Emmett Louis Till

Emmett Louis Till

July 25, 1941 – August 28, 1955

Emmylou Harris…”My Name Is Emmett Till”

In the mid-20th century, most Americans worried about atomic weapons.

Today the fear of pandemic and mass murders have replaced our fear (if not the reality) of an atomic apocalypse…mostly.

Some rationalize that a pandemic is not ours. It is  foreigner.  Unfortunately, we cannot do the same with mass murders.

And ghroughout American history a whole class of Americans were under the constant fear of domestic terrorists, vigilante injustice, lynching.

Emmett Louis Till Emmett Louis Till

The story of Emmett Till is one of the more notorious examples of the thousands of black Americans who were mistreated, tortured, and killed by domestic terrorists.

There are many articles and books about Emmett Till and the horrors that surround his final moments. This piece is simply a chronological listing of his final days and the decades of injustice that followed.

Emmett Louis Till

Reverend George Lee

On May 7, 1955 the Reverend George Lee, a grocery owner and NAACP field worker in Belzoni, Mississippi, was shot and killed at point blank range while driving in his car after trying to vote. At his funeral, Lee’s widow ordered his casket be opened to show the effects of shotgun pellets to the face—a rebuttal to the official version that Lee died in a car accident. Shortly before his death Lee had preached, “Pray not for your mom and pop—they’ve gone to heaven. Pray you can make it through this hell.”  (see May 31)

Moses Wright

Emmett Louis TillEmmett Louis Till was born on July 25, 1941.  He was raised in Chicago, Illinois.

In early August 1955 his Great Uncle Moses Wright had traveled from Mississippi to Chicago to visit family. At the end of his stay, Wright planned to take Emmett’s cousin, Wheeler Parker, back to Mississippi with him to visit relatives. Emmett learned of these plans he begged his mother to let him go along. Initially, Mamie Till said no. She wanted to take a road trip to Omaha, Nebraska and attempted to lure Till to join her with the promise of open-road driving lessons. But Till desperately wanted to spend time with his cousins in Mississippi. She gave permission.

Emmett Till

Emmett Louis Till

August 19, 1955: Till’s mother gave Emmett his late father’s signet ring, engraved with the initials L.T.  Louis Till had died in 1945 while a private in Europe during World War II. Louis’s death is likely another tragedy.

August 20, 1955: Mamie Till drove her son to the 63rd Street station in Chicago. They kissed goodbye and Till boarded a southbound train headed for Mississippi.

August 21, 1955: Till arrived in Money, Mississippi to stay at the home of his great uncle Moses Wright.

Emmett Louis Till

Bryant’s Grocery

August 24, 1955: Emmett Till and a group of teenagers entered Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market in Money, Mississippi to buy refreshments after a long day picking cotton in the hot afternoon sun. Till purchased bubble gum, and some of the kids with him would later report that he either whistled at, flirted with, or touched the hand of Carolyn Bryant, the store’s white female clerk and wife of the owner.

Emmett Till murdered

August 28, 1955: at approximately 2:30 AM Roy Bryant, Carolyn’s husband, and his half brother J.W. Milam kidnapped Emmett Till from Moses Wright’s home. They then brutally beat, dragged him to the bank of the Tallahatchie River, shot him in the head, tied him with barbed wire to a large metal fan, and shoved his mutilated body into the water.

Moses Wright reported Till’s disappearance to the local authorities.

August 29, 1955:  authorities arrested J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant on kidnapping charges. They were jailed in Greenwood, Mississippi and held without bond.

August 31, 1955: Emmett Till’s decomposed corpse was pulled from Mississippi’s Tallahatchie River. Moses Wright identified the body from the LT initialed ring.

September 1, 1955: Mississippi Governor Hugh White ordered  local officials to “fully prosecute” Milam and Bryant.

Emmett Louis Till

Emmett Till’s return to Chicago

Emmett Louis Till

September 2, 1955: in Chicago, Mamie Till arrived at the Illinois Central Terminal to receive Emmett’s casket. Family and media surround her. She collapsed when she saw the casket.

September 3, 1955: as mentioned above, in May the widow of Reverend George Lee had decided to have an open casket for her  husband.

Mamie Till decided to do the same. “Let the people see what they did to my boy!”

Thousands waited in line to see Emmett’s brutally beaten body.

Emmett Louis Till

September 6, 1955: Emmett Till was buried at Burr Oak Cemetery.

Emmett Louis Till
Indictment for murder and trial

September 7, 1955: a Tallahatchie County grand jury indicted Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam for the murder and kidnapping of Emmett Till. Conviction on either charge could have carried the death penalty. They both pled innocent and remained in jail until the start of the trial.

September 19, 1955: the murder trial (only) began in Sumner, Mississippi, the county seat of Tallahatchie County. Jury selection began. Law banned any blacks and all women from serving. The 12-man jury consisted of nine farmers, two carpenters and one insurance agent.

Mamie Till departed from Chicago’s Midway Airport to attend the trial.

September 20, 1955: Judge Curtis Swango recessed the court to allow more witnesses to be found. It was the first time in Mississippi history that local law enforcement, local NAACP leaders, and black and white reporters had teamed up. They try to locate sharecroppers who saw Milam’s truck and overheard Emmett being beaten.

September 21, 1955: Moses Wright accused the two white men in open court, an unthinkable thing to do in that place at that time. While on the witness stand, he stood up and pointed his finger at Milam and Bryant, and accused them of coming to his house and kidnapping Emmett.

