Tag Archives: Civil rights

Almanac – June 17

1631 – Mumtaz Mahal died during childbirth. Her husband, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan I, spent the next 17 years building her mausoleum, the Taj Mahal.

 

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1939 – Last public guillotining in France: Eugen Weidmann, a convicted murderer, was guillotined in Versailles, outside the Saint-Pierre prison.

The “hysterical behaviour” of spectators was so scandalous that French president Albert Lebrun immediately banned all future public executions.

 

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1958 – Jello Biafra born. Former lead singer and songwriter for San Francisco punk rock band Dead Kennedys, now focused primarily on spoken word.
He is a staunch believer in a free society, who utilizes shock value and advocates direct action and pranksterism in the name of political causes,  known to use absurdist media tactics in the leftist tradition of the Yippies, to highlight issues of civil rights and social justice.

 

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Almanac – March 01

1692 – In Massachusetts, a female slave named Tituba who had been accused of practising witchcraft confessed, leading to further accusations and the outbreak of mass hysteria known as the Salem Witch Trials.

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1893 – Nikola Tesla gave the first public demonstration of radio in St. Louis, Missouri. The principles of his wireless work  contained all the elements that were later incorporated into radio systems before the development of the vacuum tube.

He initially experimented with magnetic receivers, unlike the coherers (detecting devices consisting of tubes filled with iron filings which had been invented by Temistocle Calzecchi-Onesti at Fermo in Italy in 1884) used by Guglielmo Marconi and other early experimenters.

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1927 – Harry Belafonte born. American singer, songwriter, actor and social activist,  dubbed the “King of Calypso” for popularizing the style with an international audience in the 1950s.

Throughout his career he has been an advocate for civil rights and humanitarian causes (which got him blacklisted during the McCarthy era)  and was a vocal critic of the policies of the George W. Bush administration.

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1948 – Burning Spear (Winston Rodney) born. Jamaican roots reggae singer and musician.

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1952 – First release on the Sun Records label – Driving Slow by Johnny London

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Almanac – November 15

1937 – Little Willie John born.  American R&B singer

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1950 – Graham Parker born.  British rock singer and songwriter,  Graham Parker & the Rumour.

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1998 – Stokely Carmichael died.  Trinidadian-American black activist active in the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement. He rose to prominence first as a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee  and later as the “Honorary Prime Minister” of the Black Panther Party. Initially an integrationist, Carmichael later became affiliated with black nationalist and Pan-Africanist movements. He popularized the term “Black Power”.

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Almanac – October 01

1760 – William Thomas Beckford born. English novelist, a profligate and consummately knowledgeable art collector and patron of works of decorative art, a critic, travel writer and sometime politician, reputed at one stage in his life to be the richest commoner in England. He is remembered as the author of the Gothic novel Vathek and as the builder of the remarkable lost Fonthill Abbey – a superfolly in an age of folly building. Most of it collapsed under the weight of its poorly-built tower the night of 21 December 1825. The remains of the house were slowly removed, leaving only a fragment, which exists today as a private home.

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1847 – Annie Besant born. British social reformer. She was a prominent Fabian socialist in the 1880s before becoming an adherent of Theosophy in 1889. She served as international president of the Theosophical Society from 1907 until her death, and her writings are still considered some of the best expositions of theosophical belief. After immigrating to India, she became an Indian independence leader and established the Indian Home Rule League in 1916.

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1937 – The US House of Representatives passed The Marihuana Tax Act, an important bill on the path that led to the criminalization of cannabis.
 A very cunning strategy – it stipulated that it could not be sold without a license… and licenses were never issued.

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1946 – Dave Holland born. English jazz double bassist, composer and bandleader.A member of Miles Davis‘s band for a couple of years, he played on the In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew albums.

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1962 – James Meredith registered at the University of Mississippi -accompanied by 400 U.S. deputy marshals and 1000 troops to guard the campus from further trouble – there had been 2 lives lost and 75 injuries to allow Meredith to break the schools 110 year history of segregation by being the first Negro to attend classes.

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Almanac – August 28

1814 – Sheridan Le Fanu born.  Irish writer of Gothic tales and mystery novels. He was the leading ghost-story writer of the nineteenth century and was central to the development of the genre in the Victorian era. Perhaps best remembered for Carmilla, a compelling tale of a lesbian vampire, set in central Europe. This story was to greatly influence Bram Stoker in the writing of Dracula and also inspired several films, including Hammer’s The Vampire Lovers and  Roger Vadim’s  Blood and Roses .
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1833 – The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 received Royal Assent, abolishing slavery through most the British Empire.

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1906 – John Betjeman born. English poet, writer and broadcaster. He was a founding member of the Victorian Society and a passionate defender of Victorian architecture. Starting his career as a journalist, he ended it as one of the most popular British Poets Laureate to date.

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1942 – Sterling Morrison born.  Guitarist with The Velvet Underground.

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1955 – Black teenager Emmett Till  murdered in Mississippi, aged 14, after reportedly flirting with a white woman , an event that galvanized  the nascent American Civil Rights Movement.

Till was from Chicago, Illinois, visiting his relatives in the Mississippi Delta region when he spoke to 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, the married proprietor of a small grocery store. Several nights later, Bryant’s husband Roy and his half-brother J. W. Milam arrived at Till’s great-uncle’s house where they took Till, transported him to a barn, beat him and gouged out one of his eyes, before shooting him through the head and disposing of his body in the Tallahatchie River.

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well, now you can count them one by one
it-could-be-your-son,
and you can count them two by two,
it-could-be-me-and-you
well, into-the-river-they-go, into-the-river-they-go,
now you can count them five by five,
now-they-don’t-come-out-a-live.
now you can count them six by six
in-Mississippi, they-got-it-fixed.
now you can count them seven by seven,
Mississippi, it-ain’t-no-heav-en
now you can count them eight by eight,
and-they-were thrown-in-because-of-hate.
now you can count them Nine by Nine
and Mississippi this a no Crime
you can count them Ten by Ten
and you would wonder when the right win

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