And now for the history of the last day of April. The Edict of Nantes was issued by King Henry IV of France in 1598 allowing freedom of religion to the Huguenots, the Protestant minority in Catholic France. George Washington took the oath of office in 1798 to become the first US President. The US bought the territory of Louisiana from France for $15 million to double the size of the US in 1803. And in 1885 New York Governor David B Hill signed legislation to preserve Niagara Falls from industrial or commercial use.
Also on the 30th of April Albert Einstein completed his doctoral thesis (1905) and the Organization of American States was established in Bogota Columbia (1948).
Notables born on April 30th include American conductor Robert Shaw (1916); American sci fi writer and screenwriter Larry Niven (1938); American Olympic Gold Medal winner (5 times) Don Schollander (1946); Canadian economist and 22nd Prime Minister Stephen Harper (1959); and Israeli actress Gal Gadot (1985, Wonder Woman).
We bid farewell to the legendary and literary railroad engineer Casey Jones in 1900, as well as Russian dancer George Balanchine (1983); Italian spaghetti westerns producer Sergio Leone (1989); American priest and Vietnam War activist Daniel Berrigan (2016); and English Wookie Peter Mayhew (2019).
We also lost a couple of notable, though not always remembered, activists. Emily Stone was the second female physician to earn a medical license in Canada and the first to practice medicine. She was an advocate for women’s rights and suffrage in Canada, helping to found the women’s suffrage movement and establish the first women’s medical college in her native land. She passed away on April 30th in 1903.
Bessie Coleman was born in a family of sharecroppers but was always fascinated with flying. She heard stories from returning WWI pilots and learned all she could. There were no opportunities for her to get training in the US to fly, due to discrimination based on her being a woman of mixed African American and Native American ancestry. So she raised funds to go to France where she learned to fly and got her pilot’s license. She supported her flying by doing barnstorming shows and unfortunately was killed in one in 1926. She made a name for herself in the African American community and her funeral in Chicago was attended by 10,000 mourners.
UNESCO designated this date as International Jazz Day
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