5.24.2017 Day in History

CC BY-NC by Nick in exsilio
CC BY-NC by Nick in exsilio

Just three years shy of eight centuries ago, as if the past were truly merely prologue, the Fifth Crusade left its occupation headquarters in Acre, now in Syria, for an invasion of Egypt; three and a quarter centuries further along the temporal arc, in 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus, a monumental scientist and typically ‘modern’ gadfly of reactionary views of the world, breathed his last; in another portent of the current context, fifty-two years subsequently, in 1595, Leiden University’s library issued the first printed catalog of such an institution’s holdings; a dozen years onward from that juncture, in 1607, across the wide Atlantic, plus-or-minus one hundred colonists left their conveyance from England behind to set foot in what they would call Jamestown, Virginia; just short of two decades past that point, in 1626, the Dutchman Peter Minuit ‘bought’ Manhattan from its indigenous occupants for a ‘mess of pottage,’ or beads, as the case may be; six decades precisely henceforth, in 1686, a little baby boy bounced into the world who would grow to become the inventor and thinker Daniel Fahrenheit; a thousand ninety-six days past that conjunction, in 1689, across the English Channel, the United Kingdom Parliament passed the Acts of Toleration for Protestants only, consciously excluding members of the Catholic faith from such protection; seven times seven years later, in 1738, John Wesley underwent a conversion experience that came to mark the initiation of the Methodist faith; six decades onward from that intersection in space and time, in 1798, also in the British Isles, United Irishmen rebels rose against English rule—an uprising that blended issues of religion, revolution, nationality, and ant–colonialism and that led to barbarous repression by the crown’s forces—in an outburst of rebellion that continued till the early Autumn; a decade and a half thereafter, roughly five thousand miles Southwest in 1813, Simon Bolivar led llama chile andesthe troops that started the invasion of Venezuela and sounded the death knell of Spanish colonialism in South America; just over three decades further in the direction of today, in 1844, North in Washington, D.C., Samuel Morse inaugurated an entirely different sort of revolution when he sent the first long-distance telegraphic communication, pronouncing via code “What God hath wrought” to an associate in Maryland; half a dozen years afterward, in 1850, a baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as the spokesman of a ‘New South’ after the civil war, Henry Grady; an additional six years forward along time’s arc, in 1856, nearly halfway across the continent in the Kansas Territory, John Brown led a small force that captured and summarily executed pro-slavery Whites in retaliation for the ‘sacking’ of Lawrence by Southern forces, whose members had been bragging of their unswerving intention to make Kansas a slave State; a hundred thirty-eight years back, the fierce thinker and journalist and publisher and activist, William Lloyd Garrison, took a final breath on his exit from this realm; four years forward on the march to today, in 1883,workers completed and opened for actual traffic the Brooklyn Bridge that had required fourteen years to finish and entailed the loss of nearly thirty laborers’ lives in the process; seventeen years yet nearer to now, in 1900, South and East across the Atlantic six thousand miles or so, England’s imperial imprimatur asserted sovereignty over the Boer Orange Free State; five years hence, in 1905, many thousands of miles Northward, a male infant first cried out who would mature as Mikhail Sholokhov, the masterful novelist and storyteller, whom the Nobel Committee

By Emmanuel Huybrechts from Laval, Canada
By Emmanuel Huybrechts from Laval, Canada

would honor with its literary laurels; sixteen years yet later on, in 1921, the fraudulent trial of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti commenced in Massachusetts; precisely nineteen years past that instant, in 1940, a Soviet assassin unsuccessfully sought to murder Leon Trotsky in Mexico, and the male child shouted out, back in the U.S.S.R., en route to a life as the critic and writer and expatriate to the United States, Joseph Brodsky, who would win the Nobel Prize in literature for his work; three hundred sixty-five days subsequent to that passage, in 1945, two American baby boys entered our midst in standard fashion who would go on to fame and fortune as the rocking writer of popular lyrics, Bob Dylan, and the insightful critic of political theory and cognitive science, George Lackoff; seven years even closer to the current context, in 1948, across the Atlantic and through much of the Mediterranean, Egyptian forces succeeded in capturing an early Kibbutz, a tactical victory that permitted an overwhelming Israeli counterstrike only days later; a year past that marking of carnage, in 1949, would-be assassins shot and nearly killed labor leader Victor Reuther outside his home in Detroit, one of multiple attacks on him and his brother over the years; six years along the temporal arc, in 1955, the girl child bounded into our midst who would mature as the estimableguitar music art performancesinger-songwriter and child of ‘musical royalty,’ Roseanne Cash; one year more in the direction of the present instant, in 1956, halfway round the world in Burma, celebrants marked the 2,500thanniversary of Buddha’s birth at the end of the Sixth Buddhist Council, and in Switzerland, the first ever Eurovision Song Contest took place, with its own measure of controversy as the host country’s entry won when their judges were able to vote twice, once for the Swiss and once for the absent Luxembourg arbiter; seven hundred thirty days farther down the pike, in 1958, an early monopoly media merger transpired when the United Press and International News Service syndicates joined to form United Press International; a mere year after that, in 1959, John Foster Dulles met his end; two years still later, in 1961, Southern Freedom Riders gave them a story to write about when they found themselves under arrest for the crime of riding busses while Black and White together; a mere year after that exact point in time, in 1962, Scott Carpenter became the second American to orbit the Earth as part of the Mercury Space Program; another year onward toward the here and now, in 1963, U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy met with prominent Black cultural workers, including James Baldwin, and some actual civil rights activists, an awkward meeting that generally confirmed establishment ignorance about the depth of bigotry, on the one hand, and commitment to equality, on the other hand, that were abroad in the land at that moment in time; eight years still nearer to now, in 1971, soldiers placed a controversial ad supporting the Concerned Officers Movement in an antiwar newspaper; a couple of years thereafter, in a 1973 confirmation of these deep-seated issues, prisoners at the Lucasville, Ohio Maximum Security

Bob Jagendorf
Bob Jagendorf

Federal Penitentiary went on strike against the human rights violations that were common at the facility; fifteen years additional in the direction of today, in 1988, England passed a local governments bill that made illegal the promotion by authorities of homosexuality; two years hence, in 1990, more or less sixty-five hundred miles West in Oakland, California, provocateurs detonated bombs that nearly killed Earth First! activists, including the estimable Judi Bari; a further three hundred sixty-five days along time’s flowing current, in 1991, the iconic feminist film and celebration of resistance to rape, Thelma and Louise, premiered in America; three years afterward, in 1994, a Federal Court sentenced World Trade Center bombers to 240 years apiece for their role in terror attacks the year before; a different sort of conflict unfolded one year later on the dot, in 1995, when plus or minus 2,300 rubber-workers returned to their jobs without a contract after a lengthy strike; a year closer to now, in 1996, New Yorker writer Joseph Mitchell wrote his last ouvre; four years yet more in proximity to the present day, in 2000, Israel withdrew its troops from Lebanon who had held stations there since 1978; two years exactly closer to now, in 2002, the United States and Russia reached an accord on the Moscow Treaty that called for sharp reductions in thermonuclear weapons of mass destruction, a signing event that at least in theory made mass collective suicide slightly less likely; eleven years subsequently, in 2013, also in Moscow, the accomplished and beloved filmmaker, Pyotr Todorovsky, lived out his final scene.