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January 1, 1831

William Lloyd Garrison first published The Liberator (four hundred copies printed in the middle of the night using borrowed type), which became the leading abolitionist paper in the United States. He labeled slave-holding a crime and called for immediate abolition.
From the first issue: “I will be harsh as truth, and uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write with moderation.
William Lloyd Garrison

“Assenting to the ‘self-evident truth’ maintained in the American Declaration of Independence, ‘that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights—among which are life, liberty,

and the pursuit of happiness,’ I shall strenuously contend for the immediate enfranchisement of our slave population.”

More from that first issue

See January 6, 1832

January 1, 1847

Michigan became the first state – the first government in the English-speaking world – to abolish capital punishment (for all crimes except treason). This was done by a vote of the legislature, and was not a part of the state’s constitution until 1964.

How it happened:

January 1, 1959

32-year-old lawyer Fidel Castro led Cuban revolutionaries to victory over the corrupt government of Fulgencio Batista who had fled the island the day before. Batista, a former army sergeant, had seized power in a coup, canceling an election, in 1952.


Fidel Castro
More on pre-Castro Cuba: The news at the time
Perspective of a U.S. intelligence agent:

January 1, 1983

44 women scaled a 12-foot fence at dawn, breaking into a cruise missile base at Greenham Common in Great Britain, and danced on a missile silo.

The lyrics to their “Silo Song”:  

January 1, 1987

Ten anti-nuclear activists were arrested for trespassing at the Nevada Test Site, the culmination of a 54-day encampment at the main Test Site gate. The camp established momentum for what became a movement ultimately involving over 10,000 arrests in numerous Test Site protests over the following years in the campaign to achieve a freeze of all nuclear weapons testing.

Nevada test site landscape
The Nevada site includes more than 14,000 sq. km. (nearly 6000 sq. miles, larger than the state of Connecticut) of uninhabited land where atmospheric, and later underground, nuclear testing had been conducted since the 1950s.
About the the Nevada Test Site

January 1, 1989

Kees Koning, a former army chaplain and priest, and Co van Melle, a medical doctor working with homeless people and illegal refugees, entered the Woensdrecht airbase (for a second time), and began the “conversion” of NF-5B fighter airplanes by beating them with sledgehammers into ploughshares. The Dutch planned to sell the NF-5B to Turkey, for use against the Kurdish nationalists as part of a NATO aid program which involved shipping 60 fighter planes to Turkey. Koning and van Melle were charged with trespass, sabotage and $350,000 damage; they were convicted, and both sentenced to a few months in jail.

Kees Koning
Read more about the plowshares movement

January 1, 1991
Early in the morning Moana Cole, a Catholic Worker from New Zealand, Ciaron O’Reilly, a Catholic Worker from Australia, and Susan Frankel and Bill Streit, members of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker community in Washington, D.C., calling themselves the ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand and U.S.) Peace Force Plowshares, entered the Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, New York.

After cutting through several fences, Frankel and Streit entered a deadly force area, and hammered and poured blood on a KC-135 (a refueling plane for B-52s), and then hammered and poured blood on the engine of a nearby cruise missile-armed B-52 bomber. They presented their action statement to base security who encircled them moments later. 
Moana Cole
About Moana Cole

January 1, 1994
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took effect. A treaty among Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, it called for all three countries to follow similar policies for environmental, safety and investment regulation, apart from laws passed by their respective legislatures.
What were the provisions of NAFTA?

January 1, 1994
On the day NAFTA (see above) took effect, more than 2,000 native Mayans in Mexico’s Chiapas state marched into the state capital, San Cristóbal de las Casas, and five neighboring towns, and seized control. Calling themselves Zapatistas, or the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), a "declaration of war" was issued.
Chiapas is among the poorest parts of Mexico. The indigenous peoples of Mexico long suffered as second-class citizens due to the dominance of the Roman Catholic church and the traditional Mestizo (mixed Spanish and Indian ancestry) political leadership of the country. The EZLN was certain that NAFTA would permanently lock in the top-down economic situation in Mexico. The Zapatistas’ slogan was !Ya basta! ("Enough is enough").
Employees at the Mexican stock exchange were evacuated by riot police. 25,000 Mexican soldiers arrived in Chiapas equipped with automatic weapons, tanks, helicopters and airplanes. 145 deaths were reported, mostly civilians. Massive arrests and subsequent torture of prisoners by the government took place.

January 2, 1905

The Conference of Industrial Unionists in Chicago formed the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), frequently known as The Wobblies. The IWW mission was to form “One Big Union” among industrial workers.

IWW home   
Get your Sabo the IWW cat pin
1" diameter - satin finish
Union printed - made in Detroit.
select pin

January 2, 1920
U.S. Attorney General Alexander Palmer, in what were called the Palmer or Red raids, ordered the arrest and detention without trial of 6,000 Americans, including suspected anarchists, communists, unionists and others considered radicals, including many members of the IWW.

This followed a mass arrest of thousands two months earlier based on Palmer’s belief that Communist agents from Russia were planning to overthrow the American government.
A suicide bomber had blown off the front door of the newly appointed Palmer the previous June, one in a series of coordinated attacks that day on judges, politicians, law enforcement officials, and others in eight cities nationwide. Palmer put a young lawyer, J. Edgar Hoover, in charge of investigating the bombings, collecting information on potentially violent anarchists, and coordinating the mass arrests.

Attorney General Alexander Palmer
More on Palmer FBI perspective

January 2, 1975

A U.S. Court ruled that John Lennon and his lawyers be given access to Department of Immigration and Naturalization files regarding his deportation case, to determine if the government case was based on his 1968 British drug conviction, or his anti-establishment comments during the years of the Nixon administration.
On October 5, 1975, the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the order to deport Lennon, and he was granted permanent residency status.

Watch the trailer for the documentary, “The U.S. v. John Lennon”
Get your John Lennon pin
1" diameter - satin finish
Union printed - made in Detroit.
select pin

January 2, 1996

Khaleda Zia

An estimated 100,000 Bangladeshi women traveled from the countryside to attend a rally in Dacca, the capital, to protest Islamist clerics' attacks on women's education and employment.
Khaleda Zia, the country’s first female prime minister, had introduced compulsory free primary education, free education for girls up to class ten, a stipend for the girl students, and food for the education program.

Zia’s biography and struggles to make a difference for Bangladeshis

January 3, 1961

A nuclear reactor exploded at the National Reactor Testing Station in Idaho Falls, Idaho, killing three military technicians, and released radioactivity which, in the words of John A. McCone, Director of the Atomic Energy Commission, was "largely confined" to the reactor building. One technician was blown to the ceiling of the containment dome and impaled on a control rod. His body remained there until it was taken down six days later. The men were so heavily exposed to radiation that their hands and heads had to be buried separately with other radioactive waste.

January 3, 1967

Carl Wilson of the the Beach Boys was indicted for draft evasion.

Claiming conscientious objector status, he eventually won his battle against the charges.

Carl Wilson

January 3, 1971

On her first day as a member of Congress, Bella Abzug (D-New York) introduced a resolution calling for the withdrawal of troops from Southeast Asia.
Born in the Bronx in 1920, one month after the passage of the U.S. Constitution’s 19th amendment granting women the right to vote, she was the first Jewish woman elected to Congress. After attending Columbia University Law School, she practiced civil rights and labor law for twenty-three years. Throughout her career, she was known as one of the most vocal proponents of civil rights for women, as well as for gays and lesbians.
Bella Abzug
Background on the indomitable Bella

January 3, 1993

The United States of America and the Russian Federation agreed to cut the number of their nuclear warheads to between 3,000 and 3,500 (nearly half).

U.S. President George H.W. Bush, just before leaving office, and his Russian counterpart, Boris Yeltsin, signed the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty – Start II – in Moscow. Start II marked the biggest reduction in nuclear arms ever agreed, eliminating land-based multiple warhead missiles, and putting limits on submarine-based missiles.

Read more

January 3, 2003

Brazil’s new leftist president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, suspended purchase of 12 new fighter planes, saying money could be better used to relieve hunger.


