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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July 12, 1450  
Jack Cade, leader of a popular revolt against the tyrannical rule of King Henry VI of England, is killed. The king had promised to pardon those who had rebelled and to institute reforms they had sought, but broke his promises and took bloody vengeance as soon as the rebels laid down their arms.
Related Topics: Rebellions
July 12, 1562  
The Spanish Bishop Fray Diego de Landa burns the sacred books of the Maya in a ceremony designed to destroy the traditional religious beliefs of the Maya. The burning is part of an Inquisition which also includes the persecution and torture of people suspected of not being true Christians.
July 12, 1812  
An American force under General William Hull crosses the Detroit River and launches an invasion of Canada.
Related Topics: U.S. Imperialism
July 12, 1817
Birth of Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), American author, naturalist, and abolitionist. Thoreau’s essay Civil Disobedience, which makes a strong case for resisting the acts of an unjust state, was an important influence on the thinking of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
July 12, 1892
Militia move in to break a strike against Carnegie Steel Corp. in Homestead, Pennsylvania. Strikers, protesting wage cuts of 18-26%, suffer seven deaths.
Pennsylvania National Guardsmen arrive to protect strikebreakers and remain until October. The strike is called off on November 20 and workers - except those blacklisted by the company - return to work on the company's terms.
July 12, 1904  
Birth of Pablo Neruda (1904-1973), Chilean poet and socialist.

Quote: On our earth, before writing was invented, before the printing press was invented, poetry flourished. That is why we know that poetry is like bread; it should be shared by all, by scholars and by peasants, by all our vast, incredible, extraordinary family of humanity.
Related Topics: Poets
July 12, 1917  
The Bisbee Deportation: A sheriff’s posse in Bisbee, Arizona, rounds up 1,200 striking copper miners at gunpoint, ships them out of town on a freight train, and dumps them in the desert without water or food. One miner, Jim Brew, is murdered by company-hired vigilantes during the ‘deportation’.
July 12, 1966  
Riots break out in the Hough area of Cleveland. It starts when a local business refuses to serve blacks, protestors gather, and the hated Cleveland police, known for their racism and brutality, move in to ‘defuse the situation’. Underlying causes include increasing unemployment, slum housing owned by outside landlords who refuse to make repairs, and hatred for the police. The riots go on for a week. Four blacks are killed, more than 30 people are critically injured.
Related Topics: Riots
July 12, 2007  
An American helicopter fires on a group of journalists in Baghdad, injuring them, and then fires on a van that stops to help the injured men. Two children in the van are wounded and their father is killed.
A video showing the event, which also records the soldiers in the helicopter laughing and cheering as they fire away at the unarmed civilians, comes into the possession of Bradley Manning, an American soldier with a conscience. Manning eventually releases the video, along with other evidence of crimes committed by the U.S. military, to Wikileaks, which makes the material public. Manning is subsequently arrested by the U.S. military, imprisoned, subjected to torture, and eventually put on trial.
Related Topics: U.S. MilitaryWar CrimesWhistleblowers

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For more information about people and events in Seeds of Fire, explore these pages: