Archive for March 21st, 2008

21
Mar
08

On This Day, 3-21-08: Selma, Alabama

Selma to Montgomery march begins

In the name of African-American voting rights, 3,200 civil rights demonstrators, led by Martin Luther King Jr., begin a historic march from Selma, Alabama, to the State Capitol at Montgomery. U.S. Army and National Guard troops were on hand to provide safe passage for the “Alabama Freedom March,” which twice had been turned back by Alabama state police at Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge.

In 1965, King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) decided to make the small town of Selma the focus of their drive to win voting rights for African Americans in the South. Alabama’s governor, George Wallace, was a vocal opponent of the African-American civil rights movement, and local authorities in Selma had consistently thwarted efforts by the Dallas County Voters League and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to register local blacks. King had won the 1964 Nobel Prize for Peace, and the world’s eyes turned to Selma after his arrival there in January 1965. He launched a series of peaceful protests, and by mid-February thousands of protesters in the Selma area had spent time in jail, including King himself.

On February 18, a group of white segregationists attacked some peaceful marchers in the nearby town of Marion. Jimmie Lee Jackson, an African-American demonstrator, was fatally wounded in the melee. After he died, King and the SCLC planned a massive march from Selma to Montgomery. Although Governor Wallace promised to prevent it from going forward, on March 7 some 500 demonstrators, led by SCLC leader Hosea Williams and SNCC leader John Lewis, began the 54-mile march to the state capital. After crossing Pettus Bridge, they were met by Alabama state troopers and posse men who attacked them with nightsticks, tear gas, and whips after they refused to turn back. Several of the protesters were severely beaten, and others ran for their lives. The incident was captured on national television and outraged many Americans. Hundreds of ministers, priests, and rabbis headed to Selma to join the voting rights campaign. King, who was in Atlanta at the time, promised to return to Selma immediately and lead another attempt.

On March 9, King led 1,500 marchers, black and white, across Edmund Pettus Bridge but found Highway 80 blocked again by state troopers. King paused the marchers and led them in prayer, whereupon the troopers stepped aside. King then turned the protesters around, believing that the troopers were trying to create an opportunity that would allow them to enforce a federal injunction prohibiting the march. This decision led to criticism from some marchers who called King cowardly. In Selma that night, James Reeb, a white minister from Boston, was fatally beaten by a group of segregationists.

Six days later, on March 15, President Lyndon Johnson went on national television to pledge his support to the Selma protesters and call for the passage of a new voting rights bill that he was introducing in Congress. “There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem,” he said, “And we shall overcome.”

On March 21, U.S. Army troops and federalized Alabama National Guardsmen escorted the marchers across Edmund Pettus Bridge and down Highway 80. When the highway narrowed to two lanes, only 300 marchers were permitted, but thousands more rejoined the Alabama Freedom March as it came into Montgomery on March 25. On the steps of Alabama State Capitol, King addressed live television cameras and a crowd of 25,000, just a few hundred feet from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where he got his start as a minister in 1954. That August, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, which guaranteed African Americans the right to vote. By 1967, African-American registered voters in Alabama had nearly tripled. “Selma to Montgomery march begins.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Mar 2008, 12:10 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6843.

1349 – 3,000 Jews were killed in Black Death riots in Efurt Germany.

1556 – Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was burned at the stake at Oxford after retracting the last of seven recantations that same day.

1835 – Charles Darwin & Mariano Gonzales met at Portillo Pass.

1851 – Emperor Tu Duc ordered that Christian priests be put to death.

1851 – Yosemite Valley was discovered in California.

1868 – The Sorosos club for professional women was formed in New York City by Jennie June. It was the first of its kind.

1928 – U.S. President Calvin Coolidge gave the Congressional Medal of Honor to Charles Lindbergh for his first trans-Atlantic flight.

1945 – During World War II, Allied bombers began four days of raids over Germany.

1963 – Alcatraz Island, the federal penitentiary in San Francisco Bay, CA, closed.

1965 – The U.S. launched Ranger 9. It was the last in a series of unmanned lunar explorations.

1980 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced to the U.S. Olympic Team that they would not participate in the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow as a boycott against Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

1985 – Larry Flynt offered to sell his pornography empire for $26 million or “Hustler” magazine alone for $18 million.

2002 – In Paris, an 1825 print by French inventor Joseph Nicephore Niepce was sold for $443,220. The print, of a man leading a horse, was the earliest recorded image taken by photographic means.

A man’s friendships are one of the best measures of his worth.
Charles Darwin

If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.
Charles Darwin

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
Charles Darwin

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21
Mar
08

Evolution: Darwin Awards

May 23, 2007 044a

Mortal Insult

Rattler Got Your Tongue?

(1992, California) Snakes flick their forked tongues in the air to “smell” the world, collecting molecules and analyzing them by pressing their tongue tips into small olfactory pits. An inebriated twenty-year-old man, apparently unaware of this biological fact, took umbrage when a wild rattlesnake stuck out its tongue at him. Tit for tat! He held the rattler in front of his face and stuck his tongue out right back at it. The snake expressed its displeasure at this turn of events by biting the conveniently offered body part. The toxic venom swelled the man’s face and throat, choking him to death.

DarwinAwards.com © 1994 – 2008
Submitted by: Charlie Bowman, Roger Hess, Bonnie Bates
Reference: San Francisco Chronicle

Experts debate which species of venomous snake is most dangerous. It depends on how irritable the snake is, the toxicity of its venom, whether it delivers the venom reliably, and how likely the snake is to come into contact with humans.

Rattlesnakes certainly rank among the most dangerous of snakes. They often live in close proximity to humans, and some species can be quite irritable, particularly when they are cornered. Rattlesnakes have long, folding fangs which deliver venom deeply into the body. However, some rattlers fail to inject venom into the bite as frequently as 25% of the time. Young rattlesnakes are more likely to deliver a full load of venom, and are therefore more dangerous than their elders.

For those who value their looks as much as their life: remember, rattlesnake venom is disfiguring as well as deadly.

http://darwinawards.com/darwin/darwin1994-06.html

Macho Men

Some men will go to extraordinary lengths to prove how macho they are. Frenchman Pierre Pumpille recently shunted a stationary car two feet by head-butting it. “Women thought I was a god,” he explained from his hospital bed.

Deity or not, however, Pumpille is a veritable girl’s blouse compared to Polish farmer Krystof Azninski, who staked a strong claim to being Europe’s most macho man by cutting off his own head in 1995. Azninski, 30, had been drinking with friends when it was suggested they strip naked and play some “men’s games”. Initially they hit each other over the head with frozen turnips, but then one man upped the ante by seizing a chainsaw and cutting off the end of his foot. Not to be outdone, Azninski grabbed the saw and, shouting “Watch this then,” he swung at his own head and chopped it off.

“It’s funny,” said one companion, “when he was young he put on his sister’s underwear. But he died like a man.”

http://darwinawards.com/darwin/darwin1996-07.html




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