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This week at a glance.

March 1

•Bombing the Pacific
•U. of Alabama expels its 1st black student
•Peace Corps established

March 2
•Congress prohibits slave trade
•Segregation law defied
•Airlift out of Libya

March 3
•Dodging the Civil War draft
•Women to Wilson: Voting Rights now
•Lysistrata Project

March 4
•Jeannette Rankin
•FDR speaks of truth and fear
•Concerned Scientists
•Cairo crowd cheers new leader

March 5
•United against proliferation
•Ukraine shuns nuclear weapons
March 6
•Black. Citizen?
Court says no.
•Ghana - 1st independent
•The Greatest says no to the draft
•UPeace: graduate school

March 7
•Detroiters march for relief
•Alabamians and allies march for the vote
•Recruiting for peace

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

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

The day is also intended to call attention to the potential danger of the increasing trans-oceanic shipment of hazardous nuclear materials, and the need of nuclear and shipping nations to consider the rights and health of the indigenous peoples of the region. 
The proposed South Pacific Nuclear-Free Zone Treaty
Indigenous People and Nuclear Weapons
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"I am very happy with this order! Saw a photo of some "I can't breathe" buttons on a news web site and got my inspiration. Placed order on 20 Feb, it was mailed the 23rd & received today the perfect condition. Buttons are high quality. Good trustable clips. A few bonus buttons were also included. That made me smile. Great service!!!"
- rc, Chicago, IL

Peace quote

"Today's Constitution is a realistic document of freedom only because of several corrective amendments. Those amendments speak to a sense of decency and fairness that I and other Blacks cherish."
- Justice Thurgood Marshall

March 1, 1956

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

She was met with rioting by thousands of students (none of whom were disciplined) and others. She charged in court that University officials had been complicit in allowing the disorder, as a means of avoiding compliance with the court order.
The trustees expelled her for making such “ baseless, outrageous and unfounded charges of misconduct on the part of the university officials.”

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

March 1, 1961


President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 10924 establishing the Peace Corps as a new agency within the Department of State. The same day, he sent a message to Congress asking for permanent funding for the agency, which would send trained American men and women to foreign nations to assist in development efforts. The Peace Corps captured the imagination of the U.S. public, and during the week following its creation, thousands of letters poured into Washington from young Americans hoping to volunteer.

What is the Peace Corps today?

Very popular

A button inspired by Gandhi
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March 2, 1807

The U.S. Congress sought to end international slave trade by passing an act to make it unlawful “to import or bring into the United States or the territories thereof from any foreign kingdom, place, or country, any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, with intent to hold, sell, or dispose of such negro, mulatto, or person of colour, as a slave, or to be held to service or labour."

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

The first shipload of African captives to North America had arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, in August 1619, and the first American slave ship, named Desire, sailed from Marblehead, Massachusetts, in 1637. In total, nearly 15 million Africans were transported as slaves to the Americas. The African continent, meanwhile, lost approximately 50 million human beings to slavery and related deaths. Despite the federal prohibition and because the slave trade was so profitable, an additional 250,000 slaves would be “imported” illegally by the time the Civil War began in 1861.

African slave trade timeline 

Peace quote

"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe."
- Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass
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March 2, 1955

Nine months before Rosa Parks made headlines, teenager Claudette Colvin was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person. She was active in the Youth Council of the local NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People).

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

Claudette Colvin later in life
More on Browder v. Gayle  

Inspired by the U.S.
Declaration of Independence

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March 2, 2011

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

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

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March 3, 1863

In the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed a conscription act that created the first draft lottery of American citizens.

The act called for registration of all males between the ages of 20 and 35, and unmarried men up to 45, including aliens with the intention of becoming citizens, by April 1. Exemptions from the draft could be bought for $300 or by finding a substitute draftee. Many objected to this provision describing the war as a "rich man's war, but poor man's fight." Black Americans were also not eligible for the draft because they weren’t considered citizens.

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


"I really appreciate the work you do, the causes that you fight for, and your willingness to except a check! It has been a pleasure corresponding with you and you will definitely be hearing from me again."
- Cedar Rapids, IA

March 3, 1913

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

More about Alice Paul

Peace quote

""I never doubted that equal rights was the right direction. Most reforms, most problems are complicated. But to me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality."

- Alice Paul

March 3, 2003

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

Staged in 59 countries (including Iraq), the bawdy play tells of Athenian and Spartan women who unite to deny their lovers sex in order to stop the 22-year-long Peloponnesian War between the two city-states. Desperate for intimacy, the men finally agree to lay down their swords and see their way to achieving peace through diplomacy.

More about how it happened
The organizers Kathryn Blume   Sharron Bower

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March 4, 1917

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

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


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

More about Jeanette Rankin

Visit the Jeanette Rankin Peace Center

Peace quote

"There can be no compromise with war; it cannot be reformed or controlled; cannot be disciplined into decency or codified into common sense;
for war is the slaughter of human beings, temporarily regarded as enemies, on as large a scale as possible."
-Jeannette Rankin, 1929

March 4, 1933

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

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

Peace quote

"More than an end to war, we want an end to the beginning of all wars - yes, an end to this brutal, inhuman and thoroughly impractical method of settling the
differences between governments."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

March 4, 1969

The UCS today

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) was founded.

From its founding document: “Misuse of scientific and technical knowledge presents a major threat to the existence of mankind. Through its actions in Vietnam our government has shaken our confidence in its ability to make wise and humane decisions. There is also disquieting evidence of an intention to enlarge further our immense destructive capability...”

. . . continued at

Peace quote

"As crude a weapon as the cave man's club, the chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life"

- Rachel Carson

March 4, 2011

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

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

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

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

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March 5, 1970

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

The agreement sought to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament, as well as general and complete disarmament.

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


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-Cathy, Terra Haute, IN

March 5, 1994

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

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

 Read more


March 6, 1857

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

Chief Justice Roger Taney stated in his opinion that the “unhappy Black Race. . . had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it.”

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

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March 6, 1957

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

Ghana's flag

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Dr. Kwame Nkrumah

The colors of

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March 6, 1967 

Muhammad Ali was ordered by the Selective Service to be inducted into military service. He refused, citing his religious beliefs that precluded him from killing others.


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



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

Peace quote

"No, I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder kill and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slavemasters over dark people the world over. This is the day and age when such evil injustice must come to an end.
- Muhammad Ali


March 6, 1982

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


Visit the University for Peace

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


March 7, 1932

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


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March 7, 1965

525 civil rights advocates began a 54-mile march on a Sunday morning from Selma, Alabama, to the capital of Montgomery, to promote voting rights for blacks. Just after crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge on the outskirts of Selma, the marchers were attacked in what became known as Bloody Sunday.

Enforcing an order by Governor George Wallace, the group was broken up by state troopers and volunteer officers of the Dallas County sheriff who used tear gas, nightsticks, bullwhips and rubber tubing wrapped in barbed wire. John Lewis, then head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and a leader of the march (and now a member of Congress from Georgia), suffered a fractured skull.

ABC television interrupted a Nazi war crimes documentary, “Judgment at Nuremberg,” to show footage of the violence in Selma, confusing some viewers about who was beating whom.
Injured in Selma
Selma 1965 - Edmund Pettus Bridge, video excerpt from a PBS documentary
with Rep. John Lewis and others who were there
Read more

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March 7, 1988

A Federal Court ruled in Atlanta, Georgia, that a peace group must have the same access to students at high school career days as military recruiters.


the anti-recruitment movement today:


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