This Day in History
December 5th: Amendment XXI Ratified, the Beginning of Montgomery Bus Boycott and Other Events of the Date
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December 5th: Amendment XXI Ratified, the Beginning of Montgomery Bus Boycott and Other Events of the Date


A number of important events have taken place on December 5th in U.S. history. Here is our take on the most interesting and valuable of them.

1933 – Amendment XXI is ratified

This amendment is really unique in the political history of the U.S., as it directly negated  another amendment which had been passed previously. The ratification of this amendment ended the era of Prohibition in America that was characterized by bootlegging, the rise of gangs and other criminal enterprises.

Of course, since America at that time was going through the most severe years of the Great Depression, which saw millions of Americans unemployed and living under the poverty level, it didn’t help the state much in its struggle against the gangsters, yet it did lead to the important shrinking of their exclusive sphere of influence. Thus the Roaring Twenties were finally ended from the cultural point of view.

The text of Amendment XXI stated:

Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

1955 - The beginning of the Montgomery bus boycott

We’ve already written in one of our previous historical articles on Rosa Parks’s refusal to leave the seat meant for “Whites-only.” Just few days after this event the bus boycott was supported by the vast majority of African Americans in Montgomery.

What the Montgomery bus boycott was all about, was a political and social protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system in Montgomery, Alabama. And, of course, it was a seminal event in the civil rights movement. The campaign lasted until December 20, 1956, when the federal ruling in Browder v. Gayle took effect, and led to a United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws that segregated buses unconstitutional. Many important figures in the civil rights movement took part in the boycott, including Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy. What a shift it made for the African American community!

1964 – Vietnam War: Captain Roger Donlon is awarded the first Medal of Honor of the war

The Medal of Honor is something that had usually been awarded for true heroism against real enemies, like in the cases of a number of American soldiers fighting against the Nazis and Militarist Japanese forces during the Second World War. Yet, since in the middle of the 1960’s America chose Vietnam as its enemy, and sent millions of soldiers (and dollars) there for a useless war that bombed that South-East Asian country into the stone age, the fact captain Roger Donlon was awarded a Medal of Honor for it – is, beyond any doubt, quite controversial.

As is described in the documents, in May of 1964, Donlon’s team was sent to Vietnam where they established an outpost at Nam Dong, about 15 miles from the border with Laos, which was a true act of military aggression.

Early on the morning of July 6, 1964, the base was attacked by a large force of Vietcong: those forces which were simply fighting for the independence of their country! Fortunately for the American side, under Captain Donlon’s leadership, the two-battalion attack was repelled, so Donlon received the Medal of Honor for his actions.

These are the most notable events in U.S. history that occurred on December 5th, at least in our view.

Author: USA Really