ON THIS DAY: November 20, 2018

November 20th is

Africa Industrialization Day *

Universal Children’s Day *

National Absurdity Day

Peanut Butter Fudge Day

Transgender Day of Remembrance *

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MORE! Tipu Sultan, Nadine Gordimer and Peter Cook, click

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WORLD FESTIVALS AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Islam – The Prophet’s Birthday: celebrated in Afghanistan, Alegeria, Bahrain, Bénin, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cocos Islands, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Gambia, Guinea, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mayotte, Morocco, Niger, North Cyprus, Oman, Philippines, Senégal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, West Bank and Yemen

Brazil – Dia da Consciencia Negra
(Black Consciousness Day)

Switzerland – Luzern:
Vekehrshaus Film Festival

Vietnam – Teachers’ Day

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On This Day in HISTORY

284 – Diocletian, a Roman cavalry commander, is proclaimed as emperor after the deaths of Emperor Carus and his son Numerian on campaign in Persia; the title is also claimed by the other son of Carus, Carinus, but Diocletian defeats him at the Battle of the Margus



762 – An-Shi Rebellion: After General An Lushan declared himself emperor of Northern China, trying to establish the Yan dynasty, in opposition to the Tang dynasty, the rebellion would last over seven years; on this day, the Tang forces, with the help of Turkic Huihe tribe, recapture the city of Luoyang from the rebels

1407 – A truce between John the Fearless Duke of Burgundy, and Louis of Valois Duke of Orléans, is agreed upon under the auspices of John Duke of Berry – but Orléans is assassinated three days later by Burgundy


Jean sans peur, ‘John the Fearless” Duke of Burgundy


1603 – Fasilides born, Emperor of Ethiopia (1632-1667), member of the Solomonic dynasty, noted for restoring the official status of the traditional Ethiopian Orthodox Church, sending for a new Abuna (Patriarch) from the Patriarch of Alexandria, restoring the ancient relationship that had been allowed to lapse. He confiscated the lands of the Jesuits at Dane kaz and elsewhere in the empire, relegating them to Fremona. When he heard that the Portuguese bombarded Mombasa, Fasilides assumed that Afonso Mendes, the Roman Catholic prelate, was behind the act, and banished the remaining Jesuits from his lands. Mendes and most of his followers made their way back to Goa, being robbed or imprisoned several times on the way. In 1665, he ordered the “Books of the Franks”—the remaining religious writings of the Catholics—burnt


Emperor Fasilides castle in Gondar Ethiopia


1695 – Zumbi, last leader of Quilombo dos Palmares, a fugitive community of escaped slaves in colonial Brazil (1605-1694), is killed by the forces of Portuguese Bandeirante (a Portuguese fortune hunter/settler, ‘those who carry the flag’) Domingos Jorge Velho

1750 – Tipu Sultan born Fateh Ali Sahab Tipu, ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore.  He introduced new coinage, a new Mauludi lunisolar calendar, and a new land revenue system which caused the growth of the Mysore silk industry, which, combined with other economic development programs, gave the kingdom some of the highest real wages and living standards in the late 19th century. He took an interest in the improvement of Mysorean rockets, and deployed them against advances of British forces and their allies during the Anglo-Mysore Wars. He is regarded as a pioneer in rocket artillery, and held off the British East India Company, Maranatha Confederacy, and the Nizam of Hyderabad, often fighting on four fronts, until the fourth Anglo-Mysore War, when a larger British force broke the walls of Srirangapatna, Mysore’s capital, and Tipu Sultan was killed defending his capital in 1799



1789 – New Jersey becomes the first U.S. state to ratify the Bill of Rights

1805 – Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, premieres in Vienna

1820 – An 80-ton sperm whale attacks the Nantucket whaling ship Essex, 2,000 miles off South America’s western coast – one of the inspirations for Melville’s Moby Dick

