April 14, 1947
Segregation of Mexican-American children, common in California at the time, was declared unconstitutional by the Federal Appeals Court for the Ninth Circuit. Suit had been brought against several school districts in Orange County by Gonzalo Méndez and several World War II veterans.
Separate schools for those of Mexican parentage was struck down in Méndez et al. v. Westminster School District: “ . . . commingling of the entire student body instills and develops a common cultural attitude among the school children which is imperative for the perpetuation of American institutions and ideals. It is also established by the record that the methods of segregation prevalent in the defendant school districts foster antagonisms in the children and suggest inferiority among them where none exists . . .” Sylvia Mendez
Sylvia Mendez honored
Text of the appellate court’s decision

April 14, 1988
The Soviet Union signed an agreement pledging to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan after nearly ten years. The pact, drawn up in negotiations between the United States, the USSR, Pakistan and Afghanistan, was signed at a United Nations ceremony in the Swiss capital of Geneva.

Entertaining and basically factual story of what pushed the Soviets out of Afghanistan

April 14, 1988
Denmark’s parliament, the Folketing, insisted that foreign warships affirmatively state whether or not they carry nuclear weapons before being allowed to enter Danish ports.
Previously, their non-nuclear policy had not been enforced and such weapons were routinely carried on nuclear-capable NATO ships visiting Denmark. U.S. and other allies had abided by a policy known as “neither confirming nor denying” (NCND).

Denmark’s Folketing
The policy and its consequences
No Nuclear Weapons
from the ’80s
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April 15, 1947
Jackie Roosevelt Robinson became the first African American to play in a major league baseball game in the 20th century. His stepping onto Ebbets Field in a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform broke the “color line,” the segregation of professional teams.

The International League in 1887 began a wave of League-wide black exclusion, and it had been complete since 1899, when Bill Galloway became the last African-American player in white organized ball (Woodstock, Ontario).
Though hitless in three at-bats, Robinson started at first base, and the Dodgers beat the Boston Braves
that day, 5-3.

continued (info, photos, links). . .
Peace quote

“I guess you’d call me an independent, since I’ve never identified myself with one party or another in politics. I always decide my vote by taking as careful a look as I can at the actual candidates and issues themselves, no matter what the party label”
– Jackie Robinson


April 15, 1967


Amidst growing opposition to the war in Vietnam, large-scale anti-war protests were held in New York, San Francisco and other cities. In New York, the protest began in Central Park, where over 150 draft cards were burned, and concluded at United Nations with a speeches by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and others.

King and Dr. Benjamin Spock lead an anti-war march to the United Nations, 15 April 1967
King’s opposition to the war, excerpts of his speeches and reaction throughout the country
Peace quote

“I was proud of the youths who opposed the war in Vietnam because they were my babies.”
– Dr. Benjamin Spock



April, 16, 1971
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimated over 2,000 people openly refused to pay part or all of their income tax.

“If a thousand [people] were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them and enable the state to commit violence and shed innocent blood.”
Henry David Thoreau on the Mexican War

National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee


Union printed Detroit made
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April 16, 2000
Between 10,000 and 20,000 activists blockaded meetings of the
World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. Sitting down at intersections and locking arms to form human chains, the protesters were opposed to Bank and IMF policies that increased third-world indebtedness and did little to directly benefit the poor in those countries.
“The World Bank is subjugating our economic and social independence,” Vineeta Gupta, a doctor from the Punjab in India, said in a letter he delivered to World Bank President James Wolfensohn at his home. “It is time that we shut the bank down, and this boycott is a great start.”


April 17, 1960
Inspired by the Greensboro sit-in of four black college students at an all-white lunch counter, nearly 150 black students from nine states formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina, with Ella Baker, James Lawson and Martin Luther King, Jr., the founders set SNCC’s initial goals as overturning segregation in the South.

They also considered it important to give young blacks a stronger voice in the civil rights movement, as many had participated in sit-ins that had proliferated to dozens of cities over the previous three months.
At the Raleigh conference Guy Carawan sang a new version of “We Shall Overcome,” an adaptation of an old labor song. This song would become the national anthem of the civil rights movement.
People joined hands and gently swayed in time singing “black and white together,” repeating over and over, “Deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome some day.”
History of SNCC
What SNCC did to make change happen

All great legislation grows out of mass movements organized by people like you and me.
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In the style of the 1963 March on Washington
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April 17, 1965

The first national demonstration against the Vietnam War took place in the nation’s capital. Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the organizers, had expected about 2000 marchers; the actual count was 15,000–25,000. This was the largest anti-war protest ever to have been held in Washington, D.C. up to that time. The number of marchers approximately equaled the number of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam. Several hundred students in the protest broke away from the main march and conducted a brief sit-in at the U.S. Capitol’s door.
An exam prepared by SDS about the Vietnam War (answers available)
Peace Dove
lapel pin

The dove from the
’68 & ’69 Vietnam Moratorium
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April 17, 1986


Reverend Jesse Jackson, future congresswoman Maxine Waters and others co-founded the Rainbow Coalition, initially intended as a progressive public-policy think tank within the Democratic Party.

