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[外媒编译] 【时代周刊 20160628】改变美国的25个时刻

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发表于 2016-7-13 12:38 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式

【中文标题】改变美国的25个时刻
【原文标题】25 Moments That Changed America
【登载媒体】
时代周刊
【原文作者】TIME Staff
【原文链接】http://time.com/4381471/july-4-moments-change-america/?xid=homepage



25位专家选出了20世纪历史进程的转折点。

每一年,当美国准备庆祝独立日的时候,必然要回顾我们的历史。毕竟,我们很难回避在1776年月4日,这个给我们带来独立日假期的那一天,究竟发生了什么事情。

但是回顾历史并不代表仅仅关注日历上的那些红色日期。去年这个时候,我们请25位历史学家挑出改变这个国家的25个时刻,最终的列表让人颇为意外。鉴于最终结果的广度和深度,我们所拥有的知识仅仅是冰山的一角,于是我们请25位专家详述他们的提名内容。

唯一的条件是,所推选的内容必须是“时刻”(一项时间跨度较长的社会运动不能算作时刻),而且它们必须发生在二十世纪,因为《时代周刊》的创始人亨利•卢斯曾经说二十世纪是“美国世纪”。不出意外,最终的结果恰如其分地让我们了解到100年时间里发生了那么多的事情——一天往往会改变未来。从通过一项带来意外改变的法律,到依然在影响今天生活的科学进步,到明星的首次闪亮登场,每一个时刻都证明了历史转折点的重大意义。



曼恩法案通过(1910年6月25日)


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1926年7月22日,芝加哥。原告在倾听州助理检察长罗伯特•M•伍德沃德控诉仰慕制品公司通过举办选美竞赛诱拐年轻女孩。

1910年6月25日,《曼恩法案》,或称为《禁止卖妇女为娼法》,将“州与州之间,或者美国与国际社会之间,以卖淫或不道德行为为目的贩运妇女或女孩”列为非法行为。多年来,公众对于“贩运妇女”和“白色奴隶”的呼吁声——这种措辞代表了官方的观点,即从事性工作的女性必然是被欺骗或强迫的——催生了这部法律,但它的影响远远超过了原有的初衷。法律条款中“不道德目的”是一个具有弹性的概念。以此为理由的起诉数量大幅增长,让那些未婚同居者陷入了困境。联邦当局利用《曼恩法案》惩办了很多他们原来对其无能为力的人。从长远角度来看,更重要的问题在于,法案中认可了联邦政府对于跨州运输业具有宪法赋予的控制权,等于让联邦政府的权力进一步深入到公民的日常生活中,这就是20世纪的现状。


《哈里森麻醉品税法》通过(1914年12月17日)

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弗朗西斯•伯顿•哈里森1913年的肖像照。

《哈里森麻醉品税法》规定,对于进口、生产、销售、分拨鸦片及其派生产品的人征税。表面上来看,该法律要求医师、药剂师和其他经手含鸦片成分产品的人需要获取从业资格证,支付微不足道的一笔费用,并且要保留用药者的详细记录。法案中的一个条款说明,医师“只可以在从事职业行为的过程中”开具鸦片药方。联邦法院后来的解释是,医生可以开具鸦片药方来缓和疼痛,但不能使用药者上瘾,以免他们经历脱瘾症状的侵扰。这种司法解释将药物上瘾归罪,《哈里森麻醉品税法》因此变成一部禁止性的法律,同时开启了一直持续到今天的联邦毒品战争。药品滥用和上瘾被定义为非法行为而不是药物反应,从很多方面来讲,最早就起源于《哈里森税法》。


凯瑟琳•杜•普蕾•伦普金使用“Miss”这个词(1915年底,具体日期不详)

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凯瑟琳•杜•普蕾•伦普金创作的《一个南方人的素质》封面。

历史的改变不仅仅是“大”事件造成的,而且还来源于人们努力争取进入一个代表新含义的世界。凯瑟琳•杜•普蕾•伦普金在她1946年的自传作品《一个南方人的素质》中描述了这样的变化。伦普金生长在佐治亚州一个“注定要失败的”家庭,他们奉行严苛的种族分化社会,对于旧式南方的生活有无限的怀念。书中讲述了1915年发生在大学里的一个事件,一个隶属于基督教青年会的非裔美国女人,即将在一个领导人会议上致辞。伦普金用优雅的笔调书写了这个女人如何努力用“Miss”来称呼女性。一个带有敬意的词语挑战了整个世界的白人至上观点。伦普金并不是唯一一个敢于挑战自己成长环境的人。尽管接踵而至的运动并不是一个人的行为,但恰恰是这些行为让旧世界开始坍塌、重建。什么也比不上变化刚出现时的状态有说服力。


贝德福德训练营实验开始(1917年6月4日)

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陆军妇女队

美国参加一战之后,全国的男人都被派到欧洲战场,国内农场劳动力稀缺带来了严重的问题。随着农村劳动力减少,我们怎样才能喂饱国民的肚子?巴纳德大学的弗吉尼亚•基德史利夫提出了一个解决方案。1917年6月4日,她在纽约贝德福德开办了妇女农业训练营,由迪莉亚•韦斯特•马伯和埃达•奥吉尔维博士负责。年轻的女性在那里接受农业技术的培训。当年夏天,他们发现这个草根项目有在全国推广的潜力。两年之后,超过两万名陆军妇女队的“农场女工”在42个州取代了男性劳动力。早在铆工罗西(译者注:美国二战时期的宣传画,鼓励女性从事工业生产活动)出现的多年之前,农场女工的形象就在激励女性挑战传统性别角色,极大促进了女权主义运动的发展。在证明了女人可以像男人一样从事一份工作之后,她们提出了一个重要的问题:为什么女人没有同等的权利?


