Less than year before the tragic shootings at Kent State, the SAC [Special Agent in Charge] of the Cincinnati Bureau [FBI] sent [FBI Director] Hoover a memo detailing Rhodes’ attitude towards civil unrest: “He personally feels that the Director is the outstanding American and that he is the only person who has consistently opposed those persons who would subvert our government. He feels that the Director’s stated position of dealing firmly with these groups is the only sensible method.”
“He [Rhodes] commented on the riots and unrest which have occurred repeatedly and said that some of this might well have been avoided if the Director’s warnings and advice had been followed. In Ohio, he has not hesitated to use the National Guard to deal with these situations and has instructed the Guard to act quickly and firmly. He feels that this is the only way to maintain law and order, and that the maintenance of law and order is the only way our government can survive,” the memo records. [my emphasis]
Ohio Governor James Rhodes
Keep in mind the days preceding May 4.
As promised by the newly-elect President Nixon, the Vietnam War seemed to be winding down. Then in late April of 1970, the US invaded Cambodia and widened the Vietnam War. Nixon announced the invasion on April 30, l970.
The next day student protests erupted on many college campuses. Kent State University was one of those place. Students planned a second rally for noon Monday 4 May.
Saturday 2 May. Kent Mayor Leroy Satrom asked Governor Rhodes to send in the Ohio National Guard. Stationed close by, the Guard arrived that evening to the burning of the University’s ROTC building.
Ohio Governor James Rhodes
Sunday 3 May
Sunday 3 May. About 1000 Ohio National Guardsmen occupied the campus, While tense, the mood was not threatening. Student quietly conversed with Guard members. It was on this day at a press conference that Ohio Governor James A Rhodes called the anti-war protesters “the worst type of people we harbor in America, worse than the brown shirts and the communist element
That evening confrontations between protesters and guardsmen occurred and once again rocks, tear gas, and arrests characterized a tense campus.
Ohio Governor James Rhodes
May 4, 1970
May 4 was simply another day in most ways. People awoke. Ate breakfast. Began their day.
“ABC” by the Jackson 5 was Billboard’s #1 single. Ironically, Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Trouble Water” was the #1 album.
The tragedy of May 4 would leave us perplexed, shocked, and with many questions.
Did the National Guard need to shoot? Were their lives in danger? Why were between 61 and 67 shots were fired in a 13 second period? Should the Guard have been on campus to begin with?
The 418 page Scranton Committee Report on the event determined that “The indiscriminate firing of rifles into a crowd of students and the deaths that followed were unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable.”
Regardless of any possibilities, for Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer, and William Knox life ended suddenly and horribly on May 4, 1970.
Ohio Governor James Rhodes
Ohio Governor James Rhodes, Ohio Governor James Rhodes, Ohio Governor James Rhodes, Ohio Governor James Rhodes, Ohio Governor James Rhodes, Ohio Governor James Rhodes, Ohio Governor James Rhodes, Ohio Governor James Rhodes,
September 26, 1908: the first production Ford Model T leaves the Piquette Plant in Detroit, Mich. It was the first car ever manufactured on an assembly line, with interchangeable parts. The auto industry was to become a major U.S. employer, accounting for as many as one of every eight to 10 jobs in the country (see December 19, 1910)
Mother Earth magazine
September 26, 1917: the U.S. Post Office directed Mother Earth, the magazine founded and edited by Emma Goldman, the famous anarchist and opponent of U.S. involvement in World War I, to show cause on this day why it should not be barred from the mails because of its opposition to the war. Goldman had already been arrested for opposing the draft, in violation of the Espionage Act, passed on June 15, 1917. The Post Office subsequently denied Mother Earth 2nd Class mailing privilege (a device that was widely used during World War I, and effectively denied use of the mails for publications), and Mother Earth suspended publication.Goldman would be deported from the U.S. to the Soviet Union on the so-called “Red Ark” on December 21, 1919, along with 249 other alleged alien radicals. (see March 23, 1918)
September 26, 1927: Gary, Indiana School Superintendent Dr. William A Wirt faced a dilemma in the 1910 - 20′s as the city’s black population greatly increased. The East Pulaski and Virginia Street School served the black population, but were segregated and in deplorable condition. The spillover caused nominal numbers of black students to receive education in predominately white schools throughout the city, but they were limited in which facilities they could use.In the 1926 - 27 school year six black students had attended classes at Emerson High School. To help ameliorate the student overpopulation at Virginia Street School the district transferred 18 black students to Emerson in 1927.White students outraged at the presence of more black students in their took to the streets. On Monday, September 26 some 600 students walked out of class. Those who remained inside were heckled incessantly until they joined the throngs of protesters. As the demonstration gained momentum signs saying, “WE WON’T GO BACK UNTIL EMERSON IS WHITE. . . . NO NIGGERS FOR EMERSON. . . . EMERSON IS A WHITE MAN’S SCHOOL” taunted the black students. (see Sept 27)
James H Meredith
