Tag Archives: Peace Love Art and Activism

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

Feminism

Angelina Grimké

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

May 16, 1838: abolitionist and feminist Angelina Grimké spoke in the recently completed Pennsylvania Hall. As mobs rioted outside, she urged the abolitionists to stand fast in their work for the slave. The next day, mobs burned the building to the ground.  (women’s history dot org article) (see  May 1840)

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

Cultural Milestone

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

May 16, 1866: Charles Elmer Hires invented root beer. (Philadelphia Encyclopedia dot org article) (see February 18, 1885)

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

Anarchism

Sedition Act

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

May 16, 1918: Congress passed the Sedition Act, an amendment to the Espionage Act. The act prohibited anti-government speech, activities or publications, including anti-conscription or strike activities. Under this act, the government effectively censored any criticism of itself or its war effort. (Politico article) (see August 30, 1918)

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

FREE SPEECH

Whitney v California

May 16, 1927: Anita Whitney was convicted under the California’s 1919 Criminal Syndicalism Act for allegedly helping to establish the Communist Labor Party of America, a group the state charged was devoted to teaching the violent overthrow of government. Whitney claimed that it had not been her intention, nor that of other organizers, that the party become an instrument of violence. (see Oct 15)

The US Supreme Court held that Whitney’s conviction under California’s criminal syndicalism statute for membership in the Communist Labor Party did not violate her free speech rights as protected under the Fourteenth Amendment, because states may constitutionally prohibit speech tending to incite crime, disturb the public peace, or threaten the overthrow of government by unlawful means. (Oyez article) (see November 25, 1930)

Terminiello v. Chicago

Arthur Terminiello was giving a speech to the Christian Veterans of America in which he criticized various racial groups and made a number of inflammatory comments. There were approximately 800 people present in the auditorium where he was giving the speech and a crowd of approximately 1,000 people outside, protesting the speech.

The Chicago Police Department was present, but was unable to maintain order completely. Terminiello was later assessed a fine of 100 dollars for violation of Chicago’s breach of peace ordinance, which he appealed. Both the Illinois Appellate Court and Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the conviction.

On May 16, 1949, in a 5 – 4 decision, the US Supreme Court reversed Terminiello’s conviction, finding Chicago’s statute unconstitutionally overbroad. (Oyez article) (see January 2, 1952)

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

US Labor History

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

May 16, 1934: when employers refused to recognize their union, members of the Minneapolis General Drivers and Helpers Union, Local 574 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters went on strike, bringing trucking operations in the city to a halt. Despite a concerted and violent effort by employers, the police, and military, the strike ended successfully, (see May 23)

NLRB v. Mackay Radio & Telegraph Co.

May 16, 1938: in a 7-0 decision, US Supreme Court held that workers who strike remain employees for the purposes of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The Court granted the relief sought by the National Labor Relations Board, which sought to have the workers reinstated by the employer. However, the the Court also said that an employer may hire strikebreakers and is not bound to discharge any of them if or when the strike ends.The decision had little impact until Ronald Reagan’s replacement of striking air traffic controllers (PATCO) in 1981, a move that signaled anti-union private sector employers that it was OK to do likewise. (Justia dot com article) (see June 25)

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

BLACK HISTORY

Briggs v Elliott

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

May 16, 1950: a South Carolina lawsuit, Briggs v. Elliott, was filed that would help lead to the successful Brown v. Board of Education decision four years later. Levi Pearson had previously sued, asking that school buses be provided for black students. After J.A. DeLaine as well as Harry and Eliza Briggs joined this litigation, both Briggs were fired from their jobs, and DeLaine’s church was torched. The judge in the case, Walter Waring, who sided with their concerns, was forced to leave the state. In 2003, Congressional Gold Medals were awarded posthumously to the Harry and Eliza Briggs, Pearson and DeLaine.  (National Park Service article) (see June 5)

Memphis sanitation workers strike

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

May 16, 1968: six weeks after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the city of Memphis settled its sanitation strike. King  had come to Memphis to help the sanitation workers with their strike. (see May 27)

Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

May 16, 1997: Bill Clinton issued a formal apology to the surviving victims of the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male and their families. The study, conducted between 1932 and 1972 in Tuskegee, Alabama by the U.S. Public Health Service, studied the natural progression of untreated syphilis in poor, rural black men who thought they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government. (NCBI dot gov article) (see May 17)

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

see May 16 Music et al for more

Alan Freed

May 16, 1958: Freed pleaded innocent in Massachusetts Superior Court to two indictments in connection with disturbances that followed his rock ‘n’ roll show in Boston on May 3. (see July 19)

Kingston Trio

May 16 – May 22, 1960: the Kingston Trio’s Sold Out is Billboard’s #1 album.

