Posts Tagged ‘James Meredith

30
Sep
08

On This Day, 9-30-2008: James Meredith

September 30, 1962

Riots over desegregation of Ole Miss

In Oxford, Mississippi, James H. Meredith, an African American, is escorted onto the University of Mississippi campus by U.S. Marshals, setting off a deadly riot. Two men were killed before the racial violence was quelled by more than 3,000 federal soldiers. The next day, Meredith successfully enrolled and began to attend classes amid continuing disruption.

A former serviceman in the U.S. Air Force, Meredith applied and was accepted to the University of Mississippi in 1962, but his admission was revoked when the registrar learned of his race. A federal court ordered “Ole Miss” to admit him, but when he tried to register on September 20, 1962, he found the entrance to the office blocked by Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett. On September 28, the governor was found guilty of civil contempt and was ordered to cease his interference with desegregation at the university or face arrest and a fine of $10,000 a day. Two days later, Meredith was escorted onto the Ole Miss campus by U.S. Marshals. Turned back by violence, he returned the next day and began classes. Meredith, who was a transfer student from all-black Jackson State College, graduated with a degree in political science in 1963.

In 1966, Meredith returned to the public eye when he began a lone civil rights march in an attempt to encourage voter registration by African Americans in the South. During this March Against Fear, Meredith intended to walk from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi. However, on June 6, just two days into the march, he was sent to a hospital by a sniper’s bullet.

Other civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., and Stokely Carmichael, arrived to continue the march on his behalf. It was during the March Against Fear that Carmichael, who was leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, first spoke publicly of “Black Power”–his concept of militant African American nationalism. James Meredith later recovered and rejoined the march he had originated, and on June 26 the marchers successfully reached Jackson, Mississippi.

“Riots over desegregation of Ole Miss.” 2008. The History Channel website. 30 Sep 2008, 05:08 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5386.

On This Day

1777 – The Congress of the United States moved to York, PA, due to advancing British forces.

1787 – The Columbia left Boston and began the trip that would make it the first American vessel to sail around the world.

1846 – Ether, an experimental anesthetic at the time, was used for the first time by Dr. William Morton at Massachusetts General Hospital.

1882 – In Appleton, WI, the world’s first hydroelectric power plant began operating.

1938 – The Munich Conference ended with a decision to appease Adolf Hitler. Britain, and France allowed Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland to be annexed by the Nazis.

1946 – An international military tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, found 22 top Nazi leaders guilty of war crimes.

1954 – The U.S. Navy commissioned the Nautilus submarine at Groton, CT. It was the first atomic-powered vessel. The submarine had been launched on January 21, 1954.

1955 – Actor James Dean was killed in a car accident at the age of 24 near Cholame, CA. Dean’s mechanic, who was also in the vehicle, eventually recovered from his injuries.

1976 – California enacted the Natural Death Act of California. The law was the first example of right-to-die legislation in the U.S.

1989 – Non-Communist Cambodian guerrillas claimed that they had captured 3 towns and 10 other positions from the residing government forces.

1997 – France’s Roman Catholic Church apologized for its silence during the persecution and deportation of Jews the pro-Nazi Vichy regime.

September 30, 1949

Berlin Airlift ends

After 15 months and more than 250,000 flights, the Berlin Airlift officially comes to an end. The airlift was one of the greatest logistical feats in modern history and was one of the crucial events of the early Cold War.

In June 1948, the Soviet Union suddenly blocked all ground traffic into West Berlin, which was located entirely within the Russian zone of occupation in Germany. It was an obvious effort to force the United States, Great Britain, and France (the other occupying powers in Germany) to accept Soviet demands concerning the postwar fate of Germany. As a result of the Soviet blockade, the people of West Berlin were left without food, clothing, or medical supplies. Some U.S. officials pushed for an aggressive response to the Soviet provocation, but cooler heads prevailed and a plan for an airlift of supplies to West Berlin was developed. It was a daunting task: supplying the daily wants and needs of so many civilians would require tons of food and other goods each and every day. On June 26, 1948, the Berlin Airlift began with U.S. pilots and planes carrying the lion’s share of the burden. During the next 15 months, 277,264 aircraft landed in West Berlin bringing over 2 million tons of supplies. On September 30, 1949, the last plane–an American C-54–landed in Berlin and unloaded over two tons of coal. Even though the Soviet blockade officially ended in May 1949, it took several more months for the West Berlin economy to recover and the necessary stockpiles of food, medicine, and fuel to be replenished.

The Berlin Airlift was a tremendous Cold War victory for the United States. Without firing a shot, the Americans foiled the Soviet plan to hold West Berlin hostage, while simultaneously demonstrating to the world the “Yankee ingenuity” for which their nation was famous. For the Soviets, the Berlin crisis was an unmitigated disaster. The United States, France, and Great Britain merely hardened their resolve on issues related to Germany, and the world came to see the Russians as international bullies, trying to starve innocent citizens.

“Berlin Airlift ends.” 2008. The History Channel website. 30 Sep 2008, 05:10 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2806.

29
Sep
08

On This Day, 9-29-2008: Tylenol Terrorist

Anyone who lived in Illinois at the time should remember this one.

September 29, 1982

The Tylenol murders

On this day in 1982, a sick 12-year-old girl in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, unwittingly takes an Extra-Strength Tylenol capsule laced with cyanide poison and dies later that day. She would be one of seven people to die suddenly after taking the popular over-the-counter medication, as the so-called Tylenol murders spread fear across America. The victims, all from the Chicago area, ranged in age from 12 to 35 and included three members of the same family. Johnson & Johnson, the maker of Tylenol, launched a massive recall of its product and offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible.

Investigators soon determined that the tainted Tylenol capsules hadn’t been tampered with at the factories where they were produced. This meant that someone had taken the bottles from store shelves, laced them with poison and then returned them to grocery stores and pharmacies, where the victims later purchased the tampered bottles.

Johnson & Johnson reacted to the crisis swiftly and decisively, launching a massive public relations campaign urging the public not to use Tylenol. The company also ordered a national recall of 264,000 bottles of Tylenol and offered free replacement of the product in safer tablet form. At the time, it was unusual for companies to recall their products.

Before the “Tylenol Terrorist” struck, Tylenol was the nation’s leading over-the-counter drug and Johnson & Johnson’s bestselling product and some observers speculated that Tylenol would never be able to recover from the disaster. However, within months, Tylenol was back on store shelves with a new safety seal. The recall and re-launch cost Johnson & Johnson over $100 million, but in the end, Johnson & Johnson was praised for its handling of the crisis. Within a year, Tylenol’s market share rebounded and its tarnished image was significantly repaired.

The Tylenol murders, which inspired copycat crimes involving other products, were never solved, although various individuals were investigated. However, a positive outcome of the crisis was that it led drug makers to develop tamper-proof packaging, which had been largely nonexistent before the Tylenol Terrorist struck.

“The Tylenol murders.” 2008. The History Channel website. 29 Sep 2008, 04:58 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=52868.

 

On This Day

1758 – England’s Admiral Horatio Nelson was born.

1789 – A regular army was established by the U.S. War Department with several hundred men.

1943 – U.S. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Italian Marchal Pietro Badoglio signed an armistice aboard the British ship Nelson.

1962 – U.S. President John F. Kennedy nationalized the Mississippi National guard in response to city officials defying federal court orders. The orders had been to enroll James Meredith at the University of Mississippi.

1978 – Pope John Paul I was found dead after only one month of serving as pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.

1983 – The War Powers Act was used for the first time by the U.S. Congress when they authorized President Reagan to keep U.S. Marines in Lebanon for 18 more months.

1988 – The space shuttle Discovery took off from Cape Canaveral in Florida. It was the first manned space flight since the Challenger disaster.

1994 – The U.S. House voted to end the practice of lobbyist buying meals and entertainment for members of Congress.

 

September 29, 1941

Babi Yar massacre begins

The Babi Yar massacre of nearly 34,000 Jewish men, women, and children begins on the outskirts of Kiev in the Nazi-occupied Ukraine.

The German army took Kiev on September 19, and special SS squads prepared to carry out Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s orders to exterminate all Jews and Soviet officials found there. Beginning on September 29, more than 30,000 Jews were marched in small groups to the Babi Yar ravine to the north of the city, ordered to strip naked, and then machine-gunned into the ravine. The massacre ended on September 30, and the dead and wounded alike were covered over with dirt and rock.

