huge rally in New York City’s Madison Square called
on the U.S. government to reconsider its refusal to offer
sanctuary to Jewish refugees of Nazi Germany.
biggest explosion ever made by man was witnessed in the
Pacific when U.S. scientists exploded their second hydrogen
(fusion) bomb at Bikini Atoll, part of the Marshall Islands
in the south Pacific.
7,000 square miles were contaminated, as well as many
local residents and Japanese fishermen.
The blast overwhelmed the measuring instruments, indicating that the
bomb was much more powerful than scientists had anticipated. It was believed
this hydrogen bomb (equivalent of 20 megatons of TNT) was up to 1,000
times more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. This
date has since been designated Nuclear-Free Pacific Day.
University of Alabama permanently expelled Autherine Lucy,
the first black person ever admitted to the University
(following a federal court ordering her admission). She
was met with rioting by thousands of students and others.
She charged in court that University officials had been
complicit in allowing the disorder, as a means of avoiding
compliance with the court order. The trustees expelled
her for making such “outrageous, false and baseless
John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 10924 establishing
the Peace Corps as a new agency within the Department
of State. The same day, he sent a message to Congress
asking for permanent funding for the agency, which would
send trained American men and women to foreign nations
to assist in development efforts. The Peace Corps captured
the imagination of the U.S. public, and during the week
following its creation, thousands of letters poured into
Washington from young Americans hoping to volunteer.
Republican Army member Bobby Sands began a hunger strike
at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland; he died 65
days later. He had dedicated his life to freeing Northern
Ireland from British rule.
U.S. Congress sought to end international slave trade by
passing an act to make it unlawful “to import or
bring into the United States or the territories thereof
from any foreign kingdom, place, or country, any negro,
mulatto, or person of colour, with intent to hold, sell,
or dispose of such negro, mulatto, or person of colour,
as a slave, or to be held to service or labour." Domestic
traffic in slaves was still legal and unregulated.
first shipload of African captives to North America had
arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, in August 1619, and the
first American slave ship, named Desire, sailed from
Marblehead, Massachusetts, in 1637. In total, nearly
15 million blacks were transported as slaves to the Americas.
The African continent, meanwhile, lost approximately
50 million human beings to slavery and related deaths.
Despite the federal prohibition and because the slave
trade was so profitable, an additional 250,000 slaves
would be imported illegally by the time the Civil War
African slave trade timeline
months before Rosa Parks made headlines, teenager Claudette
Colvin was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing
to give up her bus seat to a white person.
the midst of the Civil War, the U.S. Congress passed
a conscription act that produced the first draft lottery
of American citizens. The act called for registration
of all males between the ages of 20 and 35, and unmarried
men up to 45, including aliens with the intention of
becoming citizens, by April 1.
Exemptions from the draft could be bought for $300 or by finding a substitute
Blacks were also not eligible because they weren’t
Village Council in the Inuit town of Point Hope, Alaska,
formally protested, in a letter to President Kennedy,
the chain explosion of three atomic bombs in the nearby
above-ground "Project Chariot" tests. The project
entailed using atomic explosions to create a harbor near
Point Hope in northwest Alaska. The excavation never
happened due to public opposition but inspired native
peoples in Alaska to assert their rights and legitimate
Teller "Father of the hydrogen bomb" arrives
to promote plans for Project Chariot
the first-ever worldwide theatrical act of dissent, at
least 1,029 stagings of Lysistrata, the Aristophanes
anti-war comedy, were presented on the same day to oppose
the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Performed in 59 countries
(including Iraq), the bawdy play tells of Athenian and
Spartan women who unite to deny their lovers sex in order
to stop the 22-year-long Peloponnesian War between the
two city-states. Desperate for intimacy, the men finally
agree to lay down their swords and see their way to achieving
elected Republican Jeanette Rankin as the first woman
to sit in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rankin
voted against American entry into both world wars,
and later led marches against the Vietnam war.
about Jeanette Rankin
Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) was founded.
its founding document: “Misuse of scientific
and technical knowledge presents a major threat to the
existence of mankind. Through its actions in Vietnam
our government has shaken our confidence in its ability
to make wise and humane decisions. There is also disquieting
evidence of an intention to enlarge further our immense
demonstrated against a uranium enrichment plant
in Almelo, Netherlands.
