May 11 Peace Love Art Activism

May 11 Peace Love Art Activism



May 11 Peace Love Activism

May 11, 1682: the Massachusetts General Court repealed two laws that had banned the celebration of Christmas and had authorized capital punishment for expelled Quakers returning to the colony. (History of Massachusetts  blog article) (DP, see June 10, 1692; Separation, see April 22, 1864)

May 11 Peace Love Art Activism


Leasing state convicts

After the Civil War, Georgia and other Southern states faced economic uncertainty. Dependent on enslaved black labor that was no longer available after emancipation and ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, Southern economies struggled to find a new solution. For many, leasing state convicts to labor for private businesses seemed the perfect answer.

Ratified in 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment prohibited involuntary servitude “except as punishment for crime” and seemingly permitted the forced labor of prisoners. At the same time, Southern prison populations had grown greatly following the Civil War, and that increase was disproportionately fueled by newly-emancipated black men and women incarcerated for violating discriminatory Black Codes that criminalized unemployment and vagrancy and severely punished even the most minor thefts.

On May 11, 1868, in the midst of Reconstruction, Georgia Provisional Governor Thomas Ruger leased 100 black prisoners to William A. Fort of the Georgia & Alabama Railroad for one year for $2500 under an agreement that made Mr. Fort responsible for their well-being. Sixteen prisoners died before the end of the contract. Undeterred, Georgia officials expanded the system the following year, leasing all 393 state prisoners to work on another railroad. Over the next several years, convict leasing in Georgia proved both deadly and profitable. The state legislature routinely turned a blind eye to reports of inhumane treatment and even murder and, in 1876, authorized the state to enter into long-term, twenty-year convict leasing contracts valued at $500,000. (BH, see July 9; C & P, see February 22, 1922)

KKK in Birmingham

May 11, 1963: Klansmen in Birmingham set off two bombs in an African-American neighborhood and rioting broke out, despite pleas by movement leaders for nonviolence. (see May 13)

Benjamin Brown

May 11, 1967: Benjamin Brown, a former civil rights organizer, was shot in the back in Jackson, Miss. He had walked with a friend into a café to pick up a sandwich to take home to his wife. On his way back, he encountered a standoff between law enforcement officers and students from Jackson St College, who had been hurling rocks and bottles at them. Brown was hit in the back by two shotgun blasts. No arrests were ever made. In 2001, a Hinds County grand jury reviewing the case blamed two deceased officers: Jackson police officer Buddy Kane and Mississippi Highway Patrolman Lloyd Jones. The Brown family filed a lawsuit, and the city of Jackson settled for $50,000. (Northeastern dot edu article) (see May 15)

Poor People’s Campaign

May 11, 1968: the Poor People’s Campaign arrived in Washington, D.C. A shantytown called “Resurrection City” was erected as a tribute to the slain Martin Luther King Jr. He had conceived the campaign, which was led by his successor at the head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Ralph David Abernathy. (Poor Peoples Campaign article) (see May 12)

Race Revolts
May 11, 1970

May 11 Peace Love Activism

  • Henry Marrow, a 23-year-old black Vietnam veteran, walked toward a white-owned store in Oxford, NC. Something Marrow said was interpreted as a slight to a young white woman. He was chased from the store by owner Robert Teel and his two sons, who beat and then fatally shot him. The events sparked a mass riot in the streets of Oxford by black residents that same night. After the three men were arrested, they were tried by an all-white jury and acquitted of all charges, despite the eyewitness accounts and inconsistent testimonies of the suspects. (NCDCR article)
  • in Augusta, Ga., a race riot after a prison killing of a mentally handicapped black teenager at the hands of prisoners. Black residents in the town frustrated by the treatment of police and the conditions of the jail marched through the town before it was a full-fledged riot. By the next day, six people were dead and more than 60 were injured after the melee. (Newscone article) (BH, see June 16, 1970; RR, see October 12, 1972)
James Byrd Jr

May 11, 2004: Joshua Lee Talley, 19 and John Matthew Fowler, 18, were arrested and charged with criminal mischief for desecrating James Byrd Jr.’s grave with racial slurs and profanities. (BH, see June 6; LBGTQ, see May 17Shepard & Byrd, see May 26, 2005; see S & B for more)

AZ  Bans Ethnic Studies

May 11, 2010: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law HB 2281, a legislative act designed to end Ethnic Studies classes in the state. This law banned schools from engaging with certain books written by authors of color and temporarily eliminated the Mexican American Studies program in Tucson schools, preventing hundreds of students from engaging with their history and culture within a school setting until it was  found unconstitutional in 2017. [EJI article] (next BH, see Sept 6)