September 22, 1955: the defense began presenting its witnesses. Carolyn Bryant testified outside the presence of the jury. Sheriff Strider testified that he thought the body pulled out of the river had been there “from ten to fifteen days,” far too long to be that of Till. An embalmer testified that the body was “bloated beyond recognition.”

September 23, 1955: after a 67-minute deliberation, the jury acquitted Milam and Bryant. One juror told a reporter that they wouldn’t have taken so long if they hadn’t stopped to drink pop. Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam stood before photographers, lighted up cigars, and kissed their wives in celebration. [transcript of trial]

Emmett Louis Till

Kidnapping charges dropped

Moses Wright and Willie Reed, another poor black Mississippian who testified, left Mississippi. Reed later collapsed and suffered a nervous breakdown. (Reed, see July 18, 2013 below)

September 30, 1955: Milam and Bryant were released on bond. for the pending kidnapping charges.

November 9, 1955: returning to Mississippi one last time, Moses Wright and Willie Reed testified before a LeFlore County grand jury in Greenwood, Mississippi. The grand jury refused to indict Milam or Bryant for kidnapping. The two men went free.

The Shocking Story of Approved Killing in Mississippi”

Emmett Louis Till

January 24, 1956: an article by William Bradford Huie in Look magazine appears. It is titled, The Shocking Story of Approved Killing in Mississippi.” Protected by double-jeopardy,  Milam and Bryant admit to the murder.

They detailed how they beat Till with a gun, shot him and threw his body in the Tallahatchie River with a heavy cotton-gin fan attached with barbed wire to his neck to weigh him down. The two killers were paid a reported $4,000 for their participation in the article.

January 22, 1957: Huie wrote another article for Look magazine, “What’s Happened to the Emmett Till Killers?” Huie wrote that “Milam does not regret the killing, though it has brought him nothing but trouble.” Blacks have stopped frequenting stores owned by the Milam and Bryant families and put them out of business. Bryant takes up welding for income, and the community ostracized both men.

Emmett Louis Till

E. Frederic Morrow

E. Frederic Morrow moved to the White House on July 10, 1955. He  was an aide to President Dwight D. Eisenhower and as such he became the first African-American to serve in that capacity. His autobiography vividly describes his difficulties in trying to persuade the administration to take a strong stand on civil rights. Morrow, for example, tried unsuccessfully to get President Eisenhower to issue a statement regarding Emmett Till’s murder.

Morrow did, however, finally convince Eisenhower to meet with civil rights leaders in the White House, a meeting that occurred on June 23, 1958.


December 31, 1980: J. W. Milam died in Mississippi of cancer.

September 1, 1994: Roy Bryant Sr., 63, died at the Baptist Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi of cancer.

January 6, 2003: Mamie Till Mobley died of heart failure, at age 81. Her death came just two weeks before The Murder of Emmett Till was to premiere nationally on PBS.

Cold Case Closed

February 23, 2007:  in 2006 after a “cold case” investigation, Federal authorities had decided not to prosecute anyone, saying the statute of limitations for federal charges had run out. The Department of Justice said that the Mississippi authorities represented the last, best hope of bringing someone to justice.

On this date, a grand jury refused to bring any new charges.  District Attorney Joyce Chiles had sought a manslaughter charge against Carolyn Bryant Donham, who was suspected of pointing out Till to her husband to punish the him for his “disrespect.”

The grand jury issued a “no bill,” meaning it had found insufficient evidence.

Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007

October 7, 2008: introduced in 2007, President Bush signed the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007.  It tasked the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the FBI with reviewing, investigating and assessing for prosecutive merit more than 100 unsolved civil rights era homicides.

Lil Wayne

February 13, 2013: Airickca Gordon-Taylor, director of the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation (founded in 2009), requested that Lil Wayne remove Emmett Till’s name from his verse on Future’s “Karate Chop.” Gordon-Taylor calls Wayne’s use of Till’s name “disappointing, dishonorable, and outright disrespectful to our family.”

Guesting on “Karate Chop,” a single by Atlanta rapper Future, Lil Wayne contributed the third verse of the remix, which began:

Pop a lot of pain pills

‘Bout to put rims on my skateboard wheels

Beat that p—y up like Emmett Till

February 18, 2013: Epic Records Chairman Antonio “L.A.” Reid apologized to the Till family and said that his label was working to remove from circulation a remix of the track “Karate Chop.”

Emmett Louis Till

Willie Reed dies

July 18, 2013: Willie Reed died. He had had changed his name to Willie Louis after the murder trial and moved to Chicago. Louis, one of the last living witnesses for the prosecution in the Till case, died in Oak Lawn, Ill., a Chicago suburb. He was 76.

Emmett Till Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016

December 16, 2016: President Obama signed the Emmett Till Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016. The Act allowed the Department of Justice and the FBI to reopen unsolved civil rights crimes.committed before 1980. The legislation is an expansion of a previous bill of a similar name signed into law in 2008.

Simeon Wright dies

September 4, 2017: Simeon Wright died, Emmett Till’s cousin and the boy who was with Emmett whenRoy Bryant and his half brother, J. W. Milam kidnapped Emmett.

It was Simeon Wright who donated a sample of his DNA to helping federal prosecutors prove that the disfigured body was actually that of his cousin. Bryand and Milam had claimed there was no proof that the body was Till’s.

Wright died  in Countryside, Ill., a Chicago suburb. He was 74. His family said the cause was complications of bone cancer. [NYT article]

22,433 days days later

Carolyn Bryant Donham admits lying

January 27, 2017: in a Vanity Fair magazine article, Duke University professor Timothy B. Tyson reported that Carolyn Bryant Donham (the woman who accused Till of inappropriate behavior) told Tyson that the story she and others told about Emmett Till was false.

