Wednesday, February 29, 2012

McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents

McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, 339 U.S. 637 (1950), was a United States Supreme Court case that reversed a lower court decision upholding the efforts of the state-supported University of Oklahoma to adhere to the state law requiring African-Americans to be provided graduate or professional education on a segregated basis.

On June 5, 1950, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a public institution of higher learning could not provide different treatment to a student solely because of his/her race as doing so deprived the student of his/her Fourteenth Amendment rights of Equal Protection.

The plaintiff, George McLaurin, who already had a Masters Degree in Education, was first denied admission to the University of Oklahoma to pursue a Doctor of Education degree. McLaurin successfully sued in the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma to gain admission to the institution (87 F. Supp. 526; 1948 U.S. Dist.) basing his argument on the Fourteenth Amendment. At the time, Oklahoma law prohibited schools from instructing blacks and whites together. The court found that the university's inaction in providing separate facilities, in order to meet Oklahoma state law, allowing McLaurin to attend the institution was a violation of his Constitutional rights. However the court did not issue any injunctive relief as requested by the plaintiff but rather relied "on the assumption that the law having been declared, the State will comply."

The University admitted McLaurin but provided him separate facilities, including a special table in the cafeteria, a designated desk in the library, and a desk just outside the classroom doorway.

McLaurin returned to the US District court and petitioned to require the University of Oklahoma to remove the separate facilities allowing him to interact with the other students fully (87 F. Supp. 528; 1949 U.S. Dist.) The court denied McLaurin's petition.

McLaurin then appealed to the US Supreme Court, which subsequently reversed the decision of the US District Court, requiring the University of Oklahoma to remove the restrictions under which McLaurin was attending the institution. This case together with Sweatt v. Painter, which was decided the same day, marked the end of the separate but equal doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson in graduate and professional education.

Sweatt v. Painter

Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629 (1950), was a U.S. Supreme Court case that successfully proved lack of equality, in favor of a black applicant, the "separate but equal" doctrine of racial segregation established by the 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson. The case was also influential in the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education four years later.

The case involved a black man, Heman Marion Sweatt, who was refused admission to the School of Law of the University of Texas, whose president was Theophilus Painter, on the grounds that the Texas State Constitution prohibited integrated education. At the time, no law school in Texas would admit black students, or, in the language of the time, "Negro" students.

The state district court in Travis County, instead of granting the plaintiff a writ of mandamus, continued the case for six months. This allowed the state time to create a law school only for black students, which it established in Houston, Texas, rather than in Austin. The 'separate' law school and the college became today's Texas Southern University; the law school is known as the Thurgood Marshall School of Law. (On June 14, 2005, the Travis County Commissioners voted to rename the courthouse after Mr. Sweatt; the courthouse in which Mr. Sweatt first sought justice is now The Heman Marion Sweatt Travis County Courthouse.)

The trial court decision was affirmed by the Court of Civil Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court denied writ of error on further appeal. Sweatt and the NAACP next went to the federal courts, and the case ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court. W.J. Durham and Thurgood Marshall presented Sweatt's case.

The Supreme Court reversed the lower court decision, saying that the separate school failed to qualify, both because of quantitative differences in facilities and intangible factors, such as its isolation from most of the future lawyers with whom its graduates would interact. The court held that, when considering graduate education, intangibles must be considered as part of "substantive equality." The documentation of the court's decision includes the following differences identified between white and black facilities:

* the University of Texas Law School had 16 full-time and 3 part-time professors, while the black law school had 5 full-time professors.
* the University of Texas Law School had 850 students and a law library of 65,000 volumes, while the black law school had 23 students and a library of 16,500 volumes.
* the University of Texas Law School had moot court facilities, an Order of the Coif affiliation, and numerous graduates involved in public and private law practice, while the black law school had only one practice court facility and only one graduate admitted to the Texas Bar.

Mendez v. Westminster

Mendez, et al v. Westminster School District, et al, 64 F.Supp. 544 (C.D. Cal. 1946), aff'd, 161 F.2d 774 (9th Cir. 1947) (en banc), was a 1946 federal court case that challenged racial segregation in Orange County, California schools. In its ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in an en banc decision, held that the segregation of Mexican and Mexican American students into separate "Mexican schools" was unconstitutional.

On March 2, 1945, five Mexican-American fathers (Thomas Estrada, William Guzman, Gonzalo Mendez, Frank Palomino, and Lorenzo Ramirez) challenged the practice of school segregation in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. They claimed that their children, along with 5,000 other children of "Mexican" ancestry, were victims of unconstitutional discrimination by being forced to attend separate "schools for Mexicans" in the Westminster, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and El Modena school districts of Orange County. The plaintiffs were represented by an established Jewish American civil rights attorney, David Marcus. Funding for the lawsuit was primarily paid for initially by the lead plaintiff Gonzalo Mendez who began the lawsuit when his three children were denied entrance to their local Westminster school.

Senior District Judge Paul J. McCormick, sitting in Los Angeles, presided at the trial and ruled in favor of Mendez and his co-plaintiffs on February 18, 1946, finding segregated schools to be an unconstitutional denial of equal protection. The school district appealed to the Ninth Federal District Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which upheld Judge McCormick's decision, finding that the segregation practices violated the Fourteenth Amendment. Governor Earl Warren, who would later become Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court and preside over Brown vs. Board of Education, signed into law the repeal of remaining segregationist provisions in the California statutes. Several organizations joined the appellate case as amicus curiae, including the NAACP, represented by Thurgood Marshall and Robert L. Carter. More than a year later, on April 14, 1947, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling, but not on equal protection grounds. It did not challenge the "separate but equal" interpretation of the 14th Amendment announced by the U.S. Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896.

The Ninth Circuit ruled only on the narrow grounds: although California law provided for segregation of students, it did so only for "children of Chinese, Japanese or Mongolian parentage." Because "California law does not include the segregation of school children because of their Mexican blood," the ruling held that it was unlawful to segregate the Mexican children.

Presumably, a similar lawsuit filed by "Chinese, Japanese or Mongolian" children in segregated schools would have had the opposite result. This was remedied in California later that same year, on June 14, 1947, when California Governor Earl Warren signed a law repealing the remaining school segregation statutes in the California Education Code.

Seven years later, in Brown v. Board of Education, Earl Warren, by then the Chief Justice of the United States, wrote the unanimous decision holding "separate but equal" schools to be unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.

On December 8, 1997, the Santa Ana Unified School District dedicated the Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez Intermediate Fundamental School in Santa Ana, California.

In 2003, writer/producer Sandra Robbie received an Emmy Award for her documentary "Mendez vs. Westminster: For All the Children / Para Todos los Ninos."

On September 14, 2007, The United States Postal Service honored the 60th anniversary ruling of Mendez v. Westminster with a 41-cent commemorative stamp.

On November 15, 2007, the United States Postal Service presented the Mendez v. Westminster stamp to the Mendez family at a press conference at the Rose Center Theater in Westminster, California.

On October 14, 2009, Chapman University's Leatherby Libraries dedicated the Mendez v. Westminster Group Study Room and a collection of documents, video and other items relating to the landmark desegregation case. The archive is the first step in Chapman University's vision to create the permanent home for the study and celebration of Mendez v. Westminster. The plan includes the creation of the Mendez Museum for Peace & Freedom and the Chapman University PeaceWalk. Chapman University is located in Old Towne Orange, within the footprint of one the former school districts (El Modena) named in the Mendez case. Chapman also owns the last standing Mexican school building from the segregation era in Orange County, CA.

On February 15, 2011, President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Sylvia Mendez, the daughter of Gonzalo Mendez who was the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. Sylvia along with her two brothers, Gonzalo, Jr. and Jerome, were some of the Mexican American students who were denied admission to their local Westminster school, which formed the basis for the suit. Sylvia was awarded the honor for her many years of work to ensure that the importance of Mendez v. Westminster in American history will not be forgotten.

Shelley v. Kraemer

Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948), is a United States Supreme Court case which held that courts could not enforce racial covenants on real estate.
In 1945, a black family by the name of Shelley purchased a house in St. Louis, Missouri. At the time of purchase, they were unaware that a restrictive covenant had been in place on the property since 1911. The restrictive covenant barred "people of the Negro or Mongolian Race" from owning the property. Louis Kraemer, who lived ten blocks away from the purchased housing, sued to restrain the Shelleys from taking possession of the property they had purchased. The Supreme Court of Missouri held that the covenant was enforceable against the purchasers because the covenant was a purely private agreement between the original parties thereto, which "ran with the land" and was enforceable against subsequent owners; since the restriction purported to run in favor of an estate rather than merely a person, it could be enforced against third parties. A materially similar scenario took place in the companion case McGhee v. Sipes from Detroit, Michigan, where the McGhees purchased land subject to a similar restrictive covenant. The Supreme Court consolidated the two cases for oral arguments.

The Court considered two questions. First, are racially-based restrictive covenants legal under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution? Secondly, can they be enforced by a court of law?

The United States Supreme Court held that racially-based restrictive covenants are, on their face, invalid under the Fourteenth Amendment. Private parties may voluntarily abide by the terms of a restrictive covenant but may not seek judicial enforcement of such a covenant because enforcement by the courts would constitute state action. Since such state action would necessarily be discriminatory, the enforcement of a racially-based restrictive covenant in a state court would violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The court rejected an argument that since state courts would enforce a restrictive covenant against white persons, judicial enforcement of restrictive covenants would not be a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The court noted that the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed individual rights, and equal protection of the law is not achieved with the imposition of inequalities.