A short bio of Lula

January 4, 1961

The longest recorded labor strike ended after 33 years: Danish barbers' assistants had begun their strike in 1938 in Copenhagen.

January 4, 1965

The Free Speech Movement held its first legal rally in Sproul Plaza of the University of California at Berkeley.

January 4, 1974

President Richard Nixon refused to release tape recordings of Oval Office discussions and other documents subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee investigating illegal activities of the president’s re-election committee.

Nixon's attempted suppression didn't work.

Listen to the tapes here:

January 5, 1916

With the Great War (World War I) entering its third year, British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith introduced the first conscription law in British history to the House of Commons, the Military Service Act.

About 16,000 conscientious objectors refused to fight. Most believed that even during wartime it was wrong to kill another human being. About 7,000 agreed to perform non-combat service; more than 1,500 refused all compulsory service. They were usually drafted into military units and, upon refusing to obey orders, were court-martialed.

World War I Conscientious Objectors, Dyce Camp, UK
Consequences of conscription

January 5, 1968

A mass movement advocating political and economic reforms, including increased freedom of speech, travel and an end to state censorship, began in Czechoslovakia when Alexander Dubcek came to power as the head of the Czechoslovakian Communist Party. "We shall have to remove everything that strangles artistic and scientific creativeness," he said. The time later became known as “Prague Spring.”

Alexander Dubcek

”Socialism with a human face”


Soviet tanks enter Prague, August 1968

Read more

January 6, 1832

William Lloyd Garrison, along with 15 others, founded the New England Anti-Slavery Society at the African Meeting House in Boston.

By 1833, Garrison helped establish the American Anti-Slavery Society with fellow abolitionists Arthur Tappan, Lewis Tappan, and Theodore Dwight Weld. This organization sent lecturers across the North to convince whites of slavery's brutality.
Garrison went on to be publisher of The Liberator, a newspaper dedicated to education about, and the abolition of, slavery. He published it until passage of the 13th Amendment which made the practice unconstitutional.

William Lloyd Garrison
Read about the Anti-Slavery Society today About William Lloyd Garrison

January 6, 1941

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his 1941 State of the Union address, introduced the idea of the "Four Freedoms": freedom of speech and expression; freedom of every person to worship God in his own way; freedom from want; and freedom from fear.

Excerpt from his speech to the Joint Session of Congress: The full text (pdf)

January 7, 1953


President Harry S. Truman announced in his State of the Union address that the United States had developed a hydrogen (fusion) bomb.

January 7, 1971

The U.S. District Court of Appeals ordered William Ruckelshaus, the Environmental Protection Agency's first administrator, to begin the de-registration procedure for DDT so that it could no longer be used.

DDT being sprayed next to livestock

It was a widely used pesticide in agriculture (principally cotton). This happened nine years after the publication of Rachel Carson's “Silent Spring,” a book which cautioned about the dangers of excessive use of pesticides and other industrial chemicals to plants and animals, and humans.


Rachel Carson

Read more about Rachel Carson

January 7, 1979

Vietnamese troops seized the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, toppling the regime of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge, the Cambodian Communist party. Pol Pot and his allies had been directly responsible for the death of 25% of Cambodia’s population.
When he seized power in 1975, capitalism, Western culture, city life, religion, and all foreign influences were to be extinguished in favor of an extreme form of peasant Communism.
Some of the child victims of the Khmer Rouge

All foreigners were thus expelled, embassies closed, and any foreign economic or medical assistance was refused. The use of foreign languages was banned. Newspapers and television stations were shut down, radios and bicycles confiscated, and mail and telephone usage curtailed. Money was forbidden. All businesses were shuttered, religion banned, education halted, health care eliminated, and parental authority revoked. Thus Cambodia was sealed off from the outside world.

All of Cambodia's cities were then forcibly evacuated. At Phnom Penh, two million inhabitants were evacuated on foot into the countryside at gunpoint. As many as 20,000 died along the way.

Pol Pot's legacy: Skulls of the killing fields

January 8, 1912

The African National Congress was founded in South Africa. The ANC (now multi-racial) was the first black political organization in South Africa. It was formed to combat the racially separatist system known in the Afrikaans language as apartheid. The ANC is now the majority party in the South African government.

The African National Congress today

January 8, 1961

The people of France voted to grant Algeria its independence in a referendum. This followed more than 130 years of French colonial control of the north African country. The result was a clear majority for self-determination, with 75% voting in favor.

Read more

January 8, 1973
U.S. National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger and North Vietnam's Le Duc Tho resumed secret peace negotiations near Paris.

After the South Vietnamese had blunted the massive North Vietnamese invasion launched in the spring of 1972, Kissinger and the North Vietnamese had finally made some progress on reaching a negotiated end to the war. However, a recalcitrant South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu had inserted several demands into the negotiations that caused the North Vietnamese negotiators to walk out of the talks a month earlier.

Le Duc Tho and Henry Kissinger

January 8, 2003

Three activists, including Kate Berrigan (daughter of Phil) and Liz McAlister, rappelled down a 32-story skyscraper near the Los Angeles Auto Show and unfurled a banner reading “Ford: Holding America Hostage To Oil.” They had chosen Ford due to its having the lowest average fuel economy of any auto manufacturer, and that it was not living up to the reputation it put forth as being an environmental car company.
Frida Berrigan tells the story

January 9, 1964
Anti-U.S. rioting broke out in the Panama Canal Zone, resulting in the deaths of 21 Panamanians and three U.S. soldiers. The immediate issue was whether both the U.S. and Panamanian flags would fly at Canal Zone facilities, as ordered by President John F. Kennedy.


James Jenkins, a 17-year-old senior at Balboa High School in the Canal Zone:
"I guess you could say I'm the guy that started this whole thing. I'm sort of the ringleader. I circulated the petition to keep our flag flying. Then me and the others raised the flag. The school authorities left it up because they knew we'd walk out."
On the third day, demonstrating Panamanian students entered the school grounds and sang their national anthem, but the Balboa students blocked them from raising their flag. there was a scuffle -- and the Panamanians retreated in outrage, claiming that their flag had been ripped by the Zonians

January 9, 1967
Julian Bond, elected more than a year before, was finally sworn in as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives.
The legislature had refused to allow him to take his seat because of his opposition to the Vietnam War and specifically his endorsement of a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) statement accusing the United States of violating international law in Vietnam. Bond had been the director of SNCC.
Following his election in 1965, the Georgia House refused to seat him. He was re-elected to his “vacant seat” and the House refused again. He was then re-elected a third time. But not until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in his favor was the legislature forced to relent.
Julian Bond in 1966 waiting to be seated in the General Assembly

January 9, 1987

The White House released the presidential finding – signed by President Ronald Reagan on January 17, 1986 – which authorized the sale of arms to Iran (to encourage the release of hostages) and ordered the CIA not to tell Congress. This was done retroactively after several shipments, including 18 HAWK (Homing-All-the-Way-Killer) surface-to-air missiles, had already been transferred to the Iranians, then at war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

Read the actual document authorizing the arms sales More
Outline, key players and selected Iran-Contra documents from the National Security Archive

January 9, 1991

The day after the start of the U.S. bombing of Iraq, ten peace activists were arrested at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, for handing out written warnings to military reservists about participation in war crimes. Long-time peace activist Sam Day was sentenced to four months for his participation.

Remembering Sam Day
Sam Day

January 10, 1776

Thomas Paine anonymously published his influential pamphlet, "Common Sense." In it Paine questioned the fundamental legitimacy of the rule of kings, and advocated the doctrine of independence for Americans, and the rights of mankind.

The entire text:

Thomas Paine

January 10, 1908

A prominent young Indian lawyer, Mohandas Gandhi, was jailed for the first time. He had refused to register as an Asian in Johannesburg, South Africa.
He was released three weeks later.

Gandhi and how his time in South Africa affected his life
Gandhi, 1906

January 10, 1917

The National Women’s Party began regular picketing of the White House, advocating the right to vote for women.

