Peacemakers Almanac

March 7, 2018


1985 – The song “We Are the World” receives its international release. The USA For Africa project began as an idea calypso singer Harry Belafonte had for a benefit concert featuring black musicians. In late December 1984, looking for artists to participate, Belafonte called Ken Kragen, who managed an impressive roster of talent, including Lionel Richie. Kragen convinced Belafonte that they could raise more money and make a bigger impact with an original song; Belafonte agreed and Richie came on board to help.

Kragen asked Quincy Jones to produce, and Jones enlisted Michael Jackson. Richie got Stevie Wonder involved, and from there, word got out and many members of the music industry signed on to help. The project from conception to recording took about a month.

This all-star charity single was inspired by Band Aid, the British group Bob Geldof put together the year before to record “Do They Know It’s Christmas?.” Band Aid, which included Bono, Phil Collins, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, and Sting, served as a template, showing how a disparate group of famous artists could come together in one day to record a song.

This was recorded at A&M Studios in Los Angeles on January 28, 1985, the night of the American Music Awards. Since the artists were all in town for the awards, it was much easier to get them together to record the single.

The stars who sang solos were, in order, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Michael Jackson (again), Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, and Kim Carnes. Bob Dylan and Ray Charles were also featured on the song and given close-ups in the video.

Harry Belafonte, who had the original idea for the project, was in the chorus but didn’t get a solo, joining Bette Midler, Smokey Robinson, The Pointer Sisters, LaToya Jackson, Bob Geldof, Sheila E., and Waylon Jennings as backing singers.

Prince was asked to join the project, but he declined on the grounds that he does not record with other acts. Instead, he donated an exclusive track called “4 The Tears In Your Eyes” to the follow-up benefit album, which was also called We Are The World.


1965 – Bloody Sunday: a group of 600 civil rights marchers is brutally attacked by state and local police in Selma, Alabama.


1911 – Stefan Kisielewski born in Warsaw, Poland (d.September 27, 1991 in Warsaw, Poland), nicknames Kisiel, Julia Hołyńska, Teodor Klon, Tomasz Staliński, was a Polish writerpublicistcomposer and politician, and one of the members of Znak, one of the founders of the Unia Polityki Realnej, the Polish libertarian and  conservative  political party. Kisielewski was born to a Polish father Zygmunt Kisielewski and a Jewish mother Salomea Szapiro. In 1927 he entered the State Conservatory of Music in Warsaw, where he received three diplomas: in theory (1934, under Kazimierz Sikorski), in composition (1937, also under K. Sikorski) and in pedagogical piano (1937, under Jerzy Lefeld). He also studied Polish literature and philosophy at Warsaw University and completed his composition studies in Paris, in the years 1938–39. As a composer, Kisielewski remained firmly rooted in French neo-classicism, although his writings supported contemporary musical trends in Poland more broadly. His writing and political thought were generally marked by pragmatism and support for liberalism. In 1968, for criticizing censorship in communist Poland (at the meeting of the Polish Writers’ Union he used the designation ‘dyktatura ciemniaków’ – ‘a dictatorship of dunces’ – which became famous in Poland), he was forbidden to publish for three years. He was also beaten up by so-called “unknown perpetrators” (a euphemism for perpetrators of criminal acts of political violence who in all likelihood were members of the Communist secret police). In 1981 he coined the sentence “It’s not a crisis, it’s a result” to describe the down turn of the Polish economy at that time as a result of socialism. Another one of his famous statements was “socialism heroically overcomes difficulties unknown in any other system”, referring to the fact that many of the economic and social ills found under socialism were self-created. In 1990, together with the magazine Wprost, he established the Kisiel Prize.


1482 – Thomas de San Martín born in Cordoba, Spain, (d. August 31, 1555 in Lima, Peru); physician, priest, missionary, the founder of the National University of San Marcos in LimaPeru, a notable Spanish scholar, and was appointed the first Bishop of La Plata o Charcas (1552-1559). He served as Bishop La Plata o Charcas until his death in 1559. During this period, he was highly critical of the brutality of the conquistadors towards the indigenous peoples of the Americas. While Bishop, he was the principal co-consecrator of Bernardino de CarmonaAuxiliary Bishop of Santiago de Compostela.


