Tag Archives: Free Speech

United States Pledge Allegiance

United States Pledge Allegiance

United States Pledge Allegiance

Divided Allegiances

At at time when whether the choice of kneeling or standing has come under Presidential scrutiny, it is a good idea to look back at our Pledge of Allegiance’s history.

It might seem that we’ve always had one, but like most social icons,  the United States had no allegiance to the flag for more than a century and we’ve only had a government sanctioned one for less than a century.

Here’s some of that timeline.

United States Pledge Allegiance

19th century genesis

October 12, 1892: during Columbus Day observances organized to coincide with the opening of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, the pledge of allegiance was recited for the first time.

Francis Bellamy [Smithsonian article], a Christian Socialist, had initiated the movement for such a statement and having flags in all classrooms. His pledge was: I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. 

United States Pledge Allegiance

United States Pledge Allegiance

An adjustment

In 1923: the  called for the words “my Flag” to be changed to “the Flag of the United States,” so that new immigrants would not confuse loyalties between their birth countries and the United States. The words “of America” were added a year later.

United States Pledge Allegiance

Patriotism on display

May 3, 1937: as the rest of the world headed toward World War II, a patriot fervor swept the U.S., as it had before, during and after World War I.

Walter Gobitas

United States Pledge Allegiance

One expression of that movement involved state laws requiring public school students to salute the flag each morning. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, however, regarded saluting the flag as an expression of a commitment to a secular authority and unfaithfulness to God.

As a result, some families had their children refuse to participate in the compulsory salute. On this day, Walter Gobitas (the family name was misspelled in the court case) sued the Minersville, Pennsylvania, School Board, in a case that ended up in the Supreme Court:  Minersville School District v. Gobitis.

June 3, 1940: Minersville School District v. Gobitis, was a decision by the US Supreme Court involving the religious rights of public school students under the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

The Court ruled that public schools could compel students—in this case, Jehovah’s Witnesses—to salute the American Flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance despite the students’ religious objections to these practices. (Oyez article)

United States Pledge Allegiance

Pledge of Allegiance official

United States Pledge Allegiance

June 22, 1942:  the US Congress officially recognized the Pledge for the first time [Gilder Lehrman Institute article] , in the following form: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

During the 1920s and 1930s, Italian fascists and Nazis adopted salutes which were similar in form, resulting in controversy over the use of the Bellamy salute in the United States.

December 22, 1942: Congress amended the Flag code to replace the Bellamy salute with the the hand-over-heart salute. The Bellamy salute  had been the salute described by Francis Bellamy to accompany the American Pledge of Allegiance, which he had authored.

United States Pledge Allegiance

FREE SPEECH?

June 14, 1943: West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette,  the US Supreme Court held that the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution protected students from being forced to salute the American flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance in school. It was a significant court victory won by Jehovah’s Witnesses, whose religion forbade them from saluting or pledging to symbols, including symbols of political institutions. However, the Court did not address the effect the compelled salutation and recital ruling had upon their particular religious beliefs, but instead ruled that the state did not have the power to compel speech in that manner for anyone.

Barnette overruled the June 3, 1940 decision (Minersville School District v. Gobitis) which also involved the children of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Oyez article)

United States Pledge Allegiance
“under God”

February 12, 1948:  Louis A. Bowman, an attorney from Illinois, was the first to initiate the addition of “under God” to the Pledge. He was Chaplain of the Illinois Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. At a meeting on February 12, 1948, Lincoln’s Birthday, he led the Society in swearing the Pledge with two words added, “under God.”

He stated that the words came from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Though not all manuscript versions of the Gettysburg Address contain the words “under God”, all the reporters’ transcripts of the speech as delivered do, as perhaps Lincoln may have deviated from his prepared text and inserted the phrase when he said “that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom.”

United States Pledge Allegiance
Knights of Columbus

April 30, 1951: the Knights of Columbus [site], the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization, had begun to include the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. On this date in New York City the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors adopted a resolution to amend the text of their Pledge of Allegiance at the opening of each of the meetings of the 800 Fourth Degree Assemblies of the Knights of Columbus by addition of the words “under God” after the words “one nation.”

