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Vol. 75/No. 20      May 23, 2011

25, 50 and 75 years ago

May 23, 1986
CHILLICOTHE, Missouri—More than 10,000 farmers, unionists, and young people participated in a May 7 rally to support the ongoing farm protest here.

Since March 17, several hundred farmers with tractors and combines have been involved in a round-the-clock blockade of the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) office. The FmHA is a federal lending agency that is supposed to loan money to particularly hard-pressed farmers.

The farmers are demanding the removal of the FmHA supervisor since he has granted only nine loans in the last year. The farmers are also demanding emergency credit so they can plant this spring, fair prices for their products, and a moratorium on farm foreclosures.  
May 22, 1961
Two integrated interstate buses were waylaid in Alabama March 14 by white supremacists who destroyed one bus with a magnesium fire bomb and gave bloody beatings to passengers on the other. The attack was aimed at 16 Negro and white “Freedom Riders” organized by the Congress of Racial Equality for a trip from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans testing integration on interstate buses in the deep South. Federal law forbids forced segregation on buses traveling between states.

The Greyhound reached Anniston, Ala. first, where it was met by a racist mob. The Trailways bus stopped near Anniston and was boarded by whites who beat the “Freedom Riders” with fists and bottles. They stopped when a policeman entered the bus, but no arrests were made, and the bus drove on.  
May 23, 1936
Five thousand cotton croppers and day laborers, members of the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union, will hang up their hoes and strike for higher wages. They are now being paid a wage ranging from 60 cents to 75 cents per day, working from sun-up to sun-set. Their demand is for $1.50 per 10 hour day.

In Memphis the Cotton Carnival is in full swing. Wealth wrung from King Cotton’s slaves is being lavishly poured out for the extravagances of this festival. While King Cotton’s retinue feasts from the fat of the land, millions of slaves from the cotton country live in wretchedness and want. With thousands unable to get either crops or jobs and with hundreds of thousands of others barely existing on starvation wages, the slaves of King Cotton are in open revolt.  
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