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty went into effect after
ratification by 43 nations.
agreement seeks to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons
and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the
peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal
of achieving nuclear disarmament as well as general and
complete disarmament. It has since been joined by 187
countries, and is enforced through the International
Atomic Energy Agency.
about the non-proliferation treaty
having voluntarily agreed to give up its nuclear weapons
following the collapse of the Soviet Union, began transfer
of its nuclear stockpile to Russia.
preparing to turn the keys to destroy the last missile
silo in the Ukraine. October 30, 2001
U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Dred Scott decision
(Sanford v. Dred Scott) which declared that an escaped
slave, Scott, could not sue for his freedom in federal
court because those of African descent could never be considered
citizens but “as a subordinate and inferior class
Justice Roger Taney stated in his opinion that the "unhappy
Black Race . . . had no rights which the white man was
bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and
lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was
bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of
merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made
Chief Justice Roger Taney
B. Anthony and more than 100 delegates from the National
Woman Suffrage Association met with Pres. Chester Alan
Arthur concerning women's right to vote. Anthony asked
him, "Ought not women have full equality and political
rights?" He responded, "We should probably differ
on the details of that question."
Chester Alan Arthur
Ghana became the first black African
country to become independent from colonial rule.
Nkrumah became independent Ghana's first leader.
Ali was ordered by the Selective Service to be inducted
into military service. He refused, citing his religious
beliefs that precluded him from killing others.
ain't got no quarrel with those Vietcong."
Black athletes gather to hear Muhammad Ali (formerly
Cassius Clay) give his reasons for rejecting the draft,
United States, June 4, 1967.
United Nations University for Peace in San Jose, Costa
Rica was founded. The University had been chartered by
a General Assembly in a resolution on December 5, 1980
the University for Peace
monument on campus sculpted by Cuban artist Thelvia Marín
in 1987, is
the world's largest peace monument.
civil rights advocates began a 54-mile march on a Sunday
morning from Selma, Alabama, to the capital of Montgomery,
to promote voting rights for blacks. Just after crossing
the Edmund Pettus Bridge on the outskirts of Selma, the
marchers were attacked in what became known as Bloody Sunday.
an order by then Governor George Wallace, the group
was broken up by state troopers and volunteer officers
of the Dallas County sheriff who used tear gas, nightsticks
and bullwhips and rubber tubing wrapped in barbed wire.
John Lewis, then head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating
Committee and a leader of the march (and now a congressman),
suffered a fractured skull.
television interrupted a Nazi war crimes documentary, “Judgment
at Nuremberg,” to show footage of the violence
in Selma, confusing some viewers about who was beating
Federal Court ruled in Atlanta, Georgia, that a peace
group must have the same access to students at high school
career days as military recruiters.
anti-recruitment movement today:
MY CHILD ALONE!
of workers in the New York needle trades (primarily women)
demonstrated and began a strike for higher wages, a shorter
workday and an end to child labor.
event became the basis for International Women's Day
celebrated all over the world since March 8, 1945.
3,500 U. S. Marines became the first American combat
troops in Vietnam, landing near the coastal city of Da
Nang. The USS Henrico, Union, and Vancouver, carrying
the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade under Brig. Gen.
Frederick J. Karch, took up stations 4,000 yards off
Red Beach Two, north of Da Nang.
in Tel Aviv, Israel, organized by Peace Now, rallied
against the war in Lebanon.
U.S. Supreme Court, with only one dissent, freed the slaves
who had seized the Spanish slave ship Amistad, ruling that
they had been illegally forced into slavery, and thus were
free under American law.
had mutinied and taken control of the ship off the shore
of Cuba (then a colony of Spain) and demanded to be taken
back to Africa but wound up in U.S. waters off the coast
of Long Island, New York.
slave leader, Joseph Cinque, returned to Africa to become
a slaver himself.
days after Bloody Sunday [see March 7, 1965] Rev. Martin
Luther King, Jr. led 1500 outraged people from around the
country back to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.