The first suffrage picket line leaving Congressional Union headquarters to march to the White House gates.

January 10, 1920

The League of Nations formally came into being when its Covenant (part of the Treaty of Versailles), ratified by 42 nations in 1919, took effect.
In 1914, a political assassination in Sarajevo set off a chain of events that led to the outbreak of the most costly war ever fought to that date. As more and more young men were sent down into the trenches, influential voices in the United States and Britain began calling for the establishment of a permanent international body to promote international cooperation and to achieve international peace and security.
Though strongly supported by President Woodrow Wilson (who served as Chairman of the Committee that developed the Covenant), the U.S. never joined.

Photo archives of the League of Nations:

January 10, 1930

In December 1928, Mohandas Gandhi attended a session of the Indian National Congress Party in Calcutta where it called for complete Indian independence from Great Britain. This was to be achieved through peaceful means, specifically complete noncooperation with the governmental apparatus of colonial British rule, known as the Raj.
On this day, Gandhi drafted the declaration, which stated, in part:

"The British government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses, and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally and spiritually. . . . Therefore . . . India must sever the British connection and attain Purna Swaraj, or complete independence."

January 10, 1940

Members of the Brethren, Mennonites and Friends religious groups sent a message to Presidend Franklin Roosevelt requesting alternative service in the event of war.

The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 proclaimed that all persons who “by reason of religious training and belief were conscientiously opposed to all forms of military service, should, if conscripted for service, be assigned to work of national importance under civilian direction.”

Civilian Public Service workers Clark and Kriebel in the Duke University's hospital sterilizer room.
More on those who refused to serve in the “good war”

January 10, 1946

The first General Assembly of the United Nations convened at Westminster Central Hall in London, England, and included 51 nations.


On January 24, the General Assembly adopted its first resolution, a measure calling for the peaceful uses of atomic energy and the elimination of atomic and other weapons of mass destruction.

January 10, 1966

Vernon Dahmer, a businessman and farmer in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, offered to pay the poll tax for those who couldn’t afford the fee that was then required before a citizen could vote (and which was made unconstitutional in federal elections by the 24th Amendment).
Vernon Dahmer (foreground)

Dahmer was known for saying, "If you don't vote, you don't count." 
The night after a radio station broadcasted Dahmer’s offer, his home and store were firebombed. Dahmer died later from severe burns. The man responsible for the arson attack, Ku Klux Klan Wizard Sam Bowers, was not tried and convicted until 32 years later.

former home of Vernon Dahmer
The poll tax and other means of disenfranchising African Americans

January 10, 1971

The Peoples' Peace Treaty between the citizens of the U.S. and Vietnam was endorsed by 130 organizations.
Several million North Americans later signed it.

The treaty had been signed in December by leaders from the South Vietnam National Student Union, South Vietnam Liberation Student Union, North Vietnam Student Union, and the (U.S.) National Student Association in Saigon, Hanoi and Paris. It was adopted this day by the New University Conference and Chicago Movement meeting.

Peoples' Peace Treaty organizers
Text of the treaty
Article from New York Review of Books by the National Student Association with the text of the Treaty

January 10, 1994

Guatemalan government officials and leftist guerilla movement leaders agreed to negotiate to end 36 years of violent conflict.

January 11, 1952

The Peace Pledge Union organized "Operation Gandhi," which became the first British protest against nuclear weapons. Ten members staged a "sit-down" at the War Office in London.

January 11, 1998
Twenty-five thousand occupied the site of one of 30 dams to be built on the Narmada River in India.

They objected to a World Bank-funded project to build 30 large, 135 medium and 3000 small dams to harness the waters of the Narmada and its tributaries to provide electrical power and irrigation to Gujarat and Rajasthan provinces.Local residents known as Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save the Narmada movement), organized as they became concerned about their livelihoods, the dams’ environmental impact and a host of other issues.

The largest proposed dam, Sardar Sarovar, would submerge 61 villages and displace more than 320,000 people.
A Brief Introduction to the Narmada Issue More on Narmada

January 11, 2002
The first of the detainees/enemy combatants arrived at Guantánamo Bay, the U.S. military base on the southeastern coast of Cuba.
Detailed report of the status of Guantánamo detainees
Detainees in a plane on their way to Guantanamo

January 12, 1954
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles announced U.S. would go beyond of President Harry Truman's doctrine of "containing Communism" for a new policy: “. . . there is no local defense which alone will contain the mighty landpower of the Communist world. Local defenses must be reinforced by the further deterrent of massive [nuclear] retaliatory power.”
Dulles’s complete speech to the Council on Foreign Relations

January 12, 1957

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other African-American clergymen who wanted to press for civil rights long denied members of their community. Sixty black ministers from ten states went to Atlanta, Georgia, to set up the coordinating group. They elected King as its first president, with the Reverend Ralph David Abernathy as treasurer.

SCLC history

January 12, 1962

Federal workers were guaranteed the the right to join unions and bargain collectively after President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10988.

“Employees of the Federal Government shall have, and shall be protected in the exercise of, the right, freely and without feel of penalty or reprisal, to form, join and assist any employee organization or to refrain from any such activity.”
Eventually, regulation of labor-management relations in the federal government was codified under the Civil Service
Reform Act of 1978.

President Kennedy signing executive order

January 12, 1971

Reverend Philip F. Berrigan, founder of the Catholic Peace Fellowship anti-Vietnam War organization, was indicted along with five others on charges of conspiring to kidnap National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, and to bomb the tunnels of federal buildings in Washington, D.C. They became known as the Harrisburg Seven.

At the time, Berrigan was serving a six-year sentence at a federal prison in Connecticut with his brother, Daniel, for their destruction of military draft records in Maryland during 1967-68. The Berrigans’ ethic of nonviolence towards others made the charges questionable, and eventually all six were acquitted of the conspiracy charges.
Phil Berrigan and Elisabeth McAllister, later his wife, were ultimately convicted and sentenced on just one count of smuggling mail out of a federal penitentiary, the only person in history to be prosecuted on such a charge.

The trial and the thin evidence presented More about Philip Berrigan

January 12, 1971

"All in the Family" premiered on CBS-TV. The sitcom focused on the major social and political issues of the day such as racism, war, homosexuality and the role of women.

In-depth background on the show

January 12, 1987

Twenty West German judges were arrested for blockading the U.S. Air Force base at Mutlangen, West Germany where Pershing II nuclear-armed cruise missiles were deployed.
Judge Ulf Panzer stated:

"Fifty years ago, during the time of Nazi fascism, we judges and prosecutors allegedly

'did not know anything.' By closing our eyes and ears, our hearts and minds, we became a docile instrument of suppression, and many judges committed cruel crimes under the cloak of the law. We have been guilty of complicity. Today we are on the way to becoming guilty again, to being abused again.

By our passivity, but also by applying laws, we legitimize terror: nuclear terror.

Today we do know...”

More on "Judges and Prosecutors for Peace”

January 12, 1991

The United States Congress voted to authorize the use of military force against Iraq to end its occupation of Kuwait. House: 250-183; Senate: 52-47.

The military, political and diplomatic situation at the time

January 12, 2002

The "Refusenik" movement began when 53 Israeli soldiers signed an ad refusing to serve in the West Bank or Gaza Strip.
Their letter concluded:
• We shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people.
• We hereby declare that we shall continue serving in the Israel Defense Forces in any mission that serves Israel’s defense.
• The missions of occupation and oppression do not serve this purpose – and we shall take no part in them.
[The term originally referred to Jews in the Soviet Union who had applied to emigrate but were delayed or refused by the Communist government, in one case for more than 22 years.]

Full text of the letter with name and rank of the signatories

Courage to refuse
Video interview with Yonatan Shapira, refusenik and former captain in the Israeli Air Force

January 13, 1874
The depression of 1873-1877 left 3 million people unemployed. The depression began when railroad owner Jay Cooke was found to have issued millions of dollars of worthless stock. Investors panicked and banks closed. The unbalanced, overextended new economy collapsed.
In the winter of 1873, 900 people starved to death, and 3,000 deserted their infants on doorsteps. A public meeting was called in New York City's Tompkins Square Park to lobby for public works projects to provide jobs; the city’s unemployment rate was approaching 25% at the time.

The Tompkins Park Massacre

The night before, the City secretly voided the permit for the gathering. The next morning, mounted police charged into the crowd of 10,000, indiscriminately clubbing adults and children, leaving hundreds of casualties.

Police commissioner Abram Duryee commented, "It was the most glorious sight I have ever seen . . . ."

The Tompkins Square event was part of a wave of parades of the unemployed and bread riots across the nation. In Chicago, 20,000 people marched. Even under police attack, workers in New York, Omaha, and Cincinnati refused to disperse.

January 13, 1958

Linus Pauling Linus Pauling presented the “Scientists’ Test Ban Petition” to the United Nations, signed by over 11,000 scientists (including 36 Nobel laureates) from 49 countries. It called for an end to nuclear weapons testing for its detrimental health, especially genetic, and ecological effects, among other reasons. In reaction to his efforts, Pauling was forced to resign as Chairman of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Caltech (California Institute of Technology) after having served in that role for 22 years.

January 13, 1962

One hundred fifty members of the Scottish Committee of 100 (an anti-nuclear group) began a sit-down protest at the U.S. consulate in Glasgow, Scotland.

January 13, 1993

A vigil was held opposing the arrival of a ship bringing nearly two metric tons of plutonium for a pilot fuel reprocessing plant in Tokai, Japan. The specially constructed ship, the Akatsuki Maru, had carried it 25,000 km (15,500 miles) from Cherbourg, France.
Akatsuki Maru

Many objected to the maritime transport of the highly radioactive material due to the risk of sinking, hijacking and the resultant risk of further nuclear proliferation. The original plan called for air transport over the United States.


The Voyage Of The Akatsuki Maru by Mario Uribe

The Hottest Import To Hit Japan

January 14, 1601

Roman Catholic church authorities burned sacred Hebrew books in Rome during the papacy of Clement VIII. He had forbidden Jews from reading the Talmud (a collection of centuries of interpretation of Jewish law). He had confirmed Pope Paul III’s relegation of Jews to a Roman ghetto (a walled-in portion of the city), and their banning from residence in papal-controlled states by Pope Pius V.
Other papal enemies of Jewish books included Innocent IV (1243-1254), Clement IV (1256-1268), John XXII (1316-1334), Paul IV (1555-1559), and Pius V (1566-1572).

January 14, 1784

The Confederation Congress, meeting in Annapolis, Maryland, ratified the Treaty of Paris with England, ending the Revolutionary War.

Signing the Treaty of Paris By its terms, "His Britannic Majesty" was bound to withdraw his armies without "carrying away any Negroes or other property of American inhabitants."
The treaty was negotiated by John Adams, John Jay and Benjamin Franklin for the colonies, and David Hartley representing the King of England, George III.

January 14, 1918

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the selective service law, affirming all criminal charges arising from non-compliance with the draft during World War I. In Arver v. United States, the Court found that a draft does not violate the 13th Amendment’s prohibition of involuntary servitude.

January 14, 1941

A. Philip Randolph, president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters union, and widely considered de facto chief spokesperson for the African-American working class, called for a march on Washington, demanding racial integration of the military and equal access to defense-industry jobs.
"On to Washington, ten thousand black Americans!" Randolph urged. He said in the fight to "stop discrimination in National Defense . . . While conferences have merit, they won't get desired results by themselves."
Asa Philip Randolph, Detail from painting by Betsy G. Reyneau

January 14, 1942

President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Presidential Proclamation No. 2537, which required aliens from World War II enemy countries – Italy, Germany and Japan – to register with the United States Department of Justice.
Registered persons received a “Certificate of Identification for Aliens of Enemy Nationality.” This proclamation facilitated the beginning of large-scale internment of Japanese Americans the following month.

January 14, 1963

George Wallace was sworn in as Governor of Alabama. In his inaugural address he called for "segregation now; segregation tomorrow; segregation forever!"

“The true brotherhood of America, of respecting the separateness of others — and uniting in effort — has been so twisted and distorted from its original concept that there is a small wonder that communism is winning the world.
We invite the negro citizens of Alabama to work with us from his separate racial station — as we will work with him — to develop, to grow in individual freedom and enrichment. We want jobs and a good future for BOTH races — the tubercular and the infirm. This is the basic heritage of my religion, of which I make full practice — for we are all the handiwork of God.”

George C. Wallace, left, blocked the University of Alabama doorway to prevent its desegregation later in 1963. U.S. Marshal Peyton Norville, center, and U.S. Deputy Attorney General Nicholas deB. Katzenbach listened. (File/A/P)
The entire speech:

January 14, 1966

A march in Atlanta was held to protest the ouster of Julian Bond, an African American, from the Georgia House of Representatives. Members of the General Assembly considered him unfit to serve after he endorsed a statement critical of U.S. involvement in Vietnam issued by the Student Non-Violent
Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

January 14, 1994

An agreement was signed for Russia and the U.S. to assist newly independent Ukraine in ridding itself of nuclear weapons.

Following the break-up of the Soviet Union, Ukraine’s leader Leonid Kravchuk found his country with the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal, including multiple-warhead long-range missiles and bombers, and 3000 tactical (battlefield or short-range) nuclear weapons. former Ukranian missle silo

Kravchuk and his government had decided to eliminate all nuclear weapons from Ukrainian territory. Ukraine was the first country to go non-nuclear.

Leonid Kravchuk

January 14, 1996

Sixteen protesters were arrested in a winter blockade of the rural Wisconsin site (in the Chequamegon National Forest) of the U.S. Navy's ELF (Extremely Low Frequency) transmitter, which communicated (one-way) with deeply submerged U.S. submarines. Nearly 400 were arrested in 24 actions opposing ELF between 1991 and 1996.

January 15, 1929


Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia. The son of a Baptist pastor, he followed in his father’s footsteps, then went on to lead the American civil rights movement in the 1950s and '60s, and to speak out against the Vietnam war.
In 1955 Dr. King organized the first major protest of the civil rights movement: the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott. Influenced by Mohandas Gandhi, he advocated nonviolent civil disobedience to end racial segregation. The peaceful protests he led throughout the American South were often met with violence and arrest, but King and his followers persisted.
His inspiration, leadership and eloquence helped tens of millions claim the fundamental rights of citizenship, and changed the face of a nation.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. biographical sketch

Since 1986, the third Monday in January has been designated a federal holiday honoring the greatness and sacrifice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A chronology:
April 4, 1968 Dr. King was assassinated. Shortly thereafter, U.S. Representative John Conyers (D-Michigan) introduced legislation to create a federal holiday to commemorate Dr. King’s life and work.
January, 1973 Illinois became the first state to adopt MLK Day as a state holiday.
January, 1983 Rep. Conyers’s law was passed after 15 years
January, 1986 The United States first officially observed the federal King Day holiday.
January, 1987 Arizona Governor Evan Mecham rescinded state recognition of MLK Day as his first act in office, setting off a national boycott of the state.
January, 1993
Martin Luther King Day holiday was observed in all 50 states for the first time.

Brief biography of Dr. King

January 15, 1968
The Jeanette Rankin Brigade marched on Washington to protest the war in Vietnam.

It was led by 87-year-old Rankin herself, the first U.S. Congresswoman (R-Montana), and the only member of Congress to vote against U.S. entry to both world wars. After the march’s arrival in Washington, D.C. the New York Radical Women staged a "Burial of Traditional Womanhood."

Jeanette Rankin

More on Jeanette Rankin

Documents from the New York Radical Women including Funeral Oration for the Burial of Traditional Womanhood by Kathy Amatniek (who coined “Sisterhood is Powerful”)

January 15, 1969
Janet McCloud

Janet McCloud, her husband Don and four others from the Tulalip Indian tribe were tried for one of their "fish-ins" on the Nisqually River in Washington state. The Nisqually empties into Puget sound on the Tulalip reservation. Despite century-old treaties granting them half the salmon catch in their ancestral waters, state game officials harassed and arrested Indian fishermen. However, all were found not guilty.
In a decision not reached for five years, U.S. District Judge George Boldt ruled in favor of 14 treaty tribes, including the Tulalip, upholding the language of their treaties.

