August

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August 1, 1914

 

As World War I began, Harry Hodgkin, a British Quaker, and Friedrich Siegmund-Schulte, a German Lutheran pastor, attending a conference in Germany, pledged to continue sowing the “seeds of peace and love, no matter what the future might bring,” germinating the idea for the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR).

FOR's Mission: FOR seeks to replace violence, war, racism, and economic injustice with nonviolence, peace, and justice. We are an interfaith organization committed to active nonviolence as a transforming way of life and as a means of radical change. We educate, train, build coalitions, and engage in nonviolent and compassionate actions locally, nationally, and globally.

History of the Fellowship of Reconciliation



August 1, 1920

Mohandas Gandhi began the movement of "non-violent non-cooperation" with the British Raj (ruling colonial authority) in India. The strategy was to bring the British administrative machine to a halt by the total withdrawal of Indian popular support, both Hindu and Muslim. British-made goods were boycotted, as were schools, courts of law, and elective offices.

More on the Non-Cooperation Movement
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August 1, 1944

The Polish underground army began its battle to liberate Warsaw, the first European city to have fallen to the Germans in World War II.

The heroic effort to rout the Germans



August 1, 1975

The U.S. and the U.S.S.R, represented by President Gerald Ford and General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, along with 33 other nations, signed the Helsinki Accords at the close of the Finland meeting of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The agreement recognized the inherent relationship between respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the attainment of genuine peace and security. All signatories agreed to respect freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, as well as freedom of religion and belief, and to facilitate the free movement of people, ideas, and information between nations.


August 1, 1976

200 people, organized by the Clamshell Alliance, occupied the site of a new nuclear power plant in Seabrook, New Hampshire. They were attempting to halt construction the same day the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission had issued a construction license. Eighteen were arrested. Eventually, only one of two planned reactors was built.

Clamshell Alliance history



August 2, 1931

Albert Einstein urged all scientists to
refuse military work.

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."
- Albert Einstein (April-May 1949)
Book review of Einstein on Politics

Other Einstein thoughts on the military:
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August 2, 1964
The U.S.S. Maddox, a destroyer conducting intelligence operations along North Vietnam’s coast, reported it had been attacked by some of the North’s torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin. The day before, the North had been attacked by the South Vietnamese Navy and the Laotian Air Force under U.S. direction.
30-year perspective on reporting of the
Tonkin Gulf Incident
Flawed Intelligence and the Decision for War in Vietnam (from official documents)


August 3, 1882
Congress passed the first U.S. law to restrict immigration of a particular ethnic group into the United States, the Chinese Exclusion Act. It stopped all further Chinese immigration for ten years, and denied citizenship to those already in the country, most of whom had been recruited by American railroad and mining companies.
The law remained in effect until 1943.
Chinese rail workers
Very cool site from the National Archives and Records Administration:
See and learn about100 Milestone Documents, including the Chinese Exclusion Act
See and learn about 100 Milestone Documents, including the Chinese Exclusion Act


August 3, 1913
Four died and many others were injured in the Wheatland Hop Riot when police fired into a crowd of California hop pickers trying to organize (with the help of the IWW, or Industrial Workers of the World). At the Durst Ranch in Wheatland, the state's largest single agricultural employer, hundreds of workers—whites, Mexicans, and Filipinos—had put down their tools because of terrible working conditions, low wages, and an almost complete lack of sanitation and decent housing. It was one of the first attempts to organize agricultural workers.
Two versions of the story of the Wheatland Hop Riot


August 3, 1981

Nearly 13,000 of the nation’s 17,500 air traffic controllers, members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO), went on strike.

After six months of negotiations with PATCO President Robert Poli, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had offered less than 10% of what the union had sought. Due to the stressful nature of their jobs, managing the nation’s ever-increasing volume of airport landings and take-offs without up-to-date equipment, they had asked for a shorter workweek, an increase in pay and retirement after 20 years. 95% of PATCO members rejected the FAA’s final offer.
The union had endorsed Ronald Reagan for president in 1980 (one of very few to do so), but President Reagan said they were violating U.S. law banning strikes by federal workers, and would all be terminated unless they returned to work within 48 hours.
A Reagan Letter to Robert Poli, PATCO (October. 20, 1980)
  Dear Mr. Poli:
     I have been briefed by members of my staff as to the deplorable state of our nation's air traffic control system.  They have told me that too few people working unreasonable hours with obsolete equipment has placed the nation's air travellers in unwarranted danger.  In an area so clearly related to public safety the Carter administration has failed to act responsibly.
     You can rest assured that if I am elected President, I will take whatever steps are necessary to provide our air traffic controllers with the most modern equipment available and to adjust staff levels and work days so that they are commensurate with achieving a maximum degree of public safety....
     I pledge to you that my administration will work very closely with you to bring about a spirit of cooperation between the President and the air traffic controllers.
Sincerely,
Ronald Reagan
More about the strike


August 3, 1986

Laurie McBride and seven other Motherpeace members of the Nanoose Conversion Campaign were arrested for picnicking on Winchelsea Island, east of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island. They, along with dozens of volunteer witnesses and supporters who had set off by boat from the town of Nanoose Bay, were protesting the ten-year extension of free use by the U.S. of the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental Test Range (CFMETR). It is a joint Canadian-American facility for torpedos, other maritime warfare and detection equipment; the island held the command and control center. The Campaign advocated conversion of the area back to peaceful purposes.

Laurie McBride’s story


August 3, 1988

One hundred forty-three white English and Afrikaans conscripts from four cities in South Africa announced their refusal to serve in the South African Defense Force. The SADF was engaged in actions to preserve apartheid, the social and economic system of racial separatism, in South Africa, and to occupy and thwart independence for South Africa’s neighbors, Angola and Namibia
[see July 31, 1986].

24-year-old David Bruce had just been sentenced to six years in prison for refusing to serve; he was released after two. He works today with The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation on issues of integrity, conduct and accountability in democratic policing.

 

David Bruce
The Police That We Want.pdf


August 4, 1964

The Pentagon reported a second attack on U.S. Navy ships in Vietnam’s Gulf of Tonkin [see August 2, 1964]. But there was no such activity reported at the time by the task force commander in the Gulf, Captain John J. Herrick.
One of the Navy pilots flying overhead that night was squadron commander James Stockdale, who was later captured and held as a POW by the North Vietnamese for more than seven years, and became Ross Perot's vice-presidential candidate in 1992:
" I had the best seat in the house to watch that event and our destroyers were just shooting at phantom targets — there were no PT boats there . . . There was nothing there but black water and American firepower."
Nearly three decades later during the Gulf War, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Sydney Schanberg warned journalists not to forget
"our unquestioning chorus of agreeability when Lyndon Johnson bamboozled us with his fabrication of the Gulf of Tonkin incident."


August 4, 1964

FBI agents discovered the bodies of three missing civil rights workers buried deep in an earthen dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi. James Chaney was a local African-American man who had joined the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner had traveled from New York to heavily segregated Mississippi that year to help register voters with the support of CORE.

Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman

At the time, fewer than 10% of eligible black Mississippians were registered to vote.
The three young men and many others were part of Freedom Summer, a massive voter registration and education project organized by the Council of Federated organizations (COFO), an umbrella group of major civil rights organizations.


