ON THIS DAY: May 1, 2020

May 1st is

Global Love Day *

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Chocolate Parfait Day

“Loyalty” Day *

Silver Star Service Day *

International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day *

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MORE! Calamity Jane, Joseph Heller and Gwendolyn Brooks, click

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WORLD FESTIVALS AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

May Day/International Workers’ Day/Labor Day in most of the world

Argentina – Constitution Day

India –Maharashtra:
Maharashtra Day (1960) *

Kazakhstan – People’s Unity Day

Latvia – Constitution Day

Marshall Islands – Constitution Day

Mauritania – Armed Forces Day

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On This Day in HISTORY

305 – Diocletian announces his retirement from office as Roman emperor at an assembly of his generals, traditional companion troops, and representatives from distant legions. They meet at the same hill near Nicomedia where Diocletian had been proclaimed emperor. In front of a statue of Jupiter, his patron deity, a teary-eyed Diocletian tells them of his failing health, and his need to pass the duty of empire on to someone stronger. He is the first Roman emperor to voluntarily abdicate his title



880 – The Nea Ekklesia (New Church) is inaugurated in Constantinople, part of Emperor Basil I’s major building program, which sets the model for all later cross-in-square  Orthodox churches; when used later as a gunpowder magazine by the Ottomans, it is destroyed in 1490 when struck by lightning

1169 – The Norman invasion of Ireland begins as Norman mercenaries land at Bannow Bay in Leinster, (part of County Wexford, on Ireland’s west coast, on the 1837 map below)


1837 map of  County Wexford  – enlarged detail of Bannow Bay

1328 – The Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton, a peace treaty between England and Scotland, is ratified by the English Parliament; in the treaty, England recognizes Scottish sovereignty, that Robert the Bruce and his heirs are the rightful rulers of Scotland, and re-establishes the English-Scottish border as it was during the reign of Alexander III. The treaty only lasts until 1333, when King Edward III of England backs pretender Edward Balliol’s invasion of Scotland, where he declares himself King of Scots, while 10-year-old David II, son of Robert the Bruce, is forced into exile in France



1455 – The power of the ‘Black Douglases’ is broken in the civil war between them and James II of Scotland at the Battle of Arkinholm, by Scottish royal forces, including George Douglas, 4th Earl of Angus, head of the ‘Red Douglas’ family

1672 – Joseph Addison born, English essayist, poet and dramatist



1707 – The Act of Union joins the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain

1751 – Judith Sargent Murray born, poet, playwright, essayist and pioneering women’s rights advocate, known for her essay “On the Equality of the Sexes” published in 1790 in Massachusetts Magazine



1764 – Benjamin Henry Latrobe born in Britain, American architect; U.S. Capitol building designer

1769 – Arthur Wellesley, later 1st Duke of Wellington, born, Irish-English Field Marshal (1813); Commander-in-Chief of the British Army (1815-1852) and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1834); notable for defeating Napoleon at Battle of Waterloo



1776 – Johann Adam Weishaupt founds the “Illuminati” in the Electorate of Bavaria, adopting the name “Brother Spartacus” within the order; it is an elaborate network of spies and counter-spies consisting of isolated cells. Weishaupt uses his membership in the Masons to find new recruits for his cult, which purports to be in favor of the Enlightenment’s goal of rationalism, but prescribes in detail everything which members must obediently read and think. Banned by Bavarian Elector Karl Theodor in 1784

1783 – Phoebe Hinsdale Brown born, considered the first notable American woman hymnwriter; best known for her hymn “I love to steal awhile away” based on her daily practice of retiring some distance from her house at a certain hour for meditation and prayer. The well-beaten path to the woods was discovered, and she was ridiculed by a thoughtless neighbor woman, so she tearfully wrote the hymn that night. Brown’s original poem included her domestic cares, but they were removed by Reverend Ashale Nettleton in the published hymn


Sheet music detail above – Brown’s original words below

1785 – Chief Kamehameha defeats Kalanikūpule and establishes the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi under his rule as Kamehameha I

1786 – Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro debuts in Vienna, Austria



