May

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May
1, 1865

Memorial Day was started by former slaves in Charleston, South Carolina to honor 257 dead Union Soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate
prison camp.
They dug up the bodies and worked for
2 weeks to give them a proper burial as gratitude for fighting for their freedom.
They then held a parade of 10,000 people led by 2,800 Black children where they marched, sang and celebrated.

More of the story


May 1, 1886

May Day was called Emancipation Day in 1886 when 340,000 went on strike (though it was Saturday it was a regular day of work) in Chicago for the 8-hour workday.

May 1, 1890
May Day labor demonstrations spread to thirteen other countries; 30,000 marched in Chicago as the newly prominent American Federation of Labor threw its weight behind the 8-hour day campaign.



May 1, 1933

The Catholic Worker newspaper was founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin. Dorothy Day said, "God meant things to be much easier than we have made them," and Peter Maurin wanted to build a society "where it is easier for people to be good."

Dorothy Day Peter Maurin

Read more about the Catholic Worker



May 1, 1948

Senator Glen Hearst Taylor (D-Idaho) was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, for trying to enter a meeting through a door marked for "Negroes" rather than using the “whites only” door, and convicted of disorderly conduct.
Taylor was the Progressive Party candidate for Vice President, running mate of Henry Wallace. He was in Birmingham to address the Southern Negro Youth Congress.
Senator Glen Hearst Taylor


May 1, 1965

Second Factory for Peace opened in Onllwyn, Dulais Valley, in south Wales, employing disabled miners. Tom McAlpine, active in the Committee for Nuclear Disarmament, and a supporter of cooperatives and industrial democracy, established Rowen Engineering in both Wales and Glasgow, Scotland.


May 1, 1966

500,000 Vietnamese marched for an end to the war dividing their country.


May 1, 1967

Soviet youths openly defied police and danced the twist in Moscow's Red Square during May Day celebrations. In the early ‘60s the Twist had been banned in Buffalo, New York, and Tampa, Florida. The religious right claimed the Twist was actually a pagan fertility dance.


Are you old enough to remember Chubby Checker?


May 1, 1971
Five days of anti-war May Day protests began in Washington, D.C., resulting in over 14,000 arrests—the largest mass civil disobedience in U.S. history.


May 1, 1977
Following a 24-hour occupation at the site of two proposed nuclear power plants in Seabrook, New Hampshire, 1,414 people were arrested.


The non-violent civil disobedience, organized by the Clamshell Alliance, became a model for anti-nuclear direct actions across the country. National and international news coverage brought the issue of nuclear power into public focus and no nuclear reactors were ordered after that time. Those plants already approved eventually went online, including Seabrook Unit I, but Unit II was never built. 

There is still no permanent methed for long-term safe storage of highly redioactive nuclear waste generated by such plants. Most of the radioisotopes in high-level waste have extremely long half-lives (some longer than 100,000 years).
Currently, it is stored on-site at nuclear plants around the country.
Seabrook 1977 - the movie 10 Blows That Stopped Nuclear Power:
The nuclear waste problem

From 1975 and reissued by peacebuttons.info
click to purchase

see the history of the symbol > read
has been translated into 44 languages > watch




May 1, 1986

 

One million South Africans demonstrated their opposition to apartheid in a strike organized by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)

COSATU: a brief history



May 1, 2003

President George W. Bush landed in a jet on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the California coast and, in a speech to the nation, declared major combat in Iraq over. The banner his staff posted on the ship read, “Mission Accomplished.”

Since that presidential declaration more than 4500 American and allied troops and nearly 9000 members of Iraqi security and police forces (Jan. 2005 through July 2011) have lost their lives. In addition, tens of thousands (more than 32,000 Americans) injured in the hostilities.


The number of Iraqi civilian deaths is open to dispute, but minimally stands at well over 100,000.
Details of Iraq military casualties: Civilian casualties


May 2, 1963
Hundreds of children ranging in age from six to eighteen were arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, as they marched from Kelly Ingram Park, across from 16th Street Baptist Church, to downtown singing, “We Shall Overcome.”
Part of an ongoing effort to end segregation in that city, and following the arrests of many adults including Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., the children had volunteered to minimize the threat to families if a breadwinner were jailed. A judge had issued an order preventing any of 133 civil rights leaders from organizing a demonstration.
Birmingham, the capital of Alabama, had been the site of 18 unsolved bombings in black neighborhoods over recent years, and the place where mobs had attacked Freedom Riders on Mother’s Day in 1961. Leaving the park in groups of fifty, the kids were put in vans by police, led by Eugene “Bull” Connor, until there were 959 filling the city jails.


May 2, 1968

The Poor People's Campaign began with groups from several locations around the U.S. setting out for Washington, D.C., to draw attention to the living conditions of the poorest Americans. It was conceived and organized by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and, following his assassination the previous month, led by his successor at the head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Reverend Ralph David Abernathy.


The first wave of demonstrators arrived in Washington on May 11. One week later, Resurrection City was built on the Washington Mall, a settlement of tents and shacks to house the protesters.


Resurrection City
Read more


May 3, 1808
Civilians were executed by Napoleonic forces putting down a rebellion by the citizens of Madrid, Spain on Principe Pio Hill. The event was memorialized in the painting by Francisco de Goya, “The Third of May 1808: The Execution of the Defenders of Madrid.” Aspects of the painting inspired the design of the peace symbol by Gerald Holtom in 1958.


May 3, 1886
At Haymarket Square in Chicago, a rally was being held because of a strike at the McCormick Harvester plant, just two days after an enormous May Day turnout. Though the mass meeting was peaceful, a force of 176 police officers arrived, demanding that the meeting disperse. Someone, unknown to this day, then threw a bomb at the police.
In their confusion, the police began firing their weapons in the dark, killing at least three in the crowd and wounding many more. Seven police died (only one by the bomb), the rest probably by police fire.
Read more


May 3, 1963
In Birmingham, Alabama, Public Safety Commissioner and recently failed mayoral candidate Theophilus Eugene "Bull" Connor used fire hoses and police dogs on children near the 16th Street Baptist Church to keep them from marching out of the "Negro section" of town.

With no room left to jail them (after arresting nearly 1000 the day before), Connor brought firefighters out and ordered them to turn hoses on the children. Most ran away, but one group refused to budge.
The firefighters turned more hoses on them, powerful enough to break bones. The force of the water rolled the protesters down the street. In addition, Connor had mobilized K-9 (police dog) forces who attacked protesters trying to re-enter the church.
Pictures of the confrontation between the children and the police were televised across the nation.


May 3, 1968
More than 100 black students took over a building at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. They were demanding attention to their advocacy for inclusion of African-American history, literature and art in the curriculum. Their efforts led to the establishment of an African-American studies department which now offers a doctoral program.
How it happened


May 3, 1971

The Nixon administration ordered the arrest of nearly 13,000 anti-war protesters calling themselves the Mayday Tribe who had begun four days of demonstrations in Washington, D.C. on the first. They aimed to shut down the nation's capital by disrupting morning rush-hour traffic and other forms of nonviolent direct action, skirmishing with metropolitan police and Federal troops throughout large areas of the capital. The slogan of the Mayday tribe: "If the government won't stop the [Vietnam] war, we'll stop the government."