The attorneys who argued the case for the McGhees were Thurgood Marshall and Loren Miller. The United States Solicitor General, Philip Perlman, who argued in this case that the restrictive covenants were unconstitutional, had previously in 1925 as the city solicitor of Baltimore acted to support the city government's segregation efforts

Sipuel v. Board of Regents of Univ. of Okla

Sipuel v. Board of Regents of Univ. of Okla., 332 U.S. 631 (1948) (per curiam) is a United States Supreme Court case that dealt with the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Ada Lois Sipuel (February 8, 1924 – October 18, 1995), born in Chickasha, Oklahoma was the daughter of a minister. Her brother planned to challenge segregationist policies of the University of Oklahoma, but went to Howard University Law School (in Washington, D.C.) in order not to delay his career further by protracted litigation.

Ada Sipuel was willing to delay her legal career in order to challenge segregation. On January 14, 1946, she applied at the University of Oklahoma (at the time, an all white law school), the only taxpayer funded law school in the State of Oklahoma at the time, and was denied because of race ("color").

She then petitioned District Court of Cleveland County, Oklahoma. Her writ of mandamus was refused. The Oklahoma Supreme Court upheld the decision of the lower district court (in 180 P.2d 135), the petitioners then appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Two years later, in 1948, the United States Supreme Court heard the petition on January 7 and 8th, that stated: “petitioner is entitled to secure legal education afforded by a state institution.” They continued that: “The State must provide it for her in conformity with the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and provide it as soon as it does for applicants of any other group.” Citing the 1938 case: Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada – [305 U.S. 337 (1938); a case in which: "Lloyd Gaines, a negro, was refused admission to the School of Law of the University of Missouri".

The court ruled, on January 12, that the state of Oklahoma must provide instruction for Blacks equal to that of Whites, requiring the admission of qualified black students to previously all-white state law schools, reversing the Supreme Court of Oklahoma decision. The same ruling was handed down two years later in a parallel case Sweatt v. Painter – 339 U.S. 629 (1950) (in which Heman Marion Sweatt was refused admission to the University of Texas School of Law on the grounds that the Texas State Constitution prohibited integrated education).

The petitioners, acting on behalf of Miss Sipuel, were Thurgood Marshall of New York City, and Amos Hall, of Tulsa (also on the brief Frank D. Reeves). The respondents, representing the defendants, the university and the State of Oklahoma, were Fred Hansen, of Oklahoma City, the First Assistant Attorney General of Oklahoma, and Maurice H. Merrill, of Norman (also on the brief Mac Q. Williamson, Attorney General). This was a landmark case in the early civil rights movement. The case reversed Lee v. State of Mississippi, and was also a precursor for Brown v. Board of Education – 347 U.S. 483 (1954).

According to Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, who sat in the gallery and watched Marshall argue the case before the court on Thursday, January 8, 1948, Marshall was: “respectful, forceful and persuasive – so persuasive that on the following Monday – only four days after the argument – the Court unanimously ruled in Sipuel's favor.” In addition, Ada Sipuel was: “not only an excellent student, but was welcomed by her classmates who did not agree with the exclusionary policy that the State had unsuccessfully tried to defend.”

A garden, located between Jacobson Hall and Carpenter Hall, on the campus of the University of Oklahoma, now stands in honor of this event.

Smith v. Allwright

Smith v. Allwright , 321 U.S. 649 (1944), was a very important decision of the United States Supreme Court with regard to voting rights and, by extension, racial desegregation. It overturned the Democratic Party's use of all-white primaries in Texas, and other states where the party used the rule.

Lonnie E. Smith, a black voter in Harris County, Texas, sued county election official S. S. Allwright for the right to vote in a primary election being conducted by the Democratic Party. The law he challenged allowed the party to enforce a rule requiring all voters in its primary to be white. Because the Democratic Party had controlled politics in the South since the late 19th century (see Solid South), most Southern elections were decided by the outcome of the Democratic primary. Representing the NAACP, Thurgood Marshall argued this case in favor of Lonnie E. Smith.

Texas claimed that the Democratic Party was a private organization that could set its own rules of membership. Smith argued that the law in question essentially disfranchised him by denying him the ability to vote in what was the only meaningful election in his jurisdiction. The Court agreed that the restricted primary denied Smith his protection under the law and found in his favor.

Some observers believed the Court's ruling in this case helped prepare for its later ruling in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), in terms of looking at the effect of a practice or law.

Hernandez v. Texas

Hernandez v. Texas, 347 U.S. 475 (1954), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case that decided that Mexican Americans and all other racial groups in the United States had equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Pedro Hernandez, a Mexican agricultural worker, was convicted for the murder of Joe Espinosa. Hernandez's legal team set out to demonstrate that the jury could not be impartial unless members of non-Caucasian races were allowed on the jury-selecting committees; no Mexican American had been on a jury for more than 25 years in the Texas county in which the case was tried. Hernandez and his lawyers appealed to the Texas Supreme court, and appealed again to the United States Supreme Court. The legal team included Gustavo C. Garcia, Carlos Cadena, James DeAnda, Cris Aldrete, and John J. Herrera.
Chief Justice Earl Warren and the rest of the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of Hernandez, and required he be retried with a jury composed without regard to ethnicity. The Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment protects those beyond the racial classes of white or negro, and extends to other racial groups, such as Mexican American in this case.
The ruling was yet another step forward in the American Civil Rights Movement and another hit to racial segregation in the USA. This time, racial minorities other than African Americans benefited from such a ruling. The ultimate impact of this ruling was that now all racial groups of the United States were protected under the 14th Amendment.

The Scottsboro Boys

The Scottsboro Boys were nine black teenage boys accused of rape in Alabama in 1931. The landmark set of legal cases from this incident dealt with racism and the right to a fair trial. The case includes a frameup, all-white jury, rushed trials, an attempted lynching, angry mob, and miscarriage of justice.

On March 25, 1931, several people were hoboing on a freight train traveling between Chattanooga and Memphis, Tennessee. Several white boys jumped off the train and reported to the sheriff they had been attacked by a group of black boys. The sheriff deputized a posse, stopped and searched the train at Paint Rock, Alabama, arrested the black boys, and found two white girls who accused the boys of rape. The case was first heard in Scottsboro, Alabama in three rushed trials, where the defendants received poor legal representation. All but the twelve-year-old Roy Wright were convicted of rape and sentenced to death, the common sentence in Alabama at the time for black men convicted of raping white women. But with help from the American Communist Party, the case was appealed. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed seven of the eight convictions, and granted thirteen-year-old Eugene Williams a new trial because he was a juvenile. Chief Justice John C. Anderson dissented however, ruling that the defendants had been denied an impartial jury, fair trial, fair sentencing, and effective counsel.

The case was returned to the lower court and the judge allowed a change of venue, moving the retrials to Decatur, Alabama. Judge Horton was appointed. During the retrials, one of the alleged victims admitted fabricating the rape story and asserted that none of the Scottsboro Boys touched either of the white women. The jury found the defendants guilty, but the judge set aside the verdict and granted a new trial. After a new series of trials, the verdict was the same: guilty. The cases were ultimately tried three times. For the third time a jury—now with one black member—returned a third guilty verdict. Charges were finally dropped for four of the nine defendants. Sentences for the rest ranged from 75 years to death. All but two served prison sentences. One was shot in prison by a guard. Two escaped, were charged with crimes, and were sent back to prison. Clarence Norris, the oldest defendant and the only one sentenced to death, escaped parole and went into hiding in 1946. He was pardoned by George Wallace in 1976 after he was found, and wrote a book about his experiences. The last surviving defendant died in 1989.

The Scottsboro Boys, as they became known, at the time were defended by many in the North and attacked by many in the South. The case is now widely considered a miscarriage of justice that led to the end of all-white juries in the South. The case has inspired and has been examined in literature, music, theatre, film and television.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hells Angels Motorcycle Club

The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC) is a worldwide one-percenter motorcycle gang and organized crime syndicate. whose members typically ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles. In the United States and Canada, the Hells Angels are incorporated as the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation. Their primary motto is "When we do right, nobody remembers. When we do wrong, nobody forgets".

Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service classify the Angels as one of the "big four" (Hell's Angels, Pagans, Outlaws, and Bandidos) motorcycle gangs, contending that members carry out widespread violence, drug dealing, trafficking in stolen goods, and extortion. Members of the organization have continuously asserted that they are only a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who have joined to ride motorcycles together, to organize social events such as group road trips, fundraisers, parties, and motorcycle rallies.

The Hells Angels were originally formed in 1948 in Fontana, California through an amalgamation of former members from different motorcycle clubs, such as The Pissed Off Bastards of Bloomington. The Hells Angels website denies the suggestion that any misfit or malcontent troops are connected with the motorcycle club. However, the website notes that the name was suggested by Arvid Olson, an associate of the founders, who had served in the Flying Tigers "Hells Angels" squadron in China during World War II. The name "Hells Angels" was inspired by the common historical use in both World War I and World War II, to name squadrons or other fighting groups by a fierce, death-defying name. The Flying Tigers (American Volunteer Group) in Burma and China fielded three squadrons of P-40s; the Third Squadron was named "Hell's Angels". The 1930 Howard Hughes film Hell's Angels displayed extraordinary and dangerous feats of aviation, and it is believed that the World War II groups who used that name based it on the film.

Some of the early history of the HAMC is not clear, and accounts differ. According to Ralph 'Sonny' Barger, founder of the Oakland chapter, early chapters of the club were founded in San Francisco, Gardena, Fontana, as well as his chapter in Oakland, and other places independently of one another, with the members usually being unaware that there were other Hells Angels clubs.

Other sources claim that the Hells Angels in San Francisco were originally organized in 1953 by Rocky Graves, a Hells Angel member from San Bernardino ("Berdoo"). This implies that the "Frisco" Hells Angels were very much aware of their forebears. According to another account, the Hells Angels club was a successor to "P.O.B.O.B." Motorcycle club, The "Frisco" Hells Angels were reorganized in 1955 with thirteen charter members; Frank Sadilek, who designed the original death's head logo, served as President. The Oakland chapter, at that time headed by Barger, used a larger version of the patch nicknamed the "Barger Larger" which was first used in 1959 and later became the club standard.

