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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.

Oct 27

•Peaceful two put to death
•First Plowshare Action in Baltimore
•Londoners march against Vietnam War
•Ralph Nader recruits

Oct 28
•Abigal Adams dies
•Daniel Ortega elected

Oct 29
•Peacetime U.S. draft
•N.O.W. begins
•Bound and gagged in the courtroom
•Alice Doesn't Day
•Dutch say no to cruise missiles

Oct 30
•8 Clergymen doing time
•Clear-cutting opposed in Oregon
•U.S.-Vietnam friendship

Oct 31
•NBA integrates
•Testing moratorium talks
•Assassination in India
Nov 1
•Women register to vote••Organization emerges from protest
•Local leaders thinking globally
•Law os the Seas
•Rabin remembered: peace advocated

Nov 2
•Imprisoned presidential candidate
•Nuclear freeze referenda
•Martin Luther King Day official

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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.

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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 about Phillip Berrigan

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.

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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
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Readers comment

"Thank you . . . I love all that you do and thank you again, for always reminding me of the amazing energy, fearless commitment, vision, and love that's been going on in this old world despite what the media likes to tell us every day!  You make a difference. Be well."
Molly McKasson
- Tucson, AZ


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

Peace quote

"If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or representation."
- Abigail Adams

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.
Where is Daniel Ortega?
Daniel Ortega

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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


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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

Peace quote

feminine mystique
has succeeded in burying millions of American women alive."

Betty Friedan

Peace quote

“You don't fight racism with racism, the best way to fight racism is with solidarity."
- Bobby Seale

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

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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
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art: BRUNI Sablan

the constitutional issues

Peace quote

"I submit that an individual who breaks the law that conscience tells him is unjust and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law."
- Martin Luther King, Jr

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
Ecology and Society
Greek Proverb
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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

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The President of Vietnam, Truong Tan Sang wearing a big and bold peace button from
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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.

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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

Peace quote

"If you are religious, then remember that this bomb is Man's challenge to God. It's worded quite simply: We have the power to destroy everything that You have created.
If you're not religious, then look at it this way. This world of ours is
4,600,000,000 years old. It could end in an afternoon."

- Arundhati Roy, 1998

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.
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November 1, 1872

Susan B. Anthony and her three sisters entered a voter registration office set up in a barbershop.  They were part of a group of fifty women Anthony had organized to register in her home town of Rochester.  Anthony walked directly to the election inspectors and, as one of the inspectors would later testify, "demanded that we register them as voters."
The election inspectors refused, but she persisted, quoting the Fourteenth Amendment's citizenship provision and the article from the New York Constitution pertaining to voting, which contained no sex qualification. She persisted: "If you refuse us our rights as citizens, I will bring charges against you in Criminal Court and I will sue each of you personally for large, exemplary damages!"
continued (info, photos, links). . .

Peace quote

“I think the girl who is able to earn her own living and pay her own way should be as happy as anybody on earth. The sense of independence and security is very sweet.."
- Susan B Anthony

November 1, 1961

50,000-100,000 women joined protests against the resumption of atmospheric nuclear tests by both the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The demonstrations, in at least 60 U.S. cities, led to the founding of Women Strike for Peace. Their slogan: “End the Arms Race – Not the Human Race.”

See Photos from Swarthmore library collection


<“Women's Strike for Peace" storming the Pentagon in a 1967 protest against the war in Vietnam.

Bella Abzug demonstrating with WSP>

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from the '80s
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November 1, 1970

Detroit’s Common Council voted for immediate withdrawal of U.S. armed forces from Vietnam.

November 1, 1990

As part of the adoption of the International Law of the Sea, forty-three nations agreed to ban dumping industrial wastes at sea by 1995. Neither the U.S. nor Canada (along with Albania, Burundi, Ethiopia, Uzbekistan and San Marino) have ever ratified the treaty which thus lacks the force of U.S. federal law.

More on the Law of the Sea


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November 1, 2003

The Tel Aviv memorial for Israeli leader Yitzhak Rabin, slain eight years previously, was transformed into a peace rally with over 100,000 protesting the military policies of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

"Yitzhak was right, and his path just," said Shimon Peres, the former prime minister and architect of the Oslo peace accords with Mr Rabin. "His views today are clear and enduring. There will be no retreat; we will continue."

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November 2, 1920

Socialist Party candidate Eugene V. Debs received nearly one million votes for President though he was serving a prison sentence at the time for his criticism of World War I and his encouraging resistance to the draft.

More on Debs

Eugene Debs
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November 2, 1982

Voters in nine general elections passed statewide referenda supporting a freeze on testing of nuclear weapons. Only Arizona turned it down.
Dr. Randall Forsberg,
a key person behind the Freeze movement

Dr. Randall Forsberg

Peace quote

"We shouldn't be exporting uranium because you're exporting cancer."
- Dr. Helen Calldicott/Sydney Morning Herald, July 2006

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November 2, 1983

A bill designating a federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (to be observed on the third Monday of January) was signed by President Ronald Reagan.
King was born in Atlanta in 1929, the son of a Baptist minister. He received a doctorate degree in theology and in 1955 organized the first major protest of the civil rights movement: the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott. Influenced by Mohandas Gandhi, he advocated nonviolent civil disobedience of the laws that enforced racial segregation.


The history of Martin Luther King Day  (pdf)

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