ON THIS DAY: May 4, 2019

May 4th is

Bird Day *

World Give Day *

Candied Orange Peel Day

Respect for Chickens Day *

Intergalactic Star Wars Day *

International Firefighters Day *

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MORE! Ruth First, Thomas Kinsella and Audrey Hepburn, click

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WORLD FESTIVALS AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Afghanistan –
Remembrance Day for Martyrs & Disabled

Austria – Linz: Saint Florian’s Day
(patron saint of Linz)

China and Fiji – Youth Day

Japan – Greenery Day

Latvia –
Independence Restoration Day

Namibia – Cassinga Day
(memorial for battle dead)

Netherlands –
Remembrance Day

Slovakia – Milan Rastislav Štefánik Memorial Day
(Slovak co-founder of Czechoslovakia)

Taiwan – Literary Day
(Commemorates May Fourth Movement *)

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On This Day in HISTORY

1415 – Religious reformers John Wycliffe of England and Jan Hus of Bohemia are condemned as heretics at the Council of Constance; Jan Hus, summoned under a letter of safe conduct, was found guilty of heresy by the council and turned over to the secular court, which condemned him to the stake; Jerome of Prague, who came to Constance to offer assistance and support to Jan Hus, was also suffered the same treatment as Hus. Wycliffe had attacked the privileged status of the clergy, the power and wealth of the Papacy, the pomp of ceremonies, and advocated translating the Bible into the vernacular, working with other scholars to translate the Bible from Latin into Middle English; since he had already died of a stroke, his body was exhumed from holy ground and burned, his works were banned and many of them were also burned. Jan Hus spoke out against indulgences, and asserted that no Pope or bishop had the right to take up the sword in the name of the Church, but should pray for his enemies; he opposed Papal bulls; and appealed in prayer directly to Jesus Christ, bypassing the Church’s laws and structures



1471 – Wars of the Roses: The Battle of Tewkesbury: Edward IV defeats a Lancastrian Army and kills Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales

1493 – Pope Alexander VI divides the ‘New World’ between Spain and Portugal along the Line of Demarcation



1559 – Alice Spencer, Countess of Derby, born, notable English patron of the arts, she supported a company of players; encouraged Edmund Spenser, a distant relative, who represented her as ‘Amaryllis’ in an ecologue; co-founder with her second husband of the Bridgewater Library, which is the oldest large family collection in England to survive intact into modern times



1626 –  Dutch explorer Peter Minuit arrives at New Netherland (present day Manhattan Island) aboard the See Meeuw

1655 – Bartolomeo Cristofori born, Italian harpsichord maker; piano pioneer

1675 – King Charles II of England orders the construction of the Royal Greenwich Observatory



1728 – George Frideric Handel’s opera Tolomeo, re di Egitto premieres in London

1749 – Charlotte Turner Smith born, English poet and novelist, instrumental in a revival of the sonnet and establishing the conventions of Gothic fiction; forced into marriage at 15 by her father, she spent many unhappy years married to a violent drunkard. His extravagance landed them in debtors’ prison, where she began her writing career in order to pay their way out. Eventually she left him, as his increasing rages made her fear for her life



1776 – Rhode Island becomes the first American colony to renounce allegiance to King George III

1796 – Horace Mann born, American philanthropist, pioneer in public education



1806 – William Cooke born, English inventor; helped develop electric telegraphy

1814 – Napoleon Bonaparte arrives at Portoferraio on Elba to begin his first exile

1814 – King Ferdinand VII of Spain, returning from exile, signs the Decree of the 4th of May, returning Spain to an absolute monarchy

1825 – T. H. Huxley born, English biologist and educator

1852 – Alice Pleasance Liddell born, as children, she and her brothers and sisters were photographed by amateur photographer Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (whose pen name was Lewis Carroll). She and her sisters were the first people to hear a story of the adventures of Alice in Wonderland, told to them during a summer boating excursion. When he later wrote the books, the adventure begins on May 4th, the real Alice’s birthday, and at the end of Through the Looking Glass, the first letter of each line in the poem “A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky” reads down as ‘Alice Pleasance Liddell’


