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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November 13, 1775  
An American army captures and occupies Montreal. The American goal is to conquer Canada, a campaign which fails when the American forces are defeated at Quebec City on December 31. In Montreal, there is widespread resentment as the occupying forces arrest Loyalists and threaten to arrest and punish anyone opposed to the American cause, while paying for goods with paper money that is seen as worthless.
November 13, 1862  
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who writes stories under the name ‘Lewis Carroll’ starts writing “the fairy-tale of Alice,” eventually published as “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”
Related Topics: Children's Books
November 13, 1933  
Workers at the Hormel Packing Company in Austin, Minnesota stage the first known “sit-down” strike in the United States. It begins when the company tries to bring in scabs to break the strike by the members of the Independent Union of All Workers (IUAW).
“Four hundred men, many of them armed with clubs, sticks and rocks, crashed through the plant entrance, shattering the glass doors and sweeping the guards before them. The strikers quickly ran throughout the plant to chase out non-union workers. One ... group crashed through the doors of a conference room where Jay Hormel and five company executives were meeting and declared ‘We're taking possession. So move out!’” (Larry Engelmann, We Were the Poor – The Hormel Strike of 1933, Labor History, Fall, 1974.)

Within four days Hormel agrees to submit wage demands to binding arbitration. The success of the strike helps to reinvigorate the American labour movement, which had been in decline throughout the 1920s.
November 13, 1973  
A jury in Montreal acquits Dr. Henry Morgentaler on a charge of performing illegal abortions. Morgentaler’s clinic opened in 1969 and performed some 5,000 abortions at a time when abortion was illegal in Canada except when authorized by a hospital committee in cases where a woman’s life was in danger.
In the trial, Morgentaler’s lawyer argues that his duty as a physician to safeguard the health and lives of the women who came to him outweighs his duty to obey the law. The jury accepts this argument, and acquits him.
The provincial government appeals the conviction, and, in a move literally without precedent in Canadian legal history, a panel of judges overturns the jury’s acquittal and sends Morgentaler to jail.
The government continues to prosecute Morgentaler, and on two more occasions, juries refuse to convict him. In 1976, the provincial government capitulates, saying that it will no longer prosecute abortion clinics.
Related Topics: Abortion
November 13, 1974  
Karen Silkwood (1946-1974), a technician and union activist with the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers’ Union at the Kerr-McGee Cimarron plutonium production plant near Crescent, Oklahoma, dies in a suspicious one-car crash.
Further Reading: Silkwood
Related Topics: Nuclear SafetyPlutonium

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