January 16, 1966

Folksinger Joan Baez was sentenced to 10 days in jail for participating in a protest which blocked the entrance to the Armed Forces Induction Center in Oakland, California. She was part of an action to impede the drafting of young men for the U.S. war in Vietnam.

Read more about Joan Baez
Joan Baez

January 16, 1979
Faced with strikes, violent demonstrations, an army mutiny and clerical opposition to his repressive rule, the Shah of Iran, its hereditary monarch since 1941, was forced to flee the country. He had been installed in a CIA- and British-engineered 1953 coup which overthrew elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq. Mossadeq’s government had voted to nationalize Iran’s oil industry, displacing the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.

The U.S. gave substantial and continuous military and intelligence support to the Shah throughout his regime. Despite having imposed martial law the previous October, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi fled the Peacock Throne for Egypt and, later, the U.S. for medical care. Following the subsequent revolutionary overthrow, an Islamist state under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was established.

The Shah and family
Chronology of Iran in the 20th century:   More on the Shah

January 16, 1987

Eight members of the Nanoose Conversion Campaign were acquitted of trespassing on Canadian Department of National Defence property.
The group had picnicked on Winchelsea Island, part of the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Ranges, where both Canadian and U.S. weapons are tested, in the Georgia Strait along the
British Columbia coast.

January 16, 1992

The government of El Salvador and rebel leaders signed a pact in Mexico City ending 12 years of civil war that had killed
at least 75,000 people.

January 16, 2001

Eight Greenpeace activists were arrested by Gibraltar police as they boarded a damaged British nuclear submarine. The HMS Tireless was considered a radioactivity hazard because of a cracked pipe in its reactor’s cooling system. Those living near Gibraltar Harbour and in Spain were concerned for their safety as the ship had been docked for more than six months awaiting repair.
The problem was serious enough that Great Britain removed twelve comparable subs from service until they could be checked for similar problems. Greenpeace unfurled a banner just before the arrests reading Mares Libres del Peligro Nuclear, or “For a Nuclear-Free Sea.”

January 17, 1893

Queen Lili`uokalani of the independent kingdom of Hawai`i was overthrown as she was arrested at gunpoint by U.S. Marines.

Queen Lilluokalani

American businessmen, particularly sugar plantation owners, led by Lorrin Thurston, had supported annexation of the islands to the United States. The Queen had been working on a new constitution that would restore voting rights to native Hawaiians.

A new provisional government was installed with Sanford B. Dole as president. The troops had landed the day before, providing support "to protect American lives and property."
In 1898, President William McKinley signed a joint resolution of Congress authorizing the annexation.
Sanford Dole
The overthrow of the monarchy More on Queen Lili`uokalani

January 17, 1993

Native Hawai’ians demonstrated against U.S. control of their homeland on the 100th anniversary of the U.S.-backed overthrow of the independent Hawai'ian government.

January 17, 1961



President Dwight Eisenhower in his farewell address, delivered via television and radio, warned the nation: "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

President Dwight D. Eisenhower President Eisenhower delivering his farewell address
The speech Watch a video

January 17, 1966

A nuclear-armed B-52 bomber collided with the fueling boom of an Air Force KC-135 jet tanker while refueling over the coast of Spain (the 4-member tanker crew was lost, as were three of seven in the bomber).

Two 70-kiloton hydrogen bombs ruptured when they hit the ground, scattering radioactive material including plutonium dust; a third landed intact near the village of Palomares; the fourth was found, also intact, by a submarine after weeks of searching.

Nuclear bomb recovered off the Spanish coast
The U.S. tried first to cover it up, then downplayed the seriousness of the incident. Fourteen hundred tons of radioactive soil and plant material were removed to the U.S. for burial.
For decades, the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Air Command flew nuclear-armed bombers on full-time continuous airborne patrol as one of the three legs of the U.S. nuclear deterrent triad (the others being submarine-launched and intercontinental ballistic missiles). The B-52 lost over Spain was returning to its base in North Carolina from such a mission.
 The whole story

January 17, 1970

Some 300 Chicano activists gathered in Crystal City, Texas, to form an independent political party. La Raza Unida (The United People) Party addressed a broad cross-section of issues – restoration of land grants, farm workers’ rights, enhanced education, voting and political rights. The party eventually became a political force in California, Texas, Colorado, and elsewhere in the southwest.

Read more
The party's name means "the United People."

January 17, 1987

5,000 rallied and about 200 were arrested while protesting the first test launch of the Trident II missile at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Trident D-5 is a submarine-launched long-range (12,000 km or 7,456 miles) multiple-warhead nuclear missile. Trident submarines are one leg of the U.S. nuclear deterrent triad, and part of Great Britain’s.

a Trident missile launching from submarine

January 18, 1919
The peace conference to negotiate the end of the Great War (now know as World War I) opened in Paris, France. President Woodrow Wilson spent several months in Europe personally negotiating details of what became the Treaty of Versailles with heads of the allied powers or their foreign ministers.

January 18, 1962
The U.S. began spraying herbicides on foliage in Vietnam to eliminate jungle canopy cover for Viet Cong guerrillas (a policy known as "territory denial").

The U.S. ultimately dropped more than 20 million gallons of such defoliants, sparking charges the United States was violating international treaties against using chemical weapons. Many of the herbicides, particularly Agent Orange, manufactured by Dow Chemical, Monsanto and others, were later found to cause birth defects and rare forms of cancer in humans.

Agent Orange: An Ongoing Atrocity

January 18, 1968

Invited to a Women Doers luncheon at the Johnson White House, Eartha Kitt, singer and actor, spoke out about the effect of the Vietnam War on America’s youth. Lady Bird Johnson had convened 50 whites and Negroes to discuss President Lyndon Johnson’s anti-crime proposals.Ms. Kitt first asked the President, “what do you do about delinquent parents, those who have to work and are too busy to look after their children?" He said that there was Social Security money for day care, and the group should discuss such issues.
Later, she told the women that young Americans were "angry because their parents are angry . . . because there is a war going on that they don't understand . . . You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. They rebel in the street. They will take pot . . . and they will get high. They don't want to go to school because they're going to be snatched off from their mothers to be shot in Vietnam."
Eartha Kitt and Lady Bird Johnson
Eartha Kitt’s career took a severe downturn after this; for years afterward, Kitt performed almost exclusively overseas, while being investigated by several federal agencies.
"The thing that hurts, that became anger, was when I realized that if you tell the truth – in a country that says you're entitled to tell the truth – you get your face slapped and you get put out of work," Kitt told Essence magazine two decades later.

January 18, 1971

In a televised speech, Senator George S. McGovern (D-South Dakota) began his anti-war campaign for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination. He vowed to bring home all U.S. soldiers from Vietnam if elected. McGovern had served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, earning the Silver Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
George McGovern

“. . . we must have the courage to admit that however sincere our motives, we made a dreadful mistake in trying to settle the affairs of the Vietnamese people with American troops and bombers . . . .
“ But while our problems are great, certain steps can be taken to recover the confidence of the nation.  The greatness of our nation is not confined to the past, but beckons us to the future.

Text of Senator McGovern’s declaration of candidacy

January 18, 1985

Though a member of the World Court since 1946, the United States walked out during a case. The Court had charged the U.S. was in violation of international law through its support of paramilitary (Contra) activities against the Nicaraguan government. Efforts to undermine the Sandinista government in Nicaragua had been a keystone of Pres. Reagan’s anti-communist foreign policy from its inception.
Congressman Michael Barnes (D-Maryland) said he was "shocked and saddened that the Reagan Administration had so little confidence in its own policies that it chose not even to defend them [in the World Court].”
The Court still heard Nicaragua's case and decided against the United States, and ordered it to pay reparations to Nicaragua in June 1986.

