On February 15, 1848 5-year-old Sarah Roberts (“a colored child…, a resident of Boston, and living with her father.”) had applied for admission to her nearest school. The school committee refused her application “on the ground of her being a colored person.”
Rather than walk past the five white schools to get to her assigned black school, Sarah Roberts “went into the primary school nearest her residence, but without any ticket of admission…and was…ejected from the school by the teacher.”
Sarah’s father Benjamin sued.
Sarah Roberts Walks Boston
Roberts v The City of Boston
On December 4, 1849, the case of Roberts v. The City of Boston began. Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw presided.
Abolitionist, and later United States Senator Charles Sumner and Robert Morris, a young Black abolitionist, represented Sarah Roberts. Their argument asserted that all persons, regardless of race or color, stand as equals before the law in Massachusetts.
In April 1850 Judge Shaw decided in favor of the Boston Board. Shaw discounted the objection to the extra distance that Sarah had to walk as trivial. “In Boston,” he pointed out, “more than one hundred thousand inhabitants live within a space so small…it would be scarcely an inconvenience to require a boy of good health to traverse daily the whole extent of it.” In light of this, he concluded, the extra distance that Sarah had to walk did nothing to make the committee’s decision “unreasonable, still less illegal.“
Five years later, on April 28, 1855, Massachusetts desegregated the state’s public schools with a law that stated: “no distinction shall be made on account of the race, color, or religious opinions, of the applicant or scholar.”
Despite that progress, on May 18, 1896, the US Supreme Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson upheld the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation in public facilities (including schools) under the doctrine of “separate but equal.”
It was another 58 years, on May 17, 1954, that the US Supreme Court overturned Plessy and unanimously ruled in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kans that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. It was a victory for NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall, who became the first black US Supreme Court justice.
November 14, 1903: at the AFL convention in Boston, women unionists united to form the National Women's Trade Union League and elect Mary Morton Kehew president and Jane Addams vice-president. The National Women's Trade Union League (WTUL) was established to advocate for improved wages and working conditions for women. (see January 25, 1904)
Yale University admits women
November 14, 1968: Yale University announced would admit admit women. From the New York Times, "For the first time in its 265-year history Yale University will admit undergraduate women next fall to "enhance its contribution to the generations ahead." (Yale to admit women) (see Nov 22)
Nancy Pelosi minority whip
November 14, 2002, Feminist Steps: minority whip since 2001, Californian Nancy Pelosi became the first woman elected as Democratic Minority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives. The NY Times article began: House Democrats turned to Representative Nancy Pelosi of California today to try to reverse their political fortunes, electing her their leader. She becomes the first woman to head a party in either house of Congress. (Pelosi chosen) (see December 10, 2003)
On April 18, 1946: a thirty-two-year-old Navy veteran named Davis Knight married Junie Lee Spradley, a white woman. In June 1948, the state of Mississippi indicted Mr. Knight for violating a law that prohibited “marriage or cohabitation between white persons and those with one-eighth or more Negro or Mongolian blood.” At trial, Mr. Knight insisted that he was white: his wife believed him to be white and his Navy service records listed him as white. Mississippi set out to prove he was black.The whole case turned on the race of Mr. Knight’s deceased great-grandmother, Rachel; if she was black, Mr. Knight was at least one-eighth black and guilty of the charge. As evidence of Rachel’s race, the State presented several elderly witnesses, including an eighty-nine-year-old white man who testified that Rachel had lived on his father’s plantation and was a “known Negro.”On December 18, 1948 Mississippi convicted Knight of miscegenation and sentenced him to five years in prison for marrying outside of his race. Knight appealed. On November 14, 1949 the Mississippi State Supreme Court reversed Knight’s conviction. The Court held that, in Mr. Knight’s particular case, the State had failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove that his grandmother Rachel was fully black, so it had not proved that Mr. Knight was at least one-eighth black.Though the decision did not strike down the state’s miscegenation law, or prevent future prosecutions of others, many white Mississippians protested the decision, hanging members of the court in effigy. The state’s ban on interracial marriage would stand for nearly two more decades, until the United States Supreme Court’s 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia struck down remaining anti-miscegenation laws in Mississippi and seventeen other states.