1274 – Saint Thomas Aquinas OP  died in FossanovaPapal States, (b. 1225 in RoccaseccaKingdom of Sicily); an Italian Dominican friarCatholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. He was an immensely influential philosophertheologian, and jurist in the tradition of scholasticism, within which he is also known as the Doctor Angelicus and the Doctor Communis. The name Aquinas identifies his ancestral origins in the county of Aquino in present-day Lazio. He wrote commentaries on practically every aspect of life. (His thoughts on women reflect the contemporary fallacy that men are superior to women!) Thomas Aquinas used the authority of Augustine’s ‘just war’ arguments in an attempt to define the conditions under which a war could be just. He laid these out in his historic work, Summa Theologica: First, war must occur for a good and just purpose rather than the pursuit of wealth or power. Second, just war must be waged by a properly instituted authority such as the state. Third, peace must be a central motive even in the midst of violence.


“The things that we love tell us what we are.”

-Thomas Aquinas
“It was civil disobedience that won them their civil rights.”

Tariq Ali


“Through non-violence, courage displaces fear; love transforms hate. Acceptance dissipates prejudice; hope ends despair. Peace dominates war; faith reconciles doubt. Mutual regard cancels enmity. Justice for all overthrows injustice. The redemptive community supercedes systems of gross social immorality.”

-James Lawson


All wars are fought for money.




Peacemakers Almanac
March 6, 2018
2006 – Anne McCarty Braden died in Louisville, KY, (b. July 28, 1924 in Louisville, KY); an American civil rights activist, journalist, and educator dedicated to the cause of racial equality. Braden was raised in rigidly segregated Anniston, Alabama, she grew up in a white, middle-class family that accepted southern racial mores wholeheartedly. A devout Episcopalian, Braden was bothered by racial segregation, but never questioned it until her college years at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Virginia. After working on newspapers in Anniston and Birmingham, Alabama, she returned to Kentucky as a young adult to write for The Louisville Times. She became a supporter of the Civil Rights Movement at a time when it was unpopular among southern whites. Even as the postwar labor movement splintered and grew less militant, civil rights causes heated up. In 1950, Anne Braden spearheaded a hospital desegregation drive in Kentucky. She endured her first arrest in 1951 when she led a delegation of southern white women organized by the Civil Rights Congress to Mississippi to protest the execution of Willie McGee, an African American man convicted of the rape of a white woman, Willette Hawkins.
1984 – Martin Niemöller died in Wiesbaden, West Germany (b. January 1892 in Lippstadt, German Empire); a German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor. He was a national conservative and initially a supporter of Adolf Hitler, but he became one of the founders of the Confessing Church, which opposed the nazification of German Protestant churches. He vehemently opposed the Nazis’ Aryan Paragraph, but made remarks about Jews that some scholars have called antisemitic. For his opposition to the Nazis’ state control of the churches, Niemöller was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1937 to 1945. He narrowly escaped execution. After his imprisonment, he expressed his deep regret about not having done enough to help the victims of the Nazis. He turned away from his earlier nationalistic beliefs and was one of the initiators of the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt. From the 1950s on, he was a vocal pacifist and anti-war activist, and vice-chair of War Resisters’ International from 1966 to 1972. He met with Ho Chi Minh during the Vietnam War and was a committed campaigner for nuclear disarmament.
1927 – Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez born in Aracataca, Colombia (d. April 17, 2014 in Mexico City, Mexico); a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist, known affectionately as Gabo or Gabito throughout Latin America. Considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century and one of the best in the Spanish language, he was awarded the 1972 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature. He pursued a self-directed education that resulted in his leaving law school for a career in journalism. From early on, he showed no inhibitions in his criticism of Colombian and foreign politics. In 1958, he married Mercedes Barcha; they had two sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo. García Márquez’s socialist and anti-imperialist views are in principled opposition to the global status quo dominated by the United States.
1921 – Leo Bretholz born (in Vienna, Austria (d. March 8, 2014 in Pikesville, Maryland, USA); was a Holocaust survivor who, in 1942, escaped from a train heading for Auschwitz. He has also written a book on his experiences, titled Leap into Darkness. He escaped seven times during the Holocaust.
1857 – The Supreme Court of the United States rules in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case, a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on US labor law and constitutional law. It held that “a negro, whose ancestors were imported into [the U.S.], and sold as slaves”, whether enslaved or free, could not be an American citizen and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court, and that the federal government had no power to regulate slavery in the federal territories acquired after the creation of the United States. Dred Scott, an enslaved man of “the negro African race” who had been taken by his owners to free states and territories, attempted to sue for his freedom.
1820 – The Missouri Compromise is signed into law by President James Monroe. The compromise allows Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state, brings Maine into the Union as a free state, and makes the rest of the northern part of the Louisiana Purchase territory slavery-free.
“We ought always to deal justly, not only with those who are just to us, but likewise to those who endeavor to injure us; and this, for fear lest by rendering them evil for evil, we should fall into the same vice.”
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
-Martin Niemöller
“I must try and break through the cliches about Latin America. Superpowers and other outsiders have fought over us for centuries in ways that have nothing to do with our problems. In reality we are all alone. “
-Gabriel Garcia Marquez
“We used this attack on us as a platform to reach more people with what we’d been talking about anyway, which was segregation and housing and racism. If you do that, if you use every attack as a platform, they can’t win and you can’t lose cause if they leave you alone you go right on organizing, if they attack you you’re gonna have a platform to reach a lot more people. So you really can’t lose. And it really works like a charm.”
-Anne Braden, Prison Correspondence


