March

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March 1, 1943

A 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.


March 1, 1954
Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day, or Bikini Day, marks the anniversary of the explosion of the largest-ever U.S. nuclear weapon which contaminated major parts of the Marshall Islands
[see February 28, 1954].

The land and people of the south Pacific have been exposed to numerous nuclear bomb tests and their radioactive aftermath.
In addition to the 67 atmospheric U.S. tests at Bikini and Eniwetok Atolls, France tested 193 weapons in French Polynesia, 46 in the
atmosphere. The U.K. exploded 34 devices on Malden and Christmas Islands.

The day is also intended to call attention to the potential danger of the increasing trans-oceanic shipment of hazardous nuclear materials, and the need of nuclear and shipping nations to consider the rights and health of the indigenous peoples of the region. 
The proposed South Pacific Nuclear-Free Zone Treaty
Indigenous People and Nuclear Weapons


March 1, 1956

The University of Alabama permanently expelled Autherine Lucy, the first African-American person ever admitted to the University (following a federal court’s ordering her admission).

She was met with rioting by thousands of students (none of whom were disciplined) 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 “ baseless, outrageous and unfounded charges of misconduct on the part of the university officials.”

Burning desegregation litgerature at the University of Alabama. Students, adults and even groups from outside of Alabama shouted racial epithets, threw eggs, sticks and rocks, and generally attempted to block her way.





Autherine Lucy Foster receives her master's degree from University of Alabama in 1992.

Autherine Lucy Foster ultimately received her master’s degree from the University of Alabama in library science in 1991, the same year her daughter, Grazia, earned her undergraduate degree. The University now grants an endowed scholarship annually in Lucy Foster’s name.


March 1, 1961

 

President 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.

What is the Peace Corps today?


March 1, 1974

Former top Nixon White House aides H.R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman, and former Attorney General John Mitchell, were indicted on obstruction of justice charges related to the Watergate break-in.



March 1, 1981

Irish 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.

Read more
“Hunger,” a film about Bobby Sands by director Steve McQueen (“Shame”) with Michael Fassbender
Watch the trailer


March 2, 1807

The 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, however, was still legal and unregulated. Article I, Sec. 9 of the Constitution had set 1808 as the end to the individual states’ control of immigration..

The 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 Africans 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 began in 1861.

African slave trade timeline 


March 2, 1955

Nine 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. She was active in the Youth Council of the local NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People).

Though the Montgomery Bus Boycott was begun after Ms. Parks’s arrest, Clovin’s legal case became part of the basis for a federal court challenge to Alabama’s segregation laws. Colvin became one of four plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle, in which the Supreme Court ultimately struck down the law under which she was arrested for merely sitting down in a bus seat.

Claudette Colvin later in life
More on Browder v. Gayle  


March 2, 2011

British, French and Tunisian planes began airlifting to Cairo some 85,000 mostly Egyptians who had been guest workers in Libya. Made refugees by the civil war being raged against the four-decade-long dictatorship of Muammar Qadaffi, they had fled to Djerba on the Libya-Tunisia border. Tunisia, just recently convulsed by the first stirrings of the so-called Arab Spring, was unable to deal with the potential humanitarian crisis at their border.

Iraqi security forces close a bridge leading to the heavily guarded Green Zone in Baghdad.
Photo: Khalid Mohammed/AP


March 3, 1863

In the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed a conscription act that created 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 draftee. Many objected to this provision describing the war as a "rich man's war, but poor man's fight." Black Americans were also not eligible for the draft because they weren’t considered citizens.

Bounties for New York military "volunteers" during the Civil War


March 3, 1913

The day before Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration as president, 8000 from the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), representing every state, marched in Washington, D.C. to call for a constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote.
Organized by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, who had been inspired by the parades, pickets and speeches of the British suffragists, the march drew hundreds of thousands of spectators. Though some of the marchers were attacked by onlookers, the march focused attention on the suffrage issue.
[see March 4, 1917 below]
More about Alice Paul


March 3, 1961 

The village council in the Inupiat Eskimo town of Point Hope, Alaska, formally protested, in a letter to President Kennedy, the proposed 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, above the Arctic Circle in northwest Alaska. The excavation never happened due to public opposition and inspired native peoples in Alaska to assert their rights and legitimate land claims.

Edward Teller "Father of the hydrogen bomb" arrives to promote plans for Project Chariot.

Read more



March 3, 2003

In the first-ever worldwide theatrical act of dissent, there were at least 1029 stagings of Lysistrata, the 2400-year-old anti-war comedy by Greek playwright Aristophanes. Conceived and organized in just two months by Kathryn Blume and Sharron Bower, the performances all occurred on the same day to express opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Staged 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 peace through diplomacy.

More about how it happened
 
The organizers Kathryn Blume   Sharron Bower



March 4, 1917

Montana elected Republican Jeannette Rankin as the first woman to sit in the U.S. House of Representatives three years before American women nationwide could legally vote.

A persistent advocate for women’s rights, particularly suffrage, Rankin voted in Congress against American entry into both world wars, and late in life led marches against the Vietnam war.

 


Rep. Jeannette Rankin with her colleagues in the 61st Congress.

More about Jeanette Rankin

Visit the Jeanette Rankin Peace Center


March 4, 1933

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was sworn in as president in the midst of the Great Depression. From his inaugural address:
“This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure, as it has endured, will revive and will prosper.
So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.”

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivering his first inaugural address
Audio and video of the speech


March 4, 1965

Moved to action by President Lyndon Johnson’s sustained bombing of North Vietnam beginning two months before, Vietnam Day was declared by the Universities Committee, led by Wayne State University Professor Otto Feinstein. At about 100 college campuses nationwide, faculty, students and others gathered for lectures and meetings about the war. This occurred just three weeks before the first “teach-in” at the University of Michigan.


March 4, 1969

The UCS today

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) was founded.

From 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 destructive capability...”

. . . continued at



March 4, 1978

40,000 demonstrated against the enlargement of the uranium enrichment plants in Almelo, Holland. Enrichment is the processing of uranium with gas cetrifuges to the level required for use as fuel in nuclear reactors.


March 4, 2011

A new Egyptian prime minister called on thousands of cheering protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square to rebuild their country. Essam Sharaf, appointed by the military, told the crowd:

"I salute the martyrs. Glory and respect to the families of the victims and a special salute to everyone who took part and gave for this white revolution. I am here to draw my legitimacy from you. You are the ones to whom legitimacy belongs."

Egypt's new prime minister, Essam Sharaf, is greeted by supporters at Tahrir Square in Cairo.
Photo: Amr Nabil/AP

He ws appointed to replace deposed President Hosni Mubarak who had forced out of office by the widespread unrest that had spread from Tunisia, Egypt’s neighbor to the west. Sharaf was cheered and carried to and from the podium on the shoulders of protesters, escorted by military police.


March 4, 2011

In cities across Iraq demonstrators gathered for the second consecutive Friday to demand jobs, effective government services and an end to corruption. Inspired by movements elsewhere in the Arab world, 500 convereged in Liberation Square in the capital Baghdad, 1000 in Basra. Those in Baghdad were surrounded by at least as many security forces and overcame official resistance to the gathering including a citywide ban on vehicles. One protester had walked from Sadr City and had to pass through eight checkpoints.