January 18, 1996

The Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and the Mexican government reached an agreement in San Andres to recognize and guarantee the constitutional, political, social, cultural, and economic rights of indigenous peoples in Mexico. Treated as second-class citizens since the first colonial entry into their country, the document guaranteed the autonomy and right to self-determination of native communities within the pluricultural Mexican nation.
The Zapatistas tokks their name from Emilano Zapata who played a major role in the Mexican Revolution early in the 20th century.
When they began their revolt in Chiapas state on New Year’s Day of 1994, They wrote:
"We have nothing to lose, absolutely nothing, no decent roof over our heads, no land, no work, poor health, no food, no education, no right to freely and democratically choose our leaders, no independence from foreign interests, and no justice for ourselves or our children.
But we say enough is enough! We are the descendants of those who truly built this nation, we are millions of dispossessed, and we call upon all our brethren to join our crusade, the only option to avoid dying of starvation!"

The Mexican government, despite their signature on the agreement, refused later to implement it.
The full text of the agreement More background on the Zapatistas

January 18, 2003


In frigid temperatures, 500,000 converged on Washington, D.C.
There were also joined by many more elsewhere around the world to oppose the threatened U.S. war on Iraq.

Anti-war protesters march past the U.S. Capitol during the start of an anti-war protest that will culminate by a march to the Washington Naval Yard. Egyptian riot police and anti-war demonstrators face off in Cairo, Egypt. Banners at top read, " Iraq . . . Another war for oil and American supremacy."
This was the largest U.S. peace demonstration since the Vietnam era.


< Pakistani peace activists hold a rally in Karachi.
> Crowds estimated at 80,000 fill the civic center of San Francisco, California

January 19, 1966

The Georgia State House of Representatives refused to seat black state representative Julian Bond despite his election the previous November.

Their stated objection was his endorsement of a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee statement accusing the United States of violating international law in Vietnam.
In December 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Bond’s exclusion unconstitutional, and Bond was finally sworn in the following month.

Julian Bond

January 19, 1991

25,000 marched in Washington, D.C. to protest massive U.S. bombing of Iraq in the first Gulf war, Operation Desert Storm.

January 20, 1920

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was founded by Roger Baldwin, Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin, labor leaders Rose Schneiderman and Duncan McDonald, Rabbi Judah Magnes, and others.

The ACLU was organized to protect the rights guaranteed in the the Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights. Prior to this the first ten amendments had not been enforced.
The ACLU has paid particular attention to
• First Amendment rights: freedom of speech, association and assembly, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion as well as a bar against establishment of a state religion.
• One’s right to equal protection under the law – equal treatment regardless of race, sex, religion or national origin.
• One’s right to due process – fair treatment for citizens by the government whenever the loss of liberty or property is at stake.
• One’s right to privacy – freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into one’s personal and private affairs.

ACLU history  

The ACLU today

January 20, 1942

Nazi Party and German government officials arrived at what they called the "final solution to the Jewish question in Europe."They developed plans for the coordinated and systematic extermination of all Europe's Jews during a meeting at a villa near Lake Wannsee in Berlin.

Notes of the meeting recorded by Adolf Eichmann used vague terms such as "transportation to the east" or "evacuation to the east" (nach dem Osten abgeshoben). But at his trial for genocide Eichmann testified of the meeting that "the discussion covered killing, elimination, and annihilation."

The villa on Lake Wannsee, now a holocaust museum.
More on the Wannsee conference

January 20, 2001

Tens of thousands lining Pennsylvania Avenue to protest the legitimacy of the inauguration of President George W. Bush were systematically excluded from almost all media coverage of the event. They called attention to the election irregularities in Florida, the dispute over a recount, and the ultimate effective choice of the president by a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court.

January 21, 1661

The Quaker (Society of Friends) Peace Testimony was presented to King Charles II of England. The testimony begins: "We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end or under any pretence whatsoever. And this is our testimony to the whole world....”

King Charles II

January 21, 1954

The first atomic-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, built by Electric Boat Company, was launched at Groton, Connecticut. All previous submarines were powered by batteries which had to be periodically recharged by diesel-powered generators which could only run if the sub surfaced.

The nuclear power plant, developed under the leadership of Captain Hyman Rickover, and its ability to produce its own fresh water, allowed Nautilus and its successors to remain underwater and undetectable for weeks rather than hours. It carried only conventional torpedoes.
It has been completely restored and can be seen at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton.

nautilus submarine launch

January 21, 1977

The day after his inauguration President Jimmy Carter declared an unconditional amnesty for draft resisters, both the accused and those who might have faced possible prosecution.

Carter's pardon

January 21, 1984

A Women’s Peace Camp was set up near Volkel Airbase in The Netherlands to protest siting of U.S. nuclear weapons there.

January 22, 1953

The Arthur Miller drama, ''The Crucible,'' opened on Broadway. It was a parable that reflected the climate of fear that pervaded American society and the politics of its time, witchcraft in the late 17th century, communism in the mid-20th. In both times there existed also the fear of false accusation.

From the New York Times review of the Broadway revival in November 2001:

“Today, the play is a cautionary tale of astounding immediacy. Its themes include the pathology of rumor, the arrogance of the religiously righteous, the dangers of private panic in the face of public terror, and the individual's difficulty in acting rationally in the face of mob hysteria.”

scene from the original production

Read the playwright’s reasons for writing it:

January 22, 1973

Women won control of their reproductive rights when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that Americans have a constitutional right to privacy, and thus women may terminate a pregnancy before the last 10 weeks. Only during the last trimester, when a fetus can survive outside the womb, would states be permitted to regulate abortion of a healthy pregnancy.
Prior to the Court’s ruling that the decision was private and belonged to the pregnant woman, abortion was essentially illegal in all states except New York (as of 1970).

  About the decision   History of New York’s law  

January 22, 2001

President George W. Bush signed a memorandum the day after his inauguration reinstating full restrictions on U.S. overseas aid that might go to any program that provided abortions or considered them an option for women.
Known as the Mexico City policy, or global gag rule, first signed by President Ronald Reagan, it had been withdrawn by President Bill Clinton as soon as he took office.

More on the global gag rule

January 2
3, 1890

The United Mine Workers of America was formed through the amalgamation of the National Progressive Union (organized 1888) and the mine locals under the Knights of Labor, including all workers in the coal industry. The workers faced unstable employment, the prevalence of company towns (where the mine owners controlled all housing and commerce), and extremely hazardous working conditions.
UMWA history

January 23, 1962

Fifteen members of the Committee of 100, the non-violent direct action wing of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), sat in at the British House of Commons demanding a halt to nuclear weapons testing.

CND history

January 23, 1970

Called as witnesses, folksingers Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, Country Joe McDonald, Phil Ochs, and Pete Seeger were denied permission to sing as part of their testimony for the defense at the trial of "The Chicago Seven."
Seven leaders of demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago were being tried for conspiring to incite a riot as they protested the Vietnam war.

Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, Country Joe McDonald, Phil Ochs, and Pete Seeger

More on the Chicago 7 Paul Krassner’s quite irreverent recollection of testifying at the trial

January 23, 1973

President Richard Nixon announced a Vietnam peace deal. The president appeared on national television and said that National Security Adviser Henry A. Kissinger and North Vietnam's chief negotiator, Le Duc Tho, had initialed an agreement in Paris "to end the war and bring peace with honor in Vietnam and Southeast Asia."
The agreement had actually been initialed six days beforehand.

Henry A. Kissinger and

Le Duc Tho initial the agreement.

Read more Listen to Nixon’s announcement

January 23, 1976
The Continental Walk for Disarmament & Social Justice began in Ukiah, California, heading for Washington, D.C. Its purposes were "to raise the issue of disarmament through unilateral action . . . to educate about non-violent resistance as a means superior to armament . . . and to demonstrate how global and domestic and economic problems are interconnected with militarism and the causes of war . . . ."

Initiated by the War Resisters League, and co-sponsored by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, American Friends Service Committee, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Catholic Peace Fellowship, Clergy and Laity Concerned, SANE, and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, the walk took 10 months and covered 8,000 miles through 34 states.

