view in web browser if not displaying properly


  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
view in web browser
This week at a glance.

July 21

•#1 Labor Song
•Indochina Peace?
•Madres de Plaza de Mayo

July 22
•Friendly Association for Peace
•St. Louis General Strike

July 23
•Mexican War Tax Protest
•Detroit Rebellion

July 24
•Executive privilege rejected by Court
•Americans and Canadians join hands
•Greenham campers tag weapons

July 25
•U.S. invades Puerto Rico
•First underwater
atomic test
•Treaty bans atomic tests
•Kings joins northern opponents of segregation
July 26
•July 26th
•SNCC leader arrested
•Rights of disabled Americans protected

July 27
•Riot in Chicago
•Coup in Guatemala
•Weep and Disarm for Children

The little button with a BIG message

115,249 peace pin buttons distributed!
view list of where they are

Order some and make peace more visible.


Over 115,249
peace sign buttons
distributed so far!

The little button with a BIG message
click to get yours



July 21, 1878

Publication of "Eight Hours," written by Reverend Jesse H. Jones (music) and I.G. Blanchard (lyrics), the most popular labor song until "Solidarity Forever" was published by the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) in 1915.

“Eight hours for work,
Eight hours for rest;
Eight hours for what we will.”

All the lyrics

The eight-hour was an established concept before the song.
Shown is an 1856 banner from Melbourne, Australia.

1" pin | $.75 each
Buy bulk & save
Union printed Detroit made
select button

July 21, 1925
The so-called "Monkey Trial" ended in Dayton, Tennessee, with high school teacher John T. Scopes convicted of violating a state law against teaching Darwin's theory of evolution. It was considered illegal to contradict the Bible’s description of God’s seven-day creation of the world in Genesis.
The trial pitted two of America’s leading advocates as the opposing lawyers: William Jennings Bryan, thrice the Democratic presidential candidate (1896, 1900, 1908) and the state’s prosecutor; Clarence Darrow, a lawyer famous for representing the underdog, at the defense table. Referred to as “the trial of the century” even before it began, it was the first trial ever broadcast (on radio).
Bryan became ill and died shortly after the trial’s end; the conviction was later overturned by Tennessee’s Supreme Court.
continued (info, photos, links). . .

Charles Darwin
1" pin | $.75 each
Buy bulk & save
Union printed Detroit made
select button

July 21, 1954

Major world powers, meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, reached agreement on the terms of a ceasefire for Indochina, ending nearly eight years of war. The war began in 1946 between nationalist forces of the Communist Viet Minh, under leader Ho Chi Minh, and France, the occupying colonial power after the Japanese lost control during World War II.
The Geneva conference included France, the United Kingdom, the U.S., the U.S.S.R., People’s Republic of China, Cambodia, Laos, and both Vietnamese governments (North and South).

The peace treaty called for independence for Vietnam and a 1956 election to unify the country. However, only France and Ho Chi Minh's DRV (Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North)) signed the document.
The United States did not approve of the agreement. Instead, they backed Emperor Boa Dai and Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem’s government in South Vietnam and refused to allow the elections, knowing, in President Eisenhower’s words, that “Ho Chi Minh will win.” The result was the Second Indochina War, more commonly known as the Vietnam War.

The treaty is signed



Union printed Detroit made
select button

July 21, 1976

Plaza de Mayo mother

A military junta under General Jorge Rafael Videla took power in Argentina on March 24, disbanding parliament and taking over all labor unions. The military kidnapped hundreds of people from two villages of Jujuy province in northern Argentina, thirty of whom never returned from a clandestine detention center. Most of those disappeared worked for the Ledesma sugar refinery.
Since 1983, on the Thursday closest to July 21, Madres de Plaza de Mayo (an organization of mothers and wives of the missing) are joined by others, and walk the 7 km (4.3 miles) from Calilegua to San Martin, demanding answers about their loved ones.
 Madres de Plaza de Mayo is supported by Amnesty International and the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
Read more

select button


July 22, 1756

The “The Friendly Association for gaining and preserving Peace with the Indians by Pacific Measures.” was founded in Philadelphia. It was comprised primarily of Quakers (members of the Society of Friends) who wished to pursue peaceful coexistence between the native peoples and the European immigrants to the Pennsylvania region.