Watch a video
This is a close-up of the chalk-board beside the front door of the COFO headquarters building in Jackson, Mississippi. Here is a transcription of what was written on the chalkboard this August day in 1964:
Yesterday - Negro woman arrested in Hattiesburg for refusing to give her bus seat to a white woman.
• 400 attended mass meeting in Marks.
• Tallahatchie Co. - 24 people tried to register to vote in Charleston; at least one man told he would lose his job as a result.
Today - 6 youths arrested in Greenwood while singing in front of a store. One boy reported beaten.
• Local girl missing since Sunday in Natchez
• $200 each bond paid by 2 SNCC workers arrested in Anguilla (Sharkey Co.) yesterday for passing out vote leaflets.
Read more


August 4, 1985

Peace Ribbons made by thousands of women were wrapped around the U.S. Pentagon, the White House and the Capitol. Twenty thousand people participated, and the 27,000 panels making up the ribbon stretched for 15 miles.



Maggie Wade, who traveled to Washington, DC from Indiana with her daughter,
sitting at the Pentagon with her embroidery panel of the Ribbon Project.
Photo © Ellen Shub


August 5, 1963

The U.S., U.S.S.R. and U.K. signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty in Moscow, banning nuclear testing in the atmosphere, in space or underwater. Underground testing, however, was not prohibited. It has since been signed by more than 100 countries.
 
Text of the treaty, background and signatories


August 5, 1964

President Lyndon Johnson asked Congress ”for a resolution expressing the unity and determination of the United States in supporting freedom and in protecting peace in southeast Asia.” The president had already used the alleged incidents in the Gulf of Tonkin [see August 4, 1964 above] to mount major air strikes on the North Vietnamese navy. The resulting Congressional Resolution authorizing military force in Vietnam was the legal basis for the war there that lasted until 1975.
Only two members of the senate voted against the resolution: Ernest Greuning of Alaska and Wayne Morse of Oregon.


"Let's go back to the war in Vietnam. I was here. I was one of the Senators who voted for the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. Yes, I voted for the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. I am sorry for that. I am guilty of doing that. I should have been one of the two, or at least I should have made it three, Senators who voted against that Gulf of Tonkin resolution. But I am not wanting to commit that sin twice, and that is exactly what we are doing here.
This is another Gulf of Tonkin resolution.”
Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) in debate on the resolution to authorize use of military force on Iraq,
October 4, 2002



August 5, 1981

President Ronald Reagan, having ordered striking air traffic controllers back to work within 48 hours, fired 11,359 (more than 70%) who ignored the order, and permanently banned them from federal service (a ban later lifted by President Bill Clinton). The controllers, seeking a shorter workweek among other things, were concerned the long hours they were required to work performing their high-stress jobs were a danger to both their health and the public safety.

Lessons from When Reagan Crushed PATCO Union



August 6, 1890

At Auburn Prison in New York state, William Kemmler became the first person to be executed in the electric chair, developed by the Medico-Legal Society and Harold Brown, a colleague of Thomas Edison.
William Kemmler received two applications of 1,300 volts of alternating current. The first lasted for only 17 seconds because a leather belt was about to fall off one of the second-hand Westinghouse generators. Kemmler was still alive. The second jolt lasted until the smell of burning flesh filled the room, about four minutes.
As soon as his charred body stopped smoldering, Kemmler was pronounced dead.


August 6th, 1945 - 8:15 AM

Anniversary of Hiroshima

The United States dropped the first atomic bomb
used in warfare on Hiroshima, Japan.

Hiroshima ruins

An estimated 140,000 died from the immediate effects of this bomb and tens of thousands more died in subsequent years from burns and other injuries, and radiation-related illnesses. President Harry Truman ordered the use of the weapon in hopes of avoiding an invasion of Japan to end the war, and the presumed casualties likely to be suffered by invading American troops.

The weapon, “Little Boy,” was delivered by a B-29 Superfortress nicknamed the Enola Gay, based on the island of Tinian, and piloted by Colonel Paul W. Tibbets.
Voices of the Hibakusha, those injured in the bombings

 

<Hiroshima survivor

 

 

Found watch stopped at the time of explosion>

Documents related to the decision to drop the atomic bomb

On August 6, 1995 up to 50,000 people attended a memorial service commemorating Hiroshima Peace Day on the 50th anniversary of the first atomic bombing.



August 6, 1957

Eleven activists from the Committee for Nonviolent Action (CNVA) were arrested attempting to enter the atomic testing grounds at Camp Mercury, Nevada, the first of what eventually became many thousands of arrests at the Nevada test site.



August 6, 1965

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed by President Johnson, making illegal century-old practices aimed at preventing African Americans from exercising their constitutional right to vote.

It created federal oversight of election laws in six Southern states (Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia) and in many counties of North Carolina where black voter turnout was very low. Black voter registration rates were as low as 7% in Mississippi prior to passage of the law; today voter registration rates are comparable for both blacks and whites in these states.

The laws has been re-authorized by Congress four times.
Introduction to the Voting Rights Act:


August 6, 1990

George Galloway

The U.S. imposed trade sanctions on Iraq. As a result, the lack of much-needed medicines, water purification equipment and other items led to the death of many innocent Iraqis. According to British Member of Parliament George Galloway in his testimony to a committee of the U.S. Congress on May 17, 2005, these sanctions “ . . . killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to be born at that time . . . .”
When asked on U.S. television if she thought that the death of half a million Iraqi children (due to sanctions on Iraq) was a price worth paying, then U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright replied: "This is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it." -60 Minutes (5/12/96)
Were Sanctions Worth the Price? by Christopher Hayes


August 6, 1998

Nearly 50,000 people attended a memorial service commemorating Hiroshima Peace Day on the 50th anniversary of the first atomic bombing which killed nearly 200,000 Japanese with a single weapon.

The headlines when it happened


August 6, 1998

Calling themselves the Minuteman III Plowshares, two peace activists, Daniel Sicken [pronounced seekin], 56, of Brattleboro, Vermont and Sachio Ko-Yin, 25, of Ridgewood, N.J entered silo N7 in Weld County [near Greeley] in Colorado operated by Warren AFB, Cheyenne, Wyoming. With hammers and their own blood, they symbolically disarmed structures on the launching pad of a Minuteman III nuclear missile silo.



Sachio Ko-Yin and Daniel Sicken

Read about the Minuteman III Plowshares action


August 7, 1904

Ralph Bunche, born this day in Detroit, spent a remarkable life in vigorous service to academia, his community, the nation and the world.

Ralph Bunche

Head of the Howard University Political Science Department for over twenty years, he was one of the first African Americans to hold a key position at the U.S. State Department. He went on to the United Nations and served as its mediator on Palestine. He was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the 1948 armistice agreements between Israel and the Arab states. He worked with Martin Luther King in the civil rights struggles of the ‘50s and ’60s.

Succinct biography of Ralph Bunche:


August 7, 1958

The D.C. Court of Appeals reversed playwright Arthur Miller's conviction for contempt of Congress following a two-year legal battle. He had been charged for refusing to tell the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) the names of alleged Communist writers with whom he attended five or six meetings in New York in 1947.