沃尔斯泰德法案(1920年1月17日)

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禁酒令抗议者驾驶一辆挂满条幅和旗帜的汽车游行,呼吁废除第十八项修正案。

宪法第十八项修正案禁止“令人致醉的液体”,但留下了一些无法回答的问题,也就是这究竟是什么含义?很多人觉得,烈性酒应该被禁止,但啤酒和葡萄酒还是合法的。但是沃尔斯泰德法案——实施禁酒令的联邦法律——严格禁止任何酒精含量超过0.5%的饮料。法令实施的第一天,美国开始官方禁酒,美国人立即发现这是来真的。这个国家的第四大产业——酿酒业——被宣布为非法之后,有组织的犯罪活动、贩卖私酒和地下酒吧立即填补了需求的空缺。但禁酒令的执行力度并不统一,执法当局和民间组织,包括三K党,主要瞄准的对象是移民和非裔美国人。对于所有美国人来说,她们第一次感受到联邦的法律条款侵入到他们的每日生活中。对沃尔斯泰德法案的反对让民主党内部团结起来,最终帮助富兰克林•罗斯福总统在1932年上台。他对于啤酒和红酒的立法,以及最终通过的第二十一项修正案,结束了美国禁酒令的“贵族实验”,但那是在它改变整个国家之前。


第十九项修正案被批准(1920年8月18日)

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1920年,纽约。第十九项修正案通过之后,女人排队在纽约第一次参与投票。

第十九项修正案的批准不仅赋予女性投票的权利,还是通往其它女性进步领域的垫脚石,从高等教育和专业技能到经济权利,甚至可以担任陪审员。修正案的批准是长达70多年抗争的结果,自从卢克丽霞•莫特和伊丽莎白•凯迪•斯坦顿在纽约塞尼卡福尔斯相遇时就开始了。在我的五年级课堂中,我们学习了从内战后重建到现代的历史。我的学生们——尤其是女学生——发现我们最先提到的是非裔美国人获得投票权,而不是女人。她们很生气,我不得不告诉她们女人在当时地位非常低。当我们在今年讲到第十九项修正案的时候,她们欢呼起来。我的双眼湿润了,这是一项重大的运动,影响一直持续到2016年。


查尔斯•林德伯格到达巴黎(1927年5月21日)

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1927年5月,查尔斯•林德伯格在首次单人不停歇跨大西洋飞行之后,与“路易斯精神号”合影。

在1927年查尔斯•林德伯格成功完成首次横跨大西洋飞行之前,美国在航空领域远远落后于欧洲。这个国家突然间发现,林德伯格已经单人飞跃了大西洋,美国人开始意识到,哇,这才是我们的未来。当时美国还没有高速公路,但是在林德伯格之后,你看到了空中的一条高速公路。所有人都开始仰望天空。在林德伯格成为了全世界的英雄之后,美国与欧洲之间战后的交恶情绪得到了缓解,全世界都陷入一种神奇的幻想。不知怎么,我们做了一件史无前例的事情,而且做得那么低调,整个国家就像镀上了一层金。他是《时代周刊》的首位年度任务,他的胜利巡游让整个国家团结起来。人们似乎认为飞行无所不能,他改变了一切。


人口普查把“墨西哥人”作为一个种族(1930年4月1日)

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1930年左右,墨西哥和美国边境。

早在19世纪,当墨西哥的一部分领土被美国兼并之后,美国政府将墨西哥人后裔视为“白人”。1930年之后,这个状况发生了变化,美国人口统计局决定把墨西哥移民和他们的后裔在种族上归类为“墨西哥人”。这个决定发生在美国种族分裂的敏感期,20年代见证了三K党的出现、非裔美国人的“一滴血原则”,以及针对亚洲人、东南欧人的移民限制措施。当时,墨西哥人是美国西南部农业的主要生产力,但是在大萧条时期之后,他们大部分人被驱逐出境——不仅仅是墨西哥移民,还包括持有美国国籍的墨西哥人后裔。要感谢民权运动的活动人士,人口统计局在1940年改变了这个归类方式,但影响已经造成。短时期内对墨西哥人和墨西哥裔美国人非白人的身份认知,给人们带来的影响一直持续到今天。


富兰克林•德拉诺•罗斯福签署《公平劳动标准法案》(1938年6月25日)

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1938年的公平劳动标准法案。

在大萧条时期,罗斯福总统的信箱中充满了来自工人的信件,他们说即使能找到工作,他们的薪水也被压得很低,而且他们手中没有争取更高薪资和工作条件的武器。公平劳动标准法出台之后,一切都改变了。法案确立了基本的劳动标准,包括最低薪资、一倍半的加班费、禁止使用童工。国会在经过了激烈的争论之后通过了该法案,这是劳动部长弗朗西斯•珀金斯和罗斯福政府的胜利。胜利在某种程度上归功于长久以来认为罗斯福新政违宪的最高法院,在1937年的西海岸旅馆诉帕里什一案中,最高法院转而支持最低工资标准。公平劳动标准法最早只让部分劳动者受益,但它永久改变了劳动法的基准。正如我们在今天看到的,最低工资和加班费依然是一个充满争议的话题。


勒罗伊•亨利被赦免(1944年6月17日)

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美国有色人种协进会法律顾问瑟古德•马歇尔。

勒罗伊•亨利是一名非裔美国士兵,因1944年春天在巴斯强奸一位英国女性而被军事法庭定罪,当时美国士兵在英国驻扎,等待登陆法国。亨利被判绞刑,但那些并不了解美国种族偏见的英国人被激怒了,媒体铺天盖地的报道让这个事件成为了轰天大案。时任美国有色人种协进会法律顾问的瑟古德•马歇尔致信德怀特•艾森豪威尔,请求赦免亨利。这起案件让全世界看到了吉姆克劳种族歧视制度,但亨利最终被赦免,说明艾森豪威尔知道,如果美国准备反抗种族主义纳粹暴政,这个国家就必须解决它自己的“特殊问题”。亨利的赦免代表了这个国家意识的变化,在这一刻,美国知道,如果要成为世界的领袖,就必须摒弃吉姆克劳法。


人体钚试验开始(1945年4月10日)

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1945年7月,科学家和工人在新墨西哥州临近阿尔马戈尔多沙漠地带的三位一体试验场,吊起世界上第一颗原子弹,并把它升到100英尺的高度。被称为曼哈顿计划的第一次原子弹测试发生在7月16日。

曼哈顿计划中,在华盛顿州里奇兰德的秘密地点W生产出世界上第一微克的钚。它被送到洛斯阿拉莫斯试验一个新型原子弹,但这并不唯一的目的地。钚还被送到了几家参与曼哈顿计划的医院。第一次人体钚注射发生在1945年4月10日,代号“HP12”的试验对象是艾伯•卡德。他在一次交通事故中骨折,之后被送到橡树岭的曼哈顿计划陆军医院。研究人员希望可以收集他死后的骨骼、肝脏和其它组织器官样本。出于对“救治方案”的怀疑,他从医院逃出,8年后死于心力衰竭。在接下来的四十年里,他是数十万主动或被动接受放射性试验的对象中的第一个。卡德的注射标志着美国历史上充满争议的一个时期,个人的权利牺牲给所谓的核大国的崇高目标。


杰基•罗宾森在布鲁克林道奇队开始第一个常规赛季(1947年4月15日)

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杰基•罗宾森是第一个进入大联盟的黑人球员,在布鲁克林道奇队宣布购买了他在蒙特利尔的合同之后,他在1947年进入了道奇俱乐部。

当杰基•罗宾森在布鲁克林球场站上第一垒,那是在半个多世纪里非裔美国人第一次参加大联盟棒球比赛。在吉姆克劳的年代里,体育和其它生活领域一样,非裔美国人不得不创办他们自己的一套体制。尽管很多黑人棒球队取得了巨大的成功,但大联盟还是白色的。非裔美国士兵在二战中的卓越贡献,加上北部城市中越来越多的黑人人口,改变的时机已经成熟。道奇队的总裁布兰切•里奇看到了签下黑人球员所冒的巨大风险中蕴含着丰厚的回报。杰基•罗宾逊所面临的风险更大,他打破棒球界肤色限制的举动,仅仅是自废奴运动以来美国所形成的白人至上主义的种族障碍被彻底消除过程中小小的一步。知道12年之后,每一支大联盟球队才至少拥有一名黑人球员。


联邦调查局启动反情报项目(1956年8月)

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1963年5月20日,联邦调查局局长J•埃德加•胡佛在他位于华盛顿的办公室里。

1956年,联邦调查局启动了“反情报项目”,这是一个秘密的监控和破坏项目,监控的对象是共产党行动。但是,在1967年夏季暴动之后,J•埃德加•胡佛把目标瞄准了南方基督教领袖协会、学生非暴力协调委员会和黑豹党等组织,胡佛认为它们是美国内部安全所面临的最大威胁。他的任务是维持社会和政治秩序,而黑豹党的需求是另外一种社会秩序。“反情报项目”并不能对美国历史上最残暴的政府镇压行为负责,但它制约了民权组织和黑人权利组织潜在的进步。如果“反情报项目”没有干涉、骚扰很多组织和领导人并将他们置于监控之下,谁知道美国今天将会变成什么样?


《女性的奥秘》出版(1963年2月19日)

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1970年5月25日,贝蒂•弗里丹接受采访。弗里丹是一名女权主义者、活动人士、作家,她最著名的作品是1963年出版的《女性的奥秘》。

贝蒂•弗里丹的《女性的奥秘》的出版代表美国人生活在文化层面上的转化,正如弗里丹所指出,城市里的白人妇女都存在一个“无名的问题”。她认为这个问题就是妇女不满足扮演愉快的家庭妇女角色,因为她们荒废了自己的智力、教育和性生活。之后的十几年里,美国女性开始尝试改善这个问题,我们看到美国女性劳动力和教育体制的发展,其独立的生活能力影响到整体家庭生活的面貌,包括独身女性生育率和离婚率的上升,以及女性在政治领域——从最高法院到总统竞选——越来越高的出镜率。这些变化也在挑战其它国家的传统性别角色。这一切都来源于弗里丹的这本书,美国的一半人口开始用崭新的视角思考她们究竟想要什么,并且开始了一系列的生活革新。


约翰•F•肯尼迪签署社区心理卫生中心法案(1963年10月31日)

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1963年10月31日,约翰•F•肯尼迪总统在华盛顿白宫签署法案,批准32.9亿美元的心理健康项目。

当肯尼迪总统签署社区心理卫生中心法案的时候,代表美国应对心理健康的方式发生了改变。当时,心理医院是大部分人接受精神疾病治疗的场所,大约50万美国人在这样的机构中接受治疗。社区心理卫生中心法案为社区中心投资了1.5亿美元来分流大医院的病人,社区护理中心成为了应对精神疾病的主力军。在接下来的几十年里,国家关闭了大部分大型医院。可惜的是,法案的最终目标并没有实现,为严重精神紊乱病人提供的服务相当分散。改革者本期望在社区中建立起一个强大的心理健康体制,但资金一直处于短缺状态。尽管从1960年到1990年精神病医院的数量大幅减少,但国家并没有给精神紊乱病人提供足够的社会服务,导致无家可归人员数量增加,监狱中的心理服务需求猛增。


1975年新汽车标准出台(1971年1月30日)

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一位加油工站在含铅汽油泵旁边。照片约拍摄于1955年。

当美国人沉浸在战后蓬勃发展的汽车旅行中时,这个国家的空气和土壤中四乙基铅的含量在飙升。事情严重到当理查德•尼克松总统建立环保署之后,第一个官方规定就是所有美国汽车在1975年前必须开始使用无铅汽油。之后的一些规定在未来二十年里彻底淘汰了含铅汽油。很多公共卫生领域的学者相信,40年代汽车在城市里排放的尾气是60年代犯罪现象高发的因素之一,因为犯罪者是第一代暴露在高铅含量空气中的人群。(暴露在铅环境中的儿童易冲动、易发极度活跃和大脑损伤等症状。)而70年代空气中铅含量的减低,也可能是90年代犯罪率下降的一个原因。尽管无法把尾气排放和犯罪率直接挂钩,但研究结果明确表明,空气清洁的城市更加安全。


乔治•杰克逊之死(1971年8月21日)

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1971年8月28日,6个抬棺人头戴黑色贝雷帽,身着黑色制服、白手套,抬着盖有黑豹标志蓝色旗子的乔治•杰克逊的棺材,走出奥古斯汀大教堂。

乔治•杰克逊在18岁时被捕入狱,29岁时在一次号称试图逃离圣昆廷监狱过程中被杀。他是一名作家、活动人士,还是针对我们今天所说的大规模监禁现象的分析专家。当时的监狱规模只有今天的几分之一,杰克逊的作品分析了无处不在的监禁现象的潜在威胁,他的见解激励了很多人。阿提卡监狱的犯人在他死后静默斋戒整整一天。三周之后,一场普普通通的反抗行为演化成历史上最大规模的监狱暴动。杰克逊的死、阿提卡监狱的暴动,加上纽约骑警为了收回监狱控制权而杀死了39名犯人,都表明了监狱体制存在的问题。公民开始关注犯人所遭受的严酷刑罚,政客们也开始着手解决这一问题。


英特尔推出新型微处理器(1971年11月15日)

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第一代微处理器——英特尔4004,1971年。

微处理器就是一个单片机。英特尔4004微处理器的尺寸是0.11×0.15英寸,按照今天的标准来看,处理速度相当慢。它每秒钟可以处理6万个指示,今天的芯片每秒钟可以处理数百万条指示。英特尔最早为一家日本制造企业开发了4004微处理器,但发现了它在未来更广泛的用途,因此买下了进一步推广的权利。1971年11月15日,公司在一家贸易杂志上发布了一份广告,“宣告集成电子新时代的来临”。这个小东西带来了很多巨大的变化。对微处理器能力的持续改进引发了计算机行业的革命,因此一些专家认为它是继轮子之后最伟大的技术创新。中央处理器变得越来越小、越来越强大,个人电脑把文字处理、电子邮件和电子游戏带入寻常百姓家。微处理器还提升了日用品的功能,从咖啡机、汽车、电话到手表和玩具。微处理器带领着无人驾驶汽车技术和残障人士辅助行动设备的发展。


波士顿强制执行校车制度(1974年6月21日)

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1974年4月2日,反对校车制度的抗议者从波士顿市政厅广场游行到马萨诸塞州议会大厦。

在1954年最高法院裁决布朗诉教育局一案之后,很多自由派白人和北方温和派人士开始公开拥护学校种族融合,他们认为种族隔离是南方人的问题。1974年6月,联邦法官W•阿瑟•贾瑞蒂裁决,波士顿学校委员会有意在公立学校中采取种族隔离制度,因此需要一个有关校车的规定来解决这个问题。城市中大部分白人居民强烈反对这项规定,他们掀起了一阵强烈,甚至是暴力的反对校车运动,全国其它城市受此影响也普遍反对通过校车来促进种族融合。1975年,以自由派人士约瑟夫•拜登和保守派人士杰西•赫尔姆斯为首的美国众议院通过了一系列取消校车的法令。波士顿运动表明,很多居住在北方的白人不愿意在自己的社区实施校内的种族融合,这个国家的种族正义感依然极为有限。1974年之前,美国公立学校逐渐开始进行种族融合。但在反对校车运动之后,学校又开始恢复种族隔离。从某些方面来看,今天美国的公立学校比以往更加隔离。


邓小平掌权(1977年7月22日)

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1976年1月9日,中国副总理邓小平访问巴黎。

美国历史上最具影响力的时刻之一发生在一个遥远的国度——1977年7月22日,在中国,邓小平开始执政。他让世界上人口最多的国家走上国际经济舞台,引起了无数的反响。他的决定让美国失去了大量的产生型就业岗位,但同时遏制了通货膨胀。他的影响不仅如此,例如,智能手机和平板电脑的廉价组装费用让它们几乎无处不在,改变了从出租车到媒体各类产业的APP经济因此得到发展。但是中国以燃煤为基础的工业化进程也加速了全球变暖的趋势。中国从一个意识形态类国家向一个集权型国家的转化帮助结束了冷战,但他的民族主义情绪、财富和武断,在全球范围内挑战美国,包括非洲的自然资源和南中国海的领土纠纷。


圣克拉拉普韦布洛诉马丁内兹案裁决(1978年5月15日)

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位于华盛顿特区的最高法院。

根据圣克拉拉普韦布洛族的法律,印第安男性与外族女性结合所生下的子女可以被视为部落成员,而印第安女性与外族男性所生下的子女不是部落成员。朱莉亚•马丁内兹是圣克拉拉族的一位女性,她与一位纳瓦霍男性结婚,根据1968年的印第安民权法案,她认为她和女儿的权利遭到了侵犯。这起案件关乎个人与部落统治阶级的权利抗争。由民权代表人物瑟古德•马歇尔大法官代表最高法院出具的意见书裁决倾向于后者。裁决引发的效果立即显现出来,有关印第安民权法案的案件数量显著下降,而且这个裁决还被很多大型组织用来排斥外部人员,比如切罗基族自由人,也就是前切罗基国奴隶的后裔,被拒绝加入他们原本隶属的部落。美国印第安人律师拉蒙•鲁比多说:“马丁内兹案让印第安法律倒退了30年。”


吉米•卡特签署1980年难民法案(1980年3月17日)

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1980年4月14日,一群人步行到白宫,感谢吉米•卡特总统允许3500名古巴难民从位于哈瓦那的秘鲁使馆入境。来自马里兰州切维切斯的维奥莱特•莫拉女士让白宫工作人员把一个花篮交给卡特总统。

美国一直以来是寻求自由、躲避迫害的难民安置家园,但是在1980年之前,美国并没有一项完整的难民接收政策。难民进入美国往往是依据临时性的立法,比如1948年的战时流离失所人员法案,让40万欧洲人进入美国。冷战期间,还有一些政策让逃离共产党政权的人进入这个国家。1980年的难民法案改变了这种局面。法案的起因是越南战争之后东南亚爆发的人道主义危机,它为美国设定了永久性的难民安置制度。包括每年的难民收容上限,以及把联合国对于“难民”的定义引入美国法律,允许这个国家收容所有“有充足理由惧怕迫害”的人。今天,全世界有1950万难民,凸显了1980年法案和美国对难民承诺的重要性。


贝蒂福特中心开业(1982年10月4日)

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美国第一夫人、第38届美国总统杰拉尔德•R•福特的妻子贝蒂•福特的白宫官方肖像照。

今天,鸦片类药物上瘾的现象依然猖獗,因此贝蒂福特中心开业,以及贝蒂•福特忍受痛苦并最终公开她个人药物上瘾的历史的重要性不言而喻。她用前所未有的方式走出药物上瘾的阴影。不可否认,任何类型的药物上瘾都伴随着痛苦和屈辱,但是我很难想象如果没有帮助了那么多人的贝蒂福特中心,这一切将会变得如何。贝蒂说,她以前总是把酒精上瘾者想象成邋遢、颓废的形象,而不是一个衣着体面、生活在白宫里的女人。今天我们知道药物上瘾是一种常见病,并不局限于某一类人群。她采取前所未有的方式充分利用自己第一夫人的身份,改变了这个国家对待严重疾病的态度。贝蒂•福特坦承自身的奋斗过程,拯救了无数人的生命。


芝加哥遇见奥普拉•温弗莉(1984年1月2日)

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1984年,“芝加哥早晨”主持人奥普拉•温弗莉在芝加哥街头拍照。

1984年,迎接奥普拉来到芝加哥的是整整一条街的欢迎人群,组织者是“芝加哥早晨”节目的电视台,他们希望以这种方式把奥普拉介绍给这座城市。当时,一个非裔美国人,还是一个女人,仅仅登上脱口秀舞台就是件了不起的事情了。她的成功最终改变了美国黑人商业的历史。1985年,节目改名为“奥普拉•温弗莉脱口秀”,她成为了历史上第一位非裔美国女性亿万富翁。(她首次进入福布斯富豪排行榜是在2003年,距离约翰•D•洛克菲勒成为美国第一个亿万富翁已经过去了一个世纪。)非裔美国人从1619年开始参与这个国家的经济建设,当时第一批非洲人被送入北美殖民地,但直到今天黑人也未能实现经济平等。奥普拉的成功和财富,打开了一扇门。


撒根•潘被宣告无罪(1987年7月17日)

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犯罪现场警戒线。

撒根•潘的故事并不依循传统情节,一个黑人青年在杀害一名警察之后绝不会被免罪。但这恰恰是发生在1986年和1987年的事情,两次独立审判中的陪审团最终裁定,潘在遭到圣迭戈一名警官殴打的过程中,以正当防卫方式射杀对方,在谋杀和过失杀人两项罪名上均无罪。四年之后洛杉矶发生了罗德尼•金事件,我认为这件事情是警方的过激反应,他们滥用自身的免罪特权。一名警官作为法律的象征拥有一些特权,因此应党受到特殊的保护。但是警方有时候会滥用自身的特权,把自己置身于法律之上,用警徽来掩饰非法的行为。这或许并不是巧合,潘的陪审团做出裁决之后不久,警方就对罗德尼•金施以私刑。与此同时,潘再没有过上正常人的生活,他在2002年自杀。




原文:

25 Moments That Changed America

25 experts pick a surprising list of 20th-century turning points

Each year, as the United States of America prepares to celebrate its Independence Day, the urge to reexamine American history is inevitable. After all, it’s hard to escape what happened on July 4, 1776, when you’re marking a holiday known as the Fourth of July.

But revisiting American history doesn’t have to mean sticking with those red-letter dates. Last year, at around this time, we asked 25 historians to nominate 25 moments that changed the nation, and the list they generated was eye-opening. (You can read the whole thing here.) Animated by the breadth and insight of that round-up, as well as the knowledge that it was only the tip of the iceberg, we’ve asked 25 new experts to chime in with their own nominations.

The only rules: the selections had to be “moments” (a broad social movement doesn’t count) and they had to have happened during the span of the 20th century, inspired by TIME founder Henry Luce having declared those years “the American century.” The results were, unsurprisingly, another fitting reminder of just how much can happen in 100 years—and of the way that a single day can change all that comes after. From laws that were passed with unintended consequences to scientific advancements that still affect our everyday lives to a celebrity debut that made a difference, each moment in its own way is an example of how history’s hinges work.

The Mann Act Is Passed (June 25, 1910)

Complainants listening to Assistant State's Attorney Robert M. Woodward make his charges to the Admiration Products Co which is claimed to have run a beauty contest to lure young girls into white slavery, Chicago, July 22, 1926.

On June 25, 1910, the Mann Act, or White Slave Traffic Act, made it illegal to transport “in interstate or foreign commerce . . . any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose.” Years of public alarm over “the traffic in women” and “white slavery”—language based on public officials’ assumptions that women in sex work must have been tricked or coerced—had produced the new law, but it would have consequences that went far beyond its immediate intent. The language of “immoral purpose” in the law proved to be elastic. Prosecutions under that rubric multiplied, catching unmarried consensual couples in its snare; federal authorities used the Mann Act to target individuals wanted for other reasons. Even more important in the long run, the Act’s creative use of the federal government’s constitutionally-mandated control over interstate commerce inaugurated the huge expansion of federal powers over citizens’ daily lives that would take place in the 20th century.

The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act Is Passed (Dec. 17, 1914)

Portrait of Francis Burton Harrison, 1913.

The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act — legislation that imposed a tax on anyone who imported, produced, sold or distributed opium or its derivatives — was ostensibly designed to require physicians, pharmacists and others who dealt in opiates to acquire a license at a nominal fee, and to keep detailed records of to whom they distributed the drugs. One clause of the act provided that a physician could prescribe opiates “in the course of his professional practice only.” Federal courts subsequently interpreted this to mean that doctors could prescribe opiates for pain, but not to maintain addicts so that they would not experience withdrawal symptoms. This judicial interpretation criminalized addiction and transformed the Harrison Act from tax to prohibitory legislation—and inaugurated a federal war on drugs that continues to the present day. The definition of drug abuse and addiction as legal offenses rather than medical conditions dates, in many ways, to the Harrison Act.

Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin Uses the Word “Miss” (Late 1915, Date Unknown)

The Making of A Southerner by Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin book jacket.

Historical change often comes not only in “big” events, but also in the struggles of people to enter a new world of meaning. Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin describes one such shift in her 1946 autobiography The Making of a Southerner. Lumpkin—who grew up in a “Lost Cause” family in Georgia, adhering to rigid racial classifications and a strong nostalgia for the old South—tells of a 1915 incident at her college when an African-American woman, a YWCA staff member, was going to address a leadership conference. Lumpkin writes beautifully of her struggle to address the woman as “Miss.” Just using that term of respect challenged an entire worldview of white supremacy. Lumpkin wasn’t the only one confronting the limitations of the world in which she grew up. Though movements are more than the results of any individual’s actions, it is with those actions that worlds begin to crumble and be remade. What could be more telling of the embryonic stages of change?

Michelle Dunn

Women's Land Army poster.

When the United States entered World War I and the nation’s men were sent overseas to Europe, the scarcity of farm labor became a pressing issue: with our farm laborers away, how would we feed our nation at home? Virginia Gildersleeve of Barnard College proposed a solution. On June 4, 1917 she helped open the Women’s Agricultural Camp in Bedford, N.Y., led by Delia West Marble and Dr. Ida Ogilvie. There young women were immersed and trained in the techniques of farming. That summer, they realized their grassroots program had nationwide potential. Within a 2-year period, over 20,000 “farmerettes” of the Women’s Land Army of America replaced male laborers in 42 states. Years before Rosie the Riveter, the image of the farmerette inspired women to challenge traditional gender roles and served as a big boost to the suffragist movement. In proving that a woman could do the same job a man could do, they raised an important question: why don’t women have the same rights too?

The Volstead Act Takes Effect (Jan. 17, 1920)

Prohibition protesters parade in a car emblazoned with signs and flags calling for the repeal of the 18th Amendment.

The 18th Amendment prohibited “intoxicating liquors” but left questions unanswered: namely, what did that mean? Many thought only hard spirits would be banned while beer and wine would remain legal. But the Volstead Act—the federal law that implemented Prohibition—strictly banned beverages containing more than 0.5% alcohol. The day it took effect, the U.S. officially went dry, and Americans quickly realized what Prohibition would really mean. With the nation’s fourth largest industry—the alcohol industry—outlawed, organized crime, bootlegging and speakeasies infamously filled the vacuum. But Prohibition wasn’t enforced equally everywhere: authorities and citizens’ groups, including the KKK, especially targeted immigrants and African-Americans. For these Americans and others, it was the first time they felt the power of the federal police state in their everyday lives. Backlash to the Volstead Act helped grow the Democratic coalition that elected President Franklin Roosevelt in 1932. His legalization of light beer and wine and the later passage of the 21st Amendment would end America’s “noble experiment” with Prohibition, but not before it transformed the nation.

The 19th Amendment Is Ratified (Aug. 18, 1920)

Women line up to vote for the first time in New York after the passage of the 19th Amendment, New York, New York, 1920.

The ratification of the 19th Amendment did more than give women the right to vote. It was also a stepping-stone to many other areas of progress by women, from higher education and the professions to economic rights and even being able to serve on a jury. The ratification was the product of more than 70 years of fighting, going all the way back to women like Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton met in Seneca Falls, N.Y.

In my fifth-grade classroom, we study from Civil War Reconstruction to present times, and my students—particularly the girls—notice that we start with African-American men getting the right to vote, but not women. They get really upset by that, and I have to tell them that women were seen as inferior. When we got to the 19th Amendment this year, they cheered. It brought tears to my eyes. It’s an empowering moment, from back then all the way to 2016.

Charles Lindbergh Reaches Paris (May 21, 1927)

Charles Lindbergh poses with the 'Spirit of St Louis,' the plane he used to make the first non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic, May 1927.

Until Charles Lindbergh successfully completed his transatlantic flight in 1927, the United States had lagged far behind Europe when it came to aviation. It really wasn’t until the country woke up to learn that Lindbergh had flown across the Atlantic on his own that Americans began to realize, Wow, this is where our future lies. This was before highways were built throughout America, but after Lindbergh you began to see there could be a highway in the sky. Everybody was suddenly looking up. And at the time Lindbergh was a hero throughout the world, helping to resolve some of the post-war bad feelings between the U.S. and Europe, creating a global feeling of wonder. Somehow he had done something that no one else had been able to do before, and he had done it with such seemingly quiet modesty that it was absolutely galvanizing for the nation. He was TIME Magazine’s first Man of the year and his victory tour united the country. As far as people’s perceptions of what flight could do, he changed everything.

The Census Uses ‘Mexican’ as a Race (April 1, 1930)

Mexico and United States border, circa 1930.

As far back as the 19th century, when what had been part of Mexico became part of the U.S., people of Mexican heritage had been considered “white” according to the U.S. government. That changed in 1930 when the U.S. census bureau decided to classify them—immigrants and their descendants alike—as racially “Mexican.” The decision came at a time of hardening racial divisions in the United States: the 1920s had seen the reemergence of the KKK; the institution of the one-drop rule for African-Americans; and immigration restrictions targeting Asians, Southern Europeans and Eastern Europeans. At the time, Mexicans were the bulk of agricultural workers in the Southwest, but after the Great Depression hit they were targeted for deportation—not just immigrants, but American citizens of Mexican heritage as well. Thanks largely to the work of civil-rights activists, the census designation was changed back in 1940, but not before the impact had been made. That short period solidified the identity of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans as non-white, a perception that persists to the present.

FDR Signs the Fair Labor Standards Act (June 25, 1938)

Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938

Throughout the Great Depression, President Roosevelt’s mail filled with letters from workers saying that, if they had jobs at all, their wages were depressed and they lacked leverage to demand more pay or better conditions. That changed with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The act established basic labor standards like the minimum wage, time-and-a-half overtime pay, and a ban on child labor. Passed by Congress after intense controversy, the law was a triumph for Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins and for the administration. It would not have been possible had the Supreme Court, which had long rejected New Deal labor laws as unconstitutional, not reversed course in 1937 and upheld a state minimum wage law in West Coast Hotel v. Parrish. The FLSA at first reached only a portion of employees, But it has shaped labor law ever since, and, as we have recently seen, the minimum wage and overtime pay remain vibrant issues.

Leroy Henry is Pardoned (June 17, 1944)

Cornell Capa—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images Thurgood Marshall, legal director of the NAACP.

Leroy Henry was an African-American soldier who was court-martialed and convicted for allegedly raping an English woman in Bath during the spring of 1944, when American troops occupied England awaiting the landings in France. Henry was sentenced to be hanged, but the English—who had not widely understood the extent of racism in the United States—were outraged. Their press reported on the case and it became a cause célèbre. And when Thurgood Marshall (pictured), then legal counsel for the NAACP, wrote a plea for pardon to Dwight Eisenhower, the General listened. The case brought international attention to the Jim Crow system of racial discrimination, but it was the pardon that showed that Eisenhower knew it: if the U.S. were going to fight against a racist Nazi regime, the country would have to do something about its own “peculiar problem,” as one British journalist put it. The Henry pardon represented a change in national consciousness, the moment when America realized that being a world leader would mean letting go of Jim Crow.

Human Plutonium Experiments Begin (April 10, 1945)

Scientists and workmen rig the world's first atomic bomb to raise it up into a 100-foot tower at the Trinity bomb test site in the desert near Alamagordo, N.M. in July 1945. The first atomic bomb test, known as the Manhattan Project, took place on July 16.

The world’s first micrograms of plutonium produced at the Manhattan Project secret site “W” in Richland, Wash., were sent to Los Alamos for tests of a new atom bomb, but that wasn’t their only destination. Plutonium also went to several hospitals within the Project. The first human plutonium injection occurred on April 10, 1945. The human subject called “Hp 12” was Ebb Cade, a 55-year-old African-American cement mixer who landed in the Manhattan Project Army Hospital in Oak Ridge, Tenn., after an automobile accident that left him with several broken bones. Researchers hoped to harvest bone samples, liver and other organs after the man died. Suspicious of his “treatment,” he ran away from the hospital, expiring eight years later of heart failure. But he was only the first of hundreds of thousands of people subjected to voluntary and involuntary medical radiation experiments in the four decades that followed. Cade’s injection marked the start of a troubling phase in American history, during which individual rights were sacrificed for the supposed good of a nuclear nation.

Jackie Robinson Plays His First Regular Season Game With the Brooklyn Dodgers (April 15, 1947)

Jackie Robinson, the first black to be admitted to the major leagues, enters the Brooklyn Dodgers' clubhouse after the Dodgers announced they had purchased his Montreal Expo contract, 1947.
NY Daily News Archive—Getty Images Jackie Robinson, the first black to be admitted to the major leagues, enters the Brooklyn Dodgers' clubhouse after the Dodgers announced they had purchased his Montreal Expo contract, 1947.

