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This week at a glance.

Feb 8

•Algeria for the Algerians
•Registration resumes in U.S.

Feb 9
•Taxation and representation
•Senator sows suspicion and fear
•Escalation in Vietnam
•Israelis support Palestinians

Feb 10

•Pirate radio for peace
•Times a-changin'
•Iraq under surveillance

Feb 11
•Abolitionist Pennsylvanians
•Birth control advocate arrested
•44-day sit-down wins
•First step of Longest Walk
•Freedom leader freed

Feb 12
•Darwin day
•Birth of NAACP
•Veterans oppose draft
•Prince of Peace Plowshare
Feb 13
•Mother Jones arrested
•France goes nuclear
•Women Strike for Peace
•Vietnam-era pray-in

Feb 14
•Southern leadership coalesces
•Nixon bugs himself
•Sandanistas agree to elections

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February is Black History Month


February 8, 1962

More than 20,000 attended a demonstration in Paris against the Secret Army Organization (Organisation de l'Armée Secrète or OAS), a group of European-Algerians which used terrorist methods to keep Algeria a French colony.
They set off bombs in Metropolitan France and made multiple attempts on President Charles DeGaulle’s life.

DeGaulle had chosen a referendum among Algerians to decide their independence; Europeans were outnumbered 9:1 by the native population of Sunni Muslim Arabs
and Berbers.
The demonstration was held in violation of a declared state of emergency (because of OAS actions) and, in the subsequent rioting, at least eight people were killed and 240 injured (half of them police officers).

The terrorist crimes of the OAS

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February 8, 1968

The Orangeburg Masssacre

Three black students were killed and 50 wounded in a confrontation with highway patrolmen at a South Carolina State rally supporting arrested civil rights protesters. Orangeburg’s only bowling alley, the All Star, was still segregated years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had outlawed discrimination based on race in such public accommodations.
On the previous two days, college students had entered the bowling alley, refusing to leave after they were not allowed to bowl.
Fifteen of the second group were arrested.

The Orangeburg Massacre

February 8, 1980

President Jimmy Carter unveiled a plan to re-introduce
draft registration.



February 9, 1780

Captain Paul Cuffe, his brother John, two free negroes, and other residents of Massachusetts petitioned the state legislature for the
right to vote.

A few years earlier, Cuffe and his brother had refused to pay local taxes, reasoning that there was a connection between an obligation to pay taxes to a government and the right to vote for that government.

Cuffe’s memoir available
Captain Paul Cuffee
Cuffe’s career as ship captain, shipowner, African colonizer and generous citizen

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February 9, 1950

United States Senator Joseph P. McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) accused more than 200 staff members in the State Department of being Communists, launching his anti-red crusade.
He made the allegation in a public speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, saying that State was infested with communists, and brandished a sheet of paper which he said contained the alleged traitors' names.

"I have here in my hand," he said, "the names of 205 men that were known to the Secretary of State [Dean Acheson] as being members of the Communist party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department." The number changed repeatedly over the following months. Some years later, he confided the paper was actually just a laundry list.

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February 9, 1965

President Lyndon Johnson ordered a U.S. Marine Corps Hawk air defense missile battalion deployed to Da Nang, South Vietnam, to provide protection for the key U.S. air base there. American military advisers had been in country since the defeat and withdrawal of the French in 1954, but this was the first commitment of combat troops to South Vietnam.
There was considerable reaction around the world to this new level of U.S. involvement. Both the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union threatened to intervene if the United States continued its military support of the South Vietnamese government.
In Moscow, some 2,000 demonstrators, led by Vietnamese and Chinese students and clearly supported by the authorities, attacked the U.S. Embassy. Britain and Australia supported the U.S. action, but France called for negotiations.
A Marine HAWK missile launcher is in position at the Danang Airfield.

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February 9, 2002
Ten thousand, organized by Gush Shalom (peace bloc in Hebrew), a coalition of Israeli peace groups, marched in Tel Aviv against the Ariel Sharon government's increasingly brutal attacks on Palestinian civilians. The harsh tactics were part of Israel’s continuing occupation of the West Bank (of the Jordan River) and the Gaza Strip, territory beyond Israel’s internationally recognized 1967 borders.

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February 10, 1961

The Voice of Nuclear Disarmament, a pirate radio station, began operation offshore of Great Britain.
It was run by John Hasted, a physicist, a musician, and a radio expert in World War II. He was active with mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell in the Committee for Nuclear Disarmament, a group that practiced Gandhian an nonviolent civil disobedience.

