ON THIS DAY: February 8, 2019

February 8th is

Boy Scouts Day *

Kite Flying Day

Molasses Bar Day

Opera Day *

Potato Lover’s Day

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MORE! Kate Chopin, Harry McAlpin and Oprah Winfrey, click

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WORLD FESTIVALS AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Congo Republic – Youth Day

India, Nepal & Bangladesh –
Propose Day (roses given with proposal)

Slovenia – Prešeren’s Day *
(Slovenian Culture Day)

South Africa – Adelaide:
St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival

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On This Day in HISTORY

421 – Flavius Constantius is proclaimed Constantius III, co-Emperor of the Western Roman Empire with Emperor Honorius, but he dies in September 421. When Honorius dies in 423, Galla Placidia, Constantius’ widow and the sister of Honorius, becomes regent for her four-year-old son, Valentinian III, until he reaches his majority in 437

1237 – The Russian city of Vladimir-on-Klyazma, originally a frontier outpost, but now the center of the Vladimir-Suzdal Principality, is in an ambitious building boom, but the Mongol-Tartars of the Golden Hoarde under Batu Khan overrun the city after an extended siege; the family of Grand Prince Yuri II is burned to death in the church where they sought refuge; only three of the major building projects survived, including the White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal, now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site



1250 – Seventh Crusade, Battle of Al Mansurah, in Egypt: Ayyubid dynasty forces, under Emir Fakhr-ad-Din Yusuf, win a decisive victory over Crusaders led by King Louis IX of France, after the Crusaders attack the royal palace in Al Mansurah. Louis IX is captured, and had to be ransomed for 400,000 livres tournois, which was over 30% of France’s annual revenue at the time

1575 – Leiden University, the oldest university in the Netherlands, is founded by William, Prince of Orange; at the time, the only university in Holland was under the control of Spain, so the motto chosen for the new school, Libertatis Praesidium (bastion of freedom) had special meaning for the Dutch; there are an impressive 16 Nobel Laureates among Leiden’s alumni



1587 – Mary Queen of Scots executed, after the Babington Plot to murder her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, is exposed

1590 – Luis de Carvajal, governor of the Spanish province of Nuevo León in Mexico, accused of capturing and selling Indians as slaves and, his descent from Portuguese  conversos being exposed, is tortured by the Spanish Inquisition, and confesses that his  sister secretly still practices Judaism

1601 – Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, rebels against Queen Elizabeth I but the revolt is quickly crushed



1693 – The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, is granted a charter by King William III and Queen Mary II

1700 – Daniel Bernoulli born, Swiss mathematician and physicist; noted for Bernoulli’s Principle on the conservation of energy



1720 – Emperor Sakuramachi born as Akihito; he became Imperial Prince Teruhito in 1728, then ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne in 1735 when his father abdicated, and reigned until 1747, when Sakuramachi also abdicated, and was succeeded by his firstborn son, Emperor Momozono



1735 – Opera Day * – A performance of Flora is the first known opera to be seen by an American audience, in Charleston SC

1762 – Emperor Gia Long, founder of the Nguyễn dynasty, the last dynasty of Vietnam; ruling from 1802-1820, he unified what is now modern Vietnam

1795 – Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge born, German analytical chemist; he identified the pupil-dilating properties of belladonna, was the first to identify caffeine in coffee, and developed a process to get sugar from beet juice

1817 – Grand Marshal Juan Gregorio de Las Heras leads an army across the Andes to join San Martín and liberate Chile from Spain

1819 – John Ruskin born, English author, Art critic, and social thinker



1820 – William Tecumseh Sherman born, American Union general in the Civil War

1828 – Jules Verne born, French writer, pioneer in science fiction



1837 – Richard Johnson becomes the only Vice President of the United States chosen by the U.S. Senate under the provisions of the 12th Amendment, after falling one short of the electoral votes needed. When Virginia delegates deadlock the Electoral College by abstaining, the decision goes to the Senate. However, even his military exploits during the War of 1812 were negated by his relationship with Julia Chinn, an octoroon slave. Unlike other leaders who had African-American mistresses but never mentioned them, Johnson openly treated Chinn as his common law wife, and when he gave his surname to their two daughters, the scandal cost him re-nomination as Van Buren’s running mate in 1840

1849 – France Prešeren, Slovenia’s national poet, dies; author of Slovenia’s national anthem; his birthday is now commemorated as Prešeren’s Day * the national cultural holiday of Slovenia



1850 – Kate Chopin born, American author; her pioneering novel The Awakening took women’s conflicts between marriage-motherhood and their own desires seriously



1865 – Delaware refuses to ratify the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which abolishes Slavery, finally ratifying it along with the 14th and 15th Amendments on February 12, 1901

1865 – Martin Robison Delany becomes the first black major in the U.S. Army



1879 – Sandford Fleming first proposes adoption of Universal Standard Time at a meeting of the Royal Canadian Institute