Arthur Miller in front of HUAC
Read more


August 7, 1964

After a reported U.S. confrontation with North Vietnamese forces that, it was later discovered, never occurred, the U.S. Congress nearly unanimously passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.

The resolution gave President Lyndon Johnson broad powers in dealing with North Vietnam, including sending U.S. troops.
News coverage relied almost entirely on official U.S. government sources so Americans assumed the North had in fact launched an unprovoked attack. Two courageous senators, Wayne Morse (D-Oregon) and Ernest Gruening (D-Alaska), provided the only "no" votes.

“I rise to speak in opposition to the joint resolution. I do so with a very sad heart. But I consider the resolution . . . to be naught but a resolution which embodies a predated declaration of war . . . .” -Senator Wayne Morse

The headlines when Congress approved the resolution
The media and the Gulf of Tonkin    
The facts of the incident uncovered by the National Security Archive


August 7, 1995

Four experienced Plowshares activists, Michele Naar-Obed, Erin Sieber and Rick Sieber, hammered and poured their blood on the U.S.S. Greenville, a fast-attack submarine in production at the Newport News, Virginia, shipyard.



August 8, 1974

President Richard M. Nixon resigned from office, the first U.S. president ever to do so. The House Judiciary Committee had, with bipartisan support (the Democrats and one-third of the Republican members), voted for three articles of impeachment: obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress.

A week later, one of the White House tapes was finally made public, showing the President’s direct involvement in the Watergate scandal cover-up:"...call the FBI and say that we wish, for the country, don't go any further into this case, period..." - Nixon to Chief of Staff Haldeman, June 23, 1972 (six days after the Watergate break-in)

He officially left office August 9, and was fully pardoned one month later by his successor, President Gerald Ford. Asked years later about some of his administration’s questionable activities, Nixon said, "Well, when the president does that, it isn't illegal."

The headlines in Washington that day   


August 8, 1999

A 53-mile peace walk commemorating the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended near Clam Lake, Wisconsin, at the site of the U.S. Navy’s Project Elf (extremely low frequency) submarine communications transmitter. Twelve of the demonstrators were arrested for trespassing, adding to the nearly 500 previously arrested for sit-ins, Citizen Inspections, blockades and disarmament actions at the transmitter site in Ashland County.



August 9, 1943

Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian conscientious objector who reported for induction but refused to serve in the army of the Third Reich, was publicly beheaded in Berlin. An American, Gordon Zahn, wrote about Jägerstätter while researching the subject of German Roman Catholics' response to Hitler.
Zahn’s book, In Solitary Witness, influenced Daniel Ellsberg's decision to stand against the Vietnam War by bringing the previously secret Pentagon Papers to public attention.


Against the Stream by Erna Putz, the story of the courage of Franz Jägerstätter



August 9, 1945

The second atomic bomb, “Fatman,” was dropped on the arms-manufacturing and key port city of Nagasaki. The plan to drop a second bomb was to test a different design rather than one of military necessity. The Hiroshima weapon was a gun type, the Nagasaki weapon an implosion type, and the War Department wanted to know which was the more effective design.Responsibility for the timing of the second bombing had been delegated by President Harry Truman before the Hiroshima attack to Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, the commander of the 509th Composite Group on Tinian, one of the Northern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific.

Scheduled for August 11 against Kokura, the raid was moved forward to avoid a five-day period of bad weather forecast to begin on August 10. English translation of leaflet air-dropped over Japan after the first bomb [excerpt]: “We are in possession of the most destructive explosive ever devised by man. A single one of our newly developed atomic bombs is actually the equivalent in explosive power to what 2000 of our giant B-29s can carry on a single mission. This awful fact is one for you to ponder and we solemnly assure you it is grimly accurate.”
Of the 195,00 population of the city (many of its children had been evacuated due to bombing in the days just prior), 39,000 died and 25,000 were injured, and 40% of all residences were damaged or destroyed.
"What on earth has happened?" said my mother, holding her baby tightly in her arms. "Is it the end of the world?"
Sachiko Yamaguchi (nine years old at the time of the bombing).
Hear an eyewitness account of this terrrible event

Photographic exhibit of the aftermath



August 9, 1956

20,000 women demonstrated against the pass laws in Pretoria, South Africa. Pass laws required that Africans carry identity documents with them at all times. These books had to contain stamps providing official proof the person in question had permission to be in a particular town at a given time. Initially, only men were forced to carry these books, but soon the law also compelled women to carry the documents.



August 9, 1966

Two hundred people sat in at the New York City offices of Dow Chemical Company to protest the widespread use in Vietnam of Dow’s flammable defoliant Napalm.

Napalm in use in Vietnam

Read more about Dow Chemical and the use of napalm



August 9, 1987

Hundreds were arrested in an all-day blockade of the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant in Golden, Colorado. Protests at Rocky Flats had been going on for some years.



August 10, 1883

Adrian “Cap” Anson refused to field his visiting Chicago White Stockings team in an exhibition baseball game if the Toledo Mud Hens included star catcher Moses Fleetwood Walker in their lineup. Chicago’s Captain Anson, who grew up in slaveholding Iowa, said he wouldn’t share the diamond with a non-white player. After more than an hour’s delay, Charlie Morton, the Toledo manager, insisted that if Chicago forfeited the game, it would also lose its share of the gate receipts; Anson relented.

Moses Fleetwood Walker

Morton had not planned to have Walker catch due to injury, but insisted on putting him in at centerfield, despite Cap Anson’s objections.



August 10, 1948

Gay rights activist Harry Hay organized what later became the Mattachine Society (originally ~ Foundation), a groundbreaking 1950s gay rights organization. The group was named after the Mattachines, a medieval troupe of men who went village-to-village advocating social justice.


Mattachine: Radical Roots of Gay Liberation


August 10, 1984

Two Plowshares activists, Barb Katt and John LaForge, damaged a guidance system for a Trident submarine with hammers at a Sperry plant in Minnesota. In sentencing them to six months’ probation, U.S. District Judge Miles W. Lord commented, "Why do we condemn and hang individual killers, while extolling the virtues of warmongers?"

Barb Katt

More on the Sperry Software Pair More plowshares actions



August 10, 1988

President George H.W. Bush signed legislation apologizing and compensating for the World War II internment of Japanese Americans.
President Franklin Roosevelt had authorized the round-up of hundreds of thousands of Americans of Japanese ancestry, some of whom were American citizens, as security risks. Most lost all their property and were moved to relocation camps for the duration of the war (though not in Hawaii, then not yet a state, where public opposition would not allow it).



August 10, 1993

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is sworn in as the second woman and 107th Justice to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

 


August 10, 2005

Mehmet Tarhan was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment on two charges of “insubordination before command” and “insubordination before command for trying to escape from military service” because he refused to serve in the Turkish Army.
He would not sign any paper, put on a uniform, nor allow his hair and beard to be cut. He went on two extended hunger strikes to protest his arrest and abuse while in Sivas Military Prison. War Resisters International has supported his efforts throughout his ordeal. He was released unexpectedly from prison after one year.


Read more


August 11, 1894

Federal troops forced some 1,200 jobless workers across the Potomac River and out of Washington, D.C.

