Posts Tagged ‘Mayor Richard Daley

28
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-28-2008: Emmet Till

The death of Emmett Till

While visiting family in Money, Mississippi, 14-year-old Emmett Till, an African American from Chicago, is brutally murdered for flirting with a white woman four days earlier. His assailants–the white woman’s husband and her brother–made Emmett carry a 75-pound cotton-gin fan to the bank of the Tallahatchie River and ordered him to take off his clothes. The two men then beat him nearly to death, gouged out his eye, shot him in the head, and then threw his body, tied to the cotton-gin fan with barbed wire, into the river.

Till grew up in a working-class neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, and though he had attended a segregated elementary school, he was not prepared for the level of segregation he encountered in Mississippi. His mother warned him to take care because of his race, but Emmett enjoyed pulling pranks. On August 24, while standing with his cousins and some friends outside a country store in Money, Emmett bragged that his girlfriend back home was white. Emmett’s African American companions, disbelieving him, dared Emmett to ask the white woman sitting behind the store counter for a date. He went in, bought some candy, and on the way out was heard saying, “Bye, baby” to the woman. There were no witnesses in the store, but Carolyn Bryant–the woman behind the counter–claimed that he grabbed her, made lewd advances, and then wolf-whistled at her as he sauntered out.

Roy Bryant, the proprietor of the store and the woman’s husband, returned from a business trip a few days later and found out how Emmett had spoken to his wife. Enraged, he went to the home of Till’s great uncle, Mose Wright, with his brother-in-law J.W. Milam in the early morning hours of August 28. The pair demanded to see the boy. Despite pleas from Wright, they forced Emmett into their car. After driving around in the Memphis night, and perhaps beating Till in a toolhouse behind Milam’s residence, they drove him down to the Tallahatchie River.

Three days later, his corpse was recovered but was so disfigured that Mose Wright could only identify it by an initialed ring. Authorities wanted to bury the body quickly, but Till’s mother, Mamie Bradley, requested it be sent back to Chicago. After seeing the mutilated remains, she decided to have an open-casket funeral so that all the world could see what racist murderers had done to her only son. Jet, an African American weekly magazine, published a photo of Emmett’s corpse, and soon the mainstream media picked up on the story.

Less than two weeks after Emmett’s body was buried, Milam and Bryant went on trial in a segregated courthouse in Sumner, Mississippi. There were few witnesses besides Mose Wright, who positively identified the defendants as Emmett’s killers. On September 23, the all-white jury deliberated for less than an hour before issuing a verdict of “not guilty,” explaining that they believed the state had failed to prove the identity of the body. Many people around the country were outraged by the decision and also by the state’s decision not to indict Milam and Bryant on the separate charge of kidnapping.

The Emmett Till murder trial brought to light the brutality of Jim Crow segregation in the South and was an early impetus of the African American civil rights movement.

“The death of Emmett Till.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Aug 2008, 05:02 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5297.

On This Day

1619 – Ferdinand II was elected Holy Roman Emperor. His policy of “One church, one king” was his way of trying to outlaw Protestantism.

1833 – Slavery was banned by the British Parliament throughout the British Empire.

1907 – “American Messenger Company” was started by two teenagers, Jim Casey and Claude Ryan. The companies name was later changed to “United Parcel Service.”

1916 – Italy’s declaration of war against Germany took effect during World War I.

1917 – Ten suffragists were arrested as they picketed the White House.

1939 – The first successful flight of a jet-propelled airplane took place. The plane was a German Heinkel He 178.

1963 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his “I Have a Dream” speech at a civil rights rally in Washington, DC. More than 200,000 people attended.

1988 – At an air show in Ramstein, West Germany, an Italian Air Force jet collided with 2 other jets and then plunged into a crowd. 70 people were killed.

1990 – Iraq declared Kuwait to be its 19th province and renamed Kuwait City al-Kadhima.

1995 – A mortar shell killed 38 people in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. The act triggered NATO airstrikes against the Bosnian Serbs.

1996 – A divorce decree was issued for Britain’s Charles and Princess Diana. This was the official end to the 15-year marriage.

Mass slaughter in Ukraine

On this day in 1941, more than 23,000 Hungarian Jews are murdered by the Gestapo in occupied Ukraine.

The German invasion of the Soviet Union had advanced to the point of mass air raids on Moscow and the occupation of parts of Ukraine. On August 26, Hitler displayed the joys of conquest by inviting Benito Mussolini to Brest-Litovsk, where the Germans had destroyed the city’s citadel. The grand irony is that Ukrainians had originally viewed the Germans as liberators from their Soviet oppressors and an ally in the struggle for independence. But as early as July, the Germans were arresting Ukrainians agitating and organizing for a provisional state government with an eye toward autonomy and throwing them into concentration camps. The Germans also began carving the nation up, dispensing parts to Poland (already occupied by Germany) and Romania.

But true horrors were reserved for Jews in the territory. Tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews had been expelled from that country and migrated to Ukraine. The German authorities tried sending them back, but Hungary would not take them. SS General Franz Jaeckeln vowed to deal with the influx of refugees by the “complete liquidation of those Jews by September 1.” He worked even faster than promised. On August 28, he marched more than 23,000 Hungarian Jews to bomb craters at Kamenets Podolsk, ordered them to undress, and riddled them with machine-gun fire. Those who didn’t die from the spray of bullets were buried alive under the weight of corpses that piled atop them.

All told, more than 600,000 Jews had been murdered in Ukraine by war’s end.

“Mass slaughter in Ukraine.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Aug 2008, 04:59 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6566.

Riots in Chicago fracture the Cold War consensus

At the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, tens of thousands of protesters against the Vietnam War battle police in the streets while the Democratic Party tears itself to shreds concerning a platform statement on Vietnam. In one day and night, the Cold War consensus that had dominated American thinking since the late 1940s was shattered.

Since World War II ended and tensions with the Soviet Union began to intensify, a Cold War consensus about foreign policy had grown to dominate American thinking. In this mindset, communism was the ultimate enemy that had to be fought everywhere in the world. Uprisings in any nation, particularly in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, or Latin America, were perceived through a Cold War lens and were usually deemed to be communist-inspired. In Chicago in August 1968, that Cold War consensus began to crack and crumble. The Democratic Party held its national convention in Chicago that year. Problems immediately arose both inside and outside the convention. Inside, the delegates were split on the party’s stance concerning the ongoing Vietnam War. Many wanted a plank in the party’s platform demanding a U.S. withdrawal from the bloody and frustrating conflict. Most of these delegates supported Eugene McCarthy, a committed antiwar candidate, for president. A majority, however, believed that America must not give up the fight against communism. They largely supported Vice President Hubert Humphrey. As the debate intensified, fights broke out on the convention floor, and delegates and reporters were kicked, punched, and knocked to the ground. Eventually, the Humphrey forces were victorious, but the events of the convention left the Democratic Party demoralized and drained.

On the streets of Chicago, antiwar protesters massed in the downtown area, determined to force the Democrats to nominate McCarthy. Mayor Richard Daley responded by unleashing the Chicago police force. Thousands of policemen stormed into the crowd, swinging their clubs and firing tear gas. Stunned Americans watched on TV as the police battered and beat protesters, reporters, and anyone else in the way. The protesters began to chant, “The whole world is watching. The whole world is watching.”

The world–and the American nation–was indeed watching that night. What they were witnessing was a serious fracture beginning to develop in America’s previously solid Cold War consensus. For the first time, many Americans were demanding that their nation withdraw from part of its war against communism. North Vietnam, instead of being portrayed as the villain and pawn of its Soviet masters, was seen by some as a beleaguered nation fighting for independence and freedom against the vast war machine of the United States. The convention events marked an important turning point: no longer would the government have unrestrained power to pursue its Cold War policies. When future international crises arose–in Central America, the Middle East, or Africa–the cry of “No more Vietnams” was a reminder that the government’s Cold War rhetoric would be closely scrutinized and often criticized.

“Riots in Chicago fracture the Cold War consensus.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Aug 2008, 05:14 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2773.

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26
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-26-2008: The Missile Gap

Russia tests an intercontinental ballistic missile

The Soviet Union announces that it has successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of being fired “into any part of the world.” The announcement caused great concern in the United States, and started a national debate over the “missile gap” between America and Russia.

For years after World War II, both the United States and the Soviet Union had been trying to perfect a long-range missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Building on the successes of Nazi Germany in developing the V-1 and V-2 rockets that pummeled Great Britain during the last months of World War II, both American and Russian scientists raced to improve the range and accuracy of such missiles. (Both nations relied heavily on captured German scientists in their efforts.) In July 1957, the United States seemed to win the race when the Atlas, an ICBM with a speed of up to 20,000 miles an hour and an effective range of 5,000 miles, was ready for testing. The test, however, was a disaster. The missile rose only about 5,000 feet into the air, tumbled, and plunged to earth. Just a month later, the Soviets claimed success by announcing that their own ICBM had been tested, had “covered a huge distance in a brief time,” and “landed in the target area.” No details were given in the Russian announcement and some commentators in the United States doubted that the ICBM test had been as successful as claimed. Nevertheless, the Soviet possession of this “ultimate weapon,” coupled with recent successful test by the Russians of atomic and hydrogen bombs, raised concerns in America. If the Soviets did indeed perfect their ICBM, no part of the United States would be completely safe from possible atomic attack.