Pirate radio ship

February 10, 1964

Bob Dylan’s ''The Times They Are A-Changin’'' was released. The album’s title song captured the emerging, principally generational gap in American culture concerning war and racism.
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'
watch video (1964)
the lyrics

Bob Dylan
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February 10, 2003

Iraq acceded to U-2 surveillance flights over its territory, meeting a key demand by U.N. inspectors searching for banned weapons of mass destruction (WMD) there.

The 60 weapons inspectors in Baghdad and Mosul were under the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), led by Hans Blix, and the International Atomic Energy Agency under Mohamed El Baradei.
The U.N. had destroyed all of Iraq’s banned weapons by 1994, as well as production and development facilities later, though Saddam Hussein expelled the U.N. representatives in 1998.
U-2 spy plane.

The economic and trade embargo during the inter-war period prevented resumption of the weapons programs. CIA and other intelligence estimates, however, insisted upon the existence of WMDs in Iraq. None have ever been found.
Hans Blix gives his report at the UN as Mohamed El Baradei listens.

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February 11, 1790

The Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, composed mostly of Quakers and Mennonites, petitioned Congress for emancipation of all slaves. Benjamin Franklin had become vocal as an abolitionist and in 1787 began to serve as President of the Society which not only advocated the abolition of slavery, but made efforts to integrate freed slaves into American society.
The proposed resolution was immediately denounced by pro-slavery congressmen and sparked a heated debate in both the House and the Senate.

More on early Abolitionist and Anti-Slavery Movements

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Declaration of Independence

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February 11, 1916

Emma Goldman was arrested for lecturing on birth control, presumed a violation of the 1873 Comstock Law which prohibited distribution of literature on birth control, considered obscene under the act.
Goldman considered such knowledge essential to women's reproductive and economic freedom; she had worked as a nurse and midwife among poor immigrant workers on New York’s Lower East Side in the 1890s. She also organized for womens’ suffrage, later opposed U.S. involvement in World War I, and was imprisoned for allegedly obstructing military conscription.

“. . . those like myself who are disseminating knowledge [of birth control] are not doing so because of personal gain or because we consider it obscene or lewd. We do it because we know the desperate condition among the masses of workers and even professional people, when they cannot meet the demands of numerous children.”

– Goldman letter to the press following her arrest

Emma Goldman speaking on Birth Control -Union Square, New York City May 20, 1916

Emma Goldman’s courageous efforts

"All wars are wars among thieves who are too cowardly to fight and who therefore induce the young manhood to do the fighting for them."
- Emma Goldman, 1917

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February 11, 1937

Forty-eight thousand General Motors workers won their 44-day sit-down strike in Flint, Michigan. On December 30 workers at Fisher Plants 1 & 2 sat down and refused to leave, forcing workers around them to stop work and preventing the next shift from starting.

The sit-down strike ended when the company agreed to recognize the United Automobile Workers union as the representative bargaining agent for the striking hourly employees. Other automakers gradually accepted the legitimacy of the union. The success of the sit-down was an inspiration to workers in other industries to organize their own unions.

Nearly 100 images on the Flint sit-down from
Detroit’s Wayne State University Walter Reuther Archive

"There is no power in the world that can stop the forward march of free men and women when they are joined in the solidarity of human brotherhood."

– Walter Reuther

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February 11, 1978

Native Americans began The Longest Walk, a march from Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay to Washington, D.C.
Indian activism

photo Ilka Hartmann for larger image click

The Walk was intended to be a reminder of the forced removal of American Indians from their homelands across the continent, and drew attention to the continuing problems plaguing the Indian community, particularly joblessness, lack of health care, education and adequate housing.

"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

February 11, 1990

Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in a South African prison following months of secret negotiations with South African President F.W. (Frederik Willem) de Klerk.
In 1952, Mandela became deputy national president of the African National Congress (ANC), the oldest black political organization in South Africa, having joined as a young lawyer in 1944.

He advocated nonviolent resistance to apartheid – South Africa's institutionalized system of white supremacy, black disenfranchisement and rigid racial segregation.

However, after the massacre of peaceful black demonstrators at Sharpeville in 1960, Mandela helped organize a paramilitary branch of the ANC to engage in guerrilla warfare against the white minority government.

He and de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1993 "for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.”

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Peace quote

"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

- Nelson Mandela

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February 12, 1809

Charles Robert Darwin, who first described the process of evolution of species in the plant and animal kingdoms through natural selection, was born.
It is now celebrated as Darwin Day, when the common language of science, bridging language and culture, is recognized and appreciated
Darwin Day ideas

Charles Darwin
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February 12, 1909

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded by sixty Americans, both black and white, in a call to safeguard civil, legal, economic, human, and political rights of black Americans.