 

Jack London

Led by an unemployed activist, “General” Charles "Hobo" Kelly, the jobless group's "soldiers" included young journalist Jack London, known for writing about social issues, and miner/cowboy William ”Big Bill” Haywood who later organized western miners and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

"Big Bill" Haywood
Read about about “Big Bill”


August 11, 1958

A drugstore chain in Wichita, Kansas, agreed to serve all its customers after weeks of sit-ins at Dockum’s lunch counter by local African-Americans who wanted an end to segregation. On this day, as several black Wichitans were sitting at the counter even though the store refused to serve them, a white man around 40 walked in and looked at them for several minutes. Then he looked at the store manager and said, simply, “Serve them. I'm losing too much money.” He was the owner, Robert Dockum.
That day the lawyer for the local NAACP branch called the company and was told by the a vice president ”he had instructed all of his managers, clerks, etc., to serve all people without regard to race, creed or color,” statewide. This was the first success of the sit-in movement which soon spread to Oklahoma City and other towns in Kansas, but is often thought to have started in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1960.


August 11, 1984 

Prior to his weekly radio address, unaware that the microphone was open and he was broadcasting, President Ronald Reagan joked, “My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” Many Americans and others throughout the world were concerned about the President’s apparently flippant attitude towards nuclear war at a time of increasing tension between the two major nuclear powers.

Among other things, the U.S. had begun a major strategic arms buildup, adding many thousands of additional nuclear warheads along with a broad range of new delivery systems: long-range bombers including 100 B-1B stealth bombers and MX (10-warhead) ICBMs, considered first-strike weapons; intermediate-range missiles to be deployed in Europe; 3000 cruise missiles; and Trident nuclear submarines with sea-launched cruise missiles.
Additionally, Reagan had proposed building the space-based Strategic Defense Initiative of anti-ballistic missiles, a destabilizing influence on the nuclear balance.
The Nuclear Arms Control Legacy of Ronald Reagan


August 12, 1953

The first Soviet hydrogen (thermonuclear or fusion) bomb, far more potentially damaging than those dropped on Japan, was exploded in the Kazakh desert, then part of the Soviet Union. Igor Vasziljevics Kurcsatov, head of the Soviet Uranium Committee, said to Josef Stalin at the time: “The atomic sword is in our hand. It is time to think about the peaceful use of nuclear energy.” 

The Soviet Nuclear Weapons Program Background


August 12, 1982

Twelve were arrested in an attempted blockade of the first Trident submarine, the USS Ohio, entering the Hood Canal in the state of Washington. In motorboats, sailboats and small handmade wooden vessels, the demonstrators were objecting to the presence of nuclear weapons in Seattle. The Coast Guard overturned some of the vessels with water cannon.

open missile tubes on Trident sub


August 12, 1995

Thousands demonstrated in Philadelphia and other cities in support of journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal (on death row for murder since 1982) in the largest anti-death-penalty demonstrations in the U.S. to date.


Who is Mumia Abu-Jamal?



August 13, 1961

The city of Berlin was divided as East Germany sealed off the border between the city's eastern (Soviet Union-controlled) and western (American-, British- and French-controlled) sectors in order to halt the flight of economic and political refugees to the West. Two days later, work began on the Berlin Wall.


The Wall, 155 km (96 miles) of barbed wire and concrete, completely surrounded West Berlin and had to be rebuilt three times.

The wall stood until November 9, 1989.
The Berlin Wall Online


August 13, 1971

U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell announced there would be no federal grand jury investigation into the May 4, 1970, shootings at Kent State University. Ohio National Guard troops had fired on unarmed anti-Vietnam-War demonstrators, killing four and wounding nine.
             

slain Kent State student  Atty General John Mitchell
Defenders of the National Guard said they were responding to a shot from the crowd though that was never verified. But in 2007 a tape was released through a freedom-of-information request to the FBI revealing a Guard officer issuing the command, “Right here! Get Set! Point! Fire!”
Kent State’s protest was part of massive spontaneous national outrage over Pres. Richard Nixon’s expansion of the war through his invading non-combatant Cambodia. Vice President Spiro Agnew had referred to the campus protesters as Nazi “brownshirts.”

Ohio National Guard troops firing on anti-war demonstrators at
Kent State University

The day before, Ohio Govenor James Rhodes had referred to the student demonstrators as “the strongest, well-trained militant revolutionary group that has ever assembled in America. They're worse than the brownshirts and the Communist element and the night riders and the vigilantes. They are the worst type of people that we harbor in America.”


August 13, 1992

President George H.W. Bush announced strong United States support for the draft Chemical Weapons Convention completed at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. The president stated that the U.S. was committed to the treaty, and called on all other nations to support the treaty and to pledge adherence to it.
Read more Chemical weapons treaty update (2001)


August 14, 1935

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law, creating unemployment compensation, old-age benefits and aid to dependent children.

"We can never insure one hundred percent of the population against one hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.”
President Roosevelt at the signing

President Roosevelt signing Social Security Act of 1935 in the Cabinet Room of the White House.
Library of Congress photo

A comprehensive history:



August 14, 1941

In the German Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, a group of prisoners had been chosen by the camp’s commander for death by starvation. Roman Catholic Fr. Maximilian Maria Kolbe offered himself for death instead of one of the condemned because the man had a family he needed to be alive to support. Fr. Kolbe was put to death on this day by lethal injection following two weeks of starvation.
Pope John Paul II declared him a Saint in 1982.



August 14, 1945

President Harry Truman announced that Japan, one week following the atomic bomb attacks on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, had surrendered unconditionally, ending World War II.


August 14, 1959

The U.S.-launched Explorer VI satellite recorded the first photograph of Earth taken from space, at an altitude of 17,000 miles (27,400 km).

Read more


August 14, 1966

Twenty people were arrested for trying to attend services at the white First Baptist Church in Grenada, Mississippi. They were charged with “disturbing divine worship.” Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) field staff member Jim Bulloch was arrested and his car fire-bombed while he was in jail.


August 14, 1968


400 anti-apartheid students occupied the university in Cape Town, South Africa, to protest its refusal to hire a black professor.



August 14, 1976

Majella O'Hare, a young Catholic girl, was shot dead by British soldiers while walking with other children to confession near her home in Ballymoyer, Whitecross, County Armagh.

The soldiers, initially denying they had fired any weapons, claimed that the patrol had been fired upon by an unidentified gunman. But there were serious doubts about the army’s claim. Eyewitness reports failed to confirm it and, unofficially, police investigating the case referred to the army’s “phantom gunman.”
The same day 10,000 Northern Irish gathered at a demonstration in Andersontown, organized by the Women's Peace Movement (later known as Peace People).

Majella O'Hare
How it happened from people who were there


August 14, 1980

After months of labor turmoil, more than 16,000 Polish workers seized control of the Lenin Shipyards in Gdansk. They helped form Solidarnos´c´ (Solidarity), the first independent labor union anywhere in the Soviet bloc, as the Warsaw Pact nations were known. Under the leadership of Lech Valensa [lek va wen´suh] and others, it helped unite the broad political, social and religious opposition to the Communist government.

Long-range look at Solidarity


August 15, 1876

Congress passed a law to remove the Lakota Sioux and their allies from the Black Hills country of South Dakota after gold was found there. Often referred to as the “starve or sell” bill, it provided that no further appropriations would be made for 1868 Treaty-guaranteed rations for the Sioux unless they gave up their sacred Black Hills, or Paha Sapa. That treaty had granted them the territory and hunting rights in exchange for peace.

