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June 3, 1972 – Sally Jan Priesand is the first woman to be ordained as a rabbi in the U.S.A., (the first in the world being Regina Jones in 1935, who died in Auschwitz in 1944), breaking with thousands of years of patriarchal tradition in the Jewish faith.
From labor movements, to free speech, here are some historic highlights for liberty in the month of May
May, 1968— Following the April 23rd Columbia University student protests, May 1968 marked a month of student uprising in Paris. Protesters were critical of everything from France's outdated university system, to lack of employment opportunities and general working conditions. Demonstrations for radical economic and political change began, and, on May 3rd, protesters at the Sorbonne clashed with police and hundreds of students were arrested. The unrest continued, culminating on May 24th, when students seized the Paris Stock Exchange, and raised a Communist flag over the building. Following these events, President Charles de Gaulle agreed to some concessions, including better working conditions, education reform and higher wages.
May 4, 1886 – Police advanced on workers at a labor demonstration in Haymarket Square in Chicago on May 3, 1886. The next day, a rally in support of those workers, and of an eight-hour work day, erupted in violence when police clashed with protesters. A bomb was thrown, resulting in death and injury to police and demonstrators alike. The event came to be known as The Haymarket Massacre, and is considered the inspiration for May Day observances for workers around the world.
May 4, 1970 – Four students, 19 year-old Allison Krause, 20 year-old Sandra Lee Scheuer, 19 year-old William K. Schroeder, and 20 year-old Jeffrey Glenn Miller, were killed, and 11 others wounded, by National Guardsmen who opened fire on a group of 1000 students who were protesting President Nixon's planned invasion of Cambodia. This event led to campus demonstrations and protests in over 450 colleges and universities across America.
May 5, 1862 – Mexican troops under General Zaragoza, outnumbered three to one, defeated invading the invading French forces of Napoleon III in the Battle of Puebla. This victory is celebrated today as Cinco de Mayo.
May 5, 1961 – Alan Shepard became the first American in space.
May 7, 1945 – General Alfred Jodl signed the unconditional surrender of German forces in Reims, Germany, marking the end of WWII in Europe.
May 10, 1994 – Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the president of South Africa after winning in a free election, and in spite of efforts to derail his election.
May 14, 1607 – The establishment of the first permanent English settlement in America at Jamestown, Virginia.
May 14, 1804 – Lewis and Clark began their 6,000-mile journey across the country to explore the Northwest.
May 17, 1954 – The US Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools and racially separate educational facilities were inherently unequal in Brown V. Board of Education. This landmark case was argued by Thurgood Marshall who went on to become the first African American appointed to the Supreme Court.
May 19, 1926 – Britain's Trades Union Congress called off their General Strike, which had brought the nation to a halt for nine days. Though many thought the strike presaged class warfare, it never actually evolved into a revolutionary uprising.
May 20, 1932 – Ameilia Earhart flew out of Newfoundland, Canada and landed near Londonderry, Ireland, becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
May 21, 1881 – Nicknamed "the angel of the battlefield" for her work treating injured soldiers in The American Civil War, Clara Barton founds The American Red Cross after a trip to Europe, where she volunteered for The International Red Cross.
May 23, 1810 – Margaret Fuller was born in Cambridgeport, Mass. She would become the first American woman to work as a foreign correspondent. Her 1845 book, Women in the 19th Century, is considered a groundbreaking feminist statement and was the first of its kind.
May 24, 1844 – Samuel Morse sent the first official telegraph message from the Capital building in Washington D.C. He asked "What had God wrought?"
May 28, 1961 – London lawyer Peter Berenson founds Amnesty International after writing his famous Forgotten Prisoners newspaper article in May 1961after reading about two students in a Portuguese cafe who had been imprisoned after raising their glasses "to liberty."
Why the only amendment never brought before the supreme court may be more important than you think
You'd be hard pressed to find someone living in the U.S.A. (and, perhaps in Russia) who could not tell you that the Second Amendment involved the right to bear arms. And, most people understand that something in the Bill of Rights protects them against unlawful search and seizure, even if they don't know that it's the Fourth Amendment that does so. But sandwiched in between these two celebrity amendments is the all-but-forgotten Third Amendment. Since its inclusion in the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the constitution), the Third Amendment has been the subject of a small handful of cases, and not one of them has gone before the Supreme Court. Here it is:
Liberty Project Takes A Look Back: These are significant U.S. events from the month of April over the years...
Liberty Project Time Capsule: A Look Back in History
On April 17, 1989 – Polish labor union Solidarity attained legal status after years of struggle, making way for the downfall of the Polish Communist Party.
On April 18 1776 – Paul Revere and William Dawes rode out of Boston at night to warn patriots at Lexington and Concord that the British were coming.
Could Pluto be to blame for our current era of upheaval?
If there's one word that describes the last ten years, it's disruption.
Consider the climate: The earth has experienced raging fires, drought, destructive floods, and hurricanes of unprecedented power, as well as earthquakes, mudslides, and record snowfall. And, according to a January 2, 2018 article in Newsweek, there are six active volcanoes across the globe that scientists are monitoring for possible cataclysmic eruptions. Politics: Well, you'd have to be living under a very large rock not to know that we are living in a time of tremendous political upheaval. Once relied upon ideologies, government institutions and accepted social norms have been whirled around faster than a max-extract spin cycle, if not destroyed outright. Russia influencing elections? Donald Trump is President of the United States? Culture: Between #MeToo and the relentless assault on women's reproductive rights, it feels like we're all over the place, like everything we know is changing, all the time. Some of these changes are hopeful; many are terrifying.
Getting to know your Constitution and the rights it guarantees you.
Can you recite the five central freedoms protected by the First Amendment? If not, you aren't alone. The New York Times, citing a recent study by the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University, revealed that just over half the people surveyed knew that our First Amendment protects freedom of speech, under 25% knew that it protects freedom of religion, under 20% knew that it protects freedom of the press, 14% knew that it protects freedom of association and only 6% knew that it protects the right to petition the government for grievances. Yet another survey conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center found that 37% of Americans could not even name one right protected under the First Amendment. Back in 2006, one in four Americans could name one right, but more than half could name at least two members of the cartoon family, The Simpsons.
A mother's reflection in the wake of yet another school shooting.
Several months ago, I heard an interview on NPR with a woman who said that water carries memory. When the water freezes, the memories it carries are held in place, and when the ice melts, those memories are released. I don't remember which NPR show this was, nor do I remember the woman's name or what she was being interviewed about, except that she was in the arts, perhaps theater, or music, and she was talking about her most recent project. But, I remembered this one thing she said; that water carries memories, which are held and released, and held and released with the cycling of seasons.