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  History from the grass roots . . .

This Week in History is a collection designed to help us appreciate the fact that we are part of a rich history advocating peace and social justice. While the entries often focus on large and dramatic events there are so many smaller things done everyday to promote peace and justice.

To the real peace advocates - YOU!

 
Publisher, Carl Bunin • Editor, Al FrankDetroit, Michigan
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This week at a glance.

Monday
Sept 15

•White supremacists bomb church
•Californians: no to nuke power
•Vets oppose Nicaragua policy
•Californians: save our trees
•Lone anti-war voice

Tuesday
Sept 16
•No to violence to end slavery
•Nazis execute CO
•AIM leaders cleared
•Wretched excess questioned

Wednesday
Sept 17
•Gandhi fasts for unity
•Britons arrested protesting nukes

Thursday
Sept 18
•Fugitive Slave Law passed
•Atlanta Compromise
•Lord & Lady Russell released

Friday
Sept 19
•Universal Suffrage in New Zealand
•Chaplin kept out of U.S.
•Integration struggle in Grenada, Mississippi
Saturday
Sept 20
•National Negro Convention
•"The Jungle" published
•First Cannes Festival
•No Nukers rip up RR tracks

Sunday
Sept 21
•War Resisters oppose Vietnam War
•International Day of Peace

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Monday


September 15, 1963

During Sunday School, 15 sticks of dynamite blew apart the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four children in the basement changing room, and injuring 23 others. Prime suspects were the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and Nacirema (both white supremacist organizations; Nacirema is "American" spelled backwards).
A week before the bombing Governor George C. Wallace had told The New York Times that to stop integration, Alabama needed a "few first-class funerals."

The four girls lost in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing,
the ruins of the church and grieving parents

continued (info, photos, links). . .

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September 15, 1981

A blockade started at a nuclear power plant construction site in Diablo Canyon near San Luis Obispo, California. Nearly 10,000 people tried to prevent fuel rods from being loaded into the two reactor cores. Over two weeks, 1,901 are arrested in the largest occupation of a nuclear power site in U.S. history.

Their immediate major concern was over the region being seismically active and the plant’s location near the Hosgri fault.
In 2004 a 6.5 (on the Richter Scale) earthquake was centered less than 40 miles from the plant. Four other faults nearby have since been identified.

Additionally, 9.5 billion liters (2.5 billion gallons) of water needed to cool the reactors each day are discharged directly into the Pacific 11°C (20°F) warmer than the surrounding ocean water, affecting marine plant and animal life there.

Diablo canyon
continued (info, photos, links). . .

No Nuclear
- a series -



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September 15, 1986

Veterans Duncan Murphy (World War II) and Brian Willson (Vietnam) joined Charles Liteky & George Mizo in the Fast For Life, opposing U.S. support for the terrorist contra war against Nicaragua. The contras were insurgent guerillas using violence against civilians in the countryside to bring down the newly formed Sandanista government.
The contras were supported in contravention of the Boland Amendment which prohibited U.S. agencies from providing military equipment, training or support to anyone "for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of Nicaragua."

Duncan Murphy, Brian Willson, Charles Liteky, George Mizo
The Fast for Life from Brian Willson’s perspective

Readers comment

"I am becoming the person who gives away peace buttons, and it’s a good thing. People ask me for them, and I make sure there are a few on a table at a local non-profit organization at all times. People really enjoy the card with the story of the sign’s origin. I’m beginning to see them ‘around’ now – I’m working towards that ripple effect. Still have a ways to go on my peaceful mission, but it is a fulfilling one to be sure. Thanks for doing what you do."
Sandy K
Kalispell, MT





September 15, 1996

6,000 rallied and 1,033 were arrested near the Headwaters Grove in rural Carlotta, California, in protest against cutting one of the last large unlogged stands of redwood trees in the world.

Redwoods are coniferous trees (sequoia sempervivens: the genus is named for Sequoya, or George Guess, an American Indian scholar; sempervivens is ever alive in Latin) that can reach over 90m (300 ft.) over a life as long as 2000 years.


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September 15, 2001

Four days after 9/11, Representative Barbara Lee (D-California) cast the only congressional vote against authorizing President Bush to use "all necessary and appropriate force" against anyone associated with the terrorist attacks of September 11. "I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States.”

Read more


NO NEW WAR

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Tuesday


September 16, 1837

William Whipper, a wealthy negro from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, published "An Address on Non-Resistance to Offensive Aggression" in the The Colored American, outlining his commitment to a strictly non-violent response to the evils of slavery. This landmark essay predated Thoreau's on “Civil Disobedience” by 12 years.

“ ...fatal error arises from the belief that the only method of maintaining peace, is always to be ready for war.”

William Whipper
Whipper edited a newspaper, The National Reformer, a publication of the National Moral Reform Society, and furnished food and transportation assistance to fugitive slaves who reached Pennsylvania.