March 5, 2018


1970 – The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty goes into effect after ratification by 43 nations.


1956 – US court victory for black students. The United States Supreme Court has upheld a ban on racial segregation in state schools, colleges and universities.


1940 – KATYN FOREST MASSACRE ORDERED. In a bid to cripple the Polish army and intelligentsia, on this date Stalin ordered the killings of more than 21,000 Polish prisoners, including more than 8,000 officers captured in the Soviet invasion of Poland. In early April the killings began at sites across Russia, with the largest mass graves in Katyn Forest. Soviet and pro-Soviet Polish governments denied the massacre until Mikhail Gorbachev admitted in 1990 that Stalin had ordered the killings.


1920 – José Aboulker (b. March 5, 1920 – d. November 17, 2009) was a French Algerian Jew and leading figure in French Algeria of the anti-Nazi resistance in World War II. After the war, he became a neurosurgeon and a political figure in France, who argued for the political rights of Algerian Muslims.


1904 – Karl Rahner, S.J. born in Freiburg im Breisgau, Grand Duchy of Baden, German Empire (d. March 30, 1984 in Innsbruck, Austria), was a German Jesuit priest and theologian who, alongside Henri de Lubac, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Yves Congar, is considered one of the most influential Catholic theologians of the 20th century. He was the brother of Hugo Rahner, also a Jesuit scholar. Rahner was born in Freiburg, at the time a part of the Grand Duchy of Baden, a state of the German Empire. Before the Second Vatican Council, Rahner had worked alongside Yves Congar, Henri de Lubac and Marie-Dominique Chenu, theologians associated with an emerging school of thought called the Nouvelle Théologie, elements of which had been condemned in the encyclical Humani generis of Pope Pius XII. Subsequently, however, the Second Vatican Council was much influenced by his theology and his understanding of Catholic faith.


1770 – Crispus Attucks Day -Crispus Attucks, possibly a runaway slave, who was the first to die in the Boston Massacre. “…the first to defy, the first to die.”


