October

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October 1, 1851

In the "Jerry Rescue," citizens of Syracuse, New York, broke into the city’s police station and freed William Henry (known as Jerry), a runaway slave who had been working as a barrel-maker. The federal Fugitive Slave Law required "good citizens" to assist in the return of those who had fled “ownership” by another. A group of black and white men created a chaotic diversion and managed to free Jerry but he was later re-arrested.

Jerry Rescue monument

Syracuse, New York

At his second hearing, a group of men, their skin color disguised with burnt cork, forcibly overpowered the guards with clubs and axes, and freed Jerry a second time; he was then secretly taken over the border to Canada.

Read more 

Samuel Ringgold Ward, whose parents were also escaped slaves, urged the crowd to help release Jerry. “They say he is a slave. What a term to apply to an American! How does this sound beneath the pole of liberty and the flag of freedom?” He asked those present not ever to vote for those who support “. . . laws which empower persons to hunt, chain and cage men in our midst.” Ward also fled to Canada.

More on Sam Ward



October 1, 1925

The Anti-Kriegs (anti-war) Museum, first museum for peace, opened in Berlin by Ernst Friedrich, a former printer’s apprentice, political organizer and author of “War Against War.”
History of the Friedrich and his work

 

Ernst Friedrich The museum today


October 1, 1962

James Meredith became the first black American to attend classes at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. In the nearly two years Meredith spent trying to register for classes at then all-white “Ole Miss,” he had to file a federal lawsuit and, ultimately, be escorted through registration by U.S. Justice department attorney John Doar, protected by U.S. Army troops.
The night before whites had rioted and attacked U.S. Marshalls after Mississippi Highway Patrol officers withdrew as the crowd became larger and more unruly.

President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy sent the troops and federalized the state’s National Guard to enforce the federal court’s order which Governor Ross Barnett refused to accept.
Meredith went on to graduate in 1964 and still lives nearby.

Meredith’s struggle
Role of the U.S. Marshalls


October 1, 1964

The Free Speech Movement was launched at the University of California – Berkeley when mathematics grad student Jack Weinberg was arrested for setting up an information table for CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) in front of Sproul Hall, the administration building.
Hundreds of students surrounded the police car holding Weinberg for 32 hours, keeping him from being taken away. Many made speeches from atop the car, and ultimately Weinberg’s release was negotiated.

University Chancellor Clark Kerr had been under pressure from the Board of Regents to ban expression of views considered communist, but the students, inspired by the Civil Rights movement, questioned and resisted the restrictions.

                          read more

Jack Weinberg 


October 1, 1984

Five activists, in what became known as the Trident II Plowshares, hammered and poured blood on six missile tubes and unfurled a banner which read: "Harvest of Hope – Swords into Plowshares" at shipbuilder Electric Boat’s Quonset Point facility in North Kingston, Rhode Island.

General Dynamics built the fourteen Ohio-class nuclear-powered submarines there, each of which is armed with 24 Trident II nuclear-tipped missiles (3.8 megatons each) launched from underwater with a range of 4000 nautical miles (4600 miles; 7400 kilometers).
Plowshares participants, individually or in groups, actually or symbolically damage parts of the U.S. first-strike nuclear arsenal or its conventional weaponry, and take public responsibility for their actions.

 Read more about this action  A chronology of Plowshares actions


October 2, 1869

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Indian nationalist leader whose philosophy of nonviolence would influence movements around the world, was born in Porbandar, one of the cities of Gujarat State. He came to prominence as the leader of the successful nonviolent resistance to British colonial rule of India.

A brief biography



October 2, 1961

Ten months after its start in San Francisco, an anti-nuclear peace march sponsored by the Committee for Nonviolent Action arrived in Moscow’s Red Square where they distributed leaflets calling for disarmament.


October 2, 1967

Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, the first African American on the nation's highest court. He was appointed to the Court by President Lyndon Johnson who previously had appointed him Solicitor General, the legal officer in the Justice Department responsible for representing the United States before the Supreme and federal appellate courts. Marshall had been the lead attorney in the Brown v. Board of Education case which led to the end of legal segregation in the nation’s schools.

Read more about Thurgood Marshall



October 3, 1932

With the admission of Iraq into the League of Nations, Great Britain terminated its control over the Arab nation, making Iraq independent after 17 years of British and centuries of Ottoman rule. It had taken 11 years from a plebiscite creating a constitutional monarchy under King Feisel until the new country achieved complete independence. Iraq had been created in the wake of World War I by British foreign officer Gertrude Bell who combine three provinces,, Mosul, Baghdad and Basra, into one political entity under British mandate.

Excellent history of Iraq


October 3, 1952

Great Britain successfully tested its first atomic bomb, dubbed Hurricane, at the Monte Bello Islands, off the northwest coast of Australia.

"Hurricane"

Read more


October 3, 1962
The Mississippi House of Representatives passed a concurrent resolution (as did the Senate two days later) that condemned the effort to ensure James Meredith’s enrollment at the University of Mississippi (as its first negro student). They considered the federal court order an encroachment on their state’s sovereignty, the federalizing of the state’s national guard a violation of the second amendment, and the presidential use of the army to enforce a federal court order an invasion.
Watch a newsreel


October 3, 1967
Thich Nu Tri, a Buddhist nun, immolated herself in protest of the repression of the Government of (South) Vietnam. It had denied participation in recent elections of peace and neutralist elements. Buddhist leaders thus boycotted the elections, and the Ngo Dinh Diem regime received only 35% of the vote. Within four weeks, three more nuns followed Thich Nu Tri’s example (among them Thich Nu Hue and Thich Nu Thuong), all in an effort to bring peace to the their country, split in two and caught up in a war with their countrymen in the North, and the escalating presence of U.S. troops.


October 3, 1967

Woody Guthrie

1912-1967

Folksinger/songwriter Woody Guthrie died in New York City at the age of 55. He had spent the last decade of his life in the hospital, suffering from Huntington's chorea. Woody called his songs "people's songs," filled with stinging honesty, humor and wit, exhibiting Woody's fervent belief in social, political, and spiritual justice.

Extensive bio with photos and Woody’s writing:



October 3, 1972

The SALT I treaties, which placed the first limits on nuclear arsenals, went into effect. The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks succeeded when U.S. President Richard Nixon and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev agreed to limit anti-ballistic missile systems, and to freeze
the number of intercontinental and submarine-based missile launchers (1,710 for the United States, some of which had multiple warheads,
and 2,347 for the Soviet Union).


October 3, 1981

Irish republicans at the Maze Prison near Belfast, Northern Ireland, ended seven months of hunger strikes that had claimed 10 lives.
The first to die was Bobby Sands, the imprisoned Irish Republican Army (IRA) leader who initiated the protest on March 1—the fifth anniversary of the British policy of "criminalisation" of Irish political prisoners.