1820 – Six ‘Cato Street’ Conspirators, who planned to murder British Prime Minister Lord Liverpool, and all cabinet ministers, are executed for high treason

1831 – Emily Stowe, Canadian physician, suffragist and women’s rights activist, first woman to practice medicine in Canada. She was denied entrance into the Toronto School of Medicine in 1865, told by the school’s Vice Principal, “The doors of the University are not open to women and I trust they never will be.” She earned her degree from the homeopathic New York Medical College for Women in 1867, then returned to Toronto to open her medical practice, attracting attention by lecturing on women’s health and newspapers advertisements, which brought her a steady clientele. While studying medicine in New York, Stowe had met Susan B. Anthony and saw the divisions within the American women’s suffrage movement, which decided her to adopt a gradualist strategy in Canada. She founded the Toronto Women’s Literary Club in 1876. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario granted Stowe a license to practice medicine on July 16, 1880, based on her experience with homeopathic medicine since 1850. Her daughter, Augusta Stowe-Gullen, would become the first woman to earn a medical degree in Canada. In 1883, the Literary Club became the Canadian Women’s Suffrage Association in 1883. They campaigned for improved working conditions for women and pressured schools in Toronto to accept women into higher education. In 1883, a public meeting of the Suffrage Association led to the creation of the Ontario Medical College for Women. When the Dominion Women’s Enfranchisement Association was founded in 1889, Stowe became its first president and remained president until her death in 1903, fourteen years before Canadian women won the right to vote



1840 –The UK issues the ‘Penny Black,’ its first official adhesive postage stamp

1844 – The Hong Kong Police Force, Asia’s first modern police force, is established

1851 – Queen Victoria opens the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in London

1852 – ‘Calamity Jane’ born as Martha Jane Canary, professional scout for U.S. Army, sharpshooter, performer in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show



1855 – Cecilia Beaux, American artist, notable society portrait painter; first woman to have a regular teaching position at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; exhibited works at the 1890 Paris Exhibition


Self-portrait by Cecilia Beaux – 1925 (Uffizi Gallery)

1859 – Jacqueline Comerre-Paton born, French painter and sculptor; her painting Mistletoe was included in Women Painters of the World, published in 1905


Portrait de Paysanne – by Jacqueline Comerre-Paton

1862 – U.S. Civil War: The Union army closes off the mouth of the Mississippi from Confederate shipping after capturing New Orleans

1865 – Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay sign the Treaty of Triple Alliance

1866 – The first of three days of the Memphis Race Riots: After a shooting altercation between white policemen and black soldiers recently mustered out of the Union Army, mobs of white civilians and policemen rampage through black neighborhoods and the houses of freedmen, attacking black men, women and children, killing 46, injuring 75 more, burning, raping and robbing. There are no criminal proceedings; after the U.S. Attorney General rules it is a state matter, the state and local officials refuse to take any action. This riot, and a similar one in July 1866 in New Orleans, increase support for Radical Reconstruction, and swept a veto-proof Reconstructionist majority into Congress, who passed the Reconstruction Acts, Enforcement Acts, and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution  guaranteeing citizenship, equal protection of the law, and due process to male former slaves



1869 – The Folies Bergère opens in Paris


Folies Bergère – tableau, 1926

1874 – Romaine Brooks born, American painter who worked in Paris and Capri; she specialized in portraiture, often of women in androgynous or masculine dress

1881 – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin born, French priest-palaeontologist-philosopher



1881 – Mary MacLane born in Canada, American writer, dubbed “the Wild Woman of Butte,” whose controversially frank memoirs helped popularize the “tell all” style of autobiography. She was an outspoken feminist and openly bisexual. She submitted her first book for publication at the age of 19, calling it I Await the Devil’s Coming, which the publishers toned down considerably to The Story of Mary MacLane. It still sold 100,000 copies in the first month, especially after it was pilloried by conservative critics and lightly ridiculed by H.L. Menken. She wrote with a raw, blistering honesty and self-awareness about sexual attraction to both men and women, her egoism and self-love, and even a desire to marry the Devil. The books’ success enabled her to travel, and escape the isolation of Butte. Her second and third books, My Friend Annabel Lee and I, Mary Maclane: A Diary of Human Days, did not sell as well as the first book. In 1917, she wrote and starred in a 90-minute silent film, Men Who Have Made Love to Me, based on an earlier article with the same title which she had written for a Butte, Montana newspaper. The film was one of the first to “break the fourth wall” between performer and audience when she faced the camera and directly addressed her audience. 