March 5, 1970

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty went into effect after ratification
by 43 nations.

The agreement sought 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 189 countries, and is enforced through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Part of the United Nations, IAEA is the principal intergovernmental organization working on safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technology. It has been involved in the repercussions of the Fukushima earthquake/tsunami disaster as well as the proliferation issues regarding Iran and North Korea.
More on the Non-Proliferation Treaty


March 5, 1994

Ukraine, having voluntarily agreed to give up its nuclear weapons following the collapse of the Soviet Union, began their transfer to Russia. Ukraine, which had the world’s third largest weapons stockpile, 130 SS-19 missiles, 46 SS-24 missiles and dozens of strategic bombers, rid itself of all 1300 warheads within about two years.

Schoolchildren preparing to turn the keys to destroy the last missile silo in the Ukraine. October 30, 2001      

 Read more




March 6, 1857

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Dred Scott decision (Dred Scott v. Sandford) which declared that an escaped slave, Scott, could not sue for his freedom in federal court because he was not a citizen. Those of African descent could never be considered citizens but “as a subordinate and inferior class of beings,” according to the Court.

Chief 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 by it.”


Dred Scott Chief Justice Roger Taney
Dred Scott's fight for freedom Read the decision


March 6, 1884
Susan B. Anthony and more than 100 delegates from the National Woman Suffrage Association met with President 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."
Susan B. Anthony President Chester Alan Arthur


March 6, 1957

Ghana became the first black African country to become independent from colonial rule.
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah became independent Ghana's first leader.



Ghana's flag

Read more

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah


March 6, 1967 

Muhammad 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.

 

"I ain't got no quarrel with those Vietcong." 

 

 

< Top Black athletes gather to hear Muhammad Ali (formerly Cassius Clay) give his reasons for rejecting the draft, United States, June 4, 1967.



March 6, 1982

The University for Peace near San Jose, Costa Rica, was founded. UPeace, the U.N.-mandated graduate school of peace and conflict studies had been chartered by the General Assembly for research and the dissemination of knowledge specifically aimed at training and education for peace.

 

Visit the University for Peace

The monument on campus sculpted by Cuban artist Thelvia Marín in 1987,
is the world's largest peace monument.


March 7, 1932

The Ford Hunger March began on Detroit’s east side and proceeded 10 miles seeking relief during the Great Depression. Facing hunger and evictions, workers had formed neighborhood Unemployed Councils. Along the route, the marchers were given good wishes from Detroit Mayor Frank Murphy as well as two motorcycle escorts, and thousands joined the marchers along the route.
At the Detroit city limit, the marchers were met by Dearborn police and doused by fire hoses.
Despite the cold weather, they continued to the Employment Office of the Ford River Rouge plant,
from which there had been massive layoffs.
Five workers were killed and nineteen wounded by police and company “security” armed with pistols, rifles and a machine gun.
 

According to Dave Moore, one of the marchers, “That blood was black blood and white blood. One of the photos that was published in the Detroit Times, but never seen since, shows a black woman, Mattie Woodson, wiping the blood off the head
of Joe DiBlasio, a white man who lay there dying . . .

It’s been 75 years, but when you drive down Miller Road today, your car tires will be moistened with the blood that those five shed.” Grave markers with the words “His Life for the Union” pay tribute to the fallen hunger marchers in Woodmere Cemetery on Detroit’s west side.
Dave Moore
More on Moore


March 7, 1965

525 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.

Enforcing an order by Governor George Wallace, the group was broken up by state troopers and volunteer officers of the Dallas County sheriff who used tear gas, nightsticks, 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 member of Congress from Georgia), suffered a fractured skull.

ABC 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 whom.
Injured in Selma
Selma 1965 - Edmund Pettus Bridge, video excerpt from a PBS documentary
with Rep. John Lewis and others who were there
Read more
The Promise: An interactive portfolio about the civil-rights era
- highly recommended -



March 7, 1988

A 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.

 

the anti-recruitment movement today:

LEAVE MY CHILD ALONE!




March 8, 1908

Thousands 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.

This event became the basis for International Women's Day celebrated all over the world since March 8, 1945.

Read more

2014 theme for International Women’s Day:
INSPIRING CHANGE
View images from IWD celebrations
More on the United Nations goals for women and the history of the day

Searchable list of events for IWD
planned around the world


March 8, 1965

About 3,500 U. S. Marines became the first American combat troops in Vietnam, landing near the coastal city of Da Nang. The ships USS Henrico, Union, and Vancouver, carrying the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade under Brigadier General Frederick J. Karch, took up stations 4,000 yards off Red Beach Two, north of Da Nang.



March 8, 1983

40,000 in Tel Aviv, Israel, organized by Peace Now, rallied against the war in Lebanon.



March 8, 1995

Women in Black demonstrated in the center of Belgrade, Serbia, on International Women's Day, expressing solidarity with Kosovar women: "The Albanian women from Kosovo are our sisters."

The women were both spit at and kicked, but didn't give up, and stood there to the end of the usual hour. 
Though Kosovo is overwhelmingly (90%) ethnically Albanian, it is considered the national and religious birthplace of Serbians. Both Kosovo and Serbia had been part of the former Yugoslavia, which had granted partial autonomy to Kosovo in 1974. Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic (later tried for war crimes) in 1989 withdrew that autonomy and revoked the official status of the Albanian language in Kosovo.


March 9, 1839
The 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.

 

Slave ship

They 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.

More on the Amistad mutiny


March 9, 1945

Phyllis Daley became the first African-American commissioned nurse in the U.S. Navy. Though more than 500 black nurses served in the Army during World War II, the Navy had only dropped its color ban a few weeks before.


March 9, 1964

Five Sioux Indians, led by Richard McKenzie, claimed the island of Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay as Indian land. The island had recently been abandoned, and the action was based on an 1868 treaty which entitled Indians to take possession of surplus federal land. The native Americans advocated turning it into a cultural center and Indian university, but their occupation lasted only four hours.


March 9, 1965

Two days after Bloody Sunday [see March 7, 1965] Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. led 1500 outraged people gathered from around the country back to the Edmund Pettus Bridge on the outskirts of Selma, Alabama.

They were attempting for a second time to march to the state capital of Montgomery in support of voting rights for black Americans. Confronted once again by state troopers blocking passage to the bridge, King knelt in prayer, then led his followers back, avoiding further violence.
Later that evening three white ministers were attacked by local whites as they left a soul food restaurant in Selma. Reverend James Reeb was struck on the head with a club and died two days later.
"Deputy Lineup." Alabama Sheriff's deputies block
the progress of marchers in Selma, Alabama.


March 10, 1969

James Earl Ray was sentenced to prison for 99 years by a court in Memphis, Tennessee, after admitting he murdered American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King, who preached and practiced nonviolence, was shot dead by a sniper in Memphis as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.
The building now houses the National Civil Rights Museum.

Witnesses pointing toward the source of the shot that killed King.
National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel


March 10, 2006

Turkish conscientious objector (CO) Mehmet Tarhan was released unexpectedly from a military prison after being held for having refused service in the army. A court decided that he had already been held longer (23 months) than any possible sentence for the crime.

 
  Mehmet Tarhan

Mehmet Tarhan's supporters

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 other CO activists in Turkey.

More on Mehmet Tarhan and other Turkish COs



March 11, 1968

Cesar Chavez ended a 23-day fast for U.S. farm workers in a Delano, California, public park with 4000 supporters at his side, including Senator Robert Kennedy (D-New York). Cesar Chavez led the effort to organize farm workers into a union for better pay, working and living conditions.

The story of Cesar Chavez



March 11, 1988

10 days of protest and direct action ensued demanding an end to nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site. The site, larger than the state of Rhode Island, is an outdoor laboratory and national experimental center for testing nuclear weapons. The actions resulted in over 2,200 arrests, the largest number of arrests in U.S. history for a political protest outside Washington, D.C.


March 11, 2011

More than 85,000 Wisconsin citizens rallied outside the Capitol in Madison to welcome the return to the state of fourteen Democratic state senators. Known as the Wisconsin 14, they had left the state to deny the senate a quorum, thus delaying passage of legislation which took away public employees right to collectively bargain and restricting other rights of union members.
State Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller remarked about the gathering, “This is what democracy looks like!”


The Wisconsin 14


March 12, 295

Maximilian of Thebeste (near Carthage in North Africa) was beheaded by Romans after refusing military service because he said his Christian beliefs did not permit him to become a soldier.



March 12, 1912

Workers led by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) won the Lawrence, Massachusetts, "Bread & Roses" textile strike after 32,000 workers (mostly young female immigrants who spoke 25 different languages, half between the ages of 14 and 18) stayed out for nine weeks. They were striking for a wage increase, double time for overtime and safer working conditions: the equipment was dangerous and the air quality caused lung disease in about one-third of the workers before the age of twenty-five.

Background

 

“Bread and Roses” became the strikers slogan and inspired a poem by by the same name.

Read the poem

<IWW organizer Elizabeth Gurley Flynn addresses a strike rally

Bread & Roses victory parade

The strike from an IWW perspective


March 12, 1930

Gandhi's Salt March began from Ahmadabad, India, with 76 followers to protest the salt tax. Great Britain's Salt Acts prohibited Indians from collecting or selling salt, a staple of the Indian diet.
Citizens were forced to buy it from the British, who, in addition to exercising a monopoly over the manufacture and sale of salt, also exerted a heavy salt tax. Defying the Salt Acts, Gandhi reasoned, would be a simple way for many Indians to break an unjust law nonviolently (civil disobedience), increasing the pressure for independence from the British Empire.
Gandhi leading the Salt March
By the time Gandhi had covered the 241 miles to the coastal city of Dandi on the Arabian Sea, the number of marchers had grown into the thousands.
More on the Salt March


March 12, 1978

150,000 demonstrated against construction of a nuclear power plant in Lemoniz, Spain, part of the Basque region. No fewer than a dozen plants were planned in a relatively small, densely populated area, Lemoniz being only 12 km (5 miles) from Bilbao, a city of a million.
The opposition was concerned about the possibility of accidents.

Lemoniz protest


March 13, 1830

The term “rat,” referring to a worker who betrays the interests of fellow workers, first appeared in print. The New York Daily Sentinel reported on replacement workers who had agreed to work for two-thirds of the going rate.
“ . . . [many printers are out of work, others are being paid about 2/3 the regular pay; they should join in cooperative associations, ‘as we have done’]
“ [While] the master printers [fill] their offices with boys and two-thirds men, alias ‘rats,’ it will be difficult to find a remedy.”


March 13, 1864

The first contingent of 14,030 Navajo reached Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Men, women and children had been forced to march 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 along the way.  More died after they arrived at the barren reservation.  The forced march, led by Kit Carson, an Indian agent and military leader in both the Mexican and Civil Wars, became known by the Navajos as the "Long Walk." 

A grueling 400-mile march to imprisonment in a sterile land.

Resources on The Long Walk



March 13, 1945

Pax 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 members worldwide.”

Pax Christi history



March 13, 1968

Clouds of nerve gas drifted outside the Army's Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah, poisoning 6,400 sheep in nearby Skull Valley.

Read more about Dugway - the home of Amerian WMD
Sign near Dugway: Warning Hazardous Area: This area may contain Chemical, Biological and Radiological contaminated material and explosives . . .


March 14, 1879

Physicist 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 out of 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.”

Read more



March 14, 1934

The National Civil Liberties Council was founded in England, principally to monitor the policing of protests. Renamed Liberty in 1989, it has campaigned to protect and promote rights and freedoms for over 75 years.  

About Liberty's history The organization today


March 14, 1970

During a second attempt by Native American activists to claim Fort Lawton (about 50 miles south of Seattle, Washington), 78 were arrested for entering the site.

United Indians for All Tribes was demanding the city give the unused facility to Native Americans for use as a cultural center. One week earlier about the same number had been arrested for occupying what had been declared federal surplus property. The Daybreak Star Cultural Center is now operating on the site. Indians demonstrating at Fort Lawton


March 14, 1990

Sixteen disability-rights activists from ADAPT (American Disabled for Accessible Public Transit)were arrested at the U.S. Capitol demanding passage of what would become the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Michael Winters recalls being there in 1990:


More on the status of the disabled:
disability rights demonstration


March 14, 2004

Opposition Socialists scored an upset win in Spain's general election three days following the Madrid train bombings. The conservative government had joined the U.S.-led coalition that invaded Iraq the previous year though Spanish public opinion was overwhelmingly opposed to it. José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and his party, Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE), had opposed the Iraq War and Spain’s involvement.
The coordinated bombings, which left 191 dead and 1600 injured, were the worst terrorist attack in Europe aside from the downing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Thoughtful article on the bombings and the political situation in Spain



March 15, 1869

The first proposed amendment to the constitution guaranteeing women’s suffrage was introduced in the U.S. Congress.


March 15, 1942

Over 1300 Norwegian teachers were arrested by the German Nazi-installed government run by Vidkun Quisling after 12,000 of 14,000 nationwide had refused to join the new teachers’ association and resisted nazification of the curriculum. Half were held in a concentration camp outside the capital of Oslo. The rest were shipped to the Arctic for forced labor alongside Russian prisoners of war.
The loss of the arrested teachers forced a school shutdown for several weeks. Each day the imprisoned teachers were marched to their job of unloading supply ships, citizens stood respectfully by as they passed. When the teachers returned home later in the year, they were treated as heroes.

Hitler and Quisling
Following Germany’s defeat, Quisling was tried for treason, convicted and sentenced to death. Quisling is now considered a synonym for traitor.
Vidkun Quisling – ‘The Hitler of Norway’


March 15, 1963

Students from South Carolina State and Claflin College organized to integrate the lunch counter at Kresge 5&10 in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Though their efforts were disciplined and peaceful, 400 were attacked by police then herded behind fences in the largest mass arrest of the civil rights movement.
More than a 1000 students marched peacefully to
intergrate lunch counters in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

Convicted of "Breach of the Peace," the U.S. Supreme Court later overturned those convictions because those arrested were petitioning for redress of grievances within the protection of the 1st Amendment.