Mary Wells

May 16 – 29, 1964 – “My Guy” by Mary Wells #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The first #1 hit for Motown Records. Motown Records would go on to release another 32 #1 hits in the next 10 years, but “My Guy” would be the last solo hit for Mary Wells, on Motown or any other label.

Blond on Blonde

May 16, 1966: Bob Dylan released Blond on Blonde.  He had recorded in during January, February, and March 1966

The cover shows Dylan in front of a brick building, wearing a suede jacket and a black and white checkered scarf. The jacket is the same one he wore on his next two albums, John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline. Photographer Jerry Schatzberg, described how the photo was taken: I wanted to find an interesting location outside of the studio. We went to the west side, where the Chelsea art galleries are now. At the time it was the meat packing district of New York and I liked the look of it. It was freezing and we were very cold. The frame he chose for the cover is blurred and out of focus. Of course everyone was trying to interpret the meaning, saying it must represent getting high on an LSD trip. It was none of the above; we were just cold and the two of us were shivering. There were other images that were sharp and in focus but, to his credit, Dylan liked that photograph. (see July 29, 1966)

Side one

  1. “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”
  2. “Pledging My Time”
  3. “Visions of Johanna”
  4. “One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)”
Side three

  1. “Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine)”
  2. “Temporary Like Achilles”
  3. “Absolutely Sweet Marie”
  4. “4th Time Around”
  5. “Obviously 5 Believers”
Side two

  1. “I Want You”
  2. “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again”
  3. “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat”
  4. “Just Like a Woman”
Side four

  1. “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands”
seePet Soundsfor more

May 16, 1966: The Beach Boys released “Pet Sounds“. The LP has been called one of the most influential records in the history of popular music and one of the best albums of the 1960s, including songs such as “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “God Only Knows”.

                Pet Sounds was created several months after Brian Wilson had quit touring with the band in order to focus his attention on writing and recording. In it, he wove elaborate layers of vocal harmonies, coupled with sound effects and unconventional instruments such as bicycle bells, buzzing organs, harpsichords, flutes, Electro-Theremin, dog whistles, trains, Hawaiian-sounding string instruments, Coca-Cola cans and barking dogs, along with the more usual keyboards and guitars.

     Pet Sounds has been ranked at number one in several music magazines’ lists of greatest albums of all time, including New Musical Express, The Times and Mojo Magazine.

It was ranked number two in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. (see June 20)

Side one

  1. Wouldn’t It Be Nice
  2. You Still Believe in Me
  3. That’s Not Me
  4. Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)
  5. I’m Waiting for the Day
  6. Let’s Go Away for Awhile
  7. Sloop John B
Side 2

  1. God Only Knows
  2. I Know There’s an Answer
  3. Here Today
  4. I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times
  5. Pet Sounds
  6. Caroline No
May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

The Cold War

Eisenhower v Khrushchev

May 16, 1960: a harsh exchange between Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and President Dwight D. Eisenhower doomed a much heralded summit conference between the two nations, following the Soviet downing of an American U-2 reconnaissance plane. (History dot com article) (CW & Powers, see July 8)

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

On October 17, 1979, President Jimmy Carter had signed into law the Department of Education Organization Act. On May 16, 1980, the Department of Education officially began. (Federal Education Policy History article) (see Jan 20, 1981)

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

TERRORISM

March 16, 1985: Terry Anderson was kidnapped on a west Beirut street while leaving a tennis court. His captors took him to the southern suburbs of the city, where he was held prisoner in an underground dungeon for the next six-and-a-half years. (NY Times article) (see May 17, 1987)

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

Consumer Protection

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

May 16, 1988: Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop warned that nicotine was as addictive as heroin and cocaine and recommended the licensing of those who sell tobacco products and tougher laws prohibiting their sale to minors.

The warning came in the Surgeon General’s annual report on the health consequences of smoking. Koop, said he hoped the new focus on the addictive nature of tobacco would encourage new antismoking efforts by Federal, state and local officials. (NY Times article) (see March 20, 1997)

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

Iraq War II

May 16, 2005:  Army Specialist Sabrina Harman was convicted at Fort Hood, Texas, for her role in the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib and was sentenced to 6 months in prison. (see May 30)

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

Stop and Frisk Policy

May 16, 2012: Federal Judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, granted class-action status to a lawsuit challenging the NYC Police Department’s stop-and-frisk tactics, saying she was disturbed by the city’s “deeply troubling apathy towards New Yorkers’ most fundamental constitutional rights.” (NY Times article) (see May 17)

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism

Sexual Abuse of Children

May 16, 2018:  Michigan State University announced that it had reached a settlement of $500 million to the victims of Lawrence G. Nassar, the Michigan State University physician who sexually abused young women under the guise of medical treatment.

It is believed that the $500 million is the largest settlement ever reached in a sexual abuse case involving an American university.

It dwarfed the size of the settlement reached in the sex abuse scandal at Pennsylvania State University. And it was larger than many of the settlements that followed the child sex abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church.

“I think the number being so large sends a message that is undeniable, that something really terrible happened here and that Michigan State owns it,” said John Manly, a lawyer for many of the 332 women who sued the university over abuse by Dr. Nassar. “When you pay half a billion dollars, it’s an admission of responsibility.” [NYT article]

May 16 Peace Love Art Activism
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May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

US Labor History

Samuel Gompers, et al v. Buck’s Stove and Range Company

May 15, 1906: in Samuel Gompers, John Mitchell, and Frank Morrison v. Buck’s Stove and Range Company, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Samuel Gompers and other union leaders for supporting a boycott of the Buck Stove and Range Co. in St. Louis, where workers were striking for a 9-hour day. A lower court had forbidden the boycott and sentenced the unionists to prison for refusing to obey the judge’s anti-boycott injunction. (Cornell dot edu article) (see Dec 10)

Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Co

May 15, 1922: the US Supreme Court ruled the 1919 Child Labor Tax Law unconstitutional as an improper attempt by Congress to penalize employers using child labor. The Court indicated that the tax imposed by the statute was actually a penalty in disguise. (Oyez article) (LH, see June 22; Child Labor, see February 3, 1941)

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

Fair Housing

Separate but equal

May 15, 1911: Baltimore Mayor J. Barry Mahool, who was known as an earnest advocate of good government, women’s sufferage, and social justice, signed into law “an ordinance for preserving peace, preventing conflict and ill feeling between the white and colored races in Baltimore city, and promoting the general welfare of the city by providing, so far as practicable, for the use of separate blocks by white and colored people for residences, churches and schools.”‘ Baltimore’s segregation law was the first such law to be aimed at blacks in the United States, but it was not the last. Various southern cities in Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky enacted similar laws. (see November 5, 1917)

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

BLACK HISTORY

see Jesse Washington for much more

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

[From Equal Justice Initiative] May 15, 1916: after an all-white jury convicted Jesse Washington of the murder of a white woman, he was taken from the courtroom and burned alive in front of a mob of 15,000.

When he was accused of killing his employer’s wife, seventeen-year-old Jesse Washington’ greatest fear was being brutally lynched – a common fate for black people accused of wrongdoing at that time, whether guilty or not. After he was promised protection against mob violence, Jesse, who suffered from intellectual disabilities, according to some reports, signed a statement confessing to the murder. On the morning of May 15, 1916, Washington was taken to court, convicted of murder, and sentenced to death in a matter of moments. Shortly before noon, spectators snatched him from the courtroom and dragged him outside, the “promise of protection” quickly forgotten.

The crowd that gathered to watch and/or participate in the brutal lynching grew to 15,000. Jesse Washington was chained to a car while members of the mob ripped off his clothes, cut off his ear, and castrated him. The angry mob dragged his body from the courthouse to City Hall and a fire was prepared while several assailants repeatedly stabbed him. When they tied Jesse Washington to the tree underneath the mayor’s window, the lynchers cut off his fingers to prevent him from trying to escape, then repeatedly lowered his lifeless body into the fire. At one point, a participant took a portion of Washington’s torso and dragged it through the streets of Waco. During the lynching, a professional photographer took photos which were later made into postcards.