In an interview in September 2011, with one of the original "thirteen", the above history is confirmed as basically accurate. The person interviewed is perhaps the only one of the original thirteen still living. The youngest member would be aged mid-seventies at this point, and they all engaged in a life of reckless behavior. The Frisco Hells Angels were formed in 1953 by Rocky Graves, a member of the Berdoo Hells Angels. The group fell apart and was reformed in the summer of 1955 with thirteen living members. This is the group that continues today. The number thirteen was considered inauspicious by those in attendance at the formation meeting, so another member, known as "Crazy" was installed posthumously. Crazy was killed in 1954 when he rode his motorcycle off of an unfinished elevated San Francisco freeway. Frank Sadilek was the president of the group, which was formed in 1955. His wife Leila was secretary. Both held these offices until they moved to Hawaii in 1961. The Death's Head emblem was not designed by Sadilek. The emblem on the original Frisco Angels jackets was a copy of Rocky's Berdoo Angels jacket. The emblem used on the membership cards, which was a very detailed pen and ink drawing, was done by a man who was known as "Sundown". His signature could be seen in very tiny letters in the originally printed membership cards. He was one of the habitués who hung out in the pool hall upstairs in the building on the north east corner of 7th and Market Streets in San Francisco, which for a time was the common meeting place, both before and after the formation of the 1955 group.

The Hells Angels are sometimes depicted in a similar mythical fashion as the James-Younger Gang, as modern day legends, or as free spirited and iconic of an era of brotherhood and loyalty. Others describe them as a violent criminal gang and a scourge on society. The 1966 Roger Corman film, The Wild Angels depicts the gang as violent and nihilistic.

The Hells Angels official web site attributes the official "death's head" insignia design to Frank Sadilek, past president of the San Francisco Chapter. The colors and shape of the early-style jacket emblem (prior to 1953) were copied from the insignias of the 85th Fighter Squadron and the 552nd Medium Bomber Squadron.

The Hells Angels utilize a system of patches, similar to military medals. Although the specific meaning of each patch is not publicly known, the patches identify specific or significant actions or beliefs of each biker. The official colors of the Hells Angels are red lettering displayed on a white background—hence the club's nickname "The Red and White". These patches are worn on leather or denim jackets and vests.

Red and white are also used to display the number 81 on many patches, as in "Support 81, Route 81". The 8 and 1 stand for the respective positions in the alphabet of H and A. These are used by friends and supporters of the club, as only full members can wear any Hells Angels imagery.

The diamond-shaped one-percenter patch is also used, displaying '1%', in red on a white background with a red merrowed border. The term one-percenter is said to be a response to the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) comment on the Hollister incident, to the effect that 99% of motorcyclists were law-abiding citizens and the last 1% were outlaws. The AMA has no record of such a statement to the press, and call this story apocryphal.
New York Hells Angels patch

Most members wear a rectangular patch (again, white background with red letters and a red merrowed border) identifying their respective chapter locations. Another similarly designed patch reads "Hells Angels".

When applicable, members of the club wear a patch denoting their position or rank within the organization. The patch is rectangular, and, similarly to the patches described above, displays a white background with red letters and a red merrowed border. Some examples of the titles used are President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Sergeant at Arms. This patch is usually worn above the 'club location' patch.

Some members also wear a patch with the initials "AFFA", which stands for "Angels Forever; Forever Angels", referring to their lifelong membership in the biker club (i.e., "once a member, always a member").

The book Gangs, written by Tony Thompson (a crime correspondent for The Observer), states that Stephen Cunningham, a member of the Angels, sported a new patch after he recovered from attempting to set a bomb: two Nazi-style SS lightning bolts below the words 'Filthy Few'. Some law enforcement officials claim that the patch is only awarded to those who have committed, or are prepared to commit, murder on behalf of the club. According to a report from the R. v. Bonner and Lindsay case in 2005 (see related section below), another patch, similar to the 'Filthy Few' patch, is the 'Dequiallo' patch. This patch "signifies that the wearer has fought law enforcement on arrest".There is no common convention as to where the patches are located on the members' jacket/vest.

In March 2007, the Hells Angels filed suit against Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group alleging that the film entitled Wild Hogs used both the name and distinctive logo of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation without permission. The suit was eventually voluntarily dismissed, after it received assurances that its references would not appear in the film.

In October 2010, the Hells Angels filed a lawsuit against Alexander McQueen for "misusing its trademark winged death heads symbol" in several items from its Autumn/Winter 2010 collection. The lawsuit is also aimed at Saks Fifth Avenue and, which stock the jacquard box dress and knuckle duster ring which bear the symbol which is protected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office since at least 1948. A handbag and scarf was also named in lawsuit. The lawyer representing Hells Angels claimed "This isn’t just about money, it’s about membership. If you’ve got one of these rings on, a member might get really upset that you’re an impostor." Saks refused to comment, Zappos had no immediate comment and the company's parent company, PPR, could not be reached for comment. The company settled the case with the Hells Angels after agreeing to remove all of the merchandise featuring the logo from sale on their website, stores and concessions and recalling any of the goods which have already been sold and destroying them.

The full requirements to become a Hells Angel are the following: candidates must be a male, have a valid driver's license, have an American made working motorcycle and cannot be a black male, a child molester, or have applied to become a police officer or prison guard.

After a lengthy, phased process, a prospective member is first deemed to be a 'Hang-around', indicating that the individual is invited to some club events or to meet club members at known gathering places.

If the Hang-around is interested, he may be asked to become an 'Associate', a status that usually lasts a year or two. At the end of that stage, he is reclassified as 'Prospect', participating in some club activities, but not having voting privileges, while he is evaluated for suitability as a full member. The last phase, and highest membership status, is 'Full Membership' or 'Full-Patch'. The term Full-Patch refers to the complete four-piece crest, including the 'Death Head' logo, two rockers (top rocker: 'Hells Angels'; bottom rocker: State or Territory claimed) and the rectangular 'MC' patch below the wing of the Death's Head. Prospects are allowed to wear only a bottom rocker with the State or Territory name along with the rectangular 'MC' patch.
Hells Angels clubhouse in Oakland, California

To become a full member, the Prospect must be voted on by the rest of the full club members. Prior to votes being cast, a Prospect usually travels to every chapter in the sponsoring chapter's geographic jurisdiction (state/province/territory) and introduces himself to every Full-Patch. This process allows each voting member to become familiar with the subject and to ask any questions of concern prior to the vote. Successful admission usually requires more than a simple majority, and some clubs may reject a Prospect for a single dissenting vote. Some form of formal induction follows, wherein the Prospect affirms his loyalty to the club and its members. The final logo patch (top Hells Angels rocker) is then awarded at this initiation ceremony. The step of attaining full membership can be referred to as "being patched".

Even after a member is patched-in, the patches themselves remain the property of HAMC rather than the member. On leaving the Hells Angels, or being ejected, they must be returned to the club.

Powell v. Alabama

Powell v. Alabama 287 U.S. 45 (1932) was a United States Supreme Court decision which determined that in a capital trial, the defendant must be given access to counsel upon his or her own request as part of due process.

Powell was he first time the Court had reversed a state criminal conviction for a violation of a criminal procedural provision of the United States Bill of Rights. The only prior reversals of state criminal convictions had held that racial segregation in jury selection violated the Equal Protection Clause.

The case stems from events that occurred in March 1931. Nine African Americans — Charlie Weems, Ozie Powell, Clarence Norris, Olen Montgomery, Willie Roberson, Haywood Patterson, Andrew (Andy) Wright, Leroy (Roy) Wright and Eugene Williams, later known as the Scottsboro Boys, were accused of raping two young white women, Ruby Bates and Victoria Price.

The group was traveling in a freight train with seven white males and two white females. A fight broke out and all of the white males, except for one, were thrown from the train. The women accused the black men of rape, although one woman later retracted her claim. All of the defendants, except for Roy Wright, were sentenced to death in a series of one-day trials. The defendants were only given access to their lawyers immediately prior to the trial, leaving little or no time to plan the defense. The ruling was appealed on the grounds that the group was not provided adequate legal counsel. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled 6-1 that the trial was fair (the strongly dissenting opinion was from Chief Justice Anderson). This ruling was then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The majority opinion reversed and remanded the decisions of the Alabama Supreme Court, holding that due process had been violated. The ruling was based on three main arguments: "(1) They were not given a fair, impartial and deliberate trial; (2) They were denied the right of counsel, with the accustomed incidents of consultation and opportunity for trial; and (3) They were tried before juries from which qualified members of their own race were systematically excluded."

Whether or not the Powell v. Alabama decision applied to non-capital cases sparked heated debate. Betts v. Brady initially decided that, unless there were special circumstances like illiteracy, stupidity or being in an especially complicated trial, there was no need for a court-appointed attorney. That decision was ultimately overturned in Gideon v. Wainwright, which established the right to be provided an attorney in all felony cases."

Monday, February 27, 2012

Lum v. Rice

Lum v. Rice, 275 U.S. 78 (1927), is a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the exclusion on account of race of a child of Chinese ancestry from a state high school did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The decision effectively approved the exclusion of minority children from schools reserved for whites.

In 1924, a nine-year old Chinese-American named Martha Lum, daughter of Gong Lum, was prohibited from attending the Rosedale Consolidated High School in Bolivar County, Mississippi solely because she was of Chinese descent. There was no school in the district maintained for Chinese students, and she was forced by compulsory attendance laws to attend school.

A lower court granted the plaintiff's request of a writ of mandamus to force the members of the Board of Trustees to admit Martha Lum. Gong Lum's case was not that racial discrimination as such was illegal, but that his daughter, being Chinese, had incorrectly been classified as colored by the authorities.