Tyson wrote that Donham had said of her long-ago allegations—that Emmett grabbed her and was menacing and sexually crude toward her–“that part is not true.”

Tyson also wrote a book, The Blood of Emmett Till, about the murder.

Emmett Louis Till

Historic signs vandalized

June 21, 2018: in 2007, eight Emmett Till historic signs were erected in northwest Mississippi, including at the spot on the river where fishermen in 1955 discovered Emmett’s mutilated corpse tethered to a cotton-gin fan.

A year later, vandals tore down the sign on the riverbed. It was replaced. But then bullets were fired into that marker — more than 100 rounds over several years.

On this date, a new sign was erected.

22,964 days later

July 11, 2018: the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it had reopened its investigation into the Till murder.

A report, sent to Congress in March, said it had received “new information” on the slaying.

35 days later

July 26, 2018: 35 days after its replacement, vandals again shot at the historic sign indicating the place where Emmett Till’s body was found. [NYT article]

U Miss students pose

July 25, 2019: the University of Mississippi suspended three students from their fraternity house. They also faced a possible investigation by the Department of Justice after posing with guns in front of a bullet-riddled sign honoring slain civil rights icon Emmett Till.

One of the students posted a photo to his private Instagram account in March (2019) showing the trio in front of a roadside plaque commemorating the site where Till’s body was recovered from the Tallahatchie River.

The photo, which was obtained by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica, showed an Ole Miss student named Ben LeClere holding a shotgun while standing in front of the bullet-pocked sign. His Kappa Alpha fraternity brother, John Lowe, squatted below the sign. A third fraternity member stood on the other side with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act

March 28, 2022: President Joe Biden signed the  Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act into law that made lynching a federal hate crime, acknowledging how racial violence has left a lasting scar on the nation and asserting that these crimes are not a relic of a bygone era.

The President said, “Lynching was pure terror to enforce the lie that not everyone … belongs in America, not everyone is created equal. Terror, to systematically undermine hard-fought civil rights. Terror, not just in the dark of the night but in broad daylight. Innocent men, women and children hung by nooses in trees, bodies burned and drowned and castrated.”

Justine Department

December 6, 2021:  the Justice Department officially closed its investigation into the killing of Emmett Till without federal charges for a second time

In 2017, professor Timothy Tyson had unearthed what appeared to be a key piece of evidence: a recantation from the woman at the center of the case who had accused Till of making sexual advances at her over 60 years ago.

Yet after an exhaustive investigation, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division concluded it cannot prove the woman lied to federal investigators about her story.

After CNN had reported the development in the case, the department subsequently made public a memo explaining the evidence investigators reviewed and its reasons for closing the matter without federal charges. [CNN article]

Arrest Warrant Discovered

June 29, 2022:  an arrest warrant for kidnapping tied to the killing of Emmett Till was discovered.

The warrant was for Carolyn Bryant Donham — listed at the time as “Mrs. Roy Bryant” — was issued on August 29, 1955, but never served. She was the 21-year-old white woman who said Till had harassed her in her country store in Money, Miss. In addition to the murder charges against Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, the two men and Carolyn Bryant were investigated for kidnapping. However, cops did not pursue the case. They didn’t want to “bother” Carolyn Bryant because she had two young children to care for. [NY Daily News article]

No Indictment

August 9, 2022: jurors in Leflore County, Mississippi examining the case of Emmett Till declined to indict Carolyn Bryant Donham, the white woman whose accusations prompted the attack.

The jurors heard more than seven hours of testimony from investigators and witnesses with direct knowledge of the case. Still, prosecutors said, the panel did not find sufficient evidence to indict Donham on charges of kidnapping or manslaughter.

“After hearing every aspect of the investigation and evidence collected regarding Donham’s involvement, the grand jury returned a ‘no bill’ to the charges of both kidnapping and manslaughter,” the office of W. Dewayne Richardson, the district attorney for the Fourth Circuit Court District of Mississippi. [NYT article]

Emmett Till Statue

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

 October 21, 2022: hundreds of people applauded — and some wiped away tears — as a Mississippi community unveiled a larger-than-life statue of Emmett Till, not far from where he was kidnapped and killed.

“Change has come, and it will continue to happen,” Madison Harper, a senior at Leflore County High School, told a racially diverse audience at the statue’s dedication. “Decades ago, our parents and grandparents could not envision that a moment like today would transpire.” [AP article]

Federal Lawsuit Filed

February 7, 2023: Emmett Till’s cousin Patricia Sterling of Jackson, Mississippi, filed a federal lawsuit against the current Leflore County sheriff, Ricky Banks. The suit sought to compel Banks to serve the warrant on Carolyn Bryant, now Carolyn Bryant Donham. [AP story]

Carolyn Bryant Dies

April 25, 2023: Carolyn Bryant, the 21-year-old white proprietress of the store where, according to her testimony in the September 1955 trial of her husband and his half brother for the murder, Emmett Till made a sexually suggestive remark to her, grabbed her roughly by the waist and let loose a wolf whistle and more recently known as Carolyn Bryant Donham, died at 88 in Westlake, a small city in southern Louisiana. [NYT article]

Three National Monuments

July 23, 2023: President Biden announced that he would designate a national monument at three sites in honor of Emmett Till and his mother , Mamie Till-Mobley — both of whom served as catalysts for the civil rights movement.