Prior to 1976, Irish political prisoners were incarcerated under "Special Category Status," which granted them a number of privileges that other criminal inmates did not enjoy.
Despite Sands's election (while an inmate) as member of Parliament from Fermanagh and South Tyrone after the first month of his hunger strike, and his death from starvation a month later, the government of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher would not give in, and nine more Irish republicans perished before the strike was called off.
The dead included Kieran Doherty, who had been elected to Parliament in the Irish Republic during the strike. In the aftermath, the British government quietly conceded to some of the strikers' demands, such as the rights to wear civilian clothing, to associate with each other, to receive mail and visits, and not to be penalized for refusing prison work.



October 3, 1994

The United States and South Africa signed a missile non-proliferation agreement committing South Africa to abide by the The Missile Technology Control Regime, and to end its missile program and its space-launch vehicle program.

More about MTCR


October 4, 1976

Earl Butz resigned as President Gerald Ford’s agriculture secretary with an apology for what he called the "gross indiscretion" of uttering a racist remark.


October 4, 1997

Demonstrations across the country occurred protesting the scheduled launch of the space probe Cassini because its power source was three plutonium-fueled Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators.
The probe carried 72.3 pounds of plutonium, the most ever put on a device to be launched into space. The concern was for an accidental release in the event of a launch mishap. Plutonium is the most toxic substance known.
"It is so toxic," says Helen Caldicott, president emeritus of Physicians for Social Responsibility, "that less than one-millionth of a gram is a carcinogenic dose. One pound, if uniformly distributed, could hypothetically induce lung cancer in every person on Earth."
Radioactive dangers and space An interview with Dr. Caldicott


October 5, 1887

Chief Joseph, leader of the Nez Perce Indians, surrendered to the American Army, ending a desperate struggle by his people for self-determination, and to maintain their traditional homeland in the Wallowa Valley of Northeastern Oregon.
"I have carried a heavy load on my back ever since I was a boy. I realized then that we could not hold our own with the white men. We were like deer. They were like grizzly bears. We had small country. Their country was large. We were contented to let things remain as the Great Spirit Chief made them. They were not, and would change the rivers and mountains if they did not suit them."
The struggle and skill of the Nez Perce


October 5, 1923

Birthday of activist Philip Berrigan. He spent four decades devoted to opposing war and violence. From his final statement prior to his death in 2002: "I die with the conviction, held since 1968 and Catonsville [see May 17, 1968], that nuclear weapons are the scourge of the earth; to mine for them, manufacture them, deploy them, use them, is a curse against God, the human family, and the earth itself."
Brother Dan Berrigan's Meditation on the Action of the Catonsville 9


October 5, 1966

A sodium cooling system malfunction caused a partial core meltdown at the Enrico Fermi I fast-breeder nuclear power reactor in Monroe, Michigan, on Lake Erie near Detroit.
While conducting a power test, two fuel assemblies overheated and two others partially melted, but there was no release of radiation. The public did not find out until one of the engineers who witnessed it wrote the book, “We Almost Lost Detroit.” The event inspired the Gil Scott-Heron song of the same name.

The Fermi plant

Read the lyrics What actually happened


October 5, 1979

2,000 activists demonstrated against development of uranium mines in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This followed the Department of the Interior’s releasing its final environmental impact statement, endorsing the North Central Power Study's plans to turn the Black Hills into a "national sacrifice area." The plan was to devote nearly 200,000 acres to mineral extraction and energy production with up to 25 nuclear power plants.

Uranium Mining in the Black Hills


October 5th

Raoul Wallenberg Day, honoring the Swedish diplomat who saved as many as 100,000 Hungarian Jews from deportation and probable death in concentration camps during WWII.

He did this through bargaining with Nazi officials, establishing safehouses, distributing false passports, disguising Jews in Nazi uniforms and setting up checkpoints to avert deportations. He had attended the University of Michigan.

Read more about Raoul Walenberg


October 5, 1986

The cover-up of the Iran-Contra scandal began to unravel when Eugene Hasenfus was captured by government troops in Nicaragua after the plane in which he was flying was shot down; three others on the plane died in the crash. Under questioning, Hasenfus confessed that he had been shipping military supplies from the U.S. into Nicaragua for use by the contras, an insurgent force trying to bring down the the country’s Sandanista government. 

The contras had been recruited and trained by the United States, and supported financially in violation of specific law passed by Congress that forbade it. The operation was directed from the White House and run by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Funding came from the sale of nearly 1500 missiles to Iran for use in its war with Iraq, though weapons sales to Iran were also illegal.

A captured Eugene Hasenfus
Good summary of the Iran-Contra Affair and implications for presidential power


October 5, 1991

President Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union responded in kind to President George H.W. Bush’s announcement of unilateral partial reduction in nuclear weapons. Bush had committed to withdrawal of all U.S. land- and sea-based tactical nuclear weapons; standing down strategic bombers on day-to-day alert, and to store their weapons; deactivating missiles scheduled for elimination under the SALT I treaty; and ending some new nuclear weapons programs. President Gorbachev announced a comparable Soviet reduction.
A timeline of strategic arms control


October 5, 1993

China broke an informal moratorium on nuclear weapons testing and exploded a nuclear device beneath its western desert. There had been active negotiations throughout the year on developing a comprehensive test ban treaty.


October 5, 2012

The National Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Statue was dedicated and unveiled in Rulesville, Mississippi [see more about Fannie Lou Hamer [see August 22, 1964]
Watch the dedication


October 6, 1683

Thirteen Mennonite families from the German town of Krefeld arrived in Philadelphia on the ship Concord. Having endured religious warfare in Europe, the Mennonites were pacifists, similar to the Society of Friends (often known as Quakers) who opposed all forms of violence. The first Germans in North America, they established Germantown which still exists as part of Philadelphia.

Modern Mennonite peace activism: More about the Mennonites in America


October 6, 1955

Poet Allen Ginsberg read his poem "Howl" for the first time at Six Gallery in San Francisco. The poem was an immediate success that rocked the Beat literary world and set the tone for confessional poetry of the 1960s and later.
"Howl and Other Poems" was printed in England, but its second edition was seized by customs officials as it entered the U.S. City Lights, a San Francisco bookstore, published the book itself to avoid customs problems, and storeowner (and poet) Lawrence Ferlinghetti was arrested and tried for obscenity, but defended by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Following testimony from nine literary experts on the merits of the book, Ferlinghetti was found not guilty.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti outside City Lights
 
Working on Howl in San Francisco,
circa June, 1956
More about City Lights
Read Howl Read more about Allen Ginsberg  


October 6, 1976

An airliner, Cubana Airlines Flight 455, exploded in midair, killing 73 mostly young passengers including the entire Cuban youth fencing team. The plot was engineered by Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban former CIA agent, who was based in Venezuela at the time.
The Posada Carriles file from the National Security Archive


October 6, 1978

346 protestors were arrested at the site of the proposed Black Fox Nuclear Power Plant in Inola, Oklahoma. In 1973 Public Service of Oklahoma announced plans to build the Black Fox plant about 15 miles from Tulsa. It was also near Carrie Barefoot Dickerson’s family farm. She became concerned as a nurse and a citizen about the potential health hazards.
Carrie Barefoot Dickerson

Through her group, Citizens’ Action for Safe Energy (CASE), and the consistent opposition of informed and persistent allies, the project was canceled in 1982. There are no nuclear plants in the state of Oklahoma, and no nuclear plant has been built in the U.S. since then.

Carrie Dickerson Foundation


October 6, 1979

Over 1400 were arrested at Seabrook, New Hampshire, the construction site of two new nuclear power plant. The occupation was organized by the Clamshell Alliance.

Clamshell Memories Discipline, Humor, and the Power of Nonviolence by one participant
Issue of Peacework e-magazine devoted to Clamshell
Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant protest - late 1970s


October 7, 1989

Tens of thousands (estimates ranged from 40,000 to 150,000) from all over the country marched on Washington, lobbied Congress and Housing Secretary Jack Kemp to provide affordable housing for the homeless. Some of the signs read, “Build Houses, Not Bombs.”
Kemp signed a letter committing the George H.W. Bush administration to several steps to help the homeless, including setting aside about 5000 government-owned single-family houses for them.


October 7, 1998

Matthew Shepard

Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, was beaten, robbed and left tied to a wooden fence post outside Laramie, Wyoming; he died five days later. His death helped awaken the nation to the persecution of homosexuals and their victimization as objects of hate crimes.
A play about the incident, and later an HBO movie, “The Laramie Project,” has been performed all over the country.

Watch a preview

MatthewShepard.org

Matthew's Story



October 8, 1945

President Harry S. Truman announced that the secret of the atomic bomb would be shared only with Great Britain and Canada.



October 8, 1982

The Polish Parliament overwhelmingly approved a law banning Solidarnos´c´ (Solidarity), the independent trade union that had captured the imagination and allegiance of nearly 10 million Poles.

Solidarnosc leader Lech Walesa, 1982

The law abolished all existing labor organizations, including Solidarity, whose 15 months of existence brought hope to people in Poland and around the world but drew the anger of the Soviet and other Eastern-bloc (Warsaw Pact) governments. The parliament created a new set of unions with severely restricted rights.



October 9, 1919

The International Fellowship of Reconciliation was founded in Bilthoven, the Netherlands. Its members have since been active in promoting programs and activities for reconciliation, peace-building, active nonviolence, and conflict resolution. 

More about FOR


October 9, 1990

The U.S. began making reparations payments to survivors and families of Japanese-Americans taken from their homes put into internment (or concentration) camps during World War II.

The payments were a result of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 signed by President Reagan. Popularly known as the Japanese American Redress Bill, this act acknowledged that "a grave injustice was done" and mandated Congress to pay each victim of internment $20,000 in reparations.

Some of the housing in the concentration camps was in former horse stalls.

The first nine redress payments were made at a Washington, D.C. ceremony. 107-year-old Reverend Mamoru Eto of Los Angeles was the first to receive his check.

A chronology of internment during WWII

Note: In the entire course of the war, 10 people were convicted of spying for Japan, all of whom were Caucasian.



October 9, 1991

Women In Black in Belgrade (Zene u Crnom) began regular weekly silent vigils in Republic Square. They stood to protest the nationalist violence that had erupted in the disintegration of Yugoslavia. They encouraged men who refused to serve in the military, and engaged in many educational efforts.
They were initially encouraged by “Women Visiting Difficult Places,” a group of Italian women who encouraged women on both “sides” in conflict-ridden countries to communicate. They in turn were inspired by Israeli Jewish women who organized in 1988 during the first intifada to protest their country’s occupation of Palestinian territories, and held vigils in as many as forty locations, later joined by Israeli Palestinians.

A Short History Of Women In Black

Women In Black • New York City



October 9, 2007
The Imagine Peace Tower, a work conceived by Yoko Ono and dedicated to John Lennon’s memory, was dedicated on the island of Videy, within sight of Reykjavik, Iceland. The LennonOno Grant for Peace will be awarded there each year.
Iceland was chosen because Iceland has no standing army and it is a world leader on the environment.
The installation bears the inscription, Imagine Peace, in 24 languages.

more photos
The Tower is lit the first week of Spring, on October 9 and December 8 (the dates of Lennon’s birth and death) and on New Year’s Eve. The electricity comes solely from the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant.
The Imagine Peace Tower live feed
Note: A few peace buttons from peacebuttons.info were buried in a time capsule at the base of the Imagine Peace Tower < get some for yourself and friends


October 10, 1699
The Spanish issued a royal decree which stated that every African-American who came to St. Augustine, Florida, and adopted Catholicism would be free and protected from the English.


October 10, 1963
The Limited Test Ban Treaty—banning nuclear tests in the oceans, in the atmosphere, and in outer space—went into effect. The nuclear powers of the time—the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union—had signed the treaty earlier in the year.
In 1957, Nobel Prize-winner (Chemistry) Linus Pauling drafted the Scientists' Bomb-Test Appeal with two colleagues, Barry Commoner and Ted Condon, eventually gaining the support of 11,000 scientists from 49 countries for an end to the testing of nuclear weapons. These included Bertrand Russell, Albert Einstein, and Albert Schweitzer.

Pauling then took the resolution to Dag Hammarskjöld, then Secretary-General of the United Nations, and sent copies to both President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschev. The final treaty had many similarities to Pauling’s draft. It went into effect the same day as the announcement of Pauling’s second Nobel Prize, this time for Peace.

Linus Pauling


October 10, 1967
The Outer Space Treaty (Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies) demilitarizing outer space went into force.

It sought to avoid "a new form of colonial competition" as in the Antarctic Treaty, and the possible damage that self-seeking exploitation might cause. Discussions on banning weapons of mass destruction in orbit had begun among the major powers ten years earlier.

 

1949 painting by Frank Tinsley of the infamous "Military Space Platform"

proposed by then Secretary of Defense James Forrestal in the December 1948 military budget.

The text of the treaty plus the signatories Read more


October 10, 1986

Elliott Abrams, then assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (in closed executive session) that he did not know that Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, a White House employee in the Reagan administration, was directing illegal arms sales to Iran and diverting the proceeds to assist the Nicaraguan contras.
Abrams pled guilty in 1991 to withholding information on the Iran-contra affair during that congressional testimony, but was pardoned by President George H.W. Bush.

 

 

 

 

 

Elliott Abrams

Presidents George W. Bush &

George H.W. Bush

Oliver North  
Read more about the pardons 


October 10, 1987

Thirty thousand Germans demonstrated against construction of a large-scale nuclear reprocessing installation at Wackersdorf in mostly rural northern Bavaria.


October 10, 2002

 

The House voted 296-133 to pass the “Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq,” giving President George W. Bush broad authority to use military force against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, with or without U.N. support.