Read more

Peace quote

“In our every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”
- Deganawidah
and a founder of the Iroquois League

Eugene Debs
1" pin | $.75 each
Buy bulk & save
Union printed Detroit made
select button

July 22, 1877

A general strike, part of the railroad strike that had paralyzed the country, was called in St. Louis, where workers briefly seized control of the city. Within a week after it began in Martinsburg, West Virginia, the railroad strike reached East St. Louis,Illinois, where 500 members of the St. Louis Workingmen's Party joined 1,000 railroad workers and residents.

Strikers in St. Louis continued operation of non-freight trains themselves, collecting the fares, making it impossible for the railroads to blame the workers for loss of passenger rail service.

More about the 1877 general strike


July 23, 1846

Author Henry David Thoreau was jailed for refusing to pay the poll tax as a protest against the Mexican war, which in turn led to his writing "Civil Disobedience." This essay became a source of inspiration for Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
From Thoreau’s essay:
“Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?”

Daguerreotype of Henry David Thoreau

Out of Thoreau's jailing grew a legend: The great Ameriacan philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson visited Thoreau in jail. Emerson asked, "Henry, why are you here?" Thoreau replied, "Why are you not here? Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison."

Thoreau was not alone in his opposition: Thomas Corwin of Ohio denounced the war as merely the latest example of American injustice to Mexico: “If I were a Mexican I would tell you, ‘Have you not room enough in your own country to bury your dead.’ ” Henry Clay [former speaker of the House and presidential candidate] declared, "This is no war of defense, but one of unnecessary and offensive aggression."
Abraham Lincoln also opposed the war, and lost his seat in Congress as a result.

The entire essay (in annotated form)

Peace quote

"Immigration is an economic issue. Aside from being a labor issue and a humanitarian issue, it is first and foremost in our best interest…to figure out a way that we can bring these people out of the shadows and allow them to contribute even more to this country."

- Eva Longoria

July 23, 1967

Detroiters angry at loss of jobs and, especially, at the abusive and virtually all-white police department, started rioting in what became known as the Detroit Rebellion.
The intitiating incident was an early-morning raid on a blind pig (Detroit for after-hours drinking club) on 12th Street.
The violence spread elsewhere in the city, and led to Pres
ident Lyndon Johnson’s calling out 8000 members of the National Guard. Order was not restored for six days.
In the end, there were 43 known dead, 347 injured, 3800 arrested, 1000 families homeless. Thirteen hundred buildings burned to the ground and twenty-seven hundred businesses were looted.
Online documentary on all aspects of what happened, “Ashes to Hope”
The Rebellion from a 40-year perspective”

Detroit is coming back strong!
Detroit Love button
Show the LOVE
Union printed Detroit made
select button


July 24, 1974

The United States Supreme Court (U.S. v. Nixon) unanimously ordered President Richard Nixon to surrender tape recordings of White House conversations regarding the Watergate affair. Speaking for the Supreme Court in front of a packed and hushed courtroom, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger (a Nixon appointee) rejected President Nixon's claims of executive privilege (virtually total confidentiality for the White House) because the need for fair administration of criminal justice must prevail.

The White House feared review of the recordings by a U.S. district judge would reveal, among other crimes, impeachable offenses.

Great resources (including for teaching) on this case:

Listen to the tapes online

Readers comment

"I have been on your email list for a while. Appreciate your spirit and offering of affordable peace message items.
I have purchased buttons and t shirt from your site in the past.
 I plan to distribute the pencils I ordered to the nursing students
I teach at UT.
Takecare. And thank you for keeping the message of peace in our environment, our lives."


Austin, TX

July 24, 1983

Canadians and Americans spanned the international border at Thousand Islands Bridge, linking New York and Ontario, to protest nuclear weapons and border harassment of peace activists.