1845 – Battle of Vuelta de Obligado, a naval battle on the Paraná River, between the Argentine Confederation, led by Juan Manuel de Rosas, and a combined Anglo-French fleet, which was blockading the Rio de la Plata. The Europeans were opposed to de Rosas’ imposing tariffs on all trade passing through Buenos Aires, and took advantage of the development of steam-powered vessels with swallower drafts to bypass Buenos Aires, and enter the inland rivers from the La Plata estuary to trade directly with the cities on their shores in not only Argentina, but also Uruguay and Paraguay. Argentine general Lucio Mansilla set up three thick metal chains suspended from 24 boats completely across the river, ahead of the main Argentine redoubt on a cliff over the river bank at Vuelta de Obligado. Though the Argentines suffered grievous losses, and the Europeans broke through their defenses and won free passage, the Anglo-French ships were so damaged that they were stranded for 40 days making emergency repairs. Only 50 of the 92 merchantmen awaiting the outcome of the battle went upriver, the rest gave up and returned to Montevideo in Uruguay. The merchant ships which did go upriver were attacked on their way back, and six of the ships were lost. This proved that avoiding Buenos Aires was too risky, and caused Chile and Brazil to change their opposition, and support de Rosas. The French and British eventually lifted their blockade, ending their attempts to bypass Buenos Aires



1857 – Helena Westermarck born, Finnish artist and writer who was a Swedish speaker and worked for long periods in France; noted for her realistic style of portraiture. At the 1889 Exposition Universelle, she received honorable mention for her painting Strykerskor. But later she gave up painting and turned to writing as a critic and biographer, especially of notable Finnish women, regarded as significant contributions to Finnish culture and history


Helena Westermarck


1858 – Selma Lagerlöf born, Swedish author and educator; first woman Nobel Prize laureate in Literature (1909)



1869 – Zinaida Gippius born, Russian poet, novelist, playwright, editor and religious thinker, a major figure in the Russian symbolism movement; when writing critical essays early in her career, she often used male pseudonyms. While she and her husband, author Dmitry Merezhkovsky, were critical of Tsarism after the 1905 Revolution, and spent a lot of time out of Russia for the next several years, they denounced the 1917 October Revolution as a cultural disaster, and emigrated to Poland, then France, and later Italy. Her poetry is considered her greatest contribution

1881 – Arthur Marshall born, African American ragtime composer and player

1885 – Olive Wetzel Dennis is born, American engineer whose railway passenger travel design innovations included: seats that partially reclined; stain-resistant upholstery in passenger cars; larger dressing rooms for women, supplied with free paper towels, liquid soap and drinking cups; ceiling lights that could be dimmed at night; individual window vents (which she patented) to allow passengers to bring in fresh air while trapping dust; and, later, air conditioned compartments



1889 – Edwin Hubble born, American astronomer and cosmologist; discovered that what were thought to be “nebulae” were actually galaxies beyond the Milky Way; “Hubble’s law” implies that the Universe is expanding; the Hubble Space Telescope is named in his honor



1892 – James Collip born, Canadian biochemist, co-discoverer of insulin

1897 – Germaine Krull born in Posen, then Germany, now Poznań, Poland; Photographer, political activist, and hotelier. She was a pioneer in avant-garde photomontage. Born to a German family which moved frequently, she was schooled by her father, an engineer and free thinker, who let her dress as a boy when she was a child. She spent two or three years (1915-1917 or 18) at a photography school in Munich, then opened her own studio there, specializing in portraits. Her involvement in the Communist Party of Germany led to her arrest and then expulsion from Bavaria in 1920. She went to Russia, was imprisoned there as an “anti-Bolshevik” and expelled from there too. She resumed her photographic career in Berlin (1922-1925), moved to Amsterdam, then to Paris, where she entered a marriage of convenience with Dutch communist filmmaker Joris Ivens (1927-1943) to get a Dutch passport. She shot fashion photography, nudes and portraits, and published her best-known work, Métal, a portfolio of industrial landscapes, bridges and metal objects in 1928. After that, she worked mostly in photojournalism for French publications like Vu magazine until the mid-1930s, when she moved to Monte Carlo. In the 1940s, she traveled in Brazil, French Equatorial Africa and spent months in Algiers. After WWII, she traveled in Southeast Asia, where she became a part-owner of the Oriental Hotel in Bankok, Thailand, and stayed there until 1966. Next, while in Northern India, she converted to the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism. Her last major publication was a 1968 book, Tibetans in India, which included a portrait of the Dalai Lama. After a stroke, she ended up in a nursing home in Germany, where she died in 1985


