ON THIS DAY: May 25, 2019

May 25th is

Towel Day *

National Wine Day

National Tap Dance Day *

National Brown-Bag It Day

International Missing Children’s Day *

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MORE! Louise de Broglie, Miles Davis and Jamaica Kincaid, click

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WORLD FESTIVALS AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Africa Unity Day aka Africa Day, African Freedom Day, OAU Day in: Chad, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Ghana, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritania, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe

Argentina –
Día de la Revolución de Mayo

Bolivia – Sucre:
First Cry for Freedom *

Jordan – Independence Day

Lebanon – South Liberation Day *

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On This Day in HISTORY

567 BC – Servius Tullius, the king of Rome, celebrates a triumph for his victory over the Etruscans



240 BC – First recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet by Chinese, Babylonian, and medieval European chroniclers

903 – Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi, born, aka Azophi Arabus, Persian astronomer; author of Book of Fixed Stars (published in 964); the lunar crater Azophi is named for him



1048 – Emperor Shenzong of Song born, sixth emperor of the Song dynasty, who ruled from 1067 until 1085; he appointed Wang Anshi as Chancellor, who implemented reforms which improved the lives of peasants and the unemployed

1085 – Moorish-held Toledo falls under a siege by Alfonso VI of Castile


Alfonso VI of León – from Calixtinus Codex of 1145

1521 – The Diet of Worms ends when Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, issues the Edict of Worms, declaring Martin Luther an outlaw



1644 – Ming general Wu Sangui forms an alliance with the invading Manchus and opens the gates of the Great Wall of China at Shanhaiguan pass, letting the Manchus through towards the capital Beijing


Great Wall of China at Shanhaiguan Pass

1660 – Charles II lands at Dover at the invitation of the Convention Parliament (England), which marks the end of the Cromwell-proclaimed Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland and begins the Restoration of the British monarchy.

1680 – Elizabeth Haddon born, American colonialist, Quaker, founder of Haddon Township and Haddonfield, New Jersey; her courtship with John Estaugh is described in Longfellow’s poem “Elizabeth” from Tales of a Wayside Inn


Elizabeth Haddon House, Haddonfield NJ

1787 – The Constitutional Convention convenes in Philadelphia

1803 – Ralph Waldo Emerson born, Essayist, philosopher, poet; a leading figure of the Transcendentalist movement



1809 – First Cry for Freedom * – Patriot revolt in Chuquisaca (modern day Sucre) against the Spanish Empire, sparking the Latin American wars of independence

1818 – Louise de Broglie born, Countess d’Haussonville, French essayist and biographer; granddaughter of famed saloniste and novelist Germaine de Staël; considered independent, liberal and outspoken, she wrote biographical sketches and biographies of people who interested her, including Irish nationalist Robert Emmet,  Marguerite of Valois, literary critic Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, and Lord Byron (a two volume work, in which she used some of her grandmother’s observations and interactions with Byron)


Portrait of Comtesse d’Haussonville,  by Jean-Auguste Ingres – 1845

1842 – Christian Doppler presents his idea, now known as the Doppler Effect, to the Royal Bohemian Society, Prague

1846 – Princess Helena of the United Kingdom born, founding member of the Royal Red Cross and Royal School of Needlework, Royal British Nurses’ association president

1869 – Mathilde Verne born, English pianist and teacher of Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (future wife of King George VI, mother of Queen Elizabeth II, and HM the Queen Mother). Verne died at the Savoy in London in 1936 at age 67, surrounded by friends during a party to launch her book, Chords of Remembrance



1878 – Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore opens at the Opera Comique in London

1878 – Bill “Bojangles” Robinson born, iconic American tap dancer; star performer in Broadway and the Silver Screen (see 1989 entry for National Tap Dance Day)



1886 – Leta Stetter Hollingworth born, American psychologist; pioneer in psychology of women, clinical and educational psychology; did notable work with exceptional children



1886 – Philip Murray born in Scotland, American steelworker; first president of the United Steel Workers of America (USWA); president of the CIO who forged an alliance between Labor and the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, and laid the foundation for the 1955 merger between the CIO and the AFL



1887 – Sue Shelton White born, American feminist leader and lawyer; editor of the National Woman’s Party’s newspaper, The Suffragist; arrested in 1919 for burning a paper effigy of Woodrow Wilson during a protest in front of the White House – after her release from jail, toured with other arrestees on a train tour of the U.S. they called the “Prison Special” to keep the suffrage issue before the public; earned a law degree in 1923, helping to draft the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA); worked for the Democratic National Committee and Eleanor Roosevelt; on legal staff for the Social Security Administration (1935), then principle attorney for the Federal Security Agency, until she became ill with cancer



