The Thing About Today – April 16

April 16, 2020
Day 107 of 366


April 16th is the 107th day of the year. It is World Voice Day, a worldwide annual event that is devoted to the celebration of the phenomenon of voice. Voice is a critical aspect of effective and healthy communication, and the event brings global awareness to the need for preventing voice problems, rehabilitating the deviant or sick voice, training the artistic voice, and researching the function and application of voice.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Bean Counter Day, National Eggs Benedict Day, National Healthcare Decisions Day, National Orchid Day, National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day, Get to Know Your Customers Day, and National High Five Day. Get to Know Your Customers Day happens on the third Thursday of each quarter, and National High Five Day occurs on the third Thursday in April.

Maybe we should consider “air” hive fives instead?


Historical items of note:

  • In 1746, the Battle of Culloden was fought in Scotland between the French-supported Jacobites led by Charles Edward Stuart and the British Hanoverian forces commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland. The Jacobites suffered a bloody defeat, and after the battle, many highland traditions were banned and the Highlands of Scotland were cleared of inhabitants.
  • In 1818, the United States Senate ratified the Rush–Bagot Treaty, establishing the border with Canada.
  • In 1853, the Great Indian Peninsula Railway opened the first passenger rail in India. It went from Bori Bunder to Thane.
  • In 1867, inventor Wilbur Wright was born.
  • In 1889, English actor, director, producer, screenwriter, and composer Charlie Chaplin was born.
  • In 1908, Natural Bridges National Monument was established in Utah.
  • In 1912, Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly an airplane across the English Channel.
  • In 1921, British actor, author, journalist, comedian, and broadcaster Peter Ustinov was born.
  • In 1924, composer Henry Mancini was born.
  • In 1943, Albert Hofmann accidentally discovered the hallucinogenic effects of the research drug LSD. He intentionally took the drug three days later.
  • In 1947, Bernard Baruch first applied the term “Cold War” to describe the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union.
  • In 1952, voice actor, singer-songwriter, and comedian Billy West was born.
  • In 1954, actress Ellen Barkin was born.
  • In 1962, Walter Cronkite began to anchor the CBS Evening News.
  • In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. penned his Letter from Birmingham Jail while incarcerated in Birmingham, Alabama for protesting against segregation.
  • In 1965, actor John Cryer was born. He currently plays one of the best televised Lux Luthors on Supergirl.
  • In 1972, Apollo 16 was launched with astronauts John Young, Charles Duke, and Ken Mattingly aboard.
  • In 1975, actor Sean Maher was born.
  • In 1982, actress and mixed martial artist Gina Carano was born.
  • In 1984, actress Claire Foy was born.


April 16th is Emancipation Day in Washington, DC, which is part of various year-round observances in many former European colonies in the Caribbean and areas of the United States to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people of African descent.

In 1862, The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act, a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia, became law. Signed by President Abraham Lincoln, the Act freed about 3,100 slaves in the District of Columbia nine months before President Lincoln issued his broader Emancipation Proclamation. The Act is the only example of compensation by the United States federal government to former owners of emancipated slaves.

On January 4, 2005, Mayor Anthony A. Williams signed legislation making Emancipation Day an official public holiday in the District. When April 16th falls during a weekend, Emancipation Day is observed on the nearest weekday, sometimes affecting Tax Day by pushing that annual event to either the 17th or the 18th.


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.




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