Keep HOPE alive

Representative Maxine Waters, Harry Belafonte,
John Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO,
Reverend Jesse Jackson, and Willie Nelson
August 6, 2005-Atlanta, Georgia.
Readers comment

“Getting the info you send is a tremendous help to me…knowing I’m not alone out here in Arizona…that others feel as I do…that there is a rich, very rich history of protest and action against what otherwise is mass insanity. Thank you”
– Robert C

April 17, 1992
On Good Friday morning, about 50 people accompanied Fr. Carl Kabat and Carol Carson to Missile Silo Site N5 at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, the same silo that Carl and other members of the Silo Pruning Hooks (see below) disarmed in 1984. They cut through a fence and, once inside, Carol used a sledgehammer on the concrete lid of the silo while Carl performed a rite of exorcism.

Eventually, the police arrived and arrested Carl and Carol. They were jailed and held until their court appearance. At that time, they made a preliminary agreement with federal prosecutors wherein they would plead “no contest” to trespass in exchange for the property destruction charge being dropped; they were sentenced to six and three months, respectively, in a halfway house. Carl Kabat
A History of Direct Disarmament Action


April 18, 1912
Members of the United Mine Workers of America on Paint Creek in Kanawha County, West Virginia, demanded wages equal to those of other area mines. The operators rejected the wage increase and miners walked off the job. Miners along nearby Cabin Creek, having previously lost their union, joined the Paint Creek strikers and demanded:
• the right to organize
• recognition of their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly
• an end to blacklisting union organizers
• alternatives to company stores
• an end to the practice of using mine guards
• prohibition of cribbing
• installation of scales at all mines for accurately weighing coal
• unions be allowed to hire their own checkweighmen to make sure the companies’ checkweighmen were not cheating the miners.
When the strike began, operators brought in mine guards from the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency to evict miners and their families from company houses. The evicted miners set up tent colonies and lived in other makeshift housing. The mine guards’ primary responsibility was to break the strike by making the lives of the miners as uncomfortable as possible.
Striking miners and their families being evicted from company houses.
Deep background on the W. Virginia coal business and the strike

April 18, 1941

Bus companies in New York City agreed to hire 200 black workers after a four-week boycott by riders led by Reverend Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. of Harlem’s Abysinnian Baptist Church, the largest Protestant congregation in the U.S. Powell ran and won a City Council seat later that year and became a member of Congress four years later.

Reverend Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
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April 18, 1960

Tens of thousands of people marked the end of the Aldermaston “ban the bomb” march at a rally with at least 60,000 gathering in Trafalgar Square, the largest demonstration London had seen to date.

Read more
Did you know . . .
the first peace symbol buttons were made in 1958 using white clay . . .

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Right to Work?

Michigan recently became the 24th Right to Work state.
Even if you’re not in a Right to Work state it may be coming to you
Whether you’re Union or this button is for you or someone you know!
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April 19, 1911
More than 6,000 Grand Rapids, Michigan, furniture workers—Germans, Dutch, Lithuanians, and Poles—put down their tools and struck 59 factories in what became known as the Great Furniture Strike.
For four months they campaigned and picketed for higher pay, shorter hours, and an end to the piecework pay system that was common in the plants of America’s “Furniture City.” Although the strike ended after four months without a resolution, Gordon Olson, Grand Rapids city historian emeritus, said once employees returned to work, most owners did increase pay and reduce hours.

The Spirit of Solidarity — a $1.3 million granite sculpture, plaza and fountain — sits on the land of the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum on the banks of the Grand River near the Indian mound.
The Strike’s history from the APWU On the 100th anniversary of the strike

April 19, 1943

On the eve of Passover, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began when Nazi forces attempted to clear out the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw, Poland, to send them to concentration camps. The Germans were met by unexpected gunfire from Jewish resistance fighters. The destruction of the ghetto had been ordered in February by SS Chief Heinrich Himmler:
“An overall plan for the razing of the ghetto is to be submitted to me. In any case we must achieve the disappearance from sight of the living-space for 500,000 sub-humans (Untermenschen) that has existed up to now, but could never be suitable for Germans, and reduce the size of this city of millions—Warsaw—which has always been a center of corruption and revolt.”
These two women, soon to be executed, were members of the Jewish resistance.
” …Jews and Jewesses shot from two pistols at the same time…
The Jewesses carried loaded pistols in their clothing with the safety catches off…
At the last moment, they would pull hand grenades out…and throw them at the soldiers….”>