1889 – Igor Sikorsky born in Russia; aviation pioneer, immigrated to the U.S. in 1919; developed many successful aircraft, including the Pan American ‘flying boats’ and the first mass-produced helicopter, the Vought-Sikorsky VS-300



1895 – Playwright, poet, and novelist Oscar Wilde is convicted of “committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons,” sentenced to serve two years in prison



1898 – Bennett Cerf born, American publisher, co-founder of Random House Publishers; editor of several joke books and literary anthologies



1900 – The Lacey Act is signed into law by President McKinley, named for its sponsor, Iowa Congressman John F. Lacey, an advocate for wildlife conservation; its most important provision was to make it a federal crime to ship “wild animals and birds taken in defiance of existing state laws” across state lines

1905 – Dorothy Porter Wesley born, African American librarian, bibliographer and curator who worked on the world-class research collection at the Moorland-Springarn Research Center at Howard University



1908 – Theodore Roethke, influential American poet; 1954 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for The Waking; two National Book Awards for Poetry, in 1959 for Words for the Wind, and posthumously in 1965 for The Far Field



1914 – British House of Commons passes the Irish Home Rule act, but it is postponed by the outbreak of WWI and never takes effect; superseded by the Government of Ireland Act 1920

1925 – Teacher John T. Scopes is indicted for teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution in Tennessee

1925 – Rosario Castellanos born, Mexican poet, author; work deals with cultural and gender oppression; one of Mexico’s most important 20th century literary figures



1926 – Miles Davis born, American Jazz trumpeter, composer and bandleader, one of the most influential figures in 20th century music



1926 – Phyllis Gotlieb born, Canadian science fiction novelist and poet; won the Prix Aurora Award for Best Novel in 1982 for her novel A Judgement of Dragons; The Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic is named for her first novel in 1964, Sunburst; much of her poetry is collected in Red Blood Black Ink White Paper: New and Selected Poems 1961-2001



1927 – Robert Ludlum born, American writer; originator of the Jason Bourne series



1928 – Mary Wells Lawrence born, American businesswoman, first woman CEO of a  NY Stock Exchange-listed company, first female executive of a U.S. advertising firm



1929 – Beverly Sills, leading American lyric coloratura soprano; after retiring from the stage, she became the general manager of the New York City Opera, then chair of Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera; devoted time to arts and charity causes, especially the March of Dimes



1938 – Raymond Carver born, American short story author and poet; noted for award-winning stories like “A Small, Good Thing” and “Where I’m Calling From”



1938 – Margaret Forster born, English novelist, biographer, and historian; best known for her novel Georgy Girl



1939 – Ian McKellen born, English actor, noted for his one man show, Acting Shakespeare; LGBT rights activist and supporter of the charities Age UK and Only Make Believe



1941 – Uta Frith born, German developmental psychologist and author, pioneer in research on autism (initiated theory of mind deficit, and was one of the first to study Asperger’s syndrome) and has also studied dyslexia; on faculty of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London; advocate for the advancement of women in science, one of the developers of the support network Science & Shopping, and co-founder of the UCL Women network; elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2005, and as chair of the Royal Society’s Diversity Committee in 2015, wrote about unconscious bias and its effect on which scientists receive grants



1944 – Frank Oz (Oznowicz) born in England to refugees from the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands; the family moved to America when he was seven; American puppeteer, and filmmaker, giving voice and movement to several of the Muppets on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show; also the voice of Yoda in the Star Wars movies; his directing credits include Little Shop Of HorrorsWhat About Bob? and Housesitter



1945 – Arthur C. Clark born, British science fiction author, inventor and undersea explorer, proposes relay satellites in geosynchronous orbit



1947 – Catherine G. Wolf born, American psychologist, expert in human-computer interaction and author of over 100 research articles, she held six patents related to artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction and collaboration; known for work at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center in New York; after she was diagnosed in 1997 with Amyotrophic lateral schlerosis (ALS aka Lou Gehrig’s disease), she was still able to communicate via electronic sensory equipment, including a sophisticated brain-computer interface. Even with almost no voluntary physical functions remaining, she published innovative research into fine-scale abilities of ALS patients, collaborating with scientists and designers on the programs and devices she used; she died in February, 2018, at the age of 70



1948 – Marianne Elliott born, Irish historian and author brought up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, who has written extensively on Irish history, including biographies of Irish republican revolutionaries Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet, and Catholics of Ulster: a history; served on the Opsahl Commission in 1993 and co-wrote its report “A Citizens’ Inquiry,” promoting peace efforts in Northern Ireland; in 2000, awarded an OBE for her services to Irish studies and the Northern Ireland peace process, and in  2002, elected as a Fellow of the British Academy