Between 1941 and 1943, thousands more Jews, Soviet officials, and Russian prisoners of war were executed at the Babi Yar ravine in a similar manner. As the German armies retreated from the USSR, the Nazis attempted to hide evidence of the massacres by exhuming the bodies and burning them in large pyres. Numerous eyewitnesses and other evidence, however, attest to the atrocities at Babi Yar, which became a symbol of Jewish suffering in the Holocaust.

“Babi Yar massacre begins.” 2008. The History Channel website. 29 Sep 2008, 04:57 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=5383.

20
Sep
08

On This Day, 9-20-2008: On American Soil

September 20, 1565

First European battle on American soil

Spanish forces under Pedro Menéndez de Avilés capture the French Huguenot settlement of Fort Caroline, near present-day Jacksonville, Florida. The French, commanded by Rene Goulaine de Laudonniere, lost 135 men in the first instance of colonial warfare between European powers in America. Most of those killed were massacred on the order of Aviles, who allegedly had the slain hanged on trees beside the inscription “Not as Frenchmen, but as heretics.” Laudonniere and some 40 other Huguenots escaped.

In 1564, the French Huguenots (Protestants) had settled on the Banks of May, a strategic point on the Florida coast. King Philip II of Spain was disturbed by this challenge to Spanish authority in the New World and sent Pedro Menéndez de Avilés to Florida to expel the French heretics and establish a Spanish colony there. In early September 1565, Aviles founded San Augustin on the Florida coast, which would later grow into Saint Augustine–the oldest city in North America. Two weeks later, on September 20, he attacked and destroyed the French settlement of Fort Caroline.

The decisive French defeat encouraged France to refocus its colonial efforts in America far to the north, in what is now Quebec and Nova Scotia in Canada.

“First European battle on American soil.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Sep 2008, 01:48 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5361.

 

On This Day

1958 – Martin Luther King Jr. was stabbed in the chest at a New York City department store by an apparently deranged black woman.

1962 – James Meredith, a black student, was blocked from enrolling at the University of Mississippi by Governor Ross R. Barnett. Meredith was later admitted.

1963 – U.S. President John F. Kennedy proposed a joint U.S.-Soviet expedition to the moon in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly.

1977 – The first of the “boat people” arrived in San Francisco from Southeast Asia under a new U.S. resettlement program.

1982 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan announced that the U.S., France, and Italy were going to send peacekeeping troops back to Beirut.

 

September 20, 1777

Redcoats kill sleeping Americans in Paoli Massacre

On the evening of September 20, 1777, near Paoli, Pennsylvania, General Charles Grey and nearly 5,000 British soldiers launch a surprise attack on a small regiment of Patriot troops commanded by General Anthony Wayne in what becomes known as the Paoli Massacre. Not wanting to lose the element of surprise, Grey ordered his troops to empty their muskets and to use only bayonets or swords to attack the sleeping Americans under the cover of darkness.

With the help of a Loyalist spy who provided a secret password and led them to the camp, General Grey and the British launched the successful attack on the unsuspecting men of the Pennsylvania regiment, stabbing them to death as they slept. It was also alleged that the British soldiers took no prisoners during the attack, stabbing or setting fire to those who tried to surrender. Before it was over, nearly 200 Americans were killed or wounded. The Paoli Massacre became a rallying cry for the Americans against British atrocities for the rest of the Revolutionary War.

Less than two years later, Wayne became known as “Mad Anthony” for his bravery leading an impressive Patriot assault on British cliff-side fortifications at Stony Point on the Hudson River, 12 miles from West Point. Like Grey’s attack at Paoli, Wayne’s men only used bayonets in the 30-minute night attack, which resulted in 94 dead and 472 captured British soldiers.

“Redcoats kill sleeping Americans in Paoli Massacre.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Sep 2008, 01:56 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=50903.

18
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-18-2008: Soviet Coup

Soviet hard-liners launch coup against Gorbachev

On this day in 1991, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev is placed under house arrest during a coup by high-ranking members of his own government, military and police forces.

