March 10, 2020
Day 70 of 366
March 10th is the seventieth day of the year. It is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in the United States.
It is also Harriet Tubman Day in the United States, a holiday observed in honor of the famous American abolitionist, humanitarian, and armed scout and spy for the United States Army during the American Civil War. Born into slavery, Harriet Tubman escaped and then made around thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved families and friends via the Underground Railroad, a network of antislavery activists and safe houses. She later helped abolitionist John Brown to recruit men for his raid on the Harpers Ferry. She was the first woman to lead an unarmed expedition during the Civil War, during which she served as a cook, nurse, armed scout, and spy. After the war, she continued the fight as an activist for women’s suffrage.
She died of pneumonia on March 10, 1913, at the age of 91. She was buried with semi-military honors.
Historical items of note:
- In 1804, a formal ceremony was conducted in St. Louis, Missouri to transfer ownership of the Louisiana Territory from France to the United States.
- In 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was ratified by the United States Senate, ending the two-year-long Mexican–American War.
- In 1891, Almon Strowger patented the Strowger switch. Strowger was a Topeka, Kansas-based undertaker and his device led to the automation of telephone circuit switching.
- In 1902, a United States court of appeals ruled that Thomas Edison did not invent the movie camera.
- In 1922, Mahatma Gandhi was arrested in India, tried for sedition, and sentenced to six years in prison. He was released two years later for an appendicitis operation.
- In 1959, thousands of Tibetans surrounded the Dalai Lama’s palace to prevent his removal by China. The Tibetan uprising and Lhasa Rebellion ended thirteen days later with approximately 85,000 Tibetan casualties as China secured the temple.
- In 1971, actor and director John Hamm was born.
- In 1977, astronomers discovered the rings of Uranus.
- In 1978, The Incredible Hulk premiered on CBS, starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno.
- In 1984, actress and producer Olivia Wilde was born.
- In 1997, Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiered on the WB network, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar.
- In 2006, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrived at Mars.
March 10th is celebrated worldwide as Mario Day.
Mario is a fictional character in the Nintendo catalog of video games. He was created by Shigeru Miyamoto and first appeared in 1981’s Donkey Kong, since appearing in over 200 titles since then.
Mario evolved from Miyamoto’s desire to make a game based on the characters from Popeye, but since he couldn’t secure the rights to Popeye, Bluto, and Olive Oyl, he created an unnamed player character and the Donkey Kong game. The English translation of the game’s manual called the character Jumpman – because he jumps from point to point – and Mario in the sales brochures. Miyamoto allegedly settled on the Mario name in response to an altercation with the Nintendo of America warehouse landlord, one Mario Segale.
Miyamoto envisioned Mario as a “go to” character that could be in any game as needed. By the time of Super Mario Bros., Mario’s credit as a hero was established as he defeated the evil King Koopa and rescued Princess Toadstool of the Mushroom Kingdom. Over the years, Mario, his brother Luigi, and his allies have appeared as flagship characters for the Nintendo juggernaut as the games evolved from two-dimensional platformers to three-dimensional adventure games, go-kart racing games, and so much more.
Mario has also appeared in media outside of the video game worlds, from comic books and television (Saturday Supercade, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, and more) to film (1993’s Super Mario Bros.) and beyond as Universal Studios prepares to open Super Nintendo World attractions at its theme parks worldwide.
Mario holds seven world records in the Guinness World Record books, including Best Selling Video Game Series of All Time.
March 10th was picked as Mario Day purely because of how MAR 10 looks like the character’s name. It is a day of celebration and promotion of Mario’s legacy over the last four decades.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.