1880 – Franz Marc born, German painter, a key figure in German Expressionism



1881 – First Anglo-Boer War, Battle of Ingogo: In what is now Kwa-Zulu-Natal province, South Africa, Boer forces under General Nicolaas Smit, outnumbered 3 to 1, defeat British forces led by Major-General George Pomeroy Colley in a fierce fight lasting all afternoon during a heavy thunderstorm. After nightfall, the British withdraw, having suffered nearly 100 dead and wounded, compared to 8 Boer dead

1885 – The first U.S. government-approved Japanese immigrants arrive in Hawaii

1886 – Wilhelm Koppers born, cultural anthropologist; noted for human society origin theories derived from his studies of hunter-gatherer tribes

1887 – The Dawes General Allotment Act authorizes the U.S. President to survey Native American tribal land and divide it into allotments for individual Indians; those who accepted allotments and lived separately from their tribe would be granted U.S. citizenship; the act allows the government to classify as “excess” those Indian reservation lands remaining after allotments, and to sell those lands on the open market, allowing purchase and settlement by non-Native Americans

1894 – The Enforcement Act of 1870,  which prohibited discrimination by state officials in voter registration on the basis of race, color, or previous condition of servitude, establishing penalties for interfering with a person’s right to vote, and also gave federal courts and the President enforcement powers, is repealed, making it easier to disenfranchise black men

1895 – Tchaikovsky/Petipa’s ballet Swan Lake premieres in St. Petersburg


Production of Swan Lake at St. Petersburg with reproductions of
the original sets and costumes from its premiere performance


1898 – John Sherman patents machine to fold and seal envelopes

1899 – Lonnie Johnson born, American blues-jazz songwriter, jazz guitar pioneer



1904 – Battle of Port Arthur: A surprise torpedo attack by the Japanese at Port Arthur, China starts the Russo-Japanese War

1904 – Dutch Colonial troops of General van Daalen’s Marechaussee regiment launch a military campaign employing ‘scorched earth’ tactics against the Achehnese and Bataks people, committing genocide with few casualties among the Dutch troops, consolidating Dutch power in the East Indies

1906 – Chester Carlson born, American physicist-inventor of  Xerography, precursor to the invention of the photocopier

1910 – Boy Scouts Day * – Boy Scouts of America incorporated by William Boyce

1911 – Elizabeth Bishop born, American poet; Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1949 to 1950, 1956 Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry



1913 – Danai Stratigopoulou born, Greek writer, academic and singer; though born in Athens, she grew up in Paris and in Marseilles, where she studied political science, orthophony (voice training in speaking and enunciation) and phonetics, while pursuing a singing career; noted for her interpretations of Greek folk and popular songs. During WWII, she fought with the anti-Fascist/Nazi resistance. After the war, she taught phonetics and Greek folklore at the University of Santiago de Chile, and became friends with Pablo Neruda. She became an important translator of Neruda’s Spanish poetry into Greek, and was decorated by the Chilean Republic for her work



1914 – Bill Finger born, American comic book writer, co-creator of Batman

1915 – D. W. Griffith’s biased silent film, The Birth of a Nation, originally called The Clansman,  premieres in Los Angeles, with some of the black characters portrayed by white men wearing blackface makeup



1918 – The weekly U.S. Army newspaper Stars & Stripes begins publication

1920 – Swiss men vote against women having the right to vote

1921 – Nexhmije Hoxha born to Albanian parents in what is now the Republic of Macedonia. She joined the Albanian Communist Party in 1941, and was elected in 1942 to the General Council of the Albanian National Liberation Movement. She fought in the 1st Division of the National Liberation Army (1943-1945), and was elected in 1943 to the Secretariat of the Albanian Women’s League, then served as its chair (1946-1952). She married Albanian Prime Minister and Communist Party leader Enver Hoxha after WWII, but was one of the few spouses of a Communist Party boss to have power in her own right. In 1966, she became director of the Institute of Marxist–Leninist Studies, and in 1985, she was elected as Chair of the Democratic Front, serving until 1990



1922 – U. S. President Harding introduces the first radio set in the White House

1924 – The first state execution in the U. S.  by gas chamber takes place in Nevada

1926 – Sean O’Casey’s play Plough & Stars opens at Abbey Theater Dublin

1930 – Benny Mereoff hits #1 with his version of “Happy Days Are Here Again”

1931 – James Dean born, iconic American film star, noted for Rebel Without a Cause and East of Eden. He was killed in a car crash in 1955 at age 24

1932 – John Williams born, American composer and conductor; noted for film scores  Schindler’s List, and the Harry Potter movies

1940 – Sophie Lihau-Kanza born, Congolese sociologist and public servant; she was first Congolese woman to receive a secondary education, first to graduate from university (earning a degree in sociology from the University of Geneva), then earned an master’s and PhD in sociology in 1976, both from Harvard University. In 1966, she became the first woman to hold government office in the Democratic Republic of the Congo when she was appointed as Minister of Social Affairs, then served as Minister for Community Development and Minister for Work, Social Welfare and Habitat. Kanza was a member of the Board of Trustees of the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR, 1973-1977), Deputy Assistant Director-General at UNESCO (1981-1985), and Head of Mission to the Director-General of UNESCO (1985-1988). After a 1998 car accident in Paris left her a paraplegic, Kanza left UNESCO to become an advocate for the disabled. She died of cardiac arrest in 1999



1944 – Harry S. McAlpin, former war correspondent, now a reporter for the National Negro Press Association and the Atlanta Daily World, becomes the first African American to be admitted to a White House Press Conference; after the conference, President Franklin Roosevelt shakes his hand and says, “Harry, I’m glad you are here.”