Less than two months later, the Soviets sent the satellite Sputnik into space. Concern quickly turned to fear in the United States, as it appeared that the Russians were gaining the upper hand in the arms and space races. The American government accelerated its own missile and space programs. The Soviet successes–and American failures–became an issue in the 1960 presidential campaign. Democratic challenger John F. Kennedy charged that the outgoing Eisenhower administration had allowed a dangerous “missile gap” to develop between the United States and the Soviet Union. Following his victory in 1960, Kennedy made missile development and the space program priorities for his presidency.

“Russia tests an intercontinental ballistic missile.” 2008. The History Channel website. 26 Aug 2008, 04:38 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2771.

 

On This Day

55 B.C. – Britain was invaded by Roman forces under Julius Caesar.

1743 – Antoine Lavoisier was born. He was the chemist that proved that the union of oxygen and other chemicals is used in burning, rusting of metals and breathing.

1883 – A two-day eruption of the volcanic island Krakatoa began. The tidal waves that were associated with the eruption killed 36,000 people when they destroyed the island.

1920 – The 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect. The amendment prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in the voting booth.

1937 – All Chinese shipping was blockaded by Japan.

1957 – The first Edsel made by the Ford Motor Company rolled out.

1998 – The U.S. government announced that they were investigating Microsoft in an attempt to discover if they “bullied” Intel into delaying new technology.

1998 – Sudan filed a criminal lawsuit against U.S. President Clinton and the United States for the bombing of the El-Shifa Pharmaceutical Industries Company. The Sudanese claimed that the plant was strictly civilian.

 

Washington urges Hessians to desert

Falsely confident that the British would not attack New York’s Manhattan Island, General George Washington pours additional reinforcements into the lines around Brooklyn Heights, then considered part of rural Long Island, on this day in 1776. Washington also ordered the dispersal of certain documents among the Hessians, about which he wrote “The papers designed for the foreign (Hessian) Troops, have been put into several Channels, in order that they may be conveyed to them, and from the Information I had yesterday, I have reason to believe many have fallen into their Hands.” The “papers” induced Hessian troops to desert the British army.

“Washington urges Hessians to desert.” 2008. The History Channel website. 26 Aug 2008, 04:34 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=50706.

Democratic convention besieged by protesters

As the Democratic National Convention gets underway in Chicago, thousands of antiwar demonstrators take to Chicago’s streets to protest the Vietnam War and its support by the top Democratic presidential candidate, Vice President Hubert Humphrey. During the four-day convention, the most violent in U.S. history, police and National Guardsmen clashed with protesters outside the International Amphitheater, and hundreds of people, including innocent bystanders, were beaten by the Chicago police. The violence even spilled into the convention hall, as guards roughed up delegates and members of the press, including CBS News correspondent Mike Wallace, who was punched in the face. On August 29, Humphrey secured the nomination and the convention ended.

In the convention’s aftermath, a federal commission investigating the convention described one of the confrontations as a “police riot” and blamed Chicago Mayor Richard Daley for inciting his police to violence. Nevertheless, eight political radicals–the so-called “Chicago Eight”–were arrested on charges of conspiring to incite the violence, and in 1969 their trial began in Chicago, sparking new waves of protests in the city.

“Democratic convention besieged by protesters.” 2008. The History Channel website. 26 Aug 2008, 04:32 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=5292.

 

By 1968 John Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy had been murdered, and the Vietnam War had escalated into an epic struggle between capitalism and communism.  Anti-war protesters descended on the Democratic convention in 1968.  Before Chicago in 1968 the protests had been relatively peaceful, after Chicago anti-war violence escalated.

“Hello, I’m going to read a declaration of a state of war…within the next 14 days we will attack a symbol or institution of American injustice.” ~ Bernardine Dohrn http://www.upstatefilms.org/weather/main.html

This is a full length film documentary and has graphic violent content.

“The Weather Underground”

Port Huron Statement of the Students for a Democratic Society, 1962

Introductory Note: This document represents the results of several months of writing and discussion among the membership, a draft paper, and revision by the Students for a Democratic Society national convention meeting in Port Huron, Michigan, June 11-15, 1962. It is represented as a document with which SDS officially identifies, but also as a living document open to change with our times and experiences. It is a beginning: in our own debate and education, in our dialogue with society.

published and distributed by Students for a Democratic Society 112 East 19 Street New York 3, New York Gramercy 3-2181

http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/huron.html

“Violence didn’t work.”  Mark Rudd

A policy is a temporary creed liable to be changed, but while it holds good it has got to be pursued with apostolic zeal.
Mohandas Gandhi

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
Mohandas Gandhi




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