 



October 11, 1987
More than half a million people flooded Washington, D.C., demanding civil rights for gay and lesbian Americans, now celebrated each year as National Coming Out Day.
Many of the marchers objected to the government's response to the AIDS crisis, as well as the Supreme Court's 1986 decision to uphold sodomy laws in Bowers v. Hardwick.
The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt was first displayed there, bringing national attention to the impact of AIDS on gay communities, a tapestry of nearly two thousand fabric panels each a tribute to the life of one who had been lost in the pandemic.
The AIDS quilt, first displayed in 1987 in Washington, DC


October 12, 1492

Natives of islands off the Atlantic shore of North America came upon Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, who was searching for a water route to India for Spanish Queen Isabella.



October 12, 1945

Pfc. Desmond Doss became the first conscientious objector ever to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist, enlisted in 1942 but refused to carry a rifle or train on Saturdays. On the island of Okinawa, under heavy Japanese fire, he saved the lives of 75 sick and wounded soldiers by lowering them, one by one, down a 400-foot cliff.
The guest house at Walter Reed Army Medical Center is Doss Memorial Hall in his honor.
Read more (includes movie trailer)


October 12, 1958

A Reform Jewish Temple in Atlanta (the city’s oldest) was firebombed with fifty sticks of dynamite in retaliation for Jewish support of local black civil rights activists. The Temple’s Rabbi, Jacob Rothschild, was outspoken in his support of civil rights and integration, and was a friend of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. before he became well known nationally.

From Georgia PBS


October 12, 1967


British zoologist Desmond Morris stunned the world with his book, “The Naked Ape,” a frank study of human behavior from a zoologist's perspective. Morris had earlier studied the artistic abilities of apes and was appointed Curator of Mammals at the London Zoo.

Read more



October 12, 1967

"A Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority" appeared in The Nation and the New York Review of Books. 20,000 signed it, including academics, clergymen, writers. It urged “that every free man has a legal right and a moral duty to exert every effort to end this war [Vietnam], to avoid collusion with it, and to encourage others to do the same.”
This document became the main basis for the federal government's criminal prosecution (for encouraging draft evasion) of five of the signers: Dr. Benjamin Spock, Marcus Raskin, Mitchell Goodman, Michael Ferber, and the Reverend William Sloane Coffin.

Read the Call


October 12, 1970

Lt. William Calley was court-martialled for the massacre of 102 civilians in the Vietnamese village of My Lai; far more actually died during the incident.

 

 

The full sad story  (general)                           

 

Lt. Calley

 

                             (link/viewer caution advised:)



October 12, 1977

“Regents of the University of California v. Bakke" was argued in front
of the U.S. Supreme Court. The question: Did the University of California violate the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, by practicing an affirmative action policy that resulted in the repeated rejection of Bakke's application for admission to its medical school?

Listen to the oral argument in front of the Supreme Court:


October 13, 1934

The American Federation of Labor (AFL) voted to boycott all German-made products as a protest against Nazi antagonism to organized labor within Germany.



October 14, 1943

As the result of an uprising at the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland, about 300 of its Jewish prisoners escaped, though only about 50 survived until the end of the war.
Following the escape, the remaining inmates were killed and the camp was promptly closed by the Germans. Though Sobibor’s six gas chambers could exterminate 1200 people at a time, it was the smallest of the death camps.
Some of the people who took part in the uprising at Sobibor (picture taken in 1944).
The story of Sobibor


October 14, 1979

The first national gay and lesbian march for civil rights in Washington, D.C., drew over 100,000 demanding an end to all social, economic, judicial, and legal oppression of lesbian and gay people.

A photo gallery of the march


October 14, 1981

Dock workers in Darwin, Australia, began a seven-day strike, refusing to load uranium on board "Pacific Sky" for eventual use by the U.S. military. After a week, the ship was forced to leave without its cargo.



October 15, 1965

In demonstrations organized by the student-run National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam, the first public burning of a draft card in the United States took place.

These demonstrations drew 100,000 people in 40 cities across the country. In New York City, David Miller, a young Catholic pacifist, became the first U.S. war protester to burn his draft card, doing so in direct violation of a recently passed federal law forbidding such acts. Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation later arrested him; he was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.

David Miller burning his draft card, 1965. Memoirs of a Draft-Card Burner


October 15, 1966

Huey Newton and Bobby Seale formed the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in Oakland, California. Its revolutionary agenda, and the fact that its members, all U.S. citizens, were armed, prompted FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover to refer to it as as "the greatest threat to the internal security of the United States."

Read the Panthers’ Ten Point Platform and Program:

<First 6 members - Top Left to Right: Elbert "Big Man" Howard; Huey P. Newton, Sherman Forte, Chairman, Bobby Seale. Bottom: Reggie Forte and Little Bobby Hutton.

Bobby Seale(L) and Huey Newton(R)>

Black Panther Party Legacy and Alumni


October 15, 1966

The "Endangered Species Preservation Act" became law. It allowed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to identify plant and animal varieties threatened with extinction, and to acquire land to preserve their habitats.
How the law has evolved


October 15, 1969

22 million took part in the National Moratorium, a protest against the continuing war in Vietnam. This was an effort by David Hawk and Sam Brown, two anti-war activists, to forge a broad-based movement against the war.

The organization initially focused its effort on 300 college campuses, but the idea soon grew and spread beyond colleges and universities. Hawk and Brown were assisted by the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, which was instrumental in organizing the nationally coordinated demonstrations.

One of the largest of the many events involved 100,000 people converging on Boston Common, but activities nationwide also included smaller rallies, marches, and prayer vigils. The demonstrations involved a broad spectrum of the population, including many who had never before raised their voices against the war. This was considered unprecedented: Walter Cronkite (then CBS news anchor) called it "historic in its scope. Never before had so many demonstrated their hope for peace."

Later, a declassified Kissinger (then Nixon’s National Security Advisor) file revealed that these protests discouraged a plan by Nixon to use nuclear weapons in Vietnam.

Read more

Reissued
The original Vietnam Moratoium Peace Dove button


October 16, 1649

The British colony of Maine granted religious freedom to all citizens the same year that King Charles I was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic church.


October 16, 1859

Abolitionist John Brown led a group of 21 other men, five black and sixteen white, in a raid on the U.S. arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia.
They had hoped to set off a slave revolt — throughout the south — with the weapons they had planned to seize.

John Brown

Virtually all his compatriots were killed or captured by General Robert E. Lee’s troops; Brown was wounded and arrested, and hanged for treason within two months.

 

Read more

The Tragic Prelude (John Brown)

mural by John Steuart Curry (1937-1942)

Former slave and abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass said of Brown that he was a white man "in sympathy a black man, as deeply interested in our cause as though his own soul had been pierced with the iron of slavery."


October 16, 1901

President Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington, founder of the Tuskegee Institute and the most prominent African American of his time, to a meeting in the White House. The meeting went long and the president asked Washington to stay for dinner, the first black person ever to do so.
President Theodore Roosevelt

Newspapers in the both the South and North were critical, but the South with more venom. The Memphis "Scimiter" said that it was "the most damnable outrage that has ever been perpetrated by any citizen of the United States." Roosevelt claimed he had invited a friend to dinner with his family and it was no one else's business.

