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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April 20, 1649
The “True Levellers” or “Diggers” publish their manifesto, “The True Levellers Standard Advanced.
Quote: “That we may work in righteousness, and lay the Foundation of making the Earth a Common Treasury for All, both Rich and Poor, That every one that is born in the Land, may be fed by the Earth his Mother that brought him forth, according to the Reason that rules in the Creation. Not Inclosing any part into any particular hand, but all as one man, working together, and feeding together as Sons of one Father, members of one Family; not one Lording over another, but all looking upon each other, as equals in the Creation.”
[See also April 1]
April 20, 1800  
Irish soldiers serving in the British army in St. John’s, Newfoundland plan a mutiny against their British officers. They are acting in sympathy with the recent rebellion against British rule in Ireland, which has aroused the Irish population in and around St. John’s. The mutiny fails, and the mutineers are executed or sentenced to penal transportation.
Related Topics: Mutinies
April 20, 1853
Harriet Tubman begins helping slaves escape on the “Underground Railroad”, a network of people and places that helps slaves escape to the North and to Canada.
April 20, 1914
Ludlow Massacre. The Colorado National Guard attacks a tent colony of striking coal miners and their families. They kill 19 people, 11 of them children. After the killings, workers in Colorado begin arming themselves and engaging in guerrilla warfare with the National Guard militias and mine guards. After ten days, with 50 dead, federal troops are sent in to end the fighting.
April 20, 1969
Local residents and students in Berkeley, California take over a derelict lot owned by the University of California and start clearing away rubble, debris and abandoned cars in order to create a “People’s Park.” Over the course of the next days, they plant trees, shrubs, flowers, and grass. Local residents and businesses provide free food, and soon more than 1,000 people are taking part in creating and using the park.
The university administration agrees to let the park be, but California Governor Ronald Reagan, who calls the Berkeley campus “a haven for communist sympathizers, protesters and sex deviants” overrules the administration and sends in police to clear the park of people and seize the property. The police seal off an eight-block area around the park, put up chain-link fences to keep people out, and start uprooting trees and destroying what has been created. When protestors gather to protest the police actions, the police attack the crowd, after first removing their identification, and begin beating anyone they catch. Other police open fire with live ammunition. A bystander is killed, more than 100 are injured, many of them shot in the back. Afterwards Governor Reagan justifies his actions with the words “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with. No more appeasement.”
Related Topics: Killings by PoliceParksPolice Violence
April 20, 1978  
Soviet air defences fire on Korean Air Lines flight 902 near Murmansk after it flies into Soviet territory and fails to respond to Soviet interceptors. The plane makes an emergency landing: two passengers die, the rest survive.
April 20 - 22, 2001
More than 20,000 anti-globalization protesters clash with police at the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City.
April 20, 2010
An explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig, which is drilling in a BP oil field in the Gulf of Mexico, kills 11 workers, injures 17 others, and starts a massive oil spill.

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