 18, 1885: Mark Twain published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Even in 1885, two decades after the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn landed was controversial. A month after its publication, a Concord, Massachusetts, library banned the book, calling its subject matter “tawdry” and its narrative voice “coarse” and “ignorant.” Other libraries followed suit, beginning a controversy that continued long after Twain’s death in 1910.

In the 1950s, the book came under fire from African-American groups for being racist in its portrayal of black characters, despite the fact that it was seen by many as a strong criticism of racism and slavery. In 1998, an Arizona parent sued her school district, claiming that making Twain’s novel required high school reading made already existing racial tensions even worse. (see March 29, 1886)

First Academy Awards

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism

February 18, 1929: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences telegramed the winners of the first Academy Awards. The first award recipients’ names were printed on the back page of the academy’s newsletter. A few days later, Variety published the information–on page seven.  The awards ceremony was on May 16 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. (see April 6, 1930)

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism
US Labor History
Screen Actors Guild

February 18, 1953: the Screen Actors Guild’s first-ever strike – which began over filmed television commercials – ended when a contract was reached that covered all work in commercials. An actual ceremony was held three months later on May 16. (2016 Telegraphy article) (see Nov 30)

Yablonskis murder trial

February 18, 1978: for a second time, a jury found W.A. Boyle guilty of first-degree murder in the the Joseph Yablonski, his wife, and their daughter. (LH, see Apr 25; Yablonski, see July 8, 1982)

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism

Cold War

Arthur Miller

February 18, 1957: a Federal grand jury indicted Arthur Miller, playwright, on charges of contempt of Congress. He had refused to name names before the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

The same jury returned a similar indictment against Otto Nathan, an associate professor at New York University and executor of the estate of Dr. Albert Einstein.

Miller was a witness in June 1956 before the House committee. He testified then that he had never been a Communist, but he acknowledged that he had been associated in the past with a number of Communist-front groups. He testified he was present at five or six meetings of Communist authors in New York in 1947.

Miller told the committee he “would not support now a cause dominated by Communists,” but he added, “my conscience will not permit me to use the name of another person and bring trouble to him.”

The two questions he was charged with unlawfully refusing to answer were:

  1. “Can you tell us who was there when you walked into the room?”
  2. “Was Arnaud d’Usseau chairman of this meeting of Communist party writers which took place in 1947 at which you were in attendance?” (NYT article) (see Feb 24)
Bertrand Russell

February 18, 1961: Bertrand Russell, 89, lead March of 20,000 & sit-down of 5,000 anti-nuke demonstration outside U.K. Defense Ministry. He was jailed for 7 days. (see “in March”)

United States embargo

February 18, 1964: the United States cut off military assistance to Britain, France, and Yugoslavia in retaliation for their continuing trade with the communist nation of Cuba. The action was chiefly symbolic, but represented the continued U.S. effort to destabilize the Cuban regime of Fidel Castro.

The amount of aid denied was minuscule–approximately $100,000 in assistance to each nation. None of the nations indicated that the aid cut-off would affect their trade with Cuba in the least. America’s decision to terminate the trade, therefore, hardly had a decisive effect. Many commentators at the time concluded that the U.S. action was largely a result of frustration at not being able to bring down the Castro government. (2016 Politico article) (see May 19)

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism


Robert F. Kennedy

February 18, 1962: while in Saigon, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy said: “We are going to win in Vietnam. We will remain here until we do win.When asked whether the US was involved in a “war,” Kennedy said, “We are involved in a struggle.” When asked to clarify the difference, he said, “It is a legal difference. Perhaps it adds up to the same thing. It is a struggle short of war.” Kennedy added,  “I think the American people understand and fully support this struggle.” (see Feb 21)

Bombing North Vietnam

February 18, 1965: the US State Department sent secret cables to U.S. ambassadors in nine friendly nations advising of forthcoming bombing operations over North Vietnam, and instructed them to inform their host governments “in strictest confidence” and to report reactions. President Lyndon Johnson wanted these governments to be aware of what he was planning to do in the upcoming bombing campaign.

Johnson made the controversial decision to undertake the sustained bombing of North Vietnam because of the deteriorating military conditions in South Vietnam. Earlier in the month, he had ordered Operation Flaming Dart in response to communist attacks on U.S. installations in South Vietnam. It was hoped that these retaliatory raids would cause the North Vietnamese to cease support of Viet Cong forces in South Vietnam, but they did not have the desired effect. Out of frustration, Johnson turned to a more extensive use of air power. (see Feb 19)

All-time High

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism

February 18, 1968: American officials in Saigon reported an all-time high weekly rate of U.S. casualties–543 killed in action and 2,547 wounded in the previous seven days. These losses were a result of the heavy fighting during the Tet Offensive. (see Feb 20)


February 18, 1969: Howard University students seized Administration Building and boycotted classes (Washington, DC). (Vietnam, see Feb 22; SA see Feb 24)

Chicago 8

February 18, 1970: all Chicago Seven defendants were found not guilty of conspiracy. Two (Froines and Weiner) were acquitted completely, while the remaining five were convicted of crossing state lines with the intent to incite a riot, a crime instituted by the anti-riot provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. (2000 Jurist article) (see Feb 20)

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism


February 18, 1965: Gambia independent from United Kingdom.  (Access Gambia article on Gambia) (see ID for more 1960s’ Independence Days)

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism

Nuclear/Chemical Weapons News

Bomb Shelters

February 18, 1965: Sect. of Defense Robert McNamara called for nationwide network of bomb shelters. (see January 17, 1966)

