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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May 14, 1771
Birth of Robert Owen (1771-1858), British social reformer and early socialist.
May 14, 1931  
Swedish soldiers called in to break a strike by pulp and paper workers in the Adalen district open fire on unarmed strikers, killing five and injuring others.
One of the soldiers is subsequently court-martialed for his actions – and sentenced to three days’ imprisonment. A number of demonstrators, on the other hand, are given long sentences for participating in the demonstration that was attacked by the soldiers. In addition, the publishers of several left-wing papers who condemn the shootings are charged and convicted for violating the “Freedom of the Press Act”.
May 14, 1968
In the continuing May 1968 protests, French workers begin occupying factories, starting with a sit-down strike at the Sud Aviation plant near the city of Nantes on 14 May, then another at a Renault parts plant near Rouen, which spreads to the Renault manufacturing complexes at Flins and Boulogne-Billancourt. By May 16, some fifty factories have been occupied and 200,000 workers are on strike. By May 19, two million workers are on strike; by the following week, it is ten million, roughly two-thirds of the entire French workforce.
Related Topics: Factory OccupationsMass Strikes1968Strikes
May 14 - 15, 1970  
Police at Jackson State College in Mississippi open fire on a crowd of students protesting against the Vietnam War. They fire at the crowd for half a minute, firing at least 140 shots. Two students are killed; twelve wounded. Afterwards, the police claim they saw a sniper, but an FBI investigation and a commission of inquiry both find no evidence of a sniper. The Commission concludes that the police action was “unreasonable” and “unjustified” but none of the police are charged.

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