Thousand Islands Bridge

July 24, 1983

Women tagged a U.S. warplane with anti-nuclear graffiti at Greenham Common, an air base in England. The Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp had been set up just outside the perimeter of the base in 1981 to get U.S. Cruise missiles, some of which were deployed at the base, out of their country. Other tactics included disrupting construction work at the base, blockading the entrance, and cutting down parts of the fence.

Read more about The Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp

select button


July 25, 1898  

With 16,000 troops, the United States invaded Puerto Rico at Guánica, asserting that they were liberating the inhabitants from Spanish colonial rule, which had recently granted the island’s government limited atonomy. The island, as well as Cuba and the Philippines, were spoils of the Spanish-American War which ended the following month. Puerto Rico remains a U.S. commonwealth today.

N.Y. 17th Volunteer Regiment marching through Puerto Rico
Famed American poet Carl Sandburg saw active service in Puerto Rico, beginning with the invasion in Guánica. Sandburg wrote about these experiences in his book entitled “Always the Young Strangers”
(New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1953).
More on the invasion

¿Habla Español?

(paz=peace in spanish)
Union printed Detroit made
select item

July 25, 1946

The first underwater atomic device was detonated at Bikini Atoll, one of the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific. It was the second of two bombs, Able and Baker, that comprised Operation Crossroads; each weapon had a yield equivalent to 23,000 tons of TNT (23 kilotons).

The U.S. Navy conducted the tests to determine the effect of such weapons on ships at sea.More than 130 newspaper, magazine and radio correspondents from seven nations were present for the tests.

Gallery of U.S. Navy artwork from Operation Crossroads:

Details of Operation Crossroads

Peace quote

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower

July 25, 1963 

The Limited Test Ban Treaty was initialed following 10 days of intense negotiations among the the U.S.S.R.*, U.S. and United Kingdom. The treaty prohibits nuclear weapons tests “or any other nuclear explosion” in the atmosphere, in outer space, or under water; it does not ban underground tests. The nuclear powers (only three then, nine today) accepted as a common goal “an end to the contamination of man's environment by radioactive substances.” 185 countries have signed the treaty so far but Israel, Pakistan, Iran and North Korea never signed or later withdrew.
* Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, commonly referred to as the Soviet Union, included Russia and 14 countries and was dissolved in the early ‘90s.
Status of Nuclear Weapons States and Their Nuclear Capabilities

No Nuclear Weapons
from the '80s
select button
Union printed Detroit made

July 25, 1965

Martin Luther King, Jr., participated in protests against housing segregation in Chicago. His Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) joined with the Coordinating Council of Community Organizations (CCCO), led by Al Raby, a black schoolteacher, in the Chicago Freedom Movement.

More on the CCCO

Martin Luther King talks to Al Raby of Chicago's Coordinating Council of Community Organizations (CCCO)

as they lead the march down State Street.

To King's right is Jack Spiegel of the United Shoeworkers, and to Raby's left is King assistant Bernard Lee.

1" pin | $.75 each
Buy bulk & save
Union printed Detroit made
select button


July 26, 1953
In his first move to overthrow the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Cuban leader Fulgencio Batista, 26-year-old Fidel Castro led 134 other young revolutionaries to unsuccessfully attack the Moncada military barracks in Santiago de Cuba. Castro had concluded that armed struggle was the only way to unseat Batista, who had taken power in a military coup in 1952.
The Cuban Revolution is known as the July 26 Movement, and is celebrated annually there.
The Moncada Barracks, still showing a few bullet holes and pockmarks from that fateful early morning assault in 1953, is now both a historic site and an elementary school.

Peace people pins

1" pins
Union printed Detroit made

view all

July 26, 1967
H. Rap Brown, then head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was ordered arrested by then-Governor Spiro Agnew, who accused him of inciting a riot through his speech two days earlier at a civil rights rally in Cambridge, Maryland.
At the event, Brown declared, “Black folks built America, and if America don’t come around, we’re going to burn America down . . . If Cambridge doesn't come around, Cambridge got to be burned down.”
Shortly after the speech, Brown was hit in the head by buckshot from a policeman’s shotgun. That night the segregated elementary school on the black side of town and 20 businesses burned down (there was no looting), some along Race Street, the racial divide which neither black nor white were expected to cross.
H. Rap Brown following the disturbances in
Cambridge, Maryland.
What happened in Cambridge

Malcom X
1" pin | $.75 each
Union printed Detroit made
select button

July 26, 1990

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. It prohibited discrimination based on disability in employment, in public accommodation (e.g., hotels, restaurants, retail stores, theaters, health care facilities, convention centers, parks), in transportation services, and in all activities of state and local governments.

