On this date in 271 AD the Edict of Thessalonica was issued by Emperor Theodosius and his two co-emperors, expressing their “desire” that all Roman citizens should convert to Nicene Christianity. A desire of the Emperor of course had the force of law and thus was not optional – and lead to the heresy hunting that ensued.
In 1812 Poet Lord Byron, who was not only a poet but an English Lord, gave his first speech in the House of Lords defending the Luddite violence against the industrial revolution in his own county of Nottinghamshire. He would later become actively involved in violence himself in the uprisings in Greece.
In 1900 the British Labour Party was formed, and then across the Pond as the Atlantic Ocean was once called in 1951 Congress and the country responded to the long tenure of FDR by passing and then ratifying the 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution, limiting the President to just 2 terms.
Constantine the Great, who converted to Christianity while Emperor and facilitated its adoption as the state religion was born in 272 AD. The American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow began to learn the language he would use to enthrall us in his poems in 1807. This date was also the birthday of Hugo Black (1886) Supreme Court Associate Justice, Nobel Prize-winning American author John Steinbeck(1902), and consumer gadfly and often political candidate Ralph Nader (1934).
It was also the birthday of American vocalist Marian Anderson(1897), who as an African American in 1939 was denied by the Daughters of the American Revolution from singing at Constitutional Hall. She received the assistance of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt to instead hold a concert at the Lincoln Memorial instead and it was an overwhelming success.
In 1892 French fashion designer Louis Vuitton walked of the runway. And Russian physiologist and physician Ivan Pavlov rang his last bell in 1936. Fred Rogers left our neighborhood in 2003 and columnist William F Buckley laid down his National Review pen in 2008. Celebrated American pianist Van Cliburn (winner of the Tschaikovsky competition in Moscow) ceased to tickle the ivories in 2013. And Leonard Nimoy began to explore another strange new world – the afterlife -in 2015.
Today is celebrated as Doctors Day in Vietnam, and around the globe as NGO Day, for all the great work performed in many places by Non-Governmental Organizations.