On this date, in 1973 the Roe v Wade decision came down from the Supreme Court not only legalizing nationwide access to abortion but recognizing the right to privacy, which affects many more issues. Unfortunately, that decision was overturned recently, so the fight continues. In 1890 the United Mine Workers Union was organized in Columbus, Ohio, which helped fight for workers’ rights in a particularly hazardous workplace. And in 1992 the avenues for female empowerment expanded with the swearing-in of the first female Secretary of State – Madeleine Albright. In 2006 Eva Morales became the first indigenous President of Bolivia – a first for Latin America.
There were military activities on this historical date- in 1506 the first contingent of 150 Swiss Guards arrived at the Vatican. In 1905 protestors were fired upon by Russian troops in St Petersburg, beginning the unsuccessful 1905 Russian revolt – dubbed Bloody Sunday. And in 1917 The US formally entered WWI.
In 1998 the notorious Unibomber, Ted Kaczynski, was sentenced to 4 life imprisonment terms. 1946 saw the creation of the predecessor of the CIA. And 1984 brought us the famous Apple Mac Superbowl ad.
A trio of British poets were born on this date – George Gordon, Lord Byron in 1788; Sir Walter Raleigh (also an explorer) in 1552; and 1573 Jon Donne who famously reminded us that “no man is an island”. We also welcomed in Francis Bacon, English statesman and philosopher in 1561, and Billy Kidd, English privateer and later pirate.
Over the years we welcomed in disrupters – Grigori Rasputin, Russian mystic known as the “mad monk” in 1869, and D.W.Griffith American filmmaker, and promoter of antisemitism and racial discord, through his film Birth of a Nation, in 1875. And we welcomed in those who united and/or promoted growth -like U Thant (1909), 3rd UN Secretary-General, George Balanchine (1904) dancer, choreographer, and director, founder of the New York City Ballet, and Fred Vinson (1891) 13th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Oddities include Wilbur Scoville (1865) American chemist and pharmacist, who invented the Scoville scale to tell us just how hot each chili pepper is, and Guy Fieri (1968) American chef, author, and television host, who shows us just how to use such peppers.
We said goodbye to standouts in several fields. From right field -just like Babe Ruth, we had the man who endured much to exceed his record – Hammerin’ Hank Aaron in 2021. In the literary field, we bid farewell to soldier and cartoonist Bill Maudlin, who actually saw combat in Italy in WWII and sketched it for us – in 2003, Ursula LeGuin, sci-fi and fantasy great (the Earthsea trilogy among others) in 2018. And we lost notable leaders like Shah Jahan (1666) creator of the Taj Mahal, LBJ – famous for both the Great Society programs and for the quicksand of Vietnam, and in 1901 Queen Victoria,, who at that time was the longest reigning British monarchy – who gave her name to a whole age of British history.
And who can forget Heath Ledger – 10 Things I Hate About You, Knight’s Tale, Brokeback Mountain, and tragically Dark Knight? It seems like just yesterday, but it was 2008.
And please remember that this is the Chinese (Lunar) New Year – who will let the bunnies out?:)
And on a personal note: on this date in 1946 my sister Barb was born. Happy Birthday, sis!