Jo Ann Robinson
In 1950, Jo Ann Robinson became president of the Women’s Political Council in Montgomery, AL. As president, she began to study the issue of bus segregation, which affected the many blacks who were the majority of riders on the city system. First, members appeared before the City Commission to report abuses on the buses, such as blacks who were first on the bus being required later to give up seats for whites as buses became crowded. The commission acted surprised but did nothing. (BH & Feminism, see March 31)In 1953 Jo Ann Robinson and other local black leaders met with the three commissioners of Montgomery. Robinson’s group complained that the city did not hire any black bus drivers, said that segregation of seating was unjust, and that bus stops in black neighborhoods were farther apart than in white ones, although blacks were the majority of the riders. The commissioners refused to change anything. Robinson and other WPC members met with bus company officials on their own. The segregation issue was deflected, as bus company officials said that segregation was city and state law, but the WPC achieved a small victory as the bus company officials agreed to have the buses stop at every corner in black neighborhoods, as was the practice in white neighborhoods. (BH, see June 8; Feminism, see May 18, 1954; Montgomery, see March 2, 1955)
November 14, 1960: in Gomillion v. Lightfoot, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a redistricting plan enacted by the Alabama legislature, which redrew the boundaries of the City of Tuskegee. The court found that the plan -- which changed the city's shape from a square to a 28-sided border violated the 15th Amendment to the Constitution and was done expressly to exclude black voters from city elections.(Voting Rights, see March 26, 1962)
November 14, 1960: 6-year-old Ruby Bridges became the first black child to attend an all-white school in New Orleans. Bridges was in first-grade when she started attending William Frantz Elementary School as the court-ordered integration of public schools began in New Orleans. Some in the crowd carried a black doll in a baby's casket. Federal marshell Charles Burks and three other marshals escorted the Bridges to and from school for several weeks before local police took over that duty. Eventually the crowds dispersed and she no longer needed protection. Normal Rockwell's cover depicting Ruby Bridges first day at an all-white school.
In 1963 Norman Rockwell depicted a young black girl carrying textbooks and a ruler being led by marshals past a wall marred by a splattered tomato and a scrawled racial epithet.(BH, see Dec 5; SD, see March 27, 1962)
November 14, 1964: William L Walter, the district attorney who prosecuted the case against Byron De La Beckwith, announced that Beckwith would not be tried a third time for the murder of Medgar W. Evers unless new evidence is obtained. (BH, see Nov 18; Evers, see January 12, 1966)
November 14 Music et al
November 14 – 20, 1960: “Georgia On My Mind” by Ray Charles #1 Billboard Hot 100. (see Georgia for much more)
November 14, 1965: the Battle of Ia Drang Valley was the first major battle between regular U.S. and People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) troops. The two-part battle occurred at landing zones X-Ray and Albany in Ia Drang Valley, Central Highlands of South Vietnam. Despite heavy casualties on both sides, both claimed the battle was a victory. The battle was considered essential as it set the blueprint for tactics for both sides. American troops continued to reply on air mobility and artillery fire, while the Viet Cong learned that by quickly engaging their combat forces close to the enemy, they could neutralize American advantages (see Nov 17)
Space Race, Apollo 12
November 14 - 24, 1969, Space Race: Apollo 12 took off. Pete Conrad and Alan Bean will collect lunar samples, as well as parts of the unmanned Surveyor 3. From the New York Times, "Three American astronauts were ready tonight to embark tomorrow on man's second voyage to land on the moon, a trip aimed at a more thorough scientific investigation into the origin and nature of the earth's only natural satellite." (click >>> Apollo 12) [the audio clip is the Byrds song, Armstrong, Aldrin, & Collins. I know it's not for Apollo 12, but I like the song and...well...close enough.](see April 11 – 17, 1970)
November 14 Peace Love Activism
Iran hostage crisis
November 14, 1979: President Jimmy Carter issued Executive Order 12170, freezing all Iranian assets in the United States and U.S. banks in response to the hostage crisis. (see Nov 17)
November 14, 1985: lesbian and gay rights activists held a town hall meeting on this day in New York City. Two weeks later, GLAAD [Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation] was formed. GLAAD gave special focus to changing American culture regarding homosexuality. (see June 30, 1986)The GLAAD Mission Statement (in part): “GLAAD works with print, broadcast and online news sources to bring people powerful stories from the LGBTQ community that build support for equality. And when news outlets get it wrong, GLAAD is there to respond and advocate for fairness and accuracy.” (see June 30, 1986)