When Jackie Robinson took the field as first baseman for Brooklyn, it was the first time in more than half a century that an African American participated in a major league baseball game. During the Jim Crow era the sport resembled the many other arenas of life in which African Americans built parallel institutions for themselves. But, despite the success of many Negro League teams, the color of Major League baseball remained white. The substantial role of African American soldiers in WWII, combined with increasing black populations in northern cities, created a fertile environment for change. Branch Rickey, president of the Dodgers, recognized the potential rewards that could be reaped from taking the substantial risks involved in signing black players. Jackie Robinson was prepared to take an even greater risk. His breaking the baseball color line was just one part of a larger process of eliminating the racial barriers that had been built since Emancipation to ensure the persistence of white supremacy in American institutional life. It took a dozen years before all major league teams had at least one black player.

The FBI establishes COINTELPRO (August 1956)

F.B.I. director J. Edgar Hoover in his Washington office, May 20, 1963.

In 1956, the FBI established COINTELPRO—the Counterintelligence Program, a secret surveillance and disruption project—to monitor the activities of the Communist Party. But, in the immediate aftermath of riots in the summer of 1967, J. Edgar Hoover turned its attention toward groups like the Southern Christian Leadership conference, the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee and the Black Panther Party, which Hoover saw as the greatest threat to the internal security of the United States. His mission was to maintain social and political order, and the Black Panther Party was calling for a much different kind of order. COINTELPRO was not only responsible for some of the most devastating incidents of government oppression in the history of the United States, but it also severely compromised the potential transformative dimensions of many civil rights and black power groups. If COINTELPRO hadn’t meddled, raided many organizations and subjected leaders to exhaustive surveillance, who knows what the United States might look like today?

The Feminine Mystique Is Published (Feb. 19, 1963)

Betty Friedan at a press interview on May 25, 1970. Friedan is a feminist, activist, writer, best known for her 1963 book, "The Feminine Mystique."

The publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique signaled a cultural shift in American life, as Friedan argued that white, suburban women live with a “problem that has no name.” She identified the problem as women’s discontent with playing the happy housewife as they felt their intellectual, emotional and sexual lives go wasted. In the decades since, as American women have tried to correct that problem, we have seen the rise of women in the American workforce and educational system; an increased independence that has also affected family life, with more births to single women and more divorce; and a greater presence for women in politics, from the Supreme Court to the presidential race. This wave of change has also challenged gender norms around the world. This incredible shift is rooted in Friedan’s book, which spurred half of the American population to take a new look at what they wanted for themselves—and to begin a social revolution that continues.

JFK Signs the Community Mental Health Centers Act (Oct. 31, 1963)

President John F. Kennedy signs a bill authorizing $329 million for mental health programs at the White House in Washington. October 31, 1963.

When President Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Centers Act, he signaled that the way America addressed mental health was changing. At the time, mental hospitals were the primary place for people to receive psychiatric treatment. About a half million people resided in such institutions in the United States. The Community Mental Health Centers Act allocated $150 million to create community centers to replace those large institutions. It represented a tidal shift in psychiatry towards community care. Over the next few decades, states closed mental hospitals across the country. Unfortunately, the vision of the bill never came to fruition. Services for people with serious psychiatric disorders became fragmented. Reformers had envisioned a robust mental health system in local communities, which was never fully funded. While the number of mental hospitals dropped dramatically between 1960 and 1990, states did not create enough social services to adequately care for people with psychiatric disorders, leading to homelessness and the rise of psychiatric services in prisons and jails.

New 1975 Auto Standards Are Announced (Jan. 30, 1971)

A gas pump attendant at the ready with leaded gas, circa 1955.

As Americans took to the road during the postwar boom in car travel, the amount of tetraethyl lead in the nation’s air and soil rapidly increased. Things got so bad that when President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency, one of the agency’s first official regulations decreed that American cars would have to run on unleaded fuel by 1975. Further regulations entirely phased out leaded gas over the next two decades. Many public health scholars believe heavy auto emissions in urban areas from the 1940s on factored in the crime spike of the 1960s, as the first generation exposed to dangerous levels of lead came of age. (Children exposed to lead are far more likely to suffer from poor impulse control, hyperactivity and brain damage.) And likewise the decline in environmental lead in the 1970s may have contributed to the drop in violent crime in the 1990s that continues to this day. While the link between tailpipes and murder rates is not a simple one, research strongly suggests that cities with cleaner air and playgrounds became safer cities.

George Jackson Is Killed (Aug. 21, 1971)

George Jackson's casket, draped in a blue flag with a Black Panther emblem, is carried from St. Augustine's Episcopal Church by six pall bearers in black berets, black suits and white gloves, Aug. 28, 1971.

George Jackson went to prison as an 18-year-old and was killed at age 29 in an alleged escape attempt from San Quentin—and yet he was able to emerge as an author, activist and powerful analyst of what we now call mass incarceration. Writing when the prison system was a fraction of the size it is today, Jackson diagnosed the dangers of ubiquitous incarceration. His insights inspired many people. All the way across the country, prisoners in Attica held a one-day silent fast in response to his death. Three weeks later, a mundane fight erupted into the largest prison riot of the time period. The combination of Jackson’s death, the uprising at Attica and the killing of 39 people by N.Y. State Troopers retaking the prison all showed the problem of prisons. Citizens became more aware of the danger of punishment being so severe—even as politicians moved further in that direction.

Intel Advertises Its New Microprocessor (Nov. 15, 1971)

First microprocessor, Intel 4004, 1971.

A microprocessor is a computer on a chip. The Intel 4004 measured 0.11 x .15 inch and by today’s standards was incredibly slow; it could process 60,000 instructions a second, versus the millions of instructions today’s chips can process. Intel had developed the 4004 for a Japanese manufacturer of calculators but came to see its wider applicability and bought the rights to market it. On Nov. 15, 1971, the company released an advertisement in a trade journal, “Announcing a new era of integrated electronics.” This very small object promoted many big changes. Constant advances in microprocessor capacities fueled the computing revolution. As a consequence, some experts consider it the most significant technological invention since the wheel. Mainframes became smaller and more powerful; personal computers brought word processing, email and video games to ordinary homes; and microprocessors enhanced everyday products from coffeemakers and cars to phones, watches and toys. Microprocessors power driverless cars and the wide range of assisting devices for the disabled that are continually improving.

Busing Is Mandated in Boston (June 21, 1974)

Demonstrators who oppose busing participate in a march from Boston City Hall Plaza to the Mass. State House on April 2, 1974.