J Robert Oppenheimer

February 18, 1967: J Robert Oppenheimer, the nuclear physicist who headed the United States’ development of the first atomic bomb, died. [NYT obit] (next N/C N, see May 19)

Sister Megan Rice

February 18, 2014: Judge Amul Thapar of Federal District Court sentenced an 84-year-old Sister Megan Rice, to 35 months in prison for breaking into a facility where enriched uranium for nuclear bombs is stored. Thapar sentenced Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, the other two others who took part, to 62 months. “Her crimes are minimal in comparison to the others,” the judge said. The three admitted to spray painting peace slogans and hammering on exterior walls of the facility. When a guard confronted them, they offered him food and began singing. The complex is the primary American site for processing and storage of enriched uranium. (Nuclear, see Oct 26; Rice, see May 8, 2015)


February 18, 2021: Biden administration said that the US was willing to sit down for talks with Tehran and other signatories to the Iran nuclear deal, before either side has taken any tangible action to salvage or return to compliance with the agreement.

The United States would accept an invitation from the European Union High Representative to attend a meeting of the P5+1 [the permanent members of the UN Security Council — China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States — and Germany] and Iran to discuss a diplomatic way forward on Iran’s nuclear program,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement. [CNN article] (next N/C N and Iran, see  Apr 2)

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism

February 18 Music et al

February 18 – March 3, 1967: “Kind of a Drag” by the Buckinghams #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism


February 18, 1972: the California Supreme Court abolished the death penalty (People v Anderson). Charles Manson’s death penalty changed to life imprisonment. (DP, see June 29; CM, see September 5, 1975)

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism

Irish Troubles

February 18, 1996:  an IRA briefcase bomb in a bus kills the bomber and injures 9 in the West End of London. (BBC “On This Day” article) (see Troubles for expanded story)

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism


February 18, 1998: one of President Bill Clinton’s closest advisers, Bruce Lindsey, spent the day before the Whitewater grand jury. The hearing was stopped briefly when questions of executive privilege are raised. (see Clinton for expanded story)

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism

Iraq War II

February 18, 2007:  a Washington Post investigation revealed that returning soldiers faced deplorable conditions at Walter Reed’s outpatient center: The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses. [Washington Post article] (see Mar 27)

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism

War in  Afghanistan

February 18, 2009: President Obama ordered the deployment of 17,000 additional US troops to Afghanistan. [NYT article]

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism

Sexual Abuse of Children

Los Angeles Archdiocese

February 18, 2014: the Los Angeles Archdiocese settled what officials said was the last of its pending priest molestation lawsuits, bringing to a close a decade of wrenching abuse litigation that cost the Catholic Church more than $740 million.

The church reached the $13-million agreement with 17 victims last week, on the eve of a trial scheduled to begin February 14 over the alleged acts of Father Nicolas Aguilar-Rivera, a visiting cleric from Mexico who police believe molested more than two dozen boys over a mere nine months in 1987.

Eleven men, who were ages 7 to 12 when they were allegedly abused by the priest, were scheduled to appear in court to argue that Cardinal Roger M. Mahony and his aides had allowed the priest to flee in the days before police were notified. [LA Times article] (next SA of C, see Mar 17)

Boy Scouts Bankrupt

February 18, 2020: the NYT reported that The Boy Scouts of America  filed for bankruptcy protection succumbing to financial pressures that included a surge in legal costs over its handling of sexual abuse allegations.

The Boy Scouts had long maintained internal files at their headquarters in Texas detailing decades of allegations involving nearly 8,000 “perpetrators,” according to an expert hired by the organization. In recent months lawyers said that former scouts had come forward to identify hundreds of other abusers not included in those files.  (next BSA and SAofC see Nov 15)

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism

Women’s Health & Feminism

Norma McCorvey

February 18, 2017:  Norma McCorvey, the anonymous plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in the United States, reshaping the nation’s social and political landscapes, and inflaming one of the most divisive controversies of the past half-century, died on in Katy, Tex. She was 69. [NYT obit] (WH, Mar 6 see ; Feminism, see Mar 8)

South Carolina

February 18, 2021: South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster  signed the “South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act which would prohibit abortion as soon as cardiac activity can be detected with an ultrasound. The only exceptions would occur in cases of rape, incest or when a mother’s life is in danger.

That left a window of about five to six weeks to legally terminate a pregnancy, which was often before a patient is aware they’re pregnant. Doctors who performed the procedure after that time would face felony charges. [AP News article] (next WH, see Feb 19)

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism

Trump’s Wall

February 18, 2019: a coalition of 16 states challenged President Trump in court over his plan to use emergency powers to spend billions of dollars on his border wall.

The suit, filed in Federal District Court in San Francisco, argued that the president did not have the power to divert funds for constructing a wall along the Mexican border because it was Congress that controled spending. [Read the full lawsuit here.] (IH & TW, see Feb 26)

February 18 Peace Love Art Activism


February 18, 2021: the NASA Perseverance rover safely landed on Mars after its 292.5 million-mile journey from Earth, the agency confirmed at 3:55 p.m. ET Thursday. The rover landed itself flawlessly, according to the mission’s team.

“Percy,” as the spacecraft is affectionately called at mission control, sent back its first images of the landing site immediately after touchdown, which shows the rover’s shadow on the surface of its landing site of Jezero Crater.
A primary objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars was astrobiology research, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith, paving the way for human exploration of the Red Planet. [CNN article] (next Space, see Apr 19)
February 18 Peace Love Art Activism

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