Germaine Krull – self-portrait – Paris 1927


1900 – Helen L. Bradley born, British painter-illustrator of Edwardian scenes


Our Christmas Ducks, by Helen L. Bradley


1900 – Chester Gould born, American cartoonist, creator of Dick Tracy



1903 – Alexandra Danilova born in Russia, international prima ballerina and choreographer; later a noted faculty member at the School of American Ballet, the school of the New York City Ballet

1908 – Alistair Cooke is born in England, British-American journalist and broadcaster, Letter from America, host of PBS Masterpiece Theatre (1971-92)



1910 – Francisco Madero issues Plan de San Luis de Potosi, denouncing Mexican President Porfirio Diaz, and calling for a revolution to overthrow the government

1910 –‘Pauli’ Murray born, American civil and women’s rights activist, lawyer, author and the first African American woman ordained as an Episcopal priest, and among the first women to be ordained by that church. Orphaned very young in Baltimore, Maryland, she was raised by her maternal grandparents in Durham, North Carolina. After being denied entry to Columbia University because it was then a males-only school, at 16, she went to Hunter College in New York, graduating with a BA in English in 1933. During the Depression, she worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps at an all-woman camp founded at the urging of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, whom she met when she visited the camp, but Murray later clashed with the camp’s director after he found a Marxist book among her belongings, and he disapproved of her relationship with Peg Holmes, a white counselor. They both left the camp in 1935, and traveled the country on foot, hitching rides and hopping freight trains, before finding employment, Murray with the YWCA. In 1940, Murray was arrested for sitting in the whites-only section of a Virginia bus, a violation of Virginia’s segregation laws. After this incident, and her involvement with the socialist Workers’ Defense League, Murray enrolled in the law school at Howard University after being denied entry to the University of North Carolina because of her race. At Howard, her awareness of sexism increased, which she called “Jane Crow” (alluding to the Jim Crow laws which enforced racial segregation in the Southern U.S.) She graduated first in her class, but was denied entry to Harvard for post-graduate work because of her gender. In 1964, she delivered her speech “Jim Crow and Jane Crow” in Washington DC. She earned a master’s degree in law at University of California, Berkeley, and in 1965 she became the first African American to receive a Doctor of Juridical Science degree from Yale Law School. As a lawyer, Murray took on civil and women’s rights cases. Thurgood Marshall, then chief counsel for the NAACP, caller her 1950 book, States’ Laws on Race and Color, the “bible” of the civil rights movement.  Murray was appointed by President Kennedy to serve on the 1961-1963 Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt until her death in 1962, then run by Esther Peterson, noted activist for labor, women’s rights and the consumer movement. Murray was a co-founder of the National Organization for Women in 1966. In recognition of Murray’s seminal work on gender discrimination, Ruth Bader Ginsburg named her as co-author of a brief in the 1971 case, Reed v. Reed, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that administrators of estates cannot be named in a way which discriminates between sexes. The case involved the parents of a young man who had died, where their petitions to the Idaho Probate Court were decided in favor of the father only because the Idaho code specified that “males must be preferred to females” in appointing estate administrators. It was a landmark case because it was the first time that the Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause prohibited differential treatment based on sex. Murray taught law at Brandeis University from 1968 until 1973, when she became involved with Episcopal Church programs, and in 1977, at the age of 67, she was ordained as a priest, and became the first woman to celebrate the Eucharist at an Episcopal Church in North Carolina, then worked until 1984 in a parish in Washington DC. She died in 1985 of pancreatic cancer



1913 – Libertas Schulze-Boysen born in Paris to German parents; she joined the Nazi Party in 1933, but became disillusioned, and left the party early in 1937, using time needed for household duties and taking care of her husband as an excuse. With her husband, Harro Schulze-Boysen, she began sounding out like-minded people to form a secret resistance group. In 1940, while she was writing film reviews for Essener Zeitung, Germany’s largest regional newspaper, she was visited by a Soviet intelligence officer, and introduced him to her husband. In 1942, the Gestapo discovered their resistance group, and her husband was arrested. She destroyed all the illegal documents, including some photographic evidence of Nazi war crimes, that the group had collected, and warned their friends, but she was also arrested a month after her husband. While in prison, she wrote a number of remarkable letters and poems to her mother, including memories of her childhood. She and her husband were brought before the Reichskriegsgericht (Reich Court Martial). They were both charged with “preparation” to commit high treason, and he was additionally charged with wartime treason, military sabotage and espionage, while she was charged with helping the enemy and espionage. On December 19, 1942, they were both given death sentences, and executed on December 22, 1942. She had turned 29 a month earlier



