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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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October 16, 1854
Birth of Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), playwright, poet, epigramist, and socialist.
October 16, 1859
John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry begins. Brown and his group, all deeply committed to the anti-slavery cause, have planned the raid in the hope of obtaining guns, freeing slaves, and triggering an armed revolt against slavery. By October 18, the raid has failed; some of Brown’s men are dead, and Brown and six other raiders are subsequently executed. The events inspire the song John Brown’s Body, frequently sung by Union soldiers as they march into battle in the Civil War which breaks out less than two years later. The song proclaims: “John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave, His soul is marching on.”
Further Reading: John Brown, Abolitionist
Related Topics: Anti-Slavery
October 16, 1970  
Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau declares a state of apprehended insurrection and invokes the War Measures Act in the wake of two kidnappings – those of James Cross and Pierre Laporte – by members of the FLQ. Under the War Measures Act, habeas corpus is suspended, allowing police to arrest and detain people without charge. Soldiers are sent to patrol the streets of Montreal. While the War Measures Act is in force, hundreds of people are arrested and held without charge.



January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December
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For more information about people and events in Seeds of Fire, explore these pages: