ON THIS DAY: February 12, 2020

February 12th is

International Darwin Day *

Abe Lincoln’s Birthday *

Biscotti Day

Freedom to Marry Day

Lost Penny Day *

NAACP Day *

UN Red Hand Day *

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MORE! Henry Garnet, Olivia Hooker and Isaac Woodard, click

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WORLD FESTIVALS AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Argentina – Buenos Aires:
Argentina Open (tennis)

Austria – Salzburg:
Mirabell Palace Concert

Canada – Toronto: Rhubarb Festival

France – Lorient: Les Nuits de L’alligator

India – New Delhi: SheThePeople
Women Writers Fest

Italy – Verona: Verona in Love(St. Valentine)

Japan – Kawazu: Kawazu-zakura
Cherry Blossoms Festival

Mexico – San Miguel de Allende:
Writers Conference/Literary Festival

Morocco – Rabat: Carnaval
Myanmar – Union Day

New Zealand: Auckland:
Same same but different (LGBTQ authors)

Niger – Niamey: RIR à Niamey
(Franco-Nigérien humour festival)

Panama – Boquete:
Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival

Qatar – National Sports Day

Russia – Sochi: Winter
International Arts Festival

South Africa –
BAZ-ART Public Art Festival

Venezuela – Youth Day

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On This Day in HISTORY

881 – Pope John VIII crowns Charles the Fat, great-grandson of Charlemagne, as the King of Italy: Holy Roman Emperor



1429 – English forces under Sir John Fastolf defend a convoy carrying rations to the army besieging Orléans – “some 300 carts and wagons, carrying crossbow shafts, cannons and cannonballs but also barrels of herring” – in the ‘Battle of the Herrings’ – And yes, this Sir John is one of Shakespeare’s inspirations for his immortal rogue, Sir John Falstaff


Sir John Fastolf and his coat-of-arms

1502 – Vasco da Gama sets sail from Lisbon, Portugal, on his second voyage to India



1541 – Santiago is founded by Spanish conquistador and first royal governor of Chile Pedro de Valdivia

1554 – A year after claiming the throne of England for nine days, Lady Jane Grey is beheaded for treason

1567 – Thomas Campion born, English poet, composer and musical theorist

1593 – Approximately 3,000 Korean Kingdom of Joseon defenders led by General Kwon Yul successfully repel more than 10,000 Japanese forces in the Siege of Haengju

General Kwon Yul

1689 – The Convention Parliament declares that the flight to France in 1688 by James II, the last Roman Catholic British monarch, constitutes an abdication

1733 – Englishman James Oglethorpe founds Georgia, the 13th colony of the Thirteen Colonies, and its first city at Savannah

1791 – Peter Cooper born, American inventor, patents formula for”quick setting powder gelatin” which he calls Portable Gelatin (he was trying to make glue at the time):  he later sells the formula, and the flavored version is created by Pearle Wait

1793 – The first Fugitive Slave Act is approved, allowing a master to go before a magistrate and provide written or oral proof of ownership, and the magistrate would then issue an order for arrest; alleged slaves were not given a trial in court, or allowed to present evidence of having earned their freedom

1809 – Charles Darwin is born, English naturalist who developed the ‘theory of evolution,’ inspired by visit to the isolated Galapagos Islands; Origin of Species, The Descent of Man



1809 – Abraham Lincoln born, 16th U.S. President (1861-1865)



1817 – An Argentine/Chilean patriotic army, after crossing the Andes, defeats Spanish troops on the Battle of Chacabuco

1818 – Bernardo O’Higgins formally approves the Chilean Declaration of Independence near Concepción, Chile

1824 – Dayanand Saraswati born, Indian Hindu social reform leader, author, and founder of Arya Samaj, a revival and reform movement of the Vedic dharma. He was the first to call for Swaraj, “India for the Indians.” His book Satyarth Prakash (Light of Truth) which contributed to the Indian independence movement



1825 –The last of the Creek/Muscogee lands in Georgia and Alabama are ceded to the United States government by the Treaty of Indian Springs, but it is signed by only six chiefs; the Creek National Council denounces it, ordering the execution of the splinter group’s leader, William McIntosh, and the other Muscogee signatories, for the capital crime of alienating tribal land. On April 29, the Upper Creek chief Menawa takes 200 warriors to attack McIntosh at his plantation on the Ocmulgee River, killing him and two other signatories, and setting fire to the house; his son-in-law Samuel Hawkins is hanged, but Samuel’s brother Benjamin escapes. The treaty is ratified the U.S. Senate by a margin of one vote, but a delegation from the Creek National Council sent with a petition to President John Adams negotiates the 1826 Treaty of Washington; the tribes surrender most of the land sought by Georgia, but under more generous terms, while keeping a small section of land on the Georgia-Alabama border. Georgia Governor George Troop refuses to recognize the new treaty, and backs up his position by mobilizing the Georgia militia