Since the ruling went against them, the Board of Trustees became the plaintiff and Lum was named the defendant in the case Rice v. Gong Lum, which was heard in the Supreme Court of Mississippi. The state Supreme Court reversed the lower court's decision and allowed the Board of Trustees to exclude Martha Lum from the school for white children. Gong Lum appealed the state Supreme Court's ruling to the federal Supreme Court.

In an opinion written by Chief Justice William Howard Taft, the Supreme Court affirmed the state supreme court's ruling and thus the position of the Board of Trustees. In the unanimous opinion, Taft held that the petitioner had not shown that there weren't segregated schools accessible for the education of Martha Lum in Mississippi:

"We must assume, then, that there are school districts for colored children in Bolivar county, but that no colored school is within the limits of the Rosedale consolidated high school district. This is not inconsistent with there being at a place outside of that district and in a different district, a colored school which the plaintiff Martha Lum may conveniently attend."

Taft further stated that, given the accessibility of segregated schools, the question then was whether a person of Chinese ancestry, born in and a citizen of the United States, was denied equal protection of the law by being given the opportunity to attend a school which "receive[d] only children of the brown, yellow or black races." In reference to Cumming v. Richmond County Board of Education, Taft concluded that "[t]he right and power of the state to regulate the method of providing for the education of its youth at public expense is clear." Additionally, Taft pointed to a number of federal and state court decisions, most prominently Plessy v. Ferguson, all of which had upheld segregation in the public sphere and particularly in the realm of public education. Accordingly, Taft concluded:

"Most of the cases cited arose, it is true, over the establishment of separate schools as between white pupils and black pupils; but we cannot think that the question is any different, or that any different result can be reached, assuming the cases above cited to be rightly decided, where the issue is as between white pupils and the pupils of the yellow races. The decision is within the discretion of the state in regulating its public schools, and does not conflict with the Fourteenth Amendment."

The judgement of the Supreme Court of Mississippi was affirmed. Martha Lum was not allowed to go to the school for white children.

Plessy v. Ferguson

Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896), is a landmark United States Supreme Court decision in the jurisprudence of the United States, upholding the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation in public facilities under the doctrine of "separate but equal."

The decision was handed down by a vote of 7 to 1 with the majority opinion written by Justice Henry Billings Brown and the dissent written by Justice John Marshall Harlan. Associate Justice David Josiah Brewer was absent at the ruling because of his daughter's sudden death the day before. "Separate but equal" remained standard doctrine in U.S. law until its repudiation in the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education.

After the Supreme Court ruling, the New Orleans Comité des Citoyens (Committee of Citizens), which had brought the suit and arranged for Homer Plessy's arrest in order to challenge Louisiana's segregation law, replied, “We, as freemen, still believe that we were right and our cause is sacred.”

In 1890, the State of Louisiana passed a law that required separate accommodations for blacks and whites on railroads, including separate railway cars. Concerned, the Free People of Color in New Orleans formed the Committee of Citizens -- a group dedicated to the repeal of that law. Their members included Arthur Esteves, C.C. Antoine, Firmin Chrisophe, C.G. Johnston, Paul Bonseigneur, Laurent Auguste, Rudolph B. Baquie, Rudolphe L. Desdunes, Louis A. Martinet, Numa E. Mansion, L.J. Joubert, Frank Hall, Noel Bacchus, George Geddes and A.E. P. Albert. They eventually persuaded Homer Plessy to test it. Plessy was born a free man and was an "octoroon" (someone of seven-eighths Caucasian descent and one-eighth African descent). However, under Louisiana law, he was classified as black, and thus required to sit in the "colored" car.

On June 7, 1892, Plessy boarded a car of the East Louisiana Railroad in New Orleans, Louisiana, bound for Covington, Louisiana, that was designated for use by white patrons only, as mandated by state law. The railroad company had been informed already as to Plessy's racial lineage, and after Plessy had taken a seat in the whites-only railway car, he was asked to vacate it and sit instead in the blacks-only car. Plessy refused and was arrested immediately. Plessy was remanded for trial in Orleans Parish, despite his objections that the Louisiana law was in violation of the Constitution of the United States. He was convicted and sentenced to pay a $25 fine.

In his case, Homer Adolph Plessy v. The State of Louisiana, Plessy argued that the state law which required East Louisiana Railroad to segregate trains had denied him his rights under the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. However, the judge presiding over his case, John Howard Ferguson, ruled that Louisiana had the right to regulate railroad companies as long as they operated within state boundaries. Plessy sought a writ of prohibition.

The Committee of Citizens took Plessy's appeal to the Supreme Court of Louisiana, where he again found an unreceptive ear, as the state Supreme Court upheld Judge Ferguson's ruling. Undaunted, the Committee appealed to the United States Supreme Court in 1896. Two legal briefs were submitted on Plessy's behalf. One was signed by Albion W. Tourgée and James C. Walker and the other by Samuel F. Phillips and his legal partner F. D. McKenney. Oral arguments were held before the Supreme Court on April 13, 1896. Tourgée and Phillips appeared in the courtroom to speak on behalf of Plessy.

Tourgée built his case upon violations of Plessy's rights under the Thirteenth Amendment, prohibiting slavery, and the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees the same rights to all citizens of the United States, and the equal protection of those rights, against the deprivation of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. Tourgee argued that the reputation of being a white man was "property," which, by the law, implied the inferiority of African-Americans as opposed to whites.

The Decision

In a 7 to 1 decision handed down on May 18, 1896 (Justice David Josiah Brewer did not participate, due to the death of his daughter), the Court rejected Plessy's arguments based on the Fourteenth Amendment, seeing no way in which the Louisiana statute violated it. In addition, the majority of the Court rejected the view that the Louisiana law implied any inferiority of blacks, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Instead, it contended that the law separated the two races as a matter of public policy.

When summarizing, Justice Brown declared, "We consider the underlying fallacy of the plaintiff's argument to consist in the assumption that the enforced separation of the two races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority. If this be so, it is not by reason of anything found in the act, but solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it."

While the Court did not find a difference in quality between the whites-only and blacks-only railway cars, this was manifestly untrue in the case of most other separate facilities, such as public toilets, cafés, and public schools, where the facilities designated for blacks were poorer than those designated for whites.

Justice John Marshall Harlan, who decried the excesses of the Ku Klux Klan, wrote a scathing dissent in which he predicted the court's decision would become as infamous as that of Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857). As heralded as this dissent may be, in which Harlan called for a "color-blind" constitution, it should be noted that he did not view all races as equal. In his dissent, Harlan highlighted the plight of blacks by pointing out that the Chinese, a race he viewed as inferior, could still ride with whites. "There is a race so different from our own that we do not permit those belonging to it to become citizens of the United States. Persons belonging to it are, with few exceptions, absolutely excluded from our country. I allude to the Chinese race," he wrote.

New Orleans historian Keith Weldon Medley, author of We As Freemen: Plessy v. Ferguson, The Fight Against Legal Segregation, said the words in Justice Harlan's "Great Dissent" originated with papers filed with the court by "The Citizen’s Committee."

The case helped cement the legal foundation for the doctrine of separate but equal, the idea that segregation based on classifications was legal as long as facilities were of equal quality. However, Southern state governments refused to provide blacks with genuinely equal facilities and resources in the years after the Plessy decision. The states not only separated races but, in actuality, ensured differences in quality In January 1897, Homer Plessy pled guilty to the violation and paid the fine.


During the Vietnam War, in 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono held two week-long Bed-Ins for Peace in Amsterdam and Montreal, which were their non-violent ways of protesting wars and promoting peace. The idea is derived from a "sit-in", in which a group of protesters remains seated in front of an establishment until they are evicted, arrested, or their demands are met.

Knowing their March 20, 1969 marriage would be a huge press event, John and Yoko decided to use the publicity to promote world peace. They spent their honeymoon in the presidential suite (Room 702) at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel for a week between March 25 and 31, inviting the world's press into their hotel room every day between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. After their other stunts, such as the nude cover of the Two Virgins album, the press were expecting them to be having sex, but instead the couple were sitting in bed—in John's words "like angels"—talking about peace with signs over their bed reading "Hair Peace" and "Bed Peace". After seven days, they flew to Vienna, Austria, where they held a Bagism press conference.

During April 1969, John and Yoko sent acorns to the heads of state in various countries around the world in hopes that they would plant them as a symbol of peace. For eight months, the couple was not granted a single visit with any world leader. Their marriage ("You can get married in Gibraltar near Spain"), the first Bed-In ("Talking in our beds for a week"), the Vienna press conference ("Made a lightning trip to Vienna...The newspapers said..."), and the acorns ("Fifty acorns tied in a sack") were all mentioned in the song The Ballad of John and Yoko.

Drove from Paris to the Amsterdam Hilton
Talking in our beds for a week
The newspapers said
say what're you doing in bed
I said we're only trying to get us some peace.

Due to John and Yoko's very public image, the Amsterdam Bed-In was greeted by fans, and received a great deal of press coverage. Following the event, when asked if he thought the Bed-In had been successful, John became rather frustrated. He insisted that the failure of the press to take the couple seriously was part of what he and Yoko wanted: "It's part of our policy not to be taken seriously. Our opposition, whoever they may be, in all manifest forms, don't know how to handle humour. And we are humorous."

Their second Bed-In was planned to take place in New York, but John was not allowed into the country because of his 1968 cannabis conviction. Instead they held the event in the Bahamas at the Sheraton Oceanus Hotel, flying there on May 24, 1969, but after spending one night in the heat, they decided to move to Montreal.
Recording Give Peace A Chance. Left to right: Rosemary Leary (face not visible), Tommy Smothers (with back to camera), John Lennon, Timothy Leary, Yoko Ono, Judy Marcioni and Paul Williams

They flew to Montreal on May 26 where they stayed in Rooms 1738, 1740, 1742 and 1744 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. During their seven day stay, they invited Timothy Leary, Tommy Smothers, Dick Gregory, Murray the K, Al Capp, and others, and all but Capp sang on the peace anthem Give Peace a Chance, recorded by André Perry in the hotel room on June 1. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation conducted interviews from the hotel room. The event received mixed reaction from the American press.