The call was partly in reaction to a race riot in 1908 in Springfield, Illinois, home of Abraham Lincoln. The call was issued on the centennial of his birth, and principally written by Oswald Garrison Villard, president of the N.Y. Evening Post Company: "If Mr. Lincoln could revisit this country in the flesh, he would be disheartened and discouraged.”

Oswald Garrison Villard
NAACP’s beginnings:

All great legislation grows out of mass movements organized by people like you and me.
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February 12, 1947

An estimated 400-500 veterans and conscientious objectors from World Wars I and II burned their draft cards during two demonstrations, in front of the White House and at New York City’s Labor Temple, in protest of a proposed universal conscription law.
This was the first peacetime draft-card burning.

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February 12, 1997

In "Prince of Peace Plowshares," six activists poured blood and symbolically disarmed U.S.S. The Sullivans, a nuclear-capable Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, at the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. All were eventually convicted of destruction of government property and conspiracy.
Read more about this action

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February 13, 1912

Labor leader Mary Harris "Mother" Jones was placed under house arrest at Pratt (Kanawha Co.), West Virginia, for inciting to riot. An organizer for the United Mine Workers, she had come to the Paint Creek and Cabin Creek mines where a long and nasty struggle had escalated.

Jones was known for her fiery (and often obscene) verbal attacks on coal operators and politicians. A native of Ireland, she had been organizing for more than 15 years.

The coal operators had hired mine guards to intimidate the workers and discourage formation of a union. Besides asking to be paid what other area miners were making, the union demanded
• the right to organize
• recognition of their rights to free speech and assembly
• an end to blacklisting of union organizers
• alternatives to company stores
• an end to the practice of using mine guards
• prohibition of cribbing
• installation of scales at all mines for accurately weighing coal
unions be allowed to hire their own checkweighmen to make sure the companies' checkweighmen were not cheating the miners who were not paid hourly, but by the ton.
68 years old (though claiming to be over 80) and suffering from pneumonia, Jones was never charged with a crime (martial law had been declared). A few weeks later, the new governor, Henry Hatfield, was sworn in and examined Mother Jones (he was also a doctor) but refused to release her from house arrest for two months.
Mother Jones biography Mother Jones magazine

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"Some day the workers will take possession of your city hall,
and when we do, no child will be sacrificed on the altar of profit!"
Mother Jones

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February 13, 1960

France became the world’s fourth nuclear power, conducting its first plutonium bomb test at the Reggane base in the Sahara Desert in what was then French Algeria. "Gerboise Bleue" was detonated from a 330-foot tower and had a yield of 60-70 kilotons (equivalent to nearly 70,000 tons of TNT).

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February 13, 1967

Carrying huge photos of Vietnamese children who had been victims of Napalm (a flammable defoliant used extensively in the war there), 2,500 members of the group Women Strike for Peace stormed the Pentagon, demanding to see "the generals who send our sons to Vietnam." When Pentagon guards locked the main entrance doors, the women took off their shoes and banged on the doors with their heels.

They were eventually allowed inside, but Defense Secretary Robert McNamara would not meet with them.

Senator Jacob Javits (R-New York) agreed to meet a few hundred of the women, but he was booed by the women when he denied the U.S. was using toxic gas in Vietnam.

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February 13, 1968
Five soldiers were arrested at a pray-in for peace in Vietnam at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Two were court-martialed for refusing to stop praying. The pray-in was repeated a year later.

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February 14, 1957

The organization that would shortly be called the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) chose its leadership at a meeting
in New Orleans.
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and Reverend Ralph David Abernathy led the group which sought to coordinate civil rights protests throughout the South.
Organizers of bus boycotts, inspired by the one in Montgomery, Alabama, had met in Atlanta a month earlier. Duringthat meeting Dr. Abernathy’s home and church were bombed.

Reverend Ralph David Abernathy and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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February 14, 1971

President Richard Nixon ordered a secret taping system to be installed for his offices in the White House.

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February 14, 1989

At a meeting of the presidents of Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and El Salvador, the Sandinista government of Nicaragua agreed to release a number of political prisoners and hold free elections within a year. In return, Honduras promised to close bases established by the U.S. and used by and for the anti-Sandinista Contra rebels. Just over one year later, elections were held, and the results recognized
(the Sandanista party won) by all sides despite millions of U.S. dollars used to organized and influence the elections.

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