Since becoming secretary of the Communist Party in 1985 and president of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1988, Gorbachev had pursued comprehensive reforms of the Soviet system. Combining perestroika (“restructuring”) of the economy–including a greater emphasis on free-market policies–and glasnost (“openness”) in diplomacy, he greatly improved Soviet relations with Western democracies, particularly the United States. Meanwhile, though, within the USSR, Gorbachev faced powerful critics, including conservative, hard-line politicians and military officials who thought he was driving the Soviet Union toward its downfall and making it a second-rate power. On the other side were even more radical reformers–particularly Boris Yeltsin, president of the most powerful socialist republic, Russia–who complained that Gorbachev was just not working fast enough.

The August 1991 coup was carried out by the hard-line elements within Gorbachev’s own administration, as well as the heads of the Soviet army and the KGB, or secret police. Detained at his vacation villa in the Crimea, he was placed under house arrest and pressured to give his resignation, which he refused to do. Claiming Gorbachev was ill, the coup leaders, headed by former vice president Gennady Yanayev, declared a state of emergency and attempted to take control of the government.

Yeltsin and his backers from the Russian parliament then stepped in, calling on the Russian people to strike and protest the coup. When soldiers tried to arrest Yeltsin, they found the way to the parliamentary building blocked by armed and unarmed civilians. Yeltsin himself climbed aboard a tank and spoke through a megaphone, urging the troops not to turn against the people and condemning the coup as a “new reign of terror.” The soldiers backed off, some of them choosing to join the resistance. After thousands took the streets to demonstrate, the coup collapsed after only three days.

Gorbachev was released and flown to Moscow, but his regime had been dealt a deadly blow. Over the next few months, he dissolved the Communist Party, granted independence to the Baltic states, and proposed a looser, more economics-based federation among the remaining republics. In December 1991, Gorbachev resigned. Yeltsin capitalized on his defeat of the coup, emerging from the rubble of the former Soviet Union as the most powerful figure in Moscow and the leader of the newly formed Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Soviet hard-liners launch coup against Gorbachev.” 2008. The History Channel website. 18 Aug 2008, 04:48 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52838.

 

On This Day

1227 – The Mongol conqueror Ghengis Khan died.

1587 – Virginia Dare became the first child to be born on American soil of English parents. The colony that is now Roanoke Island, NC, mysteriously vanished.

1846 – Gen. Stephen W. Kearney and his U.S. forces captured Santa Fe, NM.

1914 – The “Proclamation of Neutrality” was issued by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. It was aimed at keeping the U.S. out of World War I.

1920 – Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Amendment guaranteed the right of all American women to vote.

1958 – Vladimir Nabokov’s novel “Lolita” was published.

1962 – Ringo Starr made his first appearance as a Beatle at a Cavern Club show.

1963 – James Meredith graduated from the University of Mississippi. He was the first black man to accomplish this feat.

1973 – The Doobie Brothers’ “China Grove” was released.

1997 – Beth Ann Hogan became the first coed in the Virginia Military Institute’s 158-year history.

 

 

Woman suffrage amendment ratified

The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, is ratified by Tennessee, giving it the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it the law of the land. The amendment was the culmination of more than 70 years of struggle by woman suffragists. Its two sections read simply: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” and “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

“Woman suffrage amendment ratified.” 2008. The History Channel website. 18 Aug 2008, 04:49 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5271.

Australia and New Zealand decide to withdraw troops from Vietnam

Australia and New Zealand announce the end of the year as the deadline for withdrawal of their respective contingents from Vietnam. The Australians had 6,000 men in South Vietnam and the New Zealanders numbered 264. Both nations agreed to leave behind small training contingents. Australian Prime Minister William McMahon proclaimed that the South Vietnamese forces were now able to assume Australia’s role in Phuoc Tuy province, southeast of Saigon and that Australia would give South Vietnam $28 million over the next three years for civilian projects. Total Australian losses for the period of their commitment in Vietnam were 473 dead and 2,202 wounded; the monetary cost of the war was $182 million for military expenses and $16 million in civilian assistance to South Vietnam.

“Australia and New Zealand decide to withdraw troops from Vietnam.” 2008. The History Channel website. 18 Aug 2008, 04:51 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=1284.




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