BLACK & SHOT and Ahmaud Arbery

May 11, 2020: Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr named Joyette M. Holmes to oversee the case of Ahmaud Arbery

Holmes, comes from Cobb County in the Atlanta metropolitan area, where she was the first African-American to serve as district attorney. She was the fourth prosecutor assigned to lead a case that has bounced among district attorneys and law enforcement agencies. [NYT article] (next AA, see May 21 or see AA for expanded chronology)

May 11 Peace Love Art Activism

US Labor History

Eugene Victor Debs

May 11, 1894: led by Eugene Victor Debs of the American Railway Union, the future founder of the Socialist Party of America, workers at the Pullman factory begin a strike that leads to the death of 34 people after violence breaks out between workers and federal troops deployed by President Grover Cleveland. (ThoughtCo article) (Anarchism, see August 17, 1894; Labor, see June 26)

César E. Chávez

May 11 – June 4, 1972: Chávez fasted for 25 days in Phoenix over a just-passed Arizona law banning the right of farm workers to strike or boycott. (next Chavez, see June 1973)

May 11 Peace Love Art Activism

Environmental Issues

Dust storm


May 11, 1934: a massive storm sent millions of tons of topsoil flying from across the parched Great Plains region of the United States as far east as New York, Boston and Atlanta. (Finding Dulcinea article)(see April 14, 1935)


May 11, 1977: the U.S. announced a timetable for the phase out of the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in aerosol products.  By December 15, 1978, companies must stop using chlorofluorocarbons as propellants in aerosol products. (see January 29, 1978)

May 11 Peace Love Art Activism

Women’s Health

Dr John Rock

May 11 Peace Love Art Activism

May 11, 1960: the FDA approved Searle’s contraceptive pill, Enovid, the first drug approved in order to prevent a medical happening. In 1959, Searle had applied to license the “Pill” – an oral progestin – as a contraceptive. They chose Dr John Rock to present the findings of the experiences of 897 women before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Rock (1890-1984) was an American obstetrician and gynecologist who was an expert in human fertility, the requirement at the time was that a drug must be proven safe and not necessarily effective. However, the young reviewer, who was aware of the implications of the Pill, was thorough in his examination, requiring further lab tests before approval. By 1964 some four million women were on the pill.  (PBS American Experience article) (see “In December”)


Special Forces

May 11, 1961: President Kennedy approved sending 400 Special Forces troops and 100 other U.S. military advisers to South Vietnam. On the same day, he ordered the start of clandestine warfare against North Vietnam to be conducted by South Vietnamese agents under the direction and training of the CIA and U.S. Special Forces troops. Kennedy’s orders also called for South Vietnamese forces to infiltrate Laos to locate and disrupt communist bases and supply lines there. (see June 16)

May 11 Peace Love Art Activism

see May 11 Music et al for more

Canadian Beatles album

May 11, 1964: recorded in 1963, the Beatles  released The Beatles’ Long Tall Sally album in Canada on the Capital Canada label. It was the last time such a type of release was done. (see May 30 – June 5, 1964)

The Byrds

May 11, 1965: The Byrds made their TV debut with “Mr. Tambourine Man” on NBC’s “Hullabaloo.” (see June 16)

The Road to Bethel

May 11, 1970:  release of the triple soundtrack album ‘Woodstock’ in the US, going gold within two weeks. (see Road for expanded story)

John Lennon

May 11, 1972: John Lennon appeared on the ‘Dick Cavett Show’, claiming he was under surveillance from the FBI. (see May 17)

All Those Years Ago

May 11, 1989: the collaborative effort by the three remaining Beatles, All Those Years Ago, released. (see June 22)

May 11 Peace Love Art Activism


Gay entrapment

May 11, 1966: NYC Police Commissioner Howard Leary instructed policemen not to lure gays into breaking the law and to “make every effort” to find witnesses whenever an arrest occurs involving homosexual advances to a plainclothesman. (see “In August“)

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

May 11, 2017: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that it would pull an estimated 130,000-180,000 Mormon teenagers ages 14-18 from Boy Scouts starting next year. The Boy Scouts’ “Varsity” and “Venturing” programs for older teens had become difficult to implement within the religion, which opposed gay marriage and taught its members that being in a homosexual relationship is a sin. (LGBTQ, see June 23; BSA, see Oct 9)


May 11, 2018: Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a law that said no child-placement agency would be required to put children up for adoption or in foster care in situations that “violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.”

