Posts Tagged ‘Mahatma Ghandi

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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05
Apr
08

On This Day, 4-5-08: Pocahontas

Pocahontas marries John Rolfe

Pocahontas, daughter of the chief of the Powhatan Indian confederacy, marries English tobacco planter John Rolfe in Jamestown, Virginia. The marriage ensured peace between the Jamestown settlers and the Powhatan Indians for several years.

In May 1607, about 100 English colonists settled along the James River in Virginia to found Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America. The settlers fared badly because of famine, disease, and Indian attacks, but were aided by 27-year-old English adventurer John Smith, who directed survival efforts and mapped the area. While exploring the Chickahominy River in December 1607, Smith and two colonists were captured by Powhatan warriors. At the time, the Powhatan confederacy consisted of around 30 Tidewater-area tribes led by Chief Wahunsonacock, known as Chief Powhatan to the English. Smith’s companions were killed, but he was spared and released, (according to a 1624 account by Smith) because of the dramatic intercession of Pocahontas, Chief Powhatan’s 13-year-old daughter. Her real name was Matoaka, and Pocahontas was a pet name that has been translated variously as “playful one” and “my favorite daughter.”

In 1608, Smith became president of the Jamestown colony, but the settlement continued to suffer. An accidental fire destroyed much of the town, and hunger, disease, and Indian attacks continued. During this time, Pocahontas often came to Jamestown as an emissary of her father, sometimes bearing gifts of food to help the hard-pressed settlers. She befriended the settlers and became acquainted with English ways. In 1609, Smith was injured from a fire in his gunpowder bag and was forced to return to England.

After Smith’s departure, relations with the Powhatan deteriorated and many settlers died from famine and disease in the winter of 1609-10. Jamestown was about to be abandoned by its inhabitants when Baron De La Warr (also known as Delaware) arrived in June 1610 with new supplies and rebuilt the settlement–the Delaware River and the colony of Delaware were later named after him. John Rolfe also arrived in Jamestown in 1610 and two years later cultivated the first tobacco there, introducing a successful source of livelihood that would have far-reaching importance for Virginia.

In the spring of 1613, English Captain Samuel Argall took Pocahontas hostage, hoping to use her to negotiate a permanent peace with her father. Brought to Jamestown, she was put under the custody of Sir Thomas Gates, the marshal of Virginia. Gates treated her as a guest rather than a prisoner and encouraged her to learn English customs. She converted to Christianity and was baptized Lady Rebecca. Powhatan eventually agreed to the terms for her release, but by then she had fallen in love with John Rolfe, who was about 10 years her senior. On April 5, 1614, Pocahontas and John Rolfe married with the blessing of Chief Powhatan and the governor of Virginia.

Their marriage brought a peace between the English colonists and the Powhatans, and in 1615 Pocahontas gave birth to their first child, Thomas. In 1616, the couple sailed to England. The so-called Indian Princess proved popular with the English gentry, and she was presented at the court of King James I. In March 1617, Pocahontas and Rolfe prepared to sail back to Virginia. However, the day before they were to leave, Pocahontas died, probably of smallpox, and was buried at the parish church of St. George in Gravesend, England.

John Rolfe returned to Virginia and was killed in an Indian massacre in 1622. After an education in England, their son Thomas Rolfe returned to Virginia and became a prominent citizen. John Smith returned to the New World in 1614 to explore the New England coast. On another voyage of exploration in 1614, he was captured by pirates but escaped after three months of captivity. He then returned to England, where he died in 1631.

“Pocahontas marries John Rolfe.” 2008. The History Channel website. 5 Apr 2008, 02:41 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6858.

1792 – U.S. President George Washington cast the first presidential veto. The measure was for apportioning representatives among the states.

1887 – Anne Sullivan taught Helen Keller the meaning of the word “water” as spelled out in the manual alphabet.

1908 – The Japanese Army reached the Yalu River as the Russians retreated.

1930 – Mahatma Ghandi defied British law by making salt in India.

1941 – German commandos secured docks along the Danube River in preparation for Germany’s invasion of the Balkans.

1951 – Americans Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sentenced to death for committing espionage for the Soviet Union.

1955 – Winston Churchill resigned as British prime minister.

1998 – The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan opened becoming the largest suspension bridge in the world. It links Shikoku and Honshu. The bridge cost about $3.8 billion.

Benjamin Franklin publishes “An Open Letter to Lord North”

On this day in 1774, Benjamin Franklin writes an open letter to Great Britain’s prime minister, Frederick, Lord North, from the Smyrna Coffee House in London. It was published in The Public Advertiser, a British newspaper, on April 15, 1774.

“Benjamin Franklin publishes “An Open Letter to Lord North”.” 2008. The History Channel website. 5 Apr 2008, 02:41 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=453.

For the actual letter: http://www.historycarper.com/resources/twobf3/north.htm




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