Seeds of Fire: A People’s Chronology

Recalling events that happened on this day in history.
Memories of struggle, resistance and persistence.

Compiled by Ulli Diemer

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January 13, 1874
The Tompkins Square Riot. Police in New York attack a demonstration of unemployed workers in Tompkins Square Park. They begin beating people with clubs, while mounted police ride down people who flee into the surrounding streets. Labour leader Samuel Gompers, describes what he saw: “mounted police charged the crowd on Eighth Street, riding them down and attacking men, women, and children without discrimination. It was an orgy of brutality.” In the aftermath, police increase their harassment of political organizations, intimidating landlords into evicting radical groups and cancelling meetings on their premises.
January 13, 1898
J’accuse!, an open letter by the prominent French novelist Émile Zola about the Dreyfus Affair, appears in the newspaper L’Aurore. In the letter, Zola accuses the French government of anti-Semitism for its persecution and jailing of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish French army officer sentenced to imprisonment for allegedly engaging in espionage. In his letters, Zola points out the lack of serious evidence against Dreyfus, and legal irregularities in the case. After his letter appears, Zola is convicted of libel, sentenced to prison, and removed from the Légion d’honneur. He flees to England to avoid imprisonment. Dreyfus is eventually exonerated, 12 years after he was charged and imprisoned.
Related Topics: Anti-Semitism
January 13, 1958
Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling presents the “Scientists’ Test Ban Petition” to the United Nations, signed by over 11,000 scientists (including 36 Nobel laureates) from 49 countries. It calls for an end to nuclear weapons testing. Subsequently, Pauling is forced to resign as Chairman of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Caltech (California Institute of Technology) after having served in that role for 22 years.

January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December
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