25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

May 3, 2021

May 6, 1996

In a move that restricts many democratic rights, president William Clinton signed a broad “antiterrorism” bill into law April 24.

The legislation strengthens the government’s ability to arbitrarily ban or deport those it does not want to allow into the United States. It also places greater restrictions on the rights of prisoners, particularly the right to habeas corpus appeals — often the only recourse for inmates sentenced to death. A step up in convictions and executions is expected.

The passage was accompanied by extensive media interviews with relatives of those killed in the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building one year ago.

Gregory Nojeim, legislative counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union, said the bill virtually ensures that a person wrongly convicted would never “get his day in court to prove his innocence.” 

May 7, 1971

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On April 24, more than half a million Americans marched here to answer Nixon’s hollow promises about an “honorable” disengagement from Vietnam. “OUT NOW!” was the clear and powerful message that roared from the crowd. To a greater degree than before, the demonstration reflected the American population as a whole. The most significant increase came from the ranks of labor, in many cases in open defiance of union officials.

SAN FRANCISCO — It was the largest demonstration in the history of the West Coast. The organizers, the National Peace Action Coalition, estimate that well over 300,000 demonstrators marched in a massive display of sentiment for ending the war. April 24 more than ever before was a confirmation of mass action for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops as the central organizing tool of the antiwar movement. 

May 4, 1946

McCOY, Va., April 21 — Twelve workers in this community last Thursday were murdered for profits. Twelve miners were blasted and burned to death by the greed of the coal operators.

The operators doomed these twelve as they have scores of thousands of others. And they will continue to doom new thousands unless the AFL United Mine Workers win their current soft coal strike for adequate safety measures, and a Union Health and Welfare Fund.

This latest mine disaster leaves this small community with 12 more widows and 55 fatherless children. The explosion of methane gas was so terrific that 150-pound jacks were blown 350 feet.

In the face of this latest tragedy, the operators continued to defy the demand of the UMW for a health and welfare fund to maintain the families of miners killed or maimed in such unnecessary disasters as this one.