1949 – Jamaica Kincaid born in Antigua, fiction author, essayist, gardener and gardening writer, who lives in Vermont during the summer months; professor of African and African American Studies in Residence at Harvard during the academic year; 1997 Anisfield-Wolfe Book Award for The Autobiography of My Mother, 1999 Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, and the 2000 Prix Femina étranger for My Brother, among many other honors



1953 – The first non-commercial educational TV station goes on the air in Houston TX

1953 – Eve Ensler born, American playwright, feminist, activist and performer, best known for her play, The Vagina Monologues, and the V-Day movement to stop violence against women



1958 – Dorothy Straight born, American children’s author, who wrote and illustrated her first book, How the World Began, in 1962 at the age of four, which was published in 1964, making her one of the youngest published authors in history

1960 – Amy Klobuchar born, American prosecutor, Democratic politician and author; first woman elected as U.S. Senator from Minnesota, serving since 2007; ranking member of the Senate Rules Committee since 2017; Hennepin County Attorney (the county’s chief legal officer, 1999-2007)



1961 – President John F. Kennedy announces the U.S. goal of putting a man on the moon before the end of the decade

1962 – The Isley Brothers release “Twist and Shout”

1964 – Frank Gilroy’s play The Subject Was Roses opens on Broadway; it wins the 1965 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and a Tony Award for Best Play

1964 – In Griffen v. Prince Edward County School Board, the U.S. Supreme Court rules 7-2 that closing schools to avoid desegregation is unconstitutional, as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment; the school board had voted in 1959 t0 close public schools rather than integrate them, and offered vouchers to all students to pay for nonsectarian private school tuition, but no private schools in the county existed for black students, who were deprived of formal education from 1959 to 1963, as all the private schools continued to refuse admission to black students

1968 – The Gateway Arch in St. Louis MO is dedicated



1969 – The movie Midnight Cowboy opens in New York

1972 – Octavia Spencer born, American actress and children’s book author; one of two black actresses to be nominated for three Academy Awards (won Best Supporting Actress for The Help in 2012, and was nominated for Hidden Figures in 2017 and The Shape of Water in 2018) and the only black actress to be nominated for two consecutive Oscars; author of the Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective series, about an amateur detective who is a 12-year-old girl



1977 – Premiere of  the original Star Wars movie, Episode IV, A New Hope

1983 – The first National Missing Children’s Day * – The U.S. Department of Justice has a ceremony each year honoring the efforts of agencies, organizations, and individuals to protect children



1986 – An estimated 7 million Americans take part in “Hands Across America” to raise money for the hungry and homeless

1989 – The first National Tap Dance Day * is held to celebrate this American dance form, on the birthday of “Bojangles” Robinson (see 1878 entry); it is proclaimed by President George H.W. Bush as a recognized National Day in 2004, but now also celebrated in other countries, including Japan, Australia, India and Iceland



1997 – A military coup by the Armed Forces Military Council (AFRC) in Sierra Leone ousts President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, and puts Johnny Paul Koroma in power, setting off an explosion of violence against civilians; he is overthrown in 1998 during conflict with Nigerian forces; Koroma indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone established in 2002 by treaty between the U.N. and Sierra Leone for crimes against humanity; though presumed dead, there is no positive proof, so the indictments against him remain in force

1999 – The U.S. House of Representatives releases the Cox Report which details the People’s Republic of China’s nuclear espionage against the U.S.A.

2000 – South Liberation Day * – Israel withdraws its army from most of the Lebanese territory after 22 years of its first invasion in 1978

2001 – The first Intergalactic Towel Day * is launched in tribute to the author Douglas Adams, after his death on May 11, by his fans, who carry a towel, as described in his series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – “A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have . . .”



2006 – Enron chief executives Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling are found guilty of fraud and conspiracy

2013 – 80-year-old Yuichiro Miura of Japan is the oldest person to climb Mount Everest



2016 – Over 600 American writers sign “an open letter to the American people” opposing Donald Trump’s candidacy for U.S. president, including Stephen King, Junot Díaz, Amy Tan and Dave Eggers: “The rise of a political candidate who deliberately appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society, who encourages aggression among his followers, shouts down opponents, intimidates dissenters, and denigrates women and minorities, demands, from each of us, an immediate and forceful response.”

2018 – The Republic of Ireland votes in a referendum to repeal the Eight Amendment of the Irish Constitution, prohibiting abortion in all but a few cases, choosing to replace it with the Thirty-Sixth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, which permits the Oireachtas (Parliament) to legislate for the regulation of termination of pregnancy


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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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2 Responses to ON THIS DAY: May 25, 2019

  1. Malisha says:

    I love the “step dance” by Bojangles:

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