In December 1969 John and Yoko spread their messages of peace with billboards reading "WAR IS OVER! If You Want It - Happy Christmas From John and Yoko". These Billboards went up in eleven major world cities.

The Bed-in performance has since been re-interpreted and re-used in protests by a number of artists since 1969, most notably Marijke van Warmerdam with her gallerist Kees van Gelder at the same Amsterdam Hilton in 1992 and the Centre of Attention in 2005 in Miami. A fictional Bed-In protest was also featured in a 2006 Viva Voce music video.

The event was referenced in the Oasis song "Don't Look Back in Anger", in which lead singer Noel Gallagher sings "I'm gonna start a revolution from my bed / 'Cause you said the brains I had went to my head ". The latter lyric was supposedly said by Lennon during a taped conversation he had at his room at the Dakota Hotel.

In the music video for the Marcy Playground song, "It's Saturday", the group finds their way to the bed of John Lennon and Yoko during their bed in.

Linkin Park members Chester Bennington and Mr. Hahn imitated the incident in a photograph taken by Greg Watermann in their book From the Inside: Linkin Park's Meteora.

In late 2006, Billie Joe Armstrong, lead singer of Californian rock band Green Day, and his wife, Adrienne Armstrong, did a similar bed-in, featuring Billie Joe and Adrienne lying on the bed, with a poster above their heads saying "Make Love Not War" in Spanish.

On Lewis Black's Root of All Evil, comedian Andy Daly exhibits a video clip showing that he has also attempted a bed in to protest the War in Iraq. Trying to mimick Lennon and Yoko's original bed in, he climbs into the bed of an Asian woman, who sprays Daly with pepper spray.

Affirmative Action Bake Sale

An affirmative action bake sale is a campus protest event used by student groups to illustrate criticism of affirmative action policies, especially as they relate to college and graduate school admissions. According to one bake sale student leader, the goal of the technique is to "bring the issue of affirmative action down to everyday terms."

The bake sales offer to sell cookies at different prices depending on the customer's race and sex, imitating the racial and sexual preference practices of affirmative action. One idea of such bake sales is to demonstrate analogies between price discrimination and affirmative action. A typical pricing structure charges $1.00 for White males, $.75 for White females, $.50 for Latino, Black, Asian, and Native American males and $.25 for Latino, Black, Asian, and Native American females. The bake sales' hosts do not support this kind of preferential treatment; rather, they argue that this preferential pricing is analogous to the preferential treatment created by affirmative action policies.

These bake sales have been organized at many schools across the U.S., sometimes annually. Affirmative action bake sales have also taken place at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, the latest (in 2008) having been forcibly broken up by campus security.

The bake sales have met opposition, drawing crowds of students, sometimes facing opposition or restriction from campus administrations,often being accused of racism, and sometimes even being attacked. Additionally, some administrators have been accused of censorship and inappropriately advocating a political position. The 2007 documentary Indoctrinate U showed how some such censorship is often institutionalized into the university system.

Responding to an affirmative action bake sale being attacked at the University of Washington, the school's Board of Regents President Jerry Grinstein presented the opinion of many opponents of these events when he described "the statements in putting on a bake sale about affirmative action were tasteless, divisive and hurtful to many members of the university community." The student leader of a bake sale at UCLA addressed this issue of divisiveness, saying "we wanted to show how affirmative action is racial division, not racial reconciliation." Similarly, administrators at Bucknell University claimed that the bake sales violated the private university's discrimination policy.

Other criticisms of the concept claim that these bake sales do not take into account ingrained social factors that favor whites. An opinion column in the Houston Chronicle after a similar sale took place at Texas A&M University held that "Actions like these reinforce the common misconception that affirmative action policies give academically unqualified minority students a get-into-college-free card, and they ignore historical discrimination that denied nonwhites opportunities to be successful at any price, no matter their talents or intelligence." The editorial also praised school officials for not shutting down the sale.

At the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, the Graduate and Professional Students of Color student organization responded to a bake sale held by the Students for Individual Liberty by holding a White Privilege popcorn giveaway where white males received a full bag of popcorn, while women and non-whites received 1/3 of a bag.

Union Rats

Inflatable rats, or union rats, are commonly used in the United States of America by protesting or striking trade unions against their employers or against nonunion contractors, serving as a sign of opposition and to call public attention to companies employing nonunion labor. Unions have been using them for years against companies that employ nonunion labor, and employers have filed lawsuits charging that the use of the giant inflatable rats constituted unlawful picketing, and some courts have agreed. Though in May 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held that union use of an inflatable monster rat is not considered an unlawful activity when directed at a secondary employer. Also, in 2011 National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Sheet Metal Workers Local 15, 356 NLRB No. 162 (2011) ruled that the inflatable rat did not constitute a signal picket, but instead, constituted symbolic speech which is not subject to secondary boycott rules. This holding allows the union not only to place the inflatable rats at neutral entrances, but also to place them at locations where the picketed company is absent. The practice of using inflatable rats in union protests may have something to do with the usage of the word "rat" to refer to nonunion contractors.

While the inflatable rat sometimes varies in appearance and size, it generally features large teeth and grotesque features. Many unions have nicknamed the inflatable rat "Scabby the Rat", a reference to scabs.

Doe v. Bolton

Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179 (1973), was a decision of the United States Supreme Court overturning the abortion law of Georgia. The Supreme Court's decision was released on January 22, 1973, the same day as the decision in the better-known case of Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).

The Georgia law in question permitted abortion only in cases of rape, severe fetal deformity, or the possibility of severe or fatal injury to the mother. Other restrictions included the requirement that the procedure be approved in writing by three physicians and by a special committee of the staff of the hospital where the abortion was to be performed. In addition, only Georgia residents could receive abortions under this statutory scheme: non-residents could not have an abortion in Georgia under any circumstances.

The plaintiff, a pregnant woman who was given the pseudonym "Mary Doe" in court papers to protect her identity, sued Arthur K. Bolton, then the Attorney General of Georgia, as the official responsible for enforcing the law. The anonymous plaintiff has since been identified as Sandra Cano, a 22-year-old mother of three who was nine weeks pregnant at the time the lawsuit was filed. Cano describes herself as pro-life and claims her attorney, Margie Pitts Hames, lied to her in order to have a plaintiff.

A three-judge panel of the United States district court declared the conditional restrictions portion of the law unconstitutional, but upheld the medical approval and residency requirements, and refused to issue an injunction against enforcement of the law. The plaintiff appealed to the Supreme Court under a statute, since repealed, permitting bypass of the circuit appeals court.

The oral arguments and re-arguments followed the same schedule as those in Roe. Atlanta attorney Hames represented Doe at the hearings, while Georgia assistant attorney general Dorothy Toth Beasley represented Bolton.

The same 7-2 majority (Justices White and Rehnquist dissenting) that struck down a Texas abortion law in Roe v. Wade, invalidated most of the remaining restrictions of the Georgia abortion law, including the medical approval and residency requirements. Together, Doe and Roe declared abortion as a constitutional right and by implication overturned most laws against abortion in other US states.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. The decision overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 which allowed state-sponsored segregation. Handed down on May 17, 1954, the Warren Court's unanimous (9–0) decision stated that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." As a result, de jure racial segregation was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This ruling paved the way for integration and the civil rights movement.

For much of the sixty years preceding the Brown case, race relations in the U.S. had been dominated by racial segregation. This policy had been endorsed in 1896 by the United States Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson, which held that as long as the separate facilities for the separate races were equal, segregation did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment ("no State shall... deny to any person... the equal protection of the laws.").

The plaintiffs in Brown asserted that this system of racial separation, while masquerading as providing separate but equal treatment of both white and black Americans, instead perpetuated inferior accommodations, services, and treatment for black Americans. Racial segregation in education varied widely from the 17 states that required racial segregation to the 16 that prohibited it. Brown was influenced by UNESCO's 1950 Statement, signed by a wide variety of internationally renowned scholars, titled The Race Question. This declaration denounced previous attempts at scientifically justifying racism as well as morally condemning racism. Another work that the Supreme Court cited was Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy (1944). Myrdal had been a signatory of the UNESCO declaration. The research performed by the educational psychologists Kenneth B. Clark and Mamie Phipps Clark also influenced the Court's decision. The Clarks' "doll test" studies presented substantial arguments to the Supreme Court about how segregation had an impact on black schoolchildren's mental status.

Not everyone accepted the Brown v. Board of Education decision. In Virginia, Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr. organized the Massive Resistance movement that included the closing of schools rather than desegregating them.[28] See, for example, The Southern Manifesto. For more implications of the Brown decision, see Desegregation.

In 1957, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called out his state's National Guard to block black students' entry to Little Rock Central High School. President Dwight Eisenhower responded by deploying elements of the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to Arkansas and by federalizing Faubus' National Guard.

Also in 1957, Florida's response was mixed. Its legislature passed an Interposition Resolution denouncing the decision and declaring it null and void. But Florida Governor Thomas LeRoy Collins, though joining in the protest against the court decision, refused to sign it arguing that the attempt to overturn the ruling must be done in legal methods.

In 1963, Alabama Gov. George Wallace personally blocked the door to Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama to prevent the enrollment of two black students. This became the infamous Stand in the Schoolhouse Door where Wallace personally backed his "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" policy that he had stated in his 1963 inaugural address. He moved aside only when confronted by General Henry Graham of the Alabama National Guard, who was ordered by President John F. Kennedy to intervene.

The intellectual roots of Plessy v. Ferguson, the landmark United States Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of racial segregation in 1896 under the doctrine of "separate but equal" were, in part, tied to the scientific racism of the era. However, the popular support for the decision was more likely a result of the racist beliefs held by many whites at the time. In deciding Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court rejected the ideas of scientific racists about the need for segregation, especially in schools. The Court buttressed its holding by citing (in footnote 11) social science research about the harms to black children caused by segregated schools.

