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This week at a glance.

Feb 1

•First lunch counter sit-in
•One year later
•Vietnam: searing image

Feb 2
•18th century
anti-war tax
•U.S. sends
Chicanos back to
•ANC unbanned in South Africa

Feb 3

•Free blacks go back to Africa
•Taxation without representation
•Massive NYC school boycott
•Vietnam: ceasefire
•Congress says No to Contras

Feb 4
•Liberia founded
•Vote for clean water
•Same sex marriage found legal

Feb 5
•Beginning of a labor press
•German COs refuse Gulf War duty
•American officer refuses Iraq duty
Feb 6
•Loyalty expected of prisoners
•Many students riot; one suspended
•Jail-ins begin
•Peace Camp forced to decamp

Feb 7
•Negro History Week
•Haiti's dictator ousted
•Haiti's president sworn in

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February is Black History Month


February 1, 1960
Four black college students sat down at the Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and were refused service because of their race. To protest the segregation of the eating facilities, they remained and sat-in at the lunch counter until the store closed.
Greensboro first day: Ezell A. Blair, Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), Franklin E. McCain, Joseph A. McNeil, and David L. Richmond leave the Woolworth store after the first sit-in on February 1, 1960.

Four students returned the next day, and the same thing happened. Similar protests subsequently took place all over the South and in some northern communities. By September 1961, more than 70,000 students, both white and black, had participated, with many arrested, during sit-ins.

On the second day of the Greensboro sit-in, Joseph A. McNeil and Franklin E. McCain are joined by William Smith and Clarence Henderson at the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.
“Segregation makes me feel that I'm unwanted," Joseph McNeil, one of the four, said later in an interview, “I don't want my children exposed to it.”
Listen to Franklin McCain’s account of what happened Newspaper report of the time

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February 1, 1961
On the first anniversary of the Greensboro sit-in, there were demonstrations all across the south, including a Nashville movie theater desegregation campaign (which sparked similar tactics in 10 other cities). Nine students were arrested at a lunch counter in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and chose to take 30 days hard labor on a road gang. The next week, four other students repeated the sit-in, also chose jail.

February 1, 1968

Saigon police chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan summarily executed Nguyen Van Lem, suspected leader of a National Liberation Front (NLF aka Viet Cong) assassination platoon, with a pistol shot to the head on the street. AP photojournalist Eddie Adams’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of the incident became one of the most famous, ubiquitous and lasting images of the war in Vietnam, affecting international and American public opinion regarding the war.

General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executes Nguyen Van Lem a NLF officer.

Peace quote

"There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people."

-Howard Zinn


February 2, 1779

Anthony Benezet and John Woolman, both prominent Quakers (Society of Friends), urged refusal to pay taxes used for arming against Indians in Pennsylvania. Since William Penn established the state two generations earlier, the Friends had dealt with the Indian tribes nonviolently, and had been treated likewise by the native Americans. Benezet and the Quakers were also early and consistent opponents of slavery.

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February 2, 1931
The first of well over 400,000 Mexican-Americans from across the country, some of them citizens and many of them U.S. residents for as long as 40 years, were "repatriated" as Los Angeles Chicanos were forcibly deported to Mexico.
More on those deported, Los Repatriados

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February 2, 1990

South African President F.W. De Klerk unbanned (lifted the legal prohibition on) opposition parties: the African National Congress (ANC), the Pan-Africanist Congress and the South African Communist party were officially considered legal. He also announced the lifting of restrictions on the UDF, COSATU and thirty-three other anti-apartheid organizations, as well as the release of all political prisoners and the suspension of the death penalty. This was the result of his negotiations with the imprisoned Nelson Mandela, a leader of the ANC.

The ecstatic reaction to De Klerk’s beginning the end of apartheid on BBC video

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February 3, 1816

Paul Cuffee, a shipowner and a free negro (born to slave parents in Massachusetts), arrived in Sierra Leone with 38 African Americans intent on setting up a colony for free blacks from the United States. He had earlier set up the Friendly Society of Sierra Leone, a trading organization, to encourage commerce between England, the U.S. and the British colony on the Atlantic coast of Africa.

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February 3, 1893

Abigail Ashbrook of Willingboro, New Jersey, refused to pay taxes because she was denied the right to vote because she was a woman.

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February 3, 1964

In New York City, more than 450,000 students, mostly black and Puerto Rican, comprising nearly half the citywide enrollment, boycotted the New York City schools to protest the system's de facto segregation. The Parents' Workshop for Equality, led by Reverend Milton Galamison, had proposed a plan to integrate the city's schools but it was rejected by the school board. Freedom Schools were set up for the kids during the one-day direct action.
More detail on one of the largest collective civil rights actions in history


"Hi Carl, my husband was in Viet Nam in the late 60's and was doing some research. One link led to another and he happened upon your site. I thought that I would surprise him with a button and magnet."
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February 3, 1973

Three decades of armed conflict in Vietnam officially ended when a cease-fire agreement signed in Paris the previous month went into effect. Vietnam had endured almost uninterrupted hostility since 1945, when a war for independence from France was launched. A civil war between the northern and southern regions of the country began after the country was divided by the Geneva Convention in 1954 following France’s military defeat and troop withdrawal. American military "advisors" began arriving in 1955.
Between 1954 and 1975, 107,504 South Vietnamese government troops, approximately 1,000,000 North Vietnamese and National Liberation Front soldiers, and 58,209 American troops died in combat. The number of Vietnamese civilian deaths is unknown, estimated between one and four million killed, and millions
more wounded or affected by defoliants such as Agent Orange.

February 3, 1988


The U.S. House of Representatives rejected President Ronald Reagan's request for at least $36.25 million in aid to the Nicaraguan Contras, an insurgent group trying violently to overthrow the Sandinista government.

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February 4, 1882

The American Colonization Society established the first settlement in what would become the west African state of Liberia. The new arrivals to the island called Perseverance were freeborn blacks from the U.S. who had emigrated with the encouragement of influential white Americans and funding from Congress. The colony was governed by whites for twenty years.

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American Colonization Society ship leaving New York City bound for Liberia.

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February 4, 1987

The U.S. House of Representatives overrode President Ronald Reagan’s (second) veto (401-26) of the Clean Water Act. The law provided funds for communities to build waste treatment facilities and to clean up waterways. Reagan described it as ''loaded with waste and larded
with pork.''

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February 4, 2004

The Massachusetts Supreme Court declared that gays were entitled to nothing less than marriage under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. They ruled that Vermont-style civil unions would not suffice, declaring they created an "unconstitutional, inferior, and discriminatory status for same-sex couples."

In the news

The actual text of the decision in Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health


February 5, 1830

America’s first daily labor newspaper began publication in New York City.

George Henry Evans, a 29-year-old journeyman printer, was the publisher of "New York Daily Sentinel."

George Henry Evans

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February 5, 1991

49 German troops conscientiously objected to serving in Turkey during the Gulf War. The German peace movement actively supported U.S. soldiers stationed there by helping them file for conscientious objector (CO) status. By the end of the month, there were nearly 30,000 civilian COs refusing to serve in the military.

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February 5, 2007

Lieutenant Ehren Watada faced a court martial for refusing to deploy to Iraq and for publicly criticizing the war, the first officer since Vietnam to be so tried. A volunteer from Hawaii who joined the U.S. Army prior to the invasion in 2003, he had refused to serve because:
"It would be a violation of my oath because this war to me is illegal in the sense that it was waged in deception, and it was also in violation of international law.”
Lieutenant Ehren Watada
Initially having served in South Korea, he learned more about the Iraqi conflict and the bogus claims of Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction. He offered to resign or serve in Afghanistan but was refused:
"Mistakes can happen but to think that it was deliberate and that a careful deception was done on the American people – you just had to question who you are as a serviceman, as an American."

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February 6, 1943

The U.S. government required the 110,000 disposessed Japanese Americans forcibly held in concentration (internment) camps to answer loyalty surveys.

Some of the interned were U.S. citizens, and some volunteered to serve in the armed forces during the war with Japan.
The Nisei, as they were known, were kept in the camps until the end of World War II.
The Manzanar Relocation Center, a one of the concentration camps where Japanese-Americans were forced to live throughout World War II.

An excellent movie about artist

Peace quote

"I spent my boyhood
behind the barbed
wire fences of
American internment
camps and that part
of my life is
something that I
wanted to share
with more people."

