American Labor Activists rally to build support for the Employee Free Choice Act, 2003
The AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the United States, moved to counteract the shrinking union strength and the ever growing corporate power via legislation, the Employee Free Choice Act. Andy Levin and Stewart Acuff, two veteran union organizers, spearheaded the effort. In the summer of 2003, Acuff and Levin agreed on what the act would entail.
San Francisco strippers win right to form a union, 1996-1997
The Lusty Lady was a strip club in San Francisco. Opened since 1976, this North Beach club featured exotic dancers “Lusties” in a peep show on a stage and in individual booths. While being one of the most popular spots for nightlife in the city, the Lusty Lady was infamous among the dancers for its random firings and pay cuts, racist and ambiguous shift policies, and no-sick-day rules. According to Antonia Crane, a former stripper at the Club, “[the Lusty Lady] is playing the notoriously exploitative game in the adult entertainment world.”
Black residents of Diamond win fight with Shell Chemical for relocation 1989-2002
In the early 1950s, Royal Dutch/Shell purchased land in the community of Diamond, Louisiana and built a chemical plant. Margie Richard, a Black resident of Diamond, founded Concerned Citizens of Norco (CCN) in 1989 after two large-scale accidents at the Shell/Motiva Chemical plant. A pipeline explosion in 1973 killed two Diamond residents, while another event in 1988 killed seven workers.
Emelle residents protest Chemical Waste Management hazardous waste landfill 1978-1995
In 1978, Chemical Waste Management Inc. (CWM), a subsidiary of Waste Management Inc. (WMX), bought 300-acres of land near Emelle, Alabama for a hazardous waste landfill. Residents did not have the opportunity to protest the landfill prior to its construction because CWM was not legally obligated to disclose information about land use.
Students Win Gay-Straight Alliance Club at Flour Bluff, Texas, High School 2010-2011
In November 2010, Bianca “Nikki” Peet attempted to start a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) in Flour Bluff, Texas, part of the greater Corpus Christi area. She initially went through the normal channels within the local high school, but the school’s principal, James Crenshaw, denied her request to form a GSA. Crenshaw asked her to change the club’s name and mission and come back for reconsideration. After this initial denial, Peet revised the club’s mission statement. She resubmitted it in January of 2011 and was again denied.
Philadelphians prevent deportation of Honduran immigrant through church sanctuary, United States, 2014-15
The New Sanctuary Movement (NSM) was established to build a community
that does not discriminate based on faith, ethnicity, class, and to end
injustices against immigrants regardless of their legal or illegal
status. They are a national movement of civil disobedience trying to
pressure President Obama to reform immigration laws. Their movement
goals include pushing Obama to end all deportations, regardless of
“origin, status, criminal convictions, sexual or gender identity,
socioeconomic status, marital status, or previous deportation order”
Kansas women protest anti-abortion advocate Governor Sam Brownback, 2012
In January 2011, Governor Sam Brownback took office in the U.S. state of Kansas. In rapid succession, strict new anti-abortion legislation passed through both houses of the state legislature.
Brownback signed into law new restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion, parental consent clauses for minors, blocks on Planned Parenthood funding (including that for non-abortion services), and limits on late-term abortion. Many of these measures went into effect during summer 2011.
Washington, DC protests against the war in Vietnam (Mayday), 1971
The Mayday protest was a series of large-scale demonstrations against the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War. It happened in 1971 in Washington, DC from May 1 to May 3 and diminished within several days. The goal was to shut down the federal government offices, because the Mayday Tribe (a largely young and more militant segment of the U.S. anti-war movement) had given an ultimatum to the Nixon Administration that this would happen if it did not end the war.
African American passengers boycott segregated buses in Baton Rouge, 1953
The Jim Crow laws had been in full effect for quite some time before the 1950s era of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The city, like most cities in the South, had laws regarding racial segregation. A major aspect of the city’s laws was the seating policy on the city’s buses. Black residents were restricted to sitting in a designated “colored section” located at the back of the bus while the front of the bus was reserved for white passengers. Over two-thirds of the buses’ passengers were black and consequently, many blacks stood up on the bus while empty seats were available in front of them.
U.S. civil rights activists campaign for federal government action, 1957-63
In 1957 A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin initiated a campaign to pressure the U.S. government to intervene for the civil rights of African Americans.
Randolph, 68, was the acknowledged “elder” among civil rights leaders, with a base in the labor movement. Rustin, 57, was a veteran civil rights and peace activist who had coached Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott.
African Americans threaten march on Washington, 1941
The 1941 March on Washington campaign, precursor of the 1963 March on Washington, was an important moment in the struggle for civil rights in the United States. The proposal for a nationwide mass demonstration for a greater black share in the defense effort had been put forth in January 1941, but it wasn’t until the spring of 1941 that A. Philip Randolph, founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP), called for a march on Washington, D. C., to challenge the discrimination that African Americans were faced with in the national defense industry.
U.S. Activists' Solidarity Campaign for Bangladesh (Blockade for Bangladesh), 1971
Pakistan was splitting apart. Its eastern part, Bengali, declared independence and held a free election. West Pakistan declared war to end the secession, with U.S. support. President Nixon denied that the U.S. was sending weapons to Pakistani dictator Yaya Khan, but insiders knew otherwise.
In Philadelphia a group of activists decided in June to make it difficult for Pakistani freighters to load weapons at U.S. ports, by launching nonviolent fleets of small boats that would get between the freighters and the dock, a first in U.S. history.
Americans blockade Washington, DC, to protest the Vietnam War, 1971
“If the government won’t stop the war, we’ll stop the government.”
That was the central slogan of the Mayday campaign.
The Anti-Vietnam War movement included striking examples of nonviolent direct action. Many of the protests against the Vietnam War took place in the mid-1960s, when the war was still in its early stages, but demonstrations grew in numbers toward the end of the decade. One of the more dramatic efforts to end the war took place in 1971, when the war was rapidly losing public support among American citizens.
American colonials struggle against the British Empire, 1765 - 1775
The 13 English colonies in North America were established and grew during the 17th and 18th centuries. During most of this time, the colonists lived under what historians have termed “salutary neglect,” meaning that the English government mostly left them alone and the colonies prospered under these conditions.
Cornell University students sit-in for divestment from apartheid South Africa, 1985
By the mid-1980s, the Apartheid regime had been in control of South Africa for nearly 40 years. The country was in the midst of a national crisis, had declared a state of emergency, and over 5,000 people had been killed by the violence. Despite the African Nation Congress’ requests for international aid, specifically in the form of divestment, the United States (as well as many other powerful countries) resisted.
CORE activists practice nonviolent action at Miami lunch counters, 1959
By the late 1950s, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was nearly two decades old, and had grown to successfully organize a national network of interracial, nonviolent direct-action cells working towards integration and civil rights for African Americans. CORE’s interracial approach stemmed from their assertion that the race problem is a human, social problem applicable to all people. Their incredible growth between 1957 and 1959 stemmed not only from the added support of Dr.