Over the next two years, the idea spread throughout Knights of Columbus organizations nationwide.

August 21, 1952: the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus at its annual meeting adopted a resolution urging that the change be made universal and copies of this resolution were sent to the President, the Vice President (as Presiding Officer of the Senate) and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

United States Pledge Allegiance

President Eisenhower baptized

February 1, 1953: President Eisenhower was baptized, confirmed, and became a communicant in the Presbyterian church in a single ceremony.

United States Pledge Allegiance
George MacPherson Docherty

United States Pledge Allegiance

It had become a tradition that some American presidents  honored Lincoln’s birthday by attending services at the church Lincoln attended in Washington, DC, [the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church] and sitting in Lincoln’s pew on the Sunday nearest February 12.

On February 7, 1954, with President Eisenhower sitting in Lincoln’s pew, the church’s pastor, George MacPherson Docherty [Washington Post obit], delivered a sermon based on the Gettysburg Address titled “A New Birth of Freedom.”

He argued that the nation’s might lay not in arms but its spirit and higher purpose. He noted that the Pledge’s sentiments could be those of any nation, that “there was something missing in the pledge, and that which was missing was the characteristic and definitive factor in the American way of life.” He cited Lincoln’s words “under God” as defining words that set the United States apart from other nations.

President Eisenhower, baptized a Presbyterian the previous  February, responded enthusiastically to Docherty in a conversation following the service. (Christian Perspective article on Eisenhower)

United States Pledge Allegiance
“under God” gets Presidential support

February 8, 1954: Eisenhower acted on Rev Doucherty’s suggestion and Rep. Charles Oakman (R-Mich.), introduced a bill to that effect.

United States Pledge Allegiance

June 14, 1954: President Eisenhower signed the bill into law on Flag Day, stating, “From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty. … In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource, in peace or in war.”

United States Pledge Allegiance

Stay or leave

March 4, 1969: the New York City Corporation Council upheld the petition of Dorothy Lynn, a 17-year-old Queens, NY high school student to leave her classroom during the Pledge of Allegiance.

Lynn said that she did not believe in God or that everyone was granted liberty and justice. (NYT article)

United States Pledge Allegiance

Sit or stand?

United States Pledge Allegiance

October 31, 1969:  Mary Frain and Susan Keller, two 12-year-old 7th grade girls in Brooklyn went to court  to assert their right to remain seated in class while other students recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Referring to the Vietnam War, one of the students  said she refused to recite the pledge because she doesn’t believe that “the actions of this country at this time warrant my respect.

The school had suspended the seventh graders four weeks earlier in what the school board’s attorney described as a simple matter of school discipline and not one of First Amendment law. Allowing the girls to remain seated, he claimed, would be “disruptive.”

New York Civil Liberties Union lawyers represented the girls. The NYCLU cited the Supreme Court case of West Virginia v. Barnette, decided of June 14, 1943, in which the Court upheld the right of Jehovah’s Witness’s children not to salute the American flag as required by their school.

On December 10, Judge Orrin G Judd, enjoined the city school system from telling student that they must leave the classrooms if they do not want to stand and recite the Pledge.

Judd said the students had a constitutinal right to remain seated until the school could prove that by sitting through the Pledge the students had “materially infringed” the rights of other students or had caused disruption. (NYT article)

United States Pledge Allegiance

New Jersey

August 16, 1977: a Federal District Court overturned a New Jersey state law requiring all public school students in New Jersey to at least stand at attention during the pledge of allegiance to the American flag. [NYT article]

Judge H. Curtis Meanor ruled that the standing mandated by the State Education Law illegally compelled “symbolic speech” and violated students’ First Amendment rights of freedom of expression and speech.

The New Jersey statute stipulated that the pledge be recited and a flag salute rendered by all children in public schools, except for the children of foreign diplomats or for youngsters with “conscientious scruples” against the acts.

But the law required that the exempt pupils “be required to show full respect to the flag while the pledge is being given merely by standing at attention.” Judge Meanor objected to the “mandatory language” of that section of the law.

United States Pledge Allegiance

Under or not under God?