The governor said the law would not restrict the ability of LGBT people from getting a child through adoption or foster care, but critics disagreed. (see June 4)

May 11 Peace Love Art Activism

Daniel Ellsberg/Pentagon Papers

May 11, 1973: Judge Byrne granted a mistrial due to what he deemed to be serious government misconduct. All charges against Ellsberg and Russo dropped. (see Papers for expanded story)

May 11 Peace Love Art Activism

Nuclear/Chemical News

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

May 11, 1995: signatory nations agreed to extend the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) (see July 1, 1968) indefinitely. The NPT is an agreement signed by 189 countries to control the spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear technology based on the principles of disarmament, non-proliferation, and the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. The treaty was opened for signature in 1968 with a provision for review conferences every five years. During the 1995 review conference in New York City, member countries decided to keep the treaty open indefinitely. (UN article) (see September 24, 1996)


May 11, 1998: India conducted 3 underground nuclear tests in Pokhran, India. (see May 28)

May 11 Peace Love Art Activism

Crime and Punishment

May 11, 2017: Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors to pursue the toughest possible charges and sentences against crime suspects, reversing Obama administration efforts to ease penalties for some nonviolent drug violations.

In an eight-paragraph memo to the nation’s prosecutors, Mr. Sessions returned to the guidance of President George W. Bush’s administration by calling for more uniform punishments — including mandatory minimum sentences — and directing prosecutors to pursue the strictest possible charges. (NYT article) (see Aug 18)

May 11 Peace Love Art Activism

Voting Rights

May 11, 2017: President Trump signed an executive order aimed at investigating alleged vote fraud. The order established a commission to review alleged voter fraud and voter suppression throughout the American election system. Vice President Mike Pence headed the group, called the “Presidential Commission on Election Integrity.” Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach served as vice chair. The panel was tasked with studying “vulnerabilities” in the voting system, as well as potential impacts on “improper voting, fraudulent voter registrations, and fraudulent voting.” (NBC News article) (see May 22)

May 11 Peace Love Art Activism

May 11 Music et al

May 11 Music et al

Canadian Beatles album

May 11 Music et al

May 11, 1964: recorded in 1963, the Beatles  released The Beatles’ Long Tall Sally album in Canada on the Capital Canada label. It was the last time such a type of release was done.

Capital deleted the album in 1967 but reissued it in 1971 along with the two other unique Canadian Beatles albums in Capitol’s “6000 Series”.

See Wikipedia entry for more.

May 11 Music et al

The Byrds

May 11, 1965: The Byrds made their TV debut with “Mr. Tambourine Man” on NBC’s “Hullabaloo.” (see June 16)

May 11 Music et al

The Road to Bethel

May 11 Music et al

May 11, 1970:  release of the triple soundtrack album ‘Woodstock’ in the US, going gold within two weeks. Eddie Kramer was the sound engineer.

This album’s version of the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young performance of “Sea of Madness” was actually recorded a month after the festival, during a performance at the Fillmore East. The live Woodstock version can be found on the 2009 album Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm. (see February 9, 1973)

“Going up the Country” – Canned Heat

May 11 Music et al

John Lennon

May 11, 1972: John Lennon appeared on the ‘Dick Cavett Show.’ Lennon and Ono discussed their possible deportation that year due to Nixon’s displeasure at their anti-war activities. Lennon claimed that he was under surveillance from the FBI.

Slide up to the 30 minute mark to see them or watch the great show thru. (see May 17)

May 11 Music et al

All Those Years Ago

May 11, 1981: originally recorded by George Harrison in November 1980, after Lennon’s murder Harrison, Ringo, and Paul McCartney collaborated and re-released All Those Years Ago on this date.

Harrison originally released it as as single from his 1981 album Somewhere in England. The re-recording tailored the lyrics to serve as a personal tribute to Lennon.

Ringo played drums and McCartney overdubbed backing vocals. The song reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, (see June 22)


 I’m shouting all about love
While they treated you like a dog
When you were the one who had made it so clear
All those years ago

I’m talking all about how to give
They don’t act with much honesty
But you point the way to the truth when you say
All you need is love
Living with good and bad
I always looked up to you
Now we’re left cold and sad
By someone the devil’s best friend
Someone who offended all
We’re living in a bad dream
They’ve forgotten all about mankind
And you were the one they backed up to the wall
All those years ago
You were the one who imagined it all
 All those years ago

All those years ago
Deep in the darkest night
I send out a prayer to you
Now in the world of light
Where the spirit free of lies
And all else that we despised
They’ve forgotten all about God
He’s the only reason we exist
Yet you were the one that they said was so weird
All those years ago
You said it all though not many had ears
All those years ago
You had control of our smiles and our tears
All those years ago
All those years ago
All those years ago
All those years ago
May 11 Music et al

Daniel Ellsberg Pentagon Papers

Daniel Ellsberg Pentagon Papers

Daniel Ellsberg Pentagon Papers

The story of Daniel Ellsberg and his release of the so-called Pentagon Papers is one of the biggest stories of the tumultuous 1960s. Ellsberg was not an underground Wikileak hacker who surreptitiously acquired secret information and arranged for its release. He was a part of the process to begin with.