1616 – Nicolaus Copernicus‘s book On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres is added to the Index of Forbidden Books 73 years after it was first published.


“To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.”

-Nicolaus Copernicus


“He (Crispus Attucks) is one of the most important figures in African-American history, not for what he did for his own race but for what he did for all oppressed people everywhere. He is a reminder that the African-American heritage is not only African but American and it is a heritage that begins with the beginning of America.”

-Martin Luther King, Jr.


“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

-Howard Zinn


Two months ago I had a nice apartment in Chicago. I had a good job. I had a son. When something happened to the Negroes in the South I said, `That’s their business, not mine.’ Now I know how wrong. I was. The murder of my son has shown me that what happens to any of us, anywhere in the world, had better be the business of us all.

Mamie Till, mother of African American teenager Emmett Till lynched August 28, 1955


Peacemakers Almanac

March 4, 2018


2005 – Carlos Sherman died in Norway (b. October 25, 1934); a Uruguay-born Belarusian–Spanish translator, writer, human rights activist and honorary vice-president of the Belarusian PEN Center (a worldwide association of writers, aimed to promote intellectual cooperation and understanding among writers). He translated from Spanish into Belarusian and Russian.


1976 – Guilty verdict for ‘Maguire Seven’ -A 40-year-old Irish born mother-of-four and six others are jailed for possessing explosives. Their convictions are later quashed. U.K.


1954 – Irina Borisovna Ratushinskaya born in OdessaUkrainian SSR, (d. July 5, 2017 in Moscow); a Russian Soviet dissident, poet and writer. On September 17, 1982, Ratushinskaya was arrested for anti-Soviet agitation.  In April 1983, she was convicted of “agitation carried on for the purpose of subverting or weakening the Soviet regime”, and sentenced to seven years in a labor camp followed by five years of internal exile  After being imprisoned three and a half years, including one year in solitary confinement in an unheated cell while temperatures fell to minus 40C in the winter, she was released on October 9, 1986, on the eve of the summit in ReykjavíkIceland between President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. While imprisoned Ratushinskaya continued to write poetry. Her previous works usually centered on love, Christian theology, and artistic creation, not on politics or policies as her accusers stated. Her new works that were written in prison, which were written with a matchstick on soap until memorized and then washed away, number some 250. They expressed an appreciation for human rights; libertyfreedom, and the beauty of life. Her memoir, Grey is the Colour of Hope, chronicles her prison experience. Her later poems recount her struggles to endure the hardships and horrors of prison life. Ratushinskaya was a member of International PEN, who monitored her situation during her incarceration.


1944 – Mary Wilson born in Greenville, Mississippi; an American vocalist, best known as a founding member of the Supremes. Wilson remained with the group following the departures of other original members, Florence Ballard in 1967 and Diana Ross in 1970. Following Wilson’s own departure in 1977, the group disbanded. Wilson has since released three solo albums, five singles and two best selling autobiographies, Dreamgirl: My Life As a Supreme, a record setter for sales in its genre and Supreme Faith: Someday We’ll Be Together, both books later released as an updated combination. Continuing a successful career as a concert performer, Wilson also became a musicians’ rights activist as well as a musical theater performer and organizer of various museum displays of the Supremes’ famed costumes. Wilson was inducted along with Ross and Ballard (as members of the Supremes) into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.


