February 7, 2020
Day 38 of 366
February 7th is the thirty-eighth day of the year. It is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in the United States. At some point in their lifetimes, it is estimated that 1 in 16 black men and 1 in 32 black women will be diagnosed with HIV infection.
In the United States, it is “celebrated” as National Fettucine Alfredo Day, National Periodic Table Day, National Send a Card to a Friend Day, Bubble Gum Day, and National Wear Red Day. The last two are typically observed on the first Friday in February.
Historical items of note:
- In 1795, the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified. It was the first amendment adopted outside of the Bill of Rights and restricts the ability of individuals to bring suit against states in federal court.
- In 1812, English novelist Charles Dickens was born.
- In 1867, novelist Laura Ingalls Wilder was born.
- In 1873, Thomas Andrews was born. He was the Irish shipbuilder who designed the RMS Titanic.
- In 1885, novelist and Nobel Prize laureate Sinclair Lewis was born.
- In 1900, a Chinese immigrant in San Francisco fell ill to bubonic plague, marking the first plague epidemic in the continental United States.
- In 1940, the second full-length animated Walt Disney film, Pinocchio, premiered.
- In 1955, actor Miguel Ferrer was born.
- In 1960, actor and produced James Spader was born.
- In 1962, singer-songwriter Garth Brooks was born.
- Also in 1962, comedian Eddie Izzard was born.
- In 1974, Grenada gained independence from the United Kingdom.
- In 1984, during the STS-41-B mission on Space Shuttle Challenger, astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart made the first untethered spacewalk using the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU).
- In 1997, NeXT merged with Apple Computer, leading down the path to Mac OS X.
- In 2013, the U.S. state of Mississippi officially certified the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Mississippi was the last state in the Union to approve the abolition of slavery, approximately 148 years after the amendment was formally adopted.
In 1908, swimmer and actor Clarence “Buster” Crabbe was born.
Crabbe attended the University of Southern California where he was the school’s first All-American swimmer in 1931. He competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam where he won the bronze medal for the 1,500 meters freestyle. He returned to the Olympics in the 1932 Summer Games in Los Angeles and won the gold medal for the 400 meters freestyle. He won the medal by a tenth of a second.
He started his career in Hollywood in 1933 with Tarzan the Fearless. Over the span of approximately fifty years he starred in more than a hundred films. He portrayed the typical “jungle man” roles in King of the Jungle in 1933, Jungle Man in 1941, and King of the Congo in 1952. He was the first to portray Flash Gordon, doing so for Universal Pictures from 1936 to 1940. He was also Buck Rogers in the Universal serials.
During World War II, he had a draft deferral since he was a 34-year old married man. During the war, he made Army training films and portrayed Western folk heroes Billy the Kid and Billy Carson in thirty-six films.
After branching into television, Crabbe ventured into a business career during the 1950s and 1960s. He continued working in film from time to time, including a cameo appearance in 1979’s Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
Buster Crabbe died in 1983, at the age of 75, from a heart attack at his Scottsdale, Arizona home.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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