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 19, 1842  
Karl Marx writes the sixth of a series of articles on freedom of the press: among his earliest journalistic writings. Marx takes an uncompromising stand against censorship, and expresses his irritation with reformers who want freedom for the ‘responsible’ press but are willing to contenance censorship of ‘irresponsible’ writings: “Some want a full censorship, others a half censorship; some want three-eighths freedom of the press, others none at all. God save me from my friends!”
In Marx’s view, “the absence of freedom of the press makes all other freedoms illusory... Whenever a particular freedom is put in question, freedom in general is put in question.”
Related Topics: Freedom of the Press
May 19, 1845  
Two ships, the Erebus and the Terror, commanded by Sir John Franklin, set out from England in search of the Northwest Passage. None of the 129 men on the expedition will return home.
Related Topics: Northwest Passage
May 19, 1890  
Birth of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnamese revolutionary.
Related Topics: Vietnam
May 19, 1895
The Cuban revolutionary poet Jose Marti is killed in an uprising against Spanish troops.
Related Topics: CubaRevolts
May 19, 1904  
Birth of Daniel Guerin (1904-1988), French anarcho-communist.
Related Topics: Anarchist Communism
May 19, 1906
Death of Gabriel Dumont (1837-1906), Metis leader, commander of the Metis forces in the Northwest Rebellion of 1885.
May 19 - September 4, 1910  
U.S. forces occupy Nicaragua to ‘protect American interests.’
Related Topics: InterventionNicaraguaU.S. Imperialism
May 19, 1920  
The Battle of Matewan, a shootout in the town of Matewan, West Virginia between striking miners and hired guns sent by the company to evict them from their homes. Ten men die.
The incident and the events surrounding it are the subject of a film by John Sayles.
May 19, 1925
Birth of Malcolm X (Malcom Little) (1925-1965), African-American activist and speaker.
May 19, 1952
Playwright Lillian Hellman refuses to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
Quote: I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.
Related Topics: PlaywrightsResistance

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: