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This week at a glance.

Jan 26

•Indians declare independence
•Indians achieve independence
•Rev. King's 1st arrest
•Bishop bans Twist

Jan 27
•Abolitionist Michigan
•Testing in U.S. resumes
•Revolutionary Unionism
•U.S. military draft ends
•FBI spies on citizens

Jan 28
•Rocky Flats closed, then gone
•Mothers reclaim soldier sons

Jan 29
•East Timor Ploughshares

Jan 30
•Mahatma Gandhi assassinated
•King's home bombed
•Fred Korematsu Day
Jan 31
•Slavery made unconstitutional
•WWII deserter executed
•Truman pursues H-bomb
•Winter Soldier: bitter truths

Feb 1
•First lunch counter sit-in
•One year later
•Vietnam: searing image

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January 26, 1930

Mohandas Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and other leaders of the anti-colonial movement in India pledged to achieve complete independence, or Purna Swaraj, from Great Britain.
Nehru said:

“The British Government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses, and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally and spiritually . . . We hold it to be a crime against men and God to submit any longer to a rule that has caused this fourfold disaster to our country.”

Peace quote

The forces in a capitalist society, if left unchecked, tend to make the rich richer and the poor poorer."
Jawaharlal Nehru

January 26, 1950

The Indian Constitution became law and India proclaimed itself a republic. The new president replaced the King of England as head of state after nearly 100 years of British colonial rule. The Republic of India considered its sovereignty derived from the people, becoming the most populous democracy in the world. The day is now celebrated as Republic Day.
The new President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, after taking the oath of office:
"Today, for the first time in our long and chequered history, we find the whole of this vast land . . . brought together under the jurisdiction of one constitution and one union which takes over responsibility for the welfare of more than 320 million men and women who inhabit it."
More about Republic Day

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January 26, 1956

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested for the first time, for driving 30 mph (48 kph) in a 25 mph (40 kph) zone in Montgomery, Alabama. This occurred shortly after the beginning of the citywide bus boycott he had helped organize. His home was bombed a few days later.

January 26, 1962

Bishop Joseph A. Burke of the Buffalo, New York,
Catholic Diocese banned a new song and dance,
“The Twist,” by Chubby Checker.
It couldn’t be danced, sung, or listened to in any Catholic school, parish, or youth event. Later in the year, the Twist was banned from community center dances in Tampa, Florida, as well. It was claimed the Twist was actually a pagan fertility dance.
“The Twist” by its originator

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January 27, 1847

Several hundred citizens of Marshall, Michigan, helped former slaves escape to Canada rather than be returned to their “owner” by bounty hunters.

Adam Crosswhite and his family, escaped Kentucky slaves, were tracked to the abolitionist town of Marshall by Francis Troutman and others. Both black and white residents detained the bounty hunters and threatened them with tar and feathers. While Troutman was being charged with assault and fined $100, the Crosswhites fled to Canada. Back in Kentucky, the slaveowner stirred up intense excitement about “abolitionist mobs” in Michigan.
Laura Haviland with some artifacts of slavery
continued (info, photos, links). . .

Peace quote

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
Harriet Tubman

January 27, 1951
The first atomic test was conducted at the Nevada Proving Ground as an Air Force plane dropped a one-kiloton bomb on Frenchman Flats.
The Proving Ground was created by President Harry Truman on January 11, 1951.
The final nuclear test, Divider, was conducted on September 23, 1992.
There were 99 above ground tests and over 800 below ground tests there.

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January 27, 1973

The United States and North Vietnam signed "An Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam" in Paris and all U.S. troops were to leave Vietnam within 90 days. The United States, South Vietnam, Viet Cong, and North Vietnam formally sign but because South Vietnam was unwilling to recognize the Viet Cong's Provisional Revolutionary Government, all references to it were confined to the document signed by North Vietnam and the United States. The same day, the United States announced an end to the military draft.

The Vietnam War resulted in between three and four million Vietnamese deaths with a countless number of Vietnamese casualties. It cost the United States 58,000 lives and 350,000 casualties. The financial cost to the United States came to something over $150 billion dollars.