June 27, 2002: a federal appeals court declared that the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional because the phrase ”one nation under God” violated the separation of church and state. [NY Times article]

A three-member panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the pledge, as it exists in federal law, could not be recited in schools because it violates the First Amendment’s prohibition against a state endorsement of religion. In addition, the ruling turned on the phrase ”under God” which Congress added in 1954 to one of the most hallowed patriotic traditions in the nation.

From a constitutional standpoint, those two words, Judge Alfred T. Goodwin wrote in the 2-to-1 decision, were just as objectionable as a statement that ”we are a nation ‘under Jesus,’ a nation ‘under Vishnu,’ a nation ‘under Zeus,’ or a nation ‘under no god,’ because none of these professions can be neutral with respect to religion.’

August 9, 2002: the U.S. Justice Department filed an appeal of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in the Newdow vs. U.S. Congress case in which the court struck down the addition of the phrase “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance as unconstitutional.

February 28, 2003: the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that the addition of “under God” to the The Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional, refused to reconsider its ruling, saying it would be wrong to allow public outrage to influence its decisions.

March 4, 2003: the US Senate voted 94-0 that it “strongly” disapproved of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision not to reconsider its ruling that the addition of the phase “under God” to the The Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional.

United States Pledge Allegiance

Bush administration appeal

April 30, 2003: the Bush administration appealed to the Supreme Court to preserve the phrase “under God” in the The Pledge of Allegiance recited by school children. Solicitor General Theodore Olson said that “Whatever else the (Constitution’s) establishment clause may prohibit, this court’s precedents make clear that it does not forbid the government from officially acknowledging the religious heritage, foundation and character of this nation,” and that the Court could strike down the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Newdow vs. United States without even bothering to hear arguments.

June 14, 2003: in the case of Newdow v. U.S. Congress Oyez article[], the US Supreme Court overturned a Ninth Circuit Court decision that struck the addition of “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. The 8-0 ruling was reached on a technicality: that Michael Newdow doesn’t have standing to bring the case in the first place. (Constitution Society dot com article)

United States Pledge Allegiance

And the beat goes on…

October 7, 2017:  a federal lawsuit charged that Windfern High School suspended India Landry,  a 17-year-old Houston student,  after refusing to stand for the daily Pledge of Allegiance.

Landry said that she had sat for the Pledge hundreds of times at Windfern High School without incident,however, Principal Martha Strother removed her after Landry declined to stand for the Pledge.

According to the lawsuit, school administrators had “recently been whipped into a frenzy” by the controversy caused by NFL players kneeling for the national anthem.

The lawsuit also charged that India was told after she was expelled that “if your mom does not get here in five minutes the police are coming.”

Washington Post article on the Pledge’s history.

United States Pledge Allegiance
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November 25 Peace Love Activism

November 25 Peace Love Activism

BLACK HISTORY

TERRORISM
November 25, 1915: a cross was burned on Stone Mountain, Georgia, on this day, marking the revival of the Ku Klux Klan in the early 20th century. The Klan had been a powerful racist force during the Reconstruction Era in the South following the Civil War. It gradually faded away, but was revived as part of the racist mood of the country in the first decades of the century. (see November 7, 1922)
Anti-Lynching Congress
November 25, 1930: a delegation from the Anti-Lynching Congress, which was meeting in Washington, D.C., delivered a protest to President Herbert Hoover, demanding that he take action to end the lynching of African-Americans. The group was led by Maurice W. Spencer, president of the National Equal Rights League and Race Congress. President Hoover did not respond.

Herbert Hoover was basically sympathetic to the needs of African-Americans in American society, but was not willing to expend any political capital on civil rights. He was very upset, for example, when Southern bigots protested when First Lady Lou Henry Hoover invited the wife of African-American Congressman Oscar DePriest to the White House for tea (along with all the other Congressional wives), on June 12, 1929. He responded by inviting Robert Moton, President of Tuskegee University, to the White House in a symbolic gesture.  (BH see Nov 22; T, see August 27, 1949)
Interstate Commerce Commission
November 25, 1955: the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), the federal agency that regulated railroads and other transporters of goods, banned racial segregation on interstate buses, train lines, and in waiting rooms. The ICC ruled that “the disadvantages to a traveler who is assigned accommodations or facilities so designated as to imply his inferiority solely because of his race must be regarded under present conditions as unreasonable.” The ban was consistent with a 1946 United States Supreme Court decision, Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia (see June 3, 1946), which held that a state law requiring segregation on interstate buses traveling through the state was unconstitutional.