Booker T. Washington


October 16, 1934

Dick Sheppard, who volunteered and joined the Army as a chaplain in World War I, started the Peace Pledge Union in England. In a letter published in The Guardian newspaper and elsewhere, Sheppard, a well-known priest in the Church of England, invited those who would be willing to join a public demonstration against war to send him a postcard. Within a few weeks he had received 30,000 replies. Members of the Peace Pledge Union vowed to “renounce war and never again to support another.”

Reverend Sheppard had been the first ever to broadcast religious services on the radio and, when Vicar of St. Martin-in-the Fields, Trafalgar Square, he had opened the building to the homeless of London.
“Up to now the peace movement has received its main support from women, but it seems high time now that men should throw their weight into the scales against war.”
-Dick Sheppard

Read more



October 16, 1964

China detonated its first atomic bomb, becoming the fifth nuclear-armed nation. The 20-kiloton fission device (equivalent to 20,000 tons of TNT) was detonated in the vicinity of Lop Nor, a lake in a remote region of the Central Asian province of Sinkiang.
" To defend oneself is the inalienable right of every sovereign State. And to safeguard world peace is the common task of all peace-loving countries. China cannot remain idle and do nothing in the face of the ever-increasing nuclear threat posed by the United States.

China is forced to conduct nuclear tests and develop nuclear weapons . . . In developing nuclear weapons, China's aim is to break the nuclear monopoly of the nuclear Powers and to eliminate nuclear weapons.”
Chou En-lai, the Chinese Prime Minister, sent messages to all heads of government for a world summit conference on nuclear disarmament. U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk told a news conference that the United States did not regard Communist China's proposal "as having any practical value."

Deng Jiaxian. The father of the chinese bomb.
TRINITY AND BEYOND™ (The Atomic Bomb Movie), a documentary by Peter Kuran


October 16, 1967

Folksinger Joan Baez was arrested in a peace demonstration as rallies took place across America during “Stop the Draft Week.” 1158 young men returned their draft cards in eighteen U.S. cities. Baez was among 122 anti-draft protesters arrested for sitting down at the entrance of the Armed Forces Induction Center in Oakland, California; she was sentenced to 10 days in prison.

Joan Baez the day after the arrest

Read more



October 16, 1968

During medal presentations at the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City, winning sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their black-gloved fists while the U.S. national anthem was played. They were suspended from the team by the U.S. Olympic Committee two days later. Smith later told the media that he raised his right fist in the air to represent black power in America while Carlos's left fist represented unity in black America.


Read more



October 16, 1973

Henry Kissinger

U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, though accused of war crimes by some for the massive bombing of Laos and Cambodia, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with North Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho (who refused the honor) for the cease-fire agreement they had negotiated. This occurred just a month after the bloody military coup, fully supported by the Nixon administration and aided by the CIA, that overturned the democratically elected government of Chile, and installed General Augusto Pinochet as military dictator for the next 17 years.




October 16, 1984

Desmond Tutu, the archbishop of South Africa, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in fighting apartheid. He has gone on to be a relentless advocate for justice around the world.

Desmond Tutu - Nobel peace prize recipient


October 16, 1998

In a human rights and international law breakthrough, British authorities, after receiving an extradition request from Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon, placed former Chilean dictator, and senator-for-life, General Augusto Pinochet under arrest for "crimes of genocide and terrorism that include murder."

Augusto Pinochet and Margaret Thatcher

Chronology of Pinochet’s rule


October 16th every year
United Nations’ World Food Day is recognized every year.
About the annual day of hunger awareness


October 17, 1898

The U.S. took control of Puerto Rico. One year after Spain granted Puerto Rican self-rule, following their rout in the Spanish-American War, troops raised the U.S. flag over the Caribbean island nation, formalizing American authority over the island's one million inhabitants.
Puerto Rico became a self-governing commonwealth, though the U.S. controls all aspects of its military, trade, media, banking and international affairs. Though Puerto Ricans are citizens, they don’t pay income taxes, nor are they represented in Congress or able to vote for president.

A history of the struggle for Puerto Rican Independence


October 17th, every year
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty was designated by the United Nations in 1992. It began in 1987 when 100,000 people gathered in Paris and declared poverty a violation of human rights.
This year’s theme "From Poverty to Sustainability: People at the Centre of Inclusive Development"


October 18, 1648

I. Marc Carlson

 

 

The Shoemakers Guild of Boston became the first labor union in the American colonies.

 

 



October 18, 1929
The Persons Case, a legal milestone in Canada, was decided. Five women from Alberta, later known as the Famous Five, asked the Supreme Court of Canada to rule on the legal status of women. Some decisions of Magistrate Emily Murphy had been challenged on the basis that she was not a legal person, and she was a candidate for appointment to the Canadian Senate. After the Supreme Court ruled against them, they appealed to the British Privy Council.
The Privy Council found for the women on this day (eight years after the case began and eleven years after women received the federal vote), declaring that women were persons under the law. October 18 has since been celebrated as Persons Day in Canada, and October as Women's History Month.

Sculpture by Barbara Paterson of the Famous Five in Ottawa, first on Parliament Hill to honor women
The other women activists in the Famous Five: Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, and Irene Parlby.
The Persons Case


October 19, 1923
The War Resisters League was founded in New York City.

 

WRL history  

Above: One of the founders, Jessie Wallace Hughan (r), 1942

photo: WRL/Swarthmore Peace Collection

The War Resisters League site with a comprehensive list of ongoing peace activities


October 19, 1960

Martin Luther King, Jr., and 36 others were jailed after being arrested during a sit-in at the snack bar of Atlanta's Rich's department store where they requested service and were refused on account of their race.

Read more


October 19, 1980

J.P. Stevens & Co. was forced to sign its first contract with a union after a 17-year struggle in North Carolina and other southern states. The workers, organized by the Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union, were supported by a widespread boycott of Stevens products by labor, progressive and religious organizations.

Read more about the struggle and the movie "Norma Rae"


October 20, 1947

The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) opened public hearings into alleged Communist influence in Hollywood. To counter what they claimed were reckless attacks by HUAC, a group of motion picture industry luminaries, led by actor Humphrey Bogart and his wife, Lauren Bacall, John Huston, William Wyler, Gene Kelly and others, established the Committee for the First Amendment (CFA).

 

Read more



October 20, 1962

A folk music album, "Peter, Paul and Mary," hit No. 1 on U.S. record sales charts. The group’s music addressed real issues – war, civil rights, poverty – and became popular across the United States. The trio's version of "If I Had A Hammer" was not only a popular single, but was also embraced as an anthem by the civil rights movement.