The new monument would be established across three locations in Illinois and Mississippi in an effort to protect places that tell Till’s story, as well as reflect the activism of his mother, who was instrumental in keeping the story of Till’s murder alive.

Among the sites that would be honored is Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Chicago, where Till’s funeral service was held in September 1955.

In Mississippi, Graball Landing would become a monument. Locals believe it is the spot where Till’s body was recovered from the Tallahatchie River. In 2008, a memorial sign dedicated to Till was installed near the site. Over the years, the sign was routinely stolen, vandalized or shot at and forced to be replaced. A fourth edition now stands at the site — this time bulletproof and details the history of vandalism.

The third monument location will be the Tallahatchie County Second District Courthouse, also in Mississippi, where Till’s killers were acquitted by an all-white jury. [NPR article] (next BH, see ; next ET, see )

Emmett Louis Till, Emmett Louis Till, Emmett Louis Till, Emmett Louis Till, Emmett Louis Till, Emmett Louis Till, Emmett Louis Till, Emmett Louis Till, Emmett Louis Till, Emmett Louis Till, Emmett Louis Till, 

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism

Religion and Public Education


July 15, 1925: Judge Raulston overruled the defense’s motion to have the Butler law declared unconstitutional. Raulston says in his ruling that the law “gives no preference to any particular religion or mode of worship. Our public schools are not maintained as places of worship, but, on the contrary, were designed, instituted, and are maintained for the purpose of mental and moral development and discipline.”

In an afternoon session that day, a not guilty plea is entered on Scopes’ behalf. Each side presents its opening statements. The prosecution questioned the superintendent of schools and two of Scopes’ students, who testify that Scopes taught his class about evolution. The defense questioned zoologist Maynard Metcalf, who testified that evolution was a widely embraced theory in the scientific community. (see Scopes for expanded story)

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism


Lynch law for blacks only

July 15, 1930: Senator Coleman L Blease advocated a lynch law for Blacks (only) who were guilty (more often not) of assaulting white women. “Whenever the Constitution comes between me and the virtue of the white women of South Carolina, I say ‘To hell with the Constitution.’ “ “Assaulting” could have a much broader interpretation and might simply mean “speaking to a white woman.” (next BH & Lunching, see Aug 7; see Blease for expanded story; see AL3 for expanded chronology of early 20th century lynching)

Croppers’ and Farm Workers Union

July 15, 1931: after leading fierce battles on behalf of sharecroppers and tenant farmers in Alabama, Ralph Gray, a leader of the Croppers’ and Farm Workers Union in Tallapoosa County, was brutally murdered July 15, 1931, by a heavily armed white mob, organized by the county’s sheriff. [Encyclopedia of Alabama article]  (Labor, see March 7, 1932; BH, see April 2, 1933)

Scottsboro travesty

July 15 1937: Clarence Norris convicted of rape and sentenced to death. (see Scottsboro for expanded story)

Birmingham, Alabama

July 15, 1963: firefighters turn their hoses full force on civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, Alabama. (see July 25)

George Whitmore, Jr

July 15, 1965: Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed legislation abolishing blue-ribbon juries. (see Whitmore for expanded story)

Church Burning

July 15, 2015: authorities responded to an early morning fire at Houston’s Fifth Ward Missionary Baptist Church, the latest in a rash of burnings at predominantly black religious institutions. Nobody was injured, but the Texas church was “significantly damaged,” KHOU reported. It took firefighters about 30 minutes to extinguish the flames. (BH, see Sept 8; CB, see Oct 30)

Fair Housing

July 15, 2019: analysis from the Center for American Progress uncovered numerous signs of persistent residential segregation among African American home mortgage borrowers.

“Although the Fair Housing Act has succeeded in eliminating the most blatant forms of discrimination that were common 50 years ago, the U.S. housing market is still highly segmented along racial lines,” said Michela Zonta, senior policy analyst at CAP. “The legacy of federal redlining and discriminatory housing policies and private practices is still visible today, as housing discrimination has taken different forms and African American neighborhoods continue to be devalued compared with white neighborhoods.” (next BH, see July 25; next FH, see In November)

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism

The Red Scare, McCarthyism, and the Cold War

Dixiecrats defect

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism

July 15, 1948:  the Democratic Party Convention nominated President Truman to run as its candidate for president. Northern liberals succeed in including a strong civil rights plank in the party platform, leading to the defection of conservative Southern Democrats to the segregationist States Rights (or Dixiecrat) Party.  [text of Truman’s acceptance speech] (see July 17, 1948)

Ethel Rosenberg

July 15, 2015: the conviction and eventual execution of  Ethel Rosenberg for joining in her husband Julius’s espionage conspiracy rested largely on trial testimony from her younger brother, but in private testimony to a grand jury seven months before the 1951 trial, Mrs. Rosenberg’s brother, David Greenglass, never mentioned involvement by his sister in Mr. Rosenberg’s delivery of atomic secrets to Soviet operatives, according to a grand jury transcript released on this day.