Following news reports of the lynching, the NAACP hired a special investigator, Elizabeth Freeman. She was able to learn the names of the five mob leaders and also gathered evidence that local law enforcement had done nothing to prevent the lynching. Nevertheless, no one was ever prosecuted for their participation in the lynching of Jesse Washington. (see in May – June 1916)

Freedom Riders, May 15, 1961
  • Following the attacks of May 14, CORE Freedom Riders attempt to continue their ride, but bus drivers refused to leave the station for fear of their lives. Amid bomb threats, jeers, and other methods of intimidation, the Riders decided to travel to New Orleans by plane.
  • President John F. Kennedy received word of the attacks against Freedom Riders in Birmingham, AL and Anniston, AL on May 14. The news came as he was preparing for the June 3, 1961 Vienna Summit with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, the first such summit of his term in office. Kennedy was not pleased by the distraction posed by the Freedom Riders, telling an aide, “Can’t you get your goddamned friends off those buses?”  (2006 NPR story) (see May 17)
George Whitmore, Jr

May 15, 1967: Whitmore’s third trial opened before Justice Julius Helf and in Kings County Supreme Court and jury selection completed. In view of the Miranda ruling, the confession is inadmissible. The case now rests entirely on Elsa Borrero’s identification. (see Whitmore for expanded story)

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

Vietnam

South Vietnam Leadership

May 15, 1966: on Premier Ky’s orders, without notifying President Thieu or the U.S., a pro-government military force arrived in Da Nang to take control of the city from the Buddhist Struggle movement protesting against the government and American influence.

Washington, DC protest

May 15, 1966: 10,000 protested Vietnam War in Washington, DC (V & SVL, see May 18)

Jackson State

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

May 15. 1970: killings occurred in Jackson, Mississippi  at Jackson State (now Jackson State University). On May 14, 1970, city and state police confronted a group of student protesters against the Vietnam War, specifically the US invasion of Cambodia. Shortly after midnight, the police opened fire, killing two students [James Earl Green, 17, a senior at nearby Jim Hill High School and Phillip Lafayette Gibbs, 21, a Jackson State junior] and injured twelve. (NYT article) (Vietnam & Cambodia, see May 20; FS, see June 13)

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

Crime and Punishment

In re Gault

May 15, 1967: in the case of In re Gault, the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional many of the procedures used in juvenile courts. These omissions included the right be be notified of the charges, the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, protection against self-incrimination, the right to counsel, and the right to appeal decisions. These, of course, were protections long guaranteed to adults in criminal courts. Underlying the procedures that the Court declared unconstitutional was the philosophy of parens patriae, the belief that juvenile courts should act as a parent and consequently be free of formal legal constraints. (Oyez article) (see February 6, 1974)

Graham v. Connor

May 15, 1989: in Graham v. Connor, the US Supreme Court ruled in a 9-0 decision to uphold the decisions of the lower courts against Graham primarily on technical legal grounds. The justices unanimously agreed that Graham’s legal team should have challenged the police actions as a violation of Graham’s Fourth Amendment expectation of “objective reasonableness,” instead of as a violation of due process. But a six-member majority of the Court went even further.

The majority decision was written by Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Rehnquist argued that the issue was “whether the officers’ actions are ‘objectively reasonable’ in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation. The ‘reasonableness’ of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, and its calculus must embody an allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions about the amount of force necessary in a particular situation.”

Rehnquist rejected the idea that courts should evaluate actions based on “the 20/20 vision of hindsight.” According to Rehnquist, “The Fourth Amendment inquiry is one of objective reasonableness’ under the circumstances, and subjective concepts like ‘malice’ and ‘sadism’ have no proper place in that inquiry.” In other words, Rehnquist believed that if a police officer “reasonably” felt threatened by someone, no matter what the actual details of the incident, he or she had the right to employ whatever force they felt was necessary, even lethal force, to protect themselves and others. (Oyez article) (C & P, see June 28, 2004; Black & Shot, see November 25, 2006)

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

FREE SPEECH

People’s Park and James Rector

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

May 15, 1969:  Gov Reagan sent 300 California Highway Patrol and Berkeley police officers into People’s Park and had a chain link fence erected. That afternoon a protest was held and Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies used shotguns to fire “00” buckshot at people sitting on the roof at the nearby Telegraph Repertory Cinema, fatally wounding student James Rector. Rector was a bystander, not a protester. (Daily California article) (see June 9)

