The story of Matthew Shepard. He was born in Casper, Wyoming on December 1, 1976 to Judy and Dennis Shepard. He and his family moved to Saudia Arabia when he was a high school junior, but Matthew finished school at the American School in Switzerland because there were no American high schools in Saudi Arabia. Matthew was well-liked by his fellow students in both high schoolsAfter graduating from high school and attending a couple different colleges, Matt moved back to Wyoming where he studied political science, foreign relations and languages at the University of Wyoming in Laramie.
Matthew Shepard Murder
On October 6, 1998 Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, strangers to Matthew, met him at the Fireside Lounge in Laramie. Because of his small stature, McKinney and Henderson figured Shepard would be easy to rob. They said they'd give a ride home but drove to a rural area where they tied him to a split-rail fence, beat him severely with the butt of a .357 Smith & Wesson pistol, and left him to die in the near-freezing temperatures of the early morning hours of October 7.18 hour later Aaron Kreifels, a biker, discovered Shepard. So badly beaten that Kreifels at thought Shepard was a scarecrow. Shepard was still alive but comatose. Medics rushed him 65 miles to Fort Collins, Colorado where he remained in a coma for four days. Doctors pronounced him dead at 12:53 A.M. on October 12, 1998. He was 21 years old.
Westboro Baptist Church
On October 17, the Shepard family buried Matthew. Fred Phelps, leader of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, took his church's "God Hates Fags" message to the funeral. Two of his picket signs read: "No Tears for Queers" and "Fag Matt in Hell."
On April 5, 1999 Russell Henderson pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Aaron McKinney to avoid the death penalty; Henderson would receive two consecutive life sentences. The jury in McKinney's trial found him guilty of felony murder. As they began to deliberate on the death penalty, Shepard's parents brokered a deal, resulting in McKinney receiving two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole.
Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
On April 3, 2001 Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) introduced the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The bill died when it failed to advance in the Subcommittee on Crime. On April 2, 2004 The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act reintroduced. It failed to advance in committee.On May 26, 2005 The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act reintroduced. It failed to advance in committee. On March 30, 2007 The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act reintroduced a fourth time. The 2007 version of the bill added gender identity to the list of suspect classes for prosecution of hate crimes. The bill was again referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. On May 3, 2007. The House of Representatives passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, but the bill got stuck in Senate committee. On September 27, 2007, the Senate passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act as an amendment to another bill. President George W Bush indicated he would veto the legislation if it reached his desk. Democratic leadership dropped the amendment because of opposition from conservative groups and President George Bush.
President Barak Obama
On April 2, 2009 Rep John Conyers for a fifth time introduced the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. It has the support of President Obama. On October 28, 2009 President Obama signed the Act as a rider to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2010. The measure expanded the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
Matthew Shepard Foundation
During the years that followed Shepard's brutal murder, the Shepard family received donations from all over the world. They decided to begin the Matthew Shepard Foundation. It's mission is to empower individuals to embrace human dignity and diversity through outreach, advocacy and resource programs. It strives to replace hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance. [link to MSF]
November 15, 1913: first issue of The Suffragist published. Rheta Louise Childe Dorr was its first editor. (see Nov 18)
Suffragist Tortured, Night of Terror
November 15, 1917: “Night of Terror” pickets (arrested Nov 10) transferred to Occoquan Workhouse, where Superintendent Raymond Whittaker, just back from White House meeting of district commissioners, set in motion a brutal reception for newly arrived prisoners. Whittaker summarily dismissed demands for political prisoner status and watched guards hurl Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smash her head against an iron bed, and knock her. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head, and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air. Julia Emory showed support and sympathy by assuming same position. The next day, 16 women went on hunger strike. (San Francisco site full story) (see Nov 18)
Battle of Guadalcanal
November 15, 1942: during the battle of Guadalcanal, the South Dakota was hit forty-seven times by enemy fire. One explosion threw Calvin down three decks of stairs. He was seriously wounded by shrapnel that tore through his jaw and mouth. In spite of his injuries, he helped pull fellow sailors from danger. Half the ship's crew of 3,300 were killed or wounded. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Navy Unit Commendation medal.