1914 – Emilio Pucci born, Italian fashion designer popular in the 1960s and 70s; Italian Liberal Party politician



1917 – Ukraine is declared a republic

1918 – Corita Kent born, American Catholic nun who was a Pop Art silkscreen artist; designed the 1985 version of the U.S. Postal Service’s ‘Love’ stamp



1923 – Nadine Gordimer born, South African author and anti-apartheid activist; 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature; member of the banned African National Congress; her books were also banned by the white South African government; July’s People, The Conservationist, The Pickup



1925 – Robert F. Kennedy born, American lawyer and politician, U.S. Attorney General (1961-1964), U.S. senator (D-NY) 1965-1968

1925 – Maya Plisetskaya born, Soviet ballet dancer, choreographer and ballet director; as a child, she was taken in by her aunt in 1938, after her father was arrested, and then executed during the Great Purge, and her mother was arrested, sent to prison, and then to a concentration camp. She studied at the Bolshoi Ballet School beginning at age 9, and first performed with the Bolshoi Ballet at age 11. At age 18, she became a member of the Bolshoi Ballet company, quickly rising to be their leading soloist. When the Soviet Union began allowing tours outside the country, she went with the Bolshoi in 1959, and later was allowed to tour as a star on her own. Her technical skill and dramatic presence set a higher standard for other dancers, and she created a number of leading roles, including Phrygia in 1958’s Spartacus. She was proclaimed the prima ballerina assoluta of the Bolshoi Theatre in 1960. In 1971, she ventured into choreography, with her ballet, Anna Karenina, followed by The Seagull and others. She was ballet director of the Rome Opera (1983-1984), and artistic director of the Ballet Teatro Linco Nacional in Madrid (1987-1990). In 1996, she was named President of the Imperial Russian Ballet, and danced the Dying Swan, her signature role, at a gala in her honor. She died in 2015


Maya Plisetskaya as the Dying Swan


1926 – John Gardner born, English spy and thriller novelist

1929 – Penelope Hobhouse born, British garden designer, author and television presenter



1930 – Christine Arnothy born in Budapest, was a French author, who went through the 1945 siege of Budapest, and later fled Hungary with her family. Her teenage diary was her only remaining possession when they arrived in France. She wrote J’ai quinze ans et je ne veux pas mourir (I am Fifteen and I Do Not Want to Die) based on her diary, which was published in 1955. The sequel, It is Not So Easy to Live, chronicles the journey to Paris after escaping from Hungary. She also wrote novels and, under the pen name William Dickinson, detective stories

1936 – José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the Falange Española, the pro-Franco party in Spain, is executed by a Republican firing squad

1937 – Peter Cook born, British comedian



1937 – Viktoriya Tokareva born, Russian screenwriter and short story author

1938 – Gordon Lightfoot, Canadian singer-songwriter, is born, “If You Could Read My Mind” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” among others

1940 – Wendy Doniger born, American Indologist (Indian subcontinent studies), a scholar of Sanskrit and Indian textual traditions; author of Asceticism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Siva; Hindu Myths: A Sourcebook; The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology; Women, Androgynes, and Other Mythical Beasts; and The Rig Veda: An Anthology, 108 Hymns Translated from the Sanskrit. She is the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of History of Religions at the University of Chicago, where she has taught since 1978



1940 – Helma Sanders-Brahms born, German film producer-director, screenwriter, and feminist; noted for her influential films Unter dem Pflaster ist der Strand (Under the Pavement Lies the Strand), and Germany, Pale Mother

1941 – Haseena Moin born, Pakistani playwright and screenwriter, she is considered the nation’s best dramatist