However, neither the Supreme Court decision nor the ICC ban covered intrastate travel, and 13 states still required segregation on buses and railways that traveled exclusively within state borders. Some of these states ignored the new ban on segregated interstate travel and continued to enforce unconstitutional laws. According to a report issued by the Public Affairs Research Committee in December 1957, police in Flomaton, Alabama, had been called to arrest African Americans traveling in the white section of an interstate railroad line. The report additionally found that employees of rail and bus lines in Alabama “have flagrantly segregated colored travelers or called police to arrest those who would not easily be intimidated where their rights were involved.”

It was not until November 1961, six years after the ICC ban, that it was given force by order of the ICC and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, largely spurred by the Freedom Rides. (NYT article)(see Dec 1)
Randolph Evans
November 25, 1976, Thanksgiving Day: NYC police officer Robert Torsney fired a bullet into the head of Randolph Evans, 15, outside a housing project in Brooklyn. Officer Torsney would later claim he had been afflicted with a rare form of epilepsy that had never been noticed before the killing and was never seen after it. The ''epilepsy'' defense worked. A jury acquitted Torsney of any criminal wrongdoing. (NYT article) (see Dec 17)
Black & Shot: Sean Bell
November 25, 2006: a team of plainclothes and undercover NYPD officers shot a total of 50 times at three men killing one of the men, Sean Bell, on the morning before his wedding, and severely wounding two of his friends.  (NYT article) (B & S and Sean Bell, see March 16, 2007)
Black Lives Matter
November 25, 2015: Minneapolis police released the names of four men arrested in connection with a shooting during a Black Lives Matter protest outside a police station that injured five protesters. The authorities identified the suspects in the shooting as Allen Lawrence Scarsella, 23; Nathan Gustavsson, 21; Daniel Macey, 26; and Joseph Backman, 27. All were white. (see Dec 2)

FREE SPEECH

November 25, 1930: an agent of the New England Watch and Ward Society purchased a copy of Lady Chatterly's Lover at the Dunster House Book shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts. James Delancy, the manager, and Joseph Sullivan, his clerk, were both convicted of selling obscene literature, a crime for which Mr. Delancy was fined $800. and assigned four months in the house of corrections while Mr. Sullivan was sentenced to two weeks in prison and a $200. fine. (see April 6, 1931)

US Labor History

St Paul teacher strike
November 25, 1946: teachers strike in St. Paul, Minn., the first organized walkout by teachers in the country. The month-long “strike for better schools” involving some 1,100 teachers—and principals—led to a number of reforms in the way schools were administered and operated. (see Dec 3)
“Harvest of Shame”
November 25, 1960: CBS broadcast the documentary, “Harvest of Shame,” on US migrant farm workers the day after Thanksgiving. Journalist Edward R. Murrow narrates, opening with these words over footage of workers: "This is not taking place in the Congo. It has nothing to do with Johnannesburg or Cape Town. It is not Nyasaland or Nigeria. This is Florida. These are citizens of the United States, 1960. This is a shape-up for migrant workers. The hawkers are chanting the going piece rate at the various fields. This is the way the humans who harvest the food for the best-fed people in the world get hired. One farmer looked at this and said, 'We used to own our slaves. Now we just rent them.' " The hour-long telecast, shocking to many viewers, immediately leads to a greater public and political awareness of the workers' lives. (see October 3, 1961) 

Religion and Public Education

November 25, 1947: the American Unitarian Association announced that it had received permission from the US Supreme Court to enter the McCollum v Champaign case. Its brief stated that the religious group “has an interest in the the proceedings by reason of the nature of the questions involved, the absolute separation of church and state being one of the cardinal principles of Unitarianism.” (see Dec 4, 1947)

Red Scare

Hollywood Ten
November 25, 1947: movie studio executives agreed to blacklist the Hollywood 10, who were jailed for contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee. (Hollywood Ten: see June 13, 1949; Red Scare, see Dec 4)
Blacklisted Michael Wilson
November 25, 1956: the film Friendly Persuasion, starring Gary Cooper and later nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor, was released on this day — but without any screenwriter credit. The actual screenwriter was Michael Wilson, who had been blacklisted for refusing to cooperate with the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) in September 1951. Hollywood motion picture companies refused to hire or credit people who did not cooperate with HUAC. The official blacklist began on December 3, 1947.

