The Thing About Today – July 18

July 18, 2020
Day 200 of 366


July 18th is the 200th day of the year. It is Constitution Day in Uruguay.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Sour Candy Day, National Caviar Day, National Strawberry Rhubarb Wine Day, and Toss Away the “Could Haves” and “Should Haves” Day. The last two are typically observed on the third Saturday in July.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1290, King Edward I of England issued the Edict of Expulsion, banishing all Jews from England. In total, about 16,000 Jewish people were affected, and this was Tisha B’Av on the Hebrew calendar, a day that commemorates many Jewish calamities.
  • In 1870, the First Vatican Council decreed the dogma of papal infallibility.
  • In 1913, actor and comedian Red Skelton was born.
  • In 1921, astronaut John Glenn was born.
  • In 1938, director Paul Verhoeven was born.
  • In 1940, actor James Brolin was born.
  • In 1961, actress Elizabeth McGovern was born.
  • In 1966, Gemini 10 was launched from Cape Kennedy on a 70-hour mission that included docking with an orbiting Agena target vehicle. It was the 8th crewed Gemini flight, the 16th crewed American flight, and the 24th spaceflight of all time. It was crewed by John W. Young and Michael Collins.
  • In 1967, actor, director, producer, and screenwriter Vin Diesel was born. He is Groot.
  • In 1968, Intel was founded in Mountain View, California.
  • In 1976, Nadia Comăneci became the first person in Olympic Games history to score a perfect 10 in gymnastics at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
  • In 1980, actress and comedian Kristen Bell was born.
  • In 1992, a picture of Les Horribles Cernettes was taken. It became the first-ever photo posted to the World Wide Web.


In 1918, Nelson Mandela was born. He was a South African lawyer and politician, an anti-apartheid revolutionary, the first President of South Africa, and a Nobel Prize laureate.

Elected in a fully representative democratic election, his government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling institutionalized racism and fostering racial reconciliation. A Xhosa, he was born to the Thembu royal family in Mvezo, Union of South Africa. He worked as a lawyer in Johannesburg and became involved in anti-colonial and African nationalist politics, joining the African National Congress (ANC) in 1943 and co-founding its Youth League in 1944.

After the National Party’s white-only government established apartheid, a system of racial segregation that privileged whites, he and the ANC committed themselves to overthrowing the system. As president of the ANC’s Transvaal branch, he rose to prominence, was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities, and was unsuccessfully prosecuted in the 1956 Treason Trial. Influenced by Marxism, he secretly joined the banned South African Communist Party (SACP), which changed him from non-violent protests to co-founding the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe in 1961. His sabotage campaign against the government got his arrested and imprisoned in 1962, and he was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiring to overthrow the state following the Rivonia Trial.

He served 27 years in prison before growing domestic and international pressure, along with fears of racial civil war, forced President F. W. de Klerk to release him in 1990. Together, they led efforts to negotiate an end to apartheid, which resulted in the 1994 multiracial general election in which Mandela led the ANC to victory and became president.

Nelson Mandela International Day (or Mandela Day for short) is an annual international day in honor of his legacy, celebrated annually on his birthday. The day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009, and it was first celebrated in 2010.

Mandela Day is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world and the ability to make an impact.


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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