Henry A. Kissinger and Le Duc Thos initial the agreement.

Peace quote

"There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people."

-Howard Zinn

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January 27, 1969

In Detroit, African-American auto workers, known as the Eldon Avenue Axle Plant Revolutionary Union Movement, led a wildcat strike against racist practices and poor working conditions at the Chrysler plant.
Since the 1967 Detroit riots, black workers had organized groups in several Detroit auto plants critical of both the auto companies and the United Auto Workers union leadership. These groups combined Black-Power nationalism and workplace militancy, and temporarily shut down more than a dozen inner-city plants.
The most well-known of these groups was the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement, or DRUM. They criticized both the seniority system and grievance procedures as racist. Veterans of this movement went on to lead many of the same local unions.
Detroit: I Do Mind Dying A Study in Urban Revolution (pdf)

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January 27, 1988

May, 1981 Wash DC
The Center for Constitutional Rights revealed the FBI had spied on numerous organizations critical of Reagan administration policies in Central America. The principal target was the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES). 100 other groups were also investigated, including the Roman Catholic Maryknoll Sisters, the United Auto Workers, the United Steel Workers, and the National Education Association. FBI Director William Sessions said the investigations were an outgrowth of the belief that CISPES was aiding a "terrorist organization."

CISPES today

How domestic surveillance multiplied under the label or preventing terrorist attacks


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January 28, 1992

Nuclear production at the Rocky Flats Nuclear Arsenal – a complex used for both power plants and nuclear weapon munition manufacture – was permanently closed after repeated revelations of environmental contamination in the surrounding land and water supply, 25 miles northwest of Denver. Following closure, the facilities were completely dismantled and the site cleared.
continued (info, photos, links). . .

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January 28, 1995

Soldiers' Mothers Committee members
Over 100 members of the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia went to a Red Army training camp to reclaim their sons. Since its founding in 1989 the Soldiers' Mothers Committee had worked to expose human rights violations within the Russian military and has consistently supported a true alternative service option for conscientious objectors.

The Mothers Committee earned the 1996 Right Livelihood Award


January 29, 1996

Three Ploughshares activists, Lotta Kronlid, Andrea Needham and Joanna Wlson, caused millions in damage and were arrested in Warton, Lancashire, England, for disarming a British Aerospace F-16 fighter jet destined to be sold to Indonesia for use in its illegal occupation and genocide of the people of East Timor.
Seeds of Hope/East Timor Ploughshares activists

Angie Zelter was arrested later for saying she planned to finish what the other three had started. The four were later acquitted of all charges on the grounds of preventing a greater crime.

Pax Christi’s history

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Peace quote

"Man's nature is not essentially evil.
Brute nature has been know to yield to the influence of love.
You must never despair of human nature."
- Gandhi


January 30, 1948

Mohandas K. Gandhi was killed in Delhi by an assassin, a fellow Hindu, who fired three shots from a pistol at a range of three feet.
An American reporter who saw it happen

January 30, 1956

As Martin Luther King, Jr. stood at the pulpit, leading a mass meeting during the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott, his home was bombed. King's wife and 10-week-old baby escaped unharmed. Later in the evening, as thousands of angry African Americans assembled on King's lawn, he appeared on his front porch, and told them:
"If you have weapons, take them home . . . We cannot solve this problem through retaliatory violence . . . We must love our white brothers, no matter what they do to us."
Martin Luther King, Jr. and wife Coretta Scott, 1960

A button inspired by MLK Jr '63 speech
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January 30, since 2011

Fred Korematsu Day
Fred Korematsu, was born in Oakland, California to a Japanese-American family. When World War II broke out Japanese American citizens were subject to curfews and then later sent to internment camps. Fred Korematsu refused to go and was convicted and sent to a camp.
Fred Korematsu

He challenged the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066 all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1944 the Supreme court ruled against him. Finally in 1983, a Federal court in San Francisco overturned the original conviction. In 1988 Congress passed legislation apologizing for the internments and awarded each survivor $20,000.
The "Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution" is observed every January 30th and in an increasing number of states.