While not definitive proof that he lied at trial, Mr. Greenglass’s omission — and his assertion before the grand jury that he had never even discussed espionage with his sister — provided further evidence to Mrs. Rosenberg’s defenders who believe that she was unfairly convicted, and that her brother, under pressure from prosecutors, had doomed her with concocted testimony to spare his own wife from prosecution. [NYT article]  (Cold War, see July 20; DP, see Aug 7; Nuclear, see Sept 2)

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism

Fair Housing

American Housing Act of 1949

July 15, 1949: the American Housing Act of 1949 expanded the federal government’s role in mortgage insurance and issuance and the construction of public housing. It was part of President Harry Truman’s program of domestic legislation, the Fair Deal. Truman stated at the signing: This far-reaching measure is of great significance to the welfare of the American people. It opens up the prospect of decent homes in wholesome surroundings for low-income families now living in the squalor of the slums. It equips the Federal Government, for the first time, with effective means for aiding cities in the vital task of clearing slums and rebuilding blighted areas. It authorizes a comprehensive program of housing research aimed at reducing housing costs and raising housing standards. It initiates a program to help farmers obtain better homes. text of Truman’s statement when signing the bill into law[]

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism


In 1956: the St. Louis’s Pruitt-Igoe public housing project completed. It was touted as a model of urban planning. [movie history article] (FH, see December 5, 1957; Pruitt, see March 16, 1972)

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism

July 15 Music et al

Beatles Julia Lennon

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism

July 15,1958: John Lennon’s mother, Julia was visiting her sister Mimi’s house where her John was living. Shortly after leaving Mimi’s house, while crossing the road to get to a bus stop, she was struck by a car driven by an off-duty policeman, 24-year-old Eric Clague. Contrary to some reports, Clague was not drunk at the time and he was driving under the 30mph speed limit. He was, however, a learner driver who was unaccompanied. “Julia,” “Mother,” and “My Mummy’s Dead.” are Lennon songs dedicated to or inspired by Julia.

First Beat Boys

In 1959 Tony Sheridan joined Vince Taylor and the Playboys in Hamburg, Germany where they would play. The band would eventually morph into the Beat Brothers with a line-up consisting of Tony Sheridan (vocals/guitar), Ken Packwood (drums), Rick Richards (guitar), Colin Melander (bass), Ian Hines (keyboards) and Jimmy Doyle (drums). Over the years the band’s line-up would continue to see many personnel changes. Some of the most notable inclusions were: Ringo Starr, Roy Young, Rikky Barnes, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best. (see August 1959)

The Road to Bethel

July 15, 1969:   in a closed session at the town hall, the Wallkill Zoning Board of Appeals passed judgment on the status of Woodstock Venture’s application for a permit. The five-member board refused to allow the festival to build anything on the 200-acre site. (see Chronology for expanded story)

Dylan/Mariposa Folk Festival

July 15, 1972: Bob Dylan attended the Mariposa Folk Festival on Toronto Center Island. He tried to remain nondescript, but he was recognized and fans mobbed around him. Eventually, police had to escort him off the island. (see Nov 13)

Steve Earle – “John Walker’s Blues” (2002)

July 15, 2002: John Walker Lindh pleaded guilty to aiding the enemy and possession of explosives during the commission of a felony.

Shortly afterwards, Steve Earle released “John Walker’s Blues”   (next T, see Oct 4; JWL, see May 23, 2019)

I’m just an American boy raised on MTV

And I’ve seen all those kids in the soda pop ads

But none of ’em looked like me

So I started lookin’ around for a light out of the dim

And the first thing I heard that made sense was the word

Of Mohammed, peace be upon him

A shadu la ilaha illa Allah

There is no God but God

If my daddy could see me now – chains around my feet

He don’t understand that sometimes a man

Has got to fight for what he believes

And I believe God is great, all praise due to him

And if I should die, I’ll rise up to the sky

Just like Jesus, peace be upon him

We came to fight the Jihad and our hearts were pure and strong

As death filled the air, we all offered up prayers

And prepared for our martyrdom

But Allah had some other plan, some secret not revealed

Now they’re draggin’ me back with my head in a sack

To the land of the infidel

A shadu la ilaha illa Allah

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism


July 15, 1969: Nixon sent a letter to Ho Chi Minh stating “I realize that it is difficult to communicate meaningfully across the gulf of four years of war,…but I wanted to take this opportunity to reaffirm in all solemnity my desire to work for a just peace.” Nixon warned, thought, that unless there was a breakthrough in negotiations by November, the would have no choice but to take “Measures of great consequence and force.” [full text] (see Aug 4)

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism

End of the Space Race

July 15 – 24, 1975: the last Apollo mission carried Donald K. “Deke” Slayton, Tom Stafford, and Vance Brand. Slayton was one of the original Mercury astronauts, but had not previously flown in space due to a heart fibrillation. In orbit, they docked with a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft. The mission proved the compatibility of the two space programs and paved the way for future collaborations and rescue missions. [NASA article] (see Space, February 7, 1984)

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism

Jimmy Carter nominated

July 15, 1976: Jimmy Carter nominated for U.S. President at the Democratic National Convention in New York City.

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism

Native Americans

“The Longest Walk”

July 15, 1978: “The Longest Walk” entered Washington, D.C., with several thousand Indians and a number of non-Indian supporters. The traditional elders led them to the Washington Monument, where the Pipe carried across the country was smoked. Over the following week, they held rallies at various sites to address issues: the 11 pieces of legislation, American Indian political prisoners, forced relocation at Big Mountain, the Navajo Nation, etc. Non-Indian supporters included the American boxer Muhammad Ali, US Senator Ted Kennedy and the actor Marlon Brando. The US Congress voted against a proposed bill to abrogate treaties with Indian Nations. During the week after the activists arrived, Congress passed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, which allowed them the use of peyote in worship. President Jimmy Carter refused to meet with representatives of The Longest Walk. (see Aug 11)

The Longest Walk 4

July 15, 2013: th return to Alcatraz begin in Washington D.C. to travel to Alcatraz by December 22, 2013. The stated purpose of this Walk was to reaffirm the heart of Traditional Tribal Sovereignty rooted in Ceremony and land based spiritual relationships. (see July 17)

Jim Thorpe

July 15, 2022: the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that it would display the name of Jim Thorpe as the sole gold medallist in pentathlon and decathlon at the Olympic Games Stockholm 1912. This change comes on the very day of the 110th anniversary of Thorpe’s medal in decathlon.