Lakota Sioux watch as their Black Hills are invaded. painting by Howard Terpning
The larger story of the Sioux and the U.S.


August 15, 1947

Great Britain partitioned its empire on the Asian subcontinent into primarily Hindu, but nominally secular, India, and predominantly Muslim Pakistan (including the non-contiguous state of East Bengal, now the nation of Bangladesh). The two nations became independent of British rule after 200 years of colonial control, and more than two decades of Gandhi-led resistance. Rioting between Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims followed, especially over the state of Kashmir, majority Muslim but newly part of India.

Mahatma Gandhi had been an advocate for a united India where Hindus and Muslims would live together in peace. A few months later, at the age of 78, he began a fast with the purpose of stopping the sectarian bloodshed, in which hundreds of thousands died, and many more displaced. After five days the opposing leaders pledged to stop the fighting and Gandhi broke his fast.

Twelve days later he was assassinated by a Hindu opposed to his program of tolerance for all ethnicities, castes and religions.


One of the principal leaders of the independence movement, Jawaharlal Nehru, who became India’s first prime minister, spoke to the Constituent Assembly of India in New Delhi: "Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.

It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity."

among the tributes to Gandhi upon his death were these words by Albert Einstein:
“Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked

the earth in flesh and blood.”

Listen to a portion of Nehru’s speech and a bit of old film More on partition and independence


August 15, 1967

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking at a Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta, urged a massive civil disobedience drive in northern cities. Responding to the widespread rioting there, he said, “It is purposeless to tell Negroes they should not be enraged when they should be . . . Civil disobedience can utilize the militance wasted in riots . . . .”




August 16, 1953

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the constitutional monarch of Iran, dismissed the elected prime minister, Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq, without the approval of the parliament. In appointing Gen. Fazlollah Zahedi in his place, the Shah was following the coup plan, code-named TPAJAX, developed by the CIA under the direction of Kermit Roosevelt
(grandson of President Theodore), and Great Britain’s intelligence service, MI6.

About Mohammad Mosaddeq

The real story according to CIA records


August 16, 1963

Buddhists staged protests across South Vietnam against the government of President Ngo Dinh Diem, a Catholic who removed Buddhists from important government positions and replaced them with Catholics. Buddhist monks protested Diem’s intolerance of other religions and the methods he used to silence them. Several Buddhist monks immolated themselves in protest of the war being waged against insurgents in the south, and against North Vietnam.

The Buddist monk Quang Duc became the first to kill himself in an anti-government protest in Vietnam in June, 1963

 

20,000 Buddhists in silent march for peace, Hue, South Vietnam. 1966



August 17, 1966


Beatle John Lennon, while in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, expressed his admiration for American draft dodgers who resisted enlistment in the U.S. armed forces because of the Vietnam War.



August 17, 1982

Enten Eller

The first draft resister since the Vietnam era, Enten Eller, was convicted. A member of the Mennonite Church of the Brethren Resistance, he received three years’ probation in Bridgewater, Virginia, for refusing to register for the draft. Support demonstrations occurred all over the U.S.


The history of Mennonite resistance to conscription


August 18, 1914
In another step in the ethnic intimidation that led ultimately to the Armenian genocide in Turkey, looting was reported in Sivas, Diyarbekir, and other provinces. Under the guise of collecting war contributions (WWI had just begun), stores owned by Armenian and Greek merchants were vandalized. 1,080 shops and stalls owned by Armenians were burned at the Diyarbekir bazaar.
Chronology of the Armenian Genocide


August 18, 1920
Women throughout the U.S. won the right to vote when the Tennessee legislature approved the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution (the last of 36 states then required to approve it). An amendment for universal suffrage was first introduced in Congress in 1878, and Wyoming had granted suffrage in state law by 1890.


This amendment to enfranchise all American women had been introduced annually for 41 years without passage; it had gotten two-thirds of both houses of Congress to approve it just the year before.
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
In the Tennessee House, 24-year-old Representative Harry Burn surprised observers by casting the deciding vote for ratification.  At the time of his vote, Burns had in his pocket a letter he had received from his mother urging him, "Don't forget to be a good boy" and "vote for suffrage."

Should the 14th Amendment have been interpreted as guaranteeing to women the right to vote?

Teaching With Documents: Woman Suffrage and the 19th Amendment (National Archives)



August 18, 1963

 

James Meredith

James Meredith, the first African American to attend the University of Mississippi, became the first to graduate. His enrollment at “Ole Miss” a year earlier had been met with deadly riots, forcing him to attend class escorted by heavily armed guards.

James Meredith being escorted to his classes by
U.S. marshals and the military.

Who was James Meredith



August 18, 1964

South Africa was banned from taking part in the 18th Olympic Games in Tokyo due to the country's refusal to reform its racially separatist apartheid system.

Read more



August 18, 1977

Steve Biko, the leader of the Black Consciousness Movement resisting apartheid, was arrested at a roadblock outside King William’s Town. He died while in custody from abuse during the weeks of interrogation that followed.


Steve Biko

"So as a prelude whites must be made to realise that they are only human, not superior. Same with Blacks. They must be made to realise that they are also human, not inferior.""The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." - Biko speech in Cape Town, 1971


More about Biko


August 19, 1791


Benjamin Banneker, the first recognized African-American scientist, a son of former slaves, sent a copy of his just-published Almanac to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, along with an appeal about “the injustice of a state of slavery.”

More about Benjamin Banneker, his achievements and his letter to the president

Benjamin Banneker


August 19, 1953

Royalist troops surrounded, bombarded and burned the residence of the Mohammed Mosaddeq, the recently dismissed elected Iranian Prime Minister. After having briefly fled his country for Italy due to the rioting over his unconstitutional dismissal of Mosaddeq, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi was returned to the Peacock throne with dictatorial power. All this was done with the planning, financing and assistance of the CIA and its British counterpart, MI6.


Prime Minister Dr. Mohammed Mosaddeq

Background on Mosaddeq

Stephen Kinzer on the U.S.-Iran relationship in perspective



August 19, 1958

The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) Youth Council in Oklahoma City, led by Clara Luper, a high school history teacher, began sit-ins to desegregate lunch counters, inspired by success in Wichita, Kansas.
[see August 11, 1958].


2008 TV interview with Clara Luper More about Clara
Clara Luper


August 19, 1970

The U.S. deployed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles near Greeley, Colorado. It was the first missile with multiple (then three-170 kiloton) nuclear warheads known as MIRVs (Multiple Independently targetable Re-entry Vehicles).

All the details about this fearsome armament
The MIRV: each cone is a warhead


August 19, 1989

Anglican Bishop and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Desmond Tutu was among hundreds of black demonstrators, members of Mass Democratic Movement who were whipped and blasted with sand stirred up by helicopters as they attempted to picnic on a “whites-only” beach near Cape Town, South Africa.

Desmond Mpilo Tutu


August 20, 1619

The first enslaved Africans brought to North America arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, aboard a Dutch ship.


August 20, 1964

A nearly $1 billion (about $5 billion in current dollars) anti-poverty measure, the Economic Opportunity Act, which created Head Start, VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America), and other programs that became part of the “War on Poverty,” was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.



