ON THIS DAY: February 29, 2020

February 29th is

Rare Disease Day

Open That Bottle Night *

Leap Day


MORE! Hattie McDaniel, Desmond Tutu and Dorothy Gaiter, click



Canada – Halifax:
Black Film Festival

France – Paris: Arabofolies
(Music, Art and Ideas)

Ireland – Bachelor’s Day

Jakarta – International
Java Jazz Festival

Mexico – Puerto Vallarta:
San Pancho Music Festival

New Zealand – Auckland:
Gindulence Festival

Scotland – Inverness:
Inverness Music Festival

South Africa – Cape Town:
City Fest (Art Party)


On This Day in HISTORY

1504 – Christopher Columbus used astronomic tables made by Rabbi Avraham Zacuto of Spain to foretell a lunar eclipse that night in order to awe Jamaican natives into continuing to give him and his men food

1644 – Abel Tasman’s second Pacific voyage began

1692 – John Byrom of Manchester born, English poet, hymnist, and inventor of an early form of shorthand. He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, and became a fellow there in 1714. Byrom was a member of the Royal Society when Isaac Newton was president

1720 – Ulrika Eleonora, Queen of Sweden abdicates in favor of her husband, who becomes King Frederick I on March 24

1736 – Mother Ann Lee born in Great Britain, founder  and first leader of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Coming, more commonly known as the Shakers, who moved to America in 1774

1752 – King Alaungpaya founds Konbaung Dynasty, the last dynasty of the Burmese monarchy, after unifying the country and driving out the French and the British. He would reign until his death 1760

1792 – Gioachino Rossini born, Italian composer best known for his operas, including L’Italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers); Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville); Otello (Othello); and Guillaume Tell (William Tell)

1796 – The Jay Treaty between the United States and Great Britain comes into force, facilitating ten years of peaceful trade between the two nations

1828 – Emmeline B. Wells born, American journalist, editor, poet, women’s rights advocate, diarist, and Mormon plural wife. She served as General President (1910-1921) of the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). She represented the state of Utah at both the National and American Women’s Suffrage conventions and was president of the Utah Woman’s Suffrage Association. She was the editor (1877-1914) of the Women’s Exponent, a newspaper aimed at Mormon women, which was not an official publication of the church, but was closely tied to the Relief Society

1841 – John Philip Howard born, Irish inventor and engineer; after immigrating to the U.S., he developed the first submarine to be commissioned by the U.S. Navy in 1900, the USS Holland, and the first submarines for the Royal Navy (1901-1903) and the Imperial Japanese Navy (1904-1905)

1860 – Herman Hollerith born, American inventor, statistician and businessman; Hollerith was a pioneer in data processing, and developed an electromechanical  tabulating machine for punched cards used to summarize information and in accounting. Founder of the Tabulating Machine Company, which was amalagamated with other companies into IBM in 1924

1870 – Leonora O’Reilly born, labor organizer, founding member of the Woman’s Trade Union League, and helped to found the NAACP

1892 – The city of St. Petersburg, Florida, is incorporated

1892 – Augusta Savage born as Augusta Fells, African-American sculptor associated with the Harlem Renaissance; she also mentored and taught many younger artists, and worked for equal rights for African Americans in the arts

1896 – Morarji Desai born, Indian independence activist and Janata Party politician; he was the fourth Prime Minister of India (1977-1979)

1904 – Jimmy Dorsey born, American saxophonist, composer and ‘Big Band’ leader

1908 – Dee Brown born, American historian, novelist and librarian; best known for his 1970 book, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

1912 – In Argentina, La Piedra Movediza (Moving Stone) of Tandil falls and breaks

1916 – American Child Labor: In South Carolina, the minimum working age for factory, mill, and mine workers is raised from twelve to fourteen years of age

1916 – Dinah Shore born as Fannye Rose Shore; American singer, actress, radio and television musical variety show host, and long-time supporter of women’s professional golf. She helped found the Dinah Shore Golf Tournament in 1972, which is now one of the major women’s golf tournaments, although now under a different name. She also broke the gender barrier at Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles, becoming Hillcrest’s first woman member around 1969 or 1970