Inspired by the U.S.
Declaration of Independence

select button
Union printed Detroit made


July 27, 1919

A riot began in Chicago when police refused to arrest a white man who was responsible for the death of a young black man, Eugene Williams. The 29th Street Beach on Lake Michigan was used by both black and white Chicagoans. But the man had been throwing stones at the black boys swimming there before hitting Williams.

The Coroner’s report on the riot described the events as follows: “Five days of terrible hate and passion let loose, cost the people of Chicago 38 lives (15 white and 23 colored), wounded and maimed several hundred, destroyed property of untold value, filled thousands with fear, blemished the city and left in its wake fear and apprehension for the future . . . .”
The city’s booming economy, especially jobs in the stockyards, had drawn many blacks during the Great Migration from the South, more than doubling their population in just three years. Only one policeman died in the chaos, Patrolman John Simpson, 31, an African American working out of the Wabash Avenue Station.

Gangs and the 1919 Chicago Race Riot.

Readers comment

"Thank you for providing this wonderful and important resource!
I am a high school teacher and find your calendar informative and inspirational . . . I find that mentioning the events in my class often generates discussion which requires setting a context . . . Again, thank your time and energy you put into this calendar."


July 27, 1954
The democratically elected Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, after receiving 65% of the vote, was overthrown by CIA-paid and -trained mercenaries. There followed a series of military dictatorships that waged a genocidal war against the indigenous Mayan Indians and against political opponents into the '90s. Nearly 200,000 citizens died over the nearly four decades of civil war.

“They have used the pretext of anti-communism. The truth is very different. The truth is to be found in the financial interests of the fruit company [United Fruit, which controlled more land than any other individual or group in the country. It also owned the railway, the electric utilities, telegraph, and the country's only port at Puerto Barrios on the Atlantic coast.] and the other U.S. monopolies which have invested great amounts of money in Latin America and fear that the example of Guatemala would be followed by other Latin countries . . . I took over the presidency with great faith in the democratic system, in liberty and the possibility of achieving economic independence for Guatemala.”
Jacobo Arbenz
More about Arbenz The real coup story through official U.S. documents

Readers comment

"...It was fun to see pictures of my students on your site. The students plan to order a bunch of buttons soon. So hopefully we will have some photos of them around campus. 
I just wanted to write to tell you how much I appreciate your weekly "peace history" message. I learn so much from it each week!!! I love posting a new entry for my "Inequality in the US" class to read on our class website each day. Thanks again for the work that you do to spread this important news!"
- Sheri Lyn Schmidt
The Ethel Walker School
Simsbury, CT

July 27, 1996

Known as the “Weep for Children Plowshares,” four women were arrested for pouring their own blood on weaponry at the Naval Submarine Base at Groton, Connecticut, on the morning of the launch of the last-built Ohio-class submarine, the U.S.S. Louisiana. The 18 such submarines carry about half of the U.S. nuclear deterrent – 24 Trident I & II missiles with a range of 7400 km (4600 miles), each with several warheads known as MIRVs (multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicles).

Trident sub being loaded Details of the action  

Have an idea for a button?
Your art or we'll design
see some
sizes 1"-6" dia
any quantity
Union made
email us

If you are not already on our email list and would like to have this

free calendar delivered to your inbox weekly then please

Sign up for our peace history newsletter
just send me an

and forward it to your friends.

And please remember . . .
If you change your address send an email and let us know so you won't miss a single issue!

with every order

Reproduction of this calendar for non-profit purposes

is permitted and encouraged. Please credit/link to

If you do not wish to receive further mailings from,

respond to this email with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line and you will be removed from our mail list.
It is important that you reply from the email address that you want removed.


The little button with a BIG message