Thorpe, a Native American track and field athlete whose original given name of Wa-Tho-Huk means “Bright Path”, won both events at the 1912 Games, but was stripped of his Olympic titles one year later. The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), the predecessor of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), deemed that he had infringed the rules regarding amateurism in place at the time. (Smithsonian article) (next NA, see July 25)

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism


July 15, 1990: Iraq accused Kuwait of stealing oil from the Rumaylah, Iraq’s oil field near the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border and warns of military action. (see July 22)

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism

Cultural Milestone

July 15, 1995: with great ambitions reflected by naming itself after the world’s largest river, Amazon officially opened for business as an online bookseller. Within a month, the retailer had shipped books to all 50 U.S. states and to 45 countries. (see February 13, 2000)

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism

US Labor History

Student unions

July 15, 2004: the National Labor Relations Board reversed itself and ruled that students who worked as research and teaching assistants did not have the right to unionize. In a case involving Brown University, the labor board ruled 3 to 2 that graduate teaching and research assistants were essentially students, not workers, and thus should not have the right to unionize to negotiate over wages, benefits and other conditions of employment. [Brown University article] (see Sept 15)


July 15, 2013: Foxconn reportedly raised the age requirement for new workers being recruited for its factory in Zhengzhou, China, The contract manufacturing giant required new workers at the facility to be at least 23 years old, whereas 18 was previously the minimum age. A maximum age of 40 for new recruits remains the same, according to the Taiwanese tech journal. [PC Magazine article]

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism

Sexual Abuse of Children

July 15, 2007: the Los Angeles Archdiocese settled 508 cases of alleged sexual abuse by priests for a record-breaking pay-out of $660m. The deal is reached just before the scheduled start of a series of trials into abuse claims dating back to the 1940s. [NYT article] (see Sept 7)

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

July 15, 2010: BP test cuts off all oil pouring into the Gulf (see Aug 2)

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism

Immigration History

July 15, 2019: the Trump administration unveiled a new rule to bar almost all immigrants from applying for asylum at the southern border, requiring them to first pursue safe haven in a third country through which they had traveled on the way to the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security, in a statement issued with the Department of Justice, said the rule would set a “new bar” for immigrants “by placing further restrictions or limitations on eligibility for aliens who seek asylum in the United States.” (see July 24)

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism

Women’s Health

July 15, 2019: the Trump administration announced that family planning clinics that the federal government funded had to stop  stop referring women for abortions, The Health and Human Services (HHS) Department formally notified clinics that it would begin enforcing the ban on abortion referrals, along with a requirement that clinics maintain separate finances from facilities that provide abortions.

In addition to the rule on separate finances, another requirement that both kinds of facilities cannot be under the same roof would take effect in 2020. [CBS News story] (see July 22)

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism

Environmental Issues

July 15, 2020:  President Trump unilaterally weakened the National Environmental Policy Act by limiting public review of federal infrastructure projects to speed up the permitting of freeways, power plants and pipelines.

In doing so, the Trump administration will claim hundreds of millions of dollars of savings over almost a decade by significantly reducing the amount of time allowed to complete reviews of major infrastructure projects, according to two people familiar with the new policy.

Mr Trump made the case that lengthy permit processes held up major infrastructure projects across the country/

Revising the 50-year-old law through regulatory reinterpretation was one of the biggest deregulatory actions of the Trump administration, which had moved to rollback 100 rules protecting clean air and water, and others that aimed to reduce the threat of human-caused climate change. [NYT article] (next EI, see Aug 20)

July 15 Peace Love Art Activism

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism


Sedition Act

July 14, 1798: Congress passed the Sedition Act, making it a federal crime to publish false, scandalous or malicious writing about the U.S. government. [Our Documents text] (see February 23, 1915)

Free press

July 14, 2018: John Saro Balian, a Glendale, California narcotics detective had pleaded guilty on July 12 to federal charges that he had accepted a bribe, obstructed justice and lied to federal investigators about his involvement with organized crime. Judge John F. Walter of United States District Court for the Central District of California ordered the plea agreement sealed, but a reporter found it posted online on July 13 in a public database of federal court documents.

The Los Angeles Times published the article about the plea agreement on the same day and subsequently received a court order from Walter to remove the article.

The LA Times did so on this date, but said it would appeal the court order. (see July 19)

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism

US Labor History

The Great Uprising

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism

July 14, 1877: The Great Uprising nationwide railway strike began in Martinsburg, W Va, after railroad workers were hit with their second pay cut in a year. In the following days, strike riots spread through 17 states. The next week, federal troops were called out to force an end to the strike. [2015 Politico article] (see July 23)

MLB umpire strike

July 14, 1999: major league baseball umpires voted to resign and not work the final month of the season. (see October 3, 2001)

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism


Voting Rights

July 14, 1917: the National Women’s Party picketed in front of the White House to raise awareness about the suffrage movement. Police arrest protesters and some, including Lucy Burns, to go on hunger strikes while in jail. This level of militancy yields sympathy from some quarters but disdain from others. (see July 17)

Jean Westwood

July 14 Peace Love Activism

July 14, 1972:  Jean Westwood is elected the leader of the Democratic National Committee, becoming the first woman to chair a major political party. [1997 NYT obit]  (next Feminism see September 5, 1972)

Women’s Health

July 14, 2015: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th District ruled that Little Sisters of the Poor cannot receive a full exemption from the law’s contraception rules because they “do not substantially burden plaintiffs’ religious exercise or violate the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights.”