September 26, 1962: the chief US Marshal and Mississippi Lieut. Governor scuffled repeatedly as State officials prevented the registration of Meredith for the third time. (see September 27, 1962)
Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing
September 26, 1977: reported in the NYT: A 73-year-old former Ku Klux Klansman was indicted today on four counts of first-degree murder in the bombing of a Birmingham church 14 years ago that killed four young black girls attending Sunday school. Robert Chambliss of Birmingham was being held without bond in Jefferson County Jail in Birmingham. (see November 16)
September 26, 1986: President Reagan vetoed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act. The law would have imposed sanctions against South Africa and stated five preconditions for lifting the sanctions that would essentially end the system of apartheid. (see Sept 29)
Lt. Col. Peter Dewey
September 26, 1945, Vietnam: Lt. Col. Peter Dewey, a U.S. Army officer with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in Vietnam and trying to help arrange negotiations between the Viet Minh and France, was unintentioanally shot and killed in Saigon by the Viet Minh. Dewey was the head of a seven-man team sent to Vietnam to search for missing American pilots and to gather information on the situation in the country after the surrender of the Japanese. Dewey is not listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. because the United States Department of Defense has ruled that the war officially started, from a U.S. perspective, on November 1, 1955, after the U.S. took over following the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu. (Blog article)(see March 2, 1946)
September 26, 1970: the President's Commission on Campus Unrest (the Scranton Commission) appealed to President Nixon to lead Americans back from the brink of what it described as a chasm in society so dangerous that it threatened the survival of the nation. The Commission concluded that the shootings at Kent State were unjustified. The report said: Even if the guardsmen faced danger, it was not a danger that called for lethal force. The 61 shots by 28 guardsmen certainly cannot be justified. Apparently, no order to fire was given, and there was inadequate fire control discipline on Blanket Hill. The Kent State tragedy must mark the last time that, as a matter of course, loaded rifles are issued to guardsmen confronting student demonstrators. (see Sept 29)
September 26, 1960: Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, participate in the first (of four) televised presidential election debates.
September 26 Music et al
September 26 – October 9, 1960: “My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own” by Connie Francis #1 Billboard Hot 100
September 26 – October 30, 1960: the Kingston Trio’s String Along is their 3rd Billboard #1 album in 1960.
September 26, 1961: Dylan started as opening act for the Greenbriar Boys. He stayed two weeks. (see Sept 29)
Oh Pretty Woman
September 26 – October 16, 1964: “Oh Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The title was inspired by Orbison's wife Claudette interrupting a conversation to announce she was going out; when Orbison asked if she was okay for cash, his co-writer Bill Dees interjected "A pretty woman never needs any money.
September 26, 1966: Brian Epstein, hospitalized in a London clinic. The official given reason was that it was a check-up, although it later transpired that he had overdosed on prescribed drugs. Epstein had been suffering from depression and anxiety for some time, a condition exacerbated by his use of drugs - both prescribed and illegal. His anxiety had heightened following The Beatles decision to stop touring, which left Epstein with less involvement in their careers. Each member was undertaking individual projects in the late summer of 1966 and he had intended to join John Lennon in Spain on the set of How I Won The War. However, as a result of the hospitalization, he was forced to cancel his visit to Spain. Although Epstein is known to have made later suicide attempts, it is believed that this overdose was accidental. (see Oct 3)
September 26, 1969: UK release of Abbey Road album. Though recorded after material for the Let It Be lp had already been recorded, it is released before Let It Be. (see Oct 1)
Walls and Bridges
September 26, 1974: US release of Walls and Bridges, the fifth album by John Lennon (released on 4 October in the UK) Written, recorded and released during his 18-month separation from Yoko Ono (June 1973–January 1975), the album captures Lennon in the midst of his "Lost Weekend". Walls and Bridges was an American Billboard number 1 album. (see Nov 16)
September 26 Peace Love Activism
1973 Rehabilitation Act
September 26, 1973: the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, passed by Congress and signed into law on this day, was an important milestone in federal programs for disabled persons. It replaced previous laws in 1954 and 1965. Section 504 of the law was particularly important, expanding the rights of persons with disabilities, greatly expanded grants to the states for vocational rehabilitation, and also expanding federal research and training related to persons with disabilities.When the Department of Health, Education & Welfare (HEW) failed to issue regulations implementing Section 504, disability rights activists protested with a sit-in on April 5, 1977. HEW issued the regulations three weeks later.The campaign for the rights of the disabled culminated in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed by President George H. W. Bush on July 26, 1990. The ADA served as the model for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was signed on March 30, 2007. The U.S. Senate has still not ratified the Convention, however, because of conservative opposition.