Alice Liddell, age 7, photograph by Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll

1874 – Frank Conrad born, American electrical engineer and pioneer in wireless telegraphy; developing an early airplane radio and making one of the first radio broadcasts from a “station” he built in his garage

1886 – A labor demonstration for an eight-hour workday at Haymarket Square in Chicago turns into a riot when a bomb explodes

1886 – Chichester Bell and Charles S. Tainter patent an improved gramophone, the first practical phonograph

1894 – Bird Day * is established by school superintendent Charles A. Babcock of Pennsylvania, the first U.S. day dedicated to birds, and their conservation in particular

1898 – Captain Joy Bright Hancock, American naval officer, veteran of WWI and WWII



1904 – Charles Stewart Rolls meets Frederick Henry Royce at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, England; they will form Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in December of 1904

1907 – Lincoln Kirstein born, American dance impresario; director of the NYC Ballet

1907 – Mary Hallaren born, first woman to officially join the U.S. Army; director of the Women’s Army Corps; recipient of the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star and the Army Commendation Medal; elected to the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1996



1914 – Emmanuel Robles born, Algerian-French novelist and playwright

1916 – Jane Jacobs born, American-Canadian journalist and activist, pioneer in urban studies and author of  The Death and Life of Great American Cities; Officer of the Order of Canada, and Order of Ontario



1919 – May Fourth Movement * begins in China, an anti-imperialist, cultural and political movement started by students in Beijing protesting against the Chinese government’s weak response to the stipulations of the Treaty of Versailles, especially those allowing Japan to receive territories in Shandong, which had been surrendered by Germany after the Siege of Tsingtao in 1914. The Empire of Japan had conquered large areas of Chinese-controlled territory with the support of France, the UK, and the US, which became fixed in Japan’s favor in the treaty. Many of China’s radical political and social leaders of the 1920s and 1930s emerged from the May Fourth Movement

1925 – Ruth First born, South African Jewish Anti-Apartheid activist, journalist and academic. As a student at the University of the Witwatersrand, she was one of the founders of the Federation of Progressive Students. Among her fellow students were Nelson Mandela, her future husband and fellow activist Joe Slovo, and Mozambican Eduardo Mondlane, who became the first leader of the Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO).  She was editor-in-chief of the radical newspaper The Guardian in 1946, which was banned by the Apartheid regime. First and Slovo were members of the Communist Party, and of the African National Congress, and participated in many protests.  In 1955, she became the editor of Fighting Talk, a radical political journal. She was one of the first defendants in the Treason Trial of 1956-1961, along with 156 other leading anti-apartheid activists who were key figures in the Congress Alliance. After the state of emergency that followed the Sharpeville massacre in 1960, she was listed and banned. She could not attend meetings or publish, and she could not be quoted. In 1963, during another government crackdown, she became the first white woman imprisoned and held in isolation without charge for 117 days under the Ninety-Day Detention Law. Her book, 117 Days, is an account of her arrest, imprisonment and interrogation by the South African Police Special Branch. In March 1964, she went into exile in London, and was active in the British Anti-Apartheid Movement. In 1978, she became director of research at the Centre of African Studies (Centro de Estudos Africanos), part of the university in  Maputo, Mozambique. She was assassinated on August 17, 1982, when she opened a parcel bomb addressed to her at her university office. It was later determined that her assassination was ordered by Major Craig Williamson of the South African Police



1927 – Articles of Incorporation are filed for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the organization is officially incorporated on May 11, 1927

1928 – Thomas Kinsella born, Irish poet, translator and publisher; noted for Another September; Moralities and Wormwood



1929 – Audrey Hepburn born in Belgium, international film star and humanitarian, remembered for her tireless efforts to help children; UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree



1930 – Roberta Peters born, American coloratura soprano, associated with the Metropolitan Opera for 35 years, recipient of the National Medal of Arts



1933 – Archibald Macleish is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his narrative poem Conquistador



1942 – WWII: U.S. civilians receive War Ration Book #1, the “Sugar Book,” and a national speed limit of 35 mph is imposed to save fuel and tire rubber

1944 – The suspense film Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer, and featuring Angela Lansbury’s film debut, is released