1942 – Meredith Monk born, American composer, vocalist, director, filmmaker and choreographer; her music has been used in Coen Brothers films like The Big Lebowski

1945 – Nuremberg Trials against 24 accused Nazi war criminals begin at Nuremberg’s Palace of Justice

1945 – Deborah Eisenberg born, American short-story writer; professor of writing at Columbia University; honored with six O. Henry Awards (1986, 1995, 1997, 2002, 2006, and 2013), and the 2000 Rea Award for the Short Story; her latest short story collection, Twilight of the Superheroes, was published in 2006



1946 – Judy Woodruff born, American television journalist; anchor of PBS NewsHour; board member of the International Women’s Media Foundation, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations

1947 – Joe Walsh born, American singer-songwriter and guitarist; The Eagles

1950 – Jacqueline Gourault born, French MoDem politician; Minister of Territorial Cohesion and Relationships with territorial collectivities since 2018; Member of the Senate of France for Loir-et-Cher (2001-2017); Mayor of La Chaussée-Saint-Victor (1989-2014)



1954 – U.N. General Assembly first promotes observance of Universal Children’s Day *; the Declaration of the Rights of the Child adopted on this day in 1959, followed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989

1959 – Diane M. James born, British Independence Party politician; Member of the European Parliament for South East England since 2014; Leader of the UK Independence Party (2016); Deputy Co-Chair of the UK Independence Party (2016); UK Independence Party Home Affairs and Justice Spokesperson (2014-2016)

1962 – U.S. naval blockade of Cuba set up during the Cuban Missile Crisis is ended

1963 – Sir Timothy Gowers born, British mathematician, 1998 Fields Medal for research connecting functional analysis and combinatorics

1966 – The Beach Boys hit #1 on the U.K. singles chart with “Good Vibrations”



1966 – Jill Thompson born, American comic book writer-illustrator; noted for work on Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, and her own Scary Godmother series


Jill Thompson and her Scary Godmother


1968 – Robin Canup born, American astrophysicist, notable research on the giant impact hypothesis, and origins and planets; awarded 2003 Harold C. Urey Prize

1969 – Basing their claim on the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868) between the U.S. and the Lakota, which provided that all retired, abandoned or out-of-use federal land was to be returned to the Native people from whom it was taken, Red Power activists seize control of Alcatraz Island, closed since March 1963, until they are ousted by the U.S. Government in June 1971

1974 – U.S. Department of Justice files its final anti-trust suit against AT&T Corporation, which later leads to the breakup of AT&T and its Bell System

1977 – President Anwar Sadat of Egypt addresses the Israeli parliament

1979 – The Kaaba, Islam’s most sacred mosque, at the center of Al Kaaba Al Musharrafah in Mecca is seized, along with several thousand hostages, by Sunni Muslims during the pilgrimage. The Saudi government gets help from Pakistani special forces in putting down the uprising



1985 – Microsoft Windows 1.0 is released

1989 – U.N. General Assembly declares the first Africa Industrialization Day *



1992 – A fire at Britain’s Windsor Castle causes over ₤50 million in damage



1993 – U.S. Senate Ethics Committee issues a reprimand to Senator Alan Cranston (D-CA) for improper conduct after Lincoln Savings executive Charles Keating contributes $850,000 to voter registration groups affiliated with the senator

1998 – A court in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan declares Osama bin Laden “a man without a sin” in regard to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania

1999 – Gwendolyn Ann Smith promotes the first Transgender Day of Remembrance * to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman killed in 1998 – vigils and other events now promoted by GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)



2001 – In Washington, D.C., George W. Bush dedicates the United States Department of Justice headquarters building as the Robert F. Kennedy Justice Building, honoring the late Robert F. Kennedy on what would have been his 76th birthday

2007 – The Eagles album Long Road Out of Eden was #1 on the U.S. album chart

2009 – The Savera Society for Human Initiatives is founded in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India, an NGO accredited with the UN Economic and Social Council to assist vulnerable families and children, and sponsor awareness programs for environmental protection, ending child labor, promoting literacy, improving health, youth motivation, social justice and consumer fights



2015 – The Grateful Dead concert video Fare Thee Well is released in the U.S.


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About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 45 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband and a bewildered Border Collie.
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