Upper Creek chief Menawa

1831 – Myra Colby Bradwell born, editor, publisher and suffragist-political activist; founder of the Chicago Legal News; after studying law in her husband’s law office, she was denied admission to the Illinois bar because she’s a woman, and as a married woman, she wasn’t legally allowed to enter into contacts; her case goes all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the justice’s decision is 8-1 in favor of the state of Illinois; eventually she is granted a state license to practice law, after she worked tirelessly to change the laws that discriminate against women



1832 – Ecuador annexes the Galápagos Islands

1851 – Edward Hargraves announces he has found gold in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia, starting the Australian gold rushes

1855 – Fannie Barrier Williams born, African American educator and women’s rights advocate



1865 – Reverend Henry Highland Garnet, a former slave, who became the pastor of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington DC, becomes the first African American to speak in the Capitol Building, invited by Republican leaders to deliver a sermon just days after Congress adopts the 13thAmendment banning slavery; the title of his sermon: “Let the Monster Perish”



1870 – Women in the Utah Territory gain the right to vote

1872 – Silas Noble and James P. Cooley patent a toothpick-making machine

1880 – John L. Lewis born, American labor leader; founder of the C.I.O. (Congress of Industrial Organizations)



1884 – Alice Roosevelt Longworth born, American writer, eldest child of Theodore Roosevelt and his first wife, Alice Lee, who died two days after her birth; a fiercely independent, non-conformist who smoked in public, rode unchaperoned in cars with men, stayed out late, placed bets with bookies, and kept a pet snake; noted for her autobiography, Crowded Hours, and her sharp wit



1884 – Marie Vassilieff born, Russian Empire painter who moved to Paris and became part of the Montparnasse artistic community

1891 – Hanna Rydh born, Swedish archaeologist and Liberal People’s Party politician;  member of the Riksdag (1943-1944), and president of the International Alliance of Women (1946-1952). In 1922, she was received a research grant from the International Federation of University Women. When asked if she should be given the scholarship, as she had just became a mother, she famously replied: “my son’s birth makes no difference.” She was attaché temporaire at the Musée des Antiquités Nationales in St Germain-en-Laye (1924-1925).  She published articles in a number of popular scientific journals, and was regarded as an example of a successful “New Woman” who had both an internationally respected career and was a married woman with a family



1893 – Omar Bradley born, American general, the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff



1898 – Roy Harris born, American composer

1898 – Booker T. Washington gives his “Madison Square Garden Address” on anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, advocating for black educational and employment opportunities



1909 – NAACP Day * – The NAACP is formed when a group of white liberals, among them descendants of abolitionists Mary White Ovington and Oswald Garrison Villard, and black leaders, including  W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells-Barnett,and Mary Church Terrell, issue a call for a discussion of racial justice, which they release on the centennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth; their principle objective is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of minority group citizens of United States and eliminate racial prejudice. The NAACP is now the oldest and largest grassroots-based civil rights organization in the U.S.



1912 – The Xuantong Emperor, Pu Yi, the last Emperor of China, abdicates

1914 – In Washington, D.C., the first stone of the Lincoln Memorial is put into place

1914 – Johanna von Caemmerer Neumann born in Germany, British mathematician noted for her work on group theory. She was an outstanding student at the University of Berlin, and became a part-time assistant in the Mathematical Institute’s library. She met Bernhard Neumann in 1933. When the Nazis came to power that year, Neumann, who was Jewish left Germany and moved to Cambridge, England. She visited him there, and they became secretly engaged, but she returned to Germany to continue her studies. She lost her job in the library after she joined a group of students who tried to prevent Nazis disruption of lectures by Jewish academics, but was able to complete her undergraduate degree by 1936, with distinctions in mathematics and physics, and began working toward her PhD at the University of Göttingen in 1937. She and Bernard corresponded anonymously through friends, but were only able to meet once, in Denmark while he was attending the 1936 International Congress of Mathematicians in Oslo. In 1938, she left Germany, and married Bernhard in Cardiff. The couple moved to Oxford in 1940, where she completed her Doctor of Philosophy in group theory at the Society of Home Students, Oxford. She became a British citizen, and took a teaching position at the University of Hull in 1946, then was a lecturer at the Mathematics Department of Manchester College of Science and Technology in 1958. In 1963, she and her husband took academic positions at the Australian National University in Canberra. She became chair of mathematics in 1964, and dean of students (1968-1969). In 1969, she became a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. She died from a cerebral aneurysm at age 57 while on a lecture tour in Canada in 1971



1915 – Olivia Hooker born; after her application to join the U.S. Navy’s WAVES was rejected because she was black, she became the first African American woman to join the Coast Guard, becoming a SPAR, the Coast Guard’s Women’s Reserve during WWII (1945-1946), and a Yeoman, Second Class; after the war, she earned her degree as a psychologist, and was an associate professor at Fordham University; a founding member of the American Psychological Association’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Division



1920 – Raymond Mphakamisi Mhlaba born, anti-apartheid activist, trade unionist, and a leader of the African National Congress (ANC), as well as the first premier of the Eastern Cape (1994-2001). Mhlaba spent 25 years of his life in prison, sentenced along with Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu and others in the Rivonia Trial. His kindly manner brought him the nickname “Oom Ray”



1921 – Bolsheviks launch a revolt in Georgia preliminary to the Red Army invading

1924 – George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue premieres in a concert titled “An Experiment in Modern Music” in Aeolian Hall NY, by Paul Whiteman and his band, with Gershwin playing the piano

1925 – Joan Mitchell born, American abstract expressionist painter and printmaker who spent most of her career working in France. Mitchell was one of a handful of women painters who gained critical acclaim and international recognition in the post-WWII era. In 1993, the Joan Mitchell Foundation was founded, which awards grants and stipends to painters, sculptors and artist collectives, and sponsors an artist-in-residence program. She died in Paris of lung cancer at age 67 in 1992



1930 – Tshikudo Tavhana born, South African carver and sculptor



1934 – The Austrian Civil War begins, after a series of clashes between the paramilitary forces of the Christian Social Party (conservative coalition of the rural population, most of the upper-classes and the Catholic Church) and the Social Democratic Party (socialists and trade unionists)

1934 – Annette Crosbie born, Scottish actress, best known in the U.S. for her performance as Catherine of Aragon in the BBC series The Six Wives of Henry VIII, and supporting roles in the films Calendar Girls and Into the Woods.  She is a campaigner for greyhound welfare, and since 2003, has been a President of the League Against Cruel Sports, which opposes blood sports such as hunting with hounds and animal fighting

1934 – In Spain the national council of Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista decides to merge the movement with the Falange Española to become Falange Española de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista – “Spanish Phalanx of the Councils of the National-Syndicalist Offensive” (Researching the Spanish Civil War always gives me a headache)

1934 – Anne Krueger born, American economist, former World Bank Chief Economist, first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, currently professor of international economics at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

1938 – Judy Blume born, award-winning American author of primarily Young Adult books; Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret



1938 – Augustus N. Lushington is the first African American to become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), earning his degree at the University of Pennsylvania



1940 – First radio broadcast of The Adventures of Superman

1942 – Mildred Bailey records “More Than You Know”

1946 – African American Sgt. Isaac Woodard, hours after being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army after serving in WWII and still wearing his uniform, gets into a dispute with a bus driver over the use of the restroom; a South Carolina sheriff arrests him, and Woodard is beaten so badly in jail that he becomes totally blind. When South Carolina doesn’t pursue the case, President Harry S. Truman orders a federal investigation leading to the sheriff’s indictment and trial in federal court in South Carolina, where he is acquitted by an all-white jury. Woodard’s case and others galvanize the civil rights movement, and influence a shift to civil rights initiatives at the federal level. Truman establishes a national interracial commission, makes a historic speech to the NAACP and the nation in June 1947, describing civil rights as a moral priority, sends a civil rights bill to Congress in February 1948, and issues Executive Orders 9980 and 9981 on June 26, 1948, desegregating the armed forces and the federal government


 Sgt. Isaac Woodard after being beaten and blinded in South Carolina

1947 – The largest observed iron meteorite until that time creates an impact crater in Sikhote-Alin, in the Soviet Union

1948 – Nancy Leftenant-Colon becomes the first black woman accepted in the regular U.S. Army nursing corps



1951 – Ghanaian Kwame Nkrumah, jailed for leading a “positive action” campaign against British rule the year before, is released from prison to lead the newly formed government after his party, the Convention People’s Party (CPP), wins the 1951 elections. As leader of the new government, Nkrumah made unifying the four territories of the Gold Coast a priority (The country became the Republic of Ghana in 1957)



1953 – Joanna Kerns born, American actress and director; best known for her role as Maggie Seaver on the TV series Growing Pains (1985-1992). After the series ended, she turned more to directing episodes of television series, made-for-tv movies and short films. She is a member of the Democratic Party, and supported the presidential John Kerry in 2004, and Hillary Clinton in 2008

1954 – J. Lyons & Co, a large British food and catering concern, hires first-class mathematicians to improve efficiency in dealing with their very high number of transactions, differing payrolls for their numerous subsidiaries, and accurate inventory reports; their experts learn about the number-crunching capabilities of early computers, and see the possibilities for Lyons; the company forms a partnership with Cambridge University, which was developing their own first computer, the EDSAC.  Using elements of the EDSAC, the Lyons team, now expanded by hiring engineers, develops the LEO (Lyons Electronic Office), and it produces a payroll report on this day, the first time a computer is used in business