Captured Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Learn more about The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Peace quote

“How wonderful it is that no one need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
– Anne Frank
Very popular

A button inspired by Gandhi
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April 19, 1971

As a prelude to a massive anti-war protest, Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) began a five-day demonstration in Washington, D.C. The generally peaceful protest was called Dewey Canyon III in honor of the operation of the same name conducted in Laos.
They lobbied their congressmen, laid wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery, and staged mock “search-and-destroy” missions.

April 19, 1997

Two Swedish Plowshares peace activists, Cecelia Redner, a priest in the Church of Sweden, and Marija Fischer, a student, entered the Bufors Arms factory in Karlskoga, Sweden, planted an apple tree and attempted to disarm a naval cannon being exported to Indonesia. Cecelia was charged with attempt to commit malicious damage and Marija with assisting in what was called the Choose Life Disarmament Action. Both were also charged with violating a law which protects facilities “important to society.”
Both women were convicted, arguing over repeated interruptions by the judge, that, in Redner’s words, “When my country is arming a dictator I am not allowed to be passive and obedient, since it would make me guilty to the crime of genocide in East Timor. I know what is going on and I cannot only blame the Indonesian dictatorship or my own government.” Fischer added, “We tried to prevent a crime, and that is an obligation according to our law.” Redner was sentenced to fines and three years of correctional education. Fischer was sentenced to fines and two years’ suspended sentence.
Both the prosecutor and defendants appealed the case.
No jail sentences were imposed.

Readers comment

“I want to say that this button company is the only one I know where you can order a small number of buttons for a reasonable price.  Many companies require that you order a certain amount of merchandise and that amount is often too high for a very small peace organization. Thank you for doing this. . . . Thanks again for the work you do and for supporting so many good organizations with your profits.  I much prefer to buy from real peace activists rather than regular commercial button companies.  And the weekly history notes are terrific.”
-Cathy, Terra Haute, IN

Peace quote

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
– Harriet Tubman


April 20, 1853


Harriet Tubman began her Underground Railroad, a network of people and places that aided in the escape of slaves to the north.

Story of a liberator of her people from bondage

Harriet Tubman

April 20, 1964
In his closing statement at the Rivonia Trial, African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela addressed the court: “We want a just share in the whole of South Africa . . . We want security and a stake in society. Above all, my lord, we want equal political rights, because without them our disabilities will be permanent.” He was in Pretoria Supreme Court in South Africa where he and eight co-defendants were charged with 221 acts of sabotage designed to “ferment violent revolution,” and were facing the death penalty. At the time, black South Africans had no civil or political rights whatsoever, though they comprised over 80% of the population.

He concluded: “During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination.
“ I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live and to see realised. But, my lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” Mandela in 1958

Peace quote

“The majority of South Africans, black and white, recognize that apartheid has no future. It has to be ended by our own decisive mass action in order to build peace and security. The mass campaign of defiance and other actions of our organization and people can only culminate in the establishment of democracy.”
– Nelson Mandela


April 20, 1969

On the site of a parking lot owned by the University of California, Berkeley, a diverse group of people came together, each freely contributing their skills and resources to create People’s Park.

“Long live People’s Park!
Showdown in the Counterculture Corral”
by Ron Jacobs

April 20, 1982
Seven women were arrested in an anti-nuclear protest outside Mather Air Force Base, near Sacramento, California, in what had become a weekly vigil. Speaking after her arrest, Barbara Weidner, 72, said, “As a mother and grandmother, I could no longer remain silent as our world rushes on its collision course with disaster which threatens the lives and futures of all children, everywhere, and the future of this beautiful planet itself.”
She later said, “I hope people will not think we are encouraging people to break the law,” she said. “But our actions should teach people, and children, to scrutinize laws against human life, and they should be broken to prove a point.”

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March 31, 1492
King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella ordered the expulsion from Spain before August of all Jews who refused to convert to Christianity under penalty of death.

March 31, 1970
The Oakland, California, Induction Center revealed that over the prior six months, half those drafted for the Vietnam War had failed to appear, and 11% of those who reported then refused induction into the U.S. Army. Later that Spring 2500 University of California-Berkeley students at once turned in their draft cards to the Oakland Center.

