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This week at a glance.

August 22

•LBJ preempts the truth
•Resisters arrested in Camden
•Olympics: no Rhodesia
•Finally some justice for Silkwood

August 23
•Gandhi fasts for justice
•2 million hands for freedom

August 24

•France joins nuclear club
•Lettuce boycott helps lettuce workers

August 25
•U.S. troops refuse to fight

August 26
•Rights of man
•Congress approves suffrage
•1968: Chicago police riot
•Women's Equality Day
August 27
•W.E.B. DuBois
•Peace Torch begins 2-month journey

August 28
•Slavery ended in England
•I have a dream
•Peace People

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August 22, 1964

Fannie Lou Hamer, leader of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), testified in front of the Credentials Committee at the Democratic National Convention. She was challenging the all-white delegation that the segregated regular Mississippi Democrats had sent to the presidential nominating convention.

< Singing at a boardwalk demonstration: Hamer (with microphone), Stokely Carmichael (in hat), Eleanor Holmes Norton, Ella Baker.
Mississippi’s Democratic Party excluded African Americans from participation. The MFDP, on the other hand, sought to create a racially inclusive new party, signing up 60,000 members.
The hearing was televised live and many heard Hamer’s impassioned plea for inclusion of all Democrats from her state.
The hearing was televised live and many heard Hamer’s impassioned plea for inclusion of all Democrats from her state. In her testimony she spoke about black Mississippians not only being denied the right to register to vote, but being harassed, beaten, shot at and arrested for trying. Concerned about the political reaction to her statement, President Lyndon Johnson suddenly called an impromptu press conference, thereby interrupting television broadcast of the hearing.
Hear her testimony   Link to photo gallery

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August 22, 1971

The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) arrested twenty in Camden, New Jersey, and five in Buffalo, New York, for conspiracy to steal and destroy draft records. Eventually known as the Camden 28, most were Roman Catholic activists, including four priests, and a Lutheran minister.

“We are not here because of a crime committed in Camden but because of a war committed
in Indochina....”
Cookie Ridolfi
The Camden 28

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August 22, 1972

Rhodesia’s team was banned from competing in the Olympic Games with just four days to go before the opening ceremony in Munich, Germany. The National Olympic Committees of Africa had threatened to pull out of the games unless Rhodesia was barred from competing. Though the Rhodesian team included both whites and blacks, the government was an illegal one, controlled by whites though they represented just 5% of the country’s population. It had broken away from the British Commonwealth over demands from Commonwealth member nations that power be yielded to the majority.

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August 22, 1986

The Kerr-McGee Corporation agreed to pay the estate of the late Karen Silkwood $1.38 million ($2.68 in 2008), settling a 10-year-old nuclear contamination lawsuit. She had been active in the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers union, specifically looking into radiation exposure of workers, and spills and
leaks of plutonium.

Her story

"If nuclear power plants are safe, let the commerical insurance industry insure them. Until these most expert judges of risk are willing to gamble with their money, I'm not willing to gamble with the health and safety of my family.."

- Donna Reed

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August 23, 1933

Mahatma Gandhi, weighing only 90 pounds, was released unconditionally from Sassoon Hospital in Poona because, after 5 days of his latest “fast unto death,” the doctors feared that his body could no longer stand the strain of fasting.
He had been taken to the hospital from Yeravda jail, which he had described as his “permanent address,” when he started his fast. He was protesting official refusal to allow him to continue his work with the Untouchables (he had called them harijan, or “children of God”) while in prison.

Gandhi leaving hospital, 1933

He had deliberately courted arrest, rejecting an order permitting him to reside only within the limits of Poona, and had been sentenced to a year’s imprisonment.
Read about Mohandas Gandhi

August 23, 1989

Over one million joined hands across the three Baltic republics (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) in a 400-mile-long chain of resistance against control by the U.S.S.R. (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).
It was the 60th anniversary of the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact, also known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact after the foreign ministers of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany who had negotiated it.
Generally called the Hitler-Stalin Pact, it secretly agreed to Soviet control of Latvia and Estonia, and German influence over Poland and Lithuania. Germany, again secretly, later ceded control over Lithuania to the Soviets for 7.5 million dollars in gold ($115 in 2008 dollars).

Baltic hands

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August 24, 1968 

France became the world's fifth thermonuclear power when it exploded a hydrogen bomb at the Fangataufa Atoll in the South Pacific. It had a yield of 2.6 megatons (the equivalent of more than two-and-a-half million tons of TNT) and heavily contaminated the atoll, leaving it off-limits to humans
for six years.

Fangataufa test

Atmospheric and underwater nuclear weapons testing continued there for nearly thirty more years.

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August 24, 1970

United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC) leader Cesar Chavez [seezer chah´vez] called for a consumer boycott of lettuce to support the strike against lettuce growers who would not negotiate contracts with the farm workers for decent wages and working conditions.