Comprehensive archive of the walk:

January 24, 1970

John Lennon & Yoko Ono cropped their hair short for the first time in years, declaring 1970 "Year One for Peace" and helped organize a Toronto Peace Festival.

An interview with John later that year
John & Yoko

January 24, 1977
The TV mini-series ''Roots,'' based on the Alex Haley novel, began airing on ABC.

The story followed an African sold into slavery, and his family’s history through emancipation. It won numerous awards and drew an enormous and broad-based audience (third-highest Nielsen ratings ever for its final episode). 85 percent of all Americans watched at least some part of the series.

LeVar Burton portrayed Kunta Kinte, a young man captured in Africa and shipped to America to be a slave, in "Roots." Listen to thoughts on Roots 30 years later

January 25, 1930

Mahatma Gandhi issued the Declaration of Independence of India.


The Dandi March: A simple act of making salt shakes the British Empire.

To achieve this goal Gandhi adopted the non-violent tactic of challenging the British monopoly on salt - it was illegal for anyone other than the British government in India to manufacture or sell salt. Gathering supporters as he walked 241 miles in 24 days to the sea where he made salt. Salt was sold, illegally, all over the seacoast of India and the British government incarcerated over sixty thousand people. This march was a key turning point in India’s struggle for independence from British colonial rule. [see March 12, 1930]

More on the Dandi March

January 25, 2002

A group of Israeli reservists issued a declaration saying they would not serve the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) if assigned to the occupied West Bank or Gaza Strip. It was called the Combatants’ Letter, and the organization Courage to Refuse grew out of their resistance

Israeli refuseniks
Captain David Zonshein and Lieutenant Yaniv Itzkovits, officers in an elite unit, realized the missions assigned to them as commanders in the IDF had in fact nothing to do with the defense of the State of Israel, but were rather intended to maintain control of the occupied territories at the price of oppressing the local Palestinian population.

Within three months, 69 such refuseniks had been jailed. 629 Israeli soldiers ultimately signed the pledge. Over 280 members of Courage to Refuse were court-martialed and jailed for periods of up to 35 days as a result of their refusal.

Read more

January 26, 1784

Benjamin Franklin, noting the bald eagle was "a bird of bad moral character" who lived "by sharping and robbing," expressed regret it had been selected to be the U.S. national symbol.

Benjamin Franklin

Franklin proposed the wild turkey, "a much more respectable Bird and a true original Native of America." He said the eastern wild turkey, known for its intelligence, cunning and boldness, was a far better symbol of the United States.
In a 1775 letter published in a magazine, Franklin made a good case for the rattlesnake as an appropriate symbolHow the bald eagle became our national birdof "the temper and conduct of America."

How the bald eagle became our national bird

Frankin’s letter on the rattlesnake

January 26, 1930

Mohandas Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and other leaders of the anti-colonial movement in India pledged to achieve complete independence, or Purna Swaraj, from Great Britain.
Nehru said:

“The British Government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses, and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally and spiritually . . . We hold it to be a crime against men and God to submit any longer to a rule that has caused this fourfold disaster to our country.”

January 26, 1950

The Indian Constitution became law and India proclaimed itself a republic. The new president replaced the King of England as head of state after nearly 100 years of British colonial rule. The Republic of India considered its sovereignty derived from the people, becoming the most populous democracy in the world. The day is now celebrated as Republic Day.
The new President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, after taking the oath of office:
"Today, for the first time in our long and chequered history, we find the whole of this vast land . . . brought together under the jurisdiction of one constitution and one union which takes over responsibility for the welfare of more than 320 million men and women who inhabit it."
More about Republic Day

January 26, 1956

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested for the first time, for driving 30 mph (48 kph) in a 25 mph (40 kph) zone in Montgomery, Alabama. This occurred shortly after the beginning of the citywide bus boycott he had helped organize. His home was bombed a few days later.

January 26, 1962

Bishop Joseph A. Burke of the Buffalo, New York,
Catholic Diocese banned a new song and dance,
“The Twist,” by Chubby Checker.
It couldn’t be danced, sung, or listened to in any Catholic school, parish, or youth event. Later in the year, the Twist was banned from community center dances in Tampa, Florida, as well. It was claimed the Twist was actually a pagan fertility dance.
“The Twist” by its originator

January 26, 1969

Police wielding truncheons and firing tear gas from pressure canisters broke up a march by hundreds of demonstrators in central Prague.

The violence erupted as officers tried to disperse the crowd gathered at the foot of the Wenceslas Statue to pay tribute to Jan Palach, the student who burned himself to death in protest at the Soviet invasion the previous summer, and their ongoing occupation of Czechoslovakia.

Jan Palach

More about Jan Palach

January 26, 1991

Germans protested their country’s membership in the coalition prosecuting the first Gulf War against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq after he invaded Kuwait. Rallying out in many cities, the largest turnout brought 200,000 to Bonn. The number of those claiming conscientious objector status jumped 35% in that month to 30,000.

January 27, 1847

Several hundred citizens of Marshall, Michigan, helped former slaves escape to Canada rather than be returned to their “owner” by bounty hunters.

Adam Crosswhite and his family, escaped Kentucky slaves, were tracked to the abolitionist town of Marshall by Francis Troutman and others. Both black and white residents detained the bounty hunters and threatened them with tar and feathers. While Troutman was being charged with assault and fined $100, the Crosswhites fled to Canada. Back in Kentucky, the slaveowner stirred up intense excitement about “abolitionist mobs” in Michigan.
Laura Haviland with some artifacts of slavery
Since 1832, Michigan had had an active antislavery society. Quakers in Cass County, Laura Haviland in Adrian and former slave Sojourner Truth in Battle Creek were only a few of the many Michiganians who worked on the Underground Railroad—an informal network that assisted escaping slaves.
Southern concern over the Underground Railroad led Congress to pass a more stringent Fugitive Slave Law in 1850. In 1854 opposition to the extension of slavery prompted Michigan citizens to meet in nearby Jackson to organize the Republican Party.
Sojourner Truth: A Life and Legacy of Faith

January 27, 1945

The Red Army of the Soviet Union liberated the German Nazis' largest concentration camps: the Auschwitz main camp, the Birkenau death camp and the Monowitz labor camp in southwestern Poland.

Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration camps Auschwitz and Birkenau in Poland.

January 27, 1951
The first atomic test was conducted at the Nevada Proving Ground as an Air Force plane dropped a one-kiloton bomb on Frenchman Flats.
The Proving Ground was created by President Harry Truman on January 11, 1951.
The final nuclear test, Divider, was conducted on September 23, 1992.
There were 99 above ground tests and over 800 below ground tests there.

January 27, 1969

In Detroit, African-American auto workers, known as the Eldon Avenue Axle Plant Revolutionary Union Movement, led a wildcat strike against racist practices and poor working conditions at the Chrysler plant.
Since the 1967 Detroit riots, black workers had organized groups in several Detroit auto plants critical of both the auto companies and the United Auto Workers union leadership. These groups combined Black-Power nationalism and workplace militancy, and temporarily shut down more than a dozen inner-city plants.
The most well-known of these groups was the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement, or DRUM. They criticized both the seniority system and grievance procedures as racist. Veterans of this movement went on to lead many of the same local unions.
Detroit: I Do Mind Dying A Study in Urban Revolution (pdf)

January 27, 1973

The United States and North Vietnam signed "An Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam" in Paris and all U.S. troops were to leave Vietnam within 90 days. The United States, South Vietnam, Viet Cong, and North Vietnam formally sign but because South Vietnam was unwilling to recognize the Viet Cong's Provisional Revolutionary Government, all references to it were confined to the document signed by North Vietnam and the United States. The same day, the United States announced an end to the military draft.

The Vietnam War resulted in between three and four million Vietnamese deaths with a countless number of Vietnamese casualties. It cost the United States 58,000 lives and 350,000 casualties. The financial cost to the United States came to something over $150 billion dollars.

Henry A. Kissinger and Le Duc Thos initial the agreement.