Read more


May 3, 1971

The first broadcast of National Public Radio’s evening news and public affairs program, "All Things Considered," was aired on about 90 public radio affiliates around the country. The main story was the disruptive anti-Vietnam protests in Washington.

It is now the fourth most listened-to radio program
in the U.S.

Listen to that first program


May 3, 1980

Sixty thousand marched on the Pentagon to urge the end of U.S. military involvement in El Salvador.


May 4, 1961

A group of Freedom Riders left Washington, DC for New Orleans in a first challenge to racial segregation on interstate buses and in bus terminals; it was organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). 

The Freedom Riders dining at a lunch counter in Montgomery before traveling to Jackson, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana.
Read more about the freedom riders


May 4, 1970

Ohio National Guard troops opened fire on anti-war protesters
at Kent State University, killing four students and wounding nine others,
one permanently disabled.


The previous day, President Nixon had announced a widening of the Vietnam War with bombing in neighboring Cambodia.


There were major campus protests around the country with students occupying university buildings to organize and to discuss the war and other issues.
Read more


May 4, 1983

A “sense of the Congress” resolution, intended to urge a halt to all testing of nuclear weapons, was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives (287-149). The support for a nuclear freeze, ending all American and Soviet nuclear weapons testing, was widespread. In ballot resolutions in 25 states, the freeze had passed in all but one, losing in Arizona by just two points.


May 5, 1818

Political philosopher, social scientist, historian and revolutionary Karl Marx was born in Trier, Germany. His ideas, laid out in the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, and in many other publications, considered the state, class divisions, the nature of industrial capitalism, and culture and religion as oppressive forces.


A young Karl Marx



May 5, 1925

Biology teacher John T. Scopes was arrested for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution in a Dayton, Tennessee, high school in violation of state law. Working in a public school, he was prohibited by statute “to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.”

John Scopes


May 5, 1981
Irish Republican Army hunger-striker Bobby Sands died in Northern Ireland’s Maze Prison (aka Long Kesh); it was his 66th day without food.

He had just been elected by a narrow margin to a seat in the British Parliament for the district of Fermanagh and South Tyrone while still serving the last of a 14-year sentence for possession of firearms.
The government introduced and Parliament quickly enacted the Representation of the People Act 1981 which prevented prisoners serving jail terms of more than one year in either the UK or the Republic of Ireland from being nominated as candidates in UK elections
.

Read more on Bobby Sands, including some of his poetry
“Our revenge will be the laughter of our children.” - Bobby Sands


May 5, 1983

Over one million Sicilians, a fifth of the Italian island’s population, signed a petition against the deployment of more than 100 U.S. cruise missiles at the Comiso Air Base.


May 5, 1991

The last U.S. cruise missile left Greenham Common Air Base in England, the site of a decade of women's anti-nuclear protests. The encampment persisted for nearly another decade until it was returned to public access.


Protesters leave Greenham Common for the last time
Peace link


May 5, 2000

Reformers allied with President Mohammed Khatami swept run-off elections, winning control of the 290-seat Majlis of Iran (parliament) from hard-liners for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Results were subject to certification by the Guardian Council which reversed the results in eleven of the original February contests.



May 6, 1916

Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman started the No Conscription League in the U.S. to discourage young men from registering for the draft which had passed Congress the previous month.
This was prior to American troops’ being sent to Europe in what is known as World War I.


Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman
Read the No-Conscription League Manifesto


May 6, 1944
Mohandas Gandhi, due to declining health, was released from
his last imprisonment in India, having spent 2,338 days in jail
during his lifetime.


May 6, 1954
Two American pilots and most of their crew died flying ammunition supply missions to French colonial troops under siege by Vietnamese insurgent troops under General Vo Nguyen Giap. James “Earthquake McGoon” McGovern and Wallace Buford became the first U.S. aviators to die in Vietnam. Pres. Dwight Eisenhower had not wanted to commit the U.S. military to Vietnam so shortly after the end of the war in Korea, so McGovern and Buford were working for an organization contracted by the CIA.


May 6, 1970
U.S. Senate hearings began on ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
Similar amendments had been introduced in every Congress since 1923.

Writer and editor Gloria Steinem testified: “During twelve years of working for a living, I've experienced much of the legal and social discrimination reserved for women in this country. I have been refused service in public restaurants, ordered out of public gathering places, and turned away from apartment rentals, all for the clearly stated, sole reason that I am a woman.”

Gloria Steinem in 1970
Steinem’s full testimony FAQ on the ERA


May 6, 1973

14 cities across France saw demonstrations against their country’s nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific Ocean.



May 6, 1979
125,000 rallied in Washington, D.C. to oppose nuclear power.


May 7, 1954

The battle at Vietnam’s Dien Bien Phu ended after 55 days with Viet Minh insurgents overrunning French colonial forces, and forcing their surrender. An agreement for complete French withdrawal was negotiated within two months in Geneva, Switzerland.

The battle began in March, when a force of 40,000 Vietnamese troops armed with heavy artillery surrounded 15,000 French soldiers holding the French position under siege. The Viet Minh guerrillas had been fighting a long and bloody war against French colonial control of Vietnam since 1946.


French prisoners being marched by Viet Minh out of Dien Bien Phu, May 7, 1954


May 7, 1955

The Reverend George Lee, one of the first black people registered to vote in Humphreys County, Mississippi, and who used his pulpit and his printing press to urge others to vote, was murdered in his hometown of Belzoni.
The county sheriff had initially refused to accept Reverend Lee’s poll tax (a tax collected before someone was allowed to vote, which became unconstitutional in 1964), but he was later allowed to vote after contacting federal authorities. That, and the subsequent registration of 92 other negro citizens he helped register, angered some white residents of the county.
Rev George Lee

His assailants were never caught, and Reverend Lee is considered the first martyr of the civil rights movement.

More on Reverend Lee



May 7, 1984

American veterans of the Vietnam War reached a $180-million out-of-court settlement with seven chemical companies in a class-action suit relating to use of the herbicide Agent Orange in Vietnam. The veterans charged they had suffered injury and illness from exposure to the defoliant used widely in the war to eliminate jungle cover for Vietnamese forces opposing the U.S. military presence.

Book review about the ongoing effects of Agent Orange



May 7, 1996

15,000 protesters demonstrated against the import of French nuclear waste to Gorleben, Germany. Water cannons were used to disperse the crowd.


May 8, 1882

The American Peace Society was established when the peace societies of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania merged to become a national organization. Currently based in Boston, the merged organization was a result of the leadership of William Ladd, an advocate of a "Congress and High Court of Nations" for solving international disputes.

William Ladd, one of the founders of the American Peace Society

Read more



May 8, 1933

Mohandas Gandhi began a 21-day fast to support political rights for the Dalit (or untouchables) whom he called Harijans, the children of God. He had been jailed by the British to interfere with his movement to end colonial control of India. He was released the day after he began his personal purification because the colonial authorities were afraid he might die in prison.



May 8, 1962

An estimated 9,000,000 people in Belgium participated in a ten-minute work stoppage to protest nuclear weapons.