March 31, 1972
Protesters – singing, blowing horns and carrying banners – launched the latest leg of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’s 56-mile Easter march from London to Aldermaston, Berkshire, England.
The banner used in the 1960s Aldermaston marches.
Peace quote

“War does not determine who is right, only who is left.”
– Bertrand Russell

March 31, 1991
Before dawn on Easter, five Plowshares activists boarded the USS Gettys-burg, an Aegis-equipped Cruiser docked at the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. They proceeded to hammer and pour blood on covers of vertical launching systems for cruise missiles.
“We witness against the American enslavement to war at the Bath Iron Works, geographically near the President’s home.” They also left an in-dictment charging President George H.W. Bush, Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, the National Security Council and the Joint Chiefs of Staff with war crimes and violations of God’s law and international law, including the kill-ing of thousands of Iraqis.
Remembering Aegis Plowshares


April 1, 1841

Brook Farm, perhaps history’s most well-known utopian community, was founded by George and Sophia Ripley near West Roxbury, Massachusetts. Its primary appeal was to young Bostonians who were uncomfortable with the materialism of American life, and the community was a refuge for dozens of transcendentalists, including authors Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Following four days of demonstrations against the Military Services Act that devolved into rioting in Quebec City, Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden sent in troops from Ontario to stop the violence. Orders from the soldiers were read only in English to the mostly Francophone demonstrators, and when the they didn’t disperse, the troops fired, killing four and wounding 70.
[see March 28, 1918]

A memorial in Quebec to those who died
protesting conscription into World War I
More about Brook Farm

April 1, 1932
500 schoolchildren, in the depth of the Depression, paraded through Chicago’s downtown section to the Board of Education offices, demanding that the school system provide them with food.

April 1, 1955
The African National Congress had called on parents to withdraw their children by this day from South African schools in resistance to the Bantu Education Act. That 1953 law transferred education of the Bantu (blacks) from religious missions to state-controlled schools. Mission education, argued then-Minister of Bantu Education Dr. H.F. Verwoerd, not only tended to create “false expectations” amongst the natives, but was also in direct conflict with South Africa’s racially separatist apartheid policies.
Whites, who were in complete control of government and society, comprised only 14% of South Africa’s population. Verwoerd presented to Parliament:
“When I have control of native education, I will reform it so that natives will be taught from childhood to realize that equality with Europeans is not for them. There is no place for him (the black child) in European society above the level of certain forms of labour…What is the use of teaching a Bantu child mathematics when it cannot use it in practice?”
Peace quote

“The majority of South Africans, black and white, recognize that apartheid has no future. It has to be ended by our own decisive mass action in order to build peace and security. The mass campaign of defiance and other actions of our organization and people can only culminate in the establishment of democracy.”
– Nelson Mandela

April 1, 1983
Tens of thousands in the United Kingdom formed a “peace chain” 22.5 kilometers (14 miles) long to express their opposition to nuclear weapons. The chain started at the American airbase at Greenham Common, passed the Aldermaston nuclear research center, and ended at the ordnance factory in Burghfield.

At the same time 15,000 people took part in the first of a series of anti-nuclear marches in West Germany. They were protesting the siting of American cruise missiles on West German territory.
Contemporaneous coverage of the Peace Chain


April 2, 1917
Jeanette Rankin, a Republican from Montana, took her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The first woman ever elected to Congress, she became the only member to vote against U.S. entry into both world wars. Though American women weren’t granted the right to vote for three more years with passage of the 19th amendment, women in Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Washington had full voting rights before statehood.
Rankin was instrumental in passing laws that made married women citizens in their own right.
Peace quote

“There can be no compromise with war; it cannot be reformed or controlled; cannot be disciplined into decency or codified into common sense;
for war is the slaughter of human beings, temporarily regarded as enemies, on as large a scale as possible.”
-Jeannette Rankin, 1929

April 2, 1966
One hundred thousand Vietnamese demonstrated in DaNang against both the U.S. and their South Vietnamese governments. Civil unrest spread also to Hue and the capital, Saigon.

April 2, 1970
Massachusetts, in the midst of the Vietnam war, enacted a law which exempted its citizens from having to fight in an undeclared war.
The U.S. Congress had never formally declared war on North Vietnam as required by Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.
Peace Dove
lapel pin


April 3, 1958
10,000 British joined a rally in advance of a three-day, fifty-mile peace march from Trafalgar Square, London, to Aldermaston, Berkshire. Berkshire was the site of the AWRE (Atomic Weapons Research Establishment). This march marked the beginning of many protests against Britain’s devel-opment of nuclear weaponry. Thousands made the march along the same route for many years.

Some 10,000 people joined the 1958 rally.