Sargent Shriver & LBJ
Sargent Shriver, the first director of the Peace Corps, drafted the legislation and became director of the Office of Equal Opportunity which implemented the new law.

The "Great Society"



August 21, 1831

Nat Turner, a 30-year-old man legally owned by a child, and six other slaves began a violent insurrection in Southampton County, Virginia.They began by killing the child’s stepfather, Joseph Travis, and his family. Within the next 24 hours, Turner and, ultimately, about 40 followers killed the families who owned adjacent slaveholding properties, nearly 60 whites, while freeing and inciting other slaves to join them.

Militia and federal troops were called out, and the uprising was suppressed with 55 African Americans including Turner executed by hanging in Jerusalem, Virginia, and hundreds more killed by white mobs and vigilantes in revenge.

More about Nat Turner

Nat Turner's confession


August 21, 1968

The Czechoslovakian people spontaneously and nonviolently resisted invasion of their country of 14 million by hundreds of thousands of troops and 5000+ tanks from the Soviet Union and four other Warsaw Pact countries.
The troops were enforcing the overthrow and arrest of Alexander Dubcek and his government. They had been implementing significant democratic reforms known collectively as “socialism with a human face,” or the Prague Spring.  

Cover of the magazine Kvety, with a photograph of the statue of St. Wenceslas in Wenceslas Square in the center of Prague. Graffiti on the statue reads "Soldiers go home" in Russian and "Dubcek - Svoboda" in Czech.

>


< Hundreds attempted to obstruct invading tanks.

Both Czechs and Slovaks argued with the soldiers and refused all cooperation with the occupying armies while showing broad support for the deposed government and its reform program. Moscow relented and returned Dubcek to office, at least temporarily.

Prague Spring in retrospect

Czech perspective


August 21, 1971

Two grenades killed and wounded members of the leadership of the Philippines’ Liberal Party during a rally in Manila’s Plaza Miranda. Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos accused a leader of the party, Benigno Aquino, of the bombing and arrested him, labeling him a communist. Liberal Party Secretary-General Aquino, an effective young leader and Marcos opponent, was imprisoned, mostly in solitary confinement, for seven years until allowed exile to the U.S., ostensibly for medical treatment.

Marcos and Aquino



August 21, 1976

Approximately 20,000 people, mainly women, from both Protestant and Catholic areas of Belfast, Northern Ireland, attended a Peace People's rally at Ormeau Park.


August 21, 1983

Exiled popular Philippine political leader Benigno Aquino was assassinated by soldiers of the Aviation Security Command as he crossed the tarmac at Manila International Airport.

Benigno Aquino

He had spent three years of asylum in the U.S. Upon his return, he intended to lead the political opposition to President Ferdinand Marcos and the martial law he had imposed.
During the plane trip across the Pacific, he had commented to reporters,
"I suppose there's a physical danger because you know assassination's part of public service . . . My feeling is we all have to die sometime and if it's my fate to die by an assassin's bullet, so be it."

Hundreds of thousands demonstrated against Marcos.

Ferdinand Marcos

The Aquino funeral drew millions and gave impetus to the broad-based People’s Power movement which eventually forced Marcos from power.
Read more about Aquino


August 21, 1991

A coup against Soviet Union President Mikhail S. Gorbachev by hard-line Communist Party members (State Emergency Committee), collapsed in the face of popular opposition. Russian Federation President Boris N. Yeltsin, having quit the Party the previous year, had called for a general strike.

Mikhail S. Gorbachev | Boris N.Yelsin


August 21, 1998

Samuel Bowers, the 73-year-old former Imperial Wizard of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, was convicted in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, of ordering a firebombing that killed civil rights activist Vernon Dahmer 32 years before. Bowers had also been instrumental in the killing of three other civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi for which he was never charged.
On Vernon Dahmer’s tombstone are the words,

“If you don’t vote, you don’t count.”

32 years to justice


Samuel Bowers


Dahmer's home after the bombing


August 22, 1958

President Dwight Eisenhower announced a voluntary moratorium on nuclear weapons testing. A report outlining a system for monitoring and verifying compliance of a complete ban on such testing had been released just the day before. The Conference of Experts, as it was known, had been meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, to work out the details on detection of violations of such a treaty. The U.S. delegation was led by Nobel physics laureate Ernest Lawrence from the University of California (the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is named after him).
Eisenhower predicated his moratorium on U.S.S.R. and U.K. agreement to the same limitations. All three countries agreed to the one-year halt in testing and to begin negotiations on a complete test ban at the end of October; all three performed last-minute (atmospheric) tests before the opening of talks.


August 22, 1964

Fannie Lou Hamer, leader of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), testified in front of the Credentials Committee at the Democratic National Convention. She was challenging the all-white delegation that the segregated regular Mississippi Democrats had sent to the presidential nominating convention.

< Singing at a boardwalk demonstration: Hamer (with microphone), Stokely Carmichael (in hat), Eleanor Holmes Norton, Ella Baker.
Mississippi’s Democratic Party excluded African Americans from participation. The MFDP, on the other hand, sought to create a racially inclusive new party, signing up 60,000 members.
The hearing was televised live and many heard Hamer’s impassioned plea for inclusion of all Democrats from her state.
The hearing was televised live and many heard Hamer’s impassioned plea for inclusion of all Democrats from her state. In her testimony she spoke about black Mississippians not only being denied the right to register to vote, but being harassed, beaten, shot at and arrested for trying. Concerned about the political reaction to her statement, President Lyndon Johnson suddenly called an impromptu press conference, thereby interrupting television broadcast of the hearing.
Hear her testimony   Link to photo gallery


August 22, 1971

The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) arrested twenty in Camden, New Jersey, and five in Buffalo, New York, for conspiracy to steal and destroy draft records. Eventually known as the Camden 28, most were Roman Catholic activists, including four priests, and a Lutheran minister.

“We are not here because of a crime committed in Camden but because of a war committed
in Indochina....”
Cookie Ridolfi
The Camden 28


August 22, 1972

Rhodesia’s team was banned from competing in the Olympic Games with just four days to go before the opening ceremony in Munich, Germany. The National Olympic Committees of Africa had threatened to pull out of the games unless Rhodesia was barred from competing. Though the Rhodesian team included both whites and blacks, the government was an illegal one, controlled by whites though they represented just 5% of the country’s population. It had broken away from the British Commonwealth over demands from Commonwealth member nations that power be yielded to the majority.

Read more



August 22, 1986

The Kerr-McGee Corporation agreed to pay the estate of the late Karen Silkwood $1.38 million ($2.68 in 2008), settling a 10-year-old nuclear contamination lawsuit. She had been active in the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers union, specifically looking into radiation exposure of workers, and spills and
leaks of plutonium.

Her story


August 23, 1933

Mahatma Gandhi, weighing only 90 pounds, was released unconditionally from Sassoon Hospital in Poona because, after 5 days of his latest “fast unto death,” the doctors feared that his body could no longer stand the strain of fasting.
He had been taken to the hospital from Yeravda jail, which he had described as his “permanent address,” when he started his fast. He was protesting official refusal to allow him to continue his work with the Untouchables (he had called them harijan, or “children of God”) while in prison.