About Peter, Paul and Mary


October 20, 1967

The biggest demonstration to date against American involvement in the Vietnamese War took place in Oakland, California. An estimated 5,000-10,000 people poured onto the streets to demonstrate in a fifth day of massive protests against the conscription of soldiers to serve in the war. [see October 16, 1967]

Read more



October 20, 1973

In what was immediately called the "Saturday Night Massacre," President Richard Nixon's Press Secretary, Ron Ziegler, announced that Special Watergate Prosecutor Archibald Cox had been dismissed. Cox had been investigating Nixon, his administration and re-election campaign. Nixon had demanded that he rescind his subpoena for White House recordings. Archibald Cox
Richard Nixon Earlier in the day, Attorney General Elliot Richardson had resigned, and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus had been fired, both for refusing to dismiss Cox. Solicitor General Robert Bork, filling the vacuum left by the departure of his two Justice Department superiors, fired Cox at the president’s direction.


October 21, 1837

The U.S. Army, enforcing President Andrew Jackson’s 1830 Indian Removal Act, captured Seminole Indian leader Osceola (meaning "Black Drink") by inviting him to a peace conference and then seizing him and nineteen others, though they had come under a flag of truce. Under the law, they and the others of the “Five Tribes” (Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks and Cherokees) were to be moved, by force if necessary, west of the Mississippi to Indian Territory (Arkansas and Oklahoma).

Osceola painted by George Catlin, 1838

The Seminole had moved to Florida (then under the control of Spain) from South Carolina and Georgia as they were forced from their ancestral lands, then forced further south into the Everglades where they settled.

Read more about Osceola



October 21, 1967

In Washington, D.C., more than 100,000 demonstrators from all over the country surrounded the reflecting pool between the Washington and Lincoln monuments in a largely peaceful protest to end the Vietnam War.

It was organized by "the Mobe," the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam. Some then marched on, encircled and attempted to storm the Pentagon in what some considered to be civil disobedience; 682 were arrested and dozens injured.
This protest was paralleled by demonstrations in Japan and Western Europe, the most violent of which occurred outside the U.S. Embassy in London where 3,000 demonstrators attempted to storm the building.

at the Pentagon
Read two different accounts of the day with photographs:


October 21, 1983

In the first public action of the new Seattle Nonviolent Action Group (SNAG), 12 people blockaded the Boeing Cruise Missile plant in Kent, Washington; none were arrested.



October 21, 1994

In an "Agreed Framework" to "freeze" North Korea's nuclear program, the United States and North Korea (Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea or DPRK) agreed over the next 10 years to construct two new proliferation-resistant light water-moderated nuclear power reactors (LWRs) in exchange for the shutdown of all their existing nuclear facilities.
The DPRK also agreed to allow 8,000 spent nuclear reactor fuel elements to be removed to a third country; to remain a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT); and to allow inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
In the deal negotiated by Ambassador at Large Robert Gallucci, the U.S. agreed to normalize economic and diplomatic relations with Pyongyang and to provide formal assurances against the threat or use of nuclear weapons by the United States.
The details of the agreement and what has followed  
Interview with Robert Gallucci, Dean, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown U.


October 22, 1963

200,000 students boycotted Chicago schools to protest de facto segregation.


October 22, 1968

More than 300,000 protesters marked International Antiwar Day in Japan.
The U.S. war in Vietnam and the ongoing (since the end of World War II) and massive American military presence on the Japanese island of Okinawa helped swell the ranks of the demonstrators; nearly 1400 were arrested.


October 22, 1979

The deposed Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, arrived in New York for medical treatment from Mexico. He received permission to do so from the U.S. government (which had installed him as shah in a 1954 coup) despite warning from the newly established Islamic republic in Iran demanding that the Shah be turned over to
them for trial.

More on the Shah



October 22, 1983

Capping a week of protests, more than two million people in six European cities marched against U.S. deployment of Cruise and Pershing nuclear missiles: 1.2 million Germans, including 180,000 in Bonn; a 64-mile human chain between Stuttgart and New Ulm (and Hamburg, W. Berlin); 350,000 Rome; 100,000 Vienna; 25,000 Paris; 20,000 Stockholm; 4000 Dublin; plus 140 sites in U.S.
In London, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) held its biggest protest ever against nuclear missiles with an estimated one million people taking part.

Read more



October 23, 1915

33,000 women marched in New York City demanding the right to vote. Known as the "banner parade" because of the multitude of flags and banners carried, it began at 2 o'clock in the afternoon and continued until long after dark, attracting a record-breaking crowd of spectators. Motor cars brought up the rear decorated with Chinese lanterns; once darkness fell, Fifth Avenue was a mass of moving colored lights.

Myths and misconceptions spread by the opponents of women’s suffrage



October 23, 1945

Jackie Robinson and pitcher John Wright were signed by Branch Rickey, president of the Brooklyn Dodgers Baseball Club, to play on a Dodger farm team, the Montreal Royals of the International League.

Robinson became the first black baseball player to play on a major league team.

Jackie Robinson


October 23, 1947

The NAACP filed formal charges with the United Nations accusing the United States of racial discrimination. "An Appeal to the World," edited by W.E.B. DuBois, was a factual study of the denial of the right to vote, and grievances against educational discrimination and lack of other social rights. This appeal spurred President Truman to create a civil rights commission.

W.E.B. DuBois


October 23, 1956

The Hungarian revolution began with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets to demand an end to Soviet rule. More than 250,000 people, including students, workers, and soldiers, demonstrated in Budapest in support of the insurrection in Poland, demanding reforms
in Hungary.

Hungarian students,1956

The day before, the students had produced a list of sixteen demands, including the removal of Soviet troops, the organization of multi-party democratic elections, and the restoration of freedom of speech. On the evening of the 23rd a large crowd pulled down the statue of Josef Stalin in Felvonulási Square.

Read more
Hungarian revolution monument


October 23, 1984

The Fact-Finding Board looking into the assassination of Filipino democratic leader Benigno Aquino confirmed that his death was the result of a military conspiracy, and indicted Chief-of-Staff General Fabian Ver, the first cousin of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Marcos had blamed the chair of the Communist Party for the assassination, despite the fact that Aquino had been in the custody of the Aviation Security Command and surrounded by military personnel as he disembarked from the plane returning him to the Philippines. The chair of the Board, Corazon J. Agrava, was pressured into submitting a minority report clearing General Ver. He and the 25 other military officials charged were all acquitted.


October 23, 1994

In an "Agreed Framework" to "freeze" North Korea's nuclear program, the United States and North Korea (Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea or DPRK) agreed over the next 10 years to construct two new proliferation-resistant light water-moderated nuclear power reactors (LWRs) in exchange for the shutdown of all their existing nuclear facilities.
The DPRK also agreed to allow 8,000 spent nuclear reactor fuel elements to be removed to a third country; to remain a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT); and to allow inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
In the deal negotiated by Ambassador at Large Robert Gallucci, the U.S. agreed to normalize economic and diplomatic relations with Pyongyang and to provide formal assurances against the threat or use of nuclear weapons by the United States.
The details of the agreement and what has followed  
Interview with Robert Gallucci, Dean, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown U.



October 24, 1935

Langston Hughes's first play, "Mulatto," opened on Broadway. It was the longest-running play (373 performances) by an African-American until Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun" which premiered in 1959.

First-rate brief bio of Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes


October 24, 1940

The 40-hour workweek went into effect under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, requiring employers to pay overtime and restricting the use of child labor.
Decades of labor agitation and a considerable number of lives made this change possible.


Background on the struggle to end child labor:


October 24, 1945

The United Nations World Security Organization came into being when the Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or USSR) in mid-afternoon deposited its instrument of ratification of the U.N. Charter. The USSR became the last of the five major powers and the 29th of 51 nations, the minimum necessary to bring this about. James F. Byrnes, U.S. Secretary of State, then signed the protocol formally attesting that the Charter of the United Nations had come into force.

This is now considered United Nations Day.
Read more


October 24, 1970
Salvador Allende Gossens, an avowed Marxist and head of the Unidad Popular Party, became the president of Chile after being elected and confirmed by the Chilean Congress.

For the next three years, the United States exerted tremendous pressure to destabilize and unseat the Allende government. In 1958, and again in 1964, Allende had run on a socialist /communist platform. In both elections, the United States government (as well as U.S. businesses such as International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT), which had significant investments in Chile) worked to defeat Allende by sending millions of dollars of assistance to his political opponents.

Allende and supporters

More on Allende


October 24, 1981

More than 250,000 people, organized by the Committee for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), marched through London to protest the siting of American nuclear missiles in the United Kingdom.

More background and video


October 25, 1955

Sadako Sasaki, following the Japanese custom of folding paper cranes – symbols of good fortune and longevity – persisted daily in folding cranes, hoping to create senbazuru (1000 paper cranes strung together) when a person's dream is believed to come true, died.

The Sadako story    
Sadako Sasaki

Sadako was two years old when the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and at 12 was diagnosed with Leukemia, "the atom bomb" disease.

 

Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima showing Sadako holding a golden crane

 

 

Photo: Mark Bledstein



October 26, 1916

Margaret Sanger and her sister were arrested for disseminating birth control information at her Brownsville Clinic in Brooklyn; she was arrested again a few weeks later for the same reason and the police shut the clinic down within 10 days.
Margaret Sanger


October 26, 1970
"Doonesbury", a cartoon series addressing political and social issues written by Garry Trudeau, and initially published in a the Yale Daily News when Trudeau was a student, debuted in 28 newspapers.
Read Doonesbury
Garry Trudeau, 1976

October 26, 1986
President Ronald Reagan vetoed a bill passed by the Congress that would have imposed trade sanctions on the racially separatist apartheid regime of South Africa.


October 26, 1994
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin and Jordanian Prime Minister Abdelsalam al-Majali, with President Clinton in attendance, formally signed a peace treaty ending 46 years of war at a ceremony in the desert area of Wadi Araba on the Israeli-Jordanian border. President of Israel Ezer Weizman shook hands with Jordan’s King Hussein.
Read more


October 27, 1659
William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson, two Quakers (formally, members of the Society of Friends) who came from England in 1656 to escape religious persecution, were executed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony for their religious beliefs. The two had violated a law, passed by the Massachusetts General Court the year before, banning Quakers from the colony under penalty of death.
Quakers opposed central church authority, preferring to seek spiritual insight and consensus through egalitarian Quaker meetings. They advocated sexual equality and became some of the most outspoken opponents of slavery in early America.


October 27, 1967
Phillip Berrigan, artist Tom Lewis, poet David Eberhardt, and United Church of Christ minister James Mengel, members of the Baltimore Interfaith Peace Mission, entered the draft board at the United States Customs House and poured duck’s blood on several hundred draft records.
The Baltimore Four, as they became known, were arrested and later tried and convicted for the action which they saw as a symbolic act of civil disobedience — a nonviolent attack on the machinery of war. This day later became known as Plowshare Action Remembrance Day.
Phillip Berrigan pouring blood on draft files Berrigan in his jail cell drawning by Tom Lewis
Read more


October 27, 1967

120,000 marched against the Vietnam War in London. Violence erupted when a 6,000-strong Maoist splinter group broke away and charged the police outside the United States Embassy in Grosvenor Square.

Read more


October 27, 1969
Ralph Nader set up a consumer organization with young lawyers and researchers (often called "Nader's Raiders") who produced systematic exposés of industrial hazards, pollution, unsafe products, and governmental neglect of consumer safety laws.
Ralph Nader (center)  Nader is widely recognized as the founder of the consumer rights movement. He played a key role in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Freedom of Information Act, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Recollections of some of Nader’s raiders
Read more


October 27, 2002

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was elected president of Brazil in a runoff, becoming the country's first elected leftist leader.

Read more
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva


October 28, since 304

Catholics celebrate the feast of St. Fidelis of Como.  According to one legend, Fidelis deserted the Roman Army's Theban Legion during Emperor Maximian's persecution of Christians.  In another legend, he was assigned to guard Christian prisoners at Milan and secured freedom for five of them.



October 28, 1818

Abigail Adams, former First Lady of the United States, dies. 
Many of her ideas, documented in her correspondance with her husband, John (later elected president), influenced the government of the United States.  She was politically active to the point where opponents referred to her as "Mrs. President"
[see March 31, 1776]

More about Abigail Adams Abigail Adams


October 28, since 1940

In Greece, Ohi Day (meaning Day of No) marks the refusal of Greece to submit to the Axis Powers.



October 28, 1950

Birth of Sihem Bensedrine, Tunisian human rights activist and journalist.  In 2008, she was awarded the Danish Peace Fund Prize for her commitment to democracy and the rule of law in the Arab world.
About Sinem Bensefrine  


October 28, 1962

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev announces the removal of Soviet missle bases in Cuba, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.



October 28, 1985

Sandinista Daniel Ortega becomes president of Nicaragua, and attempts to make peace with the United States. 
The United States replies by continuing to support the Contras.
Read more
Daniel Ortega



October 29, 1940

The first national lottery for drafting young men (21-35) was held after passage of the first compulsory peacetime draft in United States. At the time the U.S. Army was smaller than that of Poland.