American Catholic Bishops side against gay marriage
November 14, 2015: Catholic Bishops sided with those who conscientiously object to gay marriage and maintain their opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide. These pro-traditional marriage views were expressed during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' fall General Assembly meeting, the first meeting for the bishops since the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in the June 26, 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges. (see Dec 14)
Stop and Frisk
November 14, 2013: New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman analyzed 150,000 arrests that resulted from 2.4 millions stops by the NYPD between 2009 and 2012. About half of the arrests lead to convictions and about a quarter lead to prison sentences, according to the report released. The other half were never prosecuted, dismissed or resulted in adjournments in contemplation of dismissal - a legal term for cases in which a judge allows a case to be dismissed after a probationary period of usually six months to a year. The report also said the stop-and-frisk arrests resulted in a 24 percent incarceration rate.The chief spokesman for the police, John McCarthy, called the analysis "flawed" and said it underestimated the value of the tactic. (see Nov 22)
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November 1, 1835: in the nation’s first general strike for a 10-hour day, 300 armed Irish longshoremen marched through the streets of Philadelphia calling on other workers to join them. Some 20,000 did, from clerks to bricklayers to city employees and other occupations. The city announced a 10-hour workday within the week; private employers followed suit three weeks later. (see, March 31, 1840)
The Carlisle Indian School
November 1, 1879: founded by Richard Henry Pratt, The Carlisle Indian School formally opened (in Carlisle, PA) with an enrollment of 147 students. The youngest was six and the eldest twenty-five, but the majority were teenagers. Two-thirds were the children of Plains Indian tribal leaders. The first class was made up of eighty-four Lakota, fifty-two Cheyenne, Kiowa and Pawnee, and eleven Apache. Pratt believed that the only road to success for the Native Americans was to assimmilate them to the American culture. He was often quoted as saying "Kill the Indian, save the man". NPR's Radio Lab did a piece on the school. The following picture comparisons are from RL's site. Click for others >>> Radio Lab) (see July 20, 1881)
Louisiana Sugar Workers Lynched
November 1, 1887: thirty-seven Black striking Louisiana sugar workers were murdered when Louisiana militia, aided by bands of "prominent citizens," shoot unarmed workers trying to get a dollar-per-day wage. Two strike leaders are lynched. (LH, see March 12, 1888; BH, see July 10, 1890)
November 1, 1890: Mississippi adopted a new state constitution aimed at keeping African Americans from voting through poll taxes, literacy tests and other means. Many other states followed Mississippi’s lead. (see Nov 4)
Frank Sinatra/School Desegregation
On September 18, 1945 in Gary, Indiana, mounting pressure from civic groups such as the League of Women Voters, YWCA, and Gary Teacher’s Union to desegregate schools pushed district officials to make another attempt (see September, 1927) at integration. Again, white students took to the streets en masse in an effort to curb integration. On November 1, 1945, in an effort to win over white students against school desegregation, Gary officials invited Frank Sinatra to perform. Though very popular with teenagers, Sinatra’s appeal failed to get students back to school. (BH, see Dec 16; SD, see Sept 1946)
November 1, 1960: all interstate buses were required to display a certificate that read: “Seating aboard this vehicle is without regard to race, color, creed, or national origin, by order of the Interstate Commerce Commission.” That same day, SNCC workers Charles Sherrod and Cordell Reagon as well as nine Chatmon Youth Council members tested new ICC rules at Trailways bus station in Albany, Ga. (see Nov 14)
November 1, 1961: November 1st was the day the Interstate Commerce Commission's new prohibition against segregated bus terminals was to go into effect. This was the ruling won by the Freedom Rides. The Albany, Georgia bus terminal was located in the Black section of town and on November 1st — with a neighborhood crowd watching — nine Black students attempted to use the terminal's "white-only" facilities. As planned, they leave without being arrested when ordered out by the police and then filed immediate complaints with the ICC under the new ruling. (BH, see Nov 9; FR, see Nov 29)
November 1, 1963: the “Freedom Vote” on this day was a mock election in Mississippi involving officially unregistered African American voters. The event was organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to dramatize the fact that only 7 percent of the potentially eligible African-American voters were actually registered.