1948 – Alison Britton, British large-scale ceramic artist, fellow of the Royal College of Art since 1990; her work is represented in the collections of several museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art



1951 – Colleen Hanabusa born, American Democratic politician and labor lawyer; Member of the U.S. House of Representatives for from Hawaii’s 1st district (2016-2019); first woman President of the Hawaii Senate (2009-2010); Member of the Hawaii Senate from the 21st district (1999-2010)



1953 – The Pulitzer Prize for Literature is awarded to Ernest Hemingway for The Old Man and the Sea

1956 – Gene Vincent records “Be-Bop-A Lula”

1957 – Marijke Vos born, Dutch peace and anti-nuclear activist and GreenLeft politician; Amsterdam alderwoman for the Environment and Healthcare since 2006; member of the Dutch Parliament (1994-2005)



1958 – Jane Hodgson Kennedy born, British Labour politician; inaugural Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner since 2012; Member of Parliament (1992-2010)

1961 – A group of Freedom Riders leave Washington, D.C., for New Orleans to challenge racial segregation on interstate buses and in bus terminals



1966 – Jane McGrath born in England, Australian who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, at age 31. She was deemed cancer-free by June 1998, but in 2003, she was diagnosed metastatic cancer in her bones. She campaigned for cancer support, and she and her husband founded the McGrath Foundation in 2005, to fund breast care nurses in rural and regional Australia, and to increase breast cancer awareness in young women. In 2006, brain metastasis was detected, and she underwent radiation treatment and then the tumor was surgically removed. She died June 22, 2008, at age 42



1970 – Ohio National Guardsmen open fire on anti-war protesters at Kent State University, killing four students and wounding nine others

1974 – An all-female Japanese team led by Kyoko Sato reaches the summit of Manaslu, becoming the first women to climb an 8,000-meter peak



1994 – Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat sign an accord on Palestinian autonomy that grants self-rule in the Gaza Strip and Jericho

1998 – Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski is given four life sentences plus 30 years by a federal judge in Sacramento, Calif., under a plea agreement that spares his life

1999 – The first International Firefighters Day * instituted to honor all firefighters everywhere, proposed by JJ Edmondson, after the terrible loss of five firefighters answering a call for mutual aid to fight a huge brush fire in Linton, Australia. May 4 was chosen because it is the feast day of St. Florian, the patron saint of firefighters, already a day for honoring firefighters in several European cities



2000 – Londoners cast their first direct votes for the Mayor of London,  which had been the only Western capital without an elected city government after the Greater London Council was abolished in 1986

2003 – National Day of Reason * is launched by the American Humanist Society and the Washington Area Secular Humanists as an alternative to the National Day of Prayer proclaimed by the U.S. Congress, which Humanists believe infringes on the Separation of  Church and State doctrine of the First Amendment, and lends government support to religion over no religion



2005 – International Respect for Chickens Day * is started by United Poultry Concerns to protest the bleakness of chickens’ lives in farming operations

2010 – World Give Day * is first celebrated, a day to highlight donating to whatever cause or charity is important to you – many small gifts add up to big funding

2011 – Intergalactic Star Wars Day * is launched at the Toronto Underground Cinema in Canada – “May the Fourth Be With You!” – since 2013, after Disney Studios purchased Lucasfilm, the day has been observed at Disney theme parks



2015 – France’s far-right National Front Party suspended its founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, and said it would strip him of his title of honorary chairman for repeating his description of Nazi gas chambers as a mere “detail” of WWII. Le Pen’s daughter, Marine Le Pen, had succeeded him as party chief in 2011 and is the chair of the executive committee that suspended him. The elder Le Pen responded by saying he is “ashamed” his daughter has his name, and hopes she loses her 2017 presidential bid

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About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 50 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.
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2 Responses to ON THIS DAY: May 4, 2019

  1. Malisha says:

    Somehow I find it so hilarious when people like Le Pen and his daughter have these big public fartbattles; it’s not that uncommon really.

    • wordcloud9 says:

      When you are small-minded and vindictive, it does tend to make you hostile toward everyone, including your “nearest and dearest.”

Comments are closed.