1956 – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins records “I Put a Spell On You”



1961 – Soviet Union launches Venera 1 towards Venus

1961 – Di Farmer born, Australian Labor politician; Deputy Speaker of the Queensland Legislative Assembly (2015-2018); Minister for Child Safety (2017-2018); Member of the Queensland Parliament for Bulimba (2015 to present, previously 2009-2012)



1961 – The Miracles’ “Shop Around” becomes Motown’s first million-selling single record

1963 – Construction begins on the Gateway Arch in St. Louis MO

1974 – The USSR exiles Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature winner

1976 – Food coloring Red Dye No. 2, is banned by the FDA because studies show it might cause cancer; red M&Ms disappear for the next 11 years

1977 – The Police record “Fall Out,” their first single

1980 – Christina Ricci born, American actress and producer. She made her acting debut at age 10 in Mermaids, and appeared in the 1991 motion picture version of The Addams Family. She made the transition from child characters to teen roles in The Ice Storm, and then transitioned into adult roles, often playing offbeat characters. She was a producer on The Lizzie Borden Chronicles (2015) and Z: The Beginning of Everything (2017).  Ricci is the national spokesperson for RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) 

1982 – In South Africa, journalist Thami Mazwai, who worked for The Sowetan, is sentenced to two years in jail for refusing to reveal information given to him ‘off the record’ by a student-leader now charged under the Terrorism Act 



1983 – Two hundred women protest in Lahore, Pakistan, against the proposed Law of Evidence of military dictator Zia-ul-Haq, which declares that the testimony of two women in a lawsuit is equal to the testimony of one man; the women, carrying only petitions to the Lahore High Court, are tear-gassed, baton-charged and thrown into jail. In 2006, the women are successful in getting the Women’s Protection Bill passed. It repeals the Law of Evidence and the infamous Hudood Ordinance (which brought back stoning, lashing and amputation as punishments, and made adultery and fornication criminal offences, with no distinction between rape and consensual sex, so rape victims could be tried for fornication or adultery)



1990 – Carmen Lawrence becomes Premier of Western Australia, the first woman premier of an Australian state



1993 – International Darwin Day * is founded by Dr. Robert Stephens to honor the accomplishments of Charles Darwin on the anniversary of his birth, now a project of the American Humanist Association



1995 – Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith launches Lost Penny Day * as a reminder that finding the pennies lost in places like your sofa cushions, coat pockets or the bottom of your purse, then donating them to charity, can make a real difference for someone in need – seems especially appropriate on Lincoln’s birthday, since he’s been on our pennies since 1909, when the Lincoln penny was first issued to commemorate his birth

1998 – U.S. federal judge Thomas Hogan declares the presidential line-item veto is unconstitutional; four months later, the Supreme Court concurs in a 6-3 decision

1999 – The U.S. Senate acquits President Bill Clinton on two articles of impeachment: perjury and obstruction of justice

2007 – Red Hand Day * is an international day against the use of children as soldiers, comes out of the Free Children from War Conference co-hosted by the French Government and UNICEF, attended by 59 countries, and supported by a number of world-wide organizations, including Amnesty International, Child Soldiers International, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement,  and Terre des Hommes



2010 – Israeli military begins rerouting a disputed section of the West Bank security barrier, a partial victory for Palestinians fighting a 5-year legal battle to get back access to their land, lost when the Palestinian village of Bil’in was cut in half by the fence in order to enlarge a Jewish settlement; the new placement returns 170 acres of agricultural land to the villagers, but 400 acres they once held are still occupied by Jewish settlements


The Bil’in wall

2018 – The deputy head of Oxfam resigned as the British charity faced an uproar over reports that some of its workers sexually exploited survivors of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake. Similar allegations also have surfaced in Chad, and a former senior staffer said she reported concerns about “a culture of sexual abuse” but was ignored. U.K. aid minister Penny Mordaunt met with leaders of Oxfam to demand full disclosure. A day earlier, she threatened to stop government funding of Oxfam. She reportedly told Oxfam’s chief executive, Mark Goldring, that the organization would have to show “moral leadership” to address the scandal and rebuild public trust. Haitian President Jovenel Moise called the scandal a “serious violation of human dignity”


Penny Mordaunt

2019 – The U.S. Treasury Department reported the national debt has risen above $22 trillion for the first time. Over the last month, the national debt increased by $30 billion to $22.012 trillion. The debt has been rising faster since Republicans passed Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, and rose by more than $1 trillion in just the last 11 months. An increase in domestic and military spending has contributed, too. Experts say this could lead to an increase in interest rates, and make it more difficult for the government to cover programs. The national debt was at $19.95 trillion when Trump took office

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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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