1890 – Clelia Lollini born, Italian physician. During WWI, she had enlisted and worked as a surgeon at a military hospital in Venice. In 1919 she attended the YWCA’s International Conference of Women Physicians in New York, where she gave a lecture on “Prostitution and Prophylaxis of Venereal Disease in Italy”, and described her efforts to add social hygiene to Italian public school curricula. She helped found the Medical Women’s International Federation in 1919, with charter members representing 16 nations.  She was a co-founder with Myra Carcupino-Ferrari of the Italian Women’s Medical Association in 1922. She also opened a prenatal clinic for unmarried women in Rome.  Earlier in her life, she had suffered from tuberculosis, and this led to her being in charge of the Anti-Tubercular Consortium of Massa (1930-1938). Lollini spoke Italian, French, German, English, and Arabic



1891 – Lillian Estelle Fisher born, American historian; expert on Latin America; one of the first women to earn a doctorate in Latin American history in the U.S.  Fisher wrote the first published English language books on the Spanish colonial administration. She also wrote a biography of Manuel Abad y Queipo, the reform bishop-elect of Michoacan, and an account of the Tupac Amaru rebellion in Peru



1893 –  The World’s Columbian Exposition, aka the Chicago World’s Fair, opens in Chicago IL, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus arriving in the ‘New World’ in 1492



1894 – Coxey’s Army, a group of unemployed workers led by James Coxey of Ohio, having walked to Washington DC to protest the wide-spread unemployment after the panic of 1893, arrive at the Capitol building, but many of them are quickly arrested for trespassing on the lawns



1895 – Leo Sowerby born, American composer, won 1946 Pulitzer Prize for Music



1895 – May Hollinworth born, Australian theatre producer-director, after serving as the director of the Sydney University Dramatic Society (1929-1943), she founded the Metropolitan Theatre in Sydney. She was the producer and director of the theatre (1944-1950), which featured a mix of classics, including Shakespeare, and premiere productions of plays by Australian playwrights. Leo McKern, who went on to a distinguished career in the UK, was a member of the company. Illness forced her to leave the theatre, but she later directed plays at two other Sydney theatres, the Independent, and the Elizabethan Theatre



1898 – The Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines is won by the U.S. Navy, which destroys the Spanish fleet

1910 – Raya Dunayevskaya born in Ukraine, American Marxist Humanist philosopher; at one time Leon Trotsky’s secretary, but later splits with him and founds the ‘News and Letters Committees’ which advocates the abolition of capitalism; advocate for women’s liberation and against discrimination by race or age



1910 – Behice Boran born, Turkish Marxist politician, author and sociologist. She earned her PhD in sociology in 1939 from the University of Michigan, and became an associate professor at Ankara University. Founding member of the Turkish Peacelovers Association

1915 – The RMS Lusitania leaves New York on her final, ill-fated voyage

1918 – Silver Star Service Day * – honors the sacrifices of the combat wounded, ill and dying service members; suggested by the Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defenses.  In 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H Res. 855 officially recognizing May 1 as Silver Star Service Day

1923 – Joseph Heller born, American novelist and short story writer; Catch 22



1924 – Evelyn Boyd Granville born, African American mathematician, pioneer in computer science, and academic; second American woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics,  from Yale University in 1949; honored by the National Academy of Engineering, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and awarded the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal by the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association



1924 – Terry Southern born, American novelist and screenwriter; Dr. Strangelove



1924 – Anne M. Leggett born, American mathematical logician, former instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Loyola Chicago faculty. Leggett is the editor-in-chief of the newsletter of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM), and co-editor with Bettye Anne Case of Complexities: Women in Mathematics (2005)