1941 – Ludwig Quidde  died in Geneva, Switzerland, (b. March 23, 1858, Bremen, Germany); a German politician and pacifist who is mainly remembered today for his acerbic criticism of German Emperor Wilhelm II. Quidde’s long career spanned four different eras of German history: that of Bismarck (up to 1890); the Hohenzollern Empireunder Wilhelm II (1888–1918); the Weimar Republic (1918–1933); and, finally, Nazi Germany. Born into a wealthy bourgeois merchant family, Quidde grew up in Bremen, read history and also got involved in the activities of the German Peace Society(Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft). In his younger years he had already opposed Bismarck’s policies. In 1881 he received his PhD at the University of Göttingen. In 1894 Quidde published a 17-page pamphlet entitled Caligula. Eine Studie über römischen Caesarenwahnsinn (Caligula: A Study of Imperial Insanity). Containing 79 footnotes, the short essay is exclusively about the Roman Empire of the 1st century AD. However, Quidde drew an implicit parallel between the Roman Emperor Caligula and Wilhelm II, de facto accusing both rulers of megalomania. The author had insisted on publishing his pamphlet under his real name, which effectively ended his academic career as a historian when, in some periodical, a short review explained the parallels which otherwise might have gone unnoticed. After he made a derogatory comment on a new medal in honour of William the Great, German Emperor from 1871 to 1888, he was criminally convicted of lèse majesté, and sentenced to three months in prison, which he served in Stadelheim Prison. In 1927, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.


1933 – On March 4, 1933, the start of President Roosevelt’s first administration brought with it the first woman to serve in the Cabinet: Labor Secretary Frances Perkins.


1917 – Jeannette Pickering Rankin (June 11, 1880 – May 18, 1973) became the first woman to hold national office in the United States when she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1916 by the state of Montana as a member of the Republican Party. She won a second House term 24 years later, in 1940. Each of Rankin’s Congressional terms coincided with initiation of U.S. military intervention in each of the World Wars. A lifelong pacifist, she was one of 50 House members (total of 56 in both chambers) who opposed the war declaration of 1917, and the only member of Congress to vote against declaring war on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Rankin was also instrumental in initiating the legislation that eventually became the 19th Constitutional Amendment, granting unrestricted voting rights to women. She championed the causes of gender equality and civil rights throughout a career that spanned more than six decades.


1908 – Theodore Roosevelt Mason “T. R. M.” Howard born in Murray, Kentucky, (d. May 1, 1976 in Chicago, IL); an American civil rights leader, fraternal organization leader, entrepreneur and surgeon. He was one of the mentors to activists such as Medgar Evers, Charles Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Amzie Moore, Aaron Henry, and Jesse Jackson, founded Mississippi’s leading civil rights organization in the 1950s, the Regional Council of Negro Leadership, and played a prominent role in the investigation of the kidnapping and murder of Emmett Till. He was also president of the National Medical Association and chairman of the board of the National Negro Business League and a leading national advocate of African-American businesses.


1789 – In New York City, the first Congress of the United States meets, putting the United States Constitution into effect. The United States Bill of Rights is written and proposed to Congress.


“Limitation of armaments in itself is economically and financially important quite apart from security.”

-Ludwig Quidde


“The Constitution is both color blind and color conscious.

-Theodore Roosevelt Mason ” T. R. M. ” Howard


“There can be no compromise with war; it cannot be reformed or controlled; cannot be disciplined into decency or codified into common sense.”

-Jeannette Rankin


March 3, 2018


TODAY: UN World Wildlife Day – This day seeks to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora, recall the privileged interactions between wildlife and populations across the globe and raise awareness of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts. Annually, Mar 3, the anniversary date of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.


2016 – Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores died/murdered in La Esperanza, Honduras (b. March 4, 1971 in La Esperanza, Honduras, a Honduran environmental activist, indigenous leader of her people, and co-founder and coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). She won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015, for “a grassroots campaign that successfully pressured the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam” at the Río Gualcarque. She was assassinated in her home by armed intruders, after years of threats against her life. Twelve environmental activists were killed in Honduras in 2014, according to research by Global Witness, which makes it the most dangerous country in the world, relative to its size, for activists protecting forests and rivers. On 2 May 2016, the government arrested four men; one is DESA’s manager for social and environmental issues, another a former employee of a security company hired by DESA; the other two are an army major and a retired captain. The US ambassador to Honduras applauded the government.