Wilson’s screenwriting credit was restored in later versions of the film. Wilson also co-wrote the script for the award-winning Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), but was not listed on the credits. Wilson was posthumously awarded an Academy Award in 1995 for his work on the Bridge on the River Kwai.

Wilson took his revenge for having been blacklisted when he wrote the script for Planet of the Apes (1968), which includes a scene that is a wicked parody of the House Un-American Activities Committee. In the scene, Charlton Heston has to stand naked and testify before what is, in effect, an Un-Ape Activities Committee.(see February 18, 1957)
The Cold War
November 25, 2016: Cuban state television announed the death of Fidel Castro. He was 90. (see January 12, 2017)

November 25 Music et al

The Beatles
November 25, 1963: release of Beatlemania! With The Beatles album in Canada. (see Nov 29)
Incense and Peppermints
November 25 – December 1, 1967: “Incense and Peppermints” by the Strawberry Alarm Clock #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Last Waltz

November 25, 1976, Thanksgiving Day, at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, The Band gave their farewell concert. They called it "The Last Waltz." More than a dozen speicial guests joined The Band, including Paul Butterfield, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Ronnie Wood, Bobby Charles, Neil Young, and the Staple Singers. The musical director for the concert was The Band's original record producer, John Simon.

The event was filmed by director Martin Scorsese and made into a documentary of the same name, released in 1978. The film features concert performances, scenes shot on a studio soundstage and interviews by Scorsese with members of The Band. A triple-LP soundtrack recording, produced by Simon and Rob Fraboni, was issued on April 7, 1978.

The Last Waltz is hailed as one of the greatest concert films ever made.
Band Aid
November 25, 1984: Band Aid recorded the charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" to raise money to combat the famine in Ethiopia. It is released December 3. (see January 28, 1985)

INDEPENDENCE DAY

November 25, 1975, Suriname independent of Netherlands.

Nuclear/Chemical News

November 25, 1969, President Nixon ordered all US germ warfare stockpiles destroyed. (see March 5, 1970)

AIDS

November 25 Peace Love Activism

November 25, 1985: the Indiana Department of Education ruled that Ryan White must be admitted despite parent and government opposition. (see Dec 17)
November 25 Peace Love Activism

 Iran–Contra Affair

November 25, 1986: the Iran-Contra affair erupted as President Reagan and Attorney General Edwin Meese revealed that profits from secret arms sales to Iran had been diverted to Nicaraguan rebels. (see Nov 26)

Jack Kevorkian

November 25, 1998: Michigan charged Kevorkian with first-degree murder, violating the assisted suicide law and delivering a controlled substance without a license in the death of Thomas Youk. Prosecutors later drop the suicide charge. Kevorkian insists on defending himself during the trial and threatens to starve himself if he is sent to jail. (see March 26, 1999)

Terrorism

John Phillip Walker Lindh

November 25 Peace Love Activism

November 25, 2001: John Phillip Walker Lindh, a US citizen, was captured as an enemy combatant during the invasion of Afghanistan. (Terrorism, see Dec 11; Walker, see July 15, 2002)
Department of Homeland Security
November 25, 2002: President Bush signed legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security. (see Dec 11)
Mohammed Hamdi al-Ahdal

November 25 Peace Love Activism

November 25, 2003: Yemen arrested Mohammed Hamdi al-Ahdal, a top al-Qaida member suspected of masterminding the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole and the 2002 bombing of a French oil tanker off Yemen's coast. (see April 5, 2004)

LGBTQ

Arkansas’ gay marriage ban
November 25, 2014, : U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker struck down Arkansas' gay marriage ban, which paved the way for county clerks to resume issuing licenses. Baker ruled in favor of two same-sex couples who had challenged a 2004 constitutional amendment and earlier state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman, arguing that the ban violated the U.S. Constitution and discriminated based on sexual orientation.
Mississippi’s ban on gay marriage
November 25, 2014: U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves ruled against Mississippi’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex couples from marrying.  Attorney Roberta Kaplan represented two plaintiff couples on behalf of Campaign for Southern Equality, arguing that Mississippi’s marriage ban violates the U.S. Constitution. (see Dec 18)