May 8, 1971

Nguyen Thi Co immolated herself where in protest of the Vietnam War, as did Thich Nu Tinh Nhuan later that month.


May 8, 1984

Presbyterian minister Reverend Benjamin Weir was kidnapped in Beirut, Lebanon, while out walking with his wife, Carol.

Members of Islamic Jihad (later known as Hezbollah), a terrorist group in Lebanon, held Weir for sixteen months—twelve of them in solitary confinement—along with six other Americans who were released later, including journalist Terry Anderson. Before the kidnapping, Weir had spent nearly three decades in Lebanon as a Christian missionary and teacher at the Near East School of Theology. In his various positions in the Presbyterian church since his release, Weir has been a voice for reconciliation and tolerance.
Reverend Benjamin Weir


May 9, 1967

In April, World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali had refused induction into the U.S. Army based on his religious convictions.

He claimed, "I ain't got no quarrel with those Vietcong." On this day, following his indictment by 24 hours, he was stripped of his title and his license to fight by the World Boxing Association.
In June, a court found him guilty of draft evasion, fined him $10,000, and sentenced him to five years in prison. He remained free, pending numerous appeals, but was still barred from fighting for three years.


Read more


May 9, 1969
The New York Times revealed the United States had been secretly bombing Cambodia—officially a noncombatant, neutral country—during the Vietnam War.


May 9, 1970

Five days after the Kent State killings [see May 4, 1970], 100,000 marched in Washington, D.C. against the Vietnam War. On the same day, about 600 Canadian protesters defaced the Peace Arch at the
U.S.-Canadian border in Blaine, Washington.



May 9, 1979
At least 18 demonstrators were killed and many wounded after police opened fire on anti-government protesters outside the Metropolitan Cathedral in San Salvador, the capital of
El Salvador.
CBS reporter:
"The police continued to fire as
bodies piled up on the cathedral steps"
More (including graphic video) on the cathedral bloodbath


May 9, 1996

In San Salvador six soldiers were arrested in the slaying of Catholic church workers from the U.S.


May 10, 1857

The Sepoy Rebellion was triggered in Meerut, India, when native troops (known as Sepoys, which also designated a rank equivalent to private) turned on their British officers.

It was the first instance of armed resistance against colonial rule. Indians constituted 96% of the 300,000-man British Army. Loading the Lee-Enfield Rifled Musket assigned to the Sepoys involved biting the end of a cartridge greased in a combination of pig fat and beef tallow.

"Attack of the Mutineers," a British illustration of the Sepoy Rebellion

The former is haraam (forbidden) under Islamic law, the latter offensive to Hindus who consider the cow as aghanya (that which may not be slaughtered). When the Sepoys, including both Hindu and Muslim Indians, became aware of this, some refused to load their weapons. Mangal Pandey, a soldier in the Army shot his commander for forcing the Indian troops to use the controversial rifles. When others were charged with mutiny for refusing, Sepoys turned on their officers and released the imprisoned soldiers.
The rebellion is now considered the first Indian war for independence.
More on the rebellion


May 10, 1967

Army Captain Howard Levy, a physician, was imprisoned three years for refusing to train U.S. Special Forces soldiers for Vietnam. He refused an order to perform the training as he considered it a violation of his medical ethics.
"The United States is wrong in being involved in the Viet Nam War. I would refuse to go to Viet Nam if ordered to do so. I don't see why any colored soldier would go to Viet Nam: they should refuse to go to Viet Nam and if sent should refuse to fight because they are discriminated against and denied their freedom in the United States, and they are sacrificed and discriminated against in Viet Nam by being given all the hazardous duty and they are suffering the majority of casualties.”
- From the Supreme Court case, Parker, Warden, et al. v. Levy.


May 10, 1968

Peace talks began in Paris between the U.S. and North Vietnam with businessman, former New York governor, ambassador and cabinet secretary W. Averell Harriman representing the United States. Former Foreign Minister Xuan Thuy, heading the North Vietnamese delegation, immediately demanded cessation of U.S. bombing.



May 10, 1980

The National Organization for Women (NOW) organized 85,000 people to march in Chicago in support of Illinois’s ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

A chronology of the Equal Rights Amendment, 1923-1996

Visit the NOW Foundation


May 10, 1980



A federal judge in Salt Lake City, Utah, found the U.S. government negligent for its above-ground testing of nuclear weapons in Nevada from 1951 to 1962.

The land of the Nevada Test Site is scarred with craters from nuclear testing.



May 10, 1994

Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president. He had won the country’s first election in which all South Africans could vote, regardless of race. Mandela had spent nearly three decades imprisoned for his part in the struggle to attain political and civil rights for black and colored citizens. This ended more than three centuries of white rule, beginning with the Dutch in 1652.

Biography of Nelson Mandela

South African chronology


May 11, 1973


Charges against former Pentagon analyst Daniel Ellsberg (including conspiracy, espionage and larceny) for his role in the release of The Pentagon Papers (a comprehensive classified study of the origins and conduct of the Vietnam War) were dismissed.

Judge William M. Byrne, cited government misconduct, including attempts to bribe him with an appointment as FBI Director, and previously undisclosed wiretaps of Ellsberg. His compatriot, Tony Russo, a former RAND Corporation analyst, was also released.

Daniel Ellsberg's website

Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers
a book review


May 11, 1975

80,000 turned out in New York City's Central Park to celebrate the end of the Vietnam War.


May 12, 1968

The Poor People's Campaign, organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) began when contingents of the poor, mainly from the south, began pitching tents in a "Resurrection City" near the Lincoln Memorial. It was dismantled by police on June 24.

Aerial view of Resurrection City, next to the Lincoln Memorial


May 13, 1888

Brazil, which had imported more African slaves than any other country (nearly 40% of the 11 million Africans shipped to the western hemisphere), abolished slavery.



May 13, 1932

"We Want Beer" marches were held in cities all over America, with 15,000 unionized workers demonstrating in Detroit. Prohibition (the 18th amendment to the U.S. Constitution barring “the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors”) was repealed the following year.


May 13, 1954

Natives of the Marshall Islands pleaded for an end to atmospheric H-Bomb testing in the south Pacific.

National Cancer Institute’s study on excess incidence of cancer in the Marshall Islands


May 13, 1958

During a goodwill trip through Latin America, Vice President Richard Nixon's limousine was attacked with rocks and bottles by an angry crowd and nearly overturned while traveling through Caracas, Venezuela. The crowd was angered by U.S. Cold War policies and their effect on Latin America. Five days earlier in the trip, the Vice President had been shoved, stoned, booed, and spat upon by protesters in Peru.

Caracas demonstrators surround Nixon's limousine


May 13, 1967
250 Chicano students from Los Angeles colleges & universities met to form the United Mexican American Students (UMAS).


May 13, 1968


"We are the power"

Workers joined Paris students’ protest in a one-day general strike calling for the fall of the government and protesting police brutality. The protest by French students included occupation of The Sorbonne; by the end of the month over 10,000,000 French citizens had been involved in school and workplace occupations.