Confronted once again by state troopers, King knelt in
prayer, then led his followers back, avoiding further violence.
Later that evening three white ministers were attacked by locals as they
left a soul food restaurant in Selma. Rev. James Reeb was struck on the
head with a club and died two days later.
cancelled “The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour," a
television show which featured edgy political satire and
such rock bands as the Beatles, the Who, Jefferson Airplane
and the Doors.
brothers had refused to censor a comment made by Joan
Baez. She wanted to dedicate a song to her husband, David,
who was about to go to jail for objecting to the draft
during the Vietnam War.
Harris and Joan Baez
Earl Ray was jailed for 99 years by a court in Memphis,
Tennessee, after admitting he murdered American civil
rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Rev. King,
who preached non-violence, was shot dead by a sniper
in Memphis as he stood on a hotel balcony.
(center) moments before the murder with Rev. Jesse Jackson
and Rev. Ralph Abernathy
conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan was released unexpectedly
from a military prison for having refused service in the
army. A court decided that he had already been held longer
than any possible sentence for the crime. He was ordered,
however, to present himself again for military service
and thus be subject to re-arrest for the same offense.
War Resisters' International(WRI) led an international support campaign
for him along with conscientious objection (CO) activists in Turkey.
Chavez ended a 23-day fast for U.S. farm workers in a
Delano, California, public park with 4,000 supporters
at his side, including Senator Robert Kennedy (D-NY).
Cesar Chavez led the effort to organize farm workers
into a union for better working conditions.
story of Cesar Chavez
days of protest and direct action demanded and end to
nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site, a massive outdoor
laboratory and national experimental center for testing
nuclear weapons larger than the state of Rhode Island.
The actions resulted in over 2,200 arrests, the largest
number of arrests at a political protest outside Washington,
D.C. in U.S. history.
12, 295 AD
a Christian, was beheaded by Romans for refusing military
service in Thevesta, North Africa.
Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) wins Lawrence, Massachusetts
"Bread & Roses" textile strike after nine weeks
involving 32,000 strikers.
and Roses” became the strikers slogan and inspired a
poem by by the same name.
organizer Elizabeth Gurley Flynn addresses a strike rally
& Roses victory parade
One hundred fifty thousand demonstrated against nuclear reactor
in Lemoniz, Spain.
first contingent of 14,030 Navajo reached Fort Sumner, New
Mexico. Men, women and children were marched almost 400 miles
from northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico to Bosque
Redondo, a desolate tract on the Pecos River in eastern New
Mexico. Traveling in harsh winter conditions for almost two
months, about 200 Navajo died of cold and starvation.
More died after they arrived at the barren reservation.
The forced march, led by Kit Carson became known by the Navajos
as the "Long Walk."
grueling 400-mile march to imprisonment in a sterile land.
Christi, an international Catholic peace organization was
founded in France. From their website: “Pax Christi
is a ground up organization – it began with a few committed
people who spoke out, prayed and worked for reconciliation
at the end of the second world war, and is now active in more
than 60 countries and five continents, with more than 60,000
of nerve gas drifted outside the Army's Dugway Proving Grounds
in Utah, poisoning 6,400 sheep in nearby Skull Valley.
more about Dugway - the home of WMD
and Peace activist Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany.
The Nobel Prize winner opposed militarism and became a champion
of nuclear disarmament. Though he supported the development
of the atomic bomb in fear that Germany would develop it first,
he warned in a 1944 letter to the Manhattan Project’s
Niels Bohr: "When the war is over, then there will be
in all countries a pursuit of secret war preparations with
technological means which will lead inevitably to preventative
wars and to destruction even more terrible than the present
destruction of life."
disability-rights activists were arrested at the U.S. Capitol
demanding passage of what would become the Americans With
March 15, 1970
a second attempt by Native American activists to occupy Fort
Lawton, 78 protesters were arrested. They were demanding the
City of Seattle give the unused facility back to Native Americans.
demonstrating at Fort Lawton
The United Nations Commission on the Truth for El Salvador
concluded that most of the murder and human rights abuses
during its civil war had been committed by the U.S.-backed
Salvadoran government through its various military and security
and allied paramilitary organizations.