David and Renee Gill at the first Altermaston march 1958 (left)
and at the April 2004 march (right)

…still protesting for
nuclear disarmament.

Their story

April 3, 1963
Black residents of Birmingham, Alabama, sat in at several lunch counters seeking to be served as customers. It was part of “Project C” (for Confrontation) on “B Day” (for Birmingham) organized by Reverends Fred Shuttlesworth of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights and Martin Luther King, Jr. of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). They issued a Birmingham Manifesto: “. . . the patience of an oppressed people cannot endure forever.”

April 3, 1968

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I’ve been to the mountaintop” speech in Memphis, Tennessee. King was there to support sanita-tion workers striking to protest low wages and poor working conditions.

“. . . I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!And so I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man! Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!”
King was assassinated the next day.
Read the speech  …or listen
Watch an excerpt of his final and prophetic speech
Did you know?
in 1959 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King travelled to India to learn about the statregy of peaceful non-violent resistance.

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April 4, 1958

Four thousand began the first of eleven consecutive annual Easter protest marches. It took three days on foot from London to Aldermaston AWRE (Atomic Weapons Research Establisment) base in England.

Aldermaston March, 1st Day, 1958.
Watch one of the marches
Did you know . . .
the first peace symbol buttons were made in 1958 using white clay . . .

keep reading

April 4, 1967
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, in a speech to Clergy and Laity Concerned at the Riverside Church in New York City, called for common cause between the civil rights and peace movements. The Nobel Peace Prize winner proposed the United States stop all bombing of North and South Vietnam;
MLK delivering the important speech
declare a unilateral truce in the hope that it would lead to peace talks; set a date for withdrawal of all troops from Vietnam; and give the National Liberation Front a role in negotiations.
” . . . this war is a blasphemy against all that America stands for . . . .”
Read the speech or listen  | Impact of the speech

Peace quote

“Our scientific power has outrun our
spiritual power.
We have
guided missiles and misguided men.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr


April 4, 1968
Martin Luther King, Jr., 39, was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, where he had come to help with a strike by sanitation workers.

Riots in reaction to the assassination broke out in over a hundred cities across the U.S., lasting up to a week; cities included Chicago, Baltimore, Washington, DC, Cincinnati, Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toledo, Pittsburgh, and Seattle. The federal government deployed 75,000 National Guard troops. 39 people died and 2,500 were injured.
Reverends. Ralph Abernathy, Jesse Jackson, and King on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel shortly before he was shot.

In Indianapolis, Indiana, Senator Robert F. Kennedy (D-New York) was campaigning for president. Learning about the assassination just before speaking to a large rally, he said, “we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love.”
Indianapolis experienced no rioting that night.
Sen. Robert Kennedy speaking to a large, mostly African-American rally
about the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
continued (info, photos, links). . .

Are you still dreaming?

graffiti seen in detroit
now as a button tribute to 
Martin Luther King”s famous 
1963 speech
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April 4, 1969
CBS cancelled “The Smothers Brothers’ Comedy Hour,” a television show which featured edgy political satire and such rock bands as the Beatles, the Who, Jefferson Airplane and the Doors.

Smothers brothers
The brothers had refused to censor a comment made by Joan Baez. She wanted to dedicate a song to her husband, David, who was about to go to jail for objecting to the draft during the Vietnam War.

David Harris and Joan Baez
More about the show

Joan Baez and the Smothers Brothers sing Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released”
Peace quote

“The only thing that’s been a worse flop than the organization of non-violence has been the organization of violence”
– Joan Baez


April 5, 1910
Emil Seidel was elected mayor of Milwaukee and became the first socialist mayor of a major city in the United States. During his administration the first public works department was established, the first fire and police commissions were organized, and a city park system came into being.
In 1912, the Socialist Party nominated Emil Seidel as their vice presidential candidate to run with Eugene Debs.

Emil Seidel
Read more about Emil Seidel  Milwaukee’s Socialist Era
There’s more peace and justice history to see

April 5, 1930
Mohandas Gandhi and his followers reached the end of their 400 km (240 mile) march to the Indian Ocean coast at Dandi. He had left his ashram with 78 satyagrahis (“soldiers” of peaceful resistance), but the procession grew over the 23 days of traveling on foot until it stretched more than 3 km (2 miles).
When they arrived at the seaside, Gandhi made salt by allowing seawater to evaporate. This simple task was an act of civil disobedience because the British Raj, the governing colonial authority, had made salt-making a monopoly and a crime for others; additionally, there was a tax on salt, a necessary element of the Indian diet. Gandhi picking up salt.
continued (info, photos, links). . .

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