3.06.17 Day in History

Pixabay Image 1910710In Europe, today is the Day of the Righteous to commemorate those who have stood up to crimes against humanity despite the risks; anticipating papal protocols, two millennia and twenty-eight years back, Augustus first received the crown of Pontifex Maximus, so that the emperor became the de facto spiritual leader of all Romans; eleven hundred seventy-one years ago, in its ongoing conflict with Byzantium the Abbasid Caliphate carried out the beheading of forty-odd captives in its conquest of Amorium, who refused to convert to Islam; four hundred ninety-five years before today, Ferdinand Magellan’s ships arrived in Guam on their trek around the globe; half-a-decade and one year shy of four centuries before this moment, a baby boy came into the world who would grow up as writer and thinker and wit Cyrano de Bergerac; three and a half centuries and a year exactly prior to the present pass, the Royal Society issued its first installment of its Philosophical Transactions; two hundred ten years prior to this hour, the baby girl was born who would become acclaimed poet and writer Elizabeth Barrett Browning; a hundred ninety-six years back, James Monroe signed the Missouri Compromise, in which Maine’s free-status balanced Missouri’s slave designation and more, thereby delaying civil war over slavery for a generation; sixteen years thereafter and fifteen hundred miles Southwest, in 1836 in San Antonio, Mexican troops with a fifteen-to-one numerical superiority completed their siege of the Alamo and slaughtered all the defenders who fought there; one hundred fifty-nine years before the here-and-now, the U.S. Supreme Court routinely and systematically decided in Dred Scott v. Sandford to articulate what in many ways remains legal fact, if not legal doctrine, that Blacks are “so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect;” a dozen years later, in 1869, the Russian Chemical Society received notice of an actual natural law, when Dmitri Mendeleev presented the first Periodic Table of Elements; precisely thirteen decades and a year in the past, a male infant took his first breath on his way to a life as journalist and critic Ring Lardner; three years closer to the present, in 1888, novelist Louisa May Alcott drew her final breath; one hundred seventeen years ago, Bayer registered ‘Aspirin’ as a trademark for its anti-inflammatory derivative of willow bark; six years more down the road, in 1905, a baby male came crying into the world who would croon and write for decades as Texas Swing aficionado Bob Wills; seven years further on, in 1912, Italian forces followed up on their use of aircraft for reconnaissance by using dirigibles to drop bombs on Turkish troops; nine years thereafter, in 1921, the Portuguese Communist Party joined the Communist International; eighty-nine years back, a male child uttered its first cry in Colombia en route to life as Nobel Prize winning storyteller Gabriel Garcia Marquez; three years after to the day, in 1930, activists—with the support of the Soviet Comintern—first commemorated International Unemployment Day; eight years later on the dot, in 1938, a female child came along on her way to a life as feminist critic and thinker Ann Ferguson; six years later still, in 1943, Norman Rockwell’s Freedom From Want illustration graced the Saturday Evening Post as a part of the publication’s “Four Freedoms” series; sixty-nine years ago, Ho Chi Minh and French colonial leaders in Southeast Asia signed an agreement in which Vietnam’s status as a nation gained partial accord with modern practice; half-a-decade closer to now and half-a-world away, in 1951, the Rosenberg treason trial opened in New York; fifty-two years prior to this point in time’s flux, Muhammad Ali became the name of the redoubtable boxer Cassius Clay; four years subsequently across the North American continent, in 1968, another sign of shifting consciousness transpired as the East Los Angeles school walkouts began; five years more closer to the present, in 1973, Nobel winning author Pearl Buck died; three hundred sixty-five days after that juncture, in 1974, philosopher and ethicist Ernest Becker drew his final breath; another year hence in addition, in 1975, Iran and Iraq reached an accord to end the bloodletting in Mesopotamia in which the United States decidedly played ‘both ends against the middle,’ and thanks to Dick Gregory TV viewers first saw the Zapruder film that both showed the assassination of John Kennedy and powerfully countermanded the findings of the Warren Commission; thirty-five years back, Walter Cronkite gave his final summation of the day’s ‘news’ for CBS; five years hence, in 1986, acclaimed artist and thinker Georgia O’Keefe had her last day on Earth; eleven years ago, physicist, nuclear theorist, and Nobellist Hans Bethe died; four years beyond that point, photographer, philosopher, and theorist Jean Baudrillard met his end; seven more years closer to today, in 2014, the biographer and commentator on American theater, Martin Gottfried, breathed his last.