The Freedom Vote was considered a success by SNCC leaders, and it inspired the idea for a larger effort in the summer of 1964. This became Freedom Summer, in which about 1,000 white northern college students were recruited to help African-Americans register to vote. (see Nov 19)
November 1, 1995 South Africans voted in their first all-race local government elections, completing the destruction of the apartheid system. (see October 30, 1996)
November 1, 1921: The American Birth Control League was created through a merger of the National Women’s Health League and the Voluntary Parenthood League. Led by Margaret Sanger, the new league became the leading Women’s Health advocacy group in the country. The American Women’s Health League eventually became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (WH, see Nov 11; League, see January 18, 1939).
Early Money Is Like Yeast
November 1, 1986: EMILY's (Early Money Is Like Yeast) List was established in 1985 to help elect pro-choice Democratic women to office in the 1986 election. By November 1986, EMILY's List raised over $350,000 for two Senate candidates. (see Oct 3, 1988)
November 1, 1943: the federal Office of Price Administration first established rent control in wartime New York City.
From 1947 – 1949: Joe McCarthy accepted kickbacks from Pepsi Cola totaling $20,000 in exchange for helping Pepsi to circumvent the post-war sugar rationing. He also received another $10,000 from entrepreneurs in the pre-fabricated housing industry. Shortly thereafter, McCarthy joined the Senate Housing Committee and went on the road to speak out against public housing for veterans, extolling the benefits of the pre-fabricated home and offering it as an alternative. (FH, see May 3, 1948: RS, see Feb 17)
The Red Scare & the Cold War
November 1, 1948: the famous Smith Act trial began, one of the major events of the Cold War, involved the prosecution of eleven leaders of the Communist Party for violating the Smith Act (enacted on June 29, 1940), which outlawed advocating the overthrow of the government. (FS, see Dec 10; Red Scare, see Nov 2; trial, see October 10, 1949)
November 1, 1952: U.S. detonated the first hydrogen bomb at Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands.(see December 13)
Women Strike for Peace
November 1, 1961: thousands of women throughout the United States demonstrated in protest against nuclear weapons. The rallies were organized by Women Strike for Peace, founded by Bella Abzug and Dagmar Wilson. WSP's guiding statement, adopted in 1962: "We are women of all races, creeds and political persuasions. We are dedicated to the purpose of complete and general disarmament. We demand that nuclear tests be banned forever, that the arms race end and the world abolish all weapons of destruction under United Nations safeguards. We cherish the right and accept the responsibility to act to influence the course of goverment for peace. ... We join with women throughout the world to challenge the right of any nation or group of nations to hold the power of life and death over the world." (see May 31, 1962)
November 1, 1950: two Puerto Rican nationalists tried to force their way into Blair House in Washington to assassinate President Harry S. Truman. One of the assailants was killed. (see March 1, 1954)
November 1, 1954, Algeria began a rebellion against French rule. (see July 5, 1962)
November 1, 1981: Antigua and Barbuda independent of the United Kingdom. (see September 2, 1983)
November 1, 1993: the Maastricht Treaty took effect, formally establishing the European Union.
November 1, 1954: jointly produced by Texas Instruments and TV accessory manufacturer IDEA (Industrial Development Engineering Associates) Corp, the TR-1 was the first consumer device to employ transistors went on sale at a price of $49.95 (less battery). One year after the release of the TR-1, sales approached the 100,000 mark.Measuring 5×3×1.25 inches and weighing 12.5 ounces, the Regency TR-1 was designed to receive AM broadcasts only. It kicked off a worldwide demand for small and portable electronic products, (see Dec 23)
November 1 Music et al
November 1, 1956, Lawrence Ferlinghetti published Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg. (see June 3, 1957)
Beatles in trouble
November 1, 1960: furious that The Beatles had made a verbal agreement to play at rival Peter Eckhorn's Top Ten Club, Kaiserkeller owner Bruno Koschmider terminated their contract. Despite this, they continued to perform at the club for another three weeks. An additonal reason why Koschmider wanted them out: at 17 years of age, George Harrison was too young to be working in the club. Eckhorn’s statement read: I the undersigned hereby give notice to Mr George Harrison and to Beatles' Band to leave [the Club] on November 30th, 1960. The notice is given to the above by order of the Public Authorities who have discovered that Mr George Harrison is only 17 (seventeen) years of age. (see Nov 20)
News Music/Bob Marley
November 1, 1964: Bob Marley’s Wailers's first single, 'Simmer Down', reached Number 1 in Jamaica's JBC Radio Chart.