A former soldier with the US-trained special forces units of the Honduran military asserted that Caceres’ name was included on a hitlist distributed to them months before her assassination. According to a February 2017 investigation by The London Guardian, court papers purport to show that three of the eight people arrested in connection with the assassination are linked to the US-trained elite troops. Two of them, Maj Mariano Díaz and Lt Douglas Giovanny Bustillo, received military training in the US. For Important News and Updates go to:


1991 – An amateur video captures the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers.


1939 – In Bombay, Mohandas Gandhi begins a hunger strike in protest at the autocratic rule in British India.


1913 – Thousands of women march in a suffrage parade in Washington, D.C. A parade held by the National American Woman Suffrage Association at Washington, DC, on the day before Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration turned into a near riot when people in the crowd began jeering and shoving the marchers. The 5,000 women and their supporters were spit upon, struck in the face and pelted with burning cigar stubs while police looked on and made no effort to intervene. Secretary of War Henry Stimson was forced to send soldiers from Fort Myer to restore order.


1887 – Anne Sullivan arrived at the Alabama home of Capt. and Mrs. Arthur H. Keller to become the teacher of their blind and deaf 6-year-old daughter, Helen.


1873 – William Green born in Coshocton, Ohio, (d. November 21, 1952 in Coshocton, Ohio); an American trade union leader. Green is best remembered as the President of the American Federation of Labor from 1924 to 1952. Green was a strong supporter for labor-management cooperation and was in the frontlines on wage and benefit protections and industrial unionism legislation. As president of the AFL, he continued the development of the federation away from the foundations of “pure and simple unionism” into a more politically-active “social reform unionism.”


1859 – The two-day Great Slave Auction, the largest such auction in United States history, concludes.


1840 – Chief Joseph born at Wallowa Valley, Oregon Territory; the Nez Percé chief, whose name means “Thunder Rolling Down the Mountain.” Faced with war or resettlement to a reservation, Chief Joseph led 700 of his people (of which only 200 were warriors) in a dramatic attempt to escape to Canada. After three months and more than 1,400 miles, during which the tribe held off larger US forces in four battles and many skirmishes, he and his people were surrounded 40 miles from Canada. On Oct 5, 1877, he surrendered and uttered the legendary words: “From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.” They were sent to a reservation at Oklahoma. Though a few survivors were later allowed in 1885 to relocate to another reservation at Washington, they never regained their ancestral lands. He died–his physician said of a broken heart–on Sept 21, 1904, on the Colville Reservation at Washington.



“The army has an assassination list of 18 wanted human rights fighters with my name at the top. I want to live, there are many things I still want to do in this world but I have never once considered giving up fighting for our territory, for a life with dignity, because our fight is legitimate. I take lots of care but in the end, in this country where there is total impunity I am vulnerable… When they want to kill me, they will do it”

-Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores.


“Treat all men alike. Give them the same law. Give them an even chance to live and grow.”

-Chief Joseph


“To suggest that war can prevent war is a base play on words and a despicable form of warmongering. The objective of any who sincerely believe in peace clearly must be to exhaust every honorable recourse in the effort to save the peace. The world has had ample evidence that war begets only conditions that beget further war.”

-Ralph Bunche


“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.”

-Albert Camus


March 2, 2017


2012 – Lawrence Anthony died in Durban, South Africa, (b. September 17, 1950 in Johannesburg, South Africa); an international conservationist, environmentalist, explorer and bestselling author of The Last Rhinos: My Battle to Save One of the World’s Greatest Creatures. He was the long-standing head of conservation at the Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand, South Africa, and the Founder of The Earth Organization, a privately registered, independent, international conservation and environmental group with a strong scientific orientation. Anthony had a reputation for bold conservation initiatives, including the rescue of the Baghdad Zoo at the height of the US-led Coalition invasion of Iraq in 2003, and negotiations with the infamous Lord’s Resistance Army rebel army in Southern Sudan, to raise awareness of the environment and protect endangered species, including the last of the Northern White Rhinoceros.


1990 – Nelson Mandela is elected deputy President of the African National Congress.


1961 – John F. Kennedy announces the creation of the Peace Corps in a nationally televised broadcast.


