Archive for May 4th, 2009

04
May
09

White-tailed Deer: Young Doe

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04
May
09

On This Day, May 4: Kent State

May 4, 1970

Four students killed at Kent State

At Kent State University, 100 National Guardsmen fire their rifles into a group of students, killing four and wounding 11. This incident occurred in the aftermath of President Richard Nixon’s April 30 announcement that U.S. and South Vietnamese forces had been ordered to execute an “incursion” into Cambodia to destroy North Vietnamese bases there. In protest, a wave of demonstrations and disturbances erupted on college campuses across the country.

At Kent State University in Ohio, student protesters torched the ROTC building on campus and Ohio Governor James Rhodes responded by calling on the National Guard to restore order. Under harassment from the demonstrators, the Guardsmen fired into the crowd, killing four and wounding 11. The Guardsmen were later brought to trial for the shootings, but found not guilty.

President Nixon issued a statement deploring the Kent State deaths, but said that the incident should serve as a reminder that, “When dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy.” The shooting sparked hundreds of protests and college shutdowns, as well as a march on Washington, D.C., by 100,000 people. The National Student Association and former Vietnam Moratorium Committee leaders called for a national university strike of indefinite duration, beginning immediately, to protest the war. At least 100 colleges and universities pledged to strike. The presidents of 37 universities signed a letter urging President Nixon to show more clearly his determination to end the war.

“Four students killed at Kent State,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1825 [accessed May 4, 2009]

On This Day

1471 – In England, the Yorkists defeated the Landcastrians at the battle of Tewkesbury in the War of the Roses.

1493 – Alexander VI divided non-Christian world between Spain and Portugal.

1626 – Dutch explorer Peter Minuit landed on Manhattan Island. Native Americans later sold the island (20,000 acres) for $24 in cloth and buttons.

1776 – Rhode Island declared its freedom from England two months before the Declaration of Independence was adopted.

1863 – The Battle of Chancellorsville ended when the Union Army retreated.

1930 – Mahatma Gandhi was arrested by the British.

1961 – Thirteen civil rights activists, dubbed “Freedom Riders,” began a bus trip through the South.

1979 – Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s first woman prime minister.

1994 – Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat signed a historic accord on Palestinian autonomy that granted self-rule in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.

1998 – Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski was given four life sentences plus 30 years by a federal judge in Sacramento, CA. The sentence was under a plea agreement that spared Kaczynski the death penalty.

May 4, 1886

The Haymarket Square Riot

At Haymarket Square in Chicago, Illinois, a bomb is thrown at a squad of policemen attempting to break up a labor rally. The police responded with wild gunfire, killing several people in the crowd and injuring dozens more.

The demonstration, which drew some 1,500 Chicago workers, was organized by German-born labor radicals in protest of the killing of a striker by the Chicago police the day before. Midway into the rally, which had thinned out because of rain, a force of nearly 200 policemen arrived to disperse the workers. As the police advanced toward the 300 remaining protesters, an individual who was never positively identified threw a bomb at them. After the explosion and subsequent police gunfire, more than a dozen people lay dead or dying, and close to 100 were injured.

The Haymarket Square Riot set off a national wave of xenophobia, as hundreds of foreign-born radicals and labor leaders were rounded up in Chicago and elsewhere. A grand jury eventually indicted 31 suspected labor radicals in connection with the bombing, and eight men were convicted in a sensational and controversial trial. Judge Joseph E. Gary imposed the death sentence on seven of the men, and the eighth was sentenced to 15 years in prison. On November 11, 1887, Samuel Fielden, Adolph Fischer, August Spies, and Albert Parson were executed.

Of the three others sentenced to death, one committed suicide on the eve of his execution and the other two had their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment by Illinois Governor Richard J. Oglesby. Governor Oglesby was reacting to widespread public questioning of their guilt, which later led his successor, Governor John P. Altgeld, to pardon fully the three activists still living in 1893.

“The Haymarket Square Riot,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4972 [accessed May 4, 2009]




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