View and read about the great poster art from Paris ‘68


May 13, 1970
The Movement for a New Congress—to elect peace candidates—was founded at Princeton University.
May 1968, month of intense protest and political organizing around the country


May 13, 1992
Ecuador's government granted 148 native communities legal title to more than three million acres (slightly less than the size of the state of Washington) in the Amazon Basin.


May 14, 1941

The first groups of WWII conscientious objectors (COs) were ordered to report to camp at Patapsco, Maryland.  They and others formed the Civilian Public Service (CPS) during the war. They performed various duties, among others being trained as smoke jumpers dealing with forest fires.

World War II COs
Conscientious objection in America More on the CPS


May 14, 1954

In the “Yankee” nuclear weapons test in the atmosphere above the South Pacific, a single detonation, expected to yield 9.5 megatons of force, actually yielded 13.5 megatons (equivalent to thirteen and a half million tons of TNT), the second largest ever by the U.S. The resultant mushroom cloud extended 25 miles up and spread 100 miles across.
"Yankee"


May 14, 1970

Phillip Lafayette Gibbs  

Two African-American students were shot to death and 30 others wounded by local police and state troopers and national guardsmen at primarily black Jackson State University in Mississippi. The two were watching demonstrators protesting the invasion of Cambodia and racial discrimination from a nearby dormitory tower.

James Earl

Green

This happened shortly after the shooting of students at Kent State University in Ohio. Two days of riots ensued in Jackson resulting in curfews and sealing off of the city.

Read more   


May 15, 1870

Julia Ward Howe

Julia Ward Howe, suffragist, abolitionist and author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” proposed Mother's Day as a peace holiday.
She had seen firsthand some of the worst effects of war during the American Civil War—the death and disease which killed and maimed, and the widows and orphans left behind on both sides of the Civil War—and realized that the effects of the war go beyond the killing of soldiers in battle. Mother’s Day did not become a national holiday until declared by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914.

"Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.”

Read her Mother’s Day Proclamation



May 15, 1935

The National Labor Relations Act was passed, recognizing workers' rights to organize unions and bargain collectively with their employers.

Read more  


May 15, 1957


Britain tested its first hydrogen bomb over Christmas Island in the South Pacific, after just two years of development.

 


Mushroom cloud over Christmas Island


May 15, 1965

A National teach-in to oppose the Vietnam War was held
in Washington, D.C.


May 15, 1966

The American Friends Service Committee, SANE (The Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy), and Women March for Peace, along with four other organizations, sponsored a 10,000+ person anti-war picket at the White House and a 60,000+ rally at the Washington Monument to oppose the Vietnam War.
. . . elsewhere the same day . . .
Buddhist altars were placed in streets to impede troops arresting dissidents in South Vietnam.


May 15, 1969

Governor Ronald Reagan sent in the National Guard to reclaim People's Park from 6,000 protesters in Berkeley, California, who had occupied the space
and created the park.
Police gunfire killed a bystander, James Rector, blinded another, and injured dozens.

People's Park March, Friday May 30, 1969, at the intersection of Haste Street and Telegraph Avenue, in Berkeley


May 15, 1970


In response to the U.S. invasion of Cambodia (an expansion of the Vietnam War) and the killings at Kent State and Jackson State Universities, several million U.S. students held campus strikes to oppose the Vietnam War.



May 15, 1970
The Native American Rights Fund filed suit on behalf of the Hopi tribe to prevent strip-mining on sacred Black Mesa in Arizona.


May 15 (since the 1980's)

International Conscientious Objectors Day, established to honor those who leave or refuse to enter their country’s armed forces for reasons of principle.

Conscientious Objector Day history



May 16, 1792
Denmark became the first country to outlaw the slave trade.


May 16, 1918

The U.S. Congress passed the Sedition Act, legislation designed to protect America’s participation in World War I. Along with the Espionage Act of the previous year, the Sedition Act was orchestrated largely by A. Mitchell Palmer, the United States attorney general under President Woodrow Wilson. The Espionage Act, passed shortly after the U.S. entrance into the war in early April 1917, made it a crime for any person to convey information intended to interfere with the U.S. armed forces’ prosecution of the war effort or to promote the success of the country’s enemies.
Aimed at socialists, pacifists and other anti-war activists, the Sedition Act imposed harsh penalties on anyone found guilty of making false statements; insulting or abusing the U.S. government, conscription, the flag, the Constitution or the military; agitating against the production of necessary war materials; or advocating, teaching or defending any of these acts.

Read more


May 16, 1943

The Nazis crushed the Jewish uprising in the Warsaw ghetto after a month of bloody fighting.
56,000 died in the struggle.
Read more


May 16, 1967

Nhat Chi Mai immolated herself in Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, to protest the war.


"I offer my body as a torch / to dissipate the dark / to waken love among men / to give peace to Vietnam."
Read more
The flower known as Nhat Chi Mai.


May 16, 1998
Tens of thousands of Britons supporting Jubilee 2000 formed a human chain around the meeting place of the G7 Summit (an annual meeting of the leaders of the largest industrial countries) in Birmingham, England. Jubilee 2000 urged the major international lending countries to relieve terms of and forgive the massive indebtedness of poor countries around the world.
Jubilee 2000 - The movement America missed read more


May 17, 1896
Supreme Court endorsed “separate but equal'' facilities for those of different races with its Plessy v. Ferguson decision, a ruling that was overturned 58 years later.


May 17, 1919
The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) was formally established in Zurich, Switzerland.


May 17, 1954

In a major civil rights victory, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education, ruling "separate but equal" public education to be unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment, which guaranteed equal treatment under the law. The historic decision, bringing an end to federal tolerance of racial segregation, specifically dealt with Linda Brown, a young African American girl denied admission to her local elementary school in Topeka, Kansas, because of the color of her skin.

Read more and more

Above: Nettie Hunt and her daughter Nickie on the

steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1954.

 

 

 

George E. C. Hayes, Thurgood Marshall and James M. Nabrit (left to right), the successful legal team, celebrate the Brown decision

. . . three years later . . .



May 17, 1957

Martin Luther King, Jr. led 30,00 on a Prayer Pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. to mark the third anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education decision in which the Supreme Court declared racial segregation in education unconstitutional.


May 17, 1968

A group of anti-war activists who came to be known as the "Catonsville Nine," including Philip and Daniel Berrigan, broke into the Catonsville, Maryland, draft board center and burned over 600 draft files.

The Catonsville Nine in a picture taken in the police station minutes after the action.

From left to right (standing) George Mische, Philip Berrigan, Daniel Berrigan, Tom Lewis. From left to right (seated) David Darst, Mary Moylan, John Hogan, Marjorie Melville, Tom Melville.  photo Jean Walsh

Read more about the Catonsville Nine



May 17, 1970

 

100 protesters staged a silent "die-in" at Fifth Avenue and Pine Street in downtown Seattle to protest shipment through their city of Army nerve gas being transported from Okinawa, Japan, to the Umatilla Army Depot in eastern Oregon.