War Resisters International was founded with sections set
up in Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria.
By 1939 there were 54 WRI Sections in 24 countries, including
symbol - a broken gun.
No More War demonstration in Berlin 1922
right to refuse to kill."
troops in South Vietnam killed an estimated 350 unarmed men,
women and children in My Lai, a cluster of hamlets in the
coastal lowlands of Quang Ngai Province.
William L. Calley, Jr. commanded the men of Charlie Company,
First Battalion, American Division, and was the only one tried
out of 80 involved in what is called the My Lai Massacre.
Army, including a young Colin Powell, at first tried to cover
it up and the media resisted reporting it.
girls sheltering behind their mother during My Lai
of Calley’s soldiers refused to participate, but only
24-year-old helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson and his crew stopped
it by putting themselves between villagers and troops pursuing
William L. Calley
Officer Hugh Thompson
5,000 coordinated candlelight vigils and demonstrations took
place, in more than 125 countries, in a 11th hour protest
against a U.S. invasion of Iraq.
three-week 340-mile march by Cesar Chavez and the National
Farm Workers Association left Delano for Sacramento, the capital
of California, arriving on Easter Sunday, calling public attention
to the plight of farm workers and for their right to organize
London’s Trafalgar Square, at the largest anti-Vietnam
War protest in Britain to date, 25,000 people marched. Some
then attempted to storm the U.S. Embassy, resulting in 200
arrests and fifty taken to hospital, nearly half police officers.
footage of the demo
Vanessa Redgrave was allowed to enter
embassy to deliver a protest
oil supertanker Amoco Cadiz ran aground and, in the worst
oil spill ever, lost its entire cargo of 1,619,048 barrels.
A slick 18 miles wide and 80 miles long polluted approximately
200 miles of France’s Brittany coastline.
Amoco Cadiz disaster was the first marine environmental catastrophe
to be covered by the world's media in real time and to be
recognized by the public.
of the victims
became a sovereign nation after 130 years of French colonial
rule. The struggle for independence inspired "The Battle
of Algiers," a movie by Gillo Pontecorvo. The film has
been shown extensively in the Pentagon to help understand
the Iraqi insurgency.
about the movie
army confront demonstrators for Algerian independence in 1960
first strike against the U.S. government and the first mass
work stoppage in the 195-year history of the Post Office began
with a walkout of letter carriers in Brooklyn and Manhattan
demanding better wages. Ultimately 210,000 of the nation's
750,000 postal employees participated. With mail service virtually
paralyzed in New York, Detroit, and Philadelphia, Pres. Nixon
declared a state of national emergency and assigned military
units to New York City post offices. The stand-off ended one
Seeger's blacklisting from the television show "Hootenanny"
was protested by 50 Greenwich Village folk artists. He had
become a cultural hero through his outspoken commitment to
the anti-war and civil rights movements. He was involved in
several civil rights campaigns in 1962-1965, and helped popularize
the anthemic "We Shall Overcome."
about Pete Seeger
We Shall Overcomeby Bruce Springsteen
Australia 150,000 (1% of the population) demonstrated in anti-nuclear
Australia's anti-nuclear movement: a short history
anti-uranium protest.April 7, 1979.
was invaded by a U.S. dominated and led coalition amidst protests
by millions all over the world.
about the cost of this war
Iraq under attack
African police opened fire on unarmed demonstrators in Sharpeville
demonstrators were protesting the establishment of apartheid
pass laws which restricted movement of non-whites.
Sharpeville itself, 69 were killed and 176 wounded when police
opened fire on the crowd, 63 of them shot in the back.
the aftermath of the Sharpeville massacre, protests broke
out in Cape Town and elsewhere and there were further casualties.