U.F.W. history

The United Farm Workers today
United Farm Workers show their support for the lettuce strike and boycott at a rally in Salinas, California.   Farm Labor leader Cesar Chavez, pictured at a rally in Salinas, California

Farmworker Movement
Documentation Project

Susan Due Pearcy

Posters and


"Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours."

- Cesar Chavez

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August 25, 1969

Company A of the 3rd Battalion, the 196th Light Brigade, refused to advance further into the Songchang Valley of Vietnam after five days of heavy casualties; their number had been reduced from 150 to 60.
This was one of hundreds of mutinies among troops during the war.

“He [President Nixon] is also carrying on the battle in the belief, or pretense, that the South Vietnamese will really be able to defend their country and our democratic objectives [sic] when we withdraw, and even his own generals don't believe the South Vietnamese will do it.” -James Reston in the New York Times
Vietnam: The Soldier's Revolt
GI resistance in the Vietnam War

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August 26, 1789

The French National Assembly agreed to document known as the “Declaration of the Rights of Man.” It was a set of principles for gauging the legitimacy of any governing system, and included (in summary):
• “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights”
“ Those rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression”
“ Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else”
• “The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most pre cious of the rights of man”
Declaration des Droits de L'Homme et du Citoyen (Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen)
continued (info, photos, links). . .

Inspired by the U.S.
Declaration of Independence

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August 26, 1920

The 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote, officially became part of the U.S. Constitution: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
This day has been known since 1971 as
Women’s Equality Day.

More on Women’s Equality Day

The document itself, from the National Archives

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August 26-29, 1968
Police and anti-war demonstrators clashed in the streets of Chicago as the Democratic National Convention nominated Vice President Hubert Humphrey for president inside the Amphitheater.

Club-swinging Chicago police indiscriminately tear-gassed, kicked and beat anti-war demonstrators, delegates, reporters and innocent bystanders outside, arresting 500. 11,900 Chicago police, 7500 Army troops, 7500 Illinois National Guardsmen and 1000 Secret Service agents were ultimately involved.
Protesting what was later officially designated a police riot, members of the Democrats’ Wisconsin delegation attempted to march to the convention hall, but police turned them back.
When Senator Abraham Ribicoff (D-Connecticut) delivered his nominating speech, he infuriated Mayor Richard Daley by saying,
"with George McGovern as President of the United States, we wouldn't have Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago."

Julian Bond, the first black member of the previously all-white Georgia state legislature, seconded the nomination of anti-war presidential candidate Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy. Bond added that he had seen such police behavior before, but only in segregationist Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.

Narrative account

David Douglas Duncan’s online photo exhibition

"There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all."

Mario Savio, Berkeley Free Speech Movement, 1964

August 26, 1971

Six thousand turned out for a National Organization for Women-organized Women March for Equality in New York City. They were calling for equal rights, including the demand “51 percent of everything,” reflecting women’s proportion of the U.S. population.
This first "Women's Equality Day," instituted by Bella Abzug, was established by Presidential Proclamation and reaffirmed annually.

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August 27, 1963

DuBois in Ghana

W.E.B. DuBois, the black American sociologist, scholar, author, pan-Africanist, communist, and one of the founders of the NAACP, died in Accra, the capital of Ghana, where he had expatriated. He had been charged and tried in the U.S. for being a “foreign principal” in 1951 because he chaired the The Peace Information Center.

The Center was dedicated to banning nuclear weapons but Secretary of State Dean Acheson designated it a Communist front group.

W.E.B. DuBois background

"We claim for ourselves every single right that belongs to a freeborn American, political, civil and social; and until we get these rights we will never cease to protest and assail the ears of America. The battle we wage is not for ourselves alone but for all true Americans."

- W.E.B. Dubois, 1906

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August 27, 1967

The San Francisco Peace Torch began its two-month journey to Washington, D.C. for a demonstration
against the Vietnam War.

The Peace Torch Marathon arrives at the Mall.


August 28, 1833

The Abolition of Slavery Act was passed by the British Parliament. As early as 1787, members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), particularly Thomas Clarkson and Granville Sharp, organized to end the slave trade.
Since Quakers were barred from serving in the House of Commons, the cause was led by a member of the Evangelical Party, William Wilberforce, ending the international trade in slaves in 1807. By 1827 slaving was considered piracy and punishable by death. The complete ban on slavery itself through the British Empire didn’t happen until this day; Wilberforce was informed of the Act’s passage on his death-bed.
William Wilberforce

August 28, 1963

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his
“I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of half a million gathered on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
They gathered there for jobs and freedom.

Read the speech

Film of the March and the speech
organizing to build the march
1983: Three hundred thousand marched in Washington on the 20th anniversary of MLK's "I Have A Dream" speech for the second
"March on Washington for Jobs, Peace and Freedom."

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August 28, 1976

60,000 joined the Community of Peace People demonstrations in Belfast and Dublin, Ireland. Peace People was founded by two women, Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan to decry the painful violence between Catholics and Protestants, between unionists and republicans, and to move the peace process forward in Northern Ireland. Betty Williams Mairead Corrigan

They jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize for 1976.

More about Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan
continued (info, photos, links). . .
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