ON THIS DAY: November 20, 2017

November 20th is

Africa Industrialization Day *

Universal Children’s Day *

National Absurdity Day

Peanut Butter Fudge Day

Transgender Day of Remembrance *


MORE! Edwin Hubble, Nadine Gordimer and Peter Cook, click



Argentina – Día de la Soberania Nacional
(National Sovereignty Day)

Brazil – Dia da Consciencia Negra
(Black Consciousness Day)

Mexico – Día de la Revolución
(Mexican Revolution Day)

Vietnam – Teacher’s Day


On This Day in HISTORY

284 – Diocletian, a Roman cavalry commander, is proclaimed as emperor after the deaths of Emperor Carus and his son Numerian on campaign in Persia; the title is also claimed by the other son of Carus, Carinus, but Diocletian defeats him at the Battle of the Margus

1407 – A truce between John the Fearless Duke of Burgundy, and Louis of Valois Duke of Orléans, is agreed upon under the auspices of John Duke of Berry – but Orléans is assassinated three days later by Burgundy

Jean sans peur, ‘John the Fearless” Duke of Burgundy

1695 – Zumbi, last leader of Quilombo dos Palmares, a fugitive community of escaped slaves in colonial Brazil (1605-1694), is killed by the forces of Portuguese Bandeirante (a Portuguese fortune hunter/settler, ‘those who carry the flag’) Domingos Jorge Velho

1789 – New Jersey becomes the first U.S. state to ratify the Bill of Rights

1805 – Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, premieres in Vienna

1820 – An 80-ton sperm whale attacks the Nantucket whaling ship Essex, 2,000 miles off South America’s western coast – one of the inspirations for Melville’s Moby Dick

1858 – Selma Lagerlöf, Swedish author and educator, is born, first female Nobel Prize laureate in Literature (1909)

1881 – Arthur Marshall born, African American ragtime composer and player

1885 – Olive Wetzel Dennis is born, American engineer whose railway passenger travel design innovations included: seats that partially reclined; stain-resistant upholstery in passenger cars; larger dressing rooms for women, supplied with free paper towels, liquid soap and drinking cups; ceiling lights that could be dimmed at night; individual window vents (which she patented) to allow passengers to bring in fresh air while trapping dust; and, later, air conditioned compartments

1889 – Edwin Hubble born, American astronomer and cosmologist; discovered that what were thought to be “nebulae” were actually galaxies beyond the Milky Way; “Hubble’s law” implies that the Universe is expanding; the Hubble Space Telescope is named in his honor

1892 – James Collip born, Canadian biochemist, co-discoverer of insulin

1900 – Helen L. Bradley born, British painter-illustrator of Edwardian scenes

Our Christmas Ducks, by Helen L. Bradley 1900 – Chester Gould born, American cartoonist, creator of Dick Tracy

1903 – Alexandra Danilova born in Russia, international prima ballerina and choreographer; later a noted faculty member at the School of American Ballet, the school of the New York City Ballet 

1908 – Alistair Cooke is born in England, British-American journalist and broadcaster, Letter from America, host of PBS Masterpiece Theatre (1971-92)

1910 – Francisco Madero issues Plan de San Luis de Potosi, denouncing Mexican President Porfirio Diaz, and calling for a revolution to overthrow the government

1914 – Emilio Pucci born, Italian fashion designer popular in the 1960s and 70s; Italian Liberal Party politician

1917 – Ukraine is declared a republic

1918 – Corita Kent born, American Catholic nun who was a Pop Art silkscreen artist; designed the 1985 version of the U.S. Postal Service’s ‘Love’ stamp

1923 – Nadine Gordimer born, South African author and anti-apartheid activist; 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature; member of the banned African National Congress; her books were also banned by the white South African government; July’s People, The Conservationist, The Pickup

1925 – Robert F. Kennedy born, American lawyer and politician, U.S. Attorney General (1961-1964), U.S. senator (D-NY) 1965-1968

1926 – John Gardner born, English spy and thriller novelist

1929 – Penelope Hobhouse born, British garden designer, author and television presenter

1936 – José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the Falange Española, the pro- Franco party in Spain, is executed by a Republican firing squad

1937 – Peter Cook born, British comedian

1938 – Gordon Lightfoot, Canadian singer-songwriter, is born, “If You Could Read My Mind” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” among others

1941 – Haseena Moin born, Pakistani playwright and screenwriter, considered the nation’s best dramatist

1942 – Meredith Monk born, American composer, vocalist, director, filmmaker and choreographer; her music has been used in Coen Brothers films like The Big Lebowski

1945 – Nuremberg Trials against 24 accused Nazi war criminals begin at Nuremberg’s Palace of Justice

1946 – Judy Woodruff born, American television journalist; anchor of PBS NewsHour; board member of the International Women’s Media Foundation, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations

1947 – Joe Walsh born, American singer-songwriter and guitarist; The Eagles

1954 – U.N. General Assembly first promotes observance of Universal Children’s Day *; the Declaration of the Rights of the Child is adopted on this day in 1959, followed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989

1957 – Harry Belafonte’s “Mary’s Boy Child” became the first single to sell over a million copies in the U.K.

1962 – U.S. naval blockade of Cuba set up during the Cuban Missile Crisis is ended

1963 – Sir Timothy Gowers born, British mathematician, 1998 Fields Medal for research connecting functional analysis and combinatorics

1966 – The Beach Boys hit #1 on the U.K. singles chart with “Good Vibrations”

1966 – Jill Thompson born, American comic book writer-illustrator; noted for work on Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, and her own Scary Godmother series

1968 – Robin Canup born, American astrophysicist, notable research on the giant impact hypothesis, and origins and planets; awarded 2003 Harold C. Urey Prize

1969 – Basing their claim on the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868) between the U.S. and the Lakota, which provided that all retired, abandoned or out-of-use federal land was to be returned to the Native people from whom it was taken, Red Power activists seize control of Alcatraz Island, closed since March 1963, until they are ousted by the U.S. Government in June 1971

1974 – U.S. Department of Justice files its final anti-trust suit against AT&T Corporation, which later leads to the breakup of AT&T and its Bell System

1979 – The Kaaba, Islam’s most sacred mosque, at the center of Al Kaaba Al Musharrafah in Mecca is seized, along with several thousand hostages, by Sunni Muslims during the pilgrimage. The Saudi government gets help from Pakistani special forces in putting down the uprising

1985 – Microsoft Windows 1.0 is released

1989 – U.N. General Assembly declares the first Africa Industrialization Day *

1992 – A fire at Britain’s Windsor Castle causes over ₤50 million in damage

1993 – U.S. Senate Ethics Committee issues a reprimand to Senator Alan Cranston (D-CA) for improper conduct after Lincoln Savings executive Charles Keating contributes $850,000 to voter registration groups affiliated with the senator

1998 – A court in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan declares Osama bin Laden “a man without a sin” in regard to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania

1999 – Gwendolyn Ann Smith promotes the first Transgender Day of Remembrance * to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman killed in 1998 – vigils and other events now promoted by GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)

2001 – In Washington, D.C., George W. Bush dedicates the United States Department of Justice headquarters building as the Robert F. Kennedy Justice Building, honoring the late Robert F. Kennedy on what would have been his 76th birthday

2007 – The Eagles album Long Road Out of Eden was #1 on the U.S. album chart

2015 – The Grateful Dead concert video Fare Thee Well is released in the U.S.


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