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 23, 1846
Henry David Thoreau is jailed for refusing to pay the poll tax as a protest against the American war against Mexico. He goes on to write “Civil Disobedience,” an essay that became a source of inspiration for Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
From Thoreau’s essay:
“Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?”
July 23, 1870  
Upon the outbreak of war between France and Prussia, the International Working Men’s Association issues a statement (written by Karl Marx) condemning the war, and warning that victory as well as defeat could prove disastrous for working people.
It approvingly quotes a declaration adopted by an assembly of workers’ delegates in Chemnitz, which states: “In the name of German Democracy, and especially of the workmen forming the Democratic Socialist Party, we declare the present war to be exclusively dynastic.... We are happy to grasp the fraternal hand stretched out to us by the workmen of France.... Mindful of the watchword of the International Working Men’s Association: Proletarians of all countries, unite, we shall never forget that the workmen of all countries are our friends and the despots of all countries our enemies.”
Related Topics: Anti-War MovementSolidarityWar
July 23, 1892  
Anarchist Alexander Berkman attempts to assassinate industrialist Henry Clay Frick.
July 23, 1967  
Detroiters angry at the disappearance of jobs and, especially, at the abusive and virtually all-white police department, started rioting in what becomes known as the Detroit Rebellion. Six days of rioting, finally put down by the National Guard, leave 43 dead, at least 347 injured, and 3800 in jail. During the riots, 1300 buildings are burned to the ground and 2700 businesses are looted.
Related Topics: Riots

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