In the aftermath of 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, many white liberals and moderates in the North publicly embraced school integration, which they saw as a Southern problem. That idea, however, was quickly disproved. In June of 1974, federal judge W. Arthur Garrity Jr. ruled that the Boston School Committee had intentionally segregated the city’s public schools—and that a program of school busing was needed to address the problem.

Much of the city’s white population actively resisted the order, organizing a powerful and sometimes violent anti-busing movement, which helped galvanize nationwide opposition to busing for integration. In 1975 the U.S. Senate, led by both liberals like Joseph Biden and conservatives like Jesse Helms, passed a series of anti-busing measures. The Boston movement showed that many Northern whites were less than willing to promote school integration in their own communities, illustrating the limits of the nation’s commitment to racial justice. Before 1974, American public schools had been gradually moving towards racial integration. In the aftermath of the struggle against busing, the nation’s schools began to resegregate. In some respects, today’s American public schools are more segregated than ever.

Deng Xiaoping Comes to Power (July 22, 1977)

Vice Premier of China Deng Xiaoping during a visit to Paris, January 9th 1976.

One of the most consequential moments in American history occurred somewhere far away: in China on July 22, 1977, when Deng Xiaoping began his rise to power. He brought the world’s most populous nation into the international economy, with countless repercussions. His decisions contributed to an enormous loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States, but also helped to kill inflation. And it didn’t stop there. For example, the cheap manufacture of smart phones and tablet computers has made them nearly ubiquitous, giving rise to the app economy—remaking everything from the taxi business to media. But China’s coal-powered industrialization also has greatly accelerated global warming. China’s shift from an ideological to an authoritarian state helped to end the Cold War, but its nationalism, wealth and assertiveness have challenged the United States on a global scale, from control of Africa’s natural resources to territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez Is Decided (May 15, 1978)

The Supreme Court Building in Washington D.C.

Under the law of the Santa Clara Pueblo, the children of Indian men fathered with non-tribal women could be enrolled in the tribe, while enrollment of the children of Indian women fathered by non-tribal men was denied. Julia Martinez, a Santa Clara Pueblo woman married to a Navajo man, charged under the 1968 Indian Civil Rights Act that the law violated her civil rights and her daughter’s. The case set the rights of an individual against the sovereignty of tribal governments—and Supreme Court court, in a decision written by civil-rights icon Justice Thurgood Marshall, decided in favor of the latter. The effect of the decision was immediate. Cases involving violations of the Indian Civil Rights Act declined sharply, and the decision was used as justification for the wholesale disenrollment of large groups of people, such as the Cherokee Freedmen, descendants of former slaves of the Cherokee nation, from the tribes to which they had belonged. As American Indian lawyer Ramon Roubideaux put it, “Martinez set Indian law back 30 years.”

Jimmy Carter Signs the Refugee Act of 1980 (March 17, 1980)

A group marches to the White House to thank President Jimmy Carter for his decision to admit 3,500 Cuban refugees from those at the Peruvian Embassy in Havana. Mrs. Violeta Mora of Chevy Chase, Md., presented the basket of flowers to a White House official for delivery to President Carter in Washington on Monday, April 14, 1980.

The U.S. has a long history as a place of refuge to those seeking freedom from persecution—but until 1980 there was no uniform refugee admissions policy. Refugees were typically allowed into the U.S. on an ad hoc basis with special legislation, like the Displaced Persons Act of 1948, which allowed 400,000 displaced Europeans into the country. During the Cold War, other policies typically favored the admission of people fleeing Communist regimes over others.

The 1980 Refugee Act changed all of that. Prompted by the humanitarian crisis in Southeast Asia after the end of the Vietnam War, the act created a permanent and uniform system for admitting and resettling refugees into the U.S. It set an annual cap of refugee admissions and incorporated the United Nations definition of “refugee” into U.S. law, allowing the country to admit people any person with “a well-founded fear of persecution.” Today, the world is home to an estimated 19.5 million refugees—giving special resonance to the 1980 act and the U.S.’s commitment to welcoming refugees.

The Betty Ford Center Opens (Oct. 4, 1982)

An official White House portrait of First Lady Betty Ford, wife of the 38th President of the United States, Gerald R. Ford, 1974.

Today, with the opioid crisis currently raging, the importance of the opening of the Betty Ford Center—and Betty Ford’s own painful coming to terms with her own addiction, which she did very publicly—is clear. She brought addiction out of the shadows in a way that no one had done before. Unfortunately, there’s still a huge amount of shame attached to addiction of any sort, but I can only imagine how it would be without the Betty Ford Center, which has helped so many people. Betty said that she had always pictured an alcoholic as a sloppy, disheveled person, not a put-together woman who was living in the White House. Today, we know that addiction is common and doesn’t only happen to a certain type of person. She used her position as former First Lady in a surprisingly personal way that we don’t really see anymore, and she changed the way the country dealt with a very serious condition. Betty Ford saved an untold number of lives by exposing her own private struggle.

Chicago Meets Oprah Winfrey (Jan 2., 1984)

Oprah Winfrey, the host of "AM Chicago", poses for a photo on State Street in Chicago, Illinois, 1984.

In 1984, Oprah arrived in Chicago with a parade down State Street, organized by the TV station that ran AM Chicago to introduce her to the city. At the time, for an African American—and a woman at that—to be a co-host of a talk show was just amazing. That moment, and the success that followed, would ultimately change the course of black business history. By 1985, the show was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show and eventually she would become the first African American woman billionaire. (Her first Forbes billionaire listing came in 2003, nearly a century after John D. Rockefeller became the first American billionaire.) African Americans have been involved in the nation’s economy since 1619, when the first Africans were brought to Colonial America, and black economic equality in is yet to be achieved. Oprah’s visibility and wealth, however, has helped to open a door.

Crime scene tape.

Sagon Penn’s story doesn’t fit conventional narratives. It’s almost never the case that a young black man could be exonerated for killing a policeman. But that’s what happened in 1986 and 1987: juries in two separate trials ultimately decided that Penn, who admitted to the shooting but pled self-defense, was not guilty of murder or manslaughter when he opened fire in the midst of a beating by a San Diego police officer. This was four years before the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles. I saw that event as a reaction by the police to an erosion of what they saw as their prerogative of impunity. A police force maintains its authority by embodying the law, and officers of the law are due special protections. But police have, at times, abused this privilege, placed themselves above the law and used their badges to shield unlawful behavior. It is perhaps no coincidence that, not long after Penn’s juries acknowledged that behavior, police made an example of Rodney King. Meanwhile, Penn was never able to get his life back on track and ended up committing suicide in 2002.


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