January 27, 1973

The Pentagon announced a “zero draft,” putting the Selective Service System on standby after five years of continuous operation. 1,728,344 men had been drafted in the previous eight years (principally for the war in Vietnam), 25% of all the armed forces.

January 27, 1988

May, 1981 Wash DC
The Center for Constitutional Rights revealed the FBI had spied on numerous organizations critical of Reagan administration policies in Central America. The principal target was the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES). 100 other groups were also investigated, including the Roman Catholic Maryknoll Sisters, the United Auto Workers, the United Steel Workers, and the National Education Association. FBI Director William Sessions said the investigations were an outgrowth of the belief that CISPES was aiding a "terrorist organization."

CISPES today

How domestic surveillance multiplied under the label or preventing terrorist attacks

January 27, 1996

France performed its final nuclear weapons test. France exploded the last in a series of six underground nuclear devices in the South Pacific. The tests, ordered by President Jacques Chirac, ended a moratorium imposed by the former president, François Mitterand, but Chirac said France would accept the terms of the Comprehensive Nuclear
Test Ban Treaty.

January 28, 1992

Nuclear production at the Rocky Flats Nuclear Arsenal – a complex used for both power plants and nuclear weapon munition manufacture – was permanently closed after repeated revelations of environmental contamination in the surrounding land and water supply, 25 miles northwest of Denver. Following closure, the facilities were completely dismantled and the site cleared.
The principal product of Rocky Flats was the fissionable plutonium trigger or "pit" at the core of every nuclear warhead in the U.S. arsenal. Since its construction in 1951 it was managed at different times by Dow Chemical, Rockwell International and EG&G. Dow and Rockwell paid fines in the tens of millions of dollars and were ordered to pay damages in the hundreds of millions to local residents for the environmental damage.
Despite the residual plutonium contamination on the 6500-acre site, it has been transferred by the Department of Energy to the Fish and Wildlife Service (Interior) as the Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge.

Keeping an eye on “Rocky Flats II” from Len Ackland, author of Making a Real Killing:
Rocky Flats
and the Nuclear West

Recent news on Rocky Flats from
Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center
Plutonim is Forever

January 28, 1995

Soldiers' Mothers Committee members
Over 100 members of the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia went to a Red Army training camp to reclaim their sons. Since its founding in 1989 the Soldiers' Mothers Committee had worked to expose human rights violations within the Russian military and has consistently supported a true alternative service option for conscientious objectors.

The Mothers Committee earned the 1996 Right Livelihood Award

January 29, 1996

Three Ploughshares activists, Lotta Kronlid, Andrea Needham and Joanna Wlson, caused millions in damage and were arrested in Warton, Lancashire, England, for disarming a British Aerospace F-16 fighter jet destined to be sold to Indonesia for use in its illegal occupation and genocide of the people of East Timor.
Seeds of Hope/East Timor Ploughshares activists

Angie Zelter was arrested later for saying she planned to finish what the other three had started. The four were later acquitted of all charges on the grounds of preventing a greater crime.

Pax Christi’s history

January 30, 1948

Mohandas K. Gandhi was killed in Delhi by an assassin, a fellow Hindu, who fired three shots from a pistol at a range of three feet.
An American reporter who saw it happen

January 30, 1956

As Martin Luther King, Jr. stood at the pulpit, leading a mass meeting during the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott, his home was bombed. King's wife and 10-week-old baby escaped unharmed. Later in the evening, as thousands of angry African Americans assembled on King's lawn, he appeared on his front porch, and told them:
"If you have weapons, take them home . . . We cannot solve this problem through retaliatory violence . . . We must love our white brothers, no matter what they do to us."
Martin Luther King, Jr. and wife Coretta Scott, 1960

January 30, 1968

The Tet (lunar new year) Offensive began as North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces launched surprise attacks against major cities, provincial and district capitals in South Vietnam.
Though an attack had been anticipated, half of the South’s ARVN troops (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) were on leave because of the holiday. There were attacks in Saigon (the South’s capital) on the Independence Palace (the residence of the president), the radio station, the ARVN's joint General Staff Compound, Tan Son Nhut airfield, and the United States embassy, causing considerable damage and throwing the city into turmoil.

January 30, 1972

In Londonderry (aka Derry), Northern Ireland, unarmed civil rights demonstrators were shot dead by British Army paratroopers in an event that became known as "Bloody Sunday." The protesters, all Catholics, had been marching in protest of the British policy of internment without trial of suspected Irish nationalists.
British authorities had ordered the march banned, and sent troops to confront the demonstrators when it went ahead. The soldiers fired indiscriminately into the crowd of protesters, ultimately killing 14 and wounding 17. By the end of the year 323 civilians and 144 military and paramilitary personnel would be dead.

Mural: Bloody Sunday martyrs>

Eyewitness accounts

Radical history of Ireland

January 30, 2010

Thousands of protesters from across Japan marched in central Tokyo to protest the U.S. military presence on Okinawa.
Some 47,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Japan, with more than half on the southern island of Okinawa. Residents have complained for years about noise, pollution and crime around the bases.

News about the protest

January 30, since 2011

Fred Korematsu Day
Fred Korematsu, was born in Oakland, California to a Japanese-American family. When World War II broke out Japanese American citizens were subject to curfews and then later sent to internment camps. Fred Korematsu refused to go and was convicted and sent to a camp.
Fred Korematsu

He challenged the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066 all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1944 the Supreme court ruled against him. Finally in 1983, a Federal court in San Francisco overturned the original conviction. In 1988 Congress passed legislation apologizing for the internments and awarded each survivor $20,000.
The "Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution" is observed every January 30th and in an increasing number of states.

"Protest, but not with violence. Don't be afraid to speak up. One person can make a difference, even if it takes 40 years..." - Fred Korematsu

read more

January 31, 1865

The U.S. House of Representatives passed (119-56) the 13th constitutional amendment which abolished slavery, and sent it to the states for ratification (three-quarters of the states would do so by the end of the year). The Kentucky legislature didn't vote to ratify until 1976. Mississippi's legislature finally ratified it in 1995 but failed to submit the paperwork to the federal government until 2013.
Text of the amendment:
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
Contemporary report in the newspaper

January 31, 1876

The U.S. government ordered that all Native Americans had to move to reservations by this date or be declared hostile. Most Sioux did not even hear of the ultimatum until after the deadline.



Sitting Bull: One of several chiefs who refused to comply.

January 31, 1945

Private Eddie Slovik became the first American soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion, and the only one who suffered such a fate during World War II.

Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered Slovik's execution be carried out, he said, to avoid further desertions in the late stages of the war.


Eddie Slovik

January 31, 1950


U.S. President Harry S. Truman publicly announced his decision to support the development of the hydrogen (fusion) bomb, a weapon theorized to be hundreds of times more powerful than the atomic (fission) bombs dropped on Japan at the end of World War II.

January 31, 1971

The Winter Soldier Hearings began in a Howard Johnson's motel in Detroit. Sponsored by Vietnam Veterans Against the War, the three days of hearings were an attempt by soldiers who had served in Vietnam to inform the public of the realities of U.S. conduct in the war. The veterans testified that the My Lai massacre was not an isolated incident, and that some American troops had committed atrocities.

Among those who spoke about aspects of their service in Vietnam was John Kerry, a former Navy lieutenant and future senator and presidential candidate.More than 100 veterans testified to sometimes brutal acts. Oregon Senator Mark Hatfield later entered the transcript of the Winter Soldier hearings into the Congressional Record but, otherwise, the proceedings captured little attention.

The term “winter soldier” is a play on words of Thomas Paine in 1776. He spoke of the “sunshine patriot and summertime soldiers” who deserted at Valley Forge because the going was rough.
Winter Soldier film
watch the trailer
(appox 4 minutes)

January 31, 1993

300,000 Berliners rallied to protest attacks on immigrants, and against racism and renewed support for Nazism on the 60th anniversary of Adolf Hitler's rise to power. During the previous year there had been 2,285 racially motivated attacks, including 77 against Jewish sites, and the death of two young Turkish girls in an arson attack.

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