1946 – The first portion of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, the first serious challenge to the popularity of the Authorized King James Version, is published

1948 – The formal creation of the Korean People’s Army of North Korea is announced.

1949 – Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary, outspoken activist against political oppression and lack of religious freedom under the Communist regime, is sentenced to life imprisonment for treason; despite international outcry, the Cardinal remained in prison until 1956, when the short-lived reformist government took over; as Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest, Mindszenty took refuge in the U.S. embassy, staying inside the embassy grounds until 1971 when he was recalled by the Vatican and settled in Vienna, where he remained in exile until his death in 1975



1950 – The Stasi is established, East Germany’s effective and oppressive secret police/intelligence agency

1955 – John Grisham born, American attorney-turned-best-selling author



1957 – Karine Chemla born, French historian and sinologist; senior fellow at the New York University Institute for the Study of the Ancient World; noted for research on Chinese mathematics and 19th century French geometry



1958 – South Rhodesia Premier Garfield Todd (1953-1958) ousted from power in the White minority regime for proposing legislation which would increase the number of Black Rhodesians eligible to vote. Edgar Whitehead becomes the new premier


Garfield Todd

1958 – Marina Silva born, Brazilian politician and environmentalist; Spokesperson of Sustainability Network since 2015; Senator from Acre (2008-2011); Minister of the Environment (2003-2008)



1962 – Charonne massacre: 9 peaceful trade unionists demonstrating against the OAS are killed by French police, directed by Nazi collaborator Maurice Papon, then chief of the Paris Prefecture of Police. The previous October, police broke up another peaceful demonstration of Algerian French citizens, by shooting some of them and shoving them into the Siene to drown, while detaining others who were beaten and tortured by the Prefecture’s infamous ‘welcoming committee’

1963 – Travel, financial and commercial transactions by United States citizens to Cuba are made illegal by the John F. Kennedy administration

1964 – Representative Martha Griffiths (Democrat-Michigan) makes an address to the House which helps sway votes to add civil rights protection for women to the 1964 Civil Rights Act



1965 – The Supremes release “Stop In the Name of Love”



1968 – Black students at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, after protesting racial segregation at the town’s only bowling alley, are attacked on campus by South Carolina Highway Patrolmen; three students are killed and twenty-seven are injured

1969 – Mary Robinette Kowal born, prolific American science fiction/ fantasy author, and puppeteer; noted for Shades of Milk and Honey, “Evil Robot Monkey” (nominated for a 2009 Hugo Award for Best Short Story), “For Want of a Nail” and “The Lady Astronaut of Mars,” winner of the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Novelette. She also won the 2008 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer



1971 – The NASDAQ stock market index opens for the first time

1971 – South Vietnamese ground troops launch an incursion into the neighboring country of Laos to cut off the Ho Chi Minh trail and stop communist infiltration

1974 – After 84 days in space, the crew of Skylab 4, the last crew to visit American space station Skylab, come back to Earth

1976 – Taxi Driver, directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro and Jodie Foster, is released

1978 – Proceedings of the United States Senate are broadcast on radio for the first time

1983 – The Melbourne dust storm hits Australia’s second largest city during the worst drought on record, on a day of severe weather conditions; a 320 metres (1,050 ft) deep dust cloud envelops the city, turning day to night

1984 – The Olympic Winter Games open in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia

1986 – Oprah Winfrey becomes the first African American woman to host a nationally syndicated talk show



1993 – General Motors sues NBC after Dateline NBC allegedly rigs two crashes to demonstrate that some GM pickups can easily catch fire if hit in certain places. NBC settles the lawsuit the next day

1996 – The U.S. Congress passes the Communications Decency Act, called by some legislators the “Great Internet Sex Panic Act of 1995”; the first notable attempt to regulate pornography on the Internet; its anti-indecency provisions are struck down in 1997 by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the landmark cyberlaw case Reno v ACLU

2002 – The Winter Olympics open in Salt Lake City Utah

2010 – A freak storm in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan triggers a series of at least 36 avalanches, burying over two miles of road, killing at least 172 people and trapping over 2,000 travelers

2013 – A blizzard disrupts transportation and leaves hundreds of thousands of people without electricity in the Northeastern United States and parts of Canada

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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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