Here are highlights of his and those famous papers’ stories.

Academic Marine

Daniel Ellsberg graduated from Harvard University summa cum laude in 1952 and received a fellowship to study economics at Cambridge. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1954 and served as a platoon leader. After serving, he resumed his graduate studies at Harvard, where he earned his Ph.D.

Government and Vietnam

RAND Corporation [begun in 1948 and adapting its name  from a contraction of the term research and development], a California think-tank, hired him in 1959. He specialized in crisis decision-making and the command and control of nuclear weapons.

While at RAND, Ellsberg consulted with the Pentagon Under Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara during the Kennedy administration. Ellsberg visited South Vietnam with a research team to examine problems with non-nuclear, limited warfare.

Daniel Ellsberg Pentagon Papers

Daniel Ellsberg Pentagon Papers

Gulf of Tonkin “attack”

Ellsberg was working for the Defense Department as assistant to John McNaughton (assistant secretary of defense and a close adviser to McNamara) when on August 4, 1964 the  “second” Gulf of Tonkin incident occurred. It turned out that North Vietnamese “boats” were radar ghosts.” The validity of Johnson’s Gulf of Tonkin claim is later questioned. The claim will become one of presidential lies that led to U.S. escalation in Vietnam.

Daniel Ellsberg Pentagon Papers

Students for a Democratic Society

Daniel Ellsberg Pentagon Papers

On April 17, 1965 the SDS led an anti-Vietnam war march in Washington. 15,000 attend including Phil Ochs, Joan Baez and Judy Collins. Daniel Ellsberg and Patricia Marx go on their first date…this rally. For the next two years Ellsberg served in Vietnam as a civilian on special assignment for the U.S. Department of State, studying counter-insurgency. [U Michigan article]

History of U.S. Decision-making in Vietnam, 1945-68

In June 1967  Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara assembled a team of analysts, many of whom had worked for RAND. Ellsberg was among them. Leslie Gelb and Morton Halperin headed the group.

In late 1968 they finish a report called the “History of U.S. Decision-making in Vietnam, 1945-68.”  By then, McNamara had resigned as secretary of defense. The study was never officially distributed or acted upon.

On March 1, 1968 Clark Clifford replaced McNamara as secretary of defense.

Henry Kissinger

In December 1968 Ellsberg first met with Henry Kissinger, national security adviser to president-elect Richard Nixon. Ellsberg advised Kissinger on options in the U.S. military action in Vietnam. Kissinger and Ellsberg  continued to have a relationship during the first two years of Nixon’s presidency.

Daniel Ellsberg Pentagon Papers

Randy Kehler

Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner, refused to pay federal taxes as a protest against war and military spending.

In September 1969 Ellsberg met draft resister and antiwar activist Randy Kehler, whose willingness to go to prison based on his opposition to the war had a great impact on Ellsberg. Shortly thereafter, Ellsberg finished reading a copy of the entire McNamara study, which revealed a pattern of war escalation even in the face of evidence that the war was unwinnable. The study also revealed lies told to the public about U.S. military actions. The report inspired Ellsberg to take action against what he now sees as “a wrongful war.” [NPR story]

Anthony Russo

October 1, 1969:  Ellsberg, with his Rand Corporation colleague Anthony Russo, began copying the secret Pentagon Papers in Los Angeles.


On  August 8, 1970 Daniel Ellsberg and Patricia Marx married.

Neil Sheehan

In March 1971 Ellsberg met with reporter Neil Sheehan of The New York Times and showed him the top-secret McNamara study. Sheehan, reporter Hedrick Smith and a handful of other New York Times reporters and editors began working on a massive story based on the Pentagon Papers, while lawyers at The New York Times debated whether they could or should, publish top-secret government documents.  They decided yes on both.