Read more


May 17, 1973

In Washington, D.C., the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, headed by Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina, began televised hearings on the escalating Watergate affair. One week later, Harvard Law Professor Archibald Cox was sworn in as Watergate special prosecutor.
Flashback: On June 17, 1972, five men were arrested for breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. with the intent to set up wiretaps. One of the suspects, James W. McCord, Jr., was revealed to be the salaried security coordinator for President Richard Nixon's reelection committee.


May 17, 2004

Marcia Kadish, 56, and Tanya McCloskey, 52, of Malden, Massachusetts, were married at Cambridge City Hall in Massachusetts, becoming the first legally married same-sex partners in the United States. Over the course of the day, 77 other such couples tied the knot across the state, and hundreds more applied for marriage licenses.

The day was characterized by much celebration and only a few of the expected protests materialized.

Read more


May 18, 1872

Bertrand Russell

Birthday of Sir Bertrand Russell, British philosopher, logician, essayist, and social critic, a leading figure in his country’s anti-nuclear movement. In 1954 he delivered his “Man's Peril [from the Hydrogen Bomb]” broadcast on the BBC, condemning the Bikini H-bomb tests, and warning of the threat to humanity from the development of nuclear weapons: “. . . as a human being to other human beings: remember your humanity, and forget the rest.”
A year later, together with Albert Einstein nine other scientists, he released the Russell-Einstein Manifesto calling for the curtailment of nuclear weapons.

Text of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto

He became the founding president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1958. He resigned in 1960, however, and formed the more militant Committee of 100 with the overt aim of inciting mass civil disobedience, and he himself with Lady Russell led mass sit-ins in 1961 that brought them a two-month prison sentence, at the age of 89.

Bertrand Russell in front of the British Ministry of Defence,
  Whitehall, London


May 18, 1972

Margaret (Maggie) Kuhn founded the Gray Panthers (originally called the Consultation of Older and Younger Adults for Social Change) to consider the common problems faced by retirees — loss of income, loss of contact with associates, and loss of one of society's most distinguishing social roles, one's job. The members discovered a new kind of freedom in their retirement — the freedom to speak personally and passionately about what they believed in, such as their collective opposition to the Vietnam War.

Maggie Kuhn, founder of the Gray Panthers

Gray Panther history



May 18, 1974

In the Rajasthan Desert in the state of Pokhran, India successfully detonated its first nuclear weapon, a fission bomb similar in explosive power to the U.S. atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. 
The test fell on the traditional anniversary of the Buddha's enlightenment, and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi received the message "Buddha has smiled" from the exuberant test-site scientists after the detonation. The test, which made India the world's sixth nuclear power, broke the nuclear monopoly of the five members of the U.N. Security Council—the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, China, and France.

Detailed background on India’s nuclear weapons program and its first test



May 18, 1979

A jury in a federal court in Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee established a company’s responsibility for damage to the health of a worker in the nuclear industry. Karen Silkwood worked for the Kerr-McGee Nuclear Corporation at their Cimmaron, Texas, plant where plutonium was manufactured.

Silkwood had become the first female member of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers bargaining committee, focusing on worker safety issues, but had suffered radiation exposure in a series of unexplained incidents. The jury in Judge Frank G. Theis’s court awarded her estate $505,000 in actual damages, and $10 million punitive damages.

Karen Silkwood's sisters and parents

She had died in a car accident on her way to a meeting with a The New York Times reporter five years earlier.

Karen Silkwood remembered

The Supreme Court upheld the decision and the award


May 19, 1934

10,000 participated in a "No More War" march in New York City.


May 19, 1952

Playwright and activist Lillian Hellman advised the U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) that she refused to testify against friends and associates, saying, “I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions.”

Lillian Hellman
Learn more about Lillian Hellman

Text of her letter to HUAC



May 19, 1997
Two international human rights workers, Mario Calderón and Elsa Alvarado, as well as her father, were shot dead in Bogotá, Colombia, by a paramilitary gang.
Their one-year-old was hidden and thus spared, her mother wounded. The couple worked for the Center for Investigation and Popular Education (Centro de Investigación y Educación Popular, or CINEP), a non-governmental organization founded by the Jesuits (the Roman Catholic Society of Jesus) to foster education, understanding, justice and sustainable development in Colombia. Mario Calderón and Elsa Alvarado
CINEP’s peace program


May 20, 1916


Emma Goldman spoke to garment workers in Union Square about the benefits of birth control.



Goldman speaking to a crowd of garment workers about birth control in New York City's Union Square
Read more about Emma Goldman: Birth Control Pioneer


May 20, 1961
A mob of 300 white segregationists, with the tacit assent of the local police, attacked a busload of both black and white “Freedom Riders” in Montgomery, Alabama’s bus depot.
Among those beaten was Justice Department official John Seigenthaler who had tried to negotiate their safety.

Attention to the violence forced Attorney General Robert Kennedy to send in U.S. Marshals to protect the Riders. They had been seeking to guarantee equal access to interstate transportation by riding the bus but had been met by violence elsewhere in Alabama as well as South Carolina.

Freedom Riders challenged racial segregation at Montgomery bus depot.

The Freedom Rides discussed NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross
(with transcript)

Robert Kennedy and John Seigenthaler

The Freedom Rider story



May 20, 1968

In the first such instance during the Vietnam War, Arlington Street Unitarian-Universalist Church in Boston offered sanctuary to Robert Talmanson and William Chase, both of whom had refused to participate in the war.
Talmanson had been convicted of refusing induction, and Chase had gone AWOL (absent without leave) as an army private after having served nine months at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam.
Church leaders had declared theirs a “liberated zone” on the first day of the trial of Dr. Benjamin Spock and four others in federal court for counseling draft resistance. They believed that individuals had a right to decide not to kill as nonviolent persons, most especially in a war they considered unjust.


May 20, 1971

A delegation of U.S. pacifists traveled to Cuba to exchange
children's art.


May 21, 1930
Sarojini Naidu, a renowned Indian poet, was arrested as a leader of the nonviolent “raid” on the Dharasana Salt Works, a salt production facility. She had assumed leadership of the effort to break the salt monopoly after the arrest of Mahatma Gandhi.
She and as many as 2500 filled the local jails for their civil disobedience. Column after column of Indians advanced toward the gates and had been severely beaten by the native police under British direction.
Not one satyagrahi (one who works for justice with courage and sacrifice but without violent force) raised a hand to defend himself; many lost consciousness, and some died.
The British Raj, the ruling colonial authority, controlled all production of salt, a dietary necessity in the tropics; the government taxed it as well. Gandhi decided to focus attention on salt as an example of unfair British oppression in his effort toward national independence for India.
British public opinion was deeply affected by the Dharasana nonviolent movement, which revealed the violence inherent in the British colonial system.
Sarojini Naidu
More on the Dharasana Salt Works The Pinch Heard "Round the World"


May 21, 1956

The United States conducted the first airborne test of an improved hydrogen bomb, dropping it from a B-52 bomber over the tiny island
of Namu, part of the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. The United States first detonated a hydrogen bomb in 1952 in the Marshall Islands,
also in the Pacific. This bomb was far more powerful than those previously tested and was estimated at 15 megatons or larger (one megaton is roughly equivalent to one million tons of TNT). Observers said that the fireball caused by the explosion measured at least four miles in diameter and was “brighter than the light from 500 suns.”