Both scholarly and popular ideas of hereditarianism played an important role in the attack and backlash that followed the Brown decision. The Mankind Quarterly was founded in 1960, in part in response to the Brown decision.

School desegregation has been argued to have contributed to white flight.

The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation- Freddie Mac

The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), known as Freddie Mac (OTCBB: FMCC), is a public government sponsored enterprise (GSE), headquartered in the Tyson's Corner CDP in unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia.

The FHLMC was created in 1970 to expand the secondary market for mortgages in the US. Along with other GSEs, Freddie Mac buys mortgages on the secondary market, pools them, and sells them as a mortgage-backed security to investors on the open market. This secondary mortgage market increases the supply of money available for mortgage lending and increases the money available for new home purchases. The name, "Freddie Mac", is an acronym of the company's full name that had been adopted officially for ease of identification (see "GSEs" below for other examples).

On September 7, 2008, Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) director James B. Lockhart III announced he had put Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under the conservatorship of the FHFA (see Federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). The action has been described as "one of the most sweeping government interventions in private financial markets in decades".

Moody's gave Freddie Mac's preferred stock an investment grade rating of A1 until August 22, 2008, when Warren Buffett said publicly that both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae had tried to attract him and others. Moody's changed the credit rating on that day to Baa3, the lowest investment grade credit rating. Freddie's senior debt credit rating remains Aaa/AAA from each of the major ratings agencies Moody's, S&P, and Fitch.

As of the start of the conservatorship, the United States Department of the Treasury had contracted to acquire US$1 billion in Freddie Mac senior preferred stock, paying at a rate of 10% per year, and the total investment may subsequently rise to as much as US$100 billion.

Home loan interest rates may go down as a result and owners of Freddie Mac debt and the Asian central banks who had increased their holdings in these bonds may be protected. Shares of Freddie Mac stock, however, plummeted to about one U.S. dollar on September 8, 2008, and dropped a further 50% on June 16, 2010, when the Federal Housing Finance Agency ordered the stocks delisted. In 2008, the yield on U.S Treasury securities rose in anticipation of increased U.S. federal debt.

From 1938 to 1968, the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) was the sole institution that bought mortgages from depository institutions, principally savings and loan associations, which encouraged more mortgage lending and effectively insured the value of mortgages by the US government. In 1968, Fannie Mae split into a private corporation and a publicly financed institution. The private corporation was still called Fannie Mae and its charter continued to support the purchase of mortgages from savings and loan associations and other depository institutions, but without an explicit insurance policy that guaranteed the value of the mortgages. The publicly financed institution was named the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) and it explicitly guaranteed the repayments of securities backed by mortgages made to government employees or veterans (the mortgages themselves were also guaranteed by other government organizations). To provide competition for the newly private Fannie Mae and to further increase the availability of funds to finance mortgages and home ownership, Congress then established the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) as a private corporation through the Emergency Home Finance Act of 1970. The charter of Freddie Mac was essentially the same as Fannie Mae's newly private charter: to expand the secondary market for mortgages and mortgage backed securities by buying mortgages made by savings and loan associations and other depository institutions.

The Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 ("FIRREA") revised and standardized the regulation of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Prior to this act, Freddie Mac was owned by the Federal Home Loan Bank System and governed by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, which was reorganized into the Office of Thrift Supervision by the Act. The Act severed Freddie Mac's ties to the Federal Home Loan Bank System, created an 18-member board of directors, and subjected it to oversight by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

In 1995, Freddie Mac began receiving affordable housing credit for buying subprime securities, and by 2004, HUD suggested the company was lagging behind and should "do more."

Freddie Mac was put under a conservatorship of the U.S. Federal government on Sunday, September 7, 2008.

Government National Mortgage Association- Ginnie Mae

The Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA), or Ginnie Mae, was established in the United States in 1968 to promote home ownership. As a wholly owned government corporation within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Ginnie Mae’s mission is to expand affordable housing in the U.S. by channeling global capital into the nation’s housing finance markets. The Ginnie Mae guarantee allows mortgage lenders to obtain a better price for their loans in the capital markets. Lenders then can use the proceeds to make new mortgage loans available to consumers. This also helps to lower financing costs and create opportunities for sustainable, affordable housing for families seeking home ownership.

In 1934, during the depths of the Depression, the United States Congress responded to the crisis by passing the National Housing Act of 1934, which established the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). One of the principal objectives of FHA was to increase the flow of capital to the housing markets by insuring private lenders against the risk of mortgage default. FHA also was tasked with chartering and regulating a national mortgage association that would buy and sell FHA-insured mortgages.

In 1938, Congress amended the act to create the Federal National Mortgage Association, more commonly known as "Fannie Mae", to help mortgage lenders gain further access to capital for mortgage loans.

The provisions of the act changed gradually over the years. It was not until 1968, however, in response to the need to further broaden the capital base available for mortgages that the housing finance system began to resemble its current form. As part of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968, Congress partitioned Fannie Mae into two entities:

1. Fannie Mae, which retained responsibility for purchasing “conventional” (non-Government-guaranteed) mortgages that conformed to specified standards, and
2. the Government National Mortgage Association, now known as Ginnie Mae.

Today, Ginnie Mae securities are the only mortgage-backed securities that are backed by the full faith and credit guaranty of the United States government, although some have argued that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities are de facto beneficiaries of this guarantee after the US government rescued them from insolvency in 2008.

Federal National Mortgage Association- Fannie Mae

The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA; OTCBB: FNMA), commonly known as Fannie Mae, was founded in 1938 during the Great Depression as part of the New Deal. It is a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE), though it has been a publicly traded company since 1968. The corporation's purpose is to expand the secondary mortgage market by securitizing mortgages in the form of mortgage-backed securities (MBS), allowing lenders to reinvest their assets into more lending and in effect increasing the number of lenders in the mortgage market by reducing the reliance on thrifts.

The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), colloquially known as Fannie Mae, was established in 1938 by amendments to the National Housing Act after the Great Depression as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. Fannie Mae was established to provide local banks with federal money to finance home mortgages in an attempt to raise levels of home ownership and the availability of affordable housing. Fannie Mae created a liquid secondary mortgage market and thereby made it possible for banks and other loan originators to issue more housing loans, primarily by buying Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured mortgages. For the first thirty years following its inception, Fannie Mae held a monopoly over the secondary mortgage market.

It was acquired by the Housing and Home Finance Agency from the Federal Loan Agency as a constituent unit in 1950. In 1954, an amendment known as the Federal National Mortgage Association Charter Act made Fannie Mae into "mixed-ownership corporation" meaning that federal government held the preferred stock while private investors held the common stock; in 1968 it converted to a privately held corporation, to remove its activity and debt from the federal budget. In the 1968 change, arising from the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968, Fannie Mae's predecessor (also called Fannie Mae) was split into the current Fannie Mae and the Government National Mortgage Association ("Ginnie Mae").

Ginnie Mae, which remained a government organization, supports FHA-insured mortgages as well as Veterans Administration (VA) and Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) insured mortgages. As such Ginnie Mae is the only home-loan agency explicitly backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.

In 1970, the federal government authorized Fannie Mae to purchase private mortgages, i.e. those not insured by the FHA, VA, or FmHA, and created the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), colloquially known as Freddie Mac, to compete with Fannie Mae and thus facilitate a more robust and efficient secondary mortgage market.

In 1981, Fannie Mae issued its first mortgage passthrough and called it a mortgage-backed security. The Fannie Mae laws did not require the Banks to hand out subprime loans in any way. Ginnie Mae had guaranteed the first mortgage passthrough security of an approved lender in 1968 and in 1971 Freddie Mac issued its first mortgage passthrough, called a participation certificate, composed primarily of private mortgages

The Gerald Ford Cabinet

Administration and cabinet

Upon assuming office, Ford inherited Nixon's cabinet. During Ford's brief administration, only Secretary of State Kissinger and Secretary of the Treasury William E. Simon remained. Ford appointed William Coleman as Secretary of Transportation, the second black man to serve in a presidential cabinet (after Robert Clifton Weaver) and the first appointed in a Republican administration.

The Ford Cabinet
President Gerald Ford 1974–1977
Vice President Nelson Rockefeller 1974–1977
State Henry Kissinger 1974–1977
Treasury William E. Simon 1974–1977
Defense James R. Schlesinger 1974–1975
Donald Rumsfeld 1975–1977
Justice William B. Saxbe 1974–1975
Edward Levi 1975–1977
Interior Rogers Morton 1974–1975
Stanley K. Hathaway 1975
Thomas S. Kleppe 1975–1977
Agriculture Earl Butz 1974–1976
John Albert Knebel 1976–1977
Commerce Frederick B. Dent 1974–1975
Rogers Morton 1975
Elliot Richardson 1975–1977
Labor Peter J. Brennan 1974–1975
John Thomas Dunlop 1975–1976
William Usery, Jr. 1976–1977
HEW Caspar Weinberger 1974–1975
F. David Mathews 1975–1977
HUD James Thomas Lynn 1974–1975
Carla Anderson Hills 1975–1977
Transportation Claude Brinegar 1974–1975
William Thaddeus Coleman, Jr. 1975–1977

Other cabinet-level posts:

* White House Chief of Staff
o Alexander Haig (1974)
o Donald Rumsfeld (1974–1975)
o Dick Cheney (1975–1977)
* Director of the Office of Management and Budget
o Roy Ash (1974–1975)
o James T. Lynn (1975–1977)
* United States Trade Representative
o William D. Eberle (1974–1975)
o Frederick B. Dent (1975–1977)
* Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
o Russell E. Train (1974–1977)
* United States Ambassador to the United Nations
o John A. Scali (1974–1975)
o Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1975–1976)
o William Scranton (1976–1977)

Other important posts:

* United States National Security Advisor
o Henry Kissinger (1974–1975)
o Brent Scowcroft (1975–1977)
* Director of Central Intelligence
o William E. Colby (1974–1976)
o George H. W. Bush (1976–1977)

Ford selected George H.W. Bush as Chief of the US Liaison Office to the People's Republic of China in 1974, and then Director of the Central Intelligence Agency in late 1975.