More on the Orangeburg action


March 15, 1965

Less than a week after the Bloody Sunday police attacks on peaceful marchers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, President Lyndon Johnson addressed the American people before a televised Joint Session of Congress. He said, “There is no issue of States rights or national rights. There is only the struggle for human rights . . . We have already waited a hundred years and more, and the time for waiting is gone . . . .”
Watch video or read the text of his speech


March 15, 1993

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, security and allied paramilitary organizations.

Truth Commission: El Salvador U.S. Institute of Peace




March 16, 1190
The entire Jewish community of York, England, perished while observing Shabbat ha-Gadol, the last sabbath before Passover
. Gathered together inside Clifford’s Tower, the keep of York's medieval castle, for protection from the violent mob outside, many of the Jews took their own lives; others died in the flames they had lit, and those who finally surrendered were massacred and murdered.


Clifford's Tower

This occurred just after the beginning of the Third Crusade. “Before attempting to revenge ourselves upon the Moslem unbelievers, let us first revenge ourselves upon the ‘killers of Christ’ living in our midst!”


March 16, 1827
The first newspaper owned and edited by and for African-Americans, Freedom's Journal, was published in New York City.
It appeared the same year slavery was abolished in New York state.
  two of the early founders
of
Freedom's
Journal


March 16, 1921

The 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 the U.S..

WRI No More War demonstration in Berlin 1922

Their symbol: a broken gun.

Their slogan: "The right to refuse to kill."

Their founding statement

WRI today


March 16, 1968

U.S. 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. Lt. William L. Calley, Jr. commanded the men of Charlie Company, First Battalion, Americal Division, and was the only one tried out of 80 involved in what is called the My Lai Massacre.
The Army, including a young Major Colin Powell, at first tried to cover it up and the media resisted reporting it.

Young girls sheltering behind their mother during My Lai
Chief My Lai prosecutor William Eckhardt described how Thompson responded to what he found when he put his helicopter down: "[Thompson] put his guns on Americans, said he would shoot them if they shot another Vietnamese, had his people wade in the ditch in gore to their knees, to their hips, took out children, took them to the hospital...flew back [to headquarters], standing in front of people, tears rolling down his cheeks, pounding on the table saying, 'Notice, notice, notice'...then had the courage to testify time after time after time."

Some 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 the villagers and the troops pursuing them.
Lt. William L. Calley Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson

Hugh Thompson’s story

More on My Lai


March 16, 1972

Reference librarian Zoia Horn refused to testify against the Harrisburg Seven who were on trial for an alleged conspiracy to kidnap then-National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. Five of the seven were current or former Catholic priests or nuns.
Horn had been implicated by an ex-convict informer placed in the Bucknell University library by the FBI.

Though given immunity from self-incrimination, Zoia objected to the idea that libraries could become places of infiltration and spying. Charged with contempt of court, she was sent to jail for 20 days until a mistrial was declared.

Judith Krug, longtime director of the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, said that Horn was “the first librarian who spent time in jail for a value of our profession.”

Reference librarian Zoia Horn
At the trial she asked to read a statement of explanation, but was led away in handcuffs before she had begun her third sentence:
“Your Honor, it is because I respect the function of this court to protect the rights of the individual, that I must refuse to testify. I cannot in my conscience lend myself to this black charade. I love and respect this country too much to see a farce made of the tenets upon which it stands. To me it stands on freedom of thought—but government spying in homes, in libraries and universities inhibits and destroys this freedom. It stands on freedom of association—yet in this case gatherings of friends, picnics and parties have been given sinister implications, and made suspect. It stands on freedom of speech—yet general discussions have been interpreted by the government as advocacies of conspiracies.”

Zoia Horn in the California Library Hall of Fame



March 16, 1988

Iraqi forces acting under orders from President Saddam Hussein attacked the Kurdish village of Halabja with a variety of poison gasses including mustard gas and the nerve agents sarin, tabun, and VX. About 5,000 non-combatant men, but mostly women and children, died from the chemical weapons.

This was part of Saddam’s al-Anfal campaign, a slow genocide of the Kurds in Iraq. About 2000 villages were emptied and leveled as well as a dozen larger towns and cities, tens of thousands were killed.

Kurdish father Omar Osman and his infant son,
victims of Saddam Hussein’s poison gas attack on Halabja, Kurdistan (Iraq)
The Human Rights Watch full report on
the al-Anfal Campaign
  Conversation with Peter Galbraith who alerted the U.S. to the Anfal campaign


March 16, 2003

Rachel Corrie, an American college student in Gaza to protest Israeli military and security operations, was killed when run over by a bulldozer while trying to stop Israeli troops from demolishing a Palestinian home.
The 23-year-old from Olympia, Washington, was a member of International Solidarity Movement and was the first nonviolent western protester to die in the occupied territories.
In Memoriam Rachel Corrie 1979-2003


March 16, 2003

Over 5000 coordinated candlelight vigils and demonstrations took place, in more than 125 countries, in an eleventh-hour protest against the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Knoxville, Tennessee Trafalgar Square, London



March 17, 1966

Cesar Chavez and the National Farm Workers Association left Delano for Sacramento, the capital of California, a 340-mile march which would take three weeks. They were calling public attention to the plight of farm workers and for their struggle for the right to organize a union.

Farm Worker union beginnings



March 17, 1968

In London’s Trafalgar Square, at the largest anti-Vietnam War protest in Britain to date, 25,000 people marched. They were demonstrating against American action in Vietnam and British support for the United States policy.

Some then attempted to storm the U.S. Embassy, resulting in 200 arrests and fifty taken to hospital, nearly half police officers.

 Actress Vanessa Redgrave was allowed to enter the embassy to deliver a protest

Read more and watch footage of the demo



March 17, 1978

The oil supertanker Amoco Cadiz ran aground and, in the worst oil spill ever, lost its entire cargo of 1,619,048 barrels (223,000 tons).

A slick 18 miles wide and 80 miles long polluted approximately 200 miles of France’s Brittany coastline.

The Amoco Cadiz disaster was the first marine environmental catastrophe to be covered by the world's media in real time.

one of the victims

 
A brief history


March 17, 2003

President George W. Bush warned U.N. weapons inspectors to leave the Iraq within 48 hours. They were in country searching for weapons of mass destruction (WMD), conducting 900 inspections at 500 locations in four months.

Bush had given Saddam Hussein the same amount of time to step down from power or suffer the consequences of the planned invasion.
Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector, and Mohamed El Baradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the inspectors had found no WMDs, or any evidence of a renewed Iraqi nuclear weapons program. Despite increasing cooperation from Iraqi authorities relenting to international pressure, the inspectors were unable to complete their work due to the American threat of war.

U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq before they were forced to leave by President George W. Bush

Hans Blix’s report to the UN Security Council just ten days earlier



March 18, 1922

Gandhi’s "Great Trial" for writing seditious articles opposing British colonial rule began in Ahmedabad, India. The accused, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aged 53, described himself as a farmer and weaver by profession, and spoke in his own defense, pleading guilty.