1955 – Claudette Colvin (born September 5, 1939 in Montgomery, AL); a pioneer of the African American Civil Rights Movement. On March 2, 1955, she, as a teenager, was the first person arrested for resisting bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama –months before Rosa Parks.


1945 – Hubert Unzeitig, Blessed Engelmar Unzeitig, died (b. March 1, 1911 in Hradec nad Svitavou, Svitavy, Czech Republic); a German Roman Catholic priest who died in the Dachau Concentration Camp during World War II on the charge of being a priest. He was a professed member of the Mariannhill Missionaries and assumed the name of “Engelmar” when he was admitted into the order. He became known as the “Angel of Dachau”. The Gestapo arrested Unzeitig on 21 April 1941 for defending Jews in his sermons and sent him to the Dachau concentration camp without a trial on 8 June 1941. While there he studied the Russian language in order to tend to the Eastern European prisoners and administered to all prisoners in general in his role as a pastor. In the autumn of 1944 he volunteered to help in catering to victims of typhoid but he soon contracted the disease himself. From prison he wrote to his sister: “Whatever we do, whatever we want, is surely simply the grace that carries us and guides us. God’s almighty grace helps us overcome obstacles … love doubles our strength, makes us inventive, makes us feel content and inwardly free. If people would only realize what God has in store for those who love Him!”


1937 – The Steel Workers Organizing Committee signs a collective bargaining agreement with U.S. Steel, leading to unionization of the United States steel industry.


1931 – Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev born in Privolnoye, North Caucasus Krai, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union is a former Soviet statesman. He was the eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union, having been General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, when the party was dissolved. He was the country’s head of state from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991 (titled as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from 1988 to 1989, as Chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 1989 to 1990, and as President of the Soviet Union from 1990 to 1991). Gorbachev’s policies of glasnost (“openness”) and perestroika (“restructuring”) and his reorientation of Soviet strategic aims contributed to the end of the Cold War.


1917 – Puerto Ricans were granted U.S. citizenship.


1904 – Theodor Seuss Geisel, born in Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.(d. September 24, 1991in La Jolla, CA, USA); an American writer, cartoonist, animator, book publisher, and artist best known for authoring children’s books under the pen name Dr. Seuss. His work includes several of the most popular children’s books of all time, selling over 600 million copies and being translated into more than 20 languages by the time of his death. [Dr. Seuss has a mixed record on peace and justice issues.]


1900 – Kurt Julian Weill born in the “Sandvorstadt”, the Jewish quarter in Dessau, Germany, (d. April 3, 1950 in New York, NY, USA); a German composer, active from the 1920s in his native country, and in his later years in the United States. He was a leading composer for the stage who was best known for his fruitful collaborations with Bertolt Brecht. With Brecht, he developed productions such as his best-known work The Threepenny Opera, which included the ballad “Mack the Knife“. Weill held the ideal of writing music that served a socially useful purpose. He also wrote several works for the concert hall. Weill fled Nazi Germany in March 1933. A prominent and popular Jewish composer, Weill was officially denounced for his populist views and sympathies, and became a target of the Nazi authorities, who criticized and interfered with performances of his later stage works, such as Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, 1930), Die Bürgschaft (1932), and Der Silbersee (1933). With no option but to leave Germany, he went first to Paris, where he worked once more with Brecht (after a project with Jean Cocteau failed) on the ballet The Seven Deadly Sins. He became a United States citizen on August 27, 1943.


1876 – Pope Pius XII, born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli in Rome (d. October 9, 1958 Vatican City, Rome), reigned as Pope from 2 March 1939 to his death in 1958. Before his election to the papacy, Pacelli served as secretary of the Department of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, papal nuncio to Germany (1917–1929), and Cardinal Secretary of State, in which capacity he worked to conclude treaties with European and Latin American nations, most notably the Reichskonkordat with Nazi Germany, with which most historians believe the Vatican sought to protect the Church in Germany while Adolf Hitler sought the destruction of “political Catholicism”. A pre-war critic of Nazism, Pius XII lobbied world leaders to avoid war and, as Pope at the outbreak of war, issued Summi Pontificatus, expressing dismay at the invasion of Poland, reiterating Church teaching against racial persecution and calling for love, compassion and charity to prevail over war.