News Music/Buffy Sainte-Marie
In 1964 Buffy Sainte-Marie’s first album released. It’s My Way (see Dec 22)
November 1, 1965, Jordan Christopher & The Wild Ones release “Wild Thing.” Written by Chip Taylor (born James Wesley Voight, brother of actor Jon Voight; uncle, therefore, of Angelina Jolie). (see July 25, 1966)
November 1, 1968: George Harrison became the first member of The Beatles to release a solo project, an LP called "Wonderwall Music.” Paul McCartney’s January 1967 The Family Way soundtrack recording is sometimes considered to be the first Beatles solo album, but most critics consider Wonderwall Music to be the first, because it was released under George Harrison's name while The Family Way was credited to George Martin. The songs, recorded in December 1967 in England, and January 1968 in Bombay, India were virtually all instrumental, except for some non-English vocals and a slowed-down spoken word track. "Wonderwall Music" is notable for being the first official LP release on Apple Records. (see Nov 8)
November 1 – December 26, 1969: Abbey Road the Billboard #1 Album. The Beatles’ Let It Be album will be released on May 8, 1970 and be the Billboard #1 album from June 13 – July 10, 1970. Let It Be was actually recorded in beforeAbbey Road in February 1968, January – February 1969. Since most of Let It Be was recorded in January 1969, before the recording and release of the album Abbey Road, some critics argue that Abbey Road should be considered the group's final album and Let It Be the penultimate. (see November 26)
November 1 – 7, 1969: after seven years off the top of the charts, Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds” is #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It will be his last #1 during his lifetime. (see December 21, 1971)
United States v. 31 Photographs
November 1, 1957: in the case of United States v. 31 Photographs, a U.S. District Court judge cleared the way for importation of 31 photographs that the Alfred Kinsey had sought to import for his scientific research on sexuality. The judge ruled that the photographs could be brought into the U.S. because they were material for scientific study and not public consumption. The decision ended a three-year battle over the photographs.
While the decision was a victory for Kinsey and his research, it was a very limited one with respect to censorship of sexually related materials, given its narrow focus on research materials. (see May 6, 1959)
November 1, 1968: the Motion Picture Producers Association (MPPA), struggling to adapt to both anti-censorship court decisions and more tolerant public attitudes regarding sexuality in the movies — but not willing to abandon all restraints — put into effect a new movie ratings system. The categories were G, PG, R and X. (see Nov 12)
Clarence Earl Gideon
November 1, 1963: in a speech before The New England Conference on the Defense of Indigent Persons accused of Crime, Attorney General Rober Kennedy stated: "If an obscure Florida convict named Clarence Earl Gideon had not sat down in prison with a pencil and paper to write a letter to the Supreme Court, and if the Supreme Court had not taken the trouble to look for merit in that one crude petition among all the bundles of mail it must receive every day, the vast machinery of American law would have gone on functioning undisturbed.” (see January 18, 1972)
November 1 Peace Love Activism
South Vietnam Leadership
November 1, 1963: South Vietnamese general Duong Van Minh, acting with the support of the CIA, launched a military coup which removed Ngo Dinh Diem from power. (see Nov 2)
Bien Hoa Air Base attack
November 1, 1964: Two days before the U.S. presidential election, Vietcong mortars shell Bien Hoa Air Base near Saigon. Four Americans are killed, 76 wounded. Five B-57 bombers are destroyed, and 15 are damaged. (Enemy Power Grows in Vietnam) (see Nov 10)
Operation Rolling Thunder
November 1, 1968: after three-and-a-half years, Operation Rolling Thunder comes to an end. In total, the campaign had cost more than 900 American aircraft, 818 pilots dead or missing, and hundreds in captivity. Nearly 120 Vietnamese planes had been destroyed in air combat or accidents, or by friendly fire. According to U.S. estimates, 182,000 North Vietnamese civilians were killed. Twenty thousand Chinese support personnel were also casualties of the bombing. (see Nov 5)
November 1, 2010: The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals stays Judge Virginia Phillips' injunction on Don't ask, don't Tell pending appeal. (see Nov 12)
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