The Thing About Today – July 5

July 5, 2020
Day 187 of 366

 

July 5th is the 187th day of the year. It is Independence Day in Algeria (which separated from France in 1962), Cape Verde (which broke from Portugal in 1975), and Venezuela (which left Spain in 1811).

 

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Apple Turnover Day, National Graham Cracker Day, National Hawaii Day, National Workaholics Day, and National Bikini Day.

 

Historical items of note:

  • In 1687, Isaac Newton published Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica.
  • In 1841, Thomas Cook organized the first package excursion, traveling from Leicester to Loughborough.
  • In 1915, the Liberty Bell left Philadelphia by special train on its way to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. This is the last trip outside Philadelphia that the custodians of the bell intend to permit.
  • In 1935, the National Labor Relations Act, which governs labor relations in the United States, was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • In 1937, the luncheon meat Spam was introduced into the market by the Hormel Foods Corporation.
  • In 1946, the bikini first went on sale after debuting during an outdoor fashion show at the Molitor Pool in Paris, France.
  • In 1954, the BBC broadcasted its first television news bulletin.
  • In 1958, author and illustrator Bill Watterson was born.
  • In 1964, screenwriter and producer Ronald D. Moore was born.
  • In 1996, Dolly the sheep became the first mammal cloned from an adult cell.
  • In 2016, the Juno space probe arrived at Jupiter and began a 20-month survey of the planet.

 

In 1934, “Bloody Thursday” occurred as police opened fire on striking longshoremen in San Francisco.

The 1934 West Coast Waterfront Strike started on May 9, 1934, and lasted eighty-three days as longshoremen in every US West Coast port walked out from their jobs. The longshoremen had either been unorganized or represented by company unions since the years immediately after World War I, when the shipping companies and stevedoring firms had imposed the open shop after a series of failed strikes. Attempts had been made to organize and unionize longshoremen but had made little progress.

Communists had infiltrated the community, but the group that published The Waterfront Worker, a newspaper that focused on longshoremen’s most pressing demands – more men on each gang, lighter loads, and an independent union – operated independently from the party. Tensions rose until the strike began in May 1934, sparking daily clashes as employers hired strikebreakers who operated under police protection, leading to further altercations as strikers struck back.

“Bloody Thursday” was an attempt to reopen San Francisco. As spectators watched from Rincon Hill, the police shot tear gas canisters into the crowd, then followed with a charge by mounted police. Picketers threw the canisters and rocks back at the police, who charged again, sending the picketers into retreat. Tensions rose until policemen fired a shotgun into the crowd, striking three men in the intersection of Steuart and Mission streets. Two of them later died from their wounds.

The result of the strike was the unionization of all of the West Coast ports of the United States. The San Francisco General Strike of 1934, along with the Toledo Auto-Lite Strike of 1934 led by the American Workers Party and the Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934 led by the Communist League of America, were catalysts for the rise of industrial unionism in the 1930s, much of which was organized through the Congress of Industrial Organizations.

The “Bloody Thursday” anniversary is marked by shutting down the West Coast ports every July 5th in honor of those who were killed by police during the lengthy strike.

 

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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