Daniel Ellsberg Pentagon Papers

June 13, 1971: the New York Times began to publish the Pentagon Papers. Later, in a 1996 article, the Times said that the Pentagon Papers “demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration had systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress, about a subject of transcendent national interest and significance“. Two days later, on June 15, the government, invoking “prior restraint,” obtained a temporary injunction to stop Times from publishing any more material from the Pentagon Papers.

Into hiding

On June 17, 1971 Daniel and Patricia Ellsberg went underground after reporter Sidney Ellsberg identified Daniel Ellsberg as the probable source for the Pentagon Papers. 

The Washington Post 

June 18, 1971: The Washington Post published excerpts of the Pentagon Papers but was immediately enjoined from publishing additional excerpts. Eventually, 17 other papers will publish portions of the report.

Daniel Ellsberg Pentagon Papers


June 28, 1971: Ellsberg surrendered to face criminal charges under the Espionage Act.  [NY Ttimes article]

Senator Mike Gravel

June 29, 1971: Alaska Senator Mike Gravel convened a hearing of the Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds in the middle of the night (and only he attended). He read the Pentagon Papers aloud for three hours, officially entering them into the Senate record.

Daniel Ellsberg Pentagon Papers
New York Times Co. v. United States

Daniel Ellsberg Pentagon Papers

On June 30, 1971: the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Pentagon Papers may be published, rejecting government injunctions as unconstitutional prior restraint. [NY Times article]

Nixon retaliates

In July 1971 President Nixon appointed Egil “Bud” Krogh, Jr. and Kissinger aide David Young, Jr. to head a special investigations unit (nicknamed “the plumbers”) to obtain evidence to discredit Ellsberg, whom Henry Kissinger has deemed “the most dangerous man in America” who “has to be stopped.”

Krogh and Young hired G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt, who hatched a plan to burglarize the offices of Ellsberg’s one-time psychiatrist in Los Angeles which they did on September 9.

Indictments,  Watergate, and trial

On December 29, 1971: Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo were indicted on charges of theft of government documents and espionage for copying the Pentagon Papers and leaking them to the news media.

Meanwhile, on October 10, 1972 the Washington Post reported that FBI agents had established that the Watergate break-in stemmed from a massive campaign of political spying and sabotage conducted on behalf of the Nixon reelection effort.

On November 7, 1972 Richard Nixon was reelected in one of the largest landslides in American political history, taking more than 60 percent of the vote.

January 3, 1973 The United States v. Anthony Joseph Russo and Daniel Ellsberg trial began in Los Angeles.

On January 8, 1973 the trial opened of seven men accused of bugging Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate apartment complex.

Nixon aide  John Ehrlichman

Between April 5 – 7, 1973 top Nixon aide John Ehrlichman secretly met twice with Judge Matthew Byrne, who was presiding over the Russo/Ellsberg trial, and offered him a job as the new director of the F.B.I.

April 15 – 18, 1973: Ellsberg testified in his own defense.

April 30, 1973: after being confronted by Ellsberg’s defense lawyers, Judge Byrne admitted to meeting with Ehrlichman earlier in the month.

On the same day, Nixon’s top White House staffers, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, and Attorney General Richard Kleindienst resigned over the Watergate scandal. White House counsel John Dean was fired.

FBI secret tapes

On May 10, 1973 it was revealed in court that in 1969 the F.B.I. secretly wire-tapped and taped phone conversations between Ellsberg and then Kissinger aide Morton Halperin, who had earlier supervised the study that became the Pentagon Papers. The government claimed that all records of the wiretapping had been lost.

Daniel Ellsberg Pentagon Papers


The next day, May 11, 1973, Judge Byrne granted a mistrial due to what he deemed to be serious government misconduct. All charges against Ellsberg and Russo dropped.  June 13, 1973:  the Washington Post reported that Watergate prosecutors had found a memo addressed to John Ehrlichman describing in detail the plans to burglarize the office of Pentagon Papers defendant Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. [NY Times article]

Neil Sheehan died on January 7, 2021.

Daniel Ellsberg Pentagon Papers

50 Years Later

June 13, 2021: Was Ellsberg right?  50 years later, author of “Necessary Secrets: National Security, the Media, and the Rule of Law” questioned Ellsberg’s patriotism and how there was and is a need for secrecy in a democracy: By leaking the secret study, Mr. Ellsberg was engaged in nothing less than an assault on democracy itself.  Full article 


June 16, 2023: Daniel Ellsberg died. He was 92.

Ellsberg had disclosed in February that he was terminally ill with pancreatic cancer. His family announced his death Friday morning in a letter released by a spokeswoman, Julia Pacetti. [AP article]

Daniel Ellsberg Pentagon Papers