36 years later…
November 15, 1978: the General Accounting Office received Graham’s claim from back-pay due him from his World War II service. (see Calvin Graham for full sad story)
The Cold War
November 15, 1957: in a long and rambling interview with an American reporter, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev claims that the Soviet Union has missile superiority over the United States and challenges America to a missile "shooting match" to prove his assertion. The interview further fueled fears in the United States that the nation was falling perilously behind the Soviets in the arms race. (NYT article) (see December 9, 1958)
November 15 Music et al
Beatles before their US appearance
November 15, 1959: Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison auditioned for a British talent program called TV Star Search at the Hippodrome Theatre in Lancashire. They had been known as The Quarrymen but for this audition, they took the name "Johnny and the Moondogs." They played two Buddy Holly songs: "Think It Over" and "It's So Easy." They must have been good as they were invited back for the next round of audition the next day.They returned to Liverpool the same night, having no money to rent a hotel room, and therefore missing out on the next round of auditions. (see April 23 & 24, 1960)
November 15, 1966: Gen. Earle Wheeler, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressed a gathering at Brown University and approximately 60 students walk out to protest his defense of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Some of those who remained shouted and heckled Wheeler, while others attempted to storm the stage. Outside, over 100 students continued the protest. (Wheeler article) (see Dec 12)
March for Peace in Washington, DC
November 15, 1969: 250,000 people marched for peace in Washington, DC . It was the largest antiwar rally in U.S. history. Some of the speakers: McCarthy, McGovern, Coretta King, Dick Gregory, Leonard Bernstein. Singers: Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul, & Mary, John Denver, Mitch Miller, touring cast of Hair . (NYT article) (see Nov 20)
November 15 Peace Love Activism
November 15, 1985: Britain and Ireland signed an accord giving Dublin an official consultative role in governing Northern Ireland. (see November 8, 1987)
Sexual Abuse of Children
November 15, 2004: US Roman Catholic bishops elected Bishop William Skylstad as their new president. His Washington diocese faced bankruptcy due to the volume of compensation claims made by alleged victims of child abuse. (see Dec 3)
November 15, 2006: the Road-to-Freedom tour kicked off. The 50-state bus tour and photographic exhibit chronicles the history of the grassroots "people's movement" that led to passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). (see October 22, 2012)
The Code Talkers
November 15, 2008: President George W. Bush signed The Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008 into law. The Act recognized every Native American code talker who served in the US military during WWI or WWII with a Congressional Gold Medal for his tribe (to be retained by the Smithsonian Institution) and a silver medal duplicate to each code talker. (see February 14, 2011)
Jimmie Lee Jackson
On February 18, 1965, during a protest near the Perry County Jail in Perry, Alabama, twenty-six-year-old Jimmie Lee Jackson, his mother Viola Jackson, and his 82-year-old grandfather, Cager Lee, ran into a cafe pursued by Alabama State Troopers. Police clubbed Cager Lee to the floor in the kitchen. His daughter Viola attempted to pull the police off, she was also beaten. When Jimmie Lee attempted to protect his mother, one trooper threw him against a cigarette machine. A second trooper shot Jimmie Lee twice in the abdomen. Jimmie Lee Jackson died 8 days later. A grand jury will not indict James Fowler, the trooper who shot Jackson, but on May 10, 2007, 42 years after the homicide, an Alabama grand jury did indict the former state trooper for the February 18, 1965 murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson. On this date, November 15, 2010, James Fowler apologized for his shooting of Jimmie Lee Jackson, but insisted that he had acted in self-defense, believing that Mr. Jackson was trying to grab his gun. Fowler was sentenced to six months in prison. Perry County commissioner, Albert Turner Jr, called the agreement “a slap in the face of the people of this county.” Fowler served 5 of the 6 months. [BH, see June 26, 2011; Fowler, see July 5, 2015]
BLACK & SHOT
November 15, 2015: white Minneapolis police officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze fatally shot Jamar Clark, 24, an unarmed black man. (B & S, see Nov 19; Minneapolis, see Nov 23)
Occupy Wall Street
November 15, 2011: day 60 of Occupy Wall Street. NYPD began to clear Zuccotti Park. Mayor Bloomberg released the following statement: “At one o’clock this morning, the New York City Police Department and the owners of Zuccotti Park notified protesters in the park that they had to immediately remove tents, sleeping bags and other belongings, and must follow the park rules if they wished to continue to use it to protest. Many protesters peacefully complied and left. At Brookfield’s request, members of the NYPD and Sanitation Department assisted in removing any remaining tents and sleeping bags. This action was taken at this time of day to reduce the risk of confrontation in the park, and to minimize disruption to the surrounding neighborhood.” (NYT article) (see Nov 18)
November 15, 2013, LGBT: Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed legislation into law, making Hawaii the 15th state to legalize gay marriage. (NYT article) (see Nov 18)
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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)
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)
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
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.
November 12, 1966 – February 10, 1967: The Monkees’ The Monkees the Billboard #1 album.
Religion & Public Education
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)
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, 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, 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)
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, 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)
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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