Today is the anniversary of the first day of marriage equality in America. On May 17, 2004, by order of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, same sex couples were able for the first time in America get legally married. Little did the nation know how common place this moment would become across the nation. Watch the video and remember fondly a great historic moment for LGBT citizens around the world.
May 17, 2013
May 10, 2013
This is the first television interview with Nelson Mandela that took place over fifty years ago.
The interview was conducted at the height of the campaign where freedom fighters in South Africa were urging Africans to burn their passes that they were forced to show the police. The Sharpeville Massacre doing that campaign was when sixty-nine protesters were killed by the police. Mandela went into hiding in 1961 to lead the fight for freedom and founded "Unkhonto we Size".
In 1962, shortly after this interview he was sent to Robbins Island where he spent the next eighteen years in prison.
May 03, 2013
The European theater of war came to an end on May 8, 1945 with the unconditional surrender of Germany. The war in the Pacific lasted a little over three more months.
All over the world celebrations burst forth in the streets and pubs. No where was it received with more joy than in London that had suffered tens of thousands of deaths from the Blitz that shattered the city.
See the celebrations and the speech by Prime Minister Churchill.
April 26, 2013
England's King Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria, died on May 6, 1910. Two weeks later he was buried in one of the grandest funerals ever seen in Europe. Royal watchers claim it was the largest gathering of royalty (to this day) ever to take place.
The list of those attending was astounding. The above is a photograph of the nine European Monarchs who attended the funeral:
The nine European Monarchs who attended the funeral, photographed at Windsor Castle on 20 May 1910. Standing, from left to right: King Haakon VII of Norway, King Ferdinand of Bulgaria, King Manuel II of Portugal, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, King George I of Greece and King Albert I of Belgium. Seated, from left to right: King Alfonso XIII of Spain, King George V of Britain and King Frederick VIII of Denmark.
April 19, 2013
Boston's worst ever disaster took place on November 28th, 1942 when the swanky Coconut Club caught fire. The club which had ignored most safety codes, locked exits and was way beyond capacity that weekend was a fire trap. The buildings main entrance was a single revolving door that quickly jammed up with bodies.
Near a thousand people, double the legal limits, packed the club after the Holy Cross and Boston University football game. As a result, the patrons were extremely young college crowd who came to celebrate the game that Thanksgiving weekend. The final death toll reached 492 people. The fire is one of the deadliest in United States history.
April 12, 2013
One of the nation's greatest voices, Marian Anderson, was denied the right to perform in the Daughters of the American Revolution Hall because she was African-American. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was enraged and insisted that Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes arrange for her to sing at the Lincoln Memorial. On April 9, 1939 (Easter Sunday), over 75,000 stood to listen to this great voice sing while millions more listen to it live over national radio.
This was one of the great moments in civil rights history.
April 01, 2013
My friend Phil Siegel has been creating extraordinary videos about the process of coming out over the last decades. The Pye Harris Project created their first video "Coming Out in the 1950's" The joy of this second in the series is that older activists are again interviewed by young activists.
This new video about the sixties includes "a young farm girl from Ohio who was swept up in the anti-war and women's movement on-campus in college, a transgender woman, who volunteered for Vietnam to 'became a real man,' a child of immigrants who marched with Cesar Chavez, and a church minister who organized homeless LGBT youth in to a political club."
Those interviewing their elders include "two teens who both have two moms, a high school journalist who wants to better understand the LGBT community, and a college sophomore who wants to carry on the legacy of activism."
March 29, 2013
In May, 1996, the highest rated Sunday's morning show was This Week with David Brinkley. This video captures the beginning of the DOMA discussion after Hawaii became the first state to embrace marriage equality. This takes us back to the days when the DOMA was in the beginning stages of becoming law.
As we know, President Clinton later endorsed DOMA which guaranteed the passage of the legislation.
This is a fascinating glimpse into the times when DOMA was born. Also it is a measuring stick of how far we have come since those early days.
March 22, 2013
Forty-six years ago the United States Supreme court ruled that the state of Virginia violated the Constitution of the United States by denying a marriage license to an interracial couple. Mildred and Richard Loving were such a couple and they fought all the way to the Supreme Court for marriage equality. On June 13, 1967, that Court overruled the state of Virginia and the couple were legally married.
In granting the couple's petition to be married in Virginia, the Court said:
Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival.... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.
Just before she passed away, Mildred Loving endorsed marriage equality for LGBT Americans. She said"
I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry... I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.
The following video was made two years ago by Ted Olsen and David Bois who will argue the Proposition 8 case before the Supreme Court this week. They discuss the historical impact of the Loving v. State of Virginia case.
March 19, 2013
On March 19, 2003 the American government led us into a horrible prolonged war with Iraq based on total lies, misinformation and hysteria. This week marks the 10th anniversary since the beginning of that war and the toll is bloody and horrible.
Civilian Deaths: 130,000 plus
American Dead: 4,422
Allied Dead: 318
Combat Veterans: 2.5 million
Percentage Treated For Post Traumatic Stress: 30%
Deployed More Than Once: 1 million soldiers.
Americans Wounded: Over 30,000
Now 58% of the American people feel the War was not worth fighting according to the latest ABC/Washington Post Poll. An amazing 43% feel strongly that it wasn't worth fighting.
56% of the Iraq people now say it was wrong for the United States to invade it and they are worse off.
When Americans were asked if the War contributed to long term security an astounding 83% said NO.
How do you explain to those who lost loved ones that their loss was in vain and caused by their government leading us into an unnecessary war based on untruths?