- George Takei
(Star Trek)

February 6, 1956

Autherine Lucy was excluded from classes just three days after becoming the first black person allowed to attend the University of Alabama. Her suspension "for her own safety" followed three days of riots over her Supreme Court-ordered enrollment.

Crowds of students, townspeople and members of the Ku Klux Klan shouted, “Kill her!” among other things. It is unclear why the University did not suspend the students who were among the rioters.
Lucy had originally applied for graduate study in library science in 1952, and had been accepted until the University realized her race, and claimed state law prevented her admission.

Autherine J. Lucy and her attorney Thurgood Marshall
A graduate of traditionally black Miles College, she was only admitted with the help of the National Association for Colored People Legal Defense and Education Fund (NAACP-LDEF) and lawyers Thurgood Marshall (later a Supreme Court justice), Constance Baker Motley (future federal judge) and Arthur Shores (elected to Birmingham City Council).
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February 6, 1961

The civil rights jail-in movement began when ten negro students in Rock Hill, South Carolina, were arrested for requesting service at a segregated lunch counter. They refused to post bail and demanded jail time rather than paying fines, refusing to acknowledge any legitimacy of the laws under which they were arrested.
Charles Sherrod More about Charles Sherrod 
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote to Charles Sherrod, Diane Nash
and the others in jail:

‘‘You have inspired all of us by such demonstrative courage and faith. It is good to know that there still remains a creative minority who would rather lose in a cause that will ultimately win than to win in a cause that will ultimately lose.’’


"Justice is never given; it is exacted and the struggle must be continuous for freedom is never a final fact, but a continuing evolving process to higher and higher levels of human, social, economic, political and religious relationship."
- A. Phillip Randolph

February 6, 1985

The Molesworth Common Peace Camp, just outside the Royal Air Force Base there, was evicted by the British Army. The 300 inhabitants and their many supporters had been nonviolently protesting the siting of nuclear-tipped U.S. cruise missiles at the base. Peace camps were established at several locations in Europe in the early 1980s to protest the destabilizing nuclear weapons buildup.

Molesworth Common peace camp

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 February 7, 1926

"Negro History Week" was observed for the first time, conceived by Dr. Carter G. Woodson as an opportunity to study the history and accomplishments of African Americans. Dr. Woodson was the founder, in 1915 Chicago, of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. There he first published the Journal of Negro History — a publication still in existence.

Woodson was a graduate of the University of Chicago, the Sorbonne, and was the second black man ever to receive his doctorate from Harvard.
He chose February because it is the birth month of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass; now it is considered Black History Month.

More on Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s
life and work
Dr. Carter G. Woodson
Top L-R: Frederick Douglass, former slave and abolitionist leader; Muhammad Ali, poet, World Champion, the greatest; Maya Angelou, poet, novelist, voice of wisdom; Malcolm X, strong and clear-eyed brother seeking freedom and honor and dignity ; Harriet Tubman, liberator and conductor on the Underground Railroad.
Below: Jimi Hendrix, prolific guitar genius, rock ‘n’ roll writer; Nat “King” Cole, jazz composer, pianist and singer; Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., pastor, scholar and author, leader of a people, inspiration to peacemakers.

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February 7, 1986

Haitian self-appointed President-for-Life Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier fled his country after being ousted by the military, ending 28 years of authoritarian family rule.

Policies begun by his father, Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, had forced many to flee Haiti (the western portion of the island of Hispaniola), leaving it the poorest and most illiterate nation in the hemisphere. Deforestation (for cooking fuel and heat) eliminated forest cover on 98% of the country, in turn leading to significant annual loss of topsoil, often making agriculture unsustainable.

Jean-Claude `Baby Doc' Duvalier with his father Francois `Papa Doc' Duvailer.
Some Haitian history

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February 7, 1991

The Reverend Jean-Bertrand Aristide was sworn in as Haiti's president after winning the country’s first-ever democratic election. Haiti had achieved its independence from France in 1804 but had a long succession on unstable governments, as well as significant U.S. control in the first half of the 20th century, including military occupation from 1915 to 1934.
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in exile during the 1991-94 military junta.
Archive of Haitian history

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Publisher, Carl Bunin • Editor, Al Frank Detroit, Michigan

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