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This week at a glance.

May 25

•Arrest for teaching science
•Declaration of individual sovereignty
•Hands Across America
•Hammers for weapons

May 26
•Battle of the Overpass
•H-bomb patent
•Bed-in for Peace #2
•Arabs and Jews for peace

May 27
•"Blowin' in the Wind''

May 28
•Lovers of wilderness organize
•Human rights defenders organize
•Civil rights advocates attacked
•Women fast; rights in the balance

May 29
•Bonus Army in DC
•Early picket for gay rights
•Christic Institute sues CiA
May 30
•"1st" Memorial Day
•Organizers killed

May 31
•Desegregation needed urgently
•Playwright convicted
•Congress cuts bombing funds

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May 25, 1925

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

The Scopes "Monkey Trial"

Charles Darwin
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May 25, 1948

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

Read more about a World Government of World Citizens   


"I look forward to these posts. Sometimes I learn something, sometimes I remember something I had forgotten."
- Bunny

May 25, 1986

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

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May 25, 2003

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

pouring blood and hammering..

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

Details of the Riverside Ploughshares action


May 26, 1937

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

More background and photos Read more

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

UAW official Richard Frankensteen being beaten

by Ford goons

Peace quote

"There is no power in the world that can stop the forward march of free men and women when they are joined in the solidarity of human brotherhood."

– Walter Reuther

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May 26, 1946

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

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

John and Yoko meet cartoonist Al Capp in their hotel room

John Lennon
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May 26, 1991

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


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May 27, 1940

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

Summary and full text of the Supreme Court decision

May 27, 1963

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

Bob Dylan
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May 28, 1892

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

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May 28, 1961

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

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

May 28, 1963

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

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May 28, 1982

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

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May 29, 1932

In the depths of the Great Depression, the “Bonus Expeditionary Force,” a group of 1000 World War I veterans seeking to cash in their veterans’ bonus certificates, arrived in Washington, D.C. Though issued to the veterans in 1924, the certificates were not scheduled to be paid until 1945. By mid-June, the vets had set up a massive “Hooverville,” a contemporary term for an encampment of the homeless.
One month later, other veteran groups made their way to the nation's capital, swelling the Bonus Marchers to nearly 20,000 strong, most of them unemployed veterans in difficult financial straits.
President Herbert Hoover ordered the Army to clear out the veterans when they resisted being evicted by Washington police. Infantry and cavalry supported by six tanks were dispatched with Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur in command.
The St. Louis contingent of the Bonus Expeditionary Force is pictured here as it starts for Washington, D.C., in May 1932.
continued (info, photos, links). . .

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May 29, 1965

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

Early protest for rights of homosexuals

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May 29, 1986

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

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May 30, 1868

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

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

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May 30, 1937

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


May 31, 1955

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

A timeline of school integration

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

May 31, 1957

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

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May 31, 1973

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

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