A brief biography of William Whipper

And a more extensive one


Peace quote


"Our country is the world, our countrymen are all mankind. We love the land of our nativity only as we love all other lands. The interests, rights, liberties of American citizens are no more dear to us than those of the whole human race.. . . "
- Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Boston, 1838




September 16, 1939

August Dickmann, a German and a Jehovah's Witness, became the first conscientious objector (CO) to be executed by the Nazis during World War II. The execution by firing squad took place in Sachsenhausen concentration camp before all prisoners, including 400 Jehovah's Witness inmates.

Though threatened by Commandant Hermann Baranowsky with the same fate, none of the remaining 400 Witnesses renounced their CO position. Later, the Nazis commonly executed Witnesses by guillotine or hanging, not wanting to spend bullets on COs. German military courts sentenced and executed 270 Jehovah's Witnesses, the largest number of COs executed from any victim group during World War II.

NY Times, Sept 16, 1939

August Dickmann

Watch a timeline


Peace quote


"I can UNDERSTAND pessimism, but I don't BELIEVE in it. It's not simply a matter of faith, but of historical EVIDENCE. Not overwhelming evidence, just enough to give HOPE, because for hope we don't need certainty, only POSSIBILITY.."

-Howard Zinn
1922-2010



September 16, 1974

A federal judge dismissed all charges against American Indian Movement (AIM) leaders Dennis Banks and Russell Means stemming from the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

Dennis Banks

Russell Means

On Feb. 27, 1973, AIM and supporters seized control of Wounded Knee to draw attention to corruption and conditions on the Pine Ridge (Lakota Sioux) reservation.
Wounded Knee was the site where, on December 29, 1890, over 200 Sioux men, women and children were mercilessly gunned down by U.S. cavalry.

Read more

Peace quote


"What we did in the 1960s and early 1970s was raise the consciousness of white America that this government has a responsibility to Indian people. That there are treaties; that textbooks in every school in America have a responsibility to tell the truth..."
- Dennis Banks




September 16, 2003

New York Stock Exchange Chair Dick Grasso resigned amid a furor over his compensation package that would reach $139.5 million in one year.


The details of the plan and the reaction
Dick Grasso



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Wednes
day


September 17, 1924

Mohandas Gandhi began a purifying 21-day fast for Hindu-Muslim tolerance and unity following communal riots in Kohat on India’s northwest border in what is now Pakistan. A Hindu, Ghandi spent his fast at the home of Mahomed Ali.

A Gandhi chronology



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September 17, 1961

1,314 anti-nuclear protesters were arrested during a sit-down in London’s Trafalgar Square by 12,000 (authorities had denied a permit). Philosopher and peace activist Bertrand Russell, aged 89, and 32 others were already in jail, having been arrested the previous month during a demonstration on Hiroshima Day in Hyde Park.

Bertrand Russell at anti nuclear weapons March, 1961.

Russell’s Committee of 100 had organized the sit-down and other actions to resist nuclear weapons, challenging the authorities to ‘fill the jails’, with the intention of causing prison overload and large-scale disorder. On arrest members would go limp so as to create maximum disruption without conflict.


Did you know . . .
the first peace symbol buttons were made in 1958 using white clay . . .

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Thursday


September 18, 1850

Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, allowing slave owners to reclaim slaves who escaped into another state, and levying harsh penalties on those who would interfere with the apprehension of runaway slaves.

As part of the Compromise of 1850, it offered federal officers a fee for each captured slave and denied the slaves the right to a jury trial.

The Compromise of 1850





September 18, 1895
African-American educator (founder of the Tuskegee Institute) and leader (born a slave) Booker T. Washington spoke before a predominantly white audience at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta. Although the organizers of the exposition worried that “public sentiment was not prepared for such an advanced step,” they decided that inviting a black speaker would impress Northern visitors with the evidence of racial progress in the South. Washington, in his “Atlanta Compromise” address, soothed his listeners’ concerns about “uppity” blacks by claiming that his race would content itself with living “by the productions of our hands.”
Text of the speech

Peace quote


“Leaders have devoted themselves to politics, little knowing, it seems
that political independence disappears without economic independence
that economic independence is the foundation of political independence."
- Booker T. Washington


Bertrand Russell
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September 18, 1961
Earl Bertrand Russell and Lady Edith Russell were released from prison after serving one week of their two-month sentences.
They had been part of a Hiroshima Day vigil in Hyde Park, and were accused of inciting civil disobedience.

Bertrand and Edith Russell after being release from prison.

Friday


September 19, 1893 

With the signing of the Electoral Bill by Governor Lord Glasgow, New Zealand became the first major country in the world to grant national electoral rights to women. The bill was the outcome of years of suffragist meetings in towns and cities across the country, with women often traveling considerable distances to hear lectures and speeches and pass resolutions.

Read more about New Zealand’s efforts

Organizer Kate Sheppard delivered to parliament a petition signed by a quarter or more of all the women in the country. New Zealand women, both the native Ma¯ori and Päkehä (Anglo-European or non-Maori), first went to the polls in the national elections in November of 1893.
The United States granted women voting rights in 1920, and Great Britain didn’t guarantee full voting rights until 1928.

