The Thing About Today – November 7

November 7, 2020
Day 312 of 366

November 7th is the 312nd day of the year. It is Hungarian Opera Day. A Magyar Opera Napja is a commemoration of the birth of Hungarian composer Ferenc Erkel (this day in 1810) and the reopening of the Erkel Theatre in Budapest.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Bison Day (typically the first Saturday in November), National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day, National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day, and National Play Outside Day (typically the first Saturday of every month).

Historical items of note:

  • In 921, the Treaty of Bonn was signed. Frankish kings Charles the Simple and Henry the Fowler agreed on this “pact of friendship” (amicitia) to recognize their borders along the Rhine.
  • In 1492, the Ensisheim meteorite struck Earth around noon in a wheat field outside the village of Ensisheim, Alsace, France. It is the oldest meteorite with a known date of impact.
  • In 1665, The London Gazette, the oldest surviving journal, was first published.
  • In 1775, John Murray, the Royal Governor of the Colony of Virginia, started the first mass emancipation of slaves in North America by issuing Lord Dunmore’s Offer of Emancipation. The order offered freedom to slaves who abandoned their colonial masters to fight with Murray and the British.
  • In 1786, the oldest musical organization in the United States was founded as the Stoughton Musical Society.
  • In 1837, abolitionist printer Elijah P. Lovejoy was shot dead by a mob in Alton, Illinois, while attempting to protect his printing shop from being destroyed a third time.
  • In 1867, Polish chemist and physicist Marie Curie was born. As part of the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes, she was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and the only woman to win the Nobel Prize twice, and the only person to win the Nobel Prize in two scientific fields. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris.
  • In 1874, a cartoon by Thomas Nast was published in Harper’s Weekly. It is considered the first important use of an elephant as a symbol for the United States Republican Party.
  • In 1885, the completion of Canada’s first transcontinental railway was symbolized by the Last Spike ceremony at Craigellachie, British Columbia.
  • In 1907, Jesús García saved the entire town of Nacozari de García by driving a burning train full of dynamite six kilometers (3.7 miles) away before it could explode.
  • In 1908, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were reportedly killed in San Vicente Canton, Bolivia.
  • In 1912, the Deutsche Opernhaus (now Deutsche Oper Berlin) opened in the Berlin neighborhood of Charlottenburg with a production of Beethoven’s Fidelio.
  • In 1916, Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to the United States Congress.
  • In 1929, in New York City, the Museum of Modern Art opened to the public.
  • In 1932, the first broadcast of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century occurred on CBS Radio.
  • In 1940, the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed in a windstorm. This occurred a mere four months after the bridge’s completion.
  • In 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected for a record fourth term as President of the United States.
  • In 1950, Scottish actress Lindsay Duncan was born.
  • In 1954, Armistice Day became Veterans Day in the United States.
  • In 1967, Carl B. Stokes was elected as Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, becoming the first African American mayor of a major American city.
  • Also in 1967, United States President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, establishing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
  • In 1989, Douglas Wilder won the governor’s seat in Virginia, becoming the first elected African American governor in the United States.
  • In 1990, Mary Robinson became the first woman to be elected President of the Republic of Ireland.
  • In 1991, Magic Johnson announced that he was HIV-positive and retired from the National Basketball Association.
  • In 1994, WXYC, the student radio station of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, provided the world’s first internet radio broadcast.
  • In 1996, NASA launched the Mars Global Surveyor.

At 1:45pm on November 7, 2020, edited to add:

  • In 2020, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were elected as President and Vice President of the United States. Kamala Harris became the first woman and first person of color to be elected to the position.

November 7th is International Inuit Day, a day to honor the cultures and histories of Inuit communities around the world.

Approximately 155,000 Inuit live across Canada, Greenland, Alaska and Russia. Three-quarters of Inuit in Canada live in fifty-three communities in the northern regions of Canada called Inuit Nunangat, which is comprised of four regions.

The Greenlandic Inuit are descendants of Thule migrations from Canada by 1100 AD. Inuit of Greenland are Danish citizens, although not the citizens of the European Union. In the United States, the Alaskan Iñupiat are traditionally located in the Northwest Arctic Borough, on the Alaska North Slope, and on Little Diomede Island.

In Canada, the United States, and Denmark, the term “Eskimo” was once commonly used to describe Inuit and Siberia and Alaska’s Yupik, Iñupiat, and Chukchi peoples. “Inuit” is not accepted as a term for the Yupik and Chukchi and “Eskimo” is the only term that applies across the Yupik, Chukchi, Iñupiat, and Inuit peoples.

Since the late 20th century, indigenous people in Canada and Greenlandic Inuit have widely considered “Eskimo” to be an offensive term, and they more frequently identify as “Inuit” for an autonym.

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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