May 21, 1981
The U.S. Senate approved a $20 billion program to return the U.S. to full-scale production of chemical and nerve-gas weapons (CW).

Though the U.S. maintained a public policy opposing chemical weapons, it extended financial and military assistance to Iraq in its war against Iran (1980-88), despite the Iraqi military’s frequent use of such weapons. Iraq had developed its “CW production capability, primarily from Western firms, including possibly a U.S. foreign subsidiary” (from a memorandum to Secretary of State Alexander Haig).

President Reagan’s Special Envoy to the Mideast Donald Rumsfeld meeting Saddam Hussein in 1983. Rumsfeld had become a member of the President's General Advisory Committee on Arms Control the previous year.

Watch a video on the U.S./Saddam Hussein partnership


May 22, 1895

Eugene V. Debs, president of the American Railway Union, was imprisoned in Illinois for
his role in the Pullman Palace Car Company strike and boycott, which had stalled most rail traffic west of Detroit.

Read more about the Pullman strike



May 22, 1968

Federal marshals entered Boston’s Arlington Street Unitarian-Universalist Church to arrest Robert Talmanson, who had been convicted of refusing induction into the U.S. Armed Forces. He had been offered sanctuary there by the leaders of the church who shared his opposition to the Vietnam War.
When the marshals tried to remove him, access to their car was blocked by 200-300 nonviolent sanctuary supporters.

Draft resister Robert Talmanson dragged by authorities
from Arlington Street Church.
The story from A Companion to the Vietnam War By Marilyn B. Young, Robert Buzzanco


May 22, 1978

Four thousand protesters occupied the site of the Trident nuclear submarine base in Bangor, Washington. The base was built for the maintenance and resupply of Ohio-class submarines.
Though built as part of the U.S. nuclear deterrent, they were perceived by some as giving the U.S. a nuclear first-strike capability with their ability to each deliver 24 missiles with multiple warheads from very close to the borders of other countries. The 14 vessels are at sea 2/3 of the time and can travel as deeply as 800 feet for a time limited only by its food supply
.
Read more about Ground Zero  


May 22, 2001

Delegates from 127 countries formally voted approval of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS), a treaty calling for the initial elimination of 12 of the most dangerous manmade chemicals, nine of which are pesticides.
POPS are often toxic at very low levels, resist degradation and thus persist for decades or longer, because they become concentrated in living tissue, are readily spread by atmospheric and ocean currents.

Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson, lauding the agreement, said,
“. . . we have to go further. Dangerous substances must be replaced
by harmless ones step by step. If there is the least suspicion that new chemicals have dangerous characteristics it is better to reject them.”

POPS background  



May 23, 1838

U.S. General Winfield Scott began the forced removal of the Cherokee Indians from North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee, and their detention in forts built for that purpose. He was implementing the Treaty of New Echota, signed by a few members of the tribe relinquishing their lands for a payment of $5 million, under orders from President Martin VanBuren.

16,000 Cherokee were then driven on foot to “Indian Territory” (what is now Oklahoma). Of those who set out on the forced march known as the “The Trail of Tears,” nearly one-quarter died along the way or as a result of the relocation.
Detailed history of the Trail of Tears
 Cherokee letter protesting the Treaty of New Echota from Chief John Ross


May 23, 1982

10,000 marched in London protesting British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s Falklands War. The Falklands are islands off the coast of Argentina (known there as the Malvinas), and Great Britain was fighting to maintain colonial control over them, which they originally claimed in 1833.

an anti-war demonstration in Argentina



May 23, 1982

400,000 demonstrated for peace and disarmament in Tokyo, Japan.


May 23, 1992

Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, which had inherited strategic nuclear weapons from the Soviet Union, ratified the START I treaty and joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as non-nuclear states. Through the Lisbon Protocol, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine became parties to START I as legal successors to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The breakup of the Soviet Union delayed START's entry into force nearly three-and-a-half years.

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I)



May 23, 1997

Iranians elected a new president, Mohammad Khatami, with 70% of the vote, over hard-liners in the ruling Muslim clergy. Khatami won largely due to young people and women, who voted for him because he promised to improve the status of women and respond to the demands of the younger generation in Iran.
Khatami in 2009
Political situation in Iran before and after Khatami’s election Khatami today


May 23, 2003
Congress passed a third major tax cut proposed by President George W. Bush in his first two years in office: $330 billion. The budget deficit in the following year was the largest ever and a record percentage of the Gross Domestic Product.


May 24, 1774
The Virginia House of Burgesses declared this a day of “fasting, humiliation and prayer” in reaction to the British closure of the Port of Boston.


May 24, 1906
Dora Montefiore
British suffragist Dora Montefiore protested the lack of women’s right to the vote by refusing to pay taxes, and barricading her house against bailiffs sent to collect.
Dora Montefiore biography


May 24, 1917 
An Anti-Conscription Parade was held in Victoria Square, Montreal, Quebec, in resistance to a Canadian draft to send soldiers to the European war. Riots nearly a year later resulted in the death of four demonstrators in Quebec City.
Anti-Conscription Parade, Victoria Square


May 24, 1964 

 

Senator Barry Goldwater (R-Arizona), running for the Republican Party nomination for president, gave an interview in which he said he would consider the use of low-yield atomic bombs in North Vietnam.



May 24, 1968

Four protesters, including Phil Berrigan and Tom Lewis, were sentenced in Baltimore, Maryland, to six years each in prison for pouring blood on draft records.


May 24, 1971

At Fort Bragg, North Carolina, an anti-war newspaper advertisement, signed by 29 U.S. soldiers supporting the Concerned Officers Movement, resulted in controversy.
The group had been formed in 1970 in Washington, D.C. by a small group of junior naval officers opposed to the war.
The newspaper advertisement at Fort Bragg was in support of the group's members, who had joined with anti-war activist David Harris and others in San Diego to mobilize opposition to the departure of the carrier USS Constellation for Vietnam. No official action was taken against the military dissidents, though many were forced to resign their commissions.

GI resistance to the Vietnam War


May 24, 1981 (since 1981)

International Women's Day for Disarmament was declared, calling for the peaceful resolution of conflict, and an end to the horror and devastation of armed conflict.

IFOR's Women Peacemakers Program


May 24, 1982
More than 200,000 people participated in a massive anti-nuclear demonstration in Tokyo, Japan.


May 24, 2000
Israeli troops completed their withdrawal from southern Lebanon, ending 18 years of occupation. Prime Minister Ehud Barak: “From now on, the government of Lebanon is accountable for what takes place within its territory, and the Lebanese and Syrian governments are responsible for preventing acts of terror or aggression against Israel, which is from today deployed within its borders.”


May 25, 1774

A group of African slaves in Massachusetts Bay colony petitioned the British royal governor for freedom as their natural right: “. . . we have in common with all other men a natural right to our freedoms without Being depriv’d of them by our fellow men as we are a freeborn Pepel [people] and have never forfeited this Blessing by aney compact or agreement whatever.”