1925 – The All-China Federation of Trade Unions is officially founded; today it is the largest trade union in the world, with 134 million members

1925 – Helen Balmuth Bamber born, British psychotherapist and human rights activist. Bamber worked with Holocaust survivors after the concentration camps were liberated in 1945. She was a 20-something secretary working for a Harley Street doctor in London when she responded to a call for volunteers to help Jewish survivors of Nazi concentration camps. She became part of a Jewish Relief Unit rehabilitation team at Bergen-Belsen, just months after its liberation, facing the daunting task of helping the camp’s 20,000 survivors with their physical and psychological recovery. She said, “I think it was something about repaying a debt. I was aware that if the Nazis had succeeded in invading England, we would have been the victims. . . when you were searching through things you were reminded of the enormity of it: once we came across a vast pile of shoes, sorted according to sizes, including children’s, all neatly lined up; you were never safe from that kind of confrontation.” She said that survivors “would dig their fingers into your arms and hold on to you to get to you the horror of what had happened. Above all else, there was a need to tell you everything, over and over and over again. And this was the most significant thing for me, realizing that you had to take it all. . . . After a while I began to realise the most important role for me there was to bear witness.”  She remained in Germany for 2 ½ years. After negotiating the evacuation to Switzerland of a group of young survivors suffering from tuberculosis, she returned to England in 1947, where she worked with the Jewish Refugee Committee and was appointed to the Committee for the Care of Young Children from Concentration Camps. During the next eight years she trained to work with disturbed young adults and children while in close liaison with the Anna Freud Clinic, and also studied Social Science part-time at the London School of Economics. She married Rudi Bamberger, a German-Jewish refugee from Nuremberg who anglicized his name to Bamber, whose father had been killed during Kristallnacht. They had two sons, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1970. She was an early member of Amnesty International, and served on its Executive Council until 1980, then co-founded the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture in 1985, to provide long-term care for survivors, after their initial therapy. In 2005, she created the Helen Bamber Foundation to help survivors of extreme cruelty and human rights violations. Throughout her life, she worked with those who were the most marginalised: Holocaust survivors, asylum-seekers, refugees, victims of the conflict in Northern Ireland, trafficked men, women and children, survivors of genocide, torture, rape, female genital mutilation, British Far East prisoners of war, former hostages and other people who suffered torture abroad. She worked in many countries including Gaza, Kosovo, Uganda, Turkey and Northern Ireland. In 2013, Bamber ended her role as Clinical Director of the foundation, and assumed the role of Director Emeritus, a year before she died at age 89



1927 – American Federation of Labor founds the Union Labor Life Insurance Company

1930 – Clyde Tombaugh’s discovery is named Pluto by unanimous vote at Lowell Observatory, after the name is suggested by Venetia Burney, an 11-year-old schoolgirl in Oxford, England, to her grandfather, a retired librarian at Oxford’s Bodelian Library,  passed on to astronomy professor Herbert Hall Turner, who cables it to America

1931 – The Empire State Building is dedicated in New York City



1936 – Danièle Huillet, French filmmaker; with partner Jean-Marie Straub, made two dozen films, noted for their rigorous intellectualism and radical politics; From the Clouds to the Resistance (1979) and Sicilia! (1999) are their best-regarded films



1939 – Batman Day * – Batman’s first appearance, in Detective Comics #27



1939 – Judy Collins born, notable American singer-songwriter and social activist



1941 – The film directorial debut of Orson Welles, Citizen Kane, premieres in NYC



1948 – Patricia Hill Collins born, African American sociologist and scholar; head of the African-American Studies Department at the University of Cincinnati; noted for Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment,  published in 1990, and Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender and the New Racism (2004)



1948 – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) founded, led by Kim Il-sung

1950 – Gwendolyn Brooks becomes first African-American woman to receive Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1950) for Annie Allen; named a Library of Congress Consultant in Poetry (now called Poet Laureate) in 1985



1956 – Dr. Hajime Hosokawa in Japan reports an “epidemic of an unknown disease of the central nervous system”, marking the official discovery of Minamata disease, caused by severe mercury poisoning from industrial wastewater which affected fish and shellfish in Minamata Bay and the Shiranui Sea – industrial pollution continued until 1968, and the company was not required to clean up the remaining pollutants until 2004



