The following are a few of the peace and justice related historical events that have occurred on July 4:
1804 – Birth of Author Nathaniel Hawthorne who wrote “Chiefly About War-Matters” detailing his opposition to the Civil War
1827 – Slavery is abolished in NY
1845 – Pacifist Henry David Thoreau moves into his shack on Walden Pond where he will live for two years
1845 – Philanthropist and Humanitarian Thomas John Barnardo, who helped create homes for 100,000 poor children, is born in Dublin
1852 – African-American Abolitionist Frederick Douglas gives his famous speech “The Meaning of July 4th to the Negro” (speech given on July 5)
1881 – African-American educational pioneer Booker T. Washington establishes Tuskegee Institute (Alabama)
1941 – Howard Florey & Norman Heatley meet for 1st time, 11 days later they successfully recreate penicillin
1941 – Vietnam Veteran and Peace Activist Brian Wilson is born
1946 – Birth of Ronald Lawrence Kovic, an American anti-war activist, veteran and writer who was paralyzed in the Vietnam War. He is best known as the author of the memoir Born on the Fourth of July.
1951 – The “Capital Times” in Madison, Wisconsin, reported that one of its reporters was turned down by 99 out of 100 people he asked to sign a petition made up of quotations from the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Many said the petition was subversive.
1966 – US President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act, which makes government information more publicly available.
1969 – “Give Peace a Chance” by Plastic Ono Band is released in UK
1972 – Lee Hu-rak, South Korean President Park Chung-hee’s top intelligence officer, helped broker a joint statement, the first major accord since 1953, in which the two Koreas agreed to work toward peacefully reunifying their divided peninsula.
1987 – Bill Graham took Santana, the Doobie Brothers and Bonny Rait to Moscow for an American-Soviet peace concert.
1993 – South African leaders F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela received the Liberty Medal in a ceremony outside Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.
1997 – In Guatemala Pres. Alvaro Arzu fired 2 top military officials, after they had helped negotiate a peace treaty. They were known as moderates and the hard-liner Gen’l. Hector Barrios took over as the new defense chief.
1999 – A 2,000 pound tombstone for “Unknown Civilians Killed in Wars” departed from Sherborn, Mass., on a 450-mile trek to Arlington National Cemetery. It was impounded by police on August 6 for safekeeping pending approval by Congress. In the 20th century 62 million civilians died in wars as compared to 43 million military people.
1999 – In Puerto Rico anti US Navy protests drew some 50,000 people.
2005 – In Austria, representatives from more than 100 countries gathered at the UN nuclear (IAEA) agency’s Vienna headquarters to consider strengthening international laws meant to safeguard nuclear materials from theft and prevent terrorist attacks on atomic power plants.
2012 – A Swedish ad team from Studio Total dropped hundreds of teddy bears carrying messages promoting human rights onto Belarus. SOURCES: http://www.timelines.ws/days/07_04.HTML, Wikipedia, others