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

Terrorism

Arthur Bremer

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

May 15, 1972, Arthur Bremer tried to assassinate George Wallace at a presidential campaign rally in Laurel, Maryland. Wallace was hit four times. (2012 Washington Post article) (see Aug 4)

Cross-burning

May 15, 2014: the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama announced that Chief U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins had sentenced Steven Joshua Dinkle, 28, former exalted cyclops of the Ozark, Alabama chapter of the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), to serve 24 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release for his role in a cross burning on May 8, 2009. (DoJ article) (see June 12)

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

May 15, 2015: two years after the bombing, a federal jury condemned Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon attack. The decision rejected the defense case and found that death was the appropriate punishment for six of 17 capital counts — all six related to Mr. Tsarnaev’s planting of a pressure-cooker bomb on Boylston Street, which his lawyers never disputed. Mr. Tsarnaev, 21, stood stone-faced in court, his hands folded in front of him, as the verdict was read, his lawyers standing grimly at his side.  (WBUR article) (see June 17)

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

Religion and Public Education

May 15, 1972, in Wisconsin v. Yoder, the Supreme Court found that Amish children could not be placed under compulsory education past 8th grade. The parents’ fundamental right to freedom of religion outweighed the state’s interest in educating its children. (Oyez article) (see January 5, 1982)

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

Soviet war in Afghanistan

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

May 15, 1988: after more than 8 years of fighting, the Red Army began withdrawing from Afghanistan. (2014 Atlantic article)

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

Right to die

Jack Kevorkian

May 15, 1992: Susan Williams, a 52-year-old woman with multiple sclerosis, died from carbon monoxide poisoning in her home in Clawson, Michigan. (see Kevorkian for expanded story)

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

Feminism

United States v. Morrison

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

May 15, 2000: the Supreme Court held that parts of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 were unconstitutional because they exceeded congressional power under the Commerce Clause and under section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. (NYT article) (see Sept 28)

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

LGBTQ

In Re: Marriage Cases

May 15, 2008: the California Supreme Court determined that a state statute excluding same-sex couples from marriage was unconstitutional. Almost immediately, an initiative to overturn the court ruling (Proposition 8) qualified for the November 2008 ballot. Same-sex couples begin marrying on June 16. (NYT article) (California, see November 4, 2008; LGBTQ, see  May 22, 2008)

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism

Stop and Frisk Policy

Homicide rates

May 15, 2012: the NYPD credited declining homicide rates to stop-and-frisk practices, but New York City public radio station, WNYC, analysis found an increase in stop-and-frisk did not always result in fewer homicides.

Livery cab passengers

May 15, 2012: the city settled the federal lawsuit that challenged the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk of livery cab passengers. (see May 16)

May 15 Peace Love Art Activism
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May 13 Peace Love Art Activism

May 13 Peace Love Art Activism

Environmental Issues

President Theodore Roosevelt

May 13, 1908,: President Theodore Roosevelt delivered the opening address, “Conservation as a National Duty,” at the outset of a three-day meeting billed as the Governors’ Conference on the Conservation of Natural Resources. He explained to the attendees that “the occasion for the meeting lies in the fact that the natural resources of our country are in danger of exhaustion if we permit the old wasteful methods of exploiting them longer to continue.” The conference propelled conservation issues into the forefront of public consciousness and stimulated a large number of private and state-level conservation initiatives. (Text of speech) (see August 25, 1916)

May 13 Peace Love Art Activism

BLACK HISTORY

Annette Butler

Near dawn on May 13, 1956 (Mother’s Day), Ernest Dillon, his brother Ollie, and their cousins Olen and Durora Duncan set out looking for “colored women.” When they found the Butler home where Annette Butler was staying with her mother, Ernest claimed he was a police officer and told Ms. Butler she was under arrest. Ernest then forced her into the car, while another of the four men kept a gun trained on her mother. The men then drove Ms. Butler to the nearby Bogue Chitto swamp and took turns raping her. When the men were finished they left her alone and half-dressed in the woods. She sought help from a group of black fishermen working nearby and they notified the police.

When the men were apprehended, the district attorney charged them with “forcible ravishment and kidnap.” Upon his arrest, Olen Duncan signed a statement admitting his guilt. Judge Tom Brady, a known white supremacist, presided over the trials and appointed Mississippi’s best lawyers to represent the men. The defense attempted to reduce sympathy toward Ms. Butler by accusing her of being a prostitute and presented white witnesses to testify she had a poor reputation.