1958 – “Loyalty” Day * – An official proclamation is still being issued every year since 1958, but the first one (originally called “Americanization” Day) was in 1921, during the first “Red Scare,” and set up in opposition to the May Day celebrations of International Workers’ Day. It lapsed, but was revived during the McCarthy era. Eisenhower asked Congress to move Child Health Day from May 1st to the first Monday in October in favor of “Loyalty” Day

1960 – Maharashtra Day * – western Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra formed

1960 – U-2 incident: Francis Gary Powers, in a Lockheed U-2 spyplane, is shot down over the Soviet Union, sparking a diplomatic crisis

1961 – Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro announces elections are abolished

1965 – The Supremes release “Back In My Arms Again”

1967 – In Wichita Kansas, tensions grow between white and black high school students, which will explode in violence on May 2 and 3; April 1967 marked the beginning of the worst period of racial disturbances in U.S. history; more than 40 riots and over 150 other disturbances occur during a six-month period; over 150 people killed, thousands  injured, and more than a billion dollars in property damage



1970 – Protests erupt after President Nixon announces that American and South Vietnamese forces will invade Cambodia to attack Vietnamese communists

1971 – Amtrak (the National Railroad Passenger Corporation) takes over operation of U.S. passenger rail service

1972 – The Eagles release their first single, “Take It Easy”

1992 – On the third day of the Los Angeles riots, Rodney King appears on TV to appeal for calm, asking “Can’t we all get along?”

2004 – Global Love Day * launched by The Love Foundation, the vision of Harold Becker, to celebrate and nurture the love we have within, which heal and transform us



2006 – The first International Victorious Woman Month is sponsored by The Victorious Woman Project 

2007 – International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day * is launched by the guerrilla gardening group The Brussels Farmers, which they declared in the Journée Internationale de la Guérilla Tournesol. Guerrilla gardening is a growing movement to turn neglected or misused land into something useful, like a vegetable patch, or more attractive, by planting trees, or in this case, flowers. International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day has since been taken up by guerrilla gardeners in other countries. In the Southern Hemisphere, other plants more suited to its approaching winter months substitute for sunflowers.


Pictures of the results from London’s Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day

2009 – Same-sex marriage is legalized in Sweden

2011 – President Barack Obama announces U.S. forces in Pakistan have killed Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9-11 attacks

2015 – Incoming U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the Department of Justice will spend $20 million to provide body cameras to police, mostly in major cities. Of that sum, $17 million will purchase the equipment, while the remaining $3 million will cover training and effectiveness evaluation programs. “Body-worn cameras hold tremendous promise for enhancing transparency, promoting accountability, and advancing public safety for law enforcement officers and the communities they serve,” AG Lynch said



2018 – The Pentagon FY2017 report on sexual assault in the U.S. military shows an increase in reporting of sexual assault, but changes in the Uniform Code of Military Justice since 2012 which require more evidence before going forward with some cases has reduced the number of courts-martial and convictions. The number of reported cases of sexual assault rose nearly 10%, from 6,172 in fiscal 2016 to 6,769 in fiscal 2017, Pentagon statistics show. The Army reported 2,706 cases of sexual assault, an increase of 8.4%; the Navy reported 1,585 cases, an increase of 9.3%; the Air Force reported 1,480 cases, an increase of 9.2%; and the Marine Corps saw a nearly 15% increase, with a total of 998 reported cases. However, the percentage of substantiated sexual assault cases in which charges were preferred to courts-martial dropped from 71% in fiscal 2013 to 54% in fiscal 2017. In that same time period, the percentage of cases resolved through administrative action and discharges has increased from 12 to 26%. “An increase in reporting is only good if it leads to justice,” Service Women’s Action Network CEO Lydia Watts said. “It hasn’t. Despite the increase in reporting, actual convictions from sexual assault reports have decreased over the last three years. The military is encouraging victims to come forward, and when they do, it hangs them out to dry.”


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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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