November 25 Peace Love Activism, November 25 Peace Love Activism, November 25 Peace Love Activism, November 25 Peace Love Activism, November 25 Peace Love Activism, November 25 Peace Love Activism, November 25 Peace Love Activism, November 25 Peace Love Activism, November 25 Peace Love Activism, November 25 Peace Love Activism, November 25 Peace Love Activism, 

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November 12 Peace Love Activism

November 12 Peace Love Activism

Black History

George Washington, Slaves
November 12 Peace Love Activism
George Washington and one of his many slaves
November 12, 1775: General Washington, owner of more than 300 slaves, issued an order which forbade recruiting officers to enlist blacks. (see July 2, 1777)
Race Revolt
November 12, 1976: a race revolt erupted at Reidsville State Prison, now known as Georgia State Prison, in Reidsville, Georgia. Just a few years prior, a federal judge had ordered the prison to desegregate inmate living quarters. According to newspaper reports at the time, the riot began when 50-75 white prisoners armed with shanks attacked a group of black prisoners; in the end, 47 prisoners were injured and five were killed. Prison officials blamed the incident on an argument between homosexual inmates.

In 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Georgia state law requiring racial separation of prisoners at Reidsville (where 60-65% of prisoners were black). However, after an initial attempt at integration, the prison had repeatedly reverted to segregation in supposed efforts to cool racial tensions. At the time, ACLU of Georgia Director Gene Guerrero remarked, “It's the worst sort of cop-out – to lay the problems at Reidsville on integration.”

Following the November 1976 riot and several other incidents of deadly violence, U.S. District Judge Anthony Aliamo issued an order on July 3, 1978, to re-segregate dormitories at Reidsville for a period of 60 days. The common areas, such as the mess hall and recreation yard, were to remain integrated. When another deadly racial attack occurred in August 1978, the state successfully sought an extension of the re-segregation order, resulting in eight months of segregated dorms. At the time, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Offender Rehabilitation said that he thought the prison would have a “hard time going back” to integrated dormitories. (BH, see Nov 25; RR, see May 17, 1980)
BLACK & SHOT
November 12, 2016: the judge in the Samuel DuBose case (see July 19, 2015) declared a mistrial after the jury became deadlocked. (B & S, see January 24, 2017; DuBose, see July 18, 2017)

Immigration History

Ellis Island

November 12 Peace Love Activism

November 12, 1954: Ellis Island closed after processing more than 20 million immigrants since opening in New York Harbor in 1892. (NYT article) (see June 17, 1958)

November 12 Music et al

 News Music
November 12, 1966: deejay Jimmy O'Neill was the host of  Shindig! He opened a nightclub called Pandora's Box on the Sunset Strip. This led to massive throngs of teens and traffic on the strip, and Los Angeles city enacted a series of loitering and curfew laws targeting teenagers. Young people gathered at Pandora's Box to defy the 10pm curfew. The riots kept growing, and the panicked L.A. City Council quickly moved to condemn and demolish Pandora's Box, which they ultimately did in 1967. The incident inspired a number of songs in 1967 and see Sunset Riots:
“For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield

Plastic People” by Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention

Daily Nightly” by The Monkees

Riot on Sunset Strip” by The Standells

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Poor Side of Town
November 12 – 18, 1966: “Poor Side of Town” by Johnny Rivers #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Monkees
November 12, 1966 – February 10, 1967: The Monkees’ The Monkees the Billboard #1 album.

Free Speech

Religion & Public Education

November 12 Peace Love Activism

November 12, 1968: in Epperson v. Arkansas, the US Supreme Court struck down an Arkansas state law that prohibited the teaching of Darwinian evolution. The Court argued that the First Amendment required government neutrality on questions of religion and overturned the Arkansas State Supreme Court, which had ruled that the state's law represented a legitimate exercise of its authority to determine school curriculum.