May 25, 1925

John T. Scopes was indicted for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution. Scopes, a football coach and substitute high school biology teacher in Dayton, Tennessee, agreed to be arrested and put on trial for teaching evolution. He was challenging the legitimacy of a four-day-old state law barring Darwin’s theory from the public school curriculum.

The Scopes "Monkey Trial"


May 25, 1948

Garry Davis, formerly a member of the U.S. military, renounced his American citizenship to become a Citizen of the World. Davis continued to promote "world citizenship" for over 50 years; 400,000 have, at one time or another, joined the movement.     

Read more about a World Government of World Citizens   



May 25, 1963

Leaders of 32 African nations met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to set up the Organization of African Unity (OAU), giving them a united voice for the first time in the continent’s history. The primary aim of the OAU was to end European colonial control in the countries where it still existed at the time: Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), South Africa, Mozambique and Angola.

OAU flag

Read more



May 25, 1986

An estimated 7 million Americans participated in Hands Across America, forming a line across the country from Los Angeles to New York to raise public awareness of the issues of hunger and homelessness in the U.S. Participants paid ten dollars [almost $20 in 2009]to reserve their place in line; the proceeds were donated to local charities to feed the hungry and help the homeless.


May 25, 2003

Four activists, members of the Catholic Worker movement and known as “Riverside Ploughshares,” were arrested for pouring blood and hammering on the USS Philippine Sea's Tomahawk cruise missile hatches. The ship was visiting New York City for the annual “Fleet Week.”

pouring blood and hammering..

“With hammers we have initiated the process of disarming this battle ship, of transforming this carrier of mass destruction into a vessel for peace...

Details of the Riverside Ploughshares action



May 26, 1647

The first person in America was executed for the crime of witchcraft. Alse Young was arrested, tried in Windsor, Connecticut, and hanged at Meeting House Square in Hartford, the site of what is now the Old State House.

There is no further record of Young's trial or the specifics of the charge — only that she was a woman, as 80% of those executed for witchcraft were. The Salem witch trials would not begin for another 45 years.

Some 300 years later the U.S. experienced another “witch hunt” as Senator Joe McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee pursued communists. Arthur Miller makes this comparison in his famous play “The Crucible.”

Read more about the play “The Crucible” 



May 26, 1937

United Auto Workers organizers and Ford Service Department men clashed in a violent confrontation on the Miller Road Overpass outside Gate 4 of the Ford River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan. It became known as “The Battle of the Overpass.” Henry Ford announced: "We'll never recognize the United Automobile Workers Union or any other union." Though General Motors and Chrysler signed collective bargaining agreements with the UAW in 1937, Ford held out until 1942.


More background and photos Read more

The Ford Servicemen (goons) approach Walter Reuther and Richard Frankensteen, third and second from right, and the other unionists.

UAW official Richard Frankensteen being beaten

by Ford goons



May 26, 1946



A patent was filed in the U.S. for the H-Bomb, the hydrogen, or fusion-based, nuclear explosive device.



May 26, 1969
John Lennon and Yoko Ono (along with her 5-year-old daughter Kyoko) held their second Bed-in for Peace at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, Quebec. A late-night rendition of “Give Peace a Chance,” recorded in the hotel room with their visitors singing and accompanying, reached No.14 on the Billboard pop music charts.

John and Yoko meet cartoonist Al Capp in their hotel room



May 26, 1972

The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty was signed by U.S. and U.S.S.R. (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics which included Russia and 15 other republics). The two countries agreed not to build defensive missile systems and thus to limit escalation of the nuclear arms race. It was reasoned that if either side deployed defensive missiles, the other would be forced to respond by increasing the number, explosive yield or effectiveness of their offensive nuclear weapons and delivery systems to maintain the balance of nuclear deterrence.
Research and development of defensive systems was allowed under the ABM treaty, the U.S. having spent about $100 billion in the 20 years before the treaty was abrogated by President George W. Bush in the first months of his presidency.

The U.S. Army’s current technology for missile defense



May 26, 1991

20,000 Israeli Jews and Palestinians participated in a peace rally in Israel’s capital, Tel Aviv.


May 27, 1940

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled a sit-down strike was not a violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act even if it interfered with interstate commerce. The company had sued for treble damages (triple their financial loss) under the Act. The Court said that if the strike were found to be a restraint of trade, then “practically every strike in modern industry would be brought within the jurisdiction of the federal courts under the Sherman Act.”
The American Federation of Full Fashioned Hosiery Workers under its president, William Leader, had declared a strike at Apex Hosiery Co. in Philadelphia, and had organized support among other workers in the city. When Apex refused to recognize the union, he declared a sit-down strike and led an occupation of the factory which lasted for
seven weeks.
Unlike the UAW sit-down at the GM plant in Flint, however, violence was committed against the management personnel and significant damage was done to manufacturing equipment.

Summary and full text of the Supreme Court decision



May 27, 1963

The record album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, which featured the song “Blowin' in the Wind,” was released. The song warns of the perils of nuclear war.
“ ...how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?”
The song and the lyrics


May 28, 1892

The Sierra Club, America's oldest, largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, was organized in San Francisco with wilderness explorer John Muir as its first president. The organization’s initial effort was to defeat a proposed reduction in the boundaries of Yosemite National Park.
Muir introduced President Theodore Roosevelt to Yosemite the following year, inspiring him during his presidency to establish the U.S. Forest Service, create 5 national parks, and sign the 1906 Antiquities Act, under which he proclaimed 18 national monuments.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”
– John Muir, The Yosemite (1912)
The Sierra Club today
John Muir


May 28, 1961

Amnesty International (AI) was founded on this date in Great Britain.
It is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights, particularly as laid out in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Members of AI help maintain a media focus on political prisoners, and organize public pressure to afford them their legal rights and obtain their release.

Visit Amnesty International

Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Successful campaigns by Amnesty International to gain the release of political prisoners



May 28, 1963

Black and white civil rights advocates were attacked as they sat-in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Jackson, Mississippi. They were defying state laws against serving “colored” citizens at “whites-only” public facilities.
According to John Salter, AKA Hunter Bear, one of those who sat in:
“This was the most violently attacked sit-in during the 1960s and is the most publicized. A huge mob gathered, with open police support while the three of us sat there for three hours. I was attacked with fists, brass knuckles and the broken portions of glass sugar containers, and was burned with cigarettes. I'm covered with blood and we were all covered by salt, sugar, mustard, and various other things.”
Attacked for trying to eat at Woolworth’s
(L to R): John Salter (Hunter Bear), Joan Trumpauer (now Mulholland), and Anne Moody.
More photos and the story of the struggle against segregation
 A bibliography of the Civil Rights Movement


May 28, 1982

Seven women fasted for 10 days in Springfield, Illinois, in support of ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment by the Illinois state legislature. The amendment had already been ratified by 35 other states of the 38 required.


May 28, 1998

Pakistan exploded five underground nuclear devices in response to India's most recent nuclear tests.
. Since the British partitioned the subcontinent in 1947, there have been three wars between the two countries and numerous border clashes over the disputed Kashmir province. Kashmir had a majority (77%) Muslim population at the time of partition, but became part of predominantly Hindu (80%), though constitutionally secular, India.
Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, widely proclaimed as the
" Father of Pakistan's atomic bomb," stands in the access tunnel inside
the Chagai Hills nuclear test site before Pakistan's
28 May 1998 underground nuclear test.