"Protest, but not with violence. Don't be afraid to speak up. One person can make a difference, even if it takes 40 years..." - Fred Korematsu

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January 31, 1865

The U.S. House of Representatives passed (119-56) the 13th constitutional amendment which abolished slavery, and sent it to the states for ratification (three-quarters of the states would do so by the end of the year). The Kentucky legislature didn't vote to ratify until 1976. Mississippi's legislature finally ratified it in 1995 but failed to submit the paperwork to the federal government until 2013.
Text of the amendment:
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
Contemporary report in the newspaper

Inspired by the U.S.
Declaration of Independence

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January 31, 1945

Private Eddie Slovik became the first American soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion, and the only one who suffered such a fate during World War II.

Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered Slovik's execution be carried out, he said, to avoid further desertions in the late stages of the war.


Eddie Slovik

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- Karen, Center for Applied Conflict Management

January 31, 1950


U.S. President Harry S. Truman publicly announced his decision to support the development of the hydrogen (fusion) bomb, a weapon theorized to be hundreds of times more powerful than the atomic (fission) bombs dropped on Japan at the end of World War II.

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January 31, 1971

The Winter Soldier Hearings began in a Howard Johnson's motel in Detroit. Sponsored by Vietnam Veterans Against the War, the three days of hearings were an attempt by soldiers who had served in Vietnam to inform the public of the realities of U.S. conduct in the war. The veterans testified that the My Lai massacre was not an isolated incident, and that some American troops had committed atrocities.

Among those who spoke about aspects of their service in Vietnam was John Kerry, a former Navy lieutenant and future senator and presidential candidate.More than 100 veterans testified to sometimes brutal acts. Oregon Senator Mark Hatfield later entered the transcript of the Winter Soldier hearings into the Congressional Record but, otherwise, the proceedings captured little attention.

The term “winter soldier” is a play on words of Thomas Paine in 1776. He spoke of the “sunshine patriot and summertime soldiers” who deserted at Valley Forge because the going was rough.
Winter Soldier film
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February is Black History Month


February 1, 1960
Four black college students sat down at the Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and were refused service because of their race. To protest the segregation of the eating facilities, they remained and sat-in at the lunch counter until the store closed.
Greensboro first day: Ezell A. Blair, Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), Franklin E. McCain, Joseph A. McNeil, and David L. Richmond leave the Woolworth store after the first sit-in on February 1, 1960.

Four students returned the next day, and the same thing happened. Similar protests subsequently took place all over the South and in some northern communities. By September 1961, more than 70,000 students, both white and black, had participated, with many arrested, during sit-ins.

On the second day of the Greensboro sit-in, Joseph A. McNeil and Franklin E. McCain are joined by William Smith and Clarence Henderson at the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.
“Segregation makes me feel that I'm unwanted," Joseph McNeil, one of the four, said later in an interview, “I don't want my children exposed to it.”
Listen to Franklin McCain’s account of what happened Newspaper report of the time

February is Black History Month
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Peace quote

"By the time I moved to Mississippi in the late sixties, Bob Moses had already left. Everywhere I went, however, I encountered his presence. He was a legend, a hero, a person Beloved. Once again in Mississippi, Bob Moses continues to exemplify the love of our people that has caused us, all these years, to cherish him."

Alice Walker

February 1, 1961
On the first anniversary of the Greensboro sit-in, there were demonstrations all across the south, including a Nashville movie theater desegregation campaign (which sparked similar tactics in 10 other cities). Nine students were arrested at a lunch counter in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and chose to take 30 days hard labor on a road gang. The next week, four other students repeated the sit-in, also chose jail.

February 1, 1968

Saigon police chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan summarily executed Nguyen Van Lem, suspected leader of a National Liberation Front (NLF aka Viet Cong) assassination platoon, with a pistol shot to the head on the street. AP photojournalist Eddie Adams’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of the incident became one of the most famous, ubiquitous and lasting images of the war in Vietnam, affecting international and American public opinion regarding the war.

General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executes Nguyen Van Lem a NLF officer.

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