Under the contraception mandate, nonprofit religious groups such as Little Sisters of the Poor were permitted to opt out of the requirement if they report their concerns to their insurance companies or the federal government. But that group and others had objected to any extra steps to obtain the exemption. Instead, they were seeking the same treatment as houses of worship, which were not required to fill out additional paperwork in order to avoid fines under the law. [Baltimore Sun article] (see Aug 10)

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism

Religion and Public Education


July 14, 1925: the third day of the Scopes trial, attorney Clarence Darrow objected to the practice of opening the trial with a prayer. Judge Raulston overruled the objection, noting that he had instructed the ministers who offer the prayer to “make no reference to the issues involved in this case.” (see Scopes for expanded story)

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism


July 14, 1941: Japan demanded and received approval from the Vichy French government to establish military bases in southern Vietnam in addition to bases in northern Vietnam. (see July 25)

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism


Anti-lynching law platform

July 14, 1948: President Harry Truman and the Democratic Party adopted a platform that called for a federal anti-lynching law, the abolition of poll taxes and the desegregation of armed forces. Three days later, Southern “Dixiecrats” held their own convention and nominated South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond for president.  [text of platform] (next BH, see July 26); next Lynching, see April 28, 1951; for expanded chronology of lynching, see also AL4)

Black Models Removed

July 14, 1959: a New York committee organizing a fashion show for the American National Exhibition in Moscow, Russia, announced it would be removing three scenes that featured Black and white models together after dozens of fashion editors protested the representation of racial integration.

The fashion show, which was sponsored by the U.S. State Department and meant to illustrate daily American life, was to be exhibited in Moscow 10 days later. Before the exhibition opening, the organizing committee for the show hosted previews in New York, which dozens of American fashion editors were invited to attend.

Immediately after the previews, over 40 of the fashion editors in attendance signed and circulated a petition demanding that the committee remove three staged wedding scenes that showed racially-integrated groups interacting with one another, claiming the scenes were not “representative of the American way of life.”

Within a day, on July 14, the fashion show’s organizing committee announced that it would be removing each of the racially-integrated scenes, effectively eliminating the Black models from the show. A spokesman for the show added that the organizers had not yet decided what, if any, future role would exist for the Black models—who were only 3 of 47 total models involved in the show. [EJI article] (next BH, see Aug 16)

Plainfield, NJ

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism

July 14 – 20, 1967: Plainfield, NJ race riot mirrored the Newark riot a few days before. [My Central Jersey article] (see July 17)

School Desegregation

July 14, 1999: race-based school busing in Boston ended after 25 years. (BH, see Aug 2; SD, see July 17, 2001)

Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner

July 14, 2006: Mississippi Circuit Court judge Marcus D. Gordon refused to let Edgar Ray Killen out of prison while he appealed his conviction in the killing of three civil rights workers in 1964. It was the second time that Mr. Killen, 81, had asked to be freed on bond because of poor health. (next BH, see July 25; see Murders for expanded story)

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism

July 14 Music et al

Bobby Vinton

July 14 – August 10, 1962: “Roses Are Red (My Love)” by Bobby Vinton #1 Billboard Hot 100.

see Easy Rider for more

July 14, 1969: the movie Easy Rider premiered.

The Band/Bob Dylan

July 14, 1969: Dylan made a guest appearance with The Band at the Mississippi River Festival. He came out for the Band’s encore and played four songs with them. This was his first concert performance since the Woody Guthrie concert on January 20, 1968. (see August 15)

The bumpy road to Bethel

July 14, 1969:  THE meeting. Woodstock Ventures presented its application for the festival’s approval based on the new ordinance. The meeting lasted until 1 AM. (see Chronology for expanded story)

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism

Space Race

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism

July 14, 1965: American space probe Mariner 4 passed within 6,200 miles of Mars, capturing the first close-up images of the Martian surface. [NASA article] (see Dec 4 – 18)

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism


July 14, 1998: Ken Starr subpoenas Larry Cockell, head of the president’s security detail. The Justice Department, backed by the Secret Service, requests a full panel appeal of the Secret Service testimony decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals. (see Clinton for expanded story)

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism


July 14, 2004: the US Senate voted 50-48 against a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. (see Nov 2)

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism

Terry Jones

July 14, 2010: the Web site EuroIslam.Info posted Jones’s announcement under the “Islamaphobia Observatory” section of its site. (see July 30)

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism

Westboro Baptist Church

July 14, 2013: the Satanic Temple, a New York-based organization that seeks to foster “benevolence and empathy among all people” through Satan, performed a ritual called a “pink mass” at the Mississippi gravesite of Catherine Idalette Johnston, mother of WBC founder Fred Phelps Jr. “Upon completion of the pink mass ceremony, Catherine Johnston is now gay in the afterlife,” notes the Satanic Temple website. “Fred Phelps is obligated to believe that his mother is now gay … [and] if beliefs are inviolable rights, nobody has the right to challenge our right to believe that Fred Phelps believes that his mother is now gay.” The latter assertion appears to be a play on the WBC’s own stance that their beliefs are totally infallible. (see July 29)

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism

Nuclear/Chemical News

July 14, 2015: Iran and a group of six nations led by the United States agreed to an historic accord to significantly limit Tehran’s nuclear ability for more than a decade in return for lifting international oil and financial sanctions against Iran. [NYT article](next N/C N, see July 15; next Iran, see Sept 2)

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism


July 14, 2015: the U.S. Department of Justice charged Georgia with illegally segregating thousands of students with behavioral disorders in schools that often were dirty, in poor repair and, in some cases, once served as blacks-only facilities before court-ordered integration.