What is was like

Recommended: Washington Goes to War by David Brinkley


October 29, 1966

National Organization for Women (NOW) was founded in Washington, D.C. The 30 attendees at that first meeting elected Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique, as NOW's first president.
Read about NOW
Betty Friedan


October 29, 1969
anti ROTC demo One hundred demonstrators disrupted the University of Buffalo’s ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) with "nonviolent ridicule." The urgency of opposition to the Vietnam War made many military-related activities targets of anti-war activity that had previously seemed otherwise legitimate.
A contemporaneous account


October 29, 1969
U.S. Federal Judge Julius Hoffman ordered a defendant in the courtroom gagged and chained to a chair during his trial after he repeatedly asserted his right to an attorney of his own choosing or to defend himself.
The defendant, Black Panther Party leader Bobby Seale, and seven others had been charged with conspiring to cross state lines
"with the intent to incite, organize, promote, encourage, participate in, and carry out a riot" by organizing the anti-war demonstrations in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
The Chicago Eight included Seale, David Dellinger, Rennie Davis, Thomas Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Lee Weiner, and John Froines. Chicago 10 by Brett Morgen,
an animated film about the trial


October 29, 1975
In "Alice Doesn't Day," tens of thousands of women in cities across the US took to the streets to demand equality. Defying mounted police, 50,000 marched down New York City's 5th Avenue. Dutch women marched on the U.S. embassy in Amsterdam to show their support, while French feminists demonstrated at the Arc de Triomphe, carrying a banner that read: "More Unknown Than the Unknown Soldier: His Wife."
More about Alice Doesn’t Day


October 29, 1983
Because the U.S. planned to site 48 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles in their country, over 500,000 Dutch took part in a rally in the Netherlands’ capital city, The Hague. The numbers at the protest were swelled by anger over the U.S. invasion of Grenada, a small Caribbean island, earlier in the week.
What was happening


October 30, 1967
Martin Luther King, Jr. and seven other clergymen were jailed for four days in Birmingham, Alabama. They were serving sentences on contempt-of-court charges stemming from Easter 1963 demonstrations they had led against discrimination.
The U.S. Supreme Court had upheld their convictions for violating a court order enjoining them from marching [
Walker v. Birmingham]. Public Safety Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor had twice denied them a parade permit. The law Connor used was declared unconstitutional two years later [Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham].
Martin Luther King, Jr
video library






art: BRUNI Sablan

the constitutional issues



October 30, 1995
Over 80 people were arrested at Sugarloaf Mountain in southern Oregon during a massive direct action to prevent clear-cutting of old-growth forests on public land by private timber companies.
Sugarloaf protest


October 30, 2000
George Mizo of the United States, Rosi Hohn-Mizo of Germany (his wife) and Georges Doussin of France were awarded Vietnam's first-ever State Medal of Friendship by the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam for their work in building the Vietnam Friendship Village.
The Vietnam Friendship Village after five years; the medical clinic is in the foreground, other buildings are residences.
Mizo and the Vietnam Veterans Association built a residential facility for orphan children and elderly or disabled adults. George Mizo was a veteran of both the Vietnam War and the struggle to end U.S. support of the contra insurgency in Nicaragua, and repressive regimes elsewhere in Central America
[see September 15, 1986].
General Vo Nguyen Giap, Vietnam’s senior military commander during both the French and American wars advised the Mizo’s 12-year-old son, Michael, “Never go to war.”
A Brief History of the Vietnam Friendship Village Project


October 31, 1929
George Henry Evans, an English-born printer and journalist, published the first issue of the Working Man’s Advocate, “edited by a Mechanic” for the “useful and industrious classes” of New York City. Evan covered the Workingmen’s Party (which he helped found) and the early trade union movement.
In his Prospectus, Evans focused on the inequities between the “portion of society living in luxury and idleness” and those “groaning under the oppressions and miseries imposed on them.” He advocated “a system of education which shall be equally open to all, as in a real republic it should be” and opposed “every thing which savors of a union of church and state.”
Evans became a U.S. citizen one week later.


October 31, 1950
Earl Lloyd became the first of three African Americans who began to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA) when he started with the Washington Capitols. He and Jim Tucker went on to become the first African Americans to play on a championship team in 1955 as members of the Syracuse Nationals, which is now the Philadelphia 76ers.
After retiring as a player, Lloyd was a Detroit Pistons assistant coach for two seasons and a scout for five.


October 31, 1952
The U.S. successfully detonated "Mike," the world's first hydrogen (or fusion) bomb, in the atmosphere at the Eniwetok Proving Grounds on the Elugelab Atoll, part of the Marshall Islands in the southern Pacific.
The 10.4-megaton device was the first thermonuclear device built upon the Teller-Ulam principles of staged radiation implosion.
Mike's Mushroom cloud The incredible explosive force of Mike was apparent from the sheer magnitude of its mushroom cloud – within 90 seconds the mushroom cloud climbed to 57,000 feet and entered the stratosphere at a rate of 400 mph. One minute later it reached 108,000 feet, eventually stabilizing at a ceiling of 120,000 feet. Half an hour after the test, the mushroom stretched sixty miles across, with the base of the head joining the stem at 45,000 feet.
The explosion wiped Elugelab off the face of the planet, leaving a crater more than 50 meters (175 feet) deep, and destroyed life on the surrounding islands.
The details and the results Front page of the Times and how the world found out


October 31, 1958
The U.S., the U.S.S.R. (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics aka Soviet Union) and Great Britain began negotiations in Geneva on whether to let the nuclear testing moratorium become a permanent test ban. General Secretary Nikita Kruschev had unilaterally declared a moratorium on Soviet testing earlier in the year, President Dwight Eisenhower and Prime Minister Harold MacMillan following suit in August.
There had been growing concern over the health effects of radioactive fallout in the atmosphere from the nuclear explosions. Nonetheless, all three nations did further last-minute tests before the moratorium took effect.


October 31, 1972

20-POINT POSITION PAPER
PREAMBLE
AN INDIAN MANIFESTO FOR RESTITUTION, REPARATIONS, RESTORATION OF LANDS FOR A RECONSTRUCTION OF AN INDIAN FUTURE IN AMERICA
THE TRAIL OF BROKEN TREATIES:

"We need not give another recitation of past complaints nor engage in redundant dialogue of discontent.  Our conditions and their cause for being should perhaps be best known by those who have written the record of America's action against Indian people.  In 1832, Black Hawk correctly observed: You know the cause of our making war. It is known to all white men. They ought to be ashamed of it.
The government of the United States knows the reasons for our going to its capital city.  Unfortunately, they don't know how to greet us. We go because America has been only too ready to express shame, and suffer none from the expression - while remaining wholly unwilling to change to allow life for Indian people.
We seek a new American majority - a majority that is not content merely to confirm itself by superiority in numbers, but which by conscience is committed toward prevailing upon the public will in ceasing wrongs and in doing right.  For our part, in words and deeds of coming days, we propose to produce a rational, reasoned manifesto for construction of an Indian future in America.  If America has maintained faith with its original spirit, or may recognize it now, we should not be denied.”



October 31, 1978
30,000 Iranian oil workers went on strike against the repressive rule of the U.S.-installed Shah and for democracy, civil and human rights.


Striking Iranian oil workers.
Photo: December 1978 issue of Resistance. A publication of the Iranian Students Association in the U.S. (ISAUS)
Read more


October 31, 1984
Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was shot to death by two Sikh members of her own security guard while walking in the garden of her New Delhi home. Gandhi's son, Rajiv, a member of parliament and a leader in the Congress-I Party, was sworn in as Prime Minister following the assassination.
Read more

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