There were two instances of religiously motivated violence and murder that happened on this date in history. In 1556 13 Protestants in Stratford England were executed on the orders of Queen Mary I (bloody Mary) who was Catholic. Her sister Elizabeth I later expressed similar but reversed persecution against Catholics, but never received the same notoriety. And that is a big reason that we have the 1st amendment to the US Constitution -which start out prohibiting both the establishment of religion and guaranteeing the free exercise of religion. To protect the church from the state and the state from the church.

And then in the US Mormon church founder Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were murdered by a mob at the Carthage, Illinois jail in 1844, forcing his followers to flee – ultimately to Utah.

This was also the date of the first run of the B&O (Baltimore and Ohio) railroad (remember that from Monopoly?) from DC to New York City in 1895 – the first US passenger train to use electric locomotives (instead of steam).

This was the birthdate of Helen Keller (1880), who though blind and deaf was a fierce activist. Today also saw the birth of Texas billionaire and 1992 independent presidential candidate Ross Perot (1930), former Arizona Governor and Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt (1938), fashion designer Vera Wang (1949), and Star Trek reboot and Lost (and other productions) creator J J Abrams (1966).

This date saw the passing of actor Jack Lemmon (2001) and the co-founder of Radcliff College, Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz (1907).

In the US this is Helen Keller Day and in Canada, it is Canadian Multiculturism Day.