Read more



May 29, 1932

In the depths of the Great Depression, the “Bonus Expeditionary Force,” a group of 1000 World War I veterans seeking to cash in their veterans’ bonus certificates, arrived in Washington, D.C. Though issued to the veterans in 1924, the certificates were not scheduled to be paid until 1945. By mid-June, the vets had set up a massive “Hooverville,” a contemporary term for an encampment of the homeless.
One month later, other veteran groups made their way to the nation's capital, swelling the Bonus Marchers to nearly 20,000 strong, most of them unemployed veterans in difficult financial straits.
President Herbert Hoover ordered the Army to clear out the veterans when they resisted being evicted by Washington police. Infantry and cavalry supported by six tanks were dispatched with Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur in command.
The St. Louis contingent of the Bonus Expeditionary Force is pictured here as it starts for Washington, D.C., in May 1932.
Major Dwight D. Eisenhower served as his liaison with Washington police and Major George Patton led the cavalry. This was a direct violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the armed forces’ being used against U.S. citizens.
More on the Bonus Army


May 29, 1965

In one of the first demonstrations promoting equal treatment of homosexuals, Jack Nichols, Barbara Gittings and others picketed in front of the White House.
Her sign read, “Sexual preference is irrelevant to federal employment.”


Early protest for rights of homosexuals
 


May 29, 1986

The Christic Institute filed a lawsuit charging U.S. government complicity in an assassination bombing at La Penca, Nicaragua, and that the CIA had a role in smuggling cocaine into the U.S. to fund the Contras, an insurgent military force working to bring down the government of Nicaragua.
Find out more about the Christic Institute


May 30, 1868

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, was first observed some say [see May 1, 1865] when two women in Columbus, Mississippi, placed flowers on the graves of Civil War soldiers, both Confederate and Union. War widow Augusta Murdoch Sykes, one of the Columbus planners, pointed out that “after all, they are somebody’s sons.” It is now celebrated to honor all those who have died in America’s wars.

“The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country....” -from an order from the Grand Army of the Republic



May 30, 1937

1000 striking steel workers (and members of their families), on their way to picket at the Republic Steel plant in south Chicago where they were organizing a union, were stopped by the Chicago Police. In what became known as the “Memorial Day Massacre,” police shot and killed 10 fleeing workers, wounded 30 more, and beat 55 so badly they required hospitalization.
More on the incident

Watch a video oral history with historic footage



May 31, 1955

The U.S. Supreme Court ordered (in a unanimous decision known as Brown II after the 1954 decision Brown v. Board of Education) that school integration be implemented “with all deliberate speed,” ordering the lower federal courts to require the desegregation of public schools.
Between 1955 and 1960, federal judges held more than 200 school desegregation hearings. The decision reiterated “the fundamental principle that racial discrimination in public education is unconstitutional . . . . All provisions of federal, state or local law requiring or permitting such discrimination must yield to this principle.”

A timeline of school integration



May 31, 1957


U.S. playwright Arthur Miller was convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to reveal the names of associates who were alleged to be Communists.
The conviction was ultimately set aside on appeal.
Arthur Miller


May 31, 1966

Nguyen Thi Can, a 17-year-old Buddhist girl, committed suicide by setting herself afire (self-immolation) on a street in the city of Hue, Vietnam. She was protesting against the South Vietnamese regime and the war being waged by the U.S., the separate armies of the north and south, and the insurgent Viet Cong; it was the fifth such death in three days.


May 31, 1973

A bipartisan majority (69-19) of the U.S. Senate voted to cut off funds for the bombing of Cambodia (Vietnam’s neighbor) despite pleas from U.S. President Richard Nixon’s Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.

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peace people
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buttons
to build
movements

– – – – – – – – – – –
Our buttons are
made to be used to
help build awareness
& start conversations about current issues
.
– – – – – – – – – – –
Buttons are priced so
your group can use them to raise funds.
Your purchase helps make more buttons
.
THANK YOU!
– – – – – – – – – – –

We also make
custom buttons

Union printed Detroit made


peace bandanas
back in stock
. . . but bigger

(27 x 27)
select bandana

the
peace beret


Punctuate YOUR personality
Great gift for you and loved ones
click to select

Peace
Shirts
On SALE

click here

Search for
items with
product links

Shop buttons
by category
Peace heroes
Action buttons
Voting Rights
Cause Symbols &
99% - OCCUPY
Healthcare
Peace for Kids
Ecology
Sisterhood
Labor-Worker rights
Gun control
No Drones
TPP
Support USPS
No GMOs
Custom buttons
Order Home

button gallery
see all buttons

Products
Peace pencils
Peace kazoo
OCCUPY whistle
99% sticker
99% sign
OCCUPY megaphone
The Ecology corner
Ecology stickers
Peace mirrors
Smiley face peace
Peace frisbees
Peace symbol caps
Peace bandanas
Lapel pins
POWER to the PEACEFUL
Peace symbol mugs
Magnets
Peace symbol mugs
Peace coasters
Peace key rings
Peace symbol shirts
T's | tanks | sweats
onesies
Peace symbol signs
Peace stickers
Peace symbol stamps
buttons
Order Home

peace people
pins


many more
unique 1" pins
make up a custom
pack & save
click to view all
and purchase


Because of your support peacebuttons has been able to donate to
Amnesty International MoveOn.org
Doctors without Borders

Peace Action
Habitat for Humanity
more . . .
see complete list


Thank you !

 


buttons
to build
movements

– – – – – – – – – – –
Our buttons are
made to be used to
help build awareness
& start conversations about current issues
.
– – – – – – – – – – –
Buttons are priced so
your group can use them to raise funds.
Your purchase helps make more buttons
.
THANK YOU!
– – – – – – – – – – –

We also make
custom buttons

Union printed Detroit made


peace bandanas
back in stock
. . . but bigger

(27 x 27)
select bandana

the
peace beret


Punctuate YOUR personality
Great gift for you and loved ones
click to select

Peace
Shirts
On SALE

click here

Search for
items with
product links

Shop buttons
by category
Peace heroes
Voting Rights
Cause Symbols &
99% - OCCUPY
Healthcare
Peace for Kids
Ecology
Sisterhood
Labor-Worker rights
Gun control
No Drones
TPP
Support USPS
No GMOs
Custom buttons
Order Home

button gallery
see all buttons

Products
Peace pencils
Peace kazoo
OCCUPY whistle
99% sticker
99% sign
OCCUPY megaphone
The Ecology corner
Ecology stickers
Peace mirrors
Smiley face peace
Peace frisbees
Peace symbol caps
Peace bandanas
Lapel pins
POWER to the PEACEFUL
Peace symbol mugs
Magnets
Peace symbol mugs
Peace coasters
Peace key rings
Peace symbol shirts
T's | tanks | sweats
onesies
Peace symbol signs
Peace stickers
Peace symbol stamps
buttons
Order Home

peace people
pins


many more
unique 1" pins
make up a custom
pack & save
click to view all
and purchase