1920 – The National Assembly of the Czechoslovak Republic adopts the Czechoslovak Constitution of 1920, which becomes effective on March 6. It will be replaced in May 1948 by the Ninth-of-May Constitution following the Communist takeover in February 1948

1928 – Jean Adamson born, British author and illustrator of children’s books, best known for her Topsy and Tim books

1928 – Vance Haynes born, American archaeologist, geologist and author; specialist in the archaeology of the American Southwest. Haynes is a pioneer in geoarchaeology. Known for  unearthing and studying artifacts of Paleo-Indians including ones from Sandia Cave in the 1960s, work which helped to establish the timeline of human migration through North America. Haynes coined the term “black mat” for a layer of 10,000-year-old swamp soil seen in many North American archaeological studies. He was elected in 1990 to the National Academy of Sciences

1936 – Empire of Japan: The attempted  coup d’état by a group of young Imperial Japanese Army officers, which began February 26, 1936, ends on February 29, when they surrender after failing to assassinate Prime Minister Keisuke Okada, or take control of the Imperial Palace

1940 – Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African American to win an Academy Award, as Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Mammy in 1939’s Gone With the Wind

Hattie McDaniel with Oscar and presenter Fay Bainter – photo by Rex Kobal

1940 – Finland initiates Winter War peace negotiations with the USSR. The war ends with the Moscow Peace Treaty on March 13, 1940, in which Finland was forced to cede 11% of its territory, representing 30% of its economy to the Soviets. Finland retained its sovereignty, and its valiant defense against a foe with far greater air and armored power enhanced its international reputation. The Soviet invasion of Finland was deemed an illegal attack by the League of Nations, which then expelled the USSR from the league

1944 – Ene Ergma born, Estonian scientist and politician; professor of Astronomy at the University of Tartu (1988-2003); most of her scientific research was on the evolution of the compact objects (such as white dwarfs and neutron stars) and gamma ray bursts.  Ergma was President of the Riigikogu (2003-2006). The Riigikogu is the Estonian parliament. She was a second Vice-President of the Riigikogu (2006-2007), then was elected again as President of the Riigikogu (2007-2014). She is the chair of the Space Research Committee of the Riigikogu


1948 – Dame Hermione Lee born in Hampshire, then grew up in London, academic and biographer, particularly of women writers. President of Wolfson College, Oxford (2008-2017); Goldsmiths’ Professor of English Literature (1998-2008)) at the University of Oxford. She became the first woman professorial fellow of New College. She is also a fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of Literature


1948 – Patricia A. McKillip born, American author of fantasy and science fiction; her first novel, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, won the 1974 World Fantasy Award – Novel, and she won it again for Ombria in Shadow in 2003. Harpers in the Wind won the 1980 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel. She won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award in 1995 for Something Rich and Strange, and in 2007 for Solstice Wood

1952 – Sharon Raiford Bush born, African-American television newscaster and print journalist; correspondent and executive producer for Black Entertainment Television (BET)

1964 – In Sydney, Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser sets a new world record in the 100-meter freestyle swimming competition of 58.9 seconds

1988 – South African archbishop Desmond Tutu is arrested along with 100 other clergymen during a five-day anti-apartheid  demonstration in Cape Town

2000 – Bosnian War: The Siege of Sarajevo officially ends after 3 years, 10 months, 3 weeks and 3 days, which was over a year longer than the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi Germany during WWII

2000 – Open That Bottle Night * was started on the last Saturday in February by Wall Street Journal Tastings columnists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher (1998-2009), encouraging their readers to open a symbolically significant bottle, and then share their stories, making the wine itself the subject of the celebration

2016 – Chris Rock hosted the Academy Awards, and did not shy away from the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. “It’s not about boycotting anything,” he said. “We want opportunity. We want the black actors to get the same opportunities.” In the most memorable part of his opening monologue, Rock called the Oscars “The White People’s Choice Awards” and tackled the big question of the night: “Is Hollywood racist?” His answer: Yes. “Is it burning cross racist? No. Is it ‘Fetch me some lemonade’ racist? No. It’s a different type of racist,” he said. “You’re damn right Hollywood is racist. Hollywood is sorority racist. It’s like, ‘We like you, Rhonda. But you’re not a Kappa.'”


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 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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