At that time in Mississippi, the crime of rape was punishable by death or life imprisonment. In order to avoid either of those fates, on March 26, 1957, Ernest Dillon pleaded guilty to assault and later received a sentence of twenty years imprisonment. At sentencing, Judge Brady, a staunch opponent of interracial sexual relations whether consensual or forced, expressed no concern about the crime’s impact on young Ms. Butler but castigated Mr. Dillon for committing a crime that “had brought bitter condemnation on the State of Mississippi.”

None of the other three attackers received prison time for the rape of Annette Butler: Ollie Dillon was permitted to plead solely to a kidnapping charge; Olen Duncan pleaded not guilty despite his confession and was acquitted by an all-white jury; and charges against Durora Duncan, who pleaded not guilty, were thrown out after his trial resulted in a hung jury. (see May 26)

Jackie Robinson

May 13, 1958: baseball great Jackie Robinson, who integrated major league baseball wrote a letter to President Dwight Eisenhower criticizing his failure to vigorously support civil rights. Robinson was a Republican, and was generally non-political in public, so his comments were widely regarded as a significant event.

Robinson to Eisenhower (excerpt):

                “I respectfully remind you sir, that we have been the most patient of all people. When you said we must have self-respect, I wondered how we could have self-respect and remain patient considering the treatment accorded us through the years.

            “17 million Negroes cannot do as you suggest and wait for the hearts of men to change. We want to enjoy now the rights that we feel we are entitled to as Americans. This we cannot do unless we pursue aggressively goals which all other Americans achieved over 150 years ago.

            “As the chief executive of our nation, I respectfully suggest that you unwittingly crush the spirit of freedom in Negroes by constantly urging forbearance and give hope to those pro-segregation leaders like Governor Faubus who would take from us even those freedoms we now enjoy. Your own experience with Governor Faubus is proof enough that forbearance and not eventual integration is the goal the pro-segregation leaders seek.” (see June 23)

Freedom Riders

May 13 Peace Love Art Activism

May 13, 1961: the CORE Freedom Riders arrive in Atlanta, GA, where Martin Luther King, Jr. warns them of violence ahead.  (BH & FR, see May 14; MLK, see May 21)

US and ICC v the City of Jackson, Miss.

May 13 Peace Love Art Activism

May 13, 1963: the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unlawful the city’s attempt to circumvent laws desegregating interstate transportation facilities by posting sidewalk signs outside bus and railroad terminals reading “Waiting Room for White Only — By Order Police Department” and “Waiting Room for Colored Only — By Order Police Department.” (Court Listener article) (see May 28)

George Whitmore/Death Penalty

May 13, 1965: the New York Senate by a vote of forty-seven to nine approved a bill abolishing the death penalty for all murders except those of peace officers or prison guards and murders committed during an escape. (see Whitmore for expanded story; Death Penalty, see June 1)

School Desegregation

May 13, 1966: the US federal government took its first action against violators of the desegregation guidelines of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by denying federal education funding for 12 segregated Southern school districts. (BH, see May 14; SD, see Aug 31)

MOVE

May 13, 1985: MOVE was a mostly black group whose members all adopted the surname Africa, advocated a ‘back-to-nature’ lifestyle and preached against technology. Philadelphia Mayor Wilson Goode ordered police to storm the group’s headquarters to end a stand-off regarding an attempt to enforce outstanding arrest warrants for four members. Police, after evacuating people from their Osage Avenue homes, dropped an explosive device from a helicopter onto the headquarters to blow up tactical bunkers constructed by MOVE on the roof of their residence.

May 13 Peace Love Art Activism

The explosion started an uncontrolled fire and as a result, 53 houses burned and 240 people were left homeless Police, killed eleven MOVE members. (2013 NPR story)(see January 20, 1986)

School Desegregation

May 13, 2016: the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi ordered Cleveland, Miss to consolidate its junior high and high schools in order to fully desegregate its school system after a 50-year battle the town had waged with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Black students and white students were largely separated into two high schools, one mostly white and one mostly black. The situation was similar with the town’s middle school and junior high – one has mostly black students, and the other is historically white.

