Today in Labor History April 22, 1526: The first slaves were brought to the Americas in 1519. And the second slave revolt occurred just eight years later, on April 22, 1526. (The first was the Santo Domingo revolt, in 1521).
April 22, 1891: Italian-American Anarchist Nicola Sacco was born on this day. The authorities convicted him and Bartolomeo Vanzetti on trumped up murder charges and executed them both on August 23, 1927.
Today in Labor History April 22, 1897: The anarchist Pietro Acciarito attempted to stab the king of Italy in Rome. As a result, the authorities sentenced him to life in prison. They also arrested many local socialists and anarchists.
April 22, 1899: Vladimir Nabokov was born on this day. Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian, while living in Berlin. However, he achieved his greatest fame after moving to the U.S., where he wrote “Lolita,” in English. Nabokov was a self-proclaimed “White Russian.” And he wrote critically of the Bolsheviks as early as 1917, when still a teen. He also opposed anti-Semitism and Nazism, and was only able to escape Nazi Germany with the help of Jewish émigré friends.
Today in Labor History April 22, 1922: Jazz legend Charles Mingus was born on this day. His career spanned three decades. He collaborated with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Herbie Hancock. Mingus considered Parker one of the greatest innovators in jazz history, but he was also annoyed by all the pretenders who followed. Consequently, he titled a song “If Charlie Parker Were a Gunslinger, There’d Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats.” His most famous album was “Mingus Ah Um.” On it, he paid tribute to Lester Young with his song “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.” He also recorded on that album the instrumental version of “Fables of Faubus,” a protest against segregationist Arkansas governor Orval Faubus. The “Original Fables of Faubus,” with vocals, is shown in the youtube video, above.
April 22, 1938: The Red Jacket Mine Explosion occurred on Keen Mountain, Virginia, killing 45 men.
Today in Labor History April 22, 1943: Louise Glück, American poet, was born. She won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature.
April 22, 1944: 200 African-American activists began a sit-in that resulted in the desegregation of restaurants in Washington, D.C.
Today in Labor History April 22, 1946: Writer and director, John Waters, was born on this day.
April 22, 1952 – The first U.S. atmospheric nuclear bomb test occurred at Yucca Flat, Nevada. The test was observed by U.S. marines who were used as human guinea pigs to test the effects of radiation on humans. From 1946 to 1962, the U.S. conducted 200 atmospheric nuclear tests. This was more than all other countries combined. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers participated. And tens of thousands got sick or died as a result.
Today in Labor History April 22, 1972: 50,000 people marched in New York City against the wars in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. Another 30,000 marched in San Francisco.
April 22, 1983: Earl “Fatha” Hines, jazz pianist, died on this day.
Today in Labor History April 22, 1984: Nature photographer Ansel Adams died on this day. Adams was famous for his nature photography and activism with the Sierra Club. However, he was horrified by the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. So, he produced a photo-essay about the Manzanar Internment Camp in California. But, he also aided the war effort by photographing secret Japanese installments in the Aleutians.
April 22, 1996: Humorist and journalist Erma Bombeck died on this day. In the 1970s, she supported the Equal Rights Amendment. As a result, conservatives boycotted her books.
Today in Labor History April 22, 1996: Peace activists Tom & Donna Howard-Hastings cut down three power poles in Clam Lake, Wisconsin. As a result, they prevented the launch of the U.S. Navy’s first-strike nuclear submarine.
April 22, 2011: Songwriter, musician and activist Hazel Dickens died at age 75. She wrote “They’ll Never Keep Us Down,” and “Working Girl Blues.” Hazel Dickens participated in many strikes and faced gunshots and goon violence. Her song, “Black Lung,” was about her brother, who died from the disease. She was born in West Virginia in 1925 to a mining family.