ON THIS DAY: February 16, 2019

February 16th is

Do a Grouch a Favor Day

Kyoto Protocol Day *

National Almond Day

National Innovation Day

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MORE! Isaiah Mays, Bessie Smith and Otis Blackwell, click

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WORLD FESTIVALS AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Japan – Okayama: Saidai-ji Eyo Hadaka
Matsuri (Shinto – Godly Man Ritual)

Lithuania – Independence Day

North Korea – Day of the Shining Star
(Kim Jong-il birthday anniversary)

Uganda – Archbishop Janani Luwum
Memorial Day (Leading critic of Idi Amin, murdered)

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On This Day in HISTORY

116 – Emperor Trajan sends laureatae (laurel letters, the laurel being the symbol of victory) to the Senate in Rome as conqueror of Parthia, declaring the war over and bemoaning being too old to go further and repeat the conquests of Alexander the Great



1249 – Dominican missionary and diplomat André de Longjumeau is sent by Louis IX of France as his ambassador to Güyük Khan of the Mongol Empire; Longjumeau speaks Arabic and “Chaldean” (probably either Syriac or Persian) and had previously been to the Mongols as the Pope’s emissary

1471 – Krishnadevaraya born, Emperor (1509-1529) of the Vijayanagara Empire, based in the Deccan Plateau of southern India. He was the third emperor of the Tuluca Dynasty, and one of the most powerful Hindu rules in India



1709 – Charles Avison born, English composer, author of Essay on Musical Expression, the first music criticism published in English

1740 – Giambattista Bodoni born, Italian printer, designer of typefaces



1741 – Benjamin Franklin publishes The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle 

1804 – Lt. Stephen Decatur leads a successful raid into Tripoli harbor to burn the U.S. Navy frigate Philadelphia, which had fallen into the hands of pirates

1831 – Nikolay Semyonovich Leskov born, Russian novelist and short-story writer

1838 – Henry Brooks Adams born, American historian, author of The History of the United States of America (1801 to 1817)



1843 – Henry M. Leland born, American inventor, engineer and automotive entrepreneur; founder of American luxury automotive marques, Cadillac and Lincoln

1852 – Studebaker Brothers wagon company, which will become the automobile manufacturer, is established

1852 – William Sanders Scarborough born enslaved, one of the first African American classical scholars and author of First Lessons in Greek and Birds of Aristophanes; freed after the Civil War, he earned a bachelor’s degree, with honors, in classics in 1875 and his Master of Arts degree from Oberlin College; classics professor at Wilberforce University (1877-1908); first black member of the Modern Language Association



1857 – The National Deaf Mute College is incorporated in Washington DC, the first school in the world for advanced education of the deaf; renamed Gallaudet College

1858 – William Vandenburg and James Harvey patent the first ironing board

1858 – Isaiah Mays born as a slave; while serving as a corporal in Company B of the 24th Infantry Regiment, he fought robbers trying to steal the company’s payroll, then walked and crawled two miles to a ranch to get help, and was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1890; he left the army in 1893; his application in 1922 for a federal pension was denied, and he died penniless in 1925; in 2009, his remains were disinterred, cremated, and interred in an urn at Arlington National Cemetery



1868 – The NYC group, The Jolly Corks, changes its name to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE)

1874 – The Silver Dollar becomes legal US tender

1878 – Pamela Colman Smith born, British artist and illustrator, best known for Waite-Smith deck of tarot cards



1881 – The Canadian Pacific Railway is incorporated by Act of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa

1883 – The Ladies Home Journal begins publication

1893 – Katharine Cornell born, American stage actress, writer, theater owner and producer, “First Lady of the American Theatre,” one of the first winners of the Tony Award, given by the American Theatre Wing; among first  American Theatre Hall of Fame inductees (opened in 1972)



1900 – Mary Elizabeth Switzer, American public administrator and social reformer, advocate for increasing government’s role in assisting people with disabilities; worked on the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1954, a major expansion of federal funding and services for the physically and mentally disabled, and also authorized grants to fund research and rehabilitation programs



1906 – Vera Menchik born, Russian-Czechoslovak-British chess player; the first, and longest reigning, Women’s World Chess Champion, from 1927 to 1944



1909 – Richard McDonald born, McDonald’s brother, the ‘golden arches’ designer

1914 – The first airplane flight between Los Angeles and San Francisco

1918 – Lithuania proclaims its independence from the Russian Empire

1920 – Anna Mae Hays born, chief of U.S. Army Nurse Corps, promoted on the same day as Elizabeth Hoisington, the first two women Brigadier Generals in the U.S. Military


Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hoisington

1923 – Howard Carter unseals the burial chamber of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen


Howard Carter, Tutankhamen, and an unnamed assistant

1923 – Bessie Smith makes her first recording, “Down Hearted Blues” which sells 800,000 copies for Columbia Records



1931 – Otis Blackwell born, African American hall of fame songwriter-singer and pianist; composed over 1,000 songs, including “Fever” “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Great Balls of Fire”



1932 – James E. Markham receives the first patent for a fruit tree, for a peach tree with fruit which ripens later than other varieties

1932 – Ahmad Tejan Kabbah born, Sierra Leone People’s Party politician, economist, attorney and statesman; after working for almost 20 years for the UN Development Programme (UNDP), at New York City headquarters, handling operations in  Lesotho, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, and as Director of Personnel and then as Director of the Division of Administration and Management, he returned to Sierra Leone in 1992, chairing the National Advisory Council set up after the military coup to facilitate restoring constitutional government. By 1996, he was leader of the Sierra Leone’s People’s Party (1996-2005), and served as President of Sierra Leone (1996-1997 and 1998-2007). During his presidency, he was a major figure in bringing an end to the civil war (1991-2002), regaining power after being ousted by the Revolutionary United Front from May 1997 to March 1998, and opening direct negotiations with the RUF rebels in 2000, signing cease fire agreements and peace accords, while campaigning for assistance from the UN, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, and the British to restore order and peace



1937 – Research chemist Wallace H. Carothers patents Nylon; one of its first uses was as a replacement for hog bristles in toothbrushes

1938 – The U.S. Federal Crop Insurance program is authorized

1946 – Prototype of the Sikorsky S-51 helicopter makes its first test flight



1951 – The New York City Council passes a bill prohibiting racial discrimination in city-assisted housing developments

1953 – Roberta Williams born, American video game designer and co-founder of Sierra Entertainment; King’s Quest and Phantasmagoria are two of her better-known adventure games

1958 – Natalie Angier born, American nonfiction writer, New York Times science journalist and outspoken atheist; won the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting



1959 – Fidel Castro seizes power in Cuba after overthrow of President Batista

1960 – The U.S.S. Triton begins the first underwater circumnavigation of the globe, completed on May 10

1968 – The first U.S. 911 emergency telephone system is inaugurated in Haleyville AL

1971 – Aretha Franklin records “Spanish Harlem”



1975 – Cher, her weekly variety show after the Sonny break-up, premieres on CBS-TV

1977 – In Uganda, the Most Reverend Janani Luwum, Anglican archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga, and two government officials are arrested, charged with plotting to overthrow Ugandan President Idi Amin Dada, sedition and arms smuggling. All three are killed while under arrest. Although the official cause of death was given as a car crash, it is later revealed that they were killed on the orders of Idi Amin



1985 – Hezbollah emerges as a Shi’ite Islamic organization in Lebanon

1988 – First documented combat action by US military “advisors” in El Salvador

1989 – Egypt, Iraq, Jordan & North Yemen form a common market

1999 – O.J. Simpson’s 1968 Heisman Trophy is sold for $230,000 to help settle a $33.5 million civil judgment for the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and Ron Goldman

1999 – In South Africa, four policemen charged with the fatal beating of Steve Biko are denied amnesty by the Amnesty Commission. A fifth officer had already been denied amnesty in January, and one of the four died before hearing the decision on his amnesty application. Although they would have be open to prosecution for murder, the only charge against them which had no statute of limitations, in 2003 the Justice Ministry announced it would not seek criminal prosecution of the officers, declaring there was insufficient evidence for a murder charge, and noting the lack of eyewitnesses. Of the 7,112 applications for amnesty received by the Amnesty Committee, only 849 were granted, but in the end, only three prosecutions were actually initiated, and in only one of the three was there a conviction

2005  – The date when the Kyoto Protocol * entered into force, an international treaty extending the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, committing to greenhouse gas emissions reduction, signed by 140 nations. Implementation rules of the Protocol adopted in 2001, in the Marrakesh Accords, for 2008 through 2012



2006 – The last Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) is decommissioned by the U.S. Army, and is succeeded by the Combat Support Hospital (CSH)

2011 – Researchers from London’s Natural History Museum claim that 15,000-year-old skulls found in Gough’s Cave in the Cheddar Gorge in the southwestern English county of Somerset show signs of cannibalism and skulls made into drinking cups and bowls

2016 – China announces it will relocate 9,000 people in Guizhou province, before completion of world’s largest telescope (FAST), designed to look for extraterrestrial life


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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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