Gandhi leaving hospital, 1933

He had deliberately courted arrest, rejecting an order permitting him to reside only within the limits of Poona, and had been sentenced to a year’s imprisonment.
Read about Mohandas Gandhi


August 23, 1945

In a letter to his friend Anne Marie Petersen shortly before the end of British colonial rule in India, Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “When there is independence, why should you fear the majority? If you have God with you and the majority have not, should you still fear? And if both have God between them who should fear whom? Is there then any question of majority and minority?
Let us pray.
Love.
Bapu”


August 23, 1989

Over one million joined hands across the three Baltic republics (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) in a 400-mile-long chain of resistance against control by the U.S.S.R. (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).
It was the 60th anniversary of the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact, also known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact after the foreign ministers of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany who had negotiated it.
Generally called the Hitler-Stalin Pact, it secretly agreed to Soviet control of Latvia and Estonia, and German influence over Poland and Lithuania. Germany, again secretly, later ceded control over Lithuania to the Soviets for 7.5 million dollars in gold ($115 in 2008 dollars).

Baltic hands


August 24, 1968 

France became the world's fifth thermonuclear power when it exploded a hydrogen bomb at the Fangataufa Atoll in the South Pacific. It had a yield of 2.6 megatons (the equivalent of more than two-and-a-half million tons of TNT) and heavily contaminated the atoll, leaving it off-limits to humans
for six years.

Fangataufa test

Atmospheric and underwater nuclear weapons testing continued there for nearly thirty more years.


August 24, 1970

United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC) leader Cesar Chavez [seezer chah´vez] called for a consumer boycott of lettuce to support the strike against lettuce growers who would not negotiate contracts with the farm workers for decent wages and working conditions.

U.F.W. history

The United Farm Workers today
United Farm Workers show their support for the lettuce strike and boycott at a rally in Salinas, California.   Farm Labor leader Cesar Chavez, pictured at a rally in Salinas, California






Farmworker Movement
Documentation Project


Susan Due Pearcy

Boycott
Posters and
buttons

 


August 25, 1969

Company A of the 3rd Battalion, the 196th Light Brigade, refused to advance further into the Songchang Valley of Vietnam after five days of heavy casualties; their number had been reduced from 150 to 60.
This was one of hundreds of mutinies among troops during the war.


“He [President Nixon] is also carrying on the battle in the belief, or pretense, that the South Vietnamese will really be able to defend their country and our democratic objectives [sic] when we withdraw, and even his own generals don't believe the South Vietnamese will do it.” -James Reston in the New York Times
Vietnam: The Soldier's Revolt
GI resistance in the Vietnam War


August 26, 1789

The French National Assembly agreed to document known as the “Declaration of the Rights of Man.” It was a set of principles for gauging the legitimacy of any governing system, and included (in summary):
• “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights”
“ Those rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression”
“ Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else”
• “The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most pre cious of the rights of man”
Declaration des Droits de L'Homme et du Citoyen (Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen)
• Law can only prohibit such actions as are hurtful to society and law is the expression of the general will. “ Every citizen has a right to participate personally, or through his representative, in its foundation.”
• No person shall be accused, arrested, or imprisoned except when in violation of a public law, all persons are held “innocent until they shall have been declared guilty,” and receive punishments “only as are strictly and obviously necessary”
• The security of the rights of man and of the citizen requires public military forces, and a “common contribution” is essential for the maintenance of the public forces and for the cost of administration, and that public servants are obliged to account for use of those funds
• Property is an “inviolable and sacred right,” and no one shall be deprived thereof
The complete text:


August 26, 1839

The Amistad (“Friendship”), a Spanish slave ship seized by the 54 Africans who had been carried as cargo on board, landed on Long Island, New York.
The leader of the mutiny was Joseph Cinque, a Mende, from the part of Africa that is now Sierra Leone.

Cinque -

one of the revolt leaders

      

     

The Amistad

More on the story of the Amistad



August 26, 1920

The 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote, officially became part of the U.S. Constitution: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
This day has been known since 1971 as
Women’s Equality Day.

More on Women’s Equality Day

The document itself, from the National Archives



August 26-29, 1968
Police and anti-war demonstrators clashed in the streets of Chicago as the Democratic National Convention nominated Vice President Hubert Humphrey for president inside the Amphitheater.

Club-swinging Chicago police indiscriminately tear-gassed, kicked and beat anti-war demonstrators, delegates, reporters and innocent bystanders outside, arresting 500. 11,900 Chicago police, 7500 Army troops, 7500 Illinois National Guardsmen and 1000 Secret Service agents were ultimately involved.
Protesting what was later officially designated a police riot, members of the Democrats’ Wisconsin delegation attempted to march to the convention hall, but police turned them back.
When Senator Abraham Ribicoff (D-Connecticut) delivered his nominating speech, he infuriated Mayor Richard Daley by saying,
"with George McGovern as President of the United States, we wouldn't have Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago."



Julian Bond, the first black member of the previously all-white Georgia state legislature, seconded the nomination of anti-war presidential candidate Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy. Bond added that he had seen such police behavior before, but only in segregationist Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.


Narrative account

David Douglas Duncan’s online photo exhibition


August 26, 1970

Betty Friedan leads a nationwide protest called the Women's Strike for Equality in New York City on the fiftieth anniversary of women's suffrage.


August 26, 1971

Six thousand turned out for a National Organization for Women-organized Women March for Equality in New York City. They were calling for equal rights, including the demand “51 percent of everything,” reflecting women’s proportion of the U.S. population.
This first "Women's Equality Day," instituted by Bella Abzug, was established by Presidential Proclamation and reaffirmed annually.


August 26, 1985

Samantha Smith, a 10-year-old from Manchester, Maine, was invited to visit the Soviet Union by its Premier, Yuri Andropov. She had written him a letter asking if the Soviet Union intended to attack the United States.
She had written him a letter asking if the Soviet Union intended to attack the United States. She visited him in the U.S.S.R. and became a young ambassador for peace. She died in an airplane crash at age 13 on this day returning home with her father from a peace mission.
Statue of Samantha Smith at the Maine State Library
Augusta, Maine
Grade school student, peace activist 1972-1985


August 27, 1963

DuBois in Ghana

W.E.B. DuBois, the black American sociologist, scholar, author, pan-Africanist, communist, and one of the founders of the NAACP, died in Accra, the capital of Ghana, where he had expatriated. He had been charged and tried in the U.S. for being a “foreign principal” in 1951 because he chaired the The Peace Information Center.

The Center was dedicated to banning nuclear weapons but Secretary of State Dean Acheson designated it a Communist front group.

W.E.B. DuBois background

Get a W.E.B. DuBois pin
1" diameter - satin finish
Union printed - made in Detroit.
select pin


August 27, 1967

The San Francisco Peace Torch began its two-month journey to Washington, D.C. for a demonstration
against the Vietnam War.

The Peace Torch Marathon arrives at the Mall.


August 28, 1833

The Abolition of Slavery Act was passed by the British Parliament. As early as 1787, members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), particularly Thomas Clarkson and Granville Sharp, organized to end the slave trade.
Since Quakers were barred from serving in the House of Commons, the cause was led by a member of the Evangelical Party, William Wilberforce, ending the international trade in slaves in 1807. By 1827 slaving was considered piracy and punishable by death. The complete ban on slavery itself through the British Empire didn’t happen until this day; Wilberforce was informed of the Act’s passage on his death-bed.
William Wilberforce


August 28, 1963

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his
“I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of half a million gathered on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
They gathered there for jobs and freedom.