13,000 were jailed.
civil rights demonstrators, led by the Rev. Martin Luther
King Jr. and under protection of a federalized National Guard,
began a week-long march from Selma, Alabama, to the state
capitol at Montgomery in support of voting rights for black
The Ploughshares Two disabled a U.S. F-111 bomber in Upper
Heyford, England. The first plowshares action in Britain.
Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed
by Congress. The amendment, giving women full equality under
law, was never ratified by the required 3/4 of the 50 states.
30,000 marched in Washington, DC against reintroduction of
Levertov's lines from her poem,
Speech for Antidraft Rally, D.C., March 22, 1980”
our different dream,
and more than dream, our acts
of constructive refusal generate
struggle. And love. We must dare to win
not wars, but a future
in which to live."
the entire poem
The trial of 101 Wobblies (members of the Industrial Workers
of the World or IWW) began in Chicago, for opposition to World
War I. In September 1917, 165 IWW members were arrested for
conspiring to hinder the draft, encourage desertion, and intimidate
others in connection with labor disputes. The trial lasted
five months, the longest criminal trial in American history
to date. The jury found them all guilty. The judge sentenced
IWW leader "Big Bill" Haywood and 14 others to 20
years in prison; 33 were given 10 years, the rest shorter
sentences. They were fined a total of $2,500,000 and the IWW
was shattered as a result. Haywood jumped bail and fled to
Russia, where he remained until his death 10 years later.
Bill" Haywood on right
The Nazi German concentration camp at Dachau opened, the first
of many such camps built for the destruction of Jews, the Roma
(frequently referred to as Gypsies), the "work-shy",
homosexuals, the "hereditary asocial" and those with
mental and/or physical handicaps.
The first member of the American military died in Indochina.
He was on an intelligence-gathering flight returning from
Vietnam. (The last American died on April 30, 1975.)
first Teach-In to oppose the Vietnam War is held at the University
more about the 1st Teach-In
Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) was founded, electing
as their first president Olga Madar, a vice president of the
United Auto Workers. The convention adopted four goals: organize
the unorganized; promote affirmative action; increase women's
participation in their unions; and increase women's participation
in political and legislative activities.
The archbishop of San Salvador, Óscar Arnulfo Romero
y Galdámez was assassinated while consecrating the
Eucharist during mass. Monseñor Romero had become a
well-known critic of violence and injustice and, as such,
was perceived in right-wing civilian and military circles
of El Salvador as a dangerous enemy, and criticized by the
Roman Catholic church. Romero had exhorted the police and
soldiers to disobey orders to kill innocent people, refusing
to be silenced. Worshippers had interrupted, with ovations,
his homilies condemning the terrorism of the state.
more about Monsignor Romero
Their numbers having swelled to 25,000, the Selma-to-Montgomery
marchers arrived at the Alabama state capitol. “Yes,
we are on the move and no wave of racism can stop us. (Yes,
sir) We are on the move now. The burning of our churches will
not deter us. (Yes, sir) The bombing of our homes will not
dissuade us. (Yes, sir) We are on the move now. (Yes, sir)
The beating and killing of our clergymen and young people
will not divert us. We are on the move now.”
all of Rev. King’s speech
Luther King Jr. and wife Coretta lead march into Montgomery,
Viola Gregg Liuzzo, a housewife and mother from Detroit, driving
marchers back to Selma from Montgomery, was shot and killed
by Klansmen in a passing car. She had driven down to Alabama
to join the march after seeing on television the Bloody Sunday
attacks at Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge earlier in the
month. It was later learned that riding with the Klansmen
was an FBI informant.
more about Viola Liuzzo
& Viola Liuzzo
The newly wed John Lennon and Yoko Ono-Lennon began their
seven-day "bed-in for peace" against the Vietnam
War at the Amsterdam Hilton in New York City.
more about their
and I are quite willing to be the world's clowns, if by so
doing it will do some good.”
50,000 marched in the Fifth Avenue Vietnam Peace Parade in
New York City.