1859 – The two-day Great Slave Auction, the largest such auction in United States history, begins.


1810 – Pope Leo XIII, born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci in Carpineto Romano, département of Rome, French Empire (d. July 20, 1903 at Rome, Vatican City); reigned as Pope from 20 February 1878 to his death. He is well known for his intellectualism and his attempts to define the position of the Catholic Church with regard to modern thinking. In his famous 1891 encyclical Rerum novarum, Pope Leo outlined the rights of workers to a fair wage, safe working conditions, and the formation of labor unions.


1807 – The U.S. Congress passes the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves, disallowing the importation of new slaves into the country.


1791 – John Wesley died in London, England (b. June 28, 1703 in Epworth, Lincolnshire, England); an Anglican cleric, reformer and theologian who, with his brother Charles and fellow cleric George Whitefield, founded Methodism. Later in his ministry, Wesley was a keen abolitionist, speaking out and writing against the slave trade. He published a pamphlet on slavery, titled Thoughts Upon Slavery, in 1774. Wesley influenced George Whitefield to journey to the colonies, spurring the transatlantic debate on slavery. Wesley was a friend of John Newton and William Wilberforce who were also influential in the abolition of slavery in Britain.


“Liberty is the right of every human creature, as soon as he breathes the vital air; and no human law can deprive him of that right which he derives from the law of nature”.

-John Wesley


No one is so rich that he does not need another’s help; no one so poor as not to be useful in some way to his fellow man; and the disposition to ask assistance from others with confidence and to grant it with kindness is part of our very nature.

Pope Leo XIII


“I knew then and I know now that, when it comes to justice, there is no easy way to get it. You can’t sugarcoat it. You have to take a stand and say, ‘This is not right’.”

-Claudette Colvin


March 1, 2018

FYI: March 2018 Sunflower Newsletter is available:


1999 – A United Nations treaty banning land mines took effect on this date. To date 162 nations have signed the treaty; the US, Russia, India and China (among 35 nations) have not. For info: International Committee to Ban Landmines. Web:


1961 – President John F. Kennedy signed an executive order officially establishing the Peace Corps on this date. The Peace Corps has sent more than 220,000 volunteers to 140 countries to help people help themselves. The volunteers assist in projects such as health, education, water sanitation, agriculture, nutrition and forestry.


1954 – Nuclear weapons testing: The Castle Bravo, a 15-megaton hydrogen bomb, is detonated on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, resulting in the worst radioactive contamination ever caused by the United States.


1940 – The novel “Native Son” by Richard Wright was published.


1847 – Michigan, USA is the first Union State to abolish the death penalty.


1872 – Yellowstone National Park is established as the world’s first national park.


1562 – Sixty-three Huguenots are massacred in Wassy, France, marking the start of the French Wars of Religion.


“The United States of America is still run by its citizens. The government works for us. Rank imperialism and warmongering are not American traditions or values. We do not need to dominate the world. We want and need to work with other nations. We want to find solutions other than killing people. Not in our name, not with our money, not with our children’s blood.”

-Molly Ivins


“We used to have a War Office, but now we have a Ministry of Defence, nuclear bombs are now described as deterrents, innocent civilians killed in war are now described as collateral damage and military incompetence leading to US bombers killing British

described as mavericks and troublemakers, whereas the real militants are those who want the war.”

-Tony Benn


“War stirs in men’s hearts the mud of their worst instincts. It puts a premium on violence, nourishes hatred, and gives free rein to cupidity. It crushes the weak, exalts the unworthy, and bolsters tyranny .. .Time and time again it has destroyed all ordered living, devastated hope, and put the prophets to death.”

-Charles DeGaulle