Read the speech



 
Film of the March and the speech
organizing to build the march
1983: Three hundred thousand marched in Washington on the 20th anniversary of MLK's "I Have A Dream" speech for the second
"March on Washington for Jobs, Peace and Freedom."


August 28, 1976

60,000 joined the Community of Peace People demonstrations in Belfast and Dublin, Ireland. Peace People was founded by two women, Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan to decry the painful violence between Catholics and Protestants, between unionists and republicans, and to move the peace process forward in Northern Ireland. Betty Williams Mairead Corrigan

They jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize for 1976.

More about Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan
From the Declaration of the Peace People:
“ . . . We want to live and love and build a just and peaceful society.
We want for our children, as we want for ourselves, our lives at home, at work and at play, to be lives of joy and peace.
We recognize that to build such a life demands of all of us, dedication, hard work and courage . . .
We dedicate ourselves to working with our neighbors, near and far, day in and day out, to building that peaceful society in which the tragedies we have known are a bad memory and a continuing warning."
The Peace People’s website


August 29, 1758

The first Indian reservation, Brotherton, was established in New Jersey. A tract of three thousand acres of land was purchased at Edge Pillock, in Burlington County. The treaty of 1758 required the Delaware Tribes, in exchange for the land, to renounce all further claim to lands anywhere else in New Jersey, except for the right to fish in all the rivers and bays north of the Raritan River, and to hunt on unenclosed land.
History Of The Brotherton Reservation


August 29, 1949

The Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb in a test at Semipalatinsk in eastern Kazakhstan. It was known as Joe 1 after Josef Stalin, then General Secretary of the Communist Party.
" Joe 1, the first Soviet
atomic bomb
Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov, key developer of the Soviet bomb, later worked for peace
The Semipalatinsk
test site


August 29, 1957

Following consultations among the NATO allies and other nations, the Western (non-Communist) countries presented to the United Nations a working paper entitled, “Proposals for Partial Measures of Disarmament,” intended as “a practical, workable plan to start on world disarmament.” The plan proposed stopping all nuclear testing, halting production of nuclear weapons materials, starting a reduction in nuclear weapons stockpiles, reducing the danger of surprise attack through warning systems, and beginning reductions in armed forces and armaments.


August 29, 1957

The U.S. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, the first such law since reconstruction. The bill established a Civil Rights Commission which was given the authority to investigate discriminatory conditions. A Civil Rights Division was created in the Department of Justice, allowing federal prosecutors to obtain court injunctions against interference with the right to vote, among other things.
African Americans in Milledgeville, Georgia, wait in line to vote following the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
In an ultimately futile attempt to block passage, then-Democrat, former Dixiecrat, and later Republican Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina set the all-time filibuster record: 24 hours, 19 minutes of non-stop speaking on the floor of the Senate.
A filibuster is the deliberate use of prolonged debate and procedural delaying tactics to block action supported by a majority of members. It can only be stopped with a 60% majority voting to end debate.
Senator Strom Thurmond with his 24-hour filibustering speech


August 29, 1961


Robert Moses,
leader of SNCC
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was pursuing its voter registration drive in Amite County, Mississippi. Of 5000 eligible Negro voters in the county, just one was registered to vote. SNCC leader Robert Moses was attacked and beaten this day outside the registrar’s office while trying to sign up two voters. Nine stitches were required but the three white assailants were acquitted.
Bob Moses recorded the incident Hear Moses recall the time


August 29, 1970

Between 15 and 30 thousand predominantly Chicanos (Americans of Mexican descent) gathered in East LA’s Laguna Park as the culmination of the Chicano National Moratorium. It was organized by Rosalio Munoz and others to protest the disproportionate number of deaths of Chicano soldiers in Vietnam (more than double their numbers in the population).
There had been more than 20 other such demonstrations in Latino communities across the southwest in recent months.
Three died when the anti-war march turned violent. The Los Angeles Police Department attacked and one gunshot, fired into the Silver Dollar Bar, killed Ruben Salazar, a Los Angeles Times columnist and a commentator on KMEX-TV (he had been accused by the LAPD of inciting the Chicano community).
The Chicano Moratorium
Ruben Salazar in that day’s LA Times


August 30, 1963

A “hotline” telephone link was installed between the Kremlin in Moscow and the White House in Washington, D.C. The intention was to allow direct communication in the event of a crisis between the U.S. president and the leader of the Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.). It had been agreed to following the Cuban Missile Crisis.


August 30, 1964

The Democratic Party National Convention refused to seat any delegates from the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP). The Credentials Committee chose to seat the all-white delegation from Mississippi’s regular Democratic Party despite overwhelming evidence of the state party’s efforts to disenfranchise Mississippi’s Negro citizens.
A proposed compromise of two non-voting guest delegates from MFDP was rejected by its leaders.

The dispute, the political intrigue, and the long-term effects



August 30, 1967

The Senate confirmed the appointment of Thurgood Marshall as the first Supreme Court Justice of African-American descent. Marshall had been counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and had been the lead attorney in the Brown v. Board of Education case. He was appointed to the Court by President Lyndon Johnson after having served as Solicitor General of the U.S. for two years, and on the U.S. Court of Appeals for four.
Thurgood Marshall


August 30, 1971

Ten empty school busses were dynamited in Pontiac, Michigan, eight days before a school integration plan was to begin. Following Federal Judge Damon Keith’s finding that Pontiac’s school board had “intentionally” perpetuated segregation, a plan was developed by the board that included bussing of 8700 children.
The bombers were later identified as leaders and members of the Ku Klux Klan, arrested, tried, convicted and imprisoned.


August 30, 1980

Striking Polish workers, their numbers approaching 150,000, won a sweeping victory in a battle with the Polish Communist government for the right to independent trade unions and the right to strike. Their lead negotiator was Lech Walesa, head of the union, Solidarnos´c´ (Solidarity).


Lech Walesa announces the deal to cheering crowds of shipyard workers.



August 30, 1999

Residents of East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia
in a U.N.-sponsored election.

More about the East Timor election



August 31, 1921

Marcus Garvey, leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, often referred to as the Back-to-Africa movement in the U.S., was declared “Provisional President of Africa” in a Harlem (New York City) ceremony.
Black nationalist Marcus Garvey is shown in a military uniform as the 'Provisional President of Africa' during a parades up Lenox Avenue in Harlem, New York City, in August 1922, during the opening day exercises of the
annual Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World.
Hear one of his speeches recorded that summer


August 31, 1965

U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed into law a bill criminalizing destruction of draft cards. Although it could result in a five-year prison sentence and $1000 fine, the burnings became common during anti-Vietnam War rallies and often attracted the attention of news media.

Draft card burning, 1967



August 31, 1974

In federal court, John Lennon of The Beatles testified the Nixon Administration had tried to have him deported because of his involvement with anti-war demonstrations at the 1972 Republican convention in Miami.
The U.S. v John Lennon trailer


August 31, 1994

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) declared a permanent and “complete cessation of military operations” after 25 years of bombing and 3000 deaths (both republican and unionist) intended to end British control of Northern Ireland.

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