Kate Sheppard, a leader of the New Zealand suffragette movement                      

Kate Sheppard, a leader of the New Zealand suffragist movement
A timeline of Women’s Suffrage in the U.S.

Peace quote


"All that separates, whether of race, class, creed, or sex, is inhuman, and must be overcome."
- Kate Sheppard


JUST OUT

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September 19, 1952

The United States prevented Charlie Chaplin, the British director, actor and producer, from returning to his Hollywood home until he had been investigated by Immigration Services.
He had been on the FBI's Security Index since 1948, and was one of over 300 people blacklisted by Hollywood film studios. Chaplin was unable to work after refusing to cooperate during his appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Informed that he would not necessarily be welcomed back, he retorted, "I wouldn't go back there if Jesus Christ were president," and surrendered his U.S. re-entry permit in Switzerland.

 Charlie Chaplin
Chaplin’s FBI files

Charlie Chaplin: "My prodigious sin was, and still is, being a non-conformist.

Although I am not a Communist I refused to fall in line by hating them."

Peace quote


"Wars, conflict, it's all business. One murder makes a villain.
Millions a hero. Numbers sanctify."
- Charlie Chaplin



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September 19, 1966

After 300 members of Grenada, Mississippi’s white community called for “an end to violence,” hundreds of Negro schoolchildren were allowed to integrate the local public schools. The leaders of the vicious organized attack on the kids the previous week (including the town’s justice of the peace) had been arrested by the FBI, and the mobs were gone, but the children were all escorted to school by community members, or driven in cars for safety. Folksinger Joan Baez had been in Grenada the previous week lending support and running the same risks as Grenadans struggling against the segregationist way of life.

Grenada Mississippi in 1966

Marching strong and proud

in Grenada, Mississippi, 1966

On the front line at the March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, 1965.

James Baldwin, Joan Baez, and James Forman (left to right)



More than forty years later year Joan is still playing for peace and justice. She performed at Camp Casey in support of Cindy Sheehan and her protest against the war in Iraq in Crawford, Texas.


Peace quote


"The only thing that's been a worse flop than the organization of non-violence has been the organization of violence"
- Joan Baez


Joan Baez
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Saturday


September 20, 1830

The National Negro Convention, a group of 38 free black Americans from eight states, met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with the express purpose of abolishing slavery and improving the social status of African Americans. They elected Richard Allen president and agreed to boycott slave-produced goods and encourage free-produce organizations. One of the most active would be the Colored Female Free Produce Society, which urged the boycott of all slave-produced goods.

Read more

Richard Allen

 


National Negro Convention leaders 1879

Peace quote


“This land, which we have watered with our tears and our blood, is now our mother country, and we are well satisfied to stay where wisdom abounds and gospel is free."
- Richard Allen






September 20, 1906

Upton Sinclair's “The Jungle,” a realist novel, was published, exposing the dangerous conditions and deplorable sanitation in Chicago’s meat-packing plants. Reaction from readers was intense, including President Theodore Roosevelt who coined the term, muckrakers, to describe Sinclair, Lincoln Steffens, Ida Tarbell and other writers who exposed corruption in government and business [what we’d now call investigative reporting].
"The men with the muck-rakes are often indispensable to the well-being of society ...
if they gradually grow to feel that the whole world is nothing
but muck, their power of usefulness is gone.”
— Theodore Roosevelt
More on the muckrakers

Peace quote


"All art is propaganda. It is universally and inescabably propaganda; sometimes unconsciously, but often deliberately, propaganda."
- Upton Sinclair





September 20, 1946

The first Cannes Film Festival began in that French Riviera resort town. It had originally been planned for 1939 but Hitler’s invasion of Poland that year, and later France, delayed plans until after the war.
The first Grand Prix and the International Peace Prize were awarded to “The Last Chance” by Leopold Lindtberg of Switzerland, a movie (shot on location) about how three Allied soldiers, including two escaped prisoners of war, lead a group of Jewish refugees from Nazi-occupied northern Italy across the Alps to safety in nominally neutral Switzerland.
Cannes festival history

Readers comment

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Thanks for this great work that you do."

-Elaine Enns
Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries




September 20, 1997

3,000 protesters helped to rip up the railroad tracks leading from Krummel nuclear power station to the main Hamburg-Berlin line. The previous year two doctors had sued for closure of the plant due to the increased incidence of leukemia among the population around the plant.
In January, a train carrying nuclear waste derailed near the reactor at Krummel.
At the time, Germany’s 19 nuclear reactors generated 34 per cent of the country’s electricity; in 2005 it was down to 26 percent.

Sunday


September 21, 1963

The War Resisters League organized the first American anti-Vietnam War demonstration in New York City. The League, founded in 1923, was the first peace group to call for U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, and played a key role throughout the war, organizing rallies, the burning of draft cards, civil disobedience at induction centers, and assisting resisters.

History of WRL

WRL home


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Peace quote


"You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make"

- Jane Goodall


September 21st (since 1982)


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Events are planned all over the world to promote peace and make it more visible.

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