"I hold it to be a virtue to be disaffected towards a government which, in its totality, has done more harm to India than any other system . . . .
" . . . I do not ask for mercy. I am to invite and cheerfully submit to the highest penalty that can be inflicted upon me for what in law is a deliberate crime and what appears to me to be the highest duty of the citizen."

Mahatma Gandhi
More on the trial


March 18, 1962

Algeria 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 was shown extensively in the Pentagon to help understand the Iraqi insurgency.

French army confront demonstrators for Algerian independence in 1960

Read about the movie
The movie and the Pentagon


March 18, 1970

The first strike against the U.S. government and the first mass work stoppage in the 195-year history of the Postal Service began with a walkout of letter carriers in Brooklyn and Manhattan who were demanding better wages.

Ultimately, 210,000 (in 30 cities) of the nation's 750,000 postal employees participated in the wildcat strike. 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 week later.

Congress voted a six percent raise for the workers retroactive to December.

More including a video about the strike


March 18, 1970


Country Joe McDonald
Country Joe McDonald was convicted of obscenity and fined $500 for leading a crowd in his infamous Fish Cheer
("Gimme an F !") at a concert in Massachusetts.
It was the band’s introduction to "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag,” a Vietnam protest song.
The lyrics:
Pete Seeger’s version of the controversial song: - hear the lost recording


March 18, 1992

In a referendum, the last whites-only election held in South Africa, voters overwhelmingly gave the government authority to negotiate a new constitution with the African National Congress and other black political groups, and an end to the system of racial separation know as apartheid.
When white South African voted for change


March 18, 2011

As a means to thwart a growing reform movement in the kingdom of Bahrain, the government destroyed the structure in the middle of the Pearl Roundabout, the focal point of demonstrations over the previous six weeks. Groups of Shiite Muslims, treated as second-class citizens by the ruling Sunni government led by the ruling al-Khalifa family, had gathered there repeatedly.
 
Pearl before demo Pearl after demo


March 19, 1911

The first International Women’s Day was held in Germany, Austria, Denmark, and some other European countries. This date was chosen by German women because, on that date in 1848 the Prussian king, faced with an armed uprising, had promised many reforms, including an unfulfilled one of votes for women. A million leaflets calling for action on the right to vote were distributed throughout Germany.


March 19, 1963

The blacklisting of Pete Seeger (and other members of The Weavers) from the folk music television show "Hootenanny" prompted a boycott by 50 folk artists (The Kingston Trio, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Peter, Paul & Mary, among others).
Seeger had become a cultural hero through his outspoken and joyful commitment to the anti-war and civil rights movements, and helped popularize the anthemic "We Shall Overcome."

Pete Seeger bio from Encyclopedia of the American Left
Pete singing and talking about the music with Hugh Hefner on TV in the early ‘60s


March 19, 1978

50,000 marched in Amsterdam to protest U.S. deployment of the neutron bomb in Europe. The neutron bomb was a tactical (artillery shell) enhanced-radiation weapon. It killed people with a neutron flux that penetrated armor but was effective only over a limited area, leaving little fallout or residual radiation. It did minimal damage, however, to physical structures.

More about the Neutron Bomb


March 19, 2003
U.S. and coalition forces launched missiles and bombs at targets in Iraq including a “decapitation attack” aimed at Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and other top members of the country’s leadership.

There were nearly 300,000 American, British and other troops at the border.
President George W. Bush warned Americans that the conflict "could be longer and more difficult than some predict." He assured the nation that “this will not be a campaign of half-measures, and we will accept no outcome except victory.”

Baghdad, Iraq under attack
Read about the cost of this war Timeline


March 19, 2011
In response to widespread peaceful demonstrations for political change in Syria, the government sealed off the city of Deraa. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad claimed his country would not be affected by the movement for more democracy across the Arab world that had already toppled governments in Tunisia and Egypt. His regime was composed almost entirely of ethnic Allawites in a country more than 80% Sunni.
Mourners at the funerals for five shot dead by security forces in Deraa chanted, “God, Syria and freedom only.” Demonstrations had been held in at least five cities, including the capital of Damascus.


March 20, 1815

Switzerland was declared neutral by the great powers of Europe at the Vienna Congress following the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte. The confederation of 22 cantons (member states) had its current borders established with its neighbors France, Germany, Austria and Italy.
Switzerland’s history


March 20, 1852

Harriet Beecher Stowe's influential novel about slavery, Uncle Tom's Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly, was first published in book form by J.P. Jewett of Boston. The text had previously been serialized in the anti-slavery newspaper, the National Era.

10,000 copies were sold in the first week, 300,000 within the first year. The many different editions published in Europe sold an aggregate of one million copies in the first year. It was the second best-selling book of the 19th century after the Bible.

Uncle Tom's Cabin was soon published in dozens of language.
The novel’s influence on American culture


March 20, 1983

 

In Australia 150,000 (1% of population) demonstrated in anti-nuclear rallies.

 

Australia's anti-nuclear movement: a short history

 

Sydney anti-uranium protest.April 7, 1979.



March 20, 1998
Despite the efforts of thousands of anti-nuclear demonstrators, a train hauling 60 tons of nuclear waste arrived in the north German town of Ahaus from Walheim in the south. Twice the train was stopped by protestors chained to the tracks; 300 were arrested with police using water cannon in response to rocks and sticks being thrown at them.
The size of the security deployment, outnumbering the protestors ten to one, necessitated the postponing of ten days of football (soccer) matches. A similar shipment the previous year provoked several days of rioting.
More on X-Days in Ahaus


March 20, 2010 5:32 PM GMT

The first day of spring (the vernal equinox) is the day for celebrating NoRuz [no-rooz], the Persian New Year.


More on NoRuz and other Persian celebrations


March 20, 2011
The nuclear reactor crisis created in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami on the northeast coast of Japan began to spread health risks to the surrounding area. Elevated levels of radiation were found in spinach and milk in the nearby prefectures (counties). As a result of pumping seawater to keep the reactors cool after loss of electricity and damage wiped out all the cooling systems, radiation was found in the ocean waters.


March 21, 1937

On Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter), the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico was to march in Ponce (city on the southern coast of the island) in support of Puerto Rican independence. They were also protesting the imprisonment of Albizu Campos, leader of the Party and the lawyer for the sugarcane workers who had led a general strike.

The colonial military governor, Blanton Winship (a Georgian who had been Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army), revoked the parade permit at the last minute. Nationalists insisted on marching regardless and, surrounded by the well armed police, were fired upon as they began. Whoever fired the first shot, 18 Nationalists and 2 policemen died. 200 others, Nationalists and bystanders, were injured, 150 arrested. This incident is known as Masacre de Ponce, or “The Ponce Massacre.” Families of those who died in the Ponce Massacre

A history of Puerto Rico

The Ponce massacre remembered


March 21, 1960

South African police opened fire on unarmed demonstrators in the black township of Sharpeville near Johannesburg. The demonstrators were protesting the establishment of apartheid pass laws which restricted movement of non-whites.