In 1974,Chicago repealed last "Ugly Law" . These laws had allowed police to arrest and jail people with "apparent" disabilities for no reason other than being disfigured or demonstrating some type of disability. (see January 8, 1974)
September 26, 1975: President Ford sent a letter to Oliver W Sipple expressing his "heartfelt appreciation" for the former marine's help during an attack on the President in San Francisco. (see Oliver Sipple)
September 26, 1983: in the early hours of the morning, the Soviet Union's early-warning systems detected an incoming missile strike from the United States. Computer readouts suggested several missiles had been launched. The protocol for the Soviet military would have been to retaliate with a nuclear attack of its own.But duty officer Stanislav Petrov - whose job it was to register apparent enemy missile launches - decided not to report them to his superiors, and instead dismissed them as a false alarm.This was a breach of his instructions, a dereliction of duty. The safe thing to do would have been to pass the responsibility on, to refer up. His decision may have saved the world. The detection was false. (see April 4, 1984)
September 26, 1992: Lois Hawes, 52, a Warren, Michigan, woman with lung and brain cancer, died from carbon monoxide poisoning at the home of Kevorkian's assistant Neal Nicol in Waterford Township, Michigan. (see Nov 23)
Sexual Abuse of Children
September 26, 1996: the last Magdalene asylum, in Waterford, Ireland, closed. Magdalene asylums were institutions from the 18th to the late-20th centuries ostensibly for "fallen women", a term used to imply sexual promiscuity. The first asylum in Ireland opened in Dublin in 1765. In Belfast there was a Church of Ireland run Ulster Magdalene Asylum (founded in 1839) Initially the mission of the asylums was often to rehabilitate women back into society, but by the early 20th century the homes had become increasingly punitive and prison-like. In most of these asylums, the inmates were required to undertake hard physical labor, including laundry and needle work. They also endured a daily regime that included long periods of prayer and enforced silence. In Ireland, such asylums were known as Magdalene laundries. It has been estimated that up to 30,000 women passed through such laundries in Ireland. (see Magdalene for more) (see Dec 3, 1996)
September 26, 2011: Pastor Manuel Hernández was pulled over by an undercover detective in a rural area near Warrior, Alabama, and became the first person arrested under Alabama’s new anti-immigration law, just hours after a federal judge upheld the law’s key passages.Pastor Hernández, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, worked at the Prayer Center for All Nations in Anniston, Alabama. When the detective asked to see his identification, Hernàndez provided his Mexican passport and Mexican Consular ID card, as well as a card issued by the American Association of Chaplains. The detective questioned the validity of these documents and accused Hernàndez of committing a felony by carrying the chaplain card because it had the state seal on it but was an unofficial form of identification.Though the detective claimed to have pulled Pastor Hernández over for excessive speeding, he never issued a ticket. Hernández was arrested under suspicion of being an undocumented immigrant and spent several days in jail, where he felt discriminated against as a Latino. Hernández said officials refused to give him a Spanish language Bible and, thinking he could not speak English, said in his presence, “He is an illegal and should be treated as an illegal.” After a few days of incarceration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials released Pastor Hernández with orders to return to immigration court at a later date. (see June 15, 2012)
Occupy Wall Street
September 26, 2012: the University of California agreed to pay about $1 million to settle a lawsuit filed by UC-Davis students who were pepper-sprayed by campus police during an Occupy-style protest on campus last November. The settlement also calls for a personal written apology from UC-Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi to each person hit with the spray. (see July 21, 2015)
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