Ford's transition chairman and first Chief of Staff was former congressman and ambassador Donald Rumsfeld. In 1975, Rumsfeld was named by Ford as the youngest-ever Secretary of Defense. Ford chose a young Wyoming politician, Richard Cheney, to replace Rumsfeld as his new Chief of Staff and later campaign manager for Ford's 1976 presidential campaign. Ford's dramatic reorganization of his Cabinet in the fall of 1975 has been referred to by political commentators as the "Halloween Massacre".

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Executive Order 9981

Executive Order 9981 is an executive order issued on July 26, 1948 by U.S. President Harry S. Truman. It abolished racial segregation in the armed forces through Executive Order 9981."

In 1947, A. Philip Randolph, along with colleague Grant Reynolds, renewed efforts to end discrimination in the armed services, forming the Committee Against Jim Crow in Military Service and Training, later renamed the League for Non-Violent Civil Disobedience Against Military Segregation.

Truman's Order expanded on Executive Order 8802 by establishing equality of treatment and opportunity in the Armed Services for people of all races, religions, or national origins.

The Order's operative statement is:

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin. This policy shall be put into effect as rapidly as possible, having due regard to the time required to effectuate any necessary changes without impairing efficiency or morale.

The order also established a committee to investigate and make recommendations to the civilian leadership of the military to implement the policy.

The Order's eliminated Montford Point as a segregated Marine boot camp. It became a satellite facility of Camp Lejeune. The last of the all-black units in the United States military was abolished in September 1954.

Kenneth Claiborne Royall, Secretary of the Army since 1947, was forced into retirement in April 1949 for continuing to refuse to desegregate the Army nearly a year after President Truman's Order.

Fifteen years after Truman's order, on July 26, 1963, Robert S. McNamara issued Directive 5120.36 obligating military commanders to employ their financial resources against facilities used by soldiers or their families that discriminated based upon sex or race.

Jim Crow laws

The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities in Southern states of the former Confederacy, with a supposedly "separate but equal" status for black Americans. The separation led to treatment, financial support and accommodations that were usually inferior to those provided for white Americans, systematizing a number of economic, educational and social disadvantages. De jure segregation mainly applied to the Southern United States. Northern segregation was generally de facto, with patterns of segregation in housing enforced by covenants, bank lending practices, and job discrimination, including discriminatory union practices for decades.

Some examples of Jim Crow laws are the segregation of public schools, public places, and public transportation, and the segregation of restrooms, restaurants, and drinking fountains for whites and blacks. The U.S. military was also segregated. These Jim Crow Laws were separate from the 1800–1866 Black Codes, which had previously restricted the civil rights and civil liberties of African Americans. State-sponsored school segregation was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education. Generally, the remaining Jim Crow laws were overruled by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Pub.L. 111-203, H.R. 4173) is a federal statute in the United States that was signed into law by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2010. The Act implements financial regulatory reform sponsored by the Democratically controlled 111th United States Congress and the Obama administration. Passed as a response to the late-2000s recession, the Act brought the most significant changes to financial regulation in the United States since the regulatory reform that followed the Great Depression, representing a significant change in the American financial regulatory environment affecting all Federal financial regulatory agencies and almost every aspect of the nation's financial services industry. As with other major financial reforms, some legal and financial scholars on both sides of the political spectrum have criticized the law, arguing on the one hand that the reforms were insufficient to prevent another financial crisis or additional "bail outs" of financial institutions, and on the other hand that the reforms went too far and would unduly restrict the ability of banks and other financial institutions to make loans.

In addition to the headline regulatory changes covering capital investment by banks and insurance companies, the Act introduces new regulation of hedge funds and private equity funds, alters the definition of accredited investors, requires reporting by all public companies on CEO to median employee pay ratios and other compensation data, enforces equitable access to credit for consumers, and provides incentives to promote banking among low- and medium-income residents.

The law was initially proposed by the Obama Administration in June 2009, when the White House sent a series of proposed bills to Congress. A version of the legislation was introduced in the House in July 2009. On December 2, 2009, revised versions were introduced in the House of Representatives by Barney Frank, and in the Senate Banking Committee by Chairman Chris Dodd. Due to their involvement with the bill, the conference committee that reported on June 25, 2010, voted to name the bill after the two members of Congress

The Pardon of Richard Nixon

On September 8, 1974, Ford issued Proclamation 4311, which gave Nixon a full and unconditional pardon for any crimes he may have committed against the United States while President. In a televised broadcast to the nation, Ford explained that he felt the pardon was in the best interests of the country, and that the Nixon family's situation "is a tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must." When he announced the Nixon pardon, Ford also introduced a conditional amnesty program for Vietnam War draft dodgers who had fled to countries such as Canada.Unconditional amnesty, however, did not come about until the Jimmy Carter Presidency.

The Nixon pardon was highly controversial. Critics derided the move and claimed a "corrupt bargain" had been struck between the men. They claimed Ford's pardon was granted in exchange for Nixon's resignation that elevated Ford to the Presidency. According to Bob Woodward, Nixon Chief of Staff Alexander Haig proposed a pardon deal to Ford. He later decided to pardon Nixon for other reasons, primarily the friendship he and Nixon shared. Regardless, historians believe the controversy was one of the major reasons Ford lost the election in 1976, an observation with which Ford agreed. In an editorial at the time, The New York Times stated that the Nixon pardon was "a profoundly unwise, divisive and unjust act" that in a stroke had destroyed the new president's "credibility as a man of judgment, candor and competence".

Ford's first press secretary and close friend Jerald Franklin terHorst resigned his post in protest after President Nixon's full pardon. Ford also voluntarily appeared before Congress on October 17, 1974 to give sworn testimony—the only time a sitting president has done so—about the pardon.

After Ford left the White House in 1977, intimates said that the former President privately justified his pardon of Nixon by carrying in his wallet a portion of the text of Burdick v. United States, a 1915 U.S. Supreme Court decision which stated that a pardon indicated a presumption of guilt, and that acceptance of a pardon was tantamount to a confession of that guilt. In 2001, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award to Ford for his pardon of Nixon. In presenting the award to Ford, Senator Ted Kennedy said that he had initially been opposed to the pardon of Nixon, but later stated that history had proved Ford to have made the correct decision

Friday, February 24, 2012

Omaha Beach

Omaha Beach is the code name for one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, during World War II. The beach is located on the coast of Normandy, France, facing the English Channel, and is 5 miles (8 km) long, from east of Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes to west of Vierville-sur-Mer on the right bank of the Douve River estuary. Landings here were necessary in order to link up the British landings to the east at Gold Beach with the American landing to the west at Utah Beach, thus providing a continuous lodgement on the Normandy coast of the Bay of the Seine. Taking Omaha was to be the responsibility of United States Army troops, with sea transport provided by the U.S. Navy and elements of the Royal Navy.

On D-Day, the untested 29th Infantry Division, joined by nine companies of U.S. Army Rangers redirected from Pointe du Hoc, were to assault the western half of the beach. The battle-hardened 1st Infantry Division was given the eastern half. The initial assault waves, consisting of tanks, infantry, and combat engineer forces, were carefully planned to reduce the coastal defenses and allow the larger ships of the follow-up waves to land.

The primary objective at Omaha was to secure a beachhead of some five miles (eight kilometres) depth, between Port-en-Bessin and the Vire River, linking with the British landings at Gold Beach to the east, and reaching the area of Isigny to the west to link up with VII Corps landing at Utah Beach. Opposing the landings was the German 352nd Infantry Division, a large portion of whom were teenagers, though they were supplemented by veterans who had fought on the Eastern Front. The 352nd had never had any battalion or regimental training. Of the 12,020 men of the division, only 6,800 were experienced combat troops, detailed to defend a 53 km front. The Germans were largely deployed in strongpoints along the coast—the German strategy was based on defeating any seaborne assault at the water line. Nevertheless, Allied calculations indicated that Omaha's defenses were three times as strong as those they had encountered during the Battle of Kwajalein and its defenders were four times as many.

Very little went as planned during the landing at Omaha Beach. Difficulties in navigation caused the majority of landing craft to miss their targets throughout the day. The defenses were unexpectedly strong, and inflicted heavy casualties on landing US troops. Under heavy fire, the engineers struggled to clear the beach obstacles; later landings bunched up around the few channels that were cleared. Weakened by the casualties taken just in landing, the surviving assault troops could not clear the heavily defended exits off the beach. This caused further problems and consequent delays for later landings. Small penetrations were eventually achieved by groups of survivors making improvised assaults, scaling the bluffs between the most heavily defended points. By the end of the day, two small isolated footholds had been won, which were subsequently exploited against weaker defenses further inland, thus achieving the original D-Day objectives over the following days.

Despite these preparations, very little went according to plan. Ten landing craft were swamped by the rough seas before they reached the beach and several others stayed afloat only because their passengers bailed water with their helmets. Seasickness was prevalent among the troops waiting offshore. On the 16th RCT front, the landing boats passed struggling men in life preservers and on rafts, survivors of the DD tanks which had sunk. Navigation of the assault craft was made difficult by the smoke and mist obscuring the landmarks they were to use in guiding themselves in, while a heavy current pushed them continually eastward.

As the boats approached within a few hundred yards of the shore, they came under increasingly heavy fire from automatic weapons and artillery. The force discovered only then the ineffectiveness of the pre-landing bombardment. Delayed by the weather and attempting to avoid the landing craft as they ran in, the bombers had laid their ordnance too far inland, having no real effect on the coastal defenses.