In Sharpeville itself, 69 were killed and 176 wounded when police fired on the crowd, 63 of them shot in the back. In the aftermath of the Sharpeville massacre, protests broke out in Cape Town and elsewhere, and there were further casualties. Overall, 13,000 were jailed.
The organizer, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, head of the Pan-Africanist Congress, had written to the police commissioner, notifying him of the plans, and had said at a press conference, “I have appealed to the African people to make sure that this campaign is conducted in a spirit of absolute nonviolence, and I am quite certain they will heed my call.”

The Sharpeville Massacre and its significance in South African history


March 21, 1990

The Plowshares Two damaged a U.S. F-111 bomber in Upper Heyford, England. This was the first plowshares action in Britain.

The details of this and other Plowshares actions of the time


March 21, 2003

The report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa was released. The commission was led by the Reverend Desmond Tutu, a bishop in the Anglican Church, the first black General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches, and Nobel Peace Prize winner for his efforts to bring peace and justice to all South Africans.

The Commission was charged with investigating and providing “as complete a picture as possible of the nature, causes and extent of gross violations of human rights” under the racial separatist apartheid regime from 1960 until the inauguration of Nelson Mandela in 1994, South Africa’s first black president.
Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu
But the Commission sought to go beyond truth-finding to promote national unity and reconciliation, to facilitate the granting of amnesty to those who made full factual disclosure, to restore the human and civil dignity of victims by providing them an opportunity to tell their own stories, and to make recommendations to the president on measures to prevent future human rights violations.
Rev. Tutu concluded in his foreword to the report, “Quite improbably, we as South Africans have become a beacon of hope to others locked in deadly conflict that peace, that a just resolution, is possible. If it could happen in South Africa, then it can certainly happen anywhere else. Such is the exquisite divine sense of humour.”
The complete report of the Commission


March 21, 2008
More than 300 people participated in an annual Good Friday peace action at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, organized by Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment (CARES). The lab is a key participant in the design of all weapons in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The Alameda County Sheriff arrested 91 of the protesters. CARES Executive Director Marylia Kelley said, “The emphasis is on nonviolence and rejecting violence.”
The organization behind the action


March 21, 2011
An estimated 14 million Egyptians voted in an essentially problem-free election. 77% voted to endorse a process that would bring elections for parliament within six months and a presidential election later.


March 22, 1933
The Nazi German concentration camp at Dachau was opened, the first of many such camps built for the incarceration and extermination of those considered unfit: Jews, Polish Catholics, Communists, the Roma (frequently referred to as Gypsies), the “work-shy,” homosexuals, the “hereditary asocial,” and those with mental and/or physical handicaps.
Over 200,000 prisoners were registered at Dachau, nearly all of whom died there.
The gate to Dachau "Work will make you free"
The early days of Dachau


March 22, 1956
Civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., was convicted of organizing an allegedly illegal boycott by black passengers of buses in Montgomery, Alabama. He was fined $500 but when his lawyers indicated his intent to appeal, the sentence was changed to 386 days of imprisonment.
Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott


March 22, 1965
3,200 civil rights demonstrators, led by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and under protection of a federalized National Guard, began a third attempt at a week-long march from Selma, Alabama, to the state capitol at Montgomery in support of voting rights for black Americans. Marchers on their way to Montgomery
A week before, the march had been violently stopped before leaving Selma. People from all over the country arrived to support the effort for enfranchisement of African Americans in the South whose right to vote had been systematically denied.
Classroom activities on the Selma-to-Montgomery March including the regular reports of
Joseph Califano, Special Assistant to Sec. of Defense Robert McNamara, who accompanied the marchers


March 22, 1974

The Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (ERA) was passed by both houses of Congress with two-thirds majorities. The amendment, to give women full equality under law, was ratified by the legislatures of only 35 states, short of the required three-quarters of the 50 states, and thus never became law.

Detailed history of the Equal Rights Amendment


March 22, 1980

30,000 marched in Washington, DC against re-introduction of draft registration.

 

 

Denise Levertov's lines from her poem,

"A Speech for Antidraft Rally, D.C., March 22, 1980”

"...Let 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 (pdf)

 


March 23, 1918

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 the Soviet Union, where he remained until his death 10 years later.

Read more
"Big Bill" Haywood


March 23, 1942

The U.S. government began moving all those of Japanese ancestry, including some native-born U.S. citizens (known as nisei), from their west coast homes to indefinite imprisonment in detention centers, beginning with Manzanar in California which eventually held more than 10,000 Americans.

Located on 60,000 acres west of Los Angeles, it is now a national historic site; only 3 of the original 800 buildings remain.

Gallery of photos and other materials about Manzanar


March 23, 1961

Army Major Lawrence Robert Bailey was the first recorded American to be held as a prisoner of war in Southeast Asia. One of eight crew members of a C-47 surveillance aircraft shot down over Laos, Bailey was held by the Pathet Lao for 17 months, losing one-third of his body weight (down to 53 kg, or 117 lbs) during that time. The other occupants of the plane are presumed to have died in the crash; Bailey always wore a parachute.



March 23, 1984
One thousand boats, known informally as the Auckland Harbour Peace Squadron, demonstrated against arrival of the nuclear submarine, U.S.S. Queenfish in New Zealand.



USS Queenfish nuclear submarine student die-in
outside the U.S. Consulate
.



March 24, 1616

William Leddra was executed by the Charter government of Massachusetts for being a Quaker. He was the fourth and last of his religion to be hanged with the approval of Governor John Endicott. Though the court did not find him “evil,” he had sympathized with the Quakers who were executed before him; he had refused to remove his hat, and he used the words "thee" and "thou," which, to Quakers, implied the equality of all people.
Check out the way the link works for this. Much better than the terrible transcription I read the other day.
Contemporaneous letter describing Leddra’s and other Quakers’ persecution (starts p.58)


March 24, 1918

Native-born Canadian women over 21 (except native, or First Nations, women) won the right to vote in federal elections, but not to run for office for yet another year. Suffrage was not granted to women in Quebec provincial elections until 1940.
Read about Thérèse Casgrain


March 24, 1964

In a sit-down against nuclear weapons at Parliament Square in London, England, 1,172 were arrested.


March 24, 1965

The first Teach-In on the Vietnam War was held at the University of Michigan a month after President Lyndon Johnson ordered bombing of North Vietnam. The U-M teach-in was among the first of a new form of campus protest that was to spread nationwide, a means of mobilizing students to examine policies of their government that they previously had taken for granted.

Read more about the 1st Teach-In

Very few Americans had ever heard of the country in southeast Asia, and the event was intended to educate the participants in the history of Vietnam and foreign aggression there.

Young protester in Chicago march
photo Jo Freeman


March 24, 1980

The 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.

CLUW history

CLUW today


March 24, 1980

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 the right-wing civilian and military circles of El Salvador as an 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.

Read more about Monsignor Romero



March 24, 1989

The most environmentally damaging oil spill to date began when the supertanker Exxon Valdez, owned and operated by the Exxon Corporation, ran aground on Bligh Reef in southern Alaska’s Prince William Sound. An estimated 11 million gallons of oil (257,000 barrels or 38,800 metric tons) eventually leaked into the water.
Attempts to contain the massive spill were unsuccessful, and wind and currents spread the oil nearly 500 miles from its source, eventually polluting more than 1300 miles of coastline. Hundreds of thousands of birds and thousands of sea mammals were lost in the disaster.
A dead murrelet, one of the hardest-hit sea birds in the Valdez spill.
The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill read more



March 25, 1807

Great Britain abolished international trade in slaves. Emancipation of slaves in the country, however, did not occur until 1834, and persisted as unpaid apprenticeship for the technically emancipated for years after that.
The story of abolition in England


March 25, 1872

Toronto printers went on strike for a 9-hour workday and a 54-hour workweek—the first major strike in Canada. When the editor of the Globe newspaper had thirteen of them arrested, 10,000 turned out to support them. Later that year unions were made legal in Canada.


March 25, 1894

In the midst of a depression that had begun the previous year, a millionaire businessman from Massillon, Ohio, Jacob Coxey, organized a march of an “industrial army” from Ohio to Washington, D.C. Congress had done little in response to the economic crisis and Coxey advocated a range of solutions, many considered radical at the time, such as building roads and other public works (known as infrastructure today).
Coxey's Army passing through Mayland on their way to Washington.
Coxey is seated behind the horses looking at the camera.
“Coxey's Army” gathered on the Capitol lawn but they were driven off and Coxey was arrested for trespassing when he tried to deliver his address to the crowd in violation of their first amendment rights “peacably to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances.”
More on Coxey and the Depression of 1893
  A poem by Jared Carter on folks
seeing Coxey’s Army pass through town


March 25, 1911

The Triangle Shirt Waist Company, occupying the top floors of a ten-story building on New York’s lower east side, was consumed by fire.

147 people, mostly immigrant women and young girls working in sweatshop conditions, lost their lives.
Approximately 50 died as they leapt from windows to the street; the others were burned or trampled to death, desperately trying to escape via stairway exits illegally locked to prevent “ the interruption of work.”
Company owners were charged with seven counts of manslaughter—but were found not guilty.

The incident was a turning point in labor law, especially concerning health and safety. For three days prior, the company, along with other warehouse owners, had grouped together to fight the Fire Commissioner's order that fire sprinklers be installed.
Protests in the wake of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire
 
< button from the struggle
Comprehensive collection of materials on the tragedy from Cornell University’s labor school


March 25, 1915

The Sisterhood of International Peace was founded in Melbourne, Australia, by Eleanor May Moore and Dr. Charles Strong.
More about Eleanor May Moore


March 25, 1965

Their numbers having swelled to 25,000, the Selma-to-Montgomery marchers arrived at the Alabama state capitol.

Organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the march was to bring attention to the denial of voting rights to black Americans in the state and elsewhere in the south. Twice the people had been turned back, denied the right to leave Selma peacefully.
Martin Luther King Jr. and wife Coretta
lead march into Montgomery, Alabama.
Dr. King spoke to the crowd: “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.”
The Federal Voting Rights Act was passed within two months.
Read the full text of Rev. King’s speech The Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail


March 25, 1965


Viola Gregg Liuzzo, a housewife and mother from Detroit, driving marchers back to Selma from Montgomery, was shot and killed by Ku Klux Klansmen from 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, Gary Rowe.

Viola Liuzzo

More about Viola Liuzzo

Civil rights martyr Viola Liuzzo


March 2
5, 1967

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. led an anti-war march for the first time in Chicago, opposing the Vietnam War by saying:
“ Our arrogance can be our doom. It can bring the curtains down on our national drama . . . Ultimately, a great nation is a compassionate nation The bombs in Vietnam explode at home—they destroy the dream and possibility for a decent America . . . .”
Reverend King addresses rally at the end of the Chicago march
photo: Jo Freeman


March 25, 1969

The newly wed John Lennon and Yoko Ono-Lennon began their seven-day "bed-in for peace" against the Vietnam War in the presidential suite of the the Amsterdam Hilton in The Netherlands. Their doors were open to the media from 10am to 10pm. They invited all to think about and talk about creating peace.



“ Yoko and I are quite willing to be the world's clowns, if by so doing it will do some good".  
The Wedding and “Ballad of John and Yoko” Amsterdam bed-in photo album


March 25, 1972

30,000 participated in the Children's March for Survival in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the National Welfare Rights Organization. They were supporting the Family Assistance Program, then pending in Congress (but never passed), which guaranteed a minimum income level for all families.


March 25, 1990

A new community, Segundo Montes, was started by campesinos in El Salvador who had lived for nine years as exiles in Honduras following the El Mozote Massacre, when 1000 civilians were killed by the U.S.-trained Salvadoran military. The town was named after a priest who had helped them in the Colomoncagua refugee camp on the border, and who was murdered along with four other Jesuit priests by the Salvadoran military.


March 26, 1839

The Cherokee Indians came to the end of the “Trail of Tears,” a forced march from their ancestral home in the Smoky Mountains to the Oklahoma Territory. General Winfield Scott, under orders from President Andrew Jackson, arrested then drove the tribe’s members through the winter, leaving 4000 dead along the route. According to John Burnett, an interpreter with the U.S. Army, “. . . covetousness on the part of the white race was the cause of all that the Cherokees had to suffer . . . .” The train of 645 wagons stretched for five km (three miles), leaving behind as many as twenty graves in one day, principally victims of exposure.
Listen to This American Life’s Sarah Vowell as she follows the Trail of Tears
John Burnett’s Story of the Trail of Tears, a letter to his children written late in life,
recalling his experiences as a young private involved in the Cherokee removal
(document I)I


March 26, 1966

Over 50,000 marched peacefully in the Fifth Avenue Vietnam Peace Parade in New York City.

They were part of the second International Days of Protest with marches in several cities in North America.

Fifth Avenue anti-Vietnam War demonstration
photo: Robert Parent

Early efforts opposing the war in Vietnam



March 26, 1979

In a ceremony at the White House, Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed a peace agreement they had worked out with the assistance of President Jimmy Carter at Camp David, the U.S. president’s rural retreat.


The agreement ended three decades of hostilities between Egypt and Israel, establishing diplomatic and commercial ties. The two countries have remained at peace for 40 years.
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.
Video of the signing courtesy of BBC


March 26, 1986

The Oklahoma Supreme Court (Post v. State of Oklahoma) upheld a ruling that an Oklahoma anti-sodomy law could not be constitutionally applied to private, consensual activity.


March 26, 2003


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.

The demonstration in Barcelona



March 27, 1867

Newly freed negroes after the American Civil War staged ride-ins on Charleston, South Carolina, streetcars. The railway company integrated later the same year. Similar efforts were made in Richmond, Virginia, and Mobile, Alabama.


March 27, 1966

 

20,000 Buddhists marched silently for peace in Hue, South Vietnam.



March 27, 1969
The first Chicano Youth Liberation Conference was held by the Crusade for Justice. The poet known as Alurista presented his poem, "Plan Espiritual De Aztlán," on the concept of Aztlán, a unifying spiritual and geographic homeland of the Chicanos.
He took the concept that the land belongs to those who work it from Mexican Revolutionary Emiliano Zapata. Aztlán is a name for the home of the Aztecs.
Alurista
Read more about Alurista In search of Aztlan



March 28, 1799
The New York state legislature enacted a law mandating the gradual end of slavery. Children of slaves would not be emancipated until they had served their parent’s “holder” and reached their mid-twenties. It was not until 1827 that a subsequent law declared, “every person born within this state, whether white or colored, is free.”


March 28, 1918
2,000 in the city and province of Quebec, Canada, demonstrated at the culmination of the conscription crisis during the “Great War” (World War I).

High casualty rates in Europe forced the Ottawa, Ontario, national government to institute a draft. The Canadiens resisted military service in support of Great Britain’s foreign policy. The protests continued for five days over the Easter weekend.
[see April 1, 1918]

Anti-Conscription Parade in Victoria Square, Montreal, Quebec, May 24, 1917.

The gathering in this photo looks calm. Riots nearly a year later resulted in the death of four demonstrators in Quebec City.

Read more


March 28, 1964
Three hundred were arrested during a sit-down protest at U.S. Air Force headquarters in Ruislip, England. The protest was organized by the Committee of 100, a group using nonviolent direct action to campaign for British unilateral nuclear disarmament.
Conceived by the president of the Committee for Nuclear Disarmament, Bertrand Russell (he resigned this post soon after), and a young American academic named Ralph Schoenman, they proposed mass civil disobedience in resisting nuclear weapons, challenging the authorities to “fill the jails” with the intention of causing prison overload and large-scale disorder.
Police in Ruislip arrested men and women demonstrators indiscriminately.
photo: John 'Hoppy' Hopkins.
They were committed to nonviolence, and on arrest would go limp so as to create maximum disruption without conflict.


March 28, 1968
Martin Luther King, Jr., led a march in support of striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee.Shortly after its start, violence broke out followed by looting; one 16-year-old black boy was killed, 60 people were injured, and over 150 arrested.
Police dispersed the rioters with mace, batons and teargas. National Guard troops are called in and sealed off black neighborhoods; martial law was declared by nightfall.
Despite the violence, King insisted on returning to the city and the sanitation workers’ side the following week.
Dr. King at a press conference after violence during a march in support of striking sanitation workers.

Two alternative views of what happened that day in Memphis, and what followed



March 28, 1979
In the worst nuclear accident in U.S. history, a cooling system on the Unit Two reactor failed at Three Mile Island (TMI) 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.

Nearby Dickinson College’s TMI virtual museum

Front-page story in the New York Times


March 28, 2001
After being delayed by massive anti-nuclear protests en route, 60 tons of nuclear waste arrived by train at Dannenberg, Germany. Though the government has agreed to phase out German reliance on nuclear power, some plants will continue to operate until 2021.
The waste fuel rods sent to France for reprocessing had to return to Germany for permanent long-term storage. Transported through Germany by train, and then by truck to their permanent site in Gorleben, movement of the 28 glass casks was considered an unacceptable safety risk to residents. Protesters blocked the tracks, sometimes chaining themselves in place, to stop the shipment. 20,000 police were required to allow the train’s passage.
Protester Jürgen Sattari said he considered the operation a success.
"We want to stop the convoy," he said. "Of course we know we can't halt it indefinitely, but we can drive up the political price."
More on the broad-based struggle against nuclear waste in Germany


March 29, 1925

Black leaders in Charleston, West Virginia, protested the showing of D. W. Griffith's movie, Birth of a Nation, scheduled to open at the Rialto Theatre on April 1. They said it violated a 1919 state law prohibiting any entertainment which demeaned another race. Mayor W.W. Wertz and the West Virginia Supreme Court supported their argument and prevented the showing of the film; efforts to ban the film met with mixed results around the country.

Ku Klux Klan "justice" as portrayed in Birth of a Nation.
What made this movie (after a book called The Clansmen) exceptional in cinema history
The effort to ban the film in Boston


March 29, 1971
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.
Resources and links about My Lai


March 29, 1973
The last American combat troops left South Vietnam, ending direct U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War. Military advisors to the South Vietnamese Army remained, as did Marines protecting U.S. installations, and thousands of Defense Department civilians.
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.
The 615th MP Company was inactivated in Vietnam on the last day of American military combat presence.
Timeline on the war in Vietnam
An overview of the American military experience in Vietnam

Learn about the persisting problem of Agent Orange



March 29, 1987
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 insurgent contras.
More than weapons may have been involved in the Contra supply operation
Visit Veterans for Peace


March 30, 1891
Signaling 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.
"Sockless" Jerry Simpson 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, high-interest bank loans and unaffordable 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 nationwide third-party movement known as the Populists.


March 30, 1919
Shops were closed and thousands demonstrated in protest against Rowlatt Acts in New Delhi, Amritsar, and other Indian cities. The hastily passed law permanently extended wartime civil liberties restrictions such as trial without jury and internment without trial.


March 30, 1948
Henry Wallace, former vice-president (under Franklin D. Roosevelt) and then Progressive Party presidential candidate, lashed 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 and 1950s.
Read more on his warnings about American fascists


March 30, 1980
80,000 demonstrated against construction of a commercial nuclear reprocessing plant in Wackersdorf, Germany. The project was ultimately abandoned.



March 31, 1492
King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella ordered the expulsion from Spain before August of all Jews who refused to convert to Christianity under penalty of death.


March 31, 1776
Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, John (later to be the second U.S. president):
I long to hear that you have declared an independancy—and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation. That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend. Why then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the Lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity. Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your Sex. Regard us then as Beings placed by providence under your protection and in immitation of the Supreem Being make use of that power only for our happiness.


March 31, 1968
President Lyndon Johnson announced he would not seek re-election, ordered a partial bombing halt in Vietnam, and appointed W. Averell Harriman to seek peace negotiations with North Vietnam.


March 31, 1970
The Oakland, California, Induction Center revealed that over the prior six months, half those drafted for the Vietnam War had failed to appear, and 11% of those who reported then refused induction into the U.S. Army. Later that Spring 2500 University of California-Berkeley students at once turned in their draft cards to the Oakland Center.


March 31, 1972
Protesters – singing, blowing horns and carrying banners – launched the latest leg of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament's 56-mile Easter march from London to Aldermaston, Berkshire, England.
The banner used in the 1960s Aldermaston marches.


March 31, 1985
Throughout Australia, 300,000 demonstrated in peace and anti-nuclear rallies.


March 31, 1991
Before dawn on Easter, five Plowshares activists boarded the USS Gettys-burg, an Aegis-equipped Cruiser docked at the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. They proceeded to hammer and pour blood on covers of 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 in-dictment charging President George H.W. Bush, Secretary of Defense Dick 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 kill-ing of thousands of Iraqis.
Remembering Aegis Plowshares


March 31, 1997
Four East Timorese were arrested in Warton, England, at the British Aerospace factory where Hawk fighter jets were built for the Indonesian military, who used them in the ongoing occupation and genocide of their homeland.


March 31, 2004


Air America, intended as a liberal voice in network talk radio, made its debut on five stations.


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