In a ceremony at the White House, Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat
and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed a historic
peace agreement, ending three decades of hostilities between
Egypt and Israel, and establishing diplomatic and commercial
Less than two years earlier, in an unprecedented move for an
Arab leader, Sadat had traveled to Jerusalem to seek a permanent
peace settlement with Egypt's Jewish neighbor after decades
Over one million students in Spain went on strike in opposition
to their government's support of the U.S./U.K. invasion of Iraq.
Buddhists marched silently for peace in Hue, South Vietnam.
in Quebec, Canada, demonstrated against military conscription
in the midst of World War I. Four died in the ensuing riot.
Parade in Victoria Square, Montreal, Quebec, May 24, 1917,
gathering in this photo looks calm. Riots nearly a year later
resulted in the death of four demonstrators in Quebec City.
hundred were arrested during a sit-down protest at U.S. Air
Force headquarters in Ruislip, England.
In the worst nuclear disaster in US history, a cooling system
on the Unit Two reactor failed at Three Mile Island in Middletown,
Pennsylvania. This led to a partial meltdown that uncovered
the reactor's core. Radioactive steam leaked into the atmosphere,
prompting fears for the safety of the plant's 500 workers
and the surrounding community.
mile island timeline
U.S. Army Lieutenant William Calley was found guilty at a court
martial for his part in the My Lai massacre which claimed the
lives of hundreds of South Vietnamese civilians. Convicted for
the premeditated murder of at least 22 Vietnamese civilians,
he was sentenced to three years under house arrest.
The last American troops left South Vietnam, ending direct
U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War; Saigon would
fall a month later and be renamed Ho Chi Minh City. Of the
more than 3 million Americans who served in the war, almost
58,000 had died, and more than 1,000 were missing in action.
Some 150,000 Americans had been seriously wounded. The loss
of Vietnamese killed and wounded was in the millions and damage
to the countryside persists to this day.
615th MP Company was inactivated in Vietnam on the last day
of American military combat presence.
Members of Vietnam Veterans For Peace arrived in Wicuili at
the end of a march from Jinotega, Nicaragua. The veterans
were actively monitoring the U.S. attempts to destabilize
the country by providing aid to the terrorist contras.
Veterans for Peace
a growing movement toward direct political action among desperate
western farmers, "Sockless" Jerry Simpson called on
the Kansas Farmers' Alliance to work for a takeover of the state
government. Simpson was one of the most well-known and influential
leaders among Populist-minded western and midwestern farmers
of the late 19th century. Angered over low crop prices, crippling
bank loans and high shipping rates, farmers began to unite in
self-help groups like the Grange and the Farmers' Alliances.
Initially, these groups primarily provided mutual assistance
to members while agitating for the regulation of railroads and
grain elevators. Increasingly, though, they became centers of
support for more sweeping political change by uniting to help
form the new nationwide third-party movement known as the Populists.
Wallace criticizes Truman's Cold War policies. Henry Wallace,
former vice-president (Franklin D. Roosevelt) and current
Progressive Party presidential candidate, lashes out at the
Cold War policies of President Harry S. Truman. Wallace and
his supporters were among the few Americans who actively voiced
criticisms of America's Cold War mindset during the late-1940s
more on his warnings about American fascists
UC-Berkeley students turned in their draft cards at the Oakland,
California, Induction Center in protest of the Vietnam war.
dawn on Easter, five Plowshares activists boarded the USS
Gettysburg, an Aegis-equipped Cruiser docked at the Bath Iron
Works in Bath, Maine. They proceeded to hammer and pour blood
on covers for vertical launching systems for cruise missiles.
"We witness against the American enslavement to war at
the Bath Iron Works, geographically near the President’s
home." They also left an indictment charging President
George H. W. Bush, Secretary of Defense Cheney, the National
Security Council and the Joint Chiefs of Staff with war crimes
and violations of God’s law and international law, including
the killing of thousands of Iraqis.
more about Aegis Plowshares
ADAPT (American Disabled for Accessible Public Transport)
sit in at Tennessee Health Care Association to fight health
cuts, Nashville Tennessee.
more about ADAPT
America, intended as a liberal voice in network talk radio,
made its debut on five stations.