As a result of the order the Cleveland School District would combine the two high schools together, as well as join the junior high and middle school into one, desegregating the secondary schools for the first time in the district’s 100-year history. (DoJ article) (BH, see May 26)

May 13 Peace Love Art Activism

Cold War

May 13, 1958: during a goodwill trip through Latin America, an angry crowd  attacked Vice President Richard Nixon’s car and nearly overturned it. Nixon was traveling through Caracas, Venezuela. The incident was the dramatic highlight of trip characterized by Latin American anger over some of America’s Cold War policies. (2014 Politico article) (see Dec 9)

May 13 Peace Love Art Activism

Vietnam

May 13, 1967: in New York City, 70,000 march in support of the war. (see May 20)

May 13 Peace Love Art Activism

May 13 Music et al

Supremes

May 13 – 19, 1967: “The Happening” by the Supremes #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

May 13 Peace Love Art Activism

Stop and Frisk Policy

Center for Constitutional Rights

May 13 Peace Love Art Activism

May 13, 2010: a report by The Center for Constitutional Rights found that minorities are much more likely to be frisked by NYPD. (NY Times article) (see May 19)

Statistics increase again

May 13 Peace Love Art Activism

May 13, 2012: as in past years, NYPD data showed that stop-and-frisks were up in the first three months of the year. Between January and March 2012 officers made 203.500 stops. (see May 15)

May 13 Peace Love Art Activism

CLINTON IMPEACHMENT

May 13, 1998: Ken Starr sought contempt charges against David Kendall, the president’s personal attorney. Starr accused Kendall of leaking grand jury testimony. (see Clinton for expanded story)

May 13 Peace Love Art Activism

 

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spil

May 13, 2010: BP executive Tony Hayward called the oil spill “relatively tiny” in comparison with the size of the “ocean.” [BP announced on 27 July 2010 that Hayward would be replaced by Bob Dudley as the company’s chief executive effective as of 1 October 2010. (see May 19)

May 13 Peace Love Art Activism

Marijuana

Delaware medical marijuana

May 13, 2011:  Delaware became the 16th state to legalize medical marijuana when Governor Jack Markell (D) signed SB 17 into law. The law allowed adults in Delaware with certain debilitating conditions to possess up to six ounces of marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. (Reuters article) (see July 8)

Crime & Punishment

May 13, 2018: a New York Times analysis across New York City found that police arrested black people on low-level marijuana charges at eight times the rate of white, non-Hispanic people over the past three years. The Times also found that police arrested  Hispanic people at five times the rate of white people. In Manhattan, the gap was even starker: Black people there were arrested at 15 times the rate of white people.

A police official had testified to lawmakers that the reason for the racial imbalance was that more residents in predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods called to complain about marijuana, but the Times analysis found that fact did not fully explain the racial disparity. Instead, among neighborhoods where people called about marijuana at the same rate, the police almost always made arrests at a higher rate in the area with more black residents. For example, in Canarsie’s Rockaway Parkway area there were four times as many arrests for marijuana in the precinct that includes Canarsie, which was 85 percent black, compared to Greenpoint, which is largely white, even though residents call 311 and 911 to complain about marijuana at about the same rate, an analysis by The New York Times found.

Government surveys had shown that black and white people use marijuana at roughly the same rate. [NYT article]

May 13 Peace Love Art Activism

LGBTQ

May 13, 2016: the Obama administration issued a sweeping directive telling every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.

The letter to school districts— signed by Justice and Education department officials —described what schools should do to ensure that none of their students were discriminated against. (Washington Post article) (see June 7)

May 13 Peace Love Art Activism

DEATH PENALTY

May 13, 2016: the pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced that it had imposed sweeping controls on the distribution of its products to ensure that none were used in lethal injections, a step that closed off the last remaining open-market source of drugs used in executions.

More than 20 American and European drug companies had already adopted such restrictions, citing either moral or business reasons. Nonetheless, the decision from one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical manufacturers was seen as a milestone.

With Pfizer’s announcement, all F.D.A.-approved manufacturers of any potential execution drug have now blocked their sale for this purpose,” said Maya Foa, who tracked drug companies for Reprieve, a London-based human rights advocacy group. “Executing states must now go underground if they want to get hold of medicines for use in lethal injection.”

It did not have the force of law, but it contained an implicit threat: Schools that do not abide by the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law could face lawsuits or a loss of federal aid.  (NY Times article) (see Nov 9)

May 13 Peace Love Art Activism

 


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