In a strongly worded letter to Gov. Nathan Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens, the DOJ said the state was “unnecessarily segregating students with disabilities from their peers.” Further, the letter said, those students were receiving inferior instruction and had few if any opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities.

Students with disabilities who have been inappropriately segregated from their peers without disabilities also face tremendous ongoing harms: they may become victims of unwanted stigma and may be deprived of essential opportunities to learn and to develop skills enabling them to effectively engage with their peers in ways that teach them to participate in mainstream society as they mature into adulthood,” the DOJ said.

The department said the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support, which operated in 24 locations around the state, was violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. If Georgia did not make substantial changes, the department would take the state to court to force improvements. (see February 22, 2017)

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism

Immigration History

Muslim Immigration Ban

July 14, 2017: federal judge Derrick K. Watson of Federal District Court in Honolulu in Hawaii ruled that the Trump administration’s temporary ban on travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries and on refugees should not prevent grandparents and other close relatives of residents from entering the United States. Watson also declared that refugees with ties to a resettlement agency that was committed to receiving them had a relationship that made them eligible to enter the country. [NYT article] (Immigration, see July 24; Trump policy, see Sept 7)

Swift rule reversal

July 14, 2020:  NPR reported that in a swift reversal, the Trump administration agreed to rescind a directive that would have barred international college students from the U.S. if their colleges offered classes entirely online in the fall semester.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement July 6 rule change would have prohibited foreign students from entering or remaining in the country to take fully online course loads. A number of colleges and universities had already announced plans to offer online-only classes because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The agency’s announcement had been  met with immediate backlash. (next IH, see July 28)

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism


July 14, 2020: hours after the Supreme Court rejected a last-minute legal challenge on a 5-to-4 vote, the Justice Department put Daniel Lewis Lee to death for his role in the 1996 murder of a family of three, the first federal execution in more than 17 years.

Lewis, 47, a former white supremacist who renounced his ties to that movement, was executed by lethal injection at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., the Bureau of Prisons said. He is the first of three federal inmates scheduled for execution this week.

Lee’s death ended an informal moratorium on federal capital punishment. [NYT article] (next DP, see Sept 21)

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism


July 14, 2021: Senator Chuck Schumer of New York proposed legislation to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, putting his weight as majority leader behind the growing movement to unwind the decades-old war on drugs.

The draft bill, called the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and begin regulating and taxing it, placing federal rules on a burgeoning industry that has faced years of uncertainty. Though states would still be allowed to set their own marijuana laws, businesses and individuals in states that have legalized its use would be free for the first time to sell and consume it without the risk of federal punishment.

The proposal would also try to make recompense to communities of color and the poor for damage from years of restrictive federal drug policy. It calls for immediately expunging nonviolent marijuana-related arrests and convictions from federal records and would earmark new tax revenue for restorative justice programs intended to lift up communities affected by “the failed federal prohibition of cannabis.”

The bill aimed to “finally turn the page on this dark chapter in American history and begin righting these wrongs,” said Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, who wrote the bill with Mr. Schumer and Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon and the chairman of the Finance Committee. [NYT article] (next Cannabis, see Aug 1, or see CAC for expanded contemporary chronology)

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism

Sexual Abuse of Children

July 14, 2021: the Justice Department’s inspector general released a long-awaited report that sharply criticized the F.B.I.’s handling of the sexual abuse case involving Lawrence G. Nassar, the former doctor for the U.S.A. Gymnastics national team and Michigan State sports, which led to Nassar’s continued abuse of girls and women.

The report, citing civil court documents, said that 70 or more young athletes had been sexually abused by Nassar between July 2015, when U.S.A. Gymnastics first reported allegations against him to the F.B.I.’s Indianapolis field office, and August 2016, when the Michigan State University Police Department received a separate complaint.

John Manly, a lawyer for many of the victims, said that number is likely even higher — about 120 patients, including one as young as 8 years old.

The inspector general’s report said senior F.B.I. officials in the Indianapolis field office failed to respond to the allegations “with the utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required” and the investigation did not proceed until after a September 2016 report by The Indianapolis Star detailed Nassar’s abuse.  [NYT article] (next SAC, see July 28)

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism

Environmental Issues

July 14, 2021: according to a new study that the scientific journal Nature published, parts of the Amazon rain forest were emitting more carbon dioxide than they absorb, raising fears of the potentially devastating impact on its fragile ecosystems and a further worsening of the climate crisis,.

The research said that the Amazon’s vital role as a carbon sink — absorbing massive amounts of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping to cool the Earth –was under threat.

“This carbon sink seems to be in decline,” the study said. “Over the past 40 years, eastern Amazonia has been subjected to more deforestation, warming and moisture stress than the western part, especially during the dry season.”

Over nine years, researchers led by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research conducted close to 600 flights over four main sites in the Brazilian Amazon, collecting data on the amount of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide in the atmosphere.  [CNN article] (next EI, see July 20)

July 14 Peace Love Art Activism