Tank landings

Because sea conditions were too rough, the decision was made for the 116th RCT to carry the DD tanks of the 743rd Tank Battalion all the way to the beach. Coming in opposite the heavily defended Vierville draw, Company B of the 743rd Tank Battalion lost all but one of its officers and half its DD tanks. However, the other two companies landed to the left of B/743 without initial loss. On the 16th RCT front, the two DD tanks that had survived the swim ashore were joined by three others that were landed directly onto the beach because of their LCT's damaged ramp. The remaining tank company managed to land 14 of its 16 tanks (although three of these were quickly knocked out).

The key geographical features that had influenced the landings also influenced the next phase of the battle: the draws, the natural exits off the beaches, were the main targets in the initial assault plan. However, the strongly concentrated defenses around these draws meant that the troops landing near them quickly wound up in no shape to carry a further assault. Only in the areas between the draws, at the bluffs, were units able to land in greater strength. Defenses were also weaker away from the draws, thus, most advances were made there.

The other key aspect of the next few hours was leadership. The original plan was in tatters, with so many units mis-landed, disorganized and scattered. Most commanders had fallen or were absent, and there were few ways to communicate, other than shouted commands. In places, small groups of men, sometimes scratched together from different companies, in some cases from different divisions, were "...inspired, encouraged or bullied..." out of the relative safety of the shingle, starting the grueling task of reducing the defenses atop the bluffs.

Assaulting the bluffs

Survivors of C company 2nd Rangers in the first wave landed on Dog Green around 06:45; by 07:30, they had scaled the cliffs near Dog White and the Vierville draw. They were joined later by a mis-landed section from B/116, and this group spent the better part of the day tying up and eventually taking WN-73, which defended draw D-1 at Vierville.

At 07:50, C/116 led the charge off of Dog White, between WN-68 and WN-70, by forcing gaps in the wire with a Bangalore torpedo and wire cutters. 20 minutes later, the 5th Rangers joined the advance, and blew more openings. The command party established themselves at the top of the bluff, and elements of G/116 and H/116 joined them, having earlier moved laterally along the beach, and now the narrow front had widened to the east. Before 09:00, small parties from F/116 and B/116 reached the crests just east of Dog White. The right flank of this penetration was covered by the survivors of the 2nd Rangers’ A and B companies, who had independently fought their way to the top between 08:00 and 08:30. They took WN-70 (already heavily damaged by naval shells), and joined the 5th Rangers for the move inland. By 09:00 more than 600 American troops, in groups ranging from company sized to just a few men, had reached the top of the bluff opposite Dog White and were advancing inland.

The 3rd battalion 116th RCT forced its way across the flats and up the bluff between WN-66 (which defended the D-3 draw at Les Moulins), and WN-65 (defending the E-1 draw). They advanced in small groups, supported by the heavy weapons of M/116, who were held at the base of the bluff. Progress was slowed by mines on the slopes of the bluff, but elements of all three rifle companies, as well as a stray section of G/116, had gained the top by 09:00, causing the defenders at WN-62 to mistakenly report that both WN-65 and WN-66 had been taken.

Between 07:30 and 08:30 elements of G/16, E/16, and E/116 came together and climbed the bluffs at Easy Red, between WN-64 (defending the E-1 draw) and WN-62 (the E-3 draw). At 09:05, German observers reported that WN-61 was lost, and that only one machine gun was still firing from WN-62. 150 men, mostly from G/16, having reached the top hampered more by minefields than by enemy fire, continued south to attack the WN-63 command post on the edge of Colleville. Meanwhile E/16, led by Second Lieutenant John M. Spalding, turned westward along the top of the bluffs, engaging in a two hour battle for WN-64. His small group of just three men had effectively neutralized this point by mid-morning, taking 21 prisoners—just in time to prevent them from attacking freshly landing troops. On the beach below, the 16th RCT commander, Colonel George Taylor had landed at 08:15. With the words "Two kinds of people are staying on this beach, the dead and those who are going to die - now let's get the hell out of here!" he organized groups of men regardless of their unit, putting them under the command of the nearest non-commissioned officer and sending them through the area opened up by G/16. By 09:30, the regimental command post was set up just below the bluff crest, and the 1st and 2nd battalions of the 16th RCT were being sent inland as they reached the crest.

On Fox Green, at the eastern end of Omaha, four sections of L/16 had survived their landing intact and were now leading elements of I/16, K/16 and E/116 up the slopes. With supporting fire from the heavy weapons of M/16, tanks and destroyers, this force eliminated WN-60, which defended the draw at F-1; by 09:00, the 3rd battalion 16th RCT was moving inland.

Following the penetrations inland, confused hard-fought individual actions pushed the foothold out barely a mile and a half (2.5 km) deep in the Colleville area to the east, less than that west of St. Laurent, and an isolated penetration in the Vierville area. Pockets of enemy resistance still fought on behind the American front line, and the whole beachhead remained under artillery fire. At 21:00 the landing of the 26th RCT completed the planned landing of infantry, but losses in equipment were high, including 26 artillery pieces, over 50 tanks, about 50 landing craft and 10 larger vessels. Of the 2,400 tons of supplies scheduled to be landed on D-Day, only 100 tons actually landed. Casualties for V Corps were estimated at 3,000 killed, wounded and missing. The heaviest casualties were taken by the infantry, tanks and engineers in the first landings. The 16th and 116th RCT's lost about 1,000 men each. Only five tanks of the 741st tank battalion were ready for action the next day. The German 352nd division suffered 1,200 killed, wounded and missing; about 20% of its strength. Its deployment at the beach caused such problems that Lieutenant General Omar Bradley, commander of the U.S. First Army, at one stage considered evacuating Omaha, while Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery considered the possibility of diverting V Corps forces through Gold Beach.

The foothold gained on D-Day at Omaha Beach, itself two isolated pockets, was the most tenuous across all the D-Day beaches. With the original objective yet to be achieved, the priority for the allies was to link up all the Normandy beachheads. During the course of June 7, while still under random shellfire, the beach was prepared as a supply area. Surplus cargo ships were deliberately sunk to form an artificial breakwater and, while still less than planned, 1,429 tons of stores were landed that day.

With the beach assault phase completed the RCTs reorganized into infantry regiments and battalions and over the course of the next two days achieved the original D-Day objectives. On the 1st divisional front the 18th Infantry Regiment blocked an attempt by two companies from the 916th and 726th Grenadiers to break out of WN-63 and Colleville, both of which were subsequently taken by the 16th Infantry Regiment which also moved on Port-en-Bessin. The main advance was made by the 18th Infantry Regiment, with the 3rd battalion of the 26th Infantry Regiment attached, south and south eastwards. The heaviest opposition was encountered at Formigny where troops of the 2nd battalion 915th Grenadiers had reinforced the headquarters troops of 2nd battalion 916th Grenadiers. Attempts by 3/26 and B/18 with support from the tanks of B/745 were held off and the town did not fall until the morning of June 8. The threat of an armored counter attack kept the 18th Infantry Regiment on the defensive for the rest of June 8. The 26th Infantry Regiment's three battalions, having been attached to the 16th, 18th and 115th Regiments the previous day, spent June 8 reassembling before pushing eastwards, forcing the 1st battalion of the German 726th Grenadiers to spend the night extricating itself from the pocket thus forming between Bayeux and Port-en-Bessin. By the morning of June 9 the 1st Division had established contact with the British XXX Corps, thus linking Omaha with Gold Beach.

On the 29th divisional front two battalions of the 116th Infantry Regiment cleared the last defenders from the bluffs while the remaining 116th battalion joined the Rangers in their move west along the coast. This force relieved the 2nd Ranger companies who were holding Pointe du Hoc on June 8 and subsequently forced the German 914th Grenadiers and the 439th Ost-Battalion to withdraw from the Grandcamp area which lay further to the west. Early on June 7 WN-69 defending St. Laurent was abandoned and the 115th Infantry Regiment was therefore able to push inland to the south west, reaching the Formigny area on the June 7 and the original D-Day phase line the following day. The third regiment of 29th Division; the 175th, started landing on June 7. By the morning of June 9 this regiment had taken Isigny and on the evening of the following day forward patrols established contact with the 101st Airborne Division, thus linking Omaha with Utah Beach.

In the meantime, the original defender at Omaha, the 352nd Division, was being steadily reduced. By the morning of June 9 the division was reported as having been "...reduced to 'small groups'..." while the 726th Grenadier Regiment had "...practically disappeared." By June 11 the effectiveness of the 352nd was regarded as "very slight", and by June 14 the German corps command was reporting the 352nd as completely used up and needing to be removed from the line.

Once the beachhead had been secured Omaha Beach became the location of one of the two Mulberry harbors, prefabricated artificial harbors towed in pieces across the English Channel and assembled just off shore. Construction of 'Mulberry A' at Omaha began the day after D-Day with the scuttling of ships to form a breakwater. By D+10 the harbor became operational when the first pier was completed; LST 342 docking and unloading 78 vehicles in 38 minutes. Three days later the worst storm to hit Normandy in 40 years began to blow, raging for three days and not abating until the night of June 22. The harbor was so completely wrecked that the decision was taken not to repair it; supplies being subsequently landed directly on the beach until fixed port facilities were captured. In the few days that the harbor was operational 11,000 troops, 2,000 vehicles and 9,000 tons of equipment and supplies were brought ashore. Over the 100 days following D-Day more than 1,000,000 tons of supplies, 100,000 vehicles and 600,000 men were landed, and 93,000 casualties were evacuated, via Omaha Beach.

Today at Omaha jagged remains of the harbor can be seen at low tide. The shingle bank is no longer there, cleared by engineers in the days following D-Day to facilitate the landing of supplies. The beachfront is more built up and the beach road extended, villages have grown and merged, but the geography of the beach remains as it was and the remains of the coastal defenses can still be visited. At the top of the bluff overlooking Omaha near Colleville is the American cemetery.