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This week at a glance.

Oct 24

•Langston Hughes play opens
•40-hour workweek for Americans
•United Nations Day
•250M CND London March

Oct 25
•Hiroshima victim remembered

Oct 26

•Illegal information
•Doonesbury publishes nationally
•Reagan refuses to sanction S. Africa
•Israel and Jordan make peace

Oct 27
•First Plowshare Action in Baltimore
•Londoners march against Vietnam War
•Ralph Nader recruits

Oct 28
•Abigal Adams dies
•Daniel Ortega elected
Oct 29
•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

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October 24, 1935

Langston Hughes's first play, "Mulatto," opened on Broadway. It was the longest-running play (373 performances) by an African-American until Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun" which premiered in 1959.

First-rate brief bio of Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes

"We younger Negro artists now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased we are glad. If they aren't, it doesn't matter. We know we are beautiful..."

- Langston Hughes

October 24, 1940

The 40-hour workweek went into effect under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, requiring employers to pay overtime and restricting the use of child labor.
Decades of labor agitation and a considerable number of lives made this change possible.

Background on the struggle to end child labor:

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October 24, 1945

The United Nations World Security Organization came into being when the Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or USSR) in mid-afternoon deposited its instrument of ratification of the U.N. Charter.
The USSR became the last of the five major powers and the 29th of 51 nations, the minimum necessary to bring this about. James F. Byrnes, U.S. Secretary of State, then signed the protocol formally attesting that the Charter of the United Nations had come into force.

This is now considered United Nations Day.
Read more

"…I teach Sociology,
so most of my courses 
involve a lot of discussion
and information 
about inequality.
Many of my students
are budding activists
as a result.
I've wanted to buy
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I'm glad I found
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– Lynn
Ann Arbor, MI

October 24, 1981

More than 250,000 people, organized by the Committee for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), marched through London to protest the siting of American nuclear missiles in the United Kingdom.

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October 25, 1955

Sadako Sasaki, following the Japanese custom of folding paper cranes – symbols of good fortune and longevity – persisted daily in folding cranes, hoping to create senbazuru (1000 paper cranes strung together) when a person's dream is believed to come true, died.

The Sadako story    
Sadako Sasaki

Sadako was two years old when the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and at 12 was diagnosed with Leukemia, "the atom bomb" disease.


Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima showing Sadako holding a golden crane



Photo: Mark Bledstein

"I will write peace
on your wings
and you will fly
all over the world."

- Sadako Sasaki


October 26, 1916

Margaret Sanger and her sister were arrested for disseminating birth control information at her Brownsville Clinic in Brooklyn; she was arrested again a few weeks later for the same reason and the police shut the clinic down within 10 days.
Margaret Sanger

“No woman can
call herself free
who does not own
and control her
body. No woman
can call herself
free until she can
choose consciously
whether she will or
will not be a
Margaret Sanger

"Well, it's a humor strip, so my first responsibility
has always been to
entertain the reader,
... But if, in addition,
I can help move readersto thought
and judgment
about issues that concern me, so much the better."
- Garry Trudeau

October 26, 1970
"Doonesbury", a cartoon series addressing political and social issues written by Garry Trudeau, and initially published in a the Yale Daily News when Trudeau was a student, debuted in 28 newspapers.
Read Doonesbury
Garry Trudeau, 1976

October 26, 1986
President Ronald Reagan vetoed a bill passed by the Congress that would have imposed trade sanctions on the racially separatist apartheid regime of South Africa.

October 26, 1994
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin and Jordanian Prime Minister Abdelsalam al-Majali, with President Clinton in attendance, formally signed a peace treaty ending 46 years of war at a ceremony in the desert area of Wadi Araba on the Israeli-Jordanian border. President of Israel Ezer Weizman shook hands with Jordan’s King Hussein.
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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

"I see little difference between the world inside prison gates and the world outside. A million million prison walls can't protect us, because the real dangers --- militarism, greed, economic inequality, fascism, police brutality --- lie outside, not inside, prison walls."
- Philip 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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"Ours is a system of
corporate socialism,
where companies
capitalize their profits
and socialize their effect,
they tax you for
their accidents,
bungling, boondoggles,
and mismanagement,
just like a government.
We should be able
to dis-elect them."
Ralph Nader


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

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October 28, 1985

Sandinista Daniel Ortega became president of Nicaragua, and attempted to make peace with the United States. 
The United States replied by continuing to support the Contras.
Where is Daniel Ortega?
Daniel Ortega

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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

"Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffered Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night — she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question — "Is this all?"
Betty Friedan

“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."
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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.
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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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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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