Justice Fortas wrote, "The State's undoubted right to prescribe the curriculum for its public schools does not carry with it the right to prohibit, on pain of criminal penalty, the teaching of a scientific theory or doctrine where that prohibition is based upon reasons that violate the First Amendment." The two other members of the Court concurred in the result, writing that it violated either the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment (because it was unconstitutionally vague) or the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment. (FS, see April 4, 1969; R & PE, see June 28, 1971)

Feminism/US Labor History

November 12, 1973: in the case of Laffey v. Northwest, decided on this day, stewardesses employed by Northwest Airlines won a sweeping ruling regarding sex discrimination over issues related to unequal pay, the lack of promotions, unequal benefits compared to male employees, and weight monitoring for stewardesses. The job of stewardess was a separate all-female job category, and women were forced to retire in their early 30s, not allowed to be married, and subject to monitoring of their weight. (Feminism, see January 21, 1974;  Labor, see March 24, 1974)
Church of England
November 12, 1981: The Church of England General Synod votes to admit women to holy orders. (see Feminism June 30, 1982)
November 12 Peace Love Activism

Iran hostage crisis

November 12, 1979: in response to the hostage situation in Tehran, U.S. President Jimmy Carter orders a halt to all oil imports into the United States from Iran. (see Nov 14)

Calvin Graham

November 12, 1988: President Reagan signed legislation that granted Calvin full disability benefits, increased his back pay to $4917, and allowed $18,000 for past medical bills, contingent on receipts for the medical services. By this time, some of the doctors who treated him had died and many medical bills were lost. Calvin received only $2,100 of the possible $18,000. (Calvin Graham for full story)

César E. Chávez

November 12, 1990:  Mexican President Salinas de Gortari awarded  Chávez the Aguila Azteca, the highest Mexican civilian award. (see April 23, 1993)

Terrorism, World Trade Center

November 12 Peace Love Activism
World Trade center bomber Ramzi Yousef
November 12, 1997:  Ramzi Yousef was found guilty of masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. (NYT article) (see January 8, 1998)

AIDS, Ricky Ray

November 12 Peace Love Activism
Ricky Ray’s parents were prevented from enrolling their son in school.
November 12, 1998: the U.S. Congress enacts the Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund Act, honoring the Florida teenager who was infected with HIV through contaminated blood products. The Act authorized payments to individuals with hemophilia and other blood clotting disorders who were infected with HIV by unscreened blood-clotting agents between 1982 and 1987. (Federal site info) (see April 30, 2000)

LGBTQ

Same-sex Marriage
November 12, 2008, LGBT: same-sex marriages begin to be officially performed in Connecticut. (NYT article) (see Jan 1, 2009)
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
November 12 Peace Love Activism
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell protest
November 12, 2010: The US Supreme Court refused to intervene on the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy while it was on appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. (NYT article) (see Nov 30)
Banning Marriage Equality
November 12, 2014: U.S. District Judge Richard Mark Gergel ruled against South Carolina’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality.  In Condon v. Haley, Lambda Legal and private attorneys sued the state on behalf of same-sex couples who argued that South Carolina’s ban on marriage equality violated the U.S. Constitution.  In his ruling, Judge Gergel cited the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in Bostic v. Shaeffer, in which the federal appeals court struck down Virginia’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. The Fourth Circuit ruling in Bostic was binding precedent on South Carolina. (NYT article) (LGBTQ, see Nov 19; South Carolina, see Nov 20)

Medical marijuana

November 12, 2013:  a University of Utah neurologist and two other Utah doctors announced their support for allowing a medical use of a marijuana extract for children who suffer from seizures. In a letter sent to the state Controlled Substances Advisory Committee on Tuesday, pediatric neurologist Dr. Francis Filloux said the liquid form of medical marijuana is a promising option for children with epilepsy. (see Dec 10)
Fair Housing & Consumer Protection
November 12, 2015: a proposed federal rule announced on this date would prohibit smoking in public housing homes nationwide under, a move that would affect nearly one million households and open the latest front in the long-running campaign to curb unwanted exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.

The ban, by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, would also require that common areas